Saturday, February 22, 2014
Suppose that you are an attorney in your clinic, and you represent a client who then turns around and bashes you on one of the many online sites for evaluating lawyers? Can you respond? You can give your side of the story only in general terms and must not disclose any confidential information. You cannot respond at all unless your representation of the client has concluded.
Here is a Bloomberg BNA/U.S. Law Week article surveying the issue and the opinions of some bar associations. This standard conforms to accepted notions of attorney-client confidentiality; however, it gives cold comfort to the victimized attorney.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has picked up the story about the Harvard Law School survey on skills BigLaw values in new attorneys referred to by my co-blogger Scott Fruehwald here and here. The survey results do not purport to be representative of the skills legal employers value generally but if you're interested in working for some of the most elite law firms in the country, you'd be wise to double-down on accounting courses.
Math-phobic law students with BigLaw dreams, listen up: if you want to excel after graduation, best brush up on your accounting skills.
This comes courtesy of Harvard Law School . . . which polled 124 lawyers at the 11 major law firms that employ the most HLS graduates on what courses and types of expertise best equip students for practicing law. The results were released this week.
Their responses—learn accounting, statistics, and how to analyze a financial statement—are sure to sadden the legions of students who opted for a legal career precisely because they loathe number-crunching.
. . . .
In addition to accounting, the attorneys advised students to take courses in corporate finance, negotiation and business strategy.
“Accounting is absolutely central to commercial life and for lawyers whose practice involves commerce, it is essential,” according to one veteran corporate partner at a top New York firm.
Continue reading here.
In my youth, we had two days off from school in February—Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12) and Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22). Alas, today, school children receive a consolidated holiday of a single day—President’s Day.
When Washington was born, his birthday was February 11. How did it become February 22? The National Archives explains:
George Washington was born in Virginia on February 11, 1731, according to the then-used Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and all its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar which moved Washington's birthday a year and 11 days to February 22, 1732.
Americans celebrated Washington's Birthday long before Congress declared it a federal holiday. The centennial of his birth prompted festivities nationally and Congress established a Joint Committee to arrange for the occasion.
You can read more here.
Justice Scalia has reiterated his position that thick crust Chicago-style pizza is not pizza. Though he compliments it, he maintains that it should be called “tomato pie.” For him, thin crust pizza is the real thing:
But it's clear Scalia is an originalist in more ways than one. Back in 2011, he explained why he believes a Chicago deep dish should be called "a tomato pie" and not pizza.
"Real pizza is Neapolitan [from Naples, Italy] It is thin," he was quoted as saying. "It is chewy and crispy, OK?"
(Quoted in the Huffington Post)
Growing up in an Italian-American household, I assumed that all pizza (apizza) was thin crust, and I still favor that style. My mother made two types: one with mozzarella and one with anchovies.
In my experience, the best pizza restaurants are in my home town of New Haven, Connecticut—Frank Pepe’s and The Spot (both have the same owner and menu, both very thin crust). Also on Wooster Street is Sally’s, which some prefer, but I haven’t frequented it in years and can’t offer an opinion. Here’s a quick video tour of New Haven pizzerias.
My co-editor also grew up in Connecticut. I’ll be interested in what he has to say.
The National Jurist has named the top sixty law schools for practical training. The magazine will honor the 60 schools in the March issue of The National Jurist and the Spring issue of preLaw magazine. It will rank the top 21 schools and list the others alphabetically by grade — either an A+, A, A- or B+.
“This is the first effort to try to quantify which schools are delivering on their promises to make legal education more experiential.” said Jack Crittenden, Editor In Chief of The National Jurist.
For now here are the 60 in alphabelical order:
Baylor University School of Law
Boston University School of Law
Brigham Young University
Brooklyn Law School
Case Western University
Cooley Law School
Florida Coastal School of Law
Golden Gate University
John Marshall Law School
Lewis & Clark Law School
Loyola University Chicago
Michigan State University
New York Law School
Pacific McGeorge School of Law
Rutgers — Camden
Saint Louis University
Santa Clara University
Seton Hall University
Southern Illinois University
Southwestern Law School
St. John's University
SUNY Buffalo Law School
University of Arizona
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado
University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Detroit
University of Georgia
University of Hawaii
University of Illinois
University of Kansas
University of Maryland
University of Massachusetts
University of Missouri — Kansas City
University of New Hampshire
University of Oregon
University of St. Thomas - Minneapolis
University of the District of Columbia
University of Utah
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin
Washington and Lee University
Whittier Law School
William Mitchell College of Law
Yale Law School
Thursday, February 20, 2014
This article from the Bench & Bar of Minnesota magazine is directed at lawyers seeking strategies to better cope with difficult clients. But as the author, who is both a lawyer and psychotherapist, points out, about 9% of the general population suffers from a personality disorder, which means the odds are excellent you will encounter several people with personality disorders over the course of your lifetime. The article is a handy primer for developing strategies for successfully navigating around such people whether you encounter them at work, in the classroom or elsewhere. An excerpt:
Statistically, over 9 percent of American adults have a diagnosable personality disorder, so it’s likely that some clients you encounter are difficult, obnoxious, or just plain maddening. Given enough information about these disorders and how they may be presented by clients, lawyers can respond better and offer more effective representation.
. . . .
Narcissist Personality Disorder
The DSM-IV-TR describes people with Narcissist Personality Disorder as showing “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts … .” People with this disorder often believe that they are special or deserve particular treatment and have an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They are exceedingly status conscious; they treat people differentially according to their status and seek to align themselves with high-status people. Although they can be superficially charming, when it comes down to it, they habitually exploit others, taking advantage of them to achieve their own aims. They are unable to take account of other people’s feelings or perspectives and can come across as arrogant and haughty.
. . . .
Antisocial Personality Disorder
People with Antisocial Personality Disorder or features of this disorder often come in contact with the legal system. That’s because a key marker of this disorder is “failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.” That does not mean, however, that every person with this character type engages in criminal behavior. What is most notable about these clients is their overriding motivation to pull something over on others and the pleasure they take in “consciously manipulating” them. And people like this can be found in boardrooms, office towers, and state houses from L.A. to Wall Street. In addition to being manipulative and deceitful, they display a “reckless disregard for the safety of self or others”; they are consistently irresponsible, lack remorse, and are often highly impulsive. They are either indifferent to or are somehow able to rationalize having harmed someone else.
. . . .
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by notable instability of mood, relationships, and self-image as well as “marked impulsivity.” This instability is highly disruptive, affecting work, family relationships, friendships, and long-term planning and goal achievement. There is usually a longstanding pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, with dramatic shifts in attitudes toward others from admiration and love (idealization) to hate and anger (devaluation). Often there is recurrent suicidal behavior in the form of threats, gestures, or self-mutilation as well as self-destructive behaviors in sexual activity, spending, substance use, dangerous driving, or disordered eating.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
Hat tip to the Lawyerist Blog.
In 1926, Charles Belton, President of the American Library Association, spoke of the future of libraries. They would network and make information available to everyone:
Libraries will “no longer to be measured by the books on the shelves of any one library, but which through organization, coordination of resources, and whole-hearted cooperation will extend from town to city, to state, to country, and will finally bring within reach the knowledge of the whole civilized world.”
“It is no idle dream to believe that fifty years hence libraries everywhere will be so closely linked together that, throughout the length and breadth of the country, even the smallest local library will be prepared to provide the best of expert service to adolescent and adult.”
“Before the end of another fifty years we shall see the compilation of a world catalog of all existing books, with their locations. At no distant date this catalog and the rotograph or photostat will be the most important links in that unification of the sources of knowledge by which the libraries will be placed in a position to bring every book to every man
Belton offered this prophecy long before the advent of electronic communication. With our technology, we are closing in on realizing Belton’s vision.
Here is Belton’s full speech. (You need access to JSTOR to read the entire speech. If your library doesn’t give you free access, you can register and get the article for free). And here is a nice posting on the speech at the Ubiquitous Librarian
In the first part of this post, I discussed the substance of Brian Leiter’s statement on his blog concerning a recent Harvard law study, "Here. Unsurprisingly, ‘experiential’ learning of the kind a minority is trying to force upon everyone does not loom large." (here) In this part, I will comment on the portion of Leiter’s statement that declares experiential education is supported by a minority.
In his comment to the Council of the ABA Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar concerning a proposal to require 15 credit hours of experiential courses, Professor Robert Kuehn noted, ""The ABA’s House of Delegates urged the Section in a 2011 resolution ‘to implement curricular programs intended to develop practice ready lawyers including, but not limited to enhanced capstone and clinical courses that include client meetings and court appearances.’" (here) He added, ""the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division passed a unanimous resolution in August 2013 calling on the Section to require at least one academic grading period of practical legal skills clinical experiences or classes as a graduation requirement, noting that ‘a J.D. degree alone does not make a lawyer.’" Similarly, "Surveys of recent law graduates show the need to require much, much more professional skills training, including clinical coursework." Finally, "In a 2013 Kaplan Bar Review Survey, 97% of 2013 law graduates favored a law school model that incorporates clinical experience in the third year and 87% agreed that the legal education system needs ‘to undergo significant changes to better prepare future attorneys for the changing employment landscape and legal profession.’" (emphasis added)
Individual members of the Illinois State Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Education, Admissions, and Competence also submitted a comment in support of the proposal. (here) The ISBA issued a Report that was adopted by unanimous vote of approximately 200 members of the ISBA Assembly in June 2013. The commentators stated that the 15-hour requirement is consistent with the findings and recommendations of the Report. They also declared, " Many lawyers testified at the hearings that law school did not provide them adequate tools to succeed, and that they needed more instruction in the skills that are required in practice. In particular, law schools do not provide adequate opportunities for law students to practice legal writing skills in simulated or real practical settings. Many law schools teach students to write a basic research memo and an appellate brief. Few, however, provide extensive instruction in drafting contracts, legislation, client letters, press releases, discovery requests or responses, wills, or other documents lawyers are called on to produce daily." They continued, "Law schools should prioritize simulation courses, live-client clinics, and other courses that give students the opportunity to learn and apply legal principles in the context of real life problems. Nearly every young lawyer to testify to the Special Committee indicated that he or she would have preferred to have more of these courses in law school if they were offered. Most law schools offer these courses, but few law schools offer sufficient numbers of them. [emphasis added] Law schools should ensure that every student has an opportunity to benefit from practice-oriented courses."
SALT supported the proposal to require 15 credits of experiential courses in a comment to the council, declaring ""Fifteen credit-hours represents approximately 1/6 of the credit hours required for graduation, a reasonable and necessary mandate to ensure law schools are preparing students to practice law competently and fulfill their professional responsibilities to clients and to the court." (here)
In addition, studies over the past twenty-five years have shown that current methods of delivering education to law students are ineffective:
McCrate Report (1992)
William M. Sullivan, Anne Colby, Judith Welch Wegner, Lloyd Bond, & Lee S. Shulman, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007)
Roy Stuckey et al., Best Practices in Legal Education (2007)
Dorthy H. Evensen et. al., Developing an Assessment of First-year Law Students’ Critical Case Reasoning and Reasoning Ability: Phase 2 (LSAC 2008)
James E. Moliterno, The American Legal Profession in Crisis: Resistance and Responses to Change (2013)
See also Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, Center for Excellence in Law Teaching, Jay Feinman & Marc Feldman, Pedagogy and Politics, 73 Geo. L.J. 875 (1985), Scott Fruehwald, Preface: Think Like A Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals (2013), Scott Fruehwald, How to Help Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Succeed in Law School (forthcoming, Texas A & M L. Rev.), Richard K. Neumann, Jr., Comparative Histories of Professional Education: Osler, Langdell, and the Atelier (2013), Benjamin Spencer, The Law School Critique in Historical Perspective, 69 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1949 (2012), James F. Stratman, When Law Students Read Cases: Exploring Relations between Professional Legal Reasoning Roles and Problem Detection, 34 Discourse Processes 57 (2002), Judith Welch Wegner, Reframing Legal Education’s "Wicked Problems," 61 Rutgers L. Rev. 867 (2009), Michael Hunter Schwartz, Improving Legal Education by Improving Casebooks: Fourteen Things Casebooks Can Do to Produce Better and More Learning, 3 Elon L. Rev. 37 (2011), Michael Hunter Schwartz, Teaching Law by Design: How Learning Theory and Instructional Design Can Inform and Reform Law Teaching, 38 San Diego L. Rev. 347 (2001), etc.
On the other hand, I know of no comprehensive study or report from the past 25 years that says that our current methods of teaching law students are working. Can anyone cite me such a report?
Finally, Professor Stephan J. Ellman concluded in his comment to the Council: "It seems to me that the burden is on those who disagree with this proposal to explain why law students, unlike their peers in other professions, do not need this level of experiential preparation for the work they will soon be doing."
Professor Leiter, above is my evidence for believing that a significant consensus supports experiential education and the proposal to require 15 hours of experiential courses. What evidence does your statement rely on?
Recently, three Harvard law professors posted a study concerning what business courses their students should take. What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In by John Coates, Jesse Fields, & Kathryn Spier. Brian Leiter uses this article to attack experiential education proposals: "Here. Unsurprisingly, ‘experiential’ learning of the kind a minority is trying to force upon everyone does not loom large." (here) There are two problems with this statement. First, the Harvard study does not criticize experiential education; it supports it. Second, a majority supports experiential education in law schools.
Here is the abstract:
"We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses; and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills."
The study was primarily of business methods courses currently offered at Harvard: "The survey focused heavily (but not exclusively) on business-methods courses (e.g., accounting), based on informal feedback from alumni and other practitioners that students should acquire basic business-methods skills while in law school."
The survey asked responders to rate specified business method courses and nonbusiness method courses on a scale of 1 to 5. The survey did not specifically ask about traditional experiential courses.
The open-ended comments did reflect the need for more practical courses and the development of skills. The authors wrote, "Among the open-ended comments, litigators tended to single out ‘writing’ or ‘persuasive writing’ as a key skill that can be lacking in new associates. Other respondents indicated that students should work on communications skills (public speaking and presentations)." One respondent commented, "I have to say that, surprisingly, my 3L class on large law firms was one of the most honest and helpful classes that I took, even though I’m much more of a core, lecture-based, bar-exam course type person generally." Moreover, "A litigation partner with ten to twenty years of experience also commented that ‘people skills’ are ‘underrepresented’ among new associates, and a corporate associate wrote that students would do well to take courses containing ‘leadership/teamwork training through group projects.’"
Significantly, "quite a few attorneys suggested that existing courses give more weight to transaction planning and documentation and less weight to caselaw." For example, "Several other corporate associates stressed the importance of hands-on experience with contracts (M&A contracts and loan agreements) and SEC filings, writing ‘Also, ... it could be hugely helpful ... if in the context of this type of workshop or another class, you could introduce students to the actual legal documents that govern these transactions....’" Likewise, "Another corporate associate with five to ten years of experience in a national law firm suggested that courses should: ‘Use real-life examples of what the process of a deal is from signing of letter of intent/memorandum of understanding until close, including due diligence process, negotiation and drafting.’" Finally, " In the same spirit, a corporate associate at a national law firm suggested that Negotiations could be taught around a potential deal: "The most useful thing ... to prepare ... to be a corporate lawyer would be ... the negotiation workshop, but instead of negotiation simulations, it would be deal (public and/or private) simulations. Having students role play ... what it is like to be on the buy-side, sell-side or financing side of transactions would be very helpful."
One comment said it all: "As an HLS alum who knew I wanted to practice corporate law before I came to law school, I was disappointed [that] ... 75% of the classes still seemed to have nothing to do with corporate law or the real-world practice of law firms. I took ... business strategy class one of the first semesters it was offered (I was a 3L), and it was wildly oversubscribed. I wish there had been more classes like that while I was there."
Although there were some dissenters ("I am skeptical that more ‘skills’ training in law school can really prepare students. . ."), the authors concluded that "The importance of offering courses better connected to actual practice was repeatedly emphasized."
In sum, Brian Leiter’s use of the Harvard study to attack experiential education is completely misplaced.
From the Washington Post:
Have you studied, taught or worked at the University of Maryland anytime in the past 16 years? If so, proceed with caution: Your personal record may have been hacked. The university said Wednesday it has been hit by a massive data breach, putting 309,079 students, faculty and staff at risk. The breach includes information on anyone issued a campus ID for Maryland's College Park and Shady Grove campuses since 1998. Stolen data include name, Social Security number, date of birth, and university ID number. No other financial, academic, contact or health information appears to have been compromised, according to the university.
You can read more here. Who will be next? Is there any way to stop hackers?
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
In this article from the February issue of the ABA Student Lawyer Magazine, Marquette Law School's Director of Career Planning describes what employers have told her about the skills they value in law students. According to Ms. Binns, grades don't matter as much as most job candidates assume. Instead, she reports that employers tell her that they value good legal research and writing skills, the ability to problem solve, being client-oriented and being involved in one's local community. Here are some of the comments Ms. Binn collected from employers:
Writing and research skills. “First a candidate has to show me he can do the legal work and do it exceptionally well. Once I’m convinced of that, I move on to evaluating whether he’s a person I want in my office.”—Lawyer, government agency.
“Can they research? Can they write? That’s what I rely on my law clerks to do and to do well.” —Lawyer, small firm.
“Researching, writing, analyzing, persuading—these are the skills young lawyers and summer associates will use every day at work. I look for evidence of these through moot court, law journals, and advanced writing courses. I put weight on writing samples.” —Lawyer, mid-sized firm.
. . . .
Commitment. “We hire people with the expectation they will stay. If a candidate isn’t prepared to tell me in an interview why they want to work specifically for my firm for the foreseeable future, I’m not prepared to give them an offer. It doesn’t matter if it’s for an associate position or summer position. I want to hear about a commitment to my firm.” —Lawyer, mid-sized firm.
“I need to hire someone who is all-in on this town of thirty thousand and fully prepared to embrace the community, its people, and my practice. I expect that candidates are ready to convince me they know what it means to live and practice in this town, and that they’re excited about it.” —Sole practioner intending to mentor and hand over practice.
Passion. “I want to hire people with passion in their bellies. Passion for something, for anything. The practice of law is long days and demanding clients and you need to be passionate in and outside of the office. If a candidate wants to talk to me about their passion for running or for volunteering at animal shelters, I don’t care what, I just want to see fire and interest and commitment.” —Recruiting director, large law firm.
Client focus. “Students need to realize that in an interview I don’t want to hear about what they want. It’s a big mistake for candidates to make it all about themselves. ‘I’m interested in this. I want to practice this. I’m hoping for this experience.’ Stop! Tell me that you get that there is a client at the end of this process and what you plan to do for them.” —Hiring lawyer, mid-sized firm.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
Below is an alphabetical listing of the top 25 schools. National Jurist won't be releasing the numerical ranking until the magazine ships in early March.
. . . .
The National Jurist last ranked the top schools for public interest law in 2011, with City University of New York School of Law and Yale Law school taking top honors. It did a similar, but different ranking in 2012, when it focused on public service. It also ranked schools for public interest law in 2008. That year, Northeastern University School of Law took top honors.
This years’ weight is stronger on curriculum than in past years thanks to more readily available data. But more than half of the score is based on experiential opportunities. On the flip side, the impact of affordability was lowered primarily because of income-based repayment programs.
While the top 25 schools have been announced, the order will not be released until the March issue of The National Jurist ships in early March.
. . . .
The list in alphabetical order:
Albany Law School
Boston University School of Law
Case Western University
Columbia Law School
CUNY School of Law
Florida State University
George Washington University
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
New York University
Roger Williams University
University of Colorado
University of Maryland
University of Oregon
University of the District of Columbia
University of Virginia
Yale Law School
Continue reading here.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
From the current edition of Law Practice Today: the Monthly Webzine of the ABA Law Practice Division. An excerpt:
According to the American Bar Association’s 2013 Legal Technology Survey Report, 96% of respondents report they conduct legal research online, but that they are less satisfied with free resources than with fee-based resources. The 2012 Research Intelligence Group’s “New Attorney Research Methods Survey” found that new associates (five years or less) spend about 31% (14.5 hours per week) of their time conducting legal research. For those in practice less than two years, the percentage rises to 35%. The new associates (reported that they used fee-based online resources for eight of their 14.5 hours of legal research per week while spending four hours per week using free or low-cost online resources. Fee-based resources are used more often by large firm associates (74% frequently/always) than small firm associates (46%).
With cost-conscious clients scrutinizing legal bills, lawyers cannot afford to depend on fee-based resources the way they used to, especially if reliable free resources are available. That said, sometimes it makes sense to pay for data—especially if the pay databases have something the free ones are lacking (content or functionality) or when using the pay databases can save you time and money.
This article will highlight some of the most reliable free (or low-cost) online resources and give you some tips on how to use them. However, we don’t have the space to go into as great as detail as we’d like, so you’ll need to attend ABA TECHSHOW 2014 to hear us speak and ask us your questions or read our upcoming ABA LP book, Internet Legal Research On a Budget.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
Hat tip to Professor Eric Young.
Professor Andrew Taslitz has passed away, a victim of cancer. Andy got his start as a law professor here at Villanova, teaching Legal Writing. He had been in private practice and was thinking about academia when his longtime friend Nancy Schultz, already at Villanova, encourage him to join us. From here, he went to Howard and developed into a major Criminal Law scholar. A few years ago, he moved on to American University.
Over the years, I would run into Andy and his wife Patty at conferences. He always was happy and warm hearted. More than his brilliant academic accomplishments, I think we will remember his warmth.
At the American University law website, you can access a biography and the memories of his students and colleagues.
Monday, February 17, 2014
The video, available on YouTube via Insider Higher Ed, is called "33," referring to the number of black law students among 1,100 total students at UCLA Law. As the introduction explains, "[o]n February 10, 2014, a group of students from the UCLA School of Law gathered together to raise awareness of the disturbing emotional toll placed upon students of color due to their alarmingly low representation within the student body."
It's important to watch.
At the National Equity Project, education coach Shane Safir offers some advice. Here is a summary:
1. Look in the mirror. What are your physical and emotional reactions to the coachee?
2. Take an inquiry stance. Inquire deeply into why that person is resisting.
3. Invite your coachee's story. A key strategy for transforming "resistance" into openness is to invite your coachee to share his or her story as an educator and as a person.
4. Don't Take it Personally. The resistance may have nothing to do with you.
5. Don't Overemphasize Technical Issues. Don’t just offer an alternative teaching technique; take a more relational approach and work with him or her.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
1. Why do critics of legal education reform complain of the costs of experiential classes (which would have caps of about 25 students), when they don’t complain about the costs of seminars (which usually have caps of 12 students)?
2. Why do critics of legal education reform complain about the costs of the addition of skills courses to the curriculum, when they don’t complain about the costs of the addition of law and the banana courses to the curriculum?
3. Why do the critics of legal education reform complain about the high cost of adding clinics to the curriculum, when the only thorough study of law school clinical costs (here) has demonstrated that clinics have not added to the cost of tuition?
4. If teaching experiential classes is so difficult, why do legal writing professors on the average get paid half as much as doctrinal professors? (here)
5. Why do law schools require the least number of practical courses of all the professional schools? (here)
6. Why would more practical courses make law school a trade school, as some critics maintain, while practical courses have not made other professional schools trade schools?
7. If teaching four or five courses a year was not a burden thirty years ago (here), why is it a burden now, especially considering the high tuition that law students must pay?
8. Why do law schools need more administrators today than they did thirty years ago?
9. If the ABA does not impose a standard experiential requirement on American law schools, won’t state bars impose their own requirements (California already has), which would produce a patchwork of requirements and create headaches for law school administrators and students who want to practice in a different state than that of their law school (or in multiple states)?
10. Are the needs of the general public best meet by law school graduates who are well-versed in legal theory, well-prepared with practical skills, or thoroughly educated in both?
11. Would you go to a doctor who never saw a patient in medical school and who had not received carefully supervised medical training after medical school?
12. How can certain law schools afford to offer their students a full year of experiential/clinical training, but other law schools claim they cannot afford to offer their students one semester of practical training?
13 Why are vets required to have one year of clinical training treating animals (here), while lawyers are required to only have one credit hour of advanced skills training, which can be fulfilled without ever meeting a client?
14. Why can’t doctrine and skills be taught in the same class?
15. Why can’t an experiential course be as rigorous as a doctrinal course? (In reality, experiential courses are more rigorous than doctrinal courses because they require the application of knowledge, which leads to deeper thinking.)
16. Which is better to further social justice–a theoretical course in critical race studies or a course that teaches students how to litigate a discrimination case?
17. Have the critics of legal education reform read general scholarship on teaching and learning?
"Three Generations and Two Tiers: How Participation in Law School Clinics and the Demand for 'Practice-Ready' Graduates Will Impact the Faculty Status of Clinical Law Professors"
This is another article from the new issue of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy that will be of interest to the readers of this blog. It is authored by Professor Todd Berger (Syracuse) and is available at 43 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 129 (2014). A pdf of the article is available here. From the abstract:
Since the emergence of clinical legal education in its modern form, a majority of law school faculties have created and maintained a faculty structure in which clinicians do not enjoy the same "employment security, status, monetary and non-monetary benefits, rights of citizenship, academic freedom and autonomy" currently enjoyed by non-clinical faculty. This Essay posits that, in the ensuing decades, we are likely to see this two-tiered system replaced by a different system that extends the same rights, privileges, and compensation to both clinical and non-clinical faculty.
With respect to the diminished faculty status of law school clinicians, the winds of change blow from two directions. The first of these winds relates to the fact that law school faculties find themselves in the midst of a generational changing of the guard. The modern day American legal profession is primarily dominated by three distinct generations. At the oldest end of the generational spectrum are the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964). They are followed by Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and the Millennials (born between 1981 and 2004). This Essay argues that, as Gen X‘ers and Millennials take over the teaching positions once held by Baby Boomers, such changing of the guard will have a positive and lasting effect on the status of clinical faculty.
The discussion that follows proceeds in four parts. Part I provides an overview of the evolution of clinical legal education, from its inception to its current role in the modern legal curriculum. A specific focus is paid to the emergence of in-house law school clinics, as well as the corresponding treatment of clinical faculty at American law schools from the time Baby Boomers first began their legal education in the 1960s to the present day. Part II explores the various factors that led to the creation of the two-tiered system of faculty status that exists at many American law schools today. Part III explores the value the Baby Boomers‘ successors, Generation X‘ers and Millennials, assign to the importance of clinical legal education. Part IV explores the second of the two winds affecting clinical legal education: market-based criticism that the law school curriculum, as currently constructed, does little to ensure that, upon graduation, law students are, in fact, "practice-ready." Commentators, in calling for curricular reforms designed to accomplish that end, have stressed the importance of clinical legal education. This Essay argues the growing importance of clinical education increases the likelihood clinical law professors will achieve equality with non-clinical faculty.