Thursday, September 8, 2016
Students at the University of Chicago shouldn’t expect them. From the Washington Times:
The University of Chicago has once again expressed its commitment to free speech, warning incoming freshmen not to expect any “trigger warnings” or safe spaces on campus where individuals can retreat from intellectual challenges.
In a letter sent to the class of 2020, the dean of students for undergraduates explained the private university’s “commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.”
“Members of our community are encouraged to speak, write, listen, challenge and learn, without fear of censorship. Civility and mutual respect are vital to all of us, and freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harass or threaten others,” Jay Ellison wrote, according to the letter obtained by Intellectual Takeout. “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion, and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.
You can read more here. Comments?
Among the note-taking apps surveyed in this NYT Personal Tech column are those that allow you to create a new "notebook" (complete with customized cover) for each subject or assignment you're tracking, choose from different styles of "paper" ((lined, unlined and specialized designs), add handwritten notes, sketches, photos, audio, video and then export it all via pdf format. Included are note-taking apps for both smartphones and tablets including stalwart Evernote (and it's iPad companion Penultimate), Notebook, Noteshelf (for tablets), and LectureNotes (Android and here for iOS).
Read a more detailed description of each of these apps here.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Economics, EQ, and Finance: the Next Frontier in Legal Education by Pamela Bucy Pierson.
Silly Lawsuits Department (IMHO). From the Guardian:
The number of lawsuits accusing Starbucks of deceiving its customers by serving them too much ice has fallen by one.
In June, a California man named Alexander Forouzesh filed a proposed class action suit alleging that customers ordering cold beverages from Starbucks received less liquid than advertised as ice could take up as much space as 10 fl oz.
But ordering a cold drink means it will be served with ice, according to US district judge Percy Anderson.
You can read more here (includes an excerpt from the judge’s opinion). In my experience, southerners like more ice than northerners.
Reflections on Contemporary Legal Education The Role of Case Analysis in an Increasingly Skills-Based Curriculum by Jennifer S. Bard
"Anyone who attended law school more than 15 years ago would likely be very surprised at today’s curriculum. The days when law school was a self-contained, threeyear period consisting entirely of 50-minute hours in which a professor might ask a single person questions about an appellate opinion for the entire class period are gone. Today, most professors bring the world of law practice into their rooms through guest lectures, field trips, or problem sets requiring students to apply what they have learned. Beyond what goes on in individual classes, all law students can experience a balance between courses devoted to analyzing cases and learning tools, like drafting and oral advocacy, that allow them to use their knowledge of the law for the benefit of their clients. Finally, today’s law students can get experience representing people with real legal problems, in closely supervised clinics, as well as working with practicing attorneys in work placements."
"Legal education has made these changes because it recognizes, in a way that legal education of the past did not, that a practicing lawyer must master skills very similar to other professionals — working in teams, developing and sticking to budgets, using technology effectively, and communicating complex information to people who are not experts. And the best way to get those skills is by combining direct instruction with experience in work settings long before graduation. The workplace has changed, and lawyers must change with it."
"Yet, law students are still assigned cases."
"Cases let students track the path of a legal argument preserved in an appellant opinion just as cadavers let medical students track the path of nerves in a preserved body."
"The study of cases is how lawyers acquire the knowledge and skill for which they are hired."
"Once learned in the first year, case analysis quickly becomes instinctual. . . . Yet, it is this foundation from the first year of law school that makes it possible to advance to the far more complex material, often involving interpretation of statutes and regulations in the second and third year. Today’s legal education, unlike that of the recent past, gives students many opportunities to bridge the skills of finding and interpreting the law, with those they will need to apply that knowledge in representing their clients. And it is representing clients, whether individuals, corporations, or government entities, that is the core activity of our profession. Legal education continues to evolve to provide students with more opportunities to learn how to succeed in today’s workplace, but it should always retain its focus on the clients who our students will soon represent."
(Scott Fruehwald) (hat tip: Tax Prof Blog)
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
From JDJournal (here)
If you’re changing industries, consider including a brief summary on your resume to explain your decision to change and how you’re a good fit for a new industry.
- Don’t include irrelevant work experience. You may have been a great summer camp counselor, but that’s not going to help you find a position with a new law firm. (I’m not sure about this one. Subjects like this may be ice-breakers in interviews.)
- Use the least amount of text possible. Having too much text can overwhelm whomever is reading your resume, so don’t use tiny font to fit everything into one page and cut down on the words you’re using (yes, again).
- If you took time off to raise a family or extensively travel, there’s no need to include that information on your resume.
- Avoid including your references on your resume. If the hiring manager wants to speak to your past employers, they will ask you for that information directly.
- Don’t use personal pronouns, such as “I,” “we,” “she,” “her,” etc. It is understood that everything is about you, so there is no need to use the first or third person to write about yourself.
- Skip talking about your hobbies. Sure, it may be pretty cool that you race sailboats over the weekend, but to the hiring manager, that’s a waste of their time to read. (As with # 1, I disagree with this one. Hobbies and personal interests can be topics for breaking the ice at interviews.)
- Avoid showing your age if you’re older. Yes, it’s illegal to discriminate based on age in the hiring process, but if you’re nervous about someone subconsciously doing so, skip including graduation years on your resume.
- Be sure to edit tenses when you’ve left a job. You don’t want to be using present tense for a past job. This will only confuse the person reading your resume.
- Avoid using company specific jargon. If your company, or even your industry if changing industries, uses specific acronyms or words, avoid these in your resume.
- Reasons you left a company or position should not be included on your resume. They’re usually not relevant to whoever is hiring you. If they do want to know, they’ll ask you during an interview.
- Be sure to have a professional email address, such as email@example.com. Not many hiring managers want to put their trust into someone with an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I Pass the Bar Exam?: Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance by Katherine A. Austin, Catherine Martin Christopher, and Darby Dickerson.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Georgetown University will give preference in admissions to the descendants of slaves owned by the Maryland Jesuits as part of its effort to atone for profiting from the sale of enslaved people.
Georgetown president John DeGioia told news outlets that the university in Washington, D.C., will implement the admissions preferences.
He says Georgetown will need to identify and reach out to descendants of slaves and recruit them to the university.
On Thursday morning, a university committee released a report that also called on its leaders to offer a formal apology for the university’s participation in the slave trade.
You can access more here at CBS News.
Congratulations to my co-editor Jim Levy on his recent article, Teaching the Digital Caveman: Rethinking the Use of Classroom Technology in Law School, 19 Chapman Law Review 241 (2016). (here) Prior to publication, the Institute for Law Teaching gave it the “Article of the Month” award. Jim’s thesis:
This Article is based on the premise that the most important skill we teach in law school, particularly in the first year, is how to “think like a lawyer.” The critical thinking and problem solving skills at the heart of “thinking like a lawyer” are arguably more important today than ever, given a job market where lawyers may increasingly find that only the most intellectually prepared get hired to handle the difficult tasks that cannot otherwise be commoditized and outsourced to cheaper, non-lawyer alternatives. In light of the substantial evidence that digital technologies can undermine the very skills we are trying to impart, we need to reassess the commonly held assumptions about how best to teach so-called “digital native” law students.
He recommends that “we reject popular stereotypes and clichés about how best to teach digital native law students, and instead employ a hybrid approach to classroom technology that blends traditional tools with new, digital ones in ways that better match our methods with the learning outcomes we seek.”
"Perspectives" is a Thomson Reuters publication that has a circulation of more than 4,000 readers. Here's your chance to earn a publishing credit by submitting a "micro" essay by October 1 on either (or both) of the topics explained below. 1. Here are the details:
The editors of Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing are still accepting micro essays and posters for the Fall issue. Submitting a very short essay or poster is a great opportunity for you to express an idea to your colleagues without investing a large amount of time. Submissions of micro essays and posters are welcome through September 30 for the Fall issue (volume 25).
Micro Essays: Submit 100 words or fewer on one or both of the topics below. Multiple submissions are welcome, and the best selections will be published in volume 25 (even anonymously). Be honest; be creative; let those words provoke or inspire you.
Digital Natives: Does this term accurately describe a new type of law student with unique learning needs or is it instead an urban myth based on stereotypes and false assumptions?
Print Matters?: We know that not everything is online -- but a lot is. How do we teach to this complicated publishing landscape? Do we even need to?
Posters: Did you design a poster for a conference or meeting this past year? Submit it for publication in Perspectives, so many more people can see it. Other than your already finished poster, we only require a paragraph about the poster and why you created it.
For examples of both these new Perspectives features, check out our newly published issue. You’ll find seven micro essays on our earlier prompt (Practice Ready), and two posters from the American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting in Philadelphia: http://info.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/pdf/perspec/2016-summer/2016-summer-16.pdf
To submit your micro essay or poster, go to the Perspectives website and scroll to the very bottom of the screen “Email Submissions.” http://info.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/signup/newsletters/perspectives/permissions.aspx
I have mentioned LegalEd before, but it is worth mentioning again because they keep adding new podcasts. "LegalED hosts an ever-growing collection of videos and teaching materials created, contributed to and curated by world-class teachers in their fields. The video collection (each 15 min or less) is designed for easy online viewing from anywhere at any time." Their podcasts range from administrative law to trial advocacy.
You can find their site here.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
We posted this game last August. It will help you look forward to your next faculty meeting:
Here is McSweeney’s First Faculty Meeting of the Year Bingo. Click here and you pull up a Bingo card. In each square are words or actions that a colleague may say or do. [ Examples: “critical thinking” “Faculty member laughs at own joke.”] Get five across or five down or five on a diagonal and mumble “Bingo!”
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Yet another ranking. According to the National Jurist, here are the 12 best value law schools. The methodology:
Employment, which accounts for 35 percent of the ranking, inched up. The average employment of the best value law schools increased from 79.4 percent to 80.3 percent. But all other factors worked in the opposite direction. Bar pass rates dropped slightly, and tuition and average debt increased by modest amounts.
The National Jurist also used a true tuition figure to identify the best value private schools. It did this by subtracting the school’s estimated average scholarship from tuition.
You can read more here. (ljs)
Private law schools
Drexel University Kline School of Law
Lincoln Memorial University
University of St. Thomas - Mn.
University of Tulsa
Vanderbilt Law School
Wake Forest University
Washington and Lee University
Friday, September 2, 2016
Professor Brian Galle, who is a prolific writer, has published The Law Review Submission Process: A Guide for (and by) the Perplexed. In Q&A format is deals with many issues. His answers are based on his knowledge, experience, and speculation. You can access it here.
Lots of hiring seems to be going on.
The University of Miami School of Law seeks to hire two full-time faculty members to teach Legal Communication and Research Skills (LComm) beginning August 2017. Each successful candidate will teach two sections of LComm I in the fall semester, and two sections of LComm II in the spring.
Candidates must have a J.D. degree from an accredited law school, excellent writing and analytical skills, and outstanding academic credentials. Preferred qualifications include prior teaching experience, and experience in law practice or judicial clerkships. Additional details are provided below and in the attached disclosure form.
Applicants should email a cover letter and resume with three references to Professor Stephen Schnably, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at email@example.com (with a copy to the Committee's assistant, Detra Davis Fleming, at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Suffolk University Law School in Boston invites applications for a full-time position as a legal writing faculty member beginning in the fall semester of the 2017-2018 academic year.
The appointment will be made at the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor of Legal Writing, commensurate with experience. Legal writing faculty are responsible for teaching the required first year LPS course that covers legal research, legal reasoning, legal writing, and oral advocacy.
You can find more information here.
Dean of Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Drexel University is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Kline School of Law.
This position offers an extraordinary opportunity for a visionary leader with a strong track record of teaching, scholarship, and achievement to lead, promote, and drive innovation within the School, while expanding its reach. Reporting to and working with the Provost, the Dean will have responsibility for strategic, programmatic, financial, fundraising, and management operations that support the School’s mission.
For more information, please click here.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
This is a new draft article by Professor Rebecca Nieman (Thomas Jefferson) posted on SSRN here. From the abstract:
The legal academy is at the intersection of competing demands: law firms demand practice ready new hires; law students demand more practical experience during their law schoolcareers; courts shutter more services to the public as their budgets shrink, and the gap in access to justice for under-served populations continues to widen. All of these demands can be addressed through the use of law school clinical programs. One type of clinical program is particularly well-suited to the task: the small claims clinic.
As court budgets have continued to erode in the past decade, funding for small claims courts has been hit particularly hard. In California, free assistance provided by the court has decreased from full time attorneys staffed in almost all courthouses, down to a simple hotline. During this same time period, students have demanded more skills and practice oriented courses in law schools and employers expect their new hires to have more practical legal skills. Addressing these demands can be accomplished by creating more small claims clinical programs in law schools. This article provides a model for doing so, including how the practice ready skills supported by the American Bar Association and MacCrate report are fulfilled through such a program, not to mention the synergies created with local courts, community members and law school mediation programs.
If you are looking for a problem ripped from the headlines, consider this, covered on the Carlton Fields blog. The Centers for Disese Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned pregnant women to stay away from the popular Wynwood section on Miami.
The presence of infected mosquitoes and the publicity surrounding the CDC’s warning are likely to have a devastating effect on Wynwood’s outdoor cafes, walking tour companies, art galleries and other businesses that rely on a steady stream of foot traffic. Most of these businesses are insured by commercial property or “all-risk” insurance policies that provide (among other things) coverage for business interruption. Other tourist-dependent businesses have been shut down by natural disasters, such as Sandy and Katrina, and many of them were reimbursed by their insurers. Can a business owner in Wynwood look to her business interruption coverage to make up the economic losses caused by a mosquito-borne pestilence?
The answer is probably “no.”
The posting includes typical insurance clauses and a good analysis. You can access it here.
From the Chronicle of Higher Education (excerpts):
Juan J. Rojo, an assistant professor of Spanish at Lafayette College, has taken a more extreme step: He is starting a hunger strike to protest the college’s denying him tenure.
Mr. Rojo announced his intention this week during a faculty meeting at the private, liberal-arts college in Easton, Pa.
Also in attendance was the president, Alison R. Byerly, who had twice used her authority to override the recommendation of the seven-member Promotion and Tenure Review Committee to grant Mr. Rojo tenure.
Ms. Byerly’s actions are at the center of questions about shared governance that have been raised by Mr. Rojo and some members of the review committee, according to documents shared with The Chronicle. Mr. Rojo has also expressed concerns about the treatment of minority faculty members at Lafayette and the president’s use of student evaluations in making her decision.
"We respect Professor Rojo’s right to disagree with the decision," Mr. Clow wrote, "but hope he will express his views in a way that does not endanger his health."
Mr. Rojo and a majority of the tenure committee also took issue with the president's apparent reliance on student evaluations to determine the professor's effectiveness as a teacher, even against the assessment of his peers.
"While two colleagues who have personally observed Prof. Rojo’s teaching provide some positive comments on his performance," Ms. Byerly wrote in a letter in March explaining her recommendation to the tenure committee, "they do not offer substantive rebuttal of specific student concerns reflected in the evaluations." She noted that "a number of negative student comments throughout the file" described Mr. Rojo as "unfair, intimidating, and a harsh grader."
Student evaluations?! Harsh grading?! For these reasons you deny tenure? You can read more here. As far as I know, the last tenure/hunger strike took place in 1994 at Antioch College, to no avail.