Thursday, June 18, 2015

Developing Self-Efficacy in Law Students

'The Millennials are Coming!': Improving Self-Efficacy in Law Students Through Universal Design in Learning by Jason Palmer.


The Millennial generation has arrived in law school. This new generation of self-confident and extremely high-achieving learners merits a new interdisciplinary approach to legal education. Some institutions have explored formative assessments and regulated self-learning to improve academic success. Other universities have looked to universal design, specifically universal design in learning or universal design in instruction, as a mechanism for furthering educational goals for their students. All agree that a lack of self-efficacy can prevent Millennial students from overcoming challenges in their educational growth, and that high self-efficacy, the ability to put forth effort and persistence to successfully accomplish a goal, will lead to better learning outcomes and is a powerful predictor of educational success. None, however, have paired the theories of self-regulated learning and universal design in instruction as a vehicle to improve self-efficacy in the law school classroom. This article is the first to address the unique intersection of these learning theories and their potentially positive impact on self-efficacy for today’s learners.

June 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Young Practitioner Writes About Writing

Regina Nelson, a young lawyer, and my former research assistant, has written a piece in the Legal Intelligencer encouraging her peers to continue to hone their writing skills and to write to further their professional growth. Articles like this encourage students to understand the practical advantages of continuing to write. You can access the article here.


June 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ethics Issue: Testifying Against a Firm’s Client

In this case, former Senator John Danforth, also an Episcopalian priest, testified for a client who won a $77 million judgment. His firm then pushed him out. From the ABA Journal:

A former U.S. senator and state attorney general has exited Bryan Cave—after a career there that dated back to the early 1960s—following friction over his court testimony for a friend’s widow that helped her win a $77 million verdict against Wells Fargo.

The $77 million judgment won by Barbara Morriss last month, with the help of attorney John Danforth’s testimony, is believed to be the largest ever awarded in St. Louis County, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. At issue was the bank’s oversight of a family trust that Morriss alleges was mishandled by her son.

Wells Fargo was represented by a different law firm in the Morriss case but is a major client of Bryan Cave, Danforth told the newspaper.

Danforth is now working for Dowd Bennett in suburban St. Louis. Dowd Bennett represented Morriss in the Wells Fargo litigation, an earlier St. Louis Post-Dispatch article notes.

“The trigger for this was the Morriss trial,” Danforth said of his exit to Dowd Bennett. He told the newspaper he had been asked by Bryan Cave to leave the 1,000-attorney international firm after the Wells Fargo verdict. Although formerly listed as a retired partner there, he still maintained an office at Bryan Cave until recently.

You can read more here and here.


June 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

FYI - A new user's guide to the 20th edition of the Bluebook will be released next month

The new 20th edition of the Bluebook is out now and thus West Academic Press plans to publish next month a new user's guide to go along with it called Anthon's The Bluebook Uncovered: A Practical Guide to Mastering Legal Citation. In addition to helping students navigate the Byzantinian citation rules, it also includes several exercises you can assign in class to help test their knowledge of the rules.  I've always been partial to a user's guide authored by Alan Dworsky as simple, easy to follow resource for my 1Ls (sans the multiple choice exercises) but so far the publisher hasn't indicating whether a new, revised edition will be forthcoming.  

In the meantime, West will be releasing Anthon's user's guide on July 31. The publisher's description is as follows:

This new book provides a fresh, innovative approach that enables students to master the Bluebook citation rules needed in legal research and writing courses and in legal practice. It combines detailed, yet easy-to-understand, explanations and examples of Bluebook rules with different types of exercises, which are also available online. The exercises begin with multiple choice questions that assist students’ mastery of discrete rules, followed by short answer questions that allow students to practice implementing the rules by drafting individual citations. Finally, a comprehensive exercise puts citations in the context of a legal document and requires students to make the necessary corrections. The available answers for all exercises include detailed explanations that further students’ understanding of the applicable rules.

You can check it out further here.


June 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Michele Pistone on Law Schools and Technology

Law Schools and Technology: Where We Are and Where We Are Heading by Michele R. Pistone.


For many years, the question of how to use technology to teach the law has been a minor concern of the legal academy. That era of general indifference to developments in learning technologies is now coming to an end. There are many reasons for the change. Law schools are facing such a host of difficulties — declining enrollments, declining job prospects for graduates, reduced public funding, and understandable concerns about cost and debt — that sometimes it seems the only debate is over whether the situation is best described as a “tsunami” or “a perfect storm.” Against this backdrop, technology offers the attractive possibility of making legal education both more efficient and more effective. This article has two main aims. First, in Part II, it discusses some of the conditions that will push law schools to incorporate more learning technologies into our teaching methodologies in the coming years. Part III provides an overview of some of the learning technologies that have gained prominence, as well as at least limited usage, in law schools in recent years.

June 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Law School as Legal Education for the Generalist

I have long viewed legal education as a generalist education, as opposed to specialized education for a specific legal field. Especially today, students can’t know what their first job will be, much less their second. A posting on Best Practices for Legal Education takes this thought a step further—students need not only a general education in doctrine; they also need a general education in lawyering skills, broadly defined. Here is an excerpt:

[Attorney Leo Flor] noted that the JD is often viewed as a relevant generalist credential, even though most law school grads move into traditional bar-passage-required “law practice” jobs.  And he observed that many job postings for alternative positions list an MBA or MPA as a relevant qualification, but not the JD.

The traditional generalist education of my era, and to a significant extent still, was intended to teach a set of analytical skills and and expose students to a broad range of legal doctrine potentially relevant to a general practitioner and to passing the bar exam. Though passing the bar remains important and is a significant factor in designing the educational program for lower tier schools, few 21st century lawyers are truly general practitioners.

Perhaps the generalist foundation needed in this era is built on skills, more than doctrinal knowledge.  And for Leo’s purpose not only skills in a technician sense.  Skills also in a “professional identity” sense.  Self-awareness & understanding of ones’ own gifts.  Leadership and interpersonal skills. Such an understanding of generalist could make the JD an appropriate credential for the types of job Leo described.

You can read more here (June 8).


June 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

U. Miami School of Law hiring a director of its new entrepreneurship law clinic

The details are below but act fast; the deadline is July 1.

School of Law, Clinical Position

The University of Miami School of Law invites applications for a founding Director and Lecturer in Law for the Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic. The Director will be expected to begin in August 2015.  The initial term will be for one year with opportunity for a 2 year renewal.

The Clinic will advise early-stage startups (i.e. those at the pre-seed and seed financing stages), on a range of potential issues, including entity formation, contracting, financing, talent, intellectual property, and risk mitigation. Clients will come from the greater Miami metropolitan area with an emphasis on those having a tie to the University of Miami community. The Clinic will be expected to collaborate with the LaunchPad, an entrepreneurship initiative at the University of Miami that supports new ventures led by students and alumni. It will also be expected to collaborate with the School of Law’s Law Without Walls Program. The Director will be responsible for determining the precise scope and nature of the Clinic’s operations. As a Lecturer, the Director will teach courses as assigned by the Dean of the Law School or Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Successful candidates should have experience advising startups or small businesses on corporate, intellectual property, financing, and contractual matters. We also prefer that candidates have experience in an educational or academic setting, and demonstrate a commitment to public service.

Candidates must have a record of academic success, a J.D. degree, and be admitted to a state bar. Admission to practice before the USPTO is helpful but not required. Fundraising experience is also helpful but not required.


To apply, submit a cover letter, CV and references to:

Detra Davis Fleming
University of Miami School of Law
P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33124-8087

Please refer any questions to Detra Davis Fleming. Applications must be
submitted by July 1, 2015.

The University of Miami is an equal opportunity/affirmative action
employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply


June 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Legal Reform Movement Is Not Political

In an otherwise strong paper on why not to eliminate tenure, Professor Jorge R. Roig makes the following statement:

"There has been a concerted effort to turn law schools into automaton production lines. 'Practice-ready, skills-oriented legal education' (quite meritorious in itself) has become code for the manufacture of attorneys capable only of following their corporate clients’ instructions to the tee. The goal of this concerted effort is not a truly practice-ready and skilled attorney. The endgame is a mindless legal machine. And, that is not what a legal education is about." (here)

Unlike the rest of his paper, which is well-supported with authority, Roig does not support the above with any authority, nor does he explain how or why this is so.

The legal education reform movement is not political.  I have talked with and corresponded with many in the legal education reform movement, and they come from all over the political spectrum.  I have never had anyone tell me, nor have I read, that the purpose of education reform is to turn out mindless corporate attorneys.  Professor Roig, if you have a source that contradicts this, please let me know.

In fact, SALT (the Society of American Law Teachers), not exactly a conservative organization, has strongly supported adding a significant experiential requirement for law students.  "The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) is an organization of law teachers, with members in almost every law school in the country and from all parts of the legal academy, whose mission embraces social justice, diversity, and excellence in legal education.  We write in support  of the proposal on Standard 303(a)(3) that would require every J.D. student to complete fifteen credit hours in experiential courses before graduation. . .  The expanded requirement may also serve to encourage more students to participate in work that serves the needs of under-served communities, whether in law school clinics (many of which represent low-income individuals and others who cannot afford representation) or in field placements with non-profit organizations and others doing pro bono and public service work. That, in turn, will help students appreciate how the profession itself values service to those who cannot afford private counsel, as reflected in the pro bono requirement of ABA’s Model Rule of Professional Responsibility 6.1." (here)

Anyone who believes that one of the major purposes of law school is to turn out lawyers who work for social justice should support legal education reform.  As I have said many times, active, experientialist education produces lawyers who are deeper thinkers than those produced by traditional legal education.  (e.g., here, here)  Moreover, which is better for achieving social justice--having students take a theoretical course in critical race studies or having students take an experiential course on discrimination litigation?

In sum, the purpose of the legal education reform movement is not political; it is to turn out better lawyers.

(Scott Fruehwald)

June 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Splitting Infinitives, Ending Sentences with Prepositions, Beginning Sentences with But

In the June issue of the Michigan Bar Journal (here), Wayne Schiess takes on these prohibitions and shows that they are only myths. I wish his arguments would convert law review editors.


June 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Denies Provisional Accreditation to Indiana Tech’s Law School

From the Indiana :

 In a memorandum issued Tuesday [June 9], the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar rejected the application for provisional ABA approval from the two-year-old law school located in Fort Wayne. The council notified the school prior to the memorandum being issued.

“While we are disappointed not to receive accreditation at this time, we were encouraged that the Council narrowed the issue we need to focus on, and we believe that the Council has provided us with good feedback as we begin the reapplication process,” Indiana Tech Law School Dean Charles Cercone said.

.  .  .

Indiana Tech Law School can appeal within 30 days. If filed in accordance with proper procedure, the appeal will be considered by an appeals panel, and the council’s decisions would be stayed pending the final outcome.

You can read more here.


June 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Will employers embrace paid law school externships under the ABA's new proposal?

If you're following this story (i.e. the ABA's recent proposal to allow students to earn law school credit for paid externships - here and here), you may want to also check out Professor Deborah Merritt's comments on the issue at her Law School Cafe blog.  While she supports the ABA's proposal, she fears that few employers will embrace the idea because of the administrative costs associated with their participation. Sure, some employers are willing to put up with those costs in exchange for free student labor but why would they put up with the hassle of academic oversight if they also have to pay for that labor? Check out Professor Merritt's full post on the issue here.


June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lateral Hires Dominate

My dentist’s office is in center city Philadelphia. He tells me that he is getting few novice lawyers as new patients. However, he is getting more 30ish lawyers who are moving into the city to work for big firms. His observation helps confirm that the big firms still are focusing on hiring laterals as opposed to newbies.


June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for practice-oriented articles on criminal law

The Criminal Law Practitioner, a publication of American University's Washington College of Law, is seeking articles for its Fall 2015 issue. The CLP is dedicated to publishing relatively short, practice-oriented articles on highly litigated and prevalent topics in criminal justice by promoting the work of criminal law scholars, practitioners and the students of Washington College of Law.  It targets all busy practitioners in the criminal law field including prosecutors, public defenders, judges, private criminal law attorneys, and lawmakers.  Successful articles translate pressing issues in criminal law into practical guidance. 

Last year's Fall issue can be viewed here.  The Summer 2015 issue, which is a collaboration with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers the American Bar Association, is pending.  Submissions for the Fall 2015 issue, which can address any aspect of criminal justice, should be sent to It is recommended that articles be from 5 to 25 pages in length.

More information can be found on CLP's website.


June 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dealing with Dreaded Interview Questions

Last August, Hillary Mantis devoted a column to dealing with interview questions that a student might find uncomfortable. Here they are:

What is Your Class Rank?

What is One of Your Weaknesses?

Why is there a Gap on your Resume?

Where Do You See Yourself Working Five Years From Now?

For her advice, please click here .

She adds:

Like any other interview question that you would rather avoid, practice what you will say ahead of time, answer it directly, try to give it a positive spin, and move on!


June 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Professionals and Mental Illness

One of my former professors at Louisville, James T.R. Jones, has just posted an article on professionals and mental illness.

'High Functioning': Successful Professionals with Severe Mental Illness


This Article will proceed in four parts. Part I discusses severe mental illness in the United States among legal and medical students and professionals. Part II looks at stigma, and why it keeps most of those with mental illness in the shadows. In particular, it will focus on the issue of professional licensure. Part III will give examples of successful medical and legal professionals who have gone public with their disease and discuss how they are able to function at the highest levels of their profession notwithstanding the special challenges they face every day. In Part IV, this Article concludes by discussing how these examples show that potentially tragic circumstances can have a positive effect on professionals’ lives through hard work, good medical care, and a modicum of luck.

(Scott Fruehwald)

June 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA soliciting comments on proposal to allow law students to get academic credit for paid externships

Following up on an early story, the ABA has now posted for comment the proposal to allow law students to obtain academic credit for participating in paid externships.  The proposed change to ABA Accreditation Standard 305 can be found here (scroll down to page 7, Interpretation 305-2). The deadline and contact information for providing your comments to the ABA is as follows: 

[The ABA] solicit[s] and encourage[s] written comments on the proposed changes by letter or e-mail. Written comments should be submitted no later than Friday, July 10, 2015. A hearing on these proposed changes is scheduled for Thursday, July 16, 2015, at 10 a.m. The hearing will be held at American Bar Association (321 N. Clark St.). Please address written comments on the proposals and requests to speak at the hearing to JR Clark,, by Friday, July 10, 2015.

You can check the other proposed changes to the accreditation standards here.


June 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Concordia U. Law School Gets Provisional Accreditation

From JD Journal:

 Summary: After applying for provisional accreditation in August, the law school has been granted their status just in time for their nine graduates to take the bar exam.

Concordia University School of Law in Boise, Idaho finally received its provisional accreditation from American Bar Association. The school first applied last August but the association’s Council of Legal Education required more information from the school.

A provisional status allows students, at this time only nine graduates, to take the bar exam in Idaho or any other state except New York. New York requires an additional step. When the ABA delayed their accreditation status last August, 55 students in the second and third year programs left for the University of Idaho law school. The U of I has a campus six blocks from the Concordia location for just second and third year students.

 You can read more here.


June 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center – Staff Attorney position

For information on this position in Washington, D.C., please click here (posted June 8).


June 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law schools with the best professional networks

A website called has ranked law schools based on the strength of their professional networks.  The website used social media to poll more than 10,000 former and current law school students about the faculty, peer, and alumni networks available to them while they were students and post-graduation. The scores were then averaged and ranked to arrive at the list below: 

Top Law Schools for Quality of Network


University of Florida



Yale University



Stanford University



University of Notre Dame



Northwestern University



University of California-Berkeley



University of Houston



Harvard University



University of Southern California



University of Colorado at Boulder



Florida State University



Boston College



The University of Chicago



New York University



University of Michigan-Ann Arbor



Wake Forest University



Washington and Lee University



Duke University



Columbia University



University of Virginia



Southern Methodist University



Thomas Jefferson School of Law



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



The University of Texas at Austin



Rutgers University-Newark


Check out the rest of the details here.

Hat tip to the Business Insider.


June 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AALS Launches YouTube Channel

At the moment, the channel features a few videos from the 2015 annual meeting as well as programs from several law schools. You can access it here.


June 10, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)