Friday, March 20, 2015

National Jurist ranks 50 best law schools for practical skills training

National Jurist Magazine has picked the 50 best schools for practical skills training. Check out the entire list and details about several programs here.


March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Staying Healthy on Campus

As professors, we come in contact with lots of people—and probably lots of germs. At Inside Higher Education, here are some suggested preventive steps we can take. You probably will gree with most of them:

In sum, making sure that your body is producing the hormones it needs (it turns out vitamin D itself acts like a hormone) or addressing deficiencies with supplements is an important first step to beating colds. Create an environment that is not too dry, always have hand sanitizer around and dress in a way that keeps your body warm even in chilling temperatures. Incorporate garlic, ginger and honey into your regular diet, and stay hydrated. Reach for some elderberry and zinc when you are starting to feel a cold coming on.

And give yourself a break! Extra rest is crucial when you are starting to feel like you are coming down with something. The world will go on if you take a sick day, and taking one sick day will certainly be better than taking five.

You can read more here.


March 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

April 24: The Apple Watch Will Arrive

Here it comes. Wikipedia describes the watch as

a smartwatch created by Apple Inc. and announced by Tim Cook on September 9, 2014. The watch incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities as well as integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. Apple announced the Apple Watch with three "collections," distinguished by different combinations of cases and interchangeable bands. The watch relies on a connected iPhone to perform many of its functions and will be compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2. The device is available to pre-order on April 10[5] and scheduled to begin shipping April 24, 2015.[6][7]

The watch, then, will include a watch, a connection to your iPhone, and other features. From Tech Crunch:

Apple has built a lot of unique features into the Watch so that it can truly supplement the iPhone – there isn’t all that much in the way of duplication, but instead the wearable goes beyond, offering sensors that aren’t present on Apple’s smartphones and tablets.

Some of the unique features of the Apple Watch include its taptic engine for providing physical cues and messages, as well as notifications; heart rate monitor and motion sensors for activity tracking; Built-in Bluetooth support for connecting to accessories; and the digital crown, which allows for control without sacrificing screen real estate.

The cost for the least expensive model: $349. It’s unclear whether the product will be a boom or bust.


March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Friday: Igniting Law Teaching Conference

Registration is now open for LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching 2015.  The conference is Friday, March 20, 2015 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST at American University Washington College of Law.  It is also available for live viewing by webcast.

The conference will feature talks by 30 law school academics and practitioners from the US, Canada and England in a TEDx-styled conference to share ideas on teaching methodologies.  LegalED’s Teaching Pedagogy video collection includes many of the talks from last year’s conference, which have been viewed collectively more than 5000 times.

The panels for this year include: Law Teaching for the 21st Century, Applying Learning Theory to Legal Education, The Art and Craft of Law Teaching, Using Technological Tools for Legal Education, and Pathways to Practice.  Here is a link to the topics, speakers and schedule.

 The Igniting Law Teaching conference is unlike other gatherings of law professors.  Here, talks will be styled as TEDx Talks, with each speaker on stage alone, giving a well scripted and performed 8 minute talk about an aspect of law school pedagogy.  In the end, we will create a collection of short videos on law school-related pedagogy that will inspire innovation and experimentation by law professors around the country, and the world, to bring more active learning and practical skills training into the law school curriculum.  The videos will be available for viewing by the larger academic community on LegalED, a website developed by a community of law professors interested in using online technologies to facilitate more active, problem-based learning in the classroom, in addition to better assessment and feedback.

 We hope you can join us on March 20th, either live or virtually


March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Quote of the Day

"It is better to solve a problem than memorize a solution."

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014).

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Handle a Bad Boss

From the micromanager to the meany, Daily Worth offers practical advice on how to handle the boss who is making your life difficult, if not crazy (here).


March 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Best way to recruit millennial job candidates and what they're looking for in a job

A new survey by a recruitment consulting company called Futurestep found that employers of millennials say that the best way to recruit them is via social media. A vast majority of employers also said that they use a different approach to "developing" millennials compared to other employees.  Employers also said that what matters most to millennials is an ability to have an impact on an organization and its values; money was third on the list. Below are some additional highlights from the survey though I always wonder with this type of research that because it is based on the opinions of employers, does it reflect how millennials truly feel or instead the commonly held perceptions about them (I admit to being skeptical about the existence of so-called generational differences in the first place but don't let that stop you from reading on):

Futurestep survey finds compensation one of the least important factors for recruiting Millennial talent

About the survey
Futurestep fielded the survey during the second and third weeks of February 2015. There were nearly 800 responses. Survey Results:

What matters most to your millennial employees



Development/ ongoing feedback


Clear Path for advancement


Values of your organization


Social responsibility


Ability to make an impact on the business


Fun, friendly workplace


What is the best way to recruit millennials

Online talent communities


Job fairs


Job boards


Networking/word of mouth


Mobile apps


Social media


What makes a millennial choose one job over another?



Visibility and buy-in into the mission/vision of the   organization


Clear path for advancement


Reputation of the company


Title and pay


Do you develop your millennial employees (those born after 1980) differently   than older employees?





What is the number 1 benefit of an in-depth onboarding program for   millennials? (those born after 1980)

Help attract millennial employees


Help retain millennial employees


Help improve their performance and accelerate time to full productivity


Give the company leaders more insight into future stars in the organization


Continue reading at the Futurestep blog here.

Hat tip to BNA Social Media Reporter.


March 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Legal Writing Institute Announcement

LWI Policy Statement on Full Citizenship for Law Faculty (Adopted March 2015)
The Legal Writing Institute is committed to a policy of full citizenship for all law faculty. No justification exists for subordinating one group of law faculty to another based on the nature of the course, the subject matter, or the teaching method. All full-time law faculty should have the opportunity to achieve full citizenship at their institutions, including academic freedom, security of position, and governance rights. Those rights are necessary to ensure that law students and the legal profession benefit from the myriad perspectives and expertise that all faculty bring to the mission of legal education.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ALWD Announcement

On March 6, 2015, the ALWD Board adopted the following policy statement on principles of equality in legal academia:

The Association of Legal Writing Directors is committed to a policy of full citizenship for all law faculty. No justification exists for subordinating one group of law faculty to another based on the nature of the course, the subject matter, or the teaching method.  All full-time law faculty should have the opportunity to achieve full citizenship at their institutions, including academic freedom, security of position, and governance rights. Those rights are necessary to ensure that law students and the legal profession benefit from the myriad perspectives and expertise that all faculty bring to the mission of legal education.

The Legal Writing Institute has adopted the same policy, and ALWD is looking forward to working with LWI President Linda Berger and the LWI Board to find ways to promote this policy of equality in joint projects of the organizations.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dealing with Social Anxiety

Last October, my college classmate (and 7th grade classmate), Dr. Robert Leahy, a prominent cognitive psychologist, posted a column on dealing with social anxiety. He defines social anxiety disorder this way:

If you find yourself inhibited and anxious in a variety of social situations (speaking in front of a group, meeting new people, using public lockers or rest rooms, eating in public) and you fear that people will see your anxiety and that you will feel humiliated, then you may suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. Many people with this problem will choose to avoid situations where they anticipate being anxious or they may use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate before entering these situations. Social anxiety is associated with increased risk for alcohol abuse, depression, loneliness, decreased occupational advancement and the increased likelihood of remaining single.

This description may fit us and some of our students. We may encounter it with students who are afraid to speak up in class or to talk with their professors, or to network in a social gathering. In this lengthy and helpful posting, Dr. Leahy offers suggestions on how to deal with the problem (here).


March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book On Education

Another important book on teaching and learning:

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel.

Publisher's Abstract:

"To most of us, learning something 'the hard way' implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The number of LSAT takers in February is up 4.4%

This makes it the second testing cycle in a row to show an increase in test-takers.  In December, the number of prospective law students to sit for the LSAT was up slightly from the previous year by .8%.  The most recent administration of the test last month saw the number of test-takers rise 4.4% from last February - a total of 849 - not a big number by any means. The LSAC website has the details here.  The next administration of the test will take place in June.

Hat tip to ATL.


March 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iceland and Women's Rights


'International Women's Day History: 
On Oct. 24, 1975, 90% of Icelandic women went on strike, refusing to do any work at their homes or their jobs. It was the largest demonstration in the nation's history and shut down the entire country.  Airports were closed, schools were closed, and hospitals couldn't function. The strike had an immediate and lasting impact. The following year, Iceland's Parliament (now half women) passed a law guaranteeing women equal pay and paid maternity leave. Four years later, Iceland elected the world's first female President. And today, Iceland has the highest gender equality in the world. 
If you support equality, LIKE our page @[186219261412563:274:US Uncut]!!'

The strike led to major improvements, but there is still more work to be done (here)

Thnx to Jane Duggan.


March 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Federal appellate judges want to shorten the length of briefs, lawyers object.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has posted this story about the reaction by many appellate attorneys to a proposal that would reduce the word count on federal appellate briefs under the federal rules of appellate practice from 14,000 to 12,500. (Interestingly, my co-blogger Professor Sirico reported last month on a new study (and here) that supports the lawyers' objections to the proposed rule change insofar as the study found that longer briefs filed by appellants "strongly" correlates with success on appeal. However, the authors of the study cautioned against inferring that it is word count, rather than the complexity of the underlying issues which may require more thorough explanations, that explains the correlation).  Here's an excerpt from the post.  

Lawyers Object to Making Legal Briefs Briefer

. . . .

Lawyers who argue cases before the nation’s most influential courts are protesting a plan by the federal judiciary to shrink the size of briefs filed in appellate litigation . . . .


The proposal would pare back the word-count limit from 14,000 to a svelte 12,500. The idea has gotten a thumbs-down verdict from some lawyers who see it as a misguided attempt to curb their freedom of lengthy speech. But it won cheers from dozens of bleary-eyed appellate judges.


Judge Laurence Silberman, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has had it with the pages and pages of irrelevant facts and marginal arguments. “My colleagues all believe the briefs are too long now,” he said. “You get numb.”

. . . .

Continue reading here.


March 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Developing an Orientation Module for Clinic Students: Start by asking WHY?

My clinic colleagues at Villanova are working on an orientation module for clinic students. Their focus is on “why?”—that is, why they want to develop this orientation. Here is an outline of their current thoughts:

Students need to be able to do certain activities early in the semester/hit the ground running:

  • Interviewing
  • Office procedures
  • Reflection/self-critique
  • Professional responsibility 101 (when working with clients)
  • Research
  • Fact investigation (including reading/maintaining files)
  • Working with interpreters
  • Persuasion
  • Attention to cultural difference/ competency/empathy
  1. Explain the WHY of our pedagogy (explain clinical pedagogy to students)
  • Active and engaged learning
  • Directresponsibility – WHY? Autonomy, mastery, purpose
  • Collaboration – across the board, with team, fellow clinic students, students in other      clinics, support staff, faculty
  • Acting for Lawyers
  1. Reinforce “one firm” culture – clinical courses are different, collegial, work      together, spaces where you can learn while having fun!
  1. Service Mission of Clinics
  1. Set our expectations for students
  1. Efficiency of teaching resources

You can read more at Michele Pistone’s posting at Best Practices for Legal Education (here).


March 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, March 13, 2015

What are the legal research practices of solo and small firm lawyers?

This is a new article by Joseph D. Lawson, the Deputy Director at Harris County (Texas) Law Library, in which he reports on the results of a survey he conducted on the legal research practices of solo and small firm lawyers. The article is called What About the Majority?Considering the Legal Research Practices of Solo and Small Firm Attorneys and is available at 106 Law Libr. J. 377 (2014).

Here is the abstract:

Solo and small firm practitioners account for the majority of attorneys practicing in the United States. However, they are regularly underrepresented in studies of attorneys' research practices, which tend to focus on attorneys in larger practice settings. This article reports the results of a local survey in which more than 80 percent of respondents fell into this forgotten demographic. Comparison of the local study with a recent national survey demonstrates that greater consideration of smaller firms could lead to a different understanding of fee-based online resource usage among the demographic, which may have widespread implications for public and academic law libraries, access to justice, and implementation of research competency standards. The research practices of solo and small firm attorneys, as well as the conditions leading to such practices, warrant further study.


March 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Much Punctuation Do We Need or Have Available to Us?

Poet Mary Oliver has addressed these questions:

One of our great assistances is, of course, punctuation. But it occurred to me that, perhaps, each of us writers has only perhaps a finite amount of it for our use, and we should use it judiciously — lest we hear a voice, suddenly, when we need, saying, “No more semicolons!” “You’re finished with your dashes!” — and, also, that passive-aggressive comma, with which we so carefully set off what is nice, so it won’t be missed — don’t we?

So I thought of, for fun — and I’ve done that a few times — I would write a poem that uses no punctuation (and this particular one has a question mark, which is quite apparent, at the end) and see what I could do simply with the line break and the cadence of the line and so forth. And it is a little breathless to read, and perhaps to listen to, but here goes: it’s called “Seven White Butterflies.”

Seven white butterflies
delicate in a hurry look
how they bang the pages
of their wings as they fly
to the fields of mustard yellow
and orange and plain
gold all eternity
is in the moment this is what
Blake said Whitman said such
wisdom in the agitated
motions of the mind seven
dancers floating
even as worms toward
paradise see how they banter
and riot and rise
to the trees flutter
lob their white bodies into
the invisible wind weightless
lacy willing
to deliver themselves unto
the universe now each settles
down on a yellow thumb on a
grassy stem now
all seven are rapidly sipping
from the golden towers who
would have thought it could be so easy?

That cost me one question mark.

You can read more and listen to a recording of Mary Oliver ‘s words here, at Brain Pickings. Still, I would be careful in economizing on punctuation in legal documents.



March 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

Reading is a mental act that literally changes the thought processes of the reader.

Daniel Willingham

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do Congressional Members Owe $$ in Student Debt?

According to the Open Secrets blog, the answer is yes—probably between $1.8 and $4.6 million:

Forty-seven members of Congress had a cumulative total of between $1.8 million and $4.6 million in student loan debt in 2013, according to their personal financial disclosure statements. That includes loans for themselves, their spouses or their children.

The 2013 numbers — the most recent available — represent an uptick from previous years. Last year, OpenSecrets Blog found that in 2012 just 41 members of Congress carried student loan debt, totaling between $1.5 million and $3.8 million (an exact figure can’t be pinpointed because lawmakers list their assets and liabilities in broad ranges). But to put things in context, just over 8 percent of members of Congress have some form of student loan debt, compared to almost 13 percent of Americans overall (an estimated 40 million) who hold a total of more than $1.2 trillion in such debt.

The 47 members had, on average, $68,500 in student loan debt — significantly higher than the $26,842 owed on average by American households with student loan debt in 2010.

It can be difficult to determine exactly who owes the money in a congressional household. Some members of Congress disclose whose education was being financed and at what institution, but others are vague. Of the 62 total student loans disclosed (some lawmakers listed more than one loan), seven were explicitly described as being for a child and 15 were in the name of a spouse.

Six lawmakers were at the top end of the average amount owed — $170,000 (or between $100,000 and $250,000). All are House members, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats: Reps. James Bridenstine (R-Okla.), John Carter (R-Texas), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y) and Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.).

You would think they would have more sympathy for struggling students. You can read more here.


March 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Publication opportunity for LRW faculty, law librarians, clinicians and practitioners interested in legal research and writing training

Here's a great opportunity to get published if you're interested in writing about issues related to the teaching of legal research or legal writing whether you're a LWR faculty member, clinician, doctrinal faculty, law librarian or practitioner. Perhaps you're a practicing lawyer involved in mentoring or training junior lawyers and you've some good teaching techniques, observations or insights you'd like to share.  Or perhaps as a practicing lawyer teaching part time as an adjunct faculty member you have a unique perspective on LRW pedagogy. This is your chance to reach more than 5,000 readers by submitting a short manuscript to Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, a Thomson Reuters publication. The submission guidelines and publisher's contact information are below (ignore the part about a mid-July deadline and instead submit whenever your manuscript is ready).

Perspectives is a journal for law librarians, law professors, and everyone else who is intrigued by the challenge of teaching legal research and writing. In three electronic publications each year (fall, winter, and spring), Perspectivesprovides a forum for exploring a broad array of teaching theories, techniques, and tools. Readers and authors include: 


  • new and experienced law librarians and law professors;
  • practicing attorneys who help associates to develop as researchers and writers or who serve as adjunct faculty at law schools; and
  • writing specialists at law schools, law firms, courts, and other legal institutions. 

Submissions from authors are generally due in mid-July for the fall issue, in mid-September for the winter issue, and in mid-January for the spring issue. Perspectives articles tend to be short, typically between 1,500 and 5,000 words (between two and eight double-spaced pages). The articles generally examine how teachers can best help law students, young lawyers, and others learn to research and write efficiently, enjoyably, and effectively. The articles do so, moreover, in a relaxed, lightly footnoted, and highly readable prose—more like that of many bar association publications than that of traditional academic journals. Most articles focus on a practical issue, task, or topic, for example: 


  • the use of wikis as a teaching and learning tool;
  • game-based teaching techniques;
  • clinicians’ insights for research and writing professors;
  • student engagement with appellate advocacy assignments;
  • incorporation of frequent student-to-faculty feedback;
  • collaborations between research and writing instructors; and
  • creating and managing online courses. 

In addition, regular columns address curricular design, teachable moments, technology for teaching, thorny research matters, and experts’ writing tips. Members of the Perspectives editorial board manage these columns. The editors are experts in teaching research and writing in law firms, libraries, and law schools. They have discretion to edit articles, including by shortening them to conform to available space, and the editors are available to advise prospective authors. 


Perspectives is available in PDF at 


Submitting Articles to Perspectives 

  1. How, to Whom, and When to Submit 

Submit manuscripts by e-mail as an attachment to:

Elizabeth Edinger, Editor

Catholic University of America Law Library



Alternatively, particularly if your article would fit well in a regular column, you may submit an article to a column editor. The editors’ names are listed in each issue of Perspectives. Deadlines are generally in mid-July for the fall issue, in mid-September for the winter issue, and in mid-January for the spring issue.


        2.  Manuscript Form and Length 

1. Author Information. Provide only your name, professional title, and institutional affiliation. Place this information immediately after the article’s title, not in a footnote.

2. Typeface and Margins. Type in standard-face, double-spaced text with 1.5-inch margins.

3. Length. Articles should run between 1,500 and 5,000 words (two and eight pages). Longer articles may be considered but also may be shortened to fit available space.

4. Footnotes. Use footnotes, not endnotes. Identify notes in the text by superscript numbers.

5. Citation Form. Conform citations to The Bluebook (19th ed. 2010). Follow in particular its “Bluepages,” which describe citation form for legal memoranda and court documents and use regular fonts, not LARGE AND SMALL CAPITALS. Use italicizing, not underlining.

6. Ellipses. Treat an ellipsis as a single word, constructed of three periods preceded and followed by a space—for example: “The idea was ... hers.”

7. Commas. Use “serial commas.” That is, in a series of three or more elements, separate each element by a comma—for example: “The names were Ax, Boxx, and Crux.” In addition, do not use a comma to separate Jr. or Sr. from the name—for example: John Kennedy Jr.

8. Word Preferences.

a. Use appendixes or indexes, not appendices or indices.

b. Use citation, not cite, and citing, not “Bluebooking.”

c. Generally, do not hyphenate legal writing or legal research.


March 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)