Sunday, May 8, 2016

Experiencing Civil Procedure: Why (and How) I Teach a Simulation-Driven First Year Course

Experiencing Civil Procedure: Why (and How) I Teach a Simulation-Driven First Year Course by Robert L. Jones.


"This work will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming book, Experiential Education in the Law School Curriculum, by Carolina Academic Press. The chapter outlines the ways in which a first year Civil Procedure course can be structured around a single simulation and explores some of the benefits of a course organized in this fashion. In particular, the benefits of a simulation-driven doctrinal course during the first year are assessed in the context of the holistic development of young lawyers."
"In addition to providing a valuable context for their doctrinal learning, a simulation-driven Civil Procedure course can introduce students to some of the core competencies of lawyering not traditionally associated with the first year curriculum.  In the context of opposing the employer’s motion to dismiss regarding the number of employees required for Title VII, for example, the students are required to extract the reasoning from a set of cases, to synthesize legal norms from a number of precedents, and to articulate arguments based on analogizing and distinguishing case law."
"These exercises not only serve as an initial introduction to competencies such as interviewing, counseling, and negotiation, but they also provide a platform for students to develop their legal analysis and reasoning abilities."
"Although the students do not spend an inordinate amount of time on exercises such as interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and oral advocacy, those exercises are crucial components of the class because all of the students’ learning ultimately relates back to their performance as lawyers. In that sense, the simulation constitutes the glue that binds together the various components of the students’ learning."
"Throughout every aspect of the class, furthermore, the students are expected to practice what it means to be a successful attorney."
"One significant benefit of utilizing a simulation-driven model is to enable the students to learn the subject matter more effectively than might otherwise be possible. The capacity of the simulation to contextualize the students’ learning helps them to grasp and internalize complex doctrinal areas. Without the context of the simulation, furthermore, the students may have difficulty understanding how discrete doctrinal areas interrelate with one another and 'fit' within the overarching framework of civil litigation."
"When students internalize lessons by experiencing them through the tasks they perform in the course, furthermore, they are more likely to retain the acquired knowledge for an extended period of time."  [As I have written here many times, this is one of the results of active learning.]
"Professor Jessica Erickson summarizes the applicable learning theory:
Cognitive scientists have collected data showing that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the material. . . . [I]nformation gets into our long-term memory only if we spend time thinking about and processing the information. . . . ¶ This research explains why active learning methods are so successful. When we ask students to apply course material in a problem or case study, we are really asking them to think about the material. This process of intellectual engagement is more likely to get the information into students’ long-term memory."
"Similarly helpful in converting the students’ knowledge from short- to long-term memory is the fact that the simulation allows for important lessons to periodically recur throughout the year."
"A simulation-driven first year course in a doctrinal subject such as Civil Procedure can help initiate the professionalization process and balance the first year curriculum by providing a more accurate and complete understanding of what it means to be a practicing attorney."
P.S.  Forthcoming as a chapter in
(Carolina Academic Press)


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching advocacy skills conference at Stetson on May 23-26

The annual Teaching Advocacy Skills conference sponsored by Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL will take place on May 23-26. This year's theme is Teaching Skills:  Building the 21st Century Law School-One Student, One Skill, One Moment at a Time and there's still time to register if you're interested in attending. You can get all the details by clicking here (including the cost of registration, accommodations, etc.). Below is an overview of the conference goals along with a schedule.

Stetson's annual Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills conference will take place Monday afternoon, May 23, through Wednesday, May 25, 2016, on our beautiful campus in Gulfport, Florida. Attendees will spend two and one-half days developing their teaching skills, learning new techniques, and networking with some of the most recognized names in advocacy teaching. Everyone will leave well-equipped to empower their students to become better advocates. 


On Thursday, May 26, 2016, we will offer an optional full day Teacher Advocacy Training (TAT) session. This program will focus specifically on designing individual, short-term, and long term advocacy training calendars for firms and government agencies, to include practicing teaching methodologies and initiating internal advocacy teaching programs within your organization. Attendees will be taught how to critique and how to teach others to critique as well. There will be an additional charge to attend this training session. Space will be limited due to the hands-on nature of the training and critiquing that will occur.


Main Conference Agenda (We reserve the right to make changes to this Agenda.)


Monday, May 23 (12:00-6:15 p.m.) Welcome and panel discussions   NEW START TIME!
Tuesday, May 24 (9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) Panel discussions and break-out sessions
Tuesday, May 24 (6:15-8:30 p.m.) Awards Reception and Dinner
Wednesday, May 25 (9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) Three concurrent sessions: 


  • On Paper vs. In Person (all first time attendees should attend one session)
  • Psycho Drama
  • Storytelling

Note: Wednesday's program has been designed so you can attend one session in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Thursday, May 26 (Optional Program, Additional Fee)
Teacher Advocacy Training (TAT) 
9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Institute for Law Teaching Conference on Real-World Readiness, June 9-11

The Institute will be holding its summer conference at the Washburn University School of Law:

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning 2016 summer conference will address the many ways that law schools are preparing students to enter the real world of law practice. With the rising demands for "practice-ready" lawyers, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years. How are law schools and law professors taking on the challenge of graduating students who are ready to join the real world of practicing attorneys? Can we be doing more?

Workshops will address real-world readiness in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support teaching. Workshops will present innovative teaching materials, course designs, and curricular or program designs. Each workshop will also include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.

ILT conferences are always exciting and a place for creative people to talk. For more information and the schedule, please click here.


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opening for Visiting Legal Writing Professor

Villanova has an opening for a (one-year) visiting Legal Writing Professor for the coming year. Our Legal Writing department is extremely collegial and well respected by the entire faculty. The students are also a collegial group. We are in a very attractive suburb about ten miles to the west of Philadelphia. Here is a link to the official announcement.


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Ethical Obligation that Accompanies Persuasive Lawyering

Given that legal advocates influence the outcome of cases and thus the development of doctrine, lawyers participate in creating the law. Their participation in lawmaking places an ethical obligation on them.

Although lawyers seek to persuade, they also have a responsibility to help create good outcomes and good doctrines. This responsibility imposes an ethical obligation on them care not only about their clients, but also about the law’s development.


May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Costs of Experiential Education

Professor Robert Kuehn has been studying the costs of clinics and other types of experiential education for several years.  He has now summarized that research on the Best Practices for Legal Education blog.

Clinical Costs: Separating Fact from Opinion by Robert Kuehn.


"It is time to put to rest the canard that costs prevent the expansion of experiential courses or a required clinical experience for all students. Every school can afford to provide 15 credits of experiential coursework for its students, including a mandated law clinic or externship experience. The facts show that it is the wills of the ABA, state bar admission officials, and law school deans and their faculties, not the costs of clinical legal education, that are obstructing that progress."

(Scott Fruehwald)

May 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New Lawyer Tip: Bargaining for Your Salary

From Greenhorn, here’s a tip. Ask for a precise amount that is not a round number:

Precision conveys the impression that the job candidate has done extensive research and deeply understands the market for his services, said Malia Mason, the lead author of the paper and a professor at Columbia who teaches a course on managerial negotiations. When people use round numbers, by contrast, they’re conveying that they have only a general sense of the market rate for their skills.

…In one experiment, Ms. Mason and her team had 130 sets of people negotiate the price of a used car. When buyers suggested a round anchor, they ended up paying an average of $2,963 more than their initial offer. But buyers who suggested a precise number for a first offer paid only $2,256 more, on average, than that number in the end.

You can read more here.


May 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Making a Good Impression: 11 Things NOT to Do offers a list of things that polite, successful people do not do when meeting other people:

  1. They never stay in place.
  2. They never call you what you don't ask to be called.
  3. They never touch unless they are touched first.
  4. They never try to take before they give.
  5. They never let on they know more than they should.
  6. They never ignore the elephants.
  7. They never gossip--or listen to gossip.
  8. They never speak just to spread the greater glory of themselves.
  9. They never push their opinions.
  10. They're never bored...with you.
  11. They neverstopbeing polite.

 For full explanations, please click here.


May 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Girl's Guide to social media marketing for law students

We're long overdue for a check-in with the Girl's Guide to Law School blog which sent us a reminder about a series of excellent posts they'd previously published about why and how law students should be using social media to start marketing themselves while still in law school.  The first of these posts features an interview with Jared Correia, a law practice consultant with the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP), who discusses the pitfalls of starting a solo practice right out of law school.  Another post from Mr. Correia describes how students can make more effective use of social media while still in law school to start building a "brand;" particularly with popular sites like LinkedIn to Twitter. Indeed, GGTLS's Alison Monahan reminds us that she's written her own "manifesto" about why every law student should be using Twitter to network and market themselves. 

While you're at it, consider signing up for the GGTLS weekly newsletter here.


May 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Advice for Graduating Law Students

Recently, my law school’s alumni association held its annual brunch for 3L law students. My colleague Anne Bowen Poulin served as the speaker. Among the pieces of advice she offered, one particularly struck me:

When you receive invitations or have opportunities to engage in pro bono and other public service activities, say “yes” more often than you say “no.” In your later years, you never will say, “I wish I had done less.” You will say, “I wish I had done more.”


May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Work Drive Matters: An Assessment of the Relationship between Law Students' Work-Related Preferences and Academic Performance

Work Drive Matters: An Assessment of the Relationship between Law Students' Work-Related Preferences and Academic Performance by Jeffrey Minneti.


"This article explores the dimensions of law students' schoolwork-related preferences and discusses an empirical assessment of those preferences. The assessment revealed two findings: (1) a positive correlation between students' schoolwork-related preferences and their first-year law school cumulative grade point average (LGPA); and (2) students' schoolwork-related preferences significantly enhanced the predictive power of the traditional law school success predictors, law students' LSAT performance and their undergraduate cumulative grade point average (UGPA). During spring 2014, 215 law students responded to a survey that included questions from the Multidimensional Work Ethic Profile (MWEP) and Work Drive Inventory. Analysis of the responses indicated that while the students’ high LSAT and UGPA explained eighteen percent of their LGPA, the students’ Work Drive, LSAT and UGPA explained twenty-eight percent of the students’ thirty-hour LGPA. The article concludes with a discussion of the significance of these findings and their impact on legal education."

May 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Washington Post: The Problems with Multitasking

Multitasking is actually kind of a problem — for kids and adults by Hayley Tsukayama.


But Michael Robb, the group’s director of research, said multitasking should no longer be seen as “some desirable trait that makes you the best 21st-century worker.”

Multitasking is a problem in a couple of ways, Robb said, citing recent neuroscience research on the practice. “Many people think multitasking does not hamper your ability to get things done,” he said. “But multitasking can decrease your ability to get things done well, because you have to reorient. That causes a certain level of cognitive fatigue, which can slow the rate of work.”

After all, you never get something for nothing, and it makes sense that splitting your focus wouldn't be great for improving your productivity.

“You’re not encoding memories in the way you should be” when multitasking, Robb said. “If I’m browsing on Facebook while a lecturer is talking, I’m not forming memories that I need to retrieve later."

"Heavy media multitaskers had a harder time filtering out irrelevant information. In other words, they may have developed a habit of treating all information they came across with equal attention instead of allotting steady attention to a particular task."

But looking at what's out there, there seems to be some strong suggestion that while all this multitasking is helping us feel productive, it's not actually letting us be that productive.

(Scott Fruehwald)


May 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Restrooms for Transgender Students

From Education Week:

A federal appeals court's decision to side with a transgender student who sued after his school restricted his restroom access could have far-reaching implications for schools around the country that have lacked legal clarity on this divisive issue.

The decision was called "a major turning point" by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, and it could help set the tone for discussions about accommodations for transgender students nationwide, school law experts said.

A federal district court judge in Virginia erred when he did not defer to the U.S. Department of Education's interpretation that a regulation created under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 applies to gender identity, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Richmond, Va., said in a 2-1 decision this week.

You can read more here. At my school, there is an unmarked, single-stall restroom. It is freely available, but I don’t think most students are aware of it.


May 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaching (About) Mindfulness: A Tale of Two Courses by Peter H. Huang

Teaching (About) Mindfulness: A Tale of Two Courses by Peter H. Huang.


"To practice mindfulness is to pay attention in a curious, deliberate, kind, and non-judgmental way to life as it unfolds each moment. Mindfulness is currently very fashionable and has been so for sometime now in American business, education, media, popular culture, and sports. Many American law students, law professors, law schools, lawyers, and legal organizations are considering how mindfulness can be helpful in law and conflict resolution. Much of the popularity of mindfulness stems from research about how mindfulness can improve mental and physical health by reducing stress and negative affect. This Essay tells a tale of teaching (about) mindfulness in two courses: first, a seminar about law and neuroscience, and second, a required law school course about legal ethics and professionalism."
Part of the article discusses how Professor Huang incorporates mindfulness into his legal ethics/professional identity course at Colorado.

May 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Martin J. Katz and Phoenix Cai to Give Keynote Address at Emory Law’s Fifth Biennial Conference on Teaching Transactional Law and Skills - June 10-11)

From Professor Sue Payne at Emory:

"At Emory University Law School’s upcoming June conference focused on the art and science of teaching transactional law and skills, the dynamic duo of Martin J. Katz and Phoenix Cai will deliver a keynote address entitled – “Encouraging this Particular Form of (Very Fun) Madness – Roles for Deans and Faculty Members.”


Marty Katz is Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Under his leadership, Denver Law developed and implemented a major strategic plan that included initiatives in experiential learning and specialization. He is a founding board member of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a national consortium of law schools that serve as leaders in the experiential education movement. Dean Katz’s recent publications include “Facilitating Better Law Teaching – Now” (Emory Law Journal) and “Understanding the Costs of Experiential Legal Education” (Journal of Experiential Learning).


Phoenix Cai is the founding director of the Roche International Business LLM Program and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. The Roche LLM in International Business Transactions is an intensive and experiential graduate program designed to train both U.S. and foreign lawyers in private transactional law. Prior to joining Denver Law, Professor Cai was a corporate lawyer specializing in both domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, banking, finance, and securities law.


Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dean Katz and Professor Cai share their thoughts about how deans and faculty members can promote excellence in transactional law and skills education.


For more information about the Conference, including a list of the many other esteemed presenters and the topics they will cover, go to our conference website. If you would like to register for the Conference, please go here."


May 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Shrinking Applicant Pool Leads to Greater Law School Student Diversity

Recently, Professor Aaron Taylor addressed this subject during an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered. Here is an excerpt:

Well, when we talk about the proportional increase in black and Latino students, it really is a direct reflection of huge decreases in the number of white students - some 9,000 fewer white students enrolled in 2015 than had enrolled in 2010, and some 1,300 fewer Asian students. And so these are proportional increases as opposed to real number or actual number increases.

You can read the entire interview here.


May 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Reducing the Cost of Legal Education

Reducing the Cost of Legal Education: The Profession Hangs Together or Hangs Separately by Victor James Gold.


"Is a legal education worth the cost? Until just a few years ago, there was little doubt that the answer was yes. The recession that began in 2007 changed everything. The job market for entry-level lawyers suddenly collapsed. With tuition high and job prospects low, many concluded that legal education was a bad investment. This essay documents the challenges confronting legal education and advises law schools to meet those challenges by reducing the cost of a JD degree. But forces within the legal profession itself make it unnecessarily difficult to follow this advice.

The first section of this essay briefly recounts the events of these years of crisis in legal education. That discussion suggests that, while significantly cutting the cost of legal education is the only effective way to deal with that crisis, some of the same forces that created the crisis in the first place undermine the ability of law schools to pursue such a strategy. Those forces include the national law school rankings and unnecessary requirements imposed by the organized bar. The next section describes ways in which the legal profession responded to the crisis in legal education. Much of the profession’s initial response, from the ABA to members of the Supreme Court to the President himself, was uninformed, politically motivated, and focused on passing judgment while also passing the buck. In fact, the response of the profession continues to make it more difficult for law schools to pursue a strategy of cutting costs. This essay argues that the factors that drove up the price of a legal education will be easier to tame if there is a concerted and constructive effort by the entire legal profession to facilitate the controlling of costs. The stakes are high, since the very future of the profession will turn on whether legal education is once again financially accessible to the American middle class. We either hang together or hang separately."

May 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility by Tigran Eldred

For the last few years, I have been researching the effects of brain biases on lawyers.  This research resulted in chapter 6 (cognitive biases) of my book Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer (2015).  Now, Tigran Elred has written an article on how he teaches behavioral legal ethics in his professional responsibility class.

Insights from Psychology: Teaching Behavioral Legal Ethics as a Core Element of Professional Responsibility by Tigran Eldred.


"The field of behavioral legal ethics — which draws on a large body of empirical research to explore how subtle and often unconscious psychological factors influence ethical decision-making by lawyers — has gained significant attention recently, including by many scholars who have called for a pedagogy that incorporates behavioral lessons into the professional responsibility curriculum. This article provides one of the first comprehensive accounts of how law teachers can meet this challenge. Based on an approach that employs a variety of experiential techniques to immerse students in the contextual and emotional aspects of legal practice, it provides a detailed model of how to teach legal ethics from a behavioral perspective. Reflections on the approach, including the encouraging response expressed by students to this interdisciplinary method of instruction, are also discussed."

May 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In N.Y, Law Firms Can Bill Clients for Work of Unpaid Interns

This is the opinion of the Committee on Ethics of the New York State Bar Association:

A law firm may bill a client for work performed by a student-intern despite the fact that the law firm does not pay the intern, because the intern receives academic credit for the work, as long as (i) the internship program complies with applicable law, (ii) the educational institution does not object to the client charges, and (iii) the charge is not excessive.

Remarkable. You can access the Opinion 1090 here.


May 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance

There is an important new study on how individualized feedback affects students in the first year of law school.

The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance by Daniel Schwarcz & Dion Farganis.


"For well over a century, first-year law students have typically not received any individualized feedback in their core "doctrinal" classes other than their final exam grades. Although this pedagogical model has long been assailed by critics, remarkably limited empirical evidence exists regarding the extent to which enhanced feedback improves law students' outcomes. This Article helps fill this gap by focusing on a natural experiment at the University of Minnesota Law School. The natural experiment arises from the random assignment of first-year law students to sections that take a common slate of classes, only some of which provide individualized feedback. Meanwhile, students in two different sections are occasionally grouped together into a "double section" first-year class. In these double section classes, students in sections that have previously or concurrently had a class providing individualized feedback consistently outperform students in sections that have not received any such feedback. The effect is both statistically significant and hardly trivial in magnitude, approaching about 1/3 of a grade increment even after controlling for students’ LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, gender, race, and country of birth. The positive impact of feedback also appears to be stronger among lower-performing students. These findings substantially advance the literature on law school pedagogy, demonstrating that individualized feedback in a single class during the first-year of law school can improve law students' performance in all of their other classes. Against the background of the broader literature on the importance of formative feedback in effective teaching, these findings also have a clear normative implication: law schools should systematically provide first-year law students with individualized feedback in at least one “core” doctrinal first-year class."
We can do so much more to help our students learn, and formative feedback is one of the main things we can do.

May 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)