Sunday, January 27, 2013

More On Professional Identity

This blog has often emphasized the importance of developing law students' professional identities.  I have also stressed the need to teach professionalism and professional identity across the curriculum.

Three faculty members at the University of St. Thomas have just posted an article on SSRN concerning how their law school teaches professional identity.  This appears to be an excellent program that can serve as a model for other law schools.

Empirical Evidence that Legal Education Can Foster Student Professionalism/Professional Formation to Become an Effective Lawyer by Neil W. Hamilton, Verna Monson, and Jerry Organ.

Abstract: Legal education should move toward much more effective educational engagements to foster each student’s professional formation and thus improve each student’s ultimate effectiveness as a lawyer. Part I reviewed and analyzed the empirical evidence that convincingly points toward the importance of a law student’s or practicing lawyer’s capacities and skills of professional formation for legal employers and clients. Part II reviewed and analyzed the empirical evidence about the most effective curriculum, culture and pedagogies to foster each student’s professional formation. Part III explained the professional formation curriculum, culture and pedagogies of University of St. Thomas School of Law (the empirical evidence in Part II aided in the design of this curriculum, culture, and pedagogy). Part IV analyzed empirical data demonstrating that the UST law students experience growth in moral development and professional formation over their three years of law school in a manner different from that which might be anticipated from law school generally. The data from this study reasonably support the link between the overall UST Law educational program and the increase both student moral reasoning and ethical professional identity.

Our findings add to the research presented in Part II that education to foster professional formation must engage each student at the student’s current developmental stage. The UST Law curriculum, culture, and pedagogies reflect and incorporate the earlier research analyzed in Part II. Future studies should concern evaluating which specific elements of the curriculum, culture or pedagogies were most effective. The challenge at its core is to help each student internalize deep responsibilities both for others, especially the client, and for the student’s own development toward excellence at all the competencies that a practicing lawyer must have to fulfill his or her responsibilities for others.

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Michigan joins small but growing list of states that prohibit employers from asking for social media passwords

Michigan joins California, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey in passing a law that prohibits employers (and schools too in this case) from asking applicants for social media passwords. The BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report has the story (subscription required):

LANSING, Mich.—Michigan businesses and educational institutions are barred in most circumstances from asking employees, job applicants, students, or prospective students for passwords or other information that could be used to access private internet accounts under legislation (H.B. 5523 Substitute) signed Dec. 28 by Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

 A violation of the act—the firing, failure to hire or admit, or penalizing of an employee or student for refusing to grant access to a personal account—will be considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000. An individual who is the subject of a violation may bring a civil action and recover up to $1,000 in damages, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs.

 Sponsor Aric Nesbitt (R) said he introduced the legislation after constituents expressed concern about reports of employers asking for account passwords. The bill is “a way of keeping up with the times,” he told BNA Dec. 19.

An employer's request for a job applicant's Facebook password is “the same as asking for an individual's P.O. box key and rummaging through their mail, or going through their living room to look at their personal picture albums,” Nesbitt said. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have privacy settings for users to restrict who can see their postings, he observed. “[W]e should respect those limits that people set,” he said.

 The measure, set to take effect immediately, does not prohibit employers or educational institutions from viewing, gaining access to, or using information about an individual that is available in the public domain. The House passed a version of the legislation in September, and it later was amended in the Senate.


January 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How To Defend Against A Summary Judgment Motion

From George Vetter’s book, “ Successful Civil Litigation,” quoted in Steven Stark’s book, “Writing to Win”:

  1. Demonstrate an issue of fact.
  2. Expose the invalidity of materials supporting the other side’s motion (for example, mistakes in the affidavit).
  3. Illustrate how the case hinges on something else that needs to be assessed, such as credibility.
  4. Show the moving party’s exclusive control of the facts.


January 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)