Saturday, September 10, 2011

In memoriam

Candle_220x165px

(the legal skills blog)

September 10, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A discussion about contract drafting simulations in clinical courses

This is the transcript of a panel discussion entitled "Simulations in Clinics, Contract Drafting, and Upper-Level Courses" that took place during a conference called “Transactional Education: What's Next?" hosted by Emory's Center for Transactional Law and Practice in June, 2010. The panelists included Professors David M. Epstein (New York Law School), Helen Scott (NYU), Carole Heyward (Cleveland Marshall), Daniel Bogart (Chapman). The full transcript is available at 12 Tenn. J. Bus. L. 55 (2011). From the introductory remarks:

 

My name is Danny Bogart. I'm from Chapman University in Orange County, California. It is my pleasure to participate here. I was very pleased that Tina Stark asked me to help with plan this program. This is one of the first panels, so I get to kind of relax a bit when this is done. Let me introduce the other panelists. Sitting to my right is Helen Scott from N.Y.U. And sitting next to her is Carole Heyward from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. And finally on my far, far right is a David Epstein from New York Law School. We are all going to be participating and discussing the same topic, which is simulations in clinics, contract drafting, and upper level courses.
We have an hour and a half. We're going to have 15 minutes per person to present, and the remaining time we will allocate to questions. We'd like to have a good fruitful question period. And let me just tell you at the beginning that the panelists talked for a bit before we created our own materials. We thought there would be some questions we would each try to answer to give some consistency to this program. But we don't necessarily have to stick to script. We may focus on one thing or another as we move through. We will focus on the following questions: What is the purpose of simulation? What is the source of the simulation? What are the mechanics of the simulation? What kind of students do you get? What kind of students do you look for? What are the prerequisites of the course? Do you employ anonymous or non-anonymous grading? What is the mechanism for assessment? Is the work product anonymous or non-anonymous? What is the mechanism for assessment in grading? And how do we deal with ethical issues, if at all? And with that I'm going to turn it over to David Epstein.

(jbl).

September 10, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Launch Small Firm and Solo “Incubators to Help Their Grads

 Law schools around the country are launching solo and small firm "incubators" — programs that help recent graduates establish solo practices while also encouraging free or low-cost legal services to underserved communities. The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law was the first of its kind when it debuted in 2007; the school offers low-cost office space in midtown Manhattan and staff support for up to two years to a select number of graduates aiming to establish themselves as solos or launch small firms.

This is from a special report in the National Law Journal featuring four articles on the subject:

Incubators give birth to flocks of solo practitioners
Programs help graduates establish careers and provide legal services to the poor.

Comedies of error shape views of law schools, lawyers
Popular culture can illuminate the public, but also can spread misinformation about the profession.

How would students grade their law schools?
The notion lingers that teaching practical skills is somehow not their business. 

Pressure mounts to help graduates manage debt
The ABA wants Congress to extend federal payback provisions to private law school loans.

(ljs)

 

 

 

September 10, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Plagiarism by International Students

Professors who deal with international students are well aware that many of these students hail from cultures where they are expected to engage in what we consider plagiarism. This article from Canada’s Globe and Mail discusses the problem, but goes into a bit more depth than typical articles on the subject. It explains the perspectives of some of the students. For example:

After arriving at U of T from Taiwan, Hannah Liu found she and her friends often felt they lacked the vocabulary and writing skills to be confident paraphrasing research material.

“If [students] don’t know how to rewrite the sentence, they probably think, ‘I’ll just copy and paste it,’” she said.

Legal Writing Profs may note the quote from Danielle Istl, Windsor University’s Academic Integrity Officer. She formerly taught in the Legal Writing program at Detroit-Mercy’s law school.

The comments following the article are worth reading. Most of them are critical of the offending international students, arguing that Western schools make very clear what their plagiarism policies are, thus leaving no excuses for violations.

(ljs)

September 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to succeed as a 1L - more study tips via the Lawyerist

The actual title is "3 Tips to Avoid Law School Fail." I forwarded it to my own students this morning. It's unfortunate that for many 1L's, their senior classmates have more credibility when it comes to study advice than their profs.  So it's good for them to hear from a disinterested observer, in this case the Lawyerist blog, advice about the need to write one's own outlines, try to get the most of class, etc.  Maybe you'll decide to pass it along to your students too.

1. Keep it simple, stupid

Law school is an all-in endeavor, and for three years, law school will likely be the biggest part of your life. If there are other distractions in your world, your grades will suffer without question. In my first year of law school, I almost got deployed to the middle east, my wife and I had the worst landlord in the history of landlords, and we had a baby. My grades absolutely suffered (“B-” is for baby… minus). With everything that I had to worry about outside of law school, I wasn’t able to dedicate my finite amount of stress management efforts to everything that was going on inside the law school.

To the greatest extent possible, you need to make sure that your home life stays static. There is a reason why the American Bar Association limits the ability of law students to work; and it’s not because the ABA cares about your free time. Your 1L year takes every ounce of effort that you can spare, and the ABA is well aware of that fact. The more you are distracted with doctor’s visits, family/relationship problems, thinking of ways to vandalize your landlord’s garden gnomes, or money issues, the more your GPA will look like an ace pitcher’s ERA.

2. Show Your Work

At the moment, commercial law school outlines are big business, but Gilbert’s and Emanuel aren’t the only ones doling out study aids.  Without much effort, you can find old law school outlines on certain databases, on eBay, or even with the help of a generous 2L. Avoid these things like hipsters avoid the suburbs.

Outlining—which you will come to love so, so much—has two purposes: 1) it consolidates your lecture and casenotes into an easy to use exam aid, and 2) the actual practice of “outlining” cements in your overloaded brain the key concepts that you need for the exam. This second aspect of outlining is the most underrated and most important part of your semester-end studying. When you buy or borrow an outline, you are only getting the first benefit of the outline. When you create your own, you are getting a better exam aid that isn’t generically designed for every law student in the country (looking at you, Gilbert’s), and you are walking in to the exam in much better shape.

3. Stay Classy

Law school isn’t undergrad; in fact, it’s your new job. If you attach the same negative connotation of calling in sick to work to the prospect of skipping class, the thought of dodging class will seem much less enticing. The biggest reason students skip a class is that they didn’t read the material and are afraid of getting called on. Don’t do this. Missing class means you miss the following: you miss an explanation of the insanely confusing contracts case you read, you miss out on indications from the professor on what he thinks is important, and you miss an opportunity to contribute in class. If you didn’t read the materials, then you can still go to class but just give the professor a heads up so that she doesn’t make you look stupid in front of everyone. If you are avoiding reading enough to the point that you are afraid of alerting the professor repeatedly, then you are doing something wrong.

Lots of people make lots of mistakes in law school… too many to cover here. But the above three screw-ups were the ones that doomed me on occasion and have doomed others over the years. Go to your classes, lock-down your home life and do your own outlines. Do those three things and you will get through the toughest three years of your life with a GPA that is hopefully somewhere above Pi.

(jbl).

September 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cooley Law School report finds "the blogs and media have it almost completely wrong" - law school is a great career choice

Paul Campos and Elie Mystal are going to blow a gasket over this one. Cooley has released a report  concluding that the state of the legal job market is not as bad as many have been claiming. The report, the first in a series that will analyze the legal job market, is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A second report will analyze NALP data and the final report will discuss compensation for attorneys,

This first report, dated August, 2011, can be accessed here.

In the meantime, an excerpt from the report's conclusion:

Contrary to the assertions of the bloggers and media, who tend to rely heavily on anecdotal information about the world of the large law firms, the legal occupations and lawyers in particular have been considerably less affected by the recession than other management and professional occupations. Of the ten management and professional occupation categories identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal occupations had the smallest increase in unemployment rate both from 2001 to 2010 and from 2007 to 2010. Among the more detailed management and professional occupations most likely to be career options for potential lawyers, only a handful had lower unemployment rates than lawyers at the end of the decade.
. . . .

In sum, the data shows that the blogs and media segment have it almost completely wrong. Unbiased national data from the past ten years establishes that the legal profession has one of the lowest unemployment rates, one of the most stable job markets, and is one of the least susceptible to the effects of economic recession, making the legal profession one of the best career choices.

Hat tip to Professor Michael Masinter.

(jbl).

September 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

U. Arkansas School of Law seeks tenure-track clinician(s)

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS, FAYETTEVILLE, SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to fill one or more tenured or tenure-track positions for the 2012–2013 academic year.

Our primary curricular need is for a programmatic tenured or tenure-track position in the legal clinic. The legal clinic is an in-house, live client clinic which enables student attorneys to provide legal assistance to indigents, governmental agencies and charitable organizations. The professor will teach traditional civil clinical classes, but the position is also likely to involve administrative responsibilities. The extent and nature of those duties will be determined by the credentials and experience of the candidate.

Candidates for the clinical position should have a distinguished academic record and significant practice or equivalent experience. Preferred qualifications include two or more years of experience as a clinical teacher. Applicants must also be eligible to supervise students under Rule XV of the Arkansas Rules Governing Bar Admission. Those rules require that the candidate either be, or become prior to the beginning of the appointment, a member of the Arkansas Bar. In the alternative, a lawyer not admitted to practice in Arkansas may supervise students for up to one year, providing the lawyer is admitted to practice and is in good standing in another state, and has had at least five years of practice in another state.

We also welcome applications from candidates interested in teaching first year and required courses, or other subjects depending on future needs. We have a special interest in attracting applicants who are eager to integrate lawyering skills opportunities into their doctrinal courses and to develop related lawyering skills courses.

Applicants should submit a letter of application indicating teaching and scholarly interests, and attach a current resume or curriculum vitae together with three professional references to Mary Beth Matthews, Appointments Committee Chair, WH 313 University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville AR 72701. Applications may also be submitted by email to mmatthew@uark.edu.
The University of Arkansas is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution committed to achieving a culturally diverse faculty. We encourage applications from all qualified candidates, especially individuals who contribute to the social, ethnic, and gender diversity of our faculty and academic community. Applications will be accepted without regard to age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation or national origin. Applicants must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States.

(jbl).

September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thinking about going solo? Advice on how to set your fees

From the blog Attorney@Work:

What happens after you leave BigLaw and become a solo? When John Snyder—a Harvard-educated senior associate in a big New York firm—decided to start his own practice, plenty of people wondered about it. There must be an easier way—especially since it meant getting Big Apple business clients to hire a solo for their needs. As he approaches the one-year milestone with his commercial litigation boutique, John is telling Attorney at Work readers how he’s getting it done—and giving practical advice for lawyers about making it on your own. First lesson? Figuring out your fees ….

When I started my own commercial litigation boutique last year, I gave serious thought to abandoning the much-maligned billable hour. After all, we all know the criticisms: The billable hour rewards inefficiency, places the lawyer’s interests at odds with the client’s, and unrealistically assumes that every hour of time is of the same value to the client.

On the other hand, for a litigator focused on complex and often unpredictable cases, the alternatives are not particularly satisfying. The inherent unpredictability of litigation makes a flat fee arrangement difficult or impossible. Nor does a pure contingency model make sense because, frankly, as a small firm, I cannot afford to bet my practice on the outcome of a case (although I have occasionally negotiated “hybrid” arrangements).

Continue reading "steps for building credibility through billing" here.

(jbl).

September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday Fun: Clients from hell and the "#sshole Lawyer Boyfriend"

The name of this website says it all - clientsfromhell.net  (though the focus is on "anonymously contributed client horror stories" from graphic, print and web designers).

You can pick up some "Day Ruining Invoices" here or maybe buy "Clients from Hell" - the book, here.

A quick search didn't turn up many complaints by or about lawyers.  But there is this:

The #sshole Lawyer Boyfriend

[I’m not a designer but the attorney hired by a designer. I’m informing the client over the phone that he’s being sued for not paying the amount specified.]

Me: “Good afternoon, my name is [xxx], representing [designer] and [company]. We’re calling about payment that has not yet been received for a project which you agreed to pay for.”

Client: “What?! Who’s suing me?! Who is this?”

Me: “As I said, my name is [xxx], representing [designer] and [company]. You have X,XXX.XX that was supposed to be paid several months ago, as agreed upon by a contract with my clients.”

Client: “Are you suing me for a website? You’re not making any damn sense!”

Me: “You owe someone a fair deal of money and you’ve made it very clear that you have no intention of paying. I have several emails from your email address responding to my clients with messages such as “sayonara, suckers” and I am calling to see if you’d like to pay your fees now, or if we need to bring this into a courtroom, which I’m sure we’re all looking to avoid.”

Client: “I don’t know who this is or what the hell you want from me but listen up: fooling someone to make you a website isn’t a crime!”

Me: “You’re actually looking at some large fines and — should this be considered a felony — jail time.”

Client: “You’re a damn lawyer, you should know websites aren’t real. A website isn’t a thing, you can’t steal it! [designer] can still look at it, it’s still kinda his!”

[Within three days time, the designer received a check with the amount listed and an additional $20.00 “for your asshole lawyer boyfriend.” The designer had to resist framing the check for the novelty.]

If you're an attorney who works with designers and has a "client from hell" story of your own, add it here (anonymously, of course).

(jbl).

September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not Just Lawyers

It's not just young lawyers that are suffering from dissatisfaction and burnout.  According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, about 50% of residents are burned out.  Among the findings:

  • Nearly 15 percent said their overall quality of life was "somewhat bad" or "as bad as it can be."
  • One-third said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with work-life balance.
  • Forty-six percent said they were feeling emotionally exhausted at least once a week.
  • Nearly 29 percent said they felt detached or unable to feel emotion at least once a week.
  • More than half said they had at least one symptom of burnout.
  • Those burdened with debt are the most stressed out.  The report also stated that stressed out residents have less empathy.  Read more here.

    (esf)

    September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Highest Paying Jobs With the Most Time Off: Law Profs are #2

    Over at TaxProf Blog, we learn that 24/7 Wall Street identifies law profs as no. 2 among professions that earn the most for the least amount of work. According to the statistics, law professors work only 1,608 hours per year—for a 50 year week, that’s just over 32 hours per week. According to the study, that’s 400 hours less than the average U.S. employee. As I sit in my office on a Labor Day afternoon, I realize that I’m more of a workaholic than I thought I was. (I’m not the only prof in the building.)

    By the way, the #1 job is pilots, copilots, and flight engineers. Judges and magistrates rank #9.

    Tax Prof Blog also quotes Paul Campos for these statistics on salaries at these five law schools:

    Florida -- 2009

    $100,000-$240,520

    Median: $144,200

    4 of 48 making $200K+

    Illinois -- 2009

    $130,000-$292,642

    Median: $162,000

    15 of 49 making $200K+

    Ohio State -- 2010

    $111,746-$268,416

    Median: $171,746

    11 of 36 making $200K

    Texas -- 2010

    $138,750-$252,500

    Median:  $198,000

    33 of 69 are making $200K+

    Michigan --2009

    $158,000-$286,500

    Median salary: $218,000

    38 of 63 are making $200K

    (ljs

    September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (3)

    Legislative History – A Grammar Lesson

    This post from Legal Research Plus  is a great example for students to see the importance of precision and proper grammar in legal writing.  Rachel Samberg at Stanford Law School posts this example of a missing comma in a statute that made for a great teaching tool.  She used the example to work through legislative history research with her students.

    "This past week, I was researching a state statute that, among many other things, imposed conditions on persons who had committed a “felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”  At first blush, one would read this to mean that the conditions apply to persons involved in domestic violence felonies and misdemeanors.  Get this:  That provision actually governs anyone who commits either a “felony” or a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”  In other words, we should really be reading a comma into the statute between “felony” and “misdemeanor” where the legislators neglected to put one!"

    She also recommends the following article: Prof. Susan J. Hankin’s Statutory Interpretation in the Age of Grammatical Permissiveness:  An Object Lesson for Teaching Why Grammar Matters.

    Do you use any similar examples or exercises in your class?

    (dkh)

    September 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (3)

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Look . . . in that lawyer's office. It's a tablet! It's a smartphone! No, it's a tabphone!

    Read on, young captain. From Law Technology News:

    The Samsung Galaxy Note, announced last week at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin and already dubbed the "tabphone," has a typical set of smartphone features, plus an extra-large, high-quality display and a pressure-sensitive stylus for taking notes, drawing, and navigating. It seems to invite users to carry just one device, not two.

    Immediate reaction to the Note among gadgeteers has been strong but varied, ranging from hopeful to dismissive. While some take an optimistic tone that the device could have strong appeal, some say it's too big as a phone and too small as a tablet. "There's no getting away from the fact it looks really stupid when held up to your ear," said Dan Grabham in his review for TechRadar.com from Berlin.

    Others see it as little more than a step backward, a throwback to the PDAs of yester-year, the personal digital assistant -- e.g., Palm Pilot, Apple Newton -- that was a precursor to today's smartphones. PDAs relied upon a stylus applied to a touch screen for data entry, carrying no keyboard, and the Note operates the same way. But, as Harry McCracken points out on Technologizer, at the original iPad launch Steve Jobs said of competitors to come, "If you see a stylus, they blew it."

    For would-be Note users in the United States, problems may go beyond fears of looking goofy holding a giant "tabphone" to your ear or having to live without a keyboard. You may not be able to get the Note at all. Samsung, seen as the leader among those playing catch-up with Apple, is offering a rash of new devices, but not all will be made available here -- including the Note and the other Samsung darling of the IFA show, the Galaxy Tab 7.7. Then again, as the speculation goes and the exact wording of statements is parsed, companies are cagey about releases, and the products could yet arrive. Release dates for the devices have not been announced. Pre-orders are available in the U.K. at about 600 pounds, or more than $900 per device.

    Should Samsung decide to release the Note in the U.S., a lot more lawyers and law firms will have it as a choice -- but will it be welcome? Of note, so to speak: The device is capable of voice recording via the S Memo app, and will come equipped with several apps. For more information, see the full Samsung Galaxy Note specification list.

    Continue reading here.

    (jbl).

    September 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    U. Mass School of Law seeks director for "entrepreneurial clinic"

    Here's the details. 

    THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL OF LAW – DARTMOUTH

    Tenured or Tenure-Track Positions


    We are seeking to fill a tenured or tenure-track position for the Director of our Community Development Clinic (CDC).  The CDC is an entrepreneurial clinic that provides legal assistance to non-profit and community-based local businesses.  Candidates must possess a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, must be a member in good standing of a state’s bar, must demonstrate a record of outstanding achievement in law practice, law teaching, and/or a related field of study, and must demonstrate potential for excellence as a teacher and scholar.

    UMass School of Law – Dartmouth has a robust clinical legal education program.  The CDC, which has been operating since 2006, is one of two in-house clinics (the other is our Immigration Law Clinic).  Additionally, we have two placement clinics in various legal services offices (one a Tribal Court Clinic), as well as a healthy Field Placement Program that uses experienced practitioners, including a program that operates in The Hague and engages in international human rights work.  The law faculty has demonstrated its support for clinical legal education by requiring that our students take at least 6 practice-oriented credits while matriculating.  In addition, the faculty is actively engaged in incorporating the principles of Best Practices into our legal education program.  Also, furthering the Law School’s mission to prepare our students to practice law in a competent and ethical manner and to serve their communities while doing so, each of our students must provide at least 30 hours of pro bono legal assistance to graduate.

    UMass School of Law – Dartmouth is in the process of applying to the American Bar Association for provisional approval and a Site Team from the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar will visit the law school this fall.
      
    The CDC provides our evening and weekend students experiential learning opportunities; this position will require night and weekend office hours and/or classes. 
    The successful candidate will have a minimum of 3 years of experience practicing law, with substantial experience in the area of non-profit organizations and small, community-based businesses; the ability and willingness to teach business organizations and other doctrinal courses; experience teaching or participating in clinical legal education; successful experience supervising students and/or others learning to practice law in the area of non-profit and/or business law; excellent communication, interpersonal, and collaborative skills; and a demonstrated interest in scholarly activities. Although the successful candidate will teach the CDC course and supervise students, as well as teach a second course, the Faculty Appointments Committee is seeking a candidate who demonstrates a range of interests in the field of clinical legal education that could, over time, extend beyond the CDC.


    The Faculty Appointments Committee will be attending the AALS Recruitment Conference to meet with candidates, and requests that interested candidates submit a letter of application and a current resume to:

    Annette Cain, Administrative Asst. I, University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth, 333 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02747 and refer to Position Number 27680. 

    The review of applications will begin immediately and the committee will continue to consider applications until the position is filled.  Candidates from the local area may be able to schedule screening interviews with the Faculty Appointments Committee shortly after the conclusion of the AALS Recruitment Conference.  If you would prefer us to try to accommodate that preference, please indicate it in your letter of application.

    The University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth is an EEO-AA Employer.

    (jbl).

    September 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Another study finds that multi-tasking interferes with learning in university context

    The study is called "Examining the Impact of Off-Task Multi-tasking with Technology On Real-Time Classroom Learning" and has been accepted for publication by the peer-review journal Computers and Education (2011). From the abstract:

    The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of multi-tasking with digital technologies while attempting to learn from real-time classroom lectures in a university setting. Four digitally-based multi-tasking activities (texting using a cell-phone, emailing, MSN messaging and FacebookTM) were compared to 3 control groups (paper-and-pencil note-taking, word-processing note-taking and a natural use of technology condition) over three consecutive lectures. Comparisons indicated that participants in the FacebookTM and MSN conditions performed more poorly than those in the paper-and-pencil use control. Follow-up analyses were required to accommodate the substantial number of students who failed to comply with the limited use of technology specified by their assigned conditions. These analyses indicated that participants who did not use any technologies in the lectures outperformed students who used some form of technology. Consistent with the cognitive bottleneck theory of attention (Welford, 1967) and contrary to popular beliefs, attempting to attend to lectures and engage digital technologies for off-task activities can have a detrimental impact on learning.

    (jbl).

    September 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    How To Win a CALI Award (Or Just Get Top Grades)

    At many schools, the student with the highest grade in a course receives a CALI Award (from the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction). Here is a list of recent winners.

    The University of Dayton Law Review has published an article by two of its CALI winners, Stephen E. Schilling and Rebecca M. Greendyke, explaining how they achieved their respective pinnacles of success. Their advice serves a summary of how serious students should approach their courses. Because the article is written by successful students, students who read the article may heed the advice. Here is the table of contents:

     I. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................... 168

    A. What Is a CALI Award? ................................................................... 168

    B. Two Kinds of CALI Award Winners ................................................ 169

    C. Three Keys to Winning CALI Awards .............................................. 170

    II. KNOW THYSELF ................................................................................... 170

    A. Know Your Learning Style ............................................................... 170

    1. VARK’s Four Learning Preferences ............................................ 171

    a. Visual ....................................................................................... 171

    b. Aural ........................................................................................ 172

    c. Read/Write ............................................................................... 173

    d. Kinesthetic ............................................................................... 174

    e. Multimodal ............................................................................... 174

    2. A Learning Style Example ........................................................... 175

    B. Be Your Own Professor ................................................................... 176

    C. Academic Support ............................................................................ 177

    D. Tutor or Mentor Other Students ...................................................... 178

    E. Master Memorization ....................................................................... 178

    F. Target Specific Classes .................................................................... 179

    G. Time Management ........................................................................... 180

    III. KNOW THY PROFESSOR ...................................................................... 181

    A. Research Your Professors ............................................................... 181

    B. Talk to Your Professors Outside of Class ........................................ 182

    C. Professors and Their Exams ............................................................ 183

    IV. KNOW THY CLASS .............................................................................. 183

    A. Use Outside Sources ........................................................................ 183

    B. Practice, Practice, Practice ............................................................. 186

    1. Review & Outline ........................................................................ 186

    a. Review ..................................................................................... 186

    b. Outline ..................................................................................... 187

    2. Take Practice Exams .................................................................... 188

    3. Write Your Exam Answers Ahead of Time ................................. 189

    a. What Rules Will Be Tested ...................................................... 190

    b. Writing Open-Book Exam Answers Ahead of Time ............... 191

    c. Writing Closed-Book Exam Answers Ahead of Time ............. 192

    C. Exam Day ......................................................................................... 192

    1. Look Over the Exam before Starting ........................................... 192

    2. Make Your Essay Exam Answer Easy to Read ....................... 193

    3. Organize the Content of Your Exam Answer .......................... 194

    4. Use Case Analogies and Policy Statements in Exam

    Answers ........................................................................................ 195

    V. CONCLUSION ........................................................................................ 195

    (ljs)

    September 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Legal sector adds a mere 100 jobs nationwide in August

    Not surprising since we're talking about August, a time when almost no legal employers hire. From The AmLaw Daily:

    What seemed like a legal services hiring spree in July slowed to a trickle in August as the industry added  just 100 new jobs in the month, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s August employment report, released Friday.

    Industry hiring has fluctuated for 12 months, from a low in June of 3,800 jobs lost to a high in July of 4,100 new jobs, but year-over-year, the industry added 100 new jobs since August 2010, the BLS reported.

    Overall, private sector employment was steady from July to August, with unemployment remaining at 9.1 percent. It was the first time in 11 months that the employers did not report a net increase in jobs, according to the BLS. Municipal government jobs declined by 20,000 in August, the BLS reported.

    July’s strong performance and August's modest jobs boost may not last long. As the economy slides dangerously close to what could turn into a double-dip recession, Paul Hastings has announced a round of layoffs, the firm said. The 45-person document processing services unit will be eliminated as that work is outsourced over the next five months, a firm spokesman said.

    (jbl).

    September 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    New legal "skills" scholarship: "Think [And Practice] Like a Lawyer: Legal Research for the New Millennials"

    The authors are Professors Aliza Kaplan (Lewis & Clark) and Kathleen Darvil (Brooklyn). It's available at 8 J. ALWD __ (2011) and via SSRN here.

    From the abstract:

    It is time to heed the calls for legal education reform. In our changing economy, new attorneys need to be properly trained in law school to be competent at providing effective legal services for their employers and clients. Law schools must remain open to and interested in legal reform; they must partner with practitioners to incorporate more practical skills into the law school curriculum. Updating how we teach legal research by making it accord more with how attorneys actually conduct and use legal research in practice will help accomplish this and will also more actively engage our Millennial students. There is no question that making some timely changes to legal research instruction would better prepare new attorneys to be competent practicing lawyers and would be a win-win for students, law schools and employers.

    (jbl).

    September 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Law school incubators help launch solos

    This is from today's National Law Journal. See our previous blog post about legal incubators here.

    [CUNY''s incubator project] offers low-cost office space in midtown Manhattan and staff support for up to two years to a select number of graduates aiming to establish themselves as solos or launch small firms. The program offers more than office space; participants have access to a large network of experienced solo practitioners who function as mentors, and they enjoy an internal support network among their colleagues in the incubator, which helps to reduce the isolation many solo practitioners experience.

    "The setup lends itself to a ton of collaboration," [one graduate] said. "There are a lot of attorneys in the office with different levels of experience in different areas. We help each other. I have other attorneys read everything that goes out of the office."

    CUNY's program was the first of its kind when it debuted in 2007, but now law schools around the country have launched solo incubators, and more are on the way. The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law unveiled its solo and small-firm incubator last fall, and the University of Maryland School of Law introduced its incubator in January.

    . . . .

    "Law schools all around the country are very interested in providing these services to their graduates," [Fred Rooney, the director of CUNY's solo-focused Community Legal Resource Network] said. "At a time when job opportunities are dismal, incubators offer a chance to create jobs for new lawyers."

    CUNY has been providing technical support to other law schools in the form of handbooks, contracts and other startup documents. Establishing a successful solo incubator requires a significant investment in staff and resources, Rooney said.

    Student interest may prove a challenge as well, said Carolyn Elefant, a solo practitioner in Washington who writes the solo-focused blog, Myshingle.com. Law schools are beginning to offer more resources for graduates who wish to start their own firms, but students aren't always keen to participate, she said. Elefant rarely sees a large turnout for the talks she gives at law schools about going solo.

    "While I applaud these programs, I also have to be honest that in my own experience, I have not seen a huge student demand or interest in solo and small-firm practice," she said. "While it's true that many career offices do not even mention the solo option, that is changing — and yet, in my own experience, I've seen little interest by students."

    Herrera noted that most of the schools actively pursuing incubators are not the most prestigious ones, as defined by the U.S. News & World Report's law schools ranking, partly because students at those schools have better chances of landing law firm jobs. "Organizations like Harvard don't even want to bother putting their resources into something like this," she said.

    The few solo incubators that are up and running employ slightly different models. Several have a clear civil justice emphasis, while others are more business-oriented. They vary in length from six months to as long as two years.

    At CUNY, incubator participants do a significant amount of what Rooney calls "low bono" work. They earn $75 an hour for providing legal representation to underserved communities throughout New York, paid for by contracts with New York City. The work provides the new attorneys with experience and exposure, and provides representation to people who otherwise could not afford an attorney, Rooney said. Incubator attorneys take on their own cases in addition to the contract work.

    The University of Maryland's solo incubator, which lasts between six and 10 months, also promotes civil justice. Participants work in an office across the street from the law school and assist on grant-funded cases through Civil Justice Inc., a nonprofit law office that serves low-income clients. The seven graduates who started in the program in 2011 had the chance to earn fees while working on foreclosure prevention cases, Morris said.

    . . . .

    "Our goal is to provide a vehicle for students who are considering going solo or into small-firm practice," Morris said. "There are certain skills you need to be a successful solo practitioner. We want to teach them the practical skills they don't necessarily get in the classroom."

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City's solo incubator runs out of two adjacent storefront offices on the edge of campus, abutting a low-income neighborhood. It has room for eight attorneys, but is starting slowly, with five tenants. When the program is fully ramped up, the school will have retired judges rotate through the office to serve as mentors to its participants, said Dean Ellen Suni. The incubator is an outgrowth of the school's entrepreneurial lawyering course, in which students develop business plans and attend the state bar's annual solo and small-firm conference.

    Stephanie Burton, who graduated from the law school in December, never planned on going solo. But the former parole officer and mother of four found no luck in the job market.

    "I had two choices," she said. "I could sit in my house and cry about it. Or I could pull myself up by my bootstraps and start my own practice. I was terrified about starting a firm, but it was necessary in order to make a living."

    Burton was accepted into the law school's solo incubator. She dusted off the 30-page business plan she had written for the entrepreneurial lawyering course, only to have her two assigned mentors rip it to shreds as unrealistic. She adjusted her expectations and business plan, developed a marketing strategy and now handles mostly traffic and other municipal violations, although she hopes to take on criminal cases.

    Her practice isn't particularly lucrative yet, Burton said, but she hopes that will change as she establishes herself.

    You can read the rest here.

    Hat tip to Joe Harbaugh.

    (jbl).

    September 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Rick Perry: Term Limits for SCOTUS Justices

    According to the Dallas Morning News, that’s one of the proposals that governor Perry has floated:

    Perry, in his anti-Washington book "Fed Up!," derides the high court as "nine oligarchs in robes" and writes: "We should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability."

    Perry devotes an entire chapter to his indictment of the judiciary. The proposal to eliminate life tenure is barely a footnote, but that’s enough to inspire sharp passions.

    Whatever, the merits, this isn't going to happen. Few politicians would want another  political football of this nature.

    (ljs)

    September 6, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)