Saturday, July 28, 2012

How to Find Inspiration for Your Projects

One way is to stick with the work ethic—just keep plugging at the day-to-day work of the project—and inspiration will come.

Here is what legendary composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote to his benefactress:

Do not believe those who try to persuade you that composition is only a cold exercise of the intellect. The only music capable of moving and touching us is that which flows from the depths of a composer’s soul when he is stirred by inspiration. There is no doubt that even the greatest musical geniuses have sometimes worked without inspiration. This guest does not always respond to the first invitation. We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood. If we wait for the mood, without endeavouring to meet it half-way, we easily become indolent and apathetic. We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.

A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration. Had I given way to my disinclination, undoubtedly I should have drifted into a long period of idleness. But my patience and faith did not fail me, and to-day I felt that inexplicable glow of inspiration of which I told you; thanks to which I know beforehand that whatever I write to-day will have power to make an impression, and to touch the hearts of those who hear it. I hope you will not think I am indulging in self-laudation, if I tell you that I very seldom suffer from this disinclination to work. I believe the reason for this is that I am naturally patient. I have learnt to master myself, and I am glad I have not followed in the steps of some of my Russian colleagues, who have no self-confidence and are so impatient that at the least difficulty they are ready to throw up the sponge. This is why, in spite of great gifts, they accomplish so little, and that in an amateur way.

From Brain Pickings (July 24)


July 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A famous Olympian on the Pygmalion effect

So how about that opening ceremony, eh? 

Today's New York Times features a story about Sir Roger Bannister, a former British Olympian who never medaled but went on after the 1952 Helsinki games to break the four-minute mile barrier - something many thought was impossible at the time. Dr. Bannister, now 83 and one of Britain's top neurologists, talks about how he may not have set that milestone if it wasn't for a chance conversation on a train that morning with a coach who believed in his ability to succeed.

When Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds at Oxford University’s Iffley Road track on May 6, 1954, he broke a barrier that had eluded the world’s top milers for decades, and ignited a renewed passion for athletics amid the hard graft of Britain’s early postwar years.

. . . .

On the morning of the record attempt, Bannister finished a shift as a trainee doctor at a London hospital, sharpened his spikes on a grinder in a laboratory, and headed for the Oxford train and what turned out to be the most telling encounter of a lifetime. Without that unplanned meeting on the train, he said, he would probably never have attempted the mile record that day, on what might well have been his last chance to break the four-minute mark.

The weather was foreboding. The end of his medical training was imminent, and with it his retirement as a runner. His pacemakers, Christopher Chataway and Chris Brasher, were increasingly hard to muster. John Landy, an Australian who was breathing down Bannister’s neck in pursuit of the record, was heading for Finland, then a powerhouse in middle-distance running, and his own assault on the mile barrier.

But on the train was Franz Stampfl, a sometime coach of Bannister, who mostly ran without one. A former javelin thrower and skier — and an Austrian Jewish refugee who had fled Hitler — Stampfl had arrived in Britain in 1939.

When World War II broke out, he was interned and then put aboard a boat that was taking him and other internees to Australia. But the boat was torpedoed off Liverpool, and Stampfl ended up in icy waters for hours, surviving when many others did not.

“He had suffered and survived through willpower and determination, and I had not previously met someone quite like that,” Bannister said of Stampfl.

And now, on the train, they talked.

“We looked out at the rain and he said, ‘You know, Roger, I think you have the potential to run a 3-minute-56-second mile, so even if the weather is bad you should make the attempt,’ ” Bannister recalled.

At the track, noticing the easing of the wind in the fluttering of England’s flag of St. George atop a neighboring steeple, Bannister decided that the moment had arrived. And it had.

Sir Roger is famously humble so perhaps he would have achieved greatness on his own anyway. But it sure makes a nice story.

There will always be an England.


July 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Law professors' responsibility to prepare students for pro bono work

This article, Clinical Professors' Professional Responsibility: Preparing Law Students to Embrace Pro Bono is by Professor Douglas Colbert (Maryland) and available at 18 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol'y 309 (2011) and SSRN here. From the abstract:

This article begins by examining the current crisis in the U.S. legal system where approximately three out of four low- and middle-income litigants are denied access to counsel's representation when faced with the loss of essential rights - a home, child custody, liberty and deportation - and where most lawyers decline to fulfill their ethical responsibility of pro bono service to those who cannot afford private counsel. The article traces the evolving ethical standards of a lawyer's professional responsibility that today views every attorney as a public citizen having a special responsibility to the quality of justice.

The author suggests that law professors assume a critical role in law students' decision to embrace or reject its pro bono ethical obligation. The author focuses on clinical faculty and suggests that its leadership within the academy will be crucial to bridge colleagues' world of theory and doctrine, and to connect with practicing lawyers. He illustrates clinical faculty's unique opportunity to incorporate the Model Rules of Professional Conduct by referring to the law reform and individual representation work that his clinical students perform. The author concludes by declaring clinical education presents an ideal opportunity for teaching students to appreciate their professional responsibility to promote access to justice and to embrace pro bono service as an integral element of a lawyer's professional life.


July 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Yahoo's New CEO a Bad Role Model for Women?

Marissa Mayer is named Yahoo’s new chair.  Her first act seems to be her announcement that she is expecting her first child. So far, so good. But then she announces, "My maternity leave will be a few weeks long, and I'll work throughout it” The cheering stops.

Critics argue that she is sending a message that works against maternity leaves. As a father and husband with a working professional wife, I think the difficulty is that this is her first child. She has no idea how hard that first few post-pregnancy months can be. And I suspect that she doesn’t realize how strong the maternal bond will be. If she has a second child, I suspect that she’ll want at least six weeks off, if not more. You can read more at The Careerist.


July 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bloomberg Law video: "Taking the Bar Exam: What It's REALLY Like"

The sights, the sounds, the smells of New York bar exam takers.  As they enter the Javits Center, hear test takers describe pre-exam jitters, talk about the atmosphere inside, explain why it's "like one of those movies from Berlin in 1930," and listen as a security guard answers the question: "What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen at the bar exam?"

Hat tip to Bloomberg Law.


July 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Writing Plainly: An Example

In his blog, “The Appellate Record,” attorney Kendall Gray sets out the introductory sentences of Texas Judge Wallace B. Jefferson in In re E.R. He also presents an alternative version that is inferior, because it is not plainly written. Here is the inferior version:

The constitution guarantees due process when the state invades a protected interest, such as when it seeks termination of parental rights. Due Process requires, inter alia, notice and an opportunity to be heard. Moreover, said notice must be provided in a fashion such as is reasonably contemplated to be received by the persons whose interests are at stake.

And here is what Judge Jefferson wrote:

When the State seeks to sever permanently the relationship between a parent and a child, it must first observe fundamentally fair procedures. The most basic of these is notice. If the State cannot deliver notice in person, it may try other means that will likely reach the parent.

Why is Judge Jefferson’s version better? Mr. Gray explains:

[T]he jargon is gone. The words are simple, and an abstract legal issue is made concrete and practical:

    • instead of the euphemism "termination of parental rights," you get the plain spoken "sever permanently the relationship between a parent and a child"--real consequences for a real person in this real case.
    • Instead of "due process" you get "fundamentally fair procedures"--the bottom line test of due process.
    • Instead of a formulaic recitation of elements you get "notice" that will "likely reach the parent."


July 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

William D. Henderson Course Portfolio On The Legal Profession

William D. Henderson has posted a course portfolio on the Legal Profession on the ETL Website.

Professor Henderson declares, "Law schools have an obligation not only to guide students to doctrinal competency, but also to prepare them for the practice of law. The Legal Profession course puts the study of the law into practical context through self-discovery, team interaction, and professional networking."

He descibes the course:

To accomplish these goals, Indiana Law’s Legal Profession course differs from other courses in several significant ways:

  • It is a mandatory first-year course in the spring semester, with four credit hours instead of the usual two hours.
  • It goes beyond the review of the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility by putting the rules in context of practice in numerous settings.
  • It draws from the experiences of practitioners and upper-level students as a means of guiding students to the career choice that is right for them.
  • It uses personality and motivational assessment tools to help students identify their strengths, opportunities for development, and values and help align them with potential career opportunities.
  • It introduces students to real-life work settings by putting them into team-based projects; assessment includes both peer feedback (360° Review) and overall team grades.
  • It advances professional skills through a 1L competency model that focuses on active listening, empathy, self-awareness, asking questions, presentations, and resilience.
  • It uses outcome-based metrics to inform and influence future course design.

He describes the reasons for the course: "Among other findings, this research shows that the emphasis on professional ethics and values is largely absent from the first-year curriculum, which has the unintended effect of signaling marginal importance of these attributes to a lawyer’s long-term success. In addition, upper-level courses are less likely to include substantive discussions of professional ethics and values than first-year courses. Finally, the data show that lawyers who have achieved great success possess not only a deep understanding of substantive law, but also traits such as character, judgment, integrity, communication, and empathy."

He adds: "The course attempts to integrate and model all three of the Carnegie apprenticeships.  First, under the cognitive/analytical apprenticeship, the course identifies both the duties and areas of discretion that lawyer have under the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility. The course focuses heavily on decision-making in areas of broad discretion. Second, under the expert/skills apprenticeship, students are obtaining skills and experience in both collaborative and self-directed learning, which are essential skills of a 21st century legal professional. Third, the professional ethics/identify apprenticeship is targeted through the course subject matter and the inclusion of many practicing lawyers (approximately 35) who visit the Law School to give lunchtime talks on their careers and enable students to conduct on-site informational interviews."

"Lessons Learned.  This course has provided us with many lessons. Foremost, it is critical that faculty effectively communicate the course goals to students. Both in subject matter and teaching methods, this course is different from other 1L classes. In the minds of students, different is not better. In the absence of a compelling “why” explanation that is continually reinforced, student resistance will mount. Second, to obtain student buy-in, the course has to be well-organized and well-executed. It is very hard to do this the first time through. Third, this course requires collaboration and teamwork. We did not underestimate the importance of these competencies and administrators. We have grown as a result."

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Many of the 12,000 N.Y. bar exam takers express worry about job market

The N.Y. bar exam began today. From the New York Law Journal:

With Tight Job Market, Bar Exam Is a Portal to Uncertain Future

. . . .

Employment for law school graduates is at record-low numbers. The American Bar Association has reported that only 55 percent of recent law school graduates had landed a full-time law job.

Still, almost 12,300 tickets were issued to this year's two-day bar examination, with more than 4,000 issued for the Javits Center.

A Brooklyn Law School graduate named Stephanie, who declined to give her last name, said she had landed a clerkship with a criminal judge in Sussex County, N.J.

Although she likes tax and trust and estate law, she said she was "excited" by the clerkship opportunity, calling it a "good stepping stone."

The 32-year-old graduate noted that only five of her 15 friends in school have some type of employment lined up. The others had been concentrating on studying for the exam.

She added that she knew of graduates from last year who still have not found full-time work and have had to settle for temporary document review gigs.

A New York Law School graduate who only gave her first name, Elizabeth, said she has a job set to start next month with a firm doing trusts and estates work.

But she said some friends who lack jobs may stay in school to get a master's degree. Others plan to get their broker's license to sell insurance as a way to insert themselves in the trusts and estates field and then work toward a legal job.

"The big search starts in August," said Elizabeth.

Continue reading here.


July 25, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plaintiffs' lawyers in Cooley law school scam suit consider appeal

Last Friday a federal judge in Michigan dismissed the fraud claim brought by former Cooley law school grads against their alma mater for allegedly misrepresented post-graduate employment stats. In an interview with the National Law Journal, lead plaintiffs' attorney Jesse Strauss said he is contemplating an appeal to the Sixth Circuit and that the district court ruling will not deter his team of lawyers from continuing to prosecute similar claims pending against other schools around the country. From the National Law Journal:

Counsel in Suit Against Law Schools Vow to Proceed Despite Dismissals

"Obviously, we're disappointed, but we're very proud of the work we've done," said Jesse Strauss, who along with attorneys David Anziska and Frank Raimond are coordinating the law school lawsuits around the country. "There's been a sea change in the quality of employment information. I don't think we're the only reason that happened, but I think we've been a factor. Still, I hope we're going to be able to move some money to the people who have mortgaged their future on these degrees."

Don LeDuc, Cooley's president and dean, said in a statement that the school was pleased with U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist's decision in MacDonald v. Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, 11-cv-831.

"We are committed to graduating law students who are ready to practice law, and their success in a tough job market is our success too," he said. "We have always been in compliance with American Bar Association and National Association for Law Placement employment reporting standards."

. . . .

[Judge] Quist also rejected the plaintiffs' fraud claims, ruling that the figures Cooley provided for the percentage of graduates employed and average starting salary were "inconsistent, confusing and inherently untrustworthy," but not fraudulent.

"Plaintiffs and prospective students should have approached their decision to enter law school with extreme caution given the size of the investment," Quist wrote, citing the March finding by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melvin Schweitzer.

Thelen said it seemed disingenuous for the plaintiffs to claim that they chose to attend Cooley solely on the basis of two job statistics for a class of students who graduated a year before the plaintiffs would enroll.

Strauss disagreed.

"It seems to me that these judges are imposing an extra layer of diligence on people going to law school," he said. "I don't think that's fair."

Strauss said he is contemplating an appeal, most likely on the Michigan Consumer Protection Act issue.

. . . .

It remains to be seen how Quist's ruling would affect the dozen pending fraud cases. Nearly all of the defendant law schools have filed motions to dismiss.

Strauss said he always assumed that the cases would be resolved by appellate courts.

"We're in this for the long term," he said. "We didn't think these cases would wrap up in a year."

Continue reading here.


July 25, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching as Scholarship

Should teaching count has scholarship? In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professors Bruce Henderson and Frank Donoghue say yes—it’s part of consumatory scholarship. Let’s start with a definition of consumatory scholarship:

It’s essentially the lit review that every conscientious teacher—professor, graduate student or adjunct—conducts in the course of preparation to teach every class. It involves familiarizing oneself with the critical history of the text one is teaching, getting a general sense of the most recent scholarship about that text (if one regularly teaches Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, as I do, that’s a load), and preparing oneself to give the class at least a general cultural and historical context for what they are about to read. As Henderson points out, at a non-research-intensive university or liberal-arts college, that’s a much tougher job, because the instructor is typically teaching more courses and more varied courses.

The immediate question is how can administrators measure consumatory scholarship. Here is Professor Henderson’s  proposal:

We can evaluate consumatory scholarship in a number of ways. For example, faculty members can provide narratives about how they have incorporated new ideas and information into their teaching, research, and service when we submit annual reviews and tenure-and-promotion applications. We can keep logs and blogs on the knowledge we are consuming.

As we inside the university get accustomed to using the concept of consumatory scholarship, we can begin to use it more externally. Recognition of its role should appear in annual reports, news releases, and speeches. Faculty members and administrators should make governing boards, legislatures, and potential financial contributors aware of the dependence of effective teaching, competent productive scholarship, and useful public service on consumatory scholarship.

All he’s saying—and why couldn’t anyone else have thought of this—just keep records.

Good idea.


July 25, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Do Successful People Do Differently?

This post from Cordell Parvin’s blog (law firm rainmaking) discusses Heidi Grant Halvorson’s book, “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.”

The “9 Things” include the following:

- Be specific – define what success means to you.
- Seize the moment – take actions needed to achieve your goals.
- Know exactly how far you have left to go – what still needs to be done?
- Be a realistic optimist.
- Focus on getting better.
- Have grit – success is a marathon not a sprint.
- Build your willpower.
- Don’t tempt fate – work on one goal at a time.
- Focus on what you WILL do, not what you WON’T do.

You can also read “Success: How We Can Reach Our Goals” by the same author.  Your library might even own a copy you can borrow!

Hat tip MyCase, Inc. (@MyCaseInc)


July 25, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Need a law job? Learn a second language

That's probably not what most students had in mind when they matriculated - three years of classes and then clearing the bar exam are difficult enough as it is. But now that the job market has become so wretched, job applicants may also need to know a second language to get a leg up on the competition, according to this Wall Street Journal article.  Attorneys who know a second language are in great demand right now, especially in Asian countries. The catch is that most of these jobs are temp positions.

Wanted: Temp Attorneys With Foreign-Language Skills

Unemployed lawyers looking for work in a lousy job market might want to brush up on their Korean or Chinese.

As international business disputes proliferate, law firms are bringing in flocks of attorneys with a flair for languages, although the jobs are almost always temporary.

This spring Apple Inc.'s lawyers brought on dozens of Korean-speaking contract attorneys and document reviewers to help grind through a last-minute document dump from Samsung Electronics Co., the Korean manufacturer with which it is locked in an epic patent battle over smartphones.

In fact, law firms and corporations that used to hire translators fluent in languages such as Japanese, Hebrew or Spanish now figure they can get legal skills in the bargain.

"For legal matters, translators and attorneys with foreign-language skills are probably in the same price range—you get more bang for your buck," said Michael Reichwald, president of Yorkson Legal, a New York agency that supplies law firms and corporations with foreign-language-proficient lawyers and paralegals.

. . . .

"It is a blessing to be able to work and to be able to use my Mandarin Chinese and keep my language skills up," said Paul Dirkmaat, a bilingual document reviewer in Washington, D.C., who graduated from George Washington University Law School in 2010 and has yet to find a permanent job as a lawyer.

Mr. Dirkmaat lived in China for two years, majored in Chinese and worked as a summer associate at the Chinese firm Tiantong & Partners while in law school. Unable to find a legal job after graduation, he delivered pizzas before starting work as a contract lawyer.

He says he has been quoted anything from $45 to $70 an hour for the pay. Bilingual temp attorneys with additional qualifications, such as patent expertise, could get as much $85 to $100 an hour, while regular contract attorneys might pull in anywhere from $20 to $40 an hour.

The rise of the global economy—and the tilt toward Asia—has increased demand for lawyers who are fluent in Asian languages or who can help translate on deals or disputes in emerging economies, such as Brazil or India, said Belina Anderson, a commercial litigator whose practice includes French comparative law and legal translations.

But even the biggest law firms typically can't afford to retain an army of bilingual lawyers just in case litigation pops up in one country or another.

So they often turn to staffing agencies. Fluent temp attorneys and document reviewers can help winnow down mounds of foreign-language material during trial preparation, flagging the relevant files for the firm's senior litigators.

Staffing agencies might bill law firms anywhere from $75 an hour to as much as $150 an hour, depending on the contract lawyer's expertise and other skills, such as knowledge of engineering. While such projects may be extended for some time, few contract attorneys jump from temp work for a law firm into full-time work.

Continue reading here.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.


July 24, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mind Sciences and the Harvard Law School Curriculum

A few months ago, I wrote that the Mind Sciences should be included in the law school curriculum.  (here) Tito Rendas has posted an article on this subject on SSRN entitled Mind Sciences in the Harvard Law School Curriculum: Tracing the History, Proposing the Proliferation.

Abstract: "This paper explores the contours of the relationship between the mind sciences and the Harvard Law School curriculum, in particular, and the law curriculum more generally. Rather than using a conceptual definition of “mind sciences”, the paper will be based on an illustrative and fairly loose definition thereof. Any discipline that delves into the mechanisms that explain the functioning of the human mind and the reasons behind human behavior is considered a mind science for purposes of this study. Psychology, psychiatry, cognitive science, and neuroscience are examples of the disciplines that fit under the scope of this definition. The paper is divided into three parts.

Part I discusses the ideological sources of the relatively recent law and mind sciences movement at Harvard. Particular consideration will be given to the role played by the legal realists in questioning assumptions that would otherwise prevent the mind sciences from permeating law and policy-making.

Part II conducts an extensive historical review of the law and mind sciences courses in the HLS curriculum from 1957 to 2013. Six trends, and a predicted future trend, were identified.

Part III is normative in its essence, making the case for the expansion of the law and mind sciences curriculum. This argument is predicated on the answers to two other questions: Who should decide whether this expansion should be carried out? And, assuming its desirability, how should we go about it?"

I especially like this quote by Adam Benforado: 

"[T]he mind sciences are important to incorporate into the law school curriculum for several reasons. Most notably, I think recent insights from psychology and neuroscience offer a much more accurate picture of how humans behave than the models provided by law and economics and other legal theoretical approaches. This is vitally important because current law students are the ones who will have an opportunity to change laws in the future. They need to understand how jurors make decisions, how eyewitness’s memories work, and why people commit crimes, among many other things, in order to decide whether the laws on the books are likely to accomplish their goals or whether they might instead breed unfairness. In addition, and more generally, I think  teaching mind sciences encourages students to be more critical consumers of conventional wisdom–which is incredibly useful as a lawyer."

Scott Fruehwald)

July 24, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The most innovative law schools according to National Jurist Magazine

The publisher of National Jurist Magazine invited every law school in the land to nominate itself as a leader in innovative legal education. Forty schools responded and NJM has now published the list of finalists, which we've reprinted below.  According to the NJM's website, it's going to wait until next month to publish detailed descriptions explaining why each school made the list though today's post hints at some of the innovations that impressed the NJM editors such as boot camps, mentoring programs, and efforts to mirror what medical schools do. Until the August issue is posted online, you'll have to slake your curiosity with names only (in alphabetical order).

Most innovative law schools announced

Elon University School of Law
Hamline University School of Law
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Loyola Law School Los Angeles
New York Law School
Ohio Northern University
Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law
Phoenix School of Law
Stanford Law School
Southwestern Law School
Syracuse University College of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Tulane University Law School
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
University of District of Columbia
University of Hawai’i
University of Illinois College of Law
University of North Carolina
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law


July 24, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student Debt Hits the Middle Aged

From the Wall Street Journal (excerpts):

Student debt is rising sharply among all age groups, but middle-aged Americans appear to be struggling the most with payments, according to new data released Tuesday [July 17] by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The delinquency rate—or the percentage of debt on which no payment has been made for 90 days—was 11.9% for debt held by borrowers aged 40 to 49 as of March. That compares with a rate of 8.7% for borrowers of all ages.

Two-thirds of the nation's $900 billion in student debt is held by Americans under 40, the Fed estimates. But borrowers over 40 are having a particularly tough time with student debt for several reasons, consumer and higher-education experts say.

Many debtors over 40 are still paying balances from college years ago, while their home values and savings have declined sharply in recent years. Some have stopped payments after losing jobs. Many parents—no longer able to tap home equity to pay for their children's education—are taking out new student loans to do so. An Education Department program that provides loans to parents to fund their kids' education is among the fastest-growing of the government's education loan programs.


July 24, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Improved version of "Lexis Advance" has launched

Apparently this is part of an ongoing plan that began last year to roll out improved versions of Lexis Advance as they are developed. According to Lexis' press release, this most recent version released on July 19, offers "dramatically" expanded content and functionality. From the Lexis press release:

[Lexis] today announced its next generation legal research solution Lexis Advance™ has dramatically expanded its content and functionality, giving legal professionals superior tools and insights to optimize their research strategy and achieve the most relevant results faster. The new release provides more intuitive and customizable browse-functionality and enhanced mobile access, and also integrates with LexisNexis® Verdict & Settlement Analyzer and LexisNexis® e-Books, helping legal professionals research and analyze results all in one place.

“The legal profession has entered an era of constant change propelled by technology advancements, increasing mobility and a generational shift in the legal workforce,” said Bob Romeo, CEO of Research and Litigation Solutions at LexisNexis. “Lexis Advance is a dynamic research solution fueled by our unique ability to quickly translate customer needs and work styles into innovative capabilities – better and faster than anyone else.”

With even more options to personalize, analyze and manage legal research, the Lexis Advance solution has reached another milestone on its path to transform legal research for its customers.

. . . .

Lexis Advance now includes:

Increased Control – Search, Browse and Filter

Better search, browse and filtering provide users with more control and easier navigation:

  • Source Selection – A new pre-search option to browse, search for and view details of a source, offering more control and the option to identify sources related to a legal matter.
  • Browse & Search Table of Contents – Convenient browse and search of the Table of Contents lets users drill deeper into the content of pre-selected sources.
  • Expanded Topics & Browse Capability – Expanded to more than 4,000 topic summaries, allows users to research a legal matter within its context or get a refresher on a legal topic.
  • Snapshot – Displayed in a single, expandable overview, the new ‘Snapshot’ feature offers an efficient way to quickly review the top search results from each content type.
  • Customized settings & document delivery – Save individual settings and options based on user preferences, facilitating easy set-up and results management.

Exclusive Visualization Solutions

Unique visualization solutions in Lexis Advance give users a quick, easy-to-use opportunity to review and analyze their results and complete their research with more confidence:

  • Integration of Verdict & Settlement Analyzer – Search and analyze the largest available collection of verdict and settlement content to establish patterns from past cases, analyze and compare outcomes, and conduct early case assessment.

This new capability joins the two existing exclusive visualization capabilities in Lexis Advance:

  • Research Map – Depicts prior research history to validate that results are complete.
  • Shepard’s® Graphical – Visualizes citing decisions to ensure users cite good law.

You can more about the features of Lexis Advance by clicking on the press release here.


July 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How To Become an Expert Law Teacher by Understanding the Neurobiology of Learning

I have posted an article on SSRN entitled How to Become an Expert Law Teacher by Understanding the Neurobiology of Learning.  You can find it here

Abstract:  Legal education is changing.  Law schools are incorporating skills classes into their curriculums, and law teachers are integrating new techniques into their teaching.  Subjects that were never taught before are now appearing in law school curriculums.  Now for the last step–turning law professors into expert teachers.
This article applies cognitive psychology and learning theory to explain how to become an expert teacher.  As Best Practices has asserted, “Members of a law school faculty should base their teaching decisions on research about effective teaching, or at least hypotheses grounded in research.”  More specifically, as Diane Halpern has stated, “It is clear that a successful pedagogy that can serve as a basis for the enhancement of thinking will have to incorporate ideas about the way in which learners organize knowledge and internally represent it and the way these representations change and resist change when new information is encountered.  Despite all of the gains that cognitive psychologists have made in understanding what happens when people learn, most teachers do not apply their knowledge of cognitive psychology.”
This article begins by discussing the neurobiology of learning, then it uses this understanding to move onto educational theory and finally to the details on how to be an expert law teacher.  Part II of this article addresses how humans learn (the neurobiology of learning) in order to provide the foundation for the rest of the article.  Parts III and IV apply this learning theory to specific methods of improving teaching and learning.  Part III examines the idea of “engaged teachers” and “engaged learners.”  Part IV discusses how to become a “self-regulated” and “reflective” learner/teacher.  Finally, Part V presents the attitudes and habits of expert law teachers, while Part VI covers what expert law teachers teach.

July 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Memoriam: Steven Covey

Last week, at age 79, Steven Covey passed away.

Here are his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Here is a collection of insights from his book, selected by Brain Pickings (July 18):

Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).

Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.*

People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them.

Until a person can say deeply and honestly, ‘I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,’ that person cannot say, ‘I choose otherwise.’

To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.

It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgment. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.

Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.

Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.

The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.

How you treat the one reveals how you regard the many, because everyone is ultimately a one.

There’s no better way to inform and expand you mind on a regular basis than to get into the habit of reading good literature.




July 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plaintiffs Lose in Case Concerning Cooley’s Job Statistics

Plaintiffs Lose in Case Concerning Cooley’s Job Statistics

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Thomas M. Cooley Law School, the second such suit filed by jobless law-school graduates to be thrown out in recent months.

The judge, Gordon J. Quist of the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., ruled on Friday that although Cooley's job-placement statistics were "inconsistent, confusing, and inherently untrustworthy," the plaintiffs—12 former students—should not have relied on them in making such an important decision as enrolling at Cooley, given the depressed nature of the legal job market.

"With red flags waving and cautionary bells ringing, an ordinary prudent person would not have relied on the statistics to decide to spend $100,000 or more," the judge wrote.


July 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

3Ls – Be Proactive

This post from Law Student Ally serves as a great reminder to students about being proactive in the legal community. 

“Your third year is the time to get noticed and get hired. Network, build a portfolio, and publish your writings.”

Network – join the student bar association (ABA and local chapters).  In addition to networking opportunities, there are MANY resources available to you as a bar association member.  The student fees are usually around $20 (take advantage of this bargain).

Build a portfolio – in addition to resumes, letters of recommendation, and writing samples, update/create your LinkedIn profile.

Get published – Visit your librarians and they will help you figure out how to submit your article for publication. 

Have a great 3L year!



July 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)