Friday, November 25, 2016

Apple Considers Marketing Digital Glasses

Despite Google’s spectacular failure with Google glasses, Apple is considering building a better mousetrap (glasses).

Apple Inc. is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, a risky but potentially lucrative area of wearable computing, according to people familiar with the matter.

While still in an exploration phase, the device would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a secret project.

Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers, according to people familiar with those discussions. The company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing, the people said. Apple hasn’t ordered enough components so far to indicate imminent mass-production, one of the people added.

If Apple proceeds, don’t expect to see the product on the virtual shelf before 2018. You can read more here at Bloomberg.


November 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LST Launches Mini-Series About Women in the Law

From Law School Transparency:

Over six weeks, this podcast mini-series will advance the conversation on the many challenges, both professional and personal, that women continue to face as members of the legal profession. Through first-person narratives, thoughtful conversations, and synthesis of economic and social science research, this show will add to the myriad of work fighting against decades of systemic problems.

Listen on iTunes,, or on our partner websites, which include Above the Law, American Lawyer/The Careerist, Bloomberg Big Law Business, Diversity Lab, The Girls Guide to Law School, Hire an Esquire, The Lawyerist, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Thank you to our roundtable sponsors for hosting wonderful events that will be made available via podcast each week.
  • Wake Forest University
  • Elon University School of Law
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • The John Marshall Law School
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP

(Scott Fruehwald)


November 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Five Ways to Disrupt Racism

Here is a 2:19 minute video produced in the UK by the Racial Justice Network. It addresses the rise in racist incidents since Brexit. Now that our country is facing a similar situation, you may find it relevant and worth sharing.


November 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can law schools really teach students good judgment?

Without a doubt, one of the most important "practice skills" for every lawyer to possess is good judgment. Personally, I've always been a bit skeptical about whether or not legal educators are even capable of imparting good judgment to law students during the relatively short three years of a traditional law school curriculum. We can certainly make some headway towards that goal by incorporating practice simulation exercises into our courses including everything from drafting legal documents, mock negotiations to having students represent real clients in the context of clinical experiences. The problem, in part, is that developing good judgment takes years as well as exposure to a great diversity of experiences that we may not be capable of replicating in law school. Nonetheless, I just came across this older article only recently posted to SSRN (here) in which Professor Mark Aaronson of Hastings argues that clinical education in particular can indeed teach law students the kind of good judgment they'll need to succeed in practice. From the abstract (the full cite is: Mark Aaronson, We Ask You to Consider: Learning About Practical Judgment in Lawyering, 4 Clinical L. Rev. 247 (1988)):

When I need a good lawyer, I look for someone who is knowledgeable and conscientious and has integrity, but above all I want someone with good judgment. Though it is not that clear what we precisely mean when we talk about sound lawyering judgment, few would dispute its desirability and potential importance. Many are apt to question whether judgment can be taught in law school or any school. Nonetheless, I want to suggest that implicit in much of what we are doing in clinical legal education is trying to find ways to help law students exercise better judgment in their practices than they might otherwise on their own, both under our supervision and in the future.


November 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

A happy holiday to all! Here is a video showing some of the giant balloons that will grace the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And here is the Mayflower Compact (in modern English). The male pilgrims signed the document after arriving in the New World:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620.

You can read more here.


November 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

12 Tips for Formatting E-Filed Documents

From the Wisconsin Lawyer (Oct. 2016):

  1. Choose a clean font.
  2. Avoid capitals and underlining.
  3. Keep it short and simple.
  4. Use more white space.
  5. Provide an easy-to-read table of contents.
  6. Provide frequent headers.
  7. Use one space between sentences.
  8. Use hyperlinks.
  9. Make smart use of visuals.
  10. Use topic sentences, and know where to put them.
  11. Break up information.
  12. Provide introductions and summaries.

The article is Laura Lavey & Charles Baruch, E-Filing: How to Craft Effective Motions and Briefs in the Digital Era. You can access it here.


November 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Richard A. Matasar Symposium, The Future of Legal and Higher Education

Richard A. Matasar Symposium, The Future of Legal and Higher Education, 66 Syracuse L. Rev. 419-729 (2016).

(Scott Fruehwald)

November 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Did the Pilgrims Eat?

Here’s how Edward Winslow described the first Thanksgiving feast in a letter to a friend:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

So venison was a major ingredient, as well as fowl, but that likely included pheasants, geese, and duckTurkeys are a possibility, but were not a common food in that time. Pilgrims grew onions and herbsCranberries and currants would have been growing wild in the area, and watercress may have still been available if the hard frosts had held off, but there’s no record of them having been served. In fact, the meal was probably quite meat-heavy.

Likewise, walnuts, chestnuts, and beechnuts were abundant, as were sunchokesShellfish were common, so they probably played a part, as did beans, pumpkins, squashes, and corn (served in the form of bread or porridge), thanks to the Wampanoags.

You can read more here at New


November 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five Reasons to Date Lawyers

Last January, Cosmopolitan listed five reasons to date lawyers (here):

  1. Lawyers are witty and well mannered
  2. They always look good
  3. They have financial stability and good prospects
  4. They're very supportive
  5. They love discussions and arguments, so you never get bored

We’ll leave it up to the reader to decide whether the author knows many lawyers. In its March issue, Cosmo discussed what it’s like to date a lawyer. The analysis is a bit mixed, though still generally positive. (here).

Full disclosure: I married a lawyer and couldn’t have made a better match.


November 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Using Cognitive Psychology to Improve Student Performance, Part Six: Putting it All Together II by Louis Schulze

Louis Schulze has just posted the last in a series of posts on how to improve student performance:

Using Cognitive Psychology to Improve Student Performance, Part Six: Putting it All Together II by Louis Schulze.  Excerpts:

"[A]s a precursor to this post, I’ll say this: Law schools need to stop believing (and investing) in quick fixes and magic bullets. (Further, if a school’s median incoming LSAT is poor, no single, siloed, non-integrated, or externalized program can magically improve the bar pass rate to 94%. Magic wands cannot cure questionable admissions practices. Claims to the contrary exist solely to skimp on supportive measures while ignoring reality). Instead, any earnest effort to bolster bar passage requires a serious, rigorous, multi-faceted program contextualized within doctrinal learning."  [And, is based on educational research on how students learn, as Professor Schulze has emphasized throughout this series.]

"In a hurried effort to stem the tide of crashing bar pass rates, some law schools have implemented stop-gap measures designed to prevent future rate decreases. Too many schools have done so by buying into the “one-size-fits-all” silver bullet methods, usually by slapping together an isolated, siloed final semester bar prep class. Lacking expertise in the specific disciplines of bar preparation and academic support, deans and faculty find themselves attracted to relatively inexpensive programs offered by independent contractors or outside companies who slickly boast of 95% pass rates and promises of turning each 145 LSAT student into a 150 MBE score. Like the self-help guru cottage industry of the 1970s, these gurus are long on talk and short on substance.

What’s wrong with the gurus? First, they deprive students of self-regulated learning. One of the most important facets of learning is that students manage their own learning, understand their own weaknesses, and plan how to improve. Bar exam gurus undermine this by offering “tutoring.” That word sounds terrific to faculty and students but it’s actually one of the least effective methods of learning law. Tutoring outsources the responsibility of learning to the tutor, thus undermining the student’s development and use of self-regulation. When a student suspects that she’s not getting it, she ignores that problem, and does nothing about it, because she’s sure the tutor is on top of it. The weaknesses, therefore, never get remediated. You’ll actually never see the word “tutor” used in any FIU Law AEP information."

This has been an excellent series on how students learn.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, FIU has used the method to achieve the highest bar pass rate for first-time takers on the 2016 Florida bar exam.

(Scott Fruehwald)


November 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lessons in Avoiding Ambiguity

The Michigan Bar Journal (Nov. 2016) has reprinted an article by the late Richard Wydick giving eleven examples of common ambiguities in drafting.

Each illustrates a pitfall and explains how to side step it. Two sample lessons: (1) Put the modifier as close to the word you want to modify as you can. (2) Always use the comma after the next-to-last item in a series.

You can access the article here.


November 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

California’s Bar Exam Passage Rate Reaches 32-Year Low

Above the Law, California’s Bar Exam Passage Rate Reaches 32-Year Low

"Save for a few states, bar passage rates have continued to decline nationwide, and many have been waiting to see if California’s passage rates for the July 2016 exam would tank as badly as they did in July 2015, which were the worst the state had seen in nearly three decades. If you thought last year was bad, just wait until you see this year’s results.

According to a press release from the State Bar of California, the overall pass rate for the July 2016 exam was 43 percent, while the pass rate for first-time takers was 56 percent. In July 2015, the overall pass rate was 46.6 percent, and the pass rate for first-time takers was 60 percent. Although California’s overall pass rate dropped by 3.6 percentage points, its examinees seemed to be more able than test-takers in other states. The state’s mean scaled MBE score was 1421 compared with the national average of 1403.

Perhaps that bright spot ought to be taken with a grain of salt, because this is the lowest overall pass rate California has seen for the July administration of the bar since results were released in the fall of 1986, when only 44.4 percent of all test-takers passed the exam. The state hasn’t seen an overall pass rate this low in 32 years. In fact, this passage rate is historically mediocre — it’s actually the third-lowest summer passage rate the state has seen since 1951, when the July passage rate was just 37.6 percent."

(Scott Fruehwald)

November 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Speaking of Stories and Law by Linda H. Edwards

Speaking of Stories and Law by Linda H. Edwards.


A recurring question in narrative scholarship has been the relationship of narrative to law. Most narrative scholars agree that stories are central to law. As Stephen Paskey recently pointed out, stories are more than a tool for persuasion. They are embedded in law’s very structure. But how does that work? Are rules just stories articulated in a different form?

We have barely begun to explore narrative’s roles, but it is already clear that, in the words of Meryl Streep, “it’s complicated.” A conceptual map of what we’ve learned so far can help us unpack the complexity. Otherwise we may run into two problems: We may be less likely to understand and appreciate each other’s work, and we may have trouble thinking clearly about how law and narrative relate.

This article takes a first run at a conceptual map, one that honors the work of narrative scholars of various stripes and explains how the strands in this rich body of work interrelate. With that proposed structure in mind, the article then offers some thoughts about how stories relate to rules. It argues that rules are not the opposite of stories, nor are they just stories in a different form. Rather, at every level of their creation, justification, interpretation, and application, rules are constructed from multiple narrative influences. Understanding these influences will produce judges better able to make good decisions and lawyers better able to perfect their craft. Much work remains to be done, but as the map demonstrates, we are well on our way.

(Scott Fruehwald)

November 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 10 Commandments of good brief writing

Thanks to Keith Lee over at the always informative blog Associate's Mind for finding these published remarks by Justice Maria Rivera of the California Court of Appeals that she delivered during a California Bar Association meeting several years ago.  As Justice Rivera notes up front, the ultimate goal of every brief writer is to help "spare the judge the necessity of engaging in any work, mental or physical."  With that in mind, Justice Rivera offers the following "Ten Commandments of Brief Writing": 

  1. This is the first, and the greatest commandment: Be scrupulously honest in describing both the law and the facts.
  2. Know your judge(s). 
  3. Never use ridicule or sarcasm.
  4. Avoid attempts at humor.
  5. Be a good storyteller.
  6. Use two kinds of arguments: those that persuade and those that support.
  7. Base your persuasive arguments in the facts.
  8. Embrace—do not duck—the weaknesses in your case.
  9. Write from an outline.
  10. Take the time to read good writing.

You can read Justice Rivera's full remarks here.


November 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump University Case Settles

A few days ago, we reported that the parties declared themselves open to reaching a settlement (here). They have since reached a $25 million settlement. President-elect Trump tweeted:

“The ONLY bad thing about winning the Presidency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but winning trial on Trump U. Too bad!”

You can read more here at Politico.


November 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Will the Billable Hour Be Alive in 2026?

Although this measuring device is growing less fashionable, consultant Kevin Bielawski at Attorney at Work, believes it will survive, because:

  • An unwillingness by some law firms (or partners within firms) to offer pricing alternatives.
  • A law firm dependence on billable hour targets.
  • Cost accounting that typically drives law firm profitability calculations.
  • Clients that are still more comfortable with billable hour arrangements.
  • Clients addicted to the billable hour data they mine internally or receive from their e-billing vendors, allowing for simple quantitative comparisons.
  • Sophisticated or complex legal work that warrants an hourly billing arrangement.
  •  (ljs)
  • Still, changes are afoot. To find out more, please click here.


November 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

International Advice on Handing Out Business Cards

From, Above the Law, here’s some important advice:

For those of us who work with other cultures, especially Asian, the exchange of business cards is ceremonial. You are expected to receive a card with both hands and look at it. (You can’t do that with a smartphone.) Not looking at the card before putting it away is considered rude. That business card symbolizes the giving and receiving in a relationship. Again, not something you can do with a smartphone. Just the simple sentence “Here’s my card” or the simple question “May I please have your business card?” connects people.

The article is Business Cards Are Alive and Well, by Jill Switzer. It offers a wide range of reasons why you should carry and use business cards. You can access it here.


November 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Develop Analytical Skills by Developing Your Creativity

The fact is that creativity is crucial to the development of analytical abilities that we spend so much time focusing on. Working on one and not the other is like buying a really expensive sports coat, but ignoring the fact that you are wearing Crocs. . . .

In fact, learning, memory, and creativity are the same fundamental process directed with a different focus,” says [author and educational consultant Tony] Buzan. “The art and science of memory is about developing the capacity to quickly create images chat link disparate ideas. Creativity is the ability to form similar connections between disparate images and to create something new and hurl it into the future so it becomes a poem, or a building, or a dance, or a novel. Creativity is, in a sense, future memory.” If the essence of creativity is linking disparate facts and ideas, then the more facility you have making associations, and the more facts and ideas you have at your disposal, the better you’ll be at coming up with new ideas.

You can read more at Above the Law (here).


November 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

How Important is Visual Storytelling?

Very. From the National Law Journal:

Visual storytelling is here to stay, and legal content needs to get on board.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That phrase was coined in the early 1900s, before neuroscience revealed that the human brain processes information 60,000 times faster than text. You do the math.

This is why visual storytelling is so important. Our brains are more accustomed to processing images—90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, as is 93% of all human communication. Simply put, we need to work a lot harder to process text. And we are worse at it, some argue, than we used to be.

With the Internet and what seems like 24/7 screen time, the average attention span has fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 in 2000, according to a study done by Microsoft. This means text without images faces some very tough odds. We easily tire and grow bored without visual stimulation. And if there are no eyeballs on your content, what is the point of putting it out?

Photos, graphics, charts, art, etc. are vital to any content a lawyer or law firm publishes, in any medium. And yet few firms have embraced visual storytelling.

You can read more here.


November 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

110 College and University Presidents Urge Trump to Condemn Harassment, Hate, Violence

From Inside Higher Ed:

One hundred and ten college and university presidents have issued a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump urging him to forcefully “condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name, which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office.”

Is your institution’s president a signatory? To find out, please click here.


November 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)