Monday, April 20, 2015

Newsweek: The Bar Exam is Unfair and Undemocratic: A Reply

I would love to be a libertarian like Allen Mendenhall.  I believe that freedom is the most basic of all human rights.  However, in my many years on this earth, I have observed that many human beings take advantage of their fellow human beings.  Consequently, we need government to protect individuals from those who would exploit them.

Mr. Mendenhall has penned an essay for Newsweek entitled The Bar Exam is Unfair and Undemocratic.  He declared, "The bar exam is a barrier to entry, a form of occupational licensure that restricts access to a particular vocation and reduces market competition."  He noted, "In more recent decades, economist Milton Friedman disparaged occupational licensure as 'another example of governmentally created and supported monopoly on the state level.'”  "The bar exam is one of the most notorious examples of this 'increasing tendency.'”  Among the other reasons he is against the bar exam are 1) it excludes "the lower classes from participation in the legal services market," 2) it "tests the ability to take tests, not the ability to practice law," 3) "the best way to learn the legal profession is through tried experience and practical training," and 4) the bar exam and its accompanying requirements are costly.  He adds, "Today, with services like Amazon, eBay, Uber and Airbnb, consumers are accustomed to evaluating products and service providers online and for wide audiences. Learning about lawyers’ professional reputations should be quick and easy, a matter of a simple Internet search.  With no bar exam, the sheer ubiquity and immediacy of reputation markets could weed out the good lawyers from the bad, thereby transferring the mode of social control from the legal cartel to the consumers themselves."

While I agree with many of Mr. Mendenhall's criticisms of the bar exam, he cannot overcome the main reason for having the bar exam--the protection of the public.  He can call this paternalistic all he wants, but law is a complicated field that requires many years of education under the guidance of experts.  While he may yearn for the halycon days of law apprenticeships, the world and the legal profession have become much more complex than when apprenticeships were the main method of legal training 150 years ago.  He has also failed to tell us who will provide this apprenticeship training; lawyers today do not have time to teach large groups of apprentices.

We license doctors, plumbers, car mechanics, hair stylists, and we do this for the same reason we license lawyers--for the public good.  I do not want to go to a doctor who has had just an apprenticeship.  As I have said before, doctors protect a person's physical health; lawyers protect a person's economic and social health, as well as her rights.

I do not agree with Mr. Mendenhall that consumers can properly evaluate lawyers based on internet information.  Look at a restaurant review on Yelp.  Many consist of both high praise and strong criticism for the same place.  How can I decide which one is right?  Has anybody ever bought a piece of junk on eBay?

As I have written here many times, the bar exam is very flawed, and it needs to be reformed.  The answer is not to eliminate it, as Mr. Mendenhall proposes, but to revise it to make it test what lawyers actually do in practice.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. Theodore Seto has made the following comment on the Tax Prof Blog concerning this story: "Mr. Mendenhall has probably never seen the consequences of really bad lawyering. Let me tell you: it's a nightmare for the client and there is no effective remedy. None. The client loses his or her rights, perhaps several decades of his life, perhaps his or her child, perhaps his or her life's savings. The really bad lawyer is almost always judgment-proof. There is no effective remedy. None."

April 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

preLaw Magazine's list of best schools for bar prep

The 2015 edition - you can check out the list and methodology here.


April 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Helping Students Deal with Stress

At Stanford, Professor Joe Bankman has collaborated with others to create a two hour course that uses cognitive therapy to deal with law school stress. I know that a few other schools also are finding ways to deal with the issue.

You can read more here.


April 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Game of Thrones and Brief Writing

Over at De Novo: A Virginia Appellate Law Blog, we get a theory on how George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Throne writes:

I came across a blog post that makes a scientific wild-ass guess about Martin’s progress on The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth book in his series. The post itself serves as prima facie evidence that, as big a tool as I am, I barely register on the SF geekdom spectrum.

More important for our purposes, though, the post includes a link to a summary of Martin’s writing process. Here’s the short version of that process:

  1. Martin does not have a hard outline for his seven-book series. He knows basically where the story is headed, and he lets it evolve organically. He ends each book when it gets too long, or when he reaches a natural breaking point.
  2. Martin writes lots and lots of draft chapters, then eventually finalizes them. He also writes partial chapters and fragments when ideas grab him.
  3. Martin does not write in a linear order. Instead, he occupies a particular character’s headspace and stay there for weeks, writing a series of point-of-view chapters for that character. This can result in timeline problems, and it can also cause him to write way too much material for a character just because he’s fun to inhabit (ahem, Tyrion).
  4. At the end of the writing process, Martin murders every character you love and throws in a scene where starving children fight over a half-cooked puppy. (Okay, I made this one up.)

Jay O’Keeffe writes:

This really struck me, because it’s just about the opposite of the way that you’d approach an appellate brief.

Now, I recognize that epic fantasy and appellate advocacy are about as distinct as any two genres can get. And I appreciate that Martin is a super-genius writing the great fantasy epic of our time, while I’m just a hack with a blog. Even so, his organic writing process is basically a recipe for missing deadlines and overshooting page limits. That’s generally okay, if you’re the American Tolkien putting together work that people will be reading fifty years from now.* It’s somewhat less okay if you’re bound by deadlines and strict word counts, and your readership has very limited time and patience. Martin’s writing process is an object lesson in what not to do as an appellate lawyer.

O’Keefe advises writing a brief this way:

  1. Brainstorm, and hash out all of your ideas in the beginning of the process.
  2. Draft a hard outline. Explain your ideas in full sentences. Follow the outline.
  3. Write in a linear manner, from start to finish. That is how your reader will approach the document.
  4. Edit mercilessly. Aim to cut 50% of your first draft, and to file a brief that comes in at 50% of the page or word limit.
  5. Never kill off Oberyn Martell.

This method may work for some writers, but not for others. There are many ways to write. Each writer must find the way that works for him or her.



April 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Strategies for getting others to see the real you.

The Harvard Business Review blog has an interesting post by Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of the newly released book No One Understands You and What to Do About It discussing how the impression we make on others is often a complete distortion of reality. Professor Halvorson points out that the way others see us is far from fair, accurate or even rational.  We present only a partial picture of who we really are so others are left to fill in the blanks according to their biases and perceptions.  To help people form a more accurate picture of who you really are, you need to become more "judgeable" which means disclosing more information about yourself so there are fewer gaps to be filled in by others. An excerpt:

. . . .

The uncomfortable truth is that most of us don’t come across the way we intend.  We can’t see ourselves truly objectively, and neither can anyone else. Human beings have a strong tendency to distort other people’s feedback to fit their own views. We know this intellectually, and yet we rarely seem to recognize it as it’s happening.


That can cause you big problems in your personal and professional life. People may not trust you, may not like you, or may not even notice you, as a result of these errors in perception.  If you have ever felt yourself underestimated or misjudged, if you have stepped on toes without meaning to and been called to task for it, if you have wanted to cry out “That’s not fair!” when false and hurtful assumptions have been made about you, I’m here to tell you that you are right.  The way we see one another is far from fair.  In fact, much of this process of perceiving other people isn’t even rational.  It is biased, incomplete, and inflexible.  It is also largely (but not entirely) automatic.


And yet no one is entirely unknowable either. In fact, some of us are actually easier to understand than others. These people seem to express themselves in ways that allow others to perceive them more accurately.  Psychologists refer to this as being more or less “judgeable,” or as personality expert David Funder calls it, being a “good target.” What actually makes someone more judgeable? Funder has argued that in order for people to be accurate in their assessments of someone else, four things need to happen.  The target must (1) make information available and (2) make sure that information is relevant.  Then, the perceiver must (3) detect, or pay attention to that information and (4) use it correctly.


Let’s focus for now on the parts that are in the your (i.e., the target’s) control. To be judgeable, you are going to need to make information about yourself available to others, and it should provide evidence of the particular qualities you are trying to convey. (In other words, just knowing that you graduated at the top of your class at Harvard tells me nothing at all about how personable, trustworthy, creative, or resilient you are). So if you are a very shy and reserved person, who reveals next to nothing about your thoughts and feelings to the people around you, then they will know very little about you – aside from the fact that you are shy and reserved, obviously. The danger there is that people will generally fill in the blanks themselves, imagining a whole personality profile for you that may or may not – probably not – be accurate.

. . . .

Continue reading here.


April 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What’s Next? Hybrid Online Degrees

That is, students take some course work online and some in person. From JDJournal: 

Hybrid online degrees may be the new future for law schools. According to an article by CNBC titled “Digital Cracks the Final Frontier: Law School”, William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota applied and was given permission to start a hybrid online program by the American Bar Association. While there are several online law schools already in existence, they are not recognized by the ABA as one of the 205 accredited law schools. The William Mitchell College of Law’s first class of 85 students from 31 states and two countries started taking classes in January. The students include five medical doctors, a college professor, and a banker, with the ages ranging from 22 to 67.

The hybrid course requires students to participate half online and half in person. William Mitchell College of Law’s website explains that students start the 8 semester part time program with a week on campus for the first and third semesters and conclude each semester with another week on campus. This allows the students to first meet professors and then apply the knowledge gained during the semester. Students are also required to have two externships during their last two years of the program.

 Not much time on campus. Because students have to spend some time on campus, , I assume that most participants  will be local people. You can read more here.


April 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote of the Week

You know that saying about how a law school teaches students to think like a lawyer[?] Well, if you get into a cab, you don’t want a driver who thinks like a driver. You want someone who can drive.

Dean Jeremy Paul (here)

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

NALP Executive Director says "students need to be more entrepreneurial about their job search”

In an interview with the Employment Insider, NALP's Executive Director James Liepold offered a three-point strategy for new law grads looking for jobs in a very tough market:  1. Network through online sites like LinkedIn; 2. gain as much practical experience in law school as possible via clinics and externships; and 3. most important is to rack up serious face-time hours networking with attorneys. The Employment Insider article notes that almost half of the class of 2013 found jobs through referrals or self-initiated contact with potential employers. In particular, among those who got hired by a public defender's office, 30% initiated contact themselves. And among those grads seeking jobs with small firms having less than 10 lawyers, more than 30% also found jobs through self-initiated contact.  Here's an excerpt:

More law grads find jobs through networking and self-initiated contact


No job yet? You are not alone — more law graduates are finding jobs on their own, instead of through traditional fall on-campus interviews. In fact, fall on-campus interviewing accounted for only 14.7 percent of all jobs obtained, one of the lowest figures since NALP started tracking the figure 20 years ago. Why the dip?


“The short, simple answer is Big Law is hiring fewer summer associates,” NALP’s Executive Director James Leipold said.


Instead, most 2013 graduates obtained jobs through referrals, 19.5 percent, or self-initiated contact, 18.8 percent.

Lydia Russo, assistant dean for the Center of Development & Career Strategy at Emory University School of Law, is well aware of these changes and has ramped up recruitment efforts. As a result, jobs obtained from fall on-campus interviewing have increased modestly at her school.


“It’s not a huge increase but it is in the positive direction,” Russo said. “We have been extremely aggressive with employer outreach in cities where our students have interest. A little over half of our graduates find jobs through school-facilitated means and a little less than half find jobs through relationships, some form of networking or referrals.”

. . . .

Continue reading here.


April 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Appalachian Law School Struggles to Survive

This is a sad story. Many of us in the Legal Writing community feel a connection to the school where the late Tom Blackwell taught. From Inside Higher Ed:

Appalachian School of Law, in the coalfields town of Grundy, Va., is struggling as much as any law school amid a plunge in applicants.

Last year, the stand-alone law school had an entering class of 48 students, down from 146 students in 2011. There has also been an exodus of professors and, as of now, there are at most eight professors on staff -- some say fewer -- to teach next fall.

Alumni and others close to the school now worry about its future and accuse a powerful board member of obstructing efforts to save it. These advocates believe the only way to save their school is to move it out of Grundy, a town of just over 1,000 residents. The exit of the law school might really hurt the town.

In the meantime, there is some worry about the quality of the school, which accepts students with some of the lowest LSAT scores in the country.

You can read more here.


April 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean Luke Bierman on Legal Education

Dean Luke Bierman has written 4 Steps for Reinventing Legal Education for the ABA Journal Website.  He has declared:

"The longer we drag our feet, the greater the gap between the skills that are needed now in new attorneys and the training that traditional law schools provide them. This chasm undermines the credibility of our nation’s law schools, and threatens to waste an entire generation of promising legal talent. Legal education hasn’t changed much in a century – reinvention is long past due."

His 4 steps comprise

1. "[W]e need a redesigned curriculum that is rigorous and highly focused on the realities of being a lawyer today and tomorrow, not yesterday – we can’t focus only on fixing what we didn’t like about our legal education. We must do better in the classroom to actively engage students in developing the core legal knowledge, skills and competencies they need for the workplace. Beyond foundational law courses, students need more and better training in writing, business skills, project management, technology, data analytics, leadership development, and communication."

2. "[A]n intense focus on experiential learning. It’s not enough to cram an abbreviated clerkship or internship into the summer months or as a component of a busy semester and pretend that is enough. Instead, we need full-time, course-connected legal residencies to become a staple of the law school experience. We need to require hands-on learning through partnerships with law firms, judges, nonprofits and government agencies – where students can learn by doing in immersive and iterative programs. We also need students to test themselves in simulations led by practicing attorneys and take part in greater numbers in clinics, trial advocacy, moot court, and mock trial programs. The experiential dimensions of legal education should be integrated and strategically sequenced with rigorous courses from day one to graduation, providing students with increasing levels of responsibility for real legal work at each stage of their development."

3. "[W]e need more involvement from practicing attorneys and judges. These experts are essential to one of the key components of a successful law school experience – the development of extensive personal and professional networks."

4. "[W]ith the average debt of private law school graduates reaching nearly $125,000, the fourth critical element to an overhaul is cost – we must make law school more affordable. . . .   If we are really serious about the long term best interests of students, and thus their future clients, we need to lower the tuition and guarantee that it will not increase for the entire course of study. One way to do that is to realign the curriculum so that all students can accelerate their studies and graduate in less than the typical three years."

Finally, "The school where I serve as Dean has taken to heart that success is being redefined by transformation around us. Elon Law has adopted a new curriculum that addresses each and every one of the elements discussed above, and the faculty worked hard to adopt these changes in less than six months." (see here)

Dean Bierman has not overstated the urgency of the problem.  A report on Bloomberg, has concluded that "the smartest people are opting out of law school" and that "less-qualified students are filling their spots."  Law schools need to adopt the changes Dean Bierman proposed in his article and the more detailed changes I have proposed here.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Loyola Law School (L.A.) receives $20 million payout to help with declining enrollment

This article from the Los Angeles Loyolan details how one law school is responding to the sharp drop in applicants including receipt of a $20 million payout from its parent university, a plan to decrease total enrollment by 25% in the next two years and a gradual "reduction" in faculty and staff to better match the school's smaller class size. The article doesn't say whether the reduction will be voluntary or not though it does explain the $20 million, to be paid out in increments, will be used at least in part to fund the scholarships needed to attract high quality students. From the Loyolan:

LMU approves special payout for Loyola Law

Law school enrollment has seen a dramatic decline in the last five years.


Since hitting its peak of 52,488 in 2010, enrollment at U.S. law schools has steadily fallen, plummeting to 37,924 this year, according to the American Bar Association. Law schools around the country have adopted various strategies in order to deal with this 27.7 percent decrease.


Loyola Law School (LLS) has seized this opportunity to restructure and intentionally get smaller. LMU has also approved an approximately $20 million special payout from the University’s endowment towards student scholarships at the law school.


Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Thomas O. Fleming, Jr. explained, “The special payout follows a definite plan. It’s not just ‘take $20 million and divide it by five.’ It’s an incremental thing, and it’s reviewed each year as part of the budget process. So while a payout has been approved for next fiscal year, the finance committee will be kept fully informed, and we won’t do the payout until toward the end of the fiscal year.”


Fleming also noted that, when thinking about how to deal with the situation of falling applications to the law school, it was clear that they “didn’t want to disadvantage the undergraduate education. I know that some universities are basically asking their undergraduate tuitions to take care of their funding levels as they re-size their law schools.”


LLS Dean Victor Gold stressed the specific value of funding student scholarships. “Because the applicant pool nationally has declined, there are two strategies you employ to keep the quality of your students high. One is to cut enrollment, so you don’t have as many students. The other is offer really good scholarships. It’s a very competitive market because every good law school is doing the same thing,” he said.


Gold also noted, “The other part to scholarships is mission,” and pointed to the specific scholarships LLS offers to those with a demonstrated interest in public interest law, as well as those from less represented ethnic groups.


In addition to the focus on scholarships, Gold explained, “Like most good law schools, we’re responding by getting smaller. We are reducing enrollment, and have been for a number of years, but the target which we’ll hit in about two years is a total enrollment cut of about 25 percent.”

. . . .

Continue reading here.


April 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

George Washington's Overdue Library Books

Overdue books are nothing new. Even President Washington was guilty. From The Week (2010), here is the beginning of the story.

Oct. 5, 1789: Five months after George Washington takes the oath of office at Federal Hall on Wall Street, the new president checks out two books from the New York Society Library. The library was located in the same building as the president's office, in what was then the nation's capital. In a ledger, next to the names of the books — The Law of Nations by Emmerich de Vattel and Vol. 12 of the Commons Debates, containing transcripts from Britain's House of Commons — the librarian writes, "President."

Nov. 2, 1789: The books are due. No sign of Washington. Fines begin accruing.

And here is the end of the story:

May 20, 2010: Mount Vernon staff returns a copy of The Law of Nations to the New York Society Library. After hearing of the missing books, employees at Washington's estate were unable to locate either of them. But they found an identical Law of Nations online for about $12,000. "We express our gratitude for your patience... and for your generosity in erasing the considerable funds that were probably owed by George Washington," James Rees, executive director of Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, told library staff. "He did not do his public duty." Nonetheless, the library has absolved Washington "and his representatives" of all fines.

For the story of the intervening years, please click here.


April 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another call to drop the third year of law school: A Reply to David Lat

As my co-blogger Jim Levy mentioned a couple of days ago, David Lat has renewed the call for dropping the third year of law school.  Since we at this blog have been strong opponents of similar proposals (e.g., U.S. News), I decided to summarize our arguments as a reply to David Lat's piece.

 1. Under our current system of legal education, most attorneys are not ready to practice even after three years in law school.  As cognitive scientists have demonstrated, developing expertise requires many hours of learning.  Moreover, deep learning requires reflection, and reflection requires time.  According to Dean Daniel Rodriguez, "I speak with lawyers daily and listen to lawyers' candid critiques of our current system of legal education. What I never hear is this: Beginning lawyers are over-educated and over-trained. Nor do I hear that clients are eminently comfortable with first-year lawyers' knowledge, experience, and sophistication. Indeed, I hear very much the opposite, that is, that law schools need to develop a richer, more practically focused scheme of legal education – that is, we need to do more, not less." (here)

2. Most law firms and other employers, such as public interest groups, do not have the resources or time to train new lawyers.

3. Law students need to learn more than black letter law before they practice. They need to learn the policies behind the law and how to apply the law to real-life situations. They also need to learn how the law intersects with business and other fields of knowledge. Eliminating a year would also mean that law schools could only teach the basics. Students would no longer be able to specialize in the area of law that interests them the most. Every law graduate would be a generalist. Is this in the public interest?

4. Law schools need to prepare students to be practicing attorneys in order to serve clients and the public. This requires hands-on, practice-oriented courses.

5. Finally, a two-year proposal will not stop the glut of attorneys on the market today.  In fact, it might make it worse because more people might go to law school if they only have to go for two years.

I do agree with those critics who state that the third year of law school at present is worthless for many students.  I believe that law schools can make the third year more valuable by giving students skills classes, clinics, and other experiential opportunities.  Yesterday, I wrote about the experiential proposal of the California Bar Association, and a program like this in the third year would make the third year particularly valuable in raising the quality of legal services.

The third year of law school should be reformed, not eliminated.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. One of the comments to a previous post on this topic stated, "I agree - definitely not the answer!

How, exactly, would giving students even less training result in better lawyers able to jump out and start practicing even earlier? Already the schools don't teach them how to run their own practices, offering little or no business training. With even less time, schools would be packing more "pure law" into the curriculum, leaving no time for anything practical. And then we'd expect these students to fix the access to justice issues and fill jobs in the public service.

Why not just let them write the LSAT and if they score well, they can practice?"

April 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Atlanta public school teachers sentenced to seven years in prison for cheating scandal

You read that right. As the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports, the judge in the infamous Atlanta teachers cheating scandal called the case "the sickest thing that's ever happened in this town" noting that thousands of children were harmed as a result.  The case involved 35 educators who were accused of changing answers on state-wide, standardized student competency tests in response to alleged pressure from administrators to improve student scores.

Sentencing was supposed to happen on Monday but the judge wanted to give the parties time to negotiate plea deals. A few did opting for a public apology, probation and weekend jail time. Those who didn't received twenty year sentences - the maximum under the federal RICO statute they were charged with violating - with seven to be served in hoosegow.  The prosecution had recommended only five year sentences with three served in ye olde Gray Bar Hotel.  Youch.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has more details here.


April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judges Can Be Out of Touch with the Nonjudicial World

 Here’s a story about Learned Hand from Professor John Barrett’s blog (April 1).

 Judge Hand made his baseball disclosure in a comment following Attorney General William P. Rogers’s remarks at the dinner.  Rogers recounted that his son Doug, age 12, had recently answered two telephone calls to their home.  One was from President Eisenhower.  The other was from Vice President Nixon.  William Rogers reported that he had explained afterward to Doug that although these calls did not mean much to him now, they would one day.  Doug had listened politely to his father and promised to remember the calls.  Then, with great excitement, he had asked, “Did you ever meet Mickey Mantle?”  To that boy and many, many others, the centerfield of the New York Yankees was the leading national figure.

 The ALI audience of course laughed.  Then Rogers noticed his predecessor, former Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr., in the audience.  Rogers described Brownell as “a Yankee fan” and waved to him, provoking more laughter and his wave back at Rogers.  He then turned serious and commented, “Of course I realize that my story about Mantle right now is not timely.”

 Judge Hand, seated at the head table, was being honored at this dinner for his fifty years of federal judicial service.  During Rogers’s remarks and then his byplay with Brownell, Judge Hand was visibly perplexed.  He whispered to his neighbor but appeared unsatisfied with the reply he received.

 Then Judge Hand rose to speak.  He thanked previous speakers for their many tributes to him.  Then he volunteered that he did not know the “name” that Attorney General Rogers had mentioned.

 The audience at first sat silent, unbelieving.  Then gasps of astonished laughter broke out.

 Judge Hand then addressed Rogers directly.  “Mantle?,” he asked.  “I don’t know what Mickey Mantle is or does.  Is it a man or a thing?”

 I grew up a Yankees fan. I remember going to a game where Mantle and Maris hit back-to-back homers.



April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Villanova Launches Compliance Center

Today, Villanova launches the David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance and features a speech by former Governor and first Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.

Compliance is a growing field for lawyers. I doubt that many fledgling law students know what compliance is. But once they learn, they will discover that it is an exciting field that quickly puts them in the thick of things.

You can read more here and here.


April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Law Librarians Blog is back

Those of you who've followed the Law Prof family of blogs over the years no doubt remember Joe Hodnicki who founded the network with TaxProf blogger Professor Paul Caron. Joe had for years been blogging at the Law Librarian Blog before he sold his interest in the Law Prof Blogs Network to Professor Caron a few years ago. He then started blogging at the Law Librarians Blog along with co-founder Mark Giangrande.  Sadly, Joe and Mark announced nearly a year ago that they'd be winding it down. As we said at the time, "it is the end of an era" for some trail-blazing bloggers. 

Well, Mark just announced that he's back and is blogging again at the Law Librarians Blog. Joe is still on the masthead so maybe he'll start contributing again to the blogosphere. Whether the Law Librarian or Law Librarians Blog, Joe and Mark were always worth following. We're glad their back and strongly suggest you add them to your daily blog feed.



April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update: Proposed Requirements for New Lawyers in California

One of our readers, Professor David Gibbs of Chapman University, has sent me an update on the proposed requirements for new lawyers in California.

"The Trustees of the California Bar adopted and submitted to the California Supreme Court proposals that would require:

1. New attorneys applying for admission to the California bar to demonstrate that they have completed 15 credits of qualifying experiential education.

2. New attorneys will have complete 50 hours of service to pro bono or low income clients before or within 18 months of admission.

3. New attorneys will have to take an additional 10 hours of continuing legal education, including 4 hours of ethics training within one year of admission."

"Last month Associate Dean Daniel Bogart of the Dale E. Fowler School of Law of Chapman University convened a conference on the proposals that was attended by representative of 17 of the 21 accredited law schools in California and members of the Task Force, including the former Chair and now California Appeals Court Judge Jon Streeter.

At the conference I learned that:

· California law schools are implementing a broad range of innovative experiential courses and programs.

· The proposals were the result of a broad consensus of educators, practitioners, bar associations and judges to improve the practice of law and aid young lawyers in their development.

· The proposals recognize that the need for a partnership between educators, practicing members of the bar and judiciary and bar associations."

Professor Gibbs has completed a 9-page overview summarizing the 76 page report of the Task Force established by the Trustees, which can be accessed here.

Thanks for this report, David.  The proposals by the California Bar are probably the most important development in legal education in recent years.  I had the opportunity to hear Judge Streeter talk about the proposals at an ETL conference a couple of years ago, and I think he and his colleagues have done a tremendous job of creating a plan to significantly improve legal education for the benefit of the general public.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Reader's Guide to Pre-Modern Procedure

In this short article, David Noll explains procedural terms with which students often are unfamiliar. These terms predate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which most Civil Procedure classes seem to pass over.

These terms, like “demurrer” and “nonsuit,” may pop up not only in old court cases that students may study, but also in state court procedural rules. I remember a lawyer asking to withdraw from a case, and the judge saying, “Oh, you want to “disappear”—meaning to withdraw his appearance. Here is the article.


April 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Assessing Experiential Legal Education: A Response to Professor Yackee

Assessing Experiential Legal Education: A Response to Professor Yackee by Keith A. Findley.


In his recent article, my colleague Jason Yackee offers some interesting data on comparative rates of law-related job placement for graduates of the top 100 U.S. law schools. In the end, his analysis in part reaches the entirely unsurprising conclusion that higher-ranked law schools are more successful at placing their graduates in full-time law-related jobs than are lower-ranked schools. More interestingly, and less obviously, his data also suggest that schools that offer more experiential learning opportunities do not have any greater success in placing their students in full-time law-related jobs than do schools with fewer clinical offerings. From this, he queries whether clinical legal education is worth the expense and opportunity costs that it represents to law schools. In this response I focus on two important but largely overlooked questions that Yackee's data analysis (if correct) raises. First, I address the fundamental question Yackee's paper raises implicitly "what significance should attach to any disconnect that may exist between clinical opportunities and hiring rates? My answer is that hiring rates shouldn't affect curricular design in the way Yackee suggests. Simply put, the primary objective underlying the move toward clinical education, and the reason the American Bar Association (ABA) has increasingly demanded more attention to a skills-based curriculum and practice-ready graduates, is not to improve the hiring rates for law school graduates. Rather, the rationale for clinical education is much more about effective pedagogy for adult learners (both about substance and skills) and the need to create effective lawyers, not just as beginning attorneys, but as life-long learners and reflective practitioners. Second, again assuming that Yackee is correct about the hiring disconnect, the real question is why aren't employers influenced by clinical education when (a) they vocally demand practice-ready lawyers and (b) it is so pedagogically valuable? I suggest that the problem does not reflect a lack of interest by employers in experientially trained and practice-ready graduates (and hence in clinics), but rather inadequacy in the hiring metrics and heuristics that are currently available to employers, and indeed a desire by private law firms for a broader range of clinical offerings (not fewer clinics). [emphasis mine]

April 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)