Wednesday, January 24, 2018

preLaw Magazine highlights Suffolk U. School of Law's emphasis on "practice-ready" training for the 21st century

The Winter 2018 edition of preLaw Magazine has a very nice profile on Suffolk University School of Law's efforts to develop a practice-ready curriculum that focuses on the intersection of law and technology including experiential clinical offerings such as The Legal Innovation & Technology Lab and the Clinical Innovation and Technology Fellowship in which participants will explore ways to use technology to deliver more efficient legal services to clients. Here's an excerpt from the article:

How Suffolk is redefining practice-ready


It may be cliché to tout that your law school produces practice-ready lawyers, but the folks at Suffolk University Law School are redefining what that term means in the 21st century. By introducing concepts such as design thinking, lean thinking, process improvement and tech leveraging into its curriculum and clinics, Suffolk University has secured its position as one of the most innovative forces in legal education.


“It has long been a part of our DNA to give students the knowledge and skills they need to hit the round running,” said Andrew Perlman, dean at the Boston law school. “But what other kinds of skills do legal professionals need in the 21st century?”


Suffolk University is nationally recognized as a leader in experiential learning, offering numerous  opportunities for students to enhance their skills in legal writing, trial advocacy and dispute resolution. During their three years at Suffolk University, students have several opportunities to participate in the school’s legal clinics.


Similar experiential opportunities abound at law schools across the nation, but what sets Suffolk University apart is its zeal for legal innovation and technology.


“Our definition of practice-ready needs to evolve over time,” Perlman said. “We need to teach our students all of the skills that are traditionally taught in law school but also teach them all of the skills that are relevant for legal professionals today.”


. . . .

You can read the full article from preLaw Magazine here.


January 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Howard University School of Law seeking to hire a clinical admin director

Here are the details, such as they are:

Howard is hiring a new administrative coordinator in the Clinical Law Center. A link to the job posting has not been created yet, but if anyone knows of potentially interested candidates who have legal administrative experience and a commitment to social justice work, they should send their resume and cover letter to Bernice Ines at  The position requires a B.A., associate’s degree or equivalent experience.


If an interested candidate has any questions, please reach out to Bernice Ines, above, or Valerie Schneider, below.


Oh behalf of Howard University School of Law, 


Valerie Schneider

Associate Professor of Law

Interim Director of the Clinical Law Center

Howard University School of Law

2900 Van Ness Street NW

Washington, DC 20008

(202) 806-8119


January 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

For a New Year: An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future by Michael Madison

Michael Madison has posted a five-part article on legal education and law practice.  (beginning here)

"Here’s the general point. For several different, intersecting reasons – the economics of law practice, the economics of higher education, developments in information technology, international influences, changes to government institutions and practices, changes in the public sphere, changes in social structure (and/or revealed attributes of social structures), changes in the design of professional practice – many quarters of the legal profession shared a deep sense that something critical is upon us, that something critical is upon us particularly as law schools and law teachers, and that something critical is emerging at scale, not just in local classrooms. What’s the point of going to law school? What’s the point of practicing law? What are we trying to teach?"

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Harvard Law students develop AI program to help lawyers draft contracts

Harvard Law Today is reporting on a new computer program developed by four Harvard Law School students that uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers draft contracts. 

HLS students harness artificial intelligence to revolutionize how lawyers draft and manage contracts


Four Harvard Law students have their heads in the cloud—and they think the rest of the legal profession should join them. With their powerful new search engine called Evisort that harnesses cloud storage and artificial intelligence, they hope to revolutionize the costly and labor-intensive way that lawyers currently handle contracts and other transactional work, liberating them for more creative and interesting tasks.


Developed by the students over the past two years, Evisort is “like Google for legal contracts,” says Jerry Ting ’18, co-founder and CEO, who came up with the idea as an undergraduate. While artificial intelligence is the cutting-edge of automating labor-intensive tasks such as document review, it hasn’t yet been widely applied to contracts. Evisort jumps into that gap by enabling lawyers to quickly sort through thousands of contracts and other documents to unlock key insights for transactional work. It has the potential to greatly enhance efficiency, improve accuracy, and save millions of dollars a year, the students and their supporters agree.


. . . . 


Evisort first converts scanned documents to searchable text—nothing new here. But it’s the next steps that have a revolutionary application for lawyers. Using artificial intelligence, Evisort sorts through all the contracts, categorizing them by subject area and type of contract, and identifies provisions within each contract. A whole range of key data is extracted such as party names, dates, and size of the deal.


Let’s say a salesperson in the middle of closing a high-value deal comes to general counsel seeking guidance on negotiating a provision on the limitation of liability. Right now, the lawyer can do a word search for “limitation on liability” among the contracts the legal team has access to in order to find relevant contracts, but she would have to open each one to read it and see if it’s helpful. Evisort, however, instantly scans every contract in the entire company that includes a limitation on liability—pulling up only those within certain date or other parameters that the lawyer wants, such as only within sales agreements. It presents this data in chart form showing when the contract was signed, how much money was involved in the deal, the language of the limitation on liability—without the lawyer having to read each document.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


January 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips for succeeding in the second semester of your 1L year

Law school, especially the first year, is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time for the lessons to sink in and proverbial "light bulb" to switch on. It means that for many students, after the first battery of exams is over and the second semester has begun, they're still working their way up the learning curve.  And that means many of those students may be disappointed with their first semester grades and can easily become discouraged. But you have to remind yourself that the moment when all the material finally "clicks" occurs at different points in the semester for everyone. You'll get there, it just takes time.

To help keep 1L students motivated so they can push through the disappointment of first semester grades, this column from the National Jurist Magazine offers the following tips:

  • Focus on exams and your exam-taking techniques from day one. Treat the writing of exams like it's an additional substantive course in your schedule. Analyze what went wrong, what you did right, and schedule time into your weekly study routine to take practice exams. (From my perspective, this can't be emphasized enough - the need to treat exam writing like a separate, discrete skill that must be practiced over and over again in order to improve).
  • Related to that, develop a relationship with your professors. If you didn't do well on first semester exams, make appointments to meet with each of them in order to understand why. Even if you did well, meet with then anyway so you can better understand what went right and why.

Check out the rest of the column here.


January 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Statistical Exploration: Analyzing the Relationship (If Any) between Externship Participation and Bar Exam Scores by Scott Johns

A Statistical Exploration: Analyzing the Relationship (If Any) between Externship Participation and Bar Exam Scores by Scott Johns.


Relatively recently, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) claims that experiential legal education might negatively harm bar passage performance. Nevertheless, experiential learning opportunities, and, in particular, externships, are some of the most meaningful educational opportunities available to law school students. That raises an important empirical question, given the increasing emphasis of legal educators in providing more experiential learning opportunities for law students and the widespread participation of students, especially in externship programs, as one type of experiential learning opportunity. Do externship experiences have demonstrable value in positively influencing bar exam outcomes, or, as the NCBE seems to suggest, do externships negatively impact bar exam outcomes? This article walks step-by-step through the process of evaluating whether externship participation at our law school has any statistical relationship to bar exam scores, particularly for academically-struggling law school students. Initially, using longitudinal bar passage data over a three-year period, this study observes that students participating in externships positively outperform non-participants in bar passage rates, particularly for those students that struggled academically in law school. However, based on further statistical evaluation using regression analysis, this article finds that externship participation (to include number of externships taken) has no observable statistical relationship to bar exam scores, either positive or negative, leading to the conclusion that the NCBE’s claim, at least based on our bar takers with respect to externship participation, seems to be without merit.

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgia State seeking to hire a faculty member for its health law legals services clinic

Here are the details:

Georgia State University

College of Law

2018 Clinical Faculty Recruitment

HeLP Legal Services Clinic


Georgia State University’s College of Law seeks highly qualified applicants for a full-time clinical faculty position in its interdisciplinary Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic.  The successful candidate may also be appointed as Director of the Health Law Partnership.  Launched in 2004, HeLP is a community-based medical-legal collaboration among the law school, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society (see HeLP provides legal assistance to low-income families and their children who are patients at Children’s hospitals on civil matters that have the potential to improve children’s health and quality of life, such as laws related to public benefits, family welfare, housing, education, consumer rights, employment, disability, and permanency planning.  The HeLP Clinic, Launched in 2007, teaches interdisciplinary collaborative problem-solving to students of law, medicine, and graduate students of social work, bioethics, and public health (see


Appointment could begin as early as spring 2018.    The position is a non-tenure track twelve-month clinical faculty appointment, with faculty status, a renewable contract, and job security commensurate with tenured faculty.  Clinical faculty have voting rights and serve on faculty committees at the College of Law.  Clinical faculty also teach non-clinic courses consistent with their expertise and interests. 

Responsibilities of the position include:

  • Supervising law students in casework and clinic projects;
  • Supervising students from other professions and coordinating with other Georgia State University units and other academic institutions in Atlanta for the participation of non-law graduate students in the HeLP clinic;
  • Sharing responsibility for developing and teaching seminar sessions;
  • Performing administrative responsibilities associated with the HeLP and HeLP Clinic;
  • Overseeing HeLP and related functions, including coordinating with HeLP partners;
  • Collaborating with HeLP partners and others in the education of medical and other partners and constituents, and conducting research and policy advocacy consistent with the mission and components of HeLP.  

Qualifications for the position include:

  • A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and a strong academic record;
  • Excellent experience in legal practice and lawyering skills;
  • Membership in or ability to become a member of the State Bar of Georgia; 
  • 5 plus years of post-J.D. legal experience;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and an interest in clinical teaching;
  • A proven record of (or clear demonstrated potential for) successful teaching and professional engagement;
  • Prior medical, health-related, or legislative and policy experience a plus.

Part of a comprehensive research university, the College of Law is a dynamic urban-centered law school located in the heart of Atlanta with approximately 650 full- and part-time law students.  The clinic is located in the Center for Clinical Programs, an in-house suite of clinic offices located in the new college of law building. 


We encourage applications from candidates who would diversify our faculty.  Georgia State University, a unit of the University System of Georgia, is an equal opportunity educational institution and an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  As required by Georgia State University, an appointment is contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background investigation.


Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.


Required Documents:


  • Letter of interest
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Complete law school transcript
  • At least two letters of reference
  • Sample of Written Work (max. 10 pages)


Please submit applications to:


Prof. Leslie Wolf

Director, Center for Law, Health and Society, Center for Law, Health and

Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee

College of Law, Georgia State University

P.O. Box 4037

Atlanta, GA 30302-4037

Telephone:  404-413-9164



January 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 19, 2018

LSAC and AALS form partnership to promote student applications to law school


Interested in Law School? Click Here

The Law School Admission Council and the Association of American Law Schools are launching a new website and social media campaign that will make the case for getting a law degree.


Two of legal education’s biggest players are teaming up to ease the path to law school for interested high school and college students.


The Law School Admission Council—which administers the Law School Admission Test and serves as the central clearinghouse for law school applications—and the Association of American Law Schools—which counts nearly all American Bar Association-accredited law schools as members—have launched a new partnership aimed at getting information about legal education into the hands of prospective students earlier in their academic careers.


The organizations plan to launch a new website and social media campaign that will provide information about what happens on law campuses, what graduates can do with a law degree, and how to apply. The groups also plan to bolster their outreach efforts with pre-law advisers across the country to help counter the narrative that law school is too expensive and jobs are too scarce.


“We want to better communicate to prospective law students and pre-law advisers about what’s going on in law schools today,” said AALS executive director Judith Areen. “Some of the criticism comes from people who are a little out of date.”


Areen and LSAC president Kellye Testy insist the initiative isn’t simply about boosting the number of people who apply to law school. Rather, they say the goal is to attract better candidates with a more comprehensive understanding of the opportunities a legal education creates. Moreover, they want to get prospective applicants thinking about law school as early as high school. The AALS is conducting a study of how and when college students make the decision to apply, or not to apply, to law school.

 Continue reading here.


January 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Brooklyn Law School teams up with accounting firm to teach students business skills

BLS is among a small but growing group of law schools (here, here and here) which have sought partnerships, in this case with Big 8 accounting firm Deloitte Haskins, to teach students business skills. Partnering with Deloitte has resulted in an intensive, 4 day mini "boot-camp" that's intended to provide students with an understanding of business basics such as reading financial statements and how to develop a business plan so that they are better able to interact with and represent business clients once they get into practice.  You can check out a description of the course here at the BLS website while this story in The Brooklyn Eagle more fully describes the program:

Brooklyn Law School, in collaboration with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory (Deloitte) and John P. Oswald, President and CEO of Capital Trust Group and a member of the Law School's Board of Trustees, is today holding its sixth annual "Business Boot Camp," a four-day intensive training program designed to enhance the business and financial savvy of its students and to better meet the needs of today's evolving global business marketplace. A "mini MBA" course, the Boot Camp has been developed and taught by top business professionals and the law school's corporate and business law faculty and graduates. Since launching in 2013, more than 500 students have completed the course, for which they earn credit.


Led by professor Michael Gerber, an internationally recognized expert in bankruptcy law, Business Boot Camp offers students instruction on a range of issues that business professionals regularly encounter and increasingly lawyers must be familiar with, including developing a business plan, reading financial statements, valuing assets, raising capital and meeting business goals while complying with the law.


Throughout the course, presentations and panel discussions will feature industry experts and alumni who will focus on a host of issues ranging from cybersecurity to how to buy and sell a business.


"The classic law school experience teaches students to 'think like a lawyer.' That is essential, but there are times when practicing lawyers need to reach outside the traditional legal toolkit and also think like a business person," said Gerber. "There are common issues that all business professionals confront, and Brooklyn Law School's Business Boot Camp introduces students — even those who have never studied business, finance or economics — to the vocabulary and framework they will need to help clients deal with those issues."

. . . .

Continue reading here.


January 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Here come the quantum computers

If you thought super-computers like Watson were revolutionizing the workplace (and law practice in particular), you ain't seen nothing yet. Read this short piece from today's New York Times on "quantum computers" and their predicted impact on both education and the workplace. There's also a video below that explains quantum computing for the uninitiated.  But first, here's a salient quote from the NYT article:


[IBM’s C.E.O. Ginni Rometty says]: “Every job will require some technology, and therefore we’ll need to revamp education. The K-12 curriculum is obvious, but it’s the adult retraining — lifelong learning systems — that will be even more important.”


Artificial intelligence “is the opportunity of our time, and skills are the issue of our time. Some jobs will be displaced, but 100 percent of jobs will be augmented by A.I.,” added Rometty. Technology companies “are inventing these technologies, so we have the responsibility to help people adapt to it — and I don’t mean just giving them tablets or P.C.s, but lifelong learning systems.”



January 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Updated Analysis Of Law School Attrition Data — 2018 by Jerry Organ

Jerry Organ has posted a detailed study of law school attrition data on the Tax Prof Blog.

Here is the last paragraph:

"While we still do not know for sure how attrition distributes across the profile of a given entering class within a given law school, the data presented here, showing increasing attrition as law school median LSAT decreases, would suggest that students on the lower end of the distribution of a law school’s entering class profile are more likely to experience academic attrition than students on the higher end of the distribution."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

U. Michigan is seeking a law fellow for its Community & Economic Development Clinic

Here are the details:



The University of Michigan Law Clinical Fellows Program seeks applicants for a fellowship in its Community and Economic Development Clinic (CEDC). This is a two year appointment with a possibility of extension for a third year.

The Clinical Fellows Program is designed to allow attorneys to explore the possibility of a career in clinical teaching and fully support them in that endeavor. Michigan Clinical Fellows gain valuable experience and mentoring in clinical pedagogy and in their substantive area of practice. Their duties include clinical teaching and student supervision in conjunction with a clinic director, and participation in the operation and development of the clinic in which they teach. Support is provided for personal and professional development and scholarship.

The CEDC provides transactional legal services to nonprofit and community organizations, social enterprises, and neighborhood-based businesses and entrepreneurs in Detroit and the metro Detroit area. The Clinic works with both start-up and established clients. New organizations seek assistance in formation, governance, tax and regulatory compliance. More established organizations seeks the CEDC’s assistance to accommodate their organizations’ and programs’ growth: draft and negotiate contract and leases; create worker cooperatives and social enterprises; counsel regarding land use, permits and other regulations; provide tax advice on income-generating activities; advise on employment issues; counsel on risk management; and research and advise on intellectual property issues.

The fellow will work with entrepreneurs and small businesses and partner with faculty at the Ross School of Business, the Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Computer Science and Engineering, as well as other schools and departments, through the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, a new initiative in the CEDC supported by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.

The ideal applicant will have a minimum of 3 years experience in at least one of the CEDC’s core areas of practice, a strong interest in clinical teaching, a demonstrated commitment to engage in public interest lawyering through transactional work for nonprofit and community organizations, and potential for scholarship and success as a clinical teacher. Candidates must hold a J.D. degree and be eligible for licensure in Michigan. Michigan’s Clinical Fellows salaries and benefits are very
competitive. The fellowship begins in July, 2018.

Questions can be directed to Associate Dean David Santacroce at or 734-763-4319. We will begin reviewing applications on February 12, 2018, but will accept applications until the position is filled. Applicants should send a letter of interest and résumé to:

John W. Lemmer
Experiential Education Business Administrator
The University of Michigan Law School
701 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer.


January 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lou is doing good . . . .

As a reader of this blog, you'll be very happy to know (as, of course, all of us are) that Lou is back home, resting comfortably and in good spirits. That's the best news we've heard all week.

- The staff of the Legal Skills Prof Blog.

January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Don't humblebrag during job interviews - science proves it doesn't work

Not only doesn't it work as a job seeking strategy, this new study by Harvard behavioral scientists found that it actually backfires - causing those on the receiving end of "humblebragging" to perceive you as insincere and manipulative (not exactly the image you want to portray during a job interview or any other career enhancing opportunity).

The results of the study, entitled Humblebragging: A Distinct—And Ineffective—Self-Presentation Strategy (boy, that's a refreshingly descriptive title), have just been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology here.  From the abstract:

Self-presentation is a fundamental aspect of social life, with myriad critical outcomes dependent on others’ impressions. We identify and offer the first empirical investigation of a prevalent, yet understudied, self-presentation strategy: humblebragging. Across 9 studies, including a week-long diary study and a field experiment, we identify humblebragging—bragging masked by a complaint or humility—as a common, conceptually distinct, and ineffective form of self-presentation. We first document the ubiquity of humblebragging across several domains, from everyday life to social media. We then show that both forms of humblebragging—complaint-based or humility-based—are less effective than straightforward bragging, as they reduce liking, perceived competence, compliance with requests, and financial generosity. Despite being more common, complaint-based humblebrags are less effective than humility-based humblebrags, and are even less effective than simply complaining. We show that people choose to deploy humblebrags particularly when motivated to both elicit sympathy and impress others. Despite the belief that combining bragging with complaining or humility confers the benefits of each strategy, we find that humblebragging confers the benefits of neither, instead backfiring because it is seen as insincere.



January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching by Serge Martinez

My former colleague, Serge Martinez, has written an excellent article on cognitive science and clinical teaching: Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching.


"When, not that long ago, I was a brand new clinic professor attending my first clinical conference, I heard clinical supervision described this way: Imagine you have been an excellent professional taxi driver for some time. Now, imagine you have to get into the back seat and let a beginning taxi driver take the wheel. You have to get her to take you safely to your destination without giving her directions. You need to help her understand the rules of the road and the operation of the vehicle with as little explicit instruction as possible. This sounds like a terrible idea for road safety, but any clinical professor will recognize that the experienced taxi driver in the example is practicing "nondirective" supervision of the trainee. At the time I heard this allegory, I was not told why it was the right way to teach a novice, or what the benefits (or alternatives) to nondirection were. It was simply explained to me that this was the way of clinical education, and it did not occur to me until many years later to ask why this was the best way, or how we arrived at this pedagogical theory."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vanderbilt is hiring a clinical professor

Vanderbilt University Law School is seeking to hire a clinical professor to work in their First Amendment clinic. Here are the details:

Vanderbilt University Law School seeks applicants for a full-time clinical faculty position. The successful applicant will design and direct a First Amendment Clinic focused on speech, press, and assembly rights. In addition to teaching a live-client clinic the successful applicant will also have the opportunity to teach a non-clinical course and to engage in writing as well as community and professional service. The First Amendment Clinic is funded for an initial five-year period, after which continuation is contingent on securing additional funding. Please send a cover letter, resume, clinic proposal/research agenda, and list of references to:


The final candidate for this position must successfully complete a background check. Vanderbilt University has a strong institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining an academically and culturally diverse community of faculty. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups, in particular, are encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.


January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Five Habits of Extreme Learners

What are extreme learners? According to one  small study:

They loved to learn. Like extreme athletes, they were passionate and fearless. Instead of letting institutions define what and how they learned, they engineered their own personal ecosystems of learning and connected their learning to earning in creative ways.

Here are their five habits:

1.) They were self-motivated and found connections between their learning and working, both volunteer and paid.

2.) They maintained a strong sense of curiosity across disciplines, often spanning the arts and the sciences. These learners are the type of students prized by many universities and companies: Students interested in a wide range of topics, and deeply knowledgeable in a few topics.

3.) They were networkers.

4.) They were technology savants, accessing a vast world of online learning for resources, contacts, courses, platforms, and tools.

5.) They developed their social-emotional skills, learning to work well in groups and taking on leadership and teaching roles.

How do extreme learners perform in life?

These extreme learners had an entrepreneurial spirit. While they may take on jobs in established companies, they will also do well in the "gig economy," where self-starters fill in periods of underemployment. They developed that spirit as entrepreneurs of their own learning, seeking out projects, identifying supporters, and applying lessons from one experience to the next.

For more explanations and examples, please click here (Education Week).


January 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips from a pro on allotting time to study for the bar exam

In this guest post at National Juris MagazineAshley Heidemann, the owner of JD Advising (a law school applicant, student advising, and bar prep exam company), provides some planning tips on the number of hours and how many weeks you'll need to adequately prep for the bar exam. And if you were planning to take it in February and haven't started prepping already, you should seriously consider deferring until July.  That's because Ashley advises that, as rough guidelines, you should plan on the following at a minimum:

  • 200 hours just to study the law.
  • An additional 200 hours to take practice questions and tests.
  • Begin your studying routine at least 9-10 weeks before the exam (assuming you can devote full-time, 40-50 hours per week studying).
  • Roll that back to 15-20 weeks before the exam if you're working part time and can only devote 20 or so hours per week to studying.
  • The above estimates assume quality, actively engaged study time - not just passively attending bar review lectures, etc.

You can read Ashley's full column here.


January 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Circuit Court Decisions: The Vast Majority are Unanimous

Federal Circuit Court decisions are overwhelmingly unanimous:

 The data on the pages below confirm that very few dissenting and concurring opinions accompany the decisions issued by the courts of appeals in the United States. Data has been collected for 12 of the 13 circuits—the First through the Eleventh Circuits, and the DC Circuit. No information was available for the Federal Circuit.

 ‘Unpublished’ decisions constituted nearly 90 percent of all dispositions by courts of appeals between 2011 and 2016. There were 151,771 unpublished decisions out of 172,680 total dispositions (87.89% of the total). I have assumed that dissents rarely, if ever, accompany unpublished decisions. Between 2011 and 2016, counting both ‘published’ and ‘unpublished’ decisions, the courts of appeals issued a total of 172,680 decisions on the merits.

Only 2,220 of these decisions (or 1.3% of the total) included a dissent. Between 2011 and 2016, the courts of appeals issued a total of 20,909 ‘published’ decisions. Only 2,220 of these decisions (10.6% of the total) included a dissent.

From Hon. Harry T. Edwards, Collegial Decision Making in the U.S. Courts of Appeals (November 15, 2017). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-47.  You can access the study here.


January 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sixth biennial transactional law and legal skills conference in June - call for proposals

Emory is seeking for proposals to present at the sixth biennial conference on transactional law and legal skills the school is hosting in April. The theme of this year's conference is To Teach is to Learn Twice:  Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education. 

Here are the details:


Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce its sixth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills. The conference, entitled “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

Four New and Different Things about the Conference:

• Presentation of the inaugural Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills. Note: For information about how to nominate yourself or someone else for this award, please visit here.  

• New 45-minute “Try-This” time slots for individual presenters to demonstrate in-class activities.
• Reduced registration fee for new transactional law and skills educators.
• Reduced registration fee for adjunct professors.


We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5 p.m. on Monday, February 16, 2018.

We welcome you to present on any aspect of transactional law and skills education as long as you view it through the lens of our theme. We expect to receive proposals about theories, programs, curricula, courses, approaches, methods, and specific assignments or exercises that foster excellence in transactional law and skills education. In other words, what works best (excellence in teaching) to achieve particular student outcomes (excellence in learning)? If it’s true that “to teach is to learn twice,” what wisdom can you impart to others who may want to replicate or imitate what you are doing? How have you made yourself a better teacher? And how have you assured that you are achieving the best student outcomes?

Try-This Sessions. Each Friday afternoon “Try-This Session” will be 45-minutes long and will feature one classroom activity and one individual presenter.

Panels. Each Saturday session will be approximately 90 minutes long and feature a panel presenting two or more topics grouped together for synergy.

Please submit the proposal form electronically via the Emory Law website here before 5 p.m. on February 16, 2018.


As in prior years, some of the conference proceedings as well as the materials distributed by the speakers will be published in Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, a publication of the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law of The University of Tennessee, a cosponsor of the conference.


Both attendees and presenters must register for the Conference and pay the appropriate registration fee: $220 (general); $200 (adjunct professor); or $185 (new teacher). Note: A new teacher is someone in their first three years of teaching.

The registration fee includes a pre-conference lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m., snacks, and a reception on June 1, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks on June 2. We are planning an optional dinner for attendees and presenters on Friday evening, June 1, at an additional cost of $50 per person.

Registration is now open for the Conference and the optional Friday night dinner at our Emory Law website here.


Attendees and presenters are responsible for their own travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Special hotel rates for conference participants are available at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, less than one mile from the conference site at Emory Law. Subject to availability, rates are $149 per night. Free shuttle transportation will be provided between the Emory Conference Center Hotel and Emory Law.

To make a reservation at the special conference rate, call the Emory Conference Center Hotel at 800.933.6679 and mention “The Emory Law Transactional Conference.” Note: The hotel’s special conference rate expires at the end of the day on May 18, 2018. If you encounter any technical difficulties in submitting your proposal or in registering online, please contact Kelli Pittman, Program Coordinator, at or 404.727.3382.

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Sue Payne                         Katherine Koops             Kelli Pittman
Executive Director         Assistant Director         Program Coordinator


January 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)