Saturday, April 13, 2013

Alternative careers for law grads

The Employment Insider column over at the National Jurist Magazine periodically runs stories on "hot practice areas" for lawyers (here, here and here).  The most recent column, though, takes a different approach by naming several hot alternative careers for lawyers.  Call me skeptical for questioning whether "legal recruiting" is really a viable option these days given the general lack of legal hiring going on but "finance" and "higher education" certainly have potential for those with a law degree who either want to change jobs or are having trouble finding work as a lawyer.  Check out for yourself the full list of suggestions here.

(jbl).

April 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Persuasion with Words and Images: Cronkite & the University of Texas

In 2002, The University of Texas at Austin developed nine new broadcast advertising spots, narrated by legendary newsman Walter Cronkite, that focus on the university as a driving force for discovery and innovation in the Austin community. The ads emphasize how the university and Austin together forge a dynamic, creative and diverse community that few American cities can match.
Screen shot of Tower and view of Austin's skyline from Town Lake in Soul video

Here are the 31 second videos. There are lessons here on persuasion as well as the connecting of words and images. Note: I am a proud graduate of the University of Texas Law School.

(ljs)

April 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Bridging the Gap: How Introducing Ethical Skills Exercises Will Enrich Learning in First Year Courses"

This article is by Professors Miriam Albert and Jennifer Gundlach (Hofstra) and is available at 5 Drexel L. Rev. 165 (2012) and here on SSRN.  From the abstract:

"These opportunities seem to be entirely unavailable during the first year of law studies. This is a missed opportunity, since first-year courses are fertile ground for exposure to principles of professional responsibility. It is in this time period when students are in the process of learning foundational lawyering skills. Law faculty who teach first-year courses face unique challenges as they seek to orient law students to basic legal methods, analysis, and the concept of doctrinal law stemming from cases and statutes. The authors’ own teaching experiences and research have shown that offering students the opportunity to apply doctrine in a practical context through simulated client interactions leads to a richer and more complete legal education, which we believe better prepares students for the ethical and competent practice of law. As part of these simulations, students are given a chance to experiment with foundational lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling, problem-solving, drafting and synthesis of law and fact. While experimenting with these skills, students will also wrestle with the types of ethical dilemmas they will face in practice.

We share one approach of how a Contracts professor and a Lawyers’ Ethics professor are responding to these challenges in a first-year classroom and offer theoretical and practical support for the notion that providing students with the opportunity to develop and hone essential lawyering skills through simulations within the context of a doctrinal class will better prepare our students for the ethical and competent practice of law.

The Article offers support for the integration of ethical considerations into the first year of law school generally. We examine the learning objectives sought to be satisfied through the integration of ethics and contracts, and provide a description of this problem-centered exercise usable in any first year contracts class, with the fact pattern and other supporting documentation necessary to run the simulation attached as Appendices. The Article concludes with anecdotal results from the authors’ use of this exercise, and suggestions for assessment tools for faculty to use in evaluating the exercise."

(jbl).

April 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should Law Schools Hire Professors With Scholarly Interests in Legal Education?

At Brian Leiter's Law School Reports, Leiter asks "Which areas of law deserve more attention/investment from law schools in the form of more full-time faculty doing research in the area?"  Among the topics he mentions are admiralty, ADR, comparative law, consumer law, etc.

I have a radical proposal: law schools should hire professors with scholarly interests in the delivery of legal education.  The Carnegie Report, Best Practices in Legal Education, and numerous scholarly articles have demonstrated that we need better methods of teaching law students.  Yet, in discussions like Leiter's, legal education research is rarely mentioned as an area that law schools should invest in.  It is time that we invest in an area that will help our students--teaching.  I bet Justice Roberts would consider this useful scholarship.

It is time for a different type of thinking from our law schools.

(Scott Fruehwald

April 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

“On the Other Hand”: Must You Also Precede it with “One the One Hand?”

English professor and veteran editor Anne Curzan says no. After years of abiding by the rule that “On the other hand” must be preceded by a sentence beginning “on the one hand,” she realizes that she was wrong; there is no such rule. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

One student, Adrienne Chiu, took up the challenge of determining just how shaky the ground was beneath my editorial practice on this issue. The conclusion: pretty shaky. First of all, this rule that I had in my head does not appear in most of the style guides she looked at; and when on the other hand is addressed, it is often to note that in contrast should be used rather than on the other hand if the second statement contradicts the first to the point where they are irreconcilable. Second, the phrase on the other hand, without on the one hand, appears all over academic prose, as well as other written registers, according to the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). Third, while on the other hand is more colloquial than in contrast in that it occurs much more frequently in speech (according to COCA), on the other hand also appears more frequently than in contrast in academic prose (of course, the two are not fully synonymous, but they are used similarly). In other words, the phrase on the other hand is a more popular choice both in spoken language and in formal written language.

(ljs)

 

April 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Santa Clara Law School starts Entrepreneur's Law Clinic

The clinic will launch this summer and will focus on helping Silicon Valley start-ups.  From SCLS's press release:

A new law clinic focused on the needs of early-stage Silicon Valley companies will begin serving clients this summer at Santa Clara University School of Law.  A veteran attorney specializing in start-up companies, Laura Lee Norris, has been named founding director of the new Entrepreneur’s Law Clinic.

 Initially, the clinic will represent entrepreneurs with some connection to Santa Clara University, such as alumni or students running start-up ventures. The clinic will serve the dual purposes of providing SCU-affiliated startups with high-quality, affordable legal help, and giving SCU's law students real-life exposure to legal issues that confront high-tech or other Silicon Valley companies.

 “We are excited to launch the clinic, and we’re thrilled that a lawyer as experienced and talented as Laura will lead the way,” said Professor Eric Goldman, director of the law school’s High Tech Law Institute.  “The clinic reinforces Santa Clara Law’s commitment to preparing students for legal practice in the 21st century, and the clinic will become a crucial resource for Santa Clara University’s active community of entrepreneurs.”

In addition to her role as clinic director, Norris will be an assistant clinical professor overseeing  a group of law students who will work in the clinic. The students will counsel early-stage Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in legal interactions including business formation, financing, contracts, and intellectual-property transactions.  Fees and other details are not yet finalized.

Hat tip to Law.com

(jbl).

April 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New York Law School increases experiential offerings to model medical school "clinical year."

According to this story from the National Law Journal, NYLS is getting serious about experiential legal training by doubling the number of clinical courses it will offer students next year. It's a move the school hopes will lead to more job offers for students as many of the new clinical opportunities will place them among NYC's many agencies.  The program will also let students rotate through three different clinical experiences during their third year much like the "clinical year" in medical school.

New York Law School doubles its clinical offerings

New York Law School plans a major expansion for its clinical offerings that would double the number of real-world training programs available to students next year. 

The school will launch 13 new clinics, most of which would involve partnerships with New York City agencies or local nonprofit organizations. For example, students would represent low-income public school students who have been suspended or prosecute taxicab and livery cab drivers accused of violating the city's rules.

. . . .

"As New York's law school, it's only natural that we embrace the city as our classroom and grow the number of uniquely New York experiential learning opportunities for our students," said dean Anthony Crowell, who served in variety of New York City government posts from 1997 to 2012, most recently as counsel to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"When I started at [the law school] last summer, I made a commitment to work with our faculty on a historic expansion of our clinical and experiential programs," he said.

Crowell's contacts throughout New York City agencies proved useful in recruiting clinic partners — plenty of agencies, he said, were happy to receive student assistance.

. . . . .

Perhaps most notable is what's has been dubbed the "clinical year," modeled after medical school. Participating students will rotate through three clinics during their 3L year, spending 10-week sequences aiding city lawmakers in drafting legislation; helping with civil litigation through the Legal Aid Society, and assisting with administrative law through the city's health department.

Continue reading here.

(jbl).

April 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cooley Law Loses Bid to Unmask Critical Blogger

From the National Law Journal:

A Michigan trial court erred when it allowed the Thomas M. Cooley Law School to unmask an anonymous Internet critic, an intermediate state appeals court has ruled.

The decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals was the latest in the saga of the blogger known by the handle Rockstar05 and his former school — Cooley — which is suing him for defamation. It was a victory for Rockstar05, who now will have the opportunity to ask the trial court to dismiss the complaint against him.

Even so, his lawyer warned that the decision did not go far enough to protect anonymous online speech in Michigan. Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with the Washington-based consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen, called the outcome a "mixed blessing for anonymous Internet speakers in future cases."

You can read more here.

(ljs)

April 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Innovative Models of Lawyering

Developing Better Lawyers and Lawyering Practices: Introduction to the Symposium on Innovative Models of Lawyering by John Lande. 

This article describes a symposium put on by the University of Missouri Center for Dispute Resolution.

Abstract: This article provides an overview of a symposium sponsored by the University of Missouri Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution in 2007 that featured leading practitioners and scholars to analyze innovative models of lawyering, including Collaborative Law and other processes. The authors include David Hoffman, Nancy Welsh, Julie Macfarlane, Richard Shields, Pauline Tesler, Scott Peppet, Forrest ("Woody") Mosten, Jeanne Fahey, Kathy Bryan, Lawrence McLellan, and John Lande. The articles address issues including: teaching law students to "feel" like lawyers and not just "think" like them, using "conflict resolution advocacy" (which is not necessarily oriented to the courts), developing lawyers' professional orientation in practice, working with non-legal professionals, complying with ethical requirements in Collaborative Law, obtaining clients' informed consent to use Collaborative Law, providing Collaborative Law to low-income parties, using settlement counsel techniques in business disputes, using a variation of Collaborative Practice called Cooperative Practice, and overcoming tensions within the dispute resolution field.

Several major themes run through the symposium articles. All the contributors agree that there is a value to continued innovation in lawyering practices and that there are many difficulties in disseminating and adopting them. Getting lawyers (and parties) to seriously consider innovations is a major challenge, and innovative lawyers need to develop effective ways to overcome unwarranted skepticism and resistance. For individual lawyers, implementing the changes discussed in the symposium requires much more than learning new legal concepts. For some, it requires a supportive legal culture and framework to enable them to enact their longstanding professional values. For some, it requires a significant re-orientation described by Collaborative practitioners as a "paradigm shift." For most lawyers, it takes experience in dealing with difficult cases, sometimes learning from mental health and other professionals. New models of lawyering also require sensitivity to ethical concerns, especially the importance of eliciting clients' informed consent to unfamiliar variations of legal practice. Innovators should also be sensitive to the needs of parties without substantial resources, including legal aid clients and much of the middle class population.

Promoting good party decision-making should be a fundamental goal in lawyering. Lawyers should help parties make well-informed choices about the dispute resolution process as well as the substantive issues. Lawyers should respect different processes and models, rather than denigrate some as generally inferior in a supposed competition for the title of "best dispute resolution process." Thus the legal profession and dispute resolution field more generally should have the goal of developing a variety of desirable processes from which parties can choose.

(Scott Fruehwald)

Other articles by Professor Lande on legal education:

Suggestions for Using Multi-Stage Simulations in Law School Courses

Teaching Students to Negotiate Like a Lawyer

April 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The speed and accuracy of WestlawNext versus Westlaw Classic

In another study published by the Legal Reference Services Quarterly, the authors tested the speed and accuracy of WestlawNext against Westlaw Classic. Although others have found that WestlawNext costs more, these researchers concluded that it produced faster and more accurate results.

The article by law librarians Melanie Knapp and Rob Willey (both at George Mason) is available at 32 Legal Ref. Serv. Q 126  (2013).  From the abstract:

"In 2010, Thomson Reuters released WestlawNext powered by WestSearch, a novel and proprietary algorithm. WestlawNext represents a new approach to legal research platform design. This article empirically examines the differences in search results using Westlaw Classic and WestlawNext by testing law students and librarians in both systems. Results demonstrate that researchers complete everyday searches faster and more accurately using WestlawNext. However, WestSearch's unique features and Thomson Reuters' failure to explain the function behind the WestlawNext main search bar and the WestSearch algorithm has limited researchers' ability to understand and effectively use WestlawNext. This lack of understanding has significant implications for instruction."

(jbl).

 

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cost comparison between WestlawNext and Westlaw Classic

Hat tip to our good buddies at the Law Librarian Blog for alerting us to this recent article which subjected both products to the Pepsi Challenge and found that WestlawNext can sometimes cost twice as much as original flavor Westlaw.  The article by law librarian Emily Marcum is called The Quest for Client Savings in Online Research: WestlawNext v. Westlaw Classic and is available at 32 Legal Ref. Serv. Q. 142 (2013).  Here's the abstract:

 

"The cost to the client of Westlaw versus WestlawNext was assessed using two research methodologies. One methodology reflected real-world questions over time across categories. The other methodology had artificially generated questions broken down by category and evenly numbered across platforms. In both experiments, WestlawNext cost the client roughly double the cost of Westlaw Classic. Simplified pricing plans were cheaper for primary law and expert materials but were more expensive for other categories."

 

(jbl).

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (2)

In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher

At age 87, Margaret Thatcher, former UK Prime Minister, has passed away. She was a strong, though controversial political leader. In any case, she offers an example of a woman who could speak with a powerful style. Here is a classic example (30 seconds).

(ljs)

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Midwestern law grads have easier time finding jobs

That's according to this article from an Omaha news blog which reports that the job market for new law grads is good if they just know where to look.   In fact, some of the lawyers, professors and deans interviewed for the story same that the demand for lawyers is "enormous."  I'm not sure that Campos, Tamanaha, Henderson, Mystal, et al., would agree but read on and form your own opinion.

For Midlands law school grads, job picture still healthy

. . . .

The American Bar Association says 44 percent of national graduates from the class of 2012 were not working at a job requiring the passage of a bar examination nine months after graduation. In a New York Times article earlier this year, legal profession scholar and analyst William Henderson of Indiana University called the law school escalator to upward mobility a broken and faded anachronism.

The picture is not nearly so dramatic with respect to the Midlands' four law schools — Creighton, Nebraska, Drake and Iowa. And area experts say demand for lawyers is high if graduates look in the right places and specialties.

The region's lowest ABA-reported employment score — 62 percent at Des Moines-based Drake University Law School — still outpaced the ABA national number of 56 percent. The highest score went Iowa City's University of Iowa College of Law, where its 76 percent of 2012 graduates employed in a job requiring a law license beat the national number by 20 percentage points.

. . . .

Despite some gloomy forecasts and the drop in applications, there is enormous demand for lawyers, according to professors, practicing lawyers and law college deans.

Nebraska law Dean Susan Poser said most reports of the profession's demise stem from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — the homes of “Big Law” where firms employ hundreds of lawyers who represent enormous corporations with legal budgets that run — or in some cases ran — into the hundreds of millions.

“In those markets, it has been tough,” Poser said. “Some large firms have closed, or terminated attorneys, and budgets have been cut for the sort of hourly work done by new associates.”

Poser said the consequences have been less profound in the Midwest, with most of her graduates opting for Main Street as opposed to Wall Street.

Continue reading here.

(jbl).

April 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools with the Best Job-Placement Statistics

According to the ABA, here are the 20 law schools that placed the highest percentage of 2012 grads in full-time, long-term jobs requiring bar passage. The top five are Chicago, Virginia, Penn, Columbia, and Stanford.

(ljs)

April 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Legal Sector Adds 2,000 Jobs in March

According to the U. S. Labor Department, the legal sector added 2,000 jobs last month.  (here)  In addition, there were 9,000 more jobs in the legal sector in March than in March 2012, and there was total employment of 1.126 million in March compared to 1.18 million before the recession.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Advice on Work-Life Balance

Here’s advice from sales trainer Gary Kunath:

“I sacrificed time with my family with the justification that I was providing necessary material things, but at a certain point you realize that money doesn’t make you rich, it just allows you to buy more stuff.”

 Priorities for professionals have shifted; now, U.S. workers seek family wellbeing above all else, he says. Companies need to recognize that it’s imperative to positively affect their employees’ lives, both inside and outside working quarters, he says.

“We need to bring humanity back to business,” Kunath says. “Leading corporations are aware that most professionals today – 70 percent – would trade a pay raise for an increase in personal wellness.”

 But employers are struggling with that, he says, citing a new American Psychological Association survey released in March in which 48 percent of employees say their employers don’t value a good work-life balance.

 More professionals are trying to find a path to life worth, rather than centering their behavior on net worth, Kunath says. He offers five ways career-minded individuals can achieve both:

             • Look for signs you’re falling into the net-worth trap: For Kunath, those signs were clear. One day, he says, “it was like someone had smacked me on the head,” when his son, then 12, walked away in dismay after Kunath said he couldn’t play baseball with him because he was too busy working on a business proposal. “The look of disappointment on my son’s face was something I will never forget,” he says. Kunath dropped everything and spent the day with his son. “I promised that would NEVER happen again”. The next occurrence included a mental and physical breakdown after Kunath pushed himself to make an unnecessary business trip while sick.  After a 19-hour ordeal in a delayed flight to Spain, “…I knew in my bones that if I did not draw the line right there … I would ruin every part of my life that mattered to me.”

             • Don’t be an employee, be employable: Unless you are self-employed, you are always vulnerable to someone else controlling your professional destiny, and therefore, your life worth. But employees can empower themselves by diversifying their skills so that they can have more choices about where and for whom to work.

             • Bad things happen to good people: Adversity finds us all. No one enjoys the worst, most painful moments of their lives. Nonetheless, life events like loss of a loved one, financial ruin, divorce, addictions or illness tend to define us. We need adversity in our lives. Anyone can be a rock star when life is perfect. But when adversity strikes, then the “real” you is revealed. How you face adversity can either extinguish you or distinguish you. 

             • Believe in something bigger than you: There will be times when you are utterly helpless, with no control over an outcome. All the money in the bank and all the authority at work will do no good when it comes to, for instance, the death of a loved one. Believing in something bigger than you is an important part of having life worth; it helps you maintain your emotional health when you face life’s biggest challenges.

             • Don’t Major in the Minors: As Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” For every evening spent late in the office there are moments professionals miss out on – and can never get back. Many of us spend time on things that ultimately don’t matter. “The three greatest gifts you can give to your family are: Time, Memories and Tradition,” he says. “These are things in life that matter.”   

(ljs)

 

 

April 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nominalizations

Over the past few days, Henry Hitchings has written two articles on nominalizations in the New York Times.  (here, here)  Because I find his explanation of nominalizations to be a little confusing, I want to give you my explanation of nominalizations and how to avoid them.

A problem that frequently appears in writing by novices is a tendency to use nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and clauses to do the work of verbs.  Consider the following examples.

Examples.

Bob drove quickly down the road.

Bob sped down the road.

The diplomats worked at normalization of relations between the countries.

The diplomats tried to normalize relations between the countries.

In the second version of the first pair of sentences, a specific verb replaces the adverb and non-specific verb of the first version. Not only does the second version eliminate one word, it sounds more direct and powerful. In the second pair of sentences, the first version lets the noun perform the action; action is the function of a verb. Transforming verbs into nouns (or other parts of speech) is called nominalization.  Nominalizations sound formal and stuffy, and a writer should avoid them in most instances.

Can you spot the nominalization in the following sentence?

The company's business was the importation of fine china.

Importation is the nominalization.  Importation is a noun.  The sentence would work much better if you changed the nominalization into its active verb form.

The company imported fine china.

This sentence is shorter and more direct and it gives the action to the verb, where it belongs.

How about this example?

The letter came as a shock to Linda.

The letter shocked Linda.

The second version, which fixes the nominalization in the first, sounds more natural than the first.

For more exercises on nominalizations, go here, pp. 5-10.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1)

"The Lawyer of the Future"

This is a new article by Professor Deanell Reece Tacha (Pepperdine) and available at 40 Pepp. L. Rev. 337 (2013) and at SSRN here.  From the abstract:

"Introspection is the order of the day for legal education and the legal profession. The economic stress of the last few years tore away at many of the traditional models of law practice and caused many to question the value of a legal education. The combination of rising tuition and a challenging employment market causes very bright, aspiring lawyers and judges to question whether law is a wise professional choice for them. The history of legal education and the legal profession provides powerful positive responses to these contemporary doubters. Rigorously educated legal professionals are problem-solvers, models of civil discourse, agents of orderly social change, articulators of policy, enforcers of procedural safeguards, and guardians of sacred inalienable rights. Law-trained professionals are, in short, the face of the rule of law that is the envy of much of the world. Recognizing all the challenges of this time in history, the central value of the importance of legal education cannot be diminished."

(jbl).

April 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"The Lawyer of the Future"

This is a new article by Professor Deanell Reece Tacha (Pepperdine) and available at 40 Pepp. L. Rev. 337 (2013) and at SSRN here.  From the abstract:

"Introspection is the order of the day for legal education and the legal profession. The economic stress of the last few years tore away at many of the traditional models of law practice and caused many to question the value of a legal education. The combination of rising tuition and a challenging employment market causes very bright, aspiring lawyers and judges to question whether law is a wise professional choice for them. The history of legal education and the legal profession provides powerful positive responses to these contemporary doubters. Rigorously educated legal professionals are problem-solvers, models of civil discourse, agents of orderly social change, articulators of policy, enforcers of procedural safeguards, and guardians of sacred inalienable rights. Law-trained professionals are, in short, the face of the rule of law that is the envy of much of the world. Recognizing all the challenges of this time in history, the central value of the importance of legal education cannot be diminished."

(jbl).

April 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

U Arizona Cuts Law School Tuition

While other law schools are holding the line on tuition, the University of Arizona is taking the next step: cutting tuition.  From the Arizona Daily Star (excerpts):

Faced with a 13.5 percent drop in first-year students this school year and a 36 percent decrease in applicants since 2005, the UA's law school is reducing tuition by 11 percent for in-state residents and by 8 percent for nonresidents.

Other UA students will see their tuition increase by 3 percent for the 2013-14 school year under changes approved Thursday by the Arizona Board of Regents.

A UA news release about the reduced tuition for law students made no mention of the dwindling demand for UA law classes.

It said the price cut "is part of the college's larger plan to help students manage law school costs."

The high price of law degrees is one of the factors driving enrollment declines at many law schools nationwide, UA law school spokeswoman Nancy Stanley said in an email interview.

The total annual tuition bill now for UA law students is $27,288 for those who live in-state and $42,298 for nonresidents.

(ljs)

April 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)