Saturday, February 7, 2015

Maimonides had it Right: Law Schools Must Teach Students to Fish

Dean Patricia Salkin has an excellent post about law school incubator programs on the Faculty Lounge.  Such programs can be an effective method to help students prepare for serving the middle class and poor, two groups that often lack access to legal help.  Despite the lawyer unemployment problem, society needs many more lawyers who can handle family law, criminal defense, wills, evictions, and other every day problems.  Moreover, the lawyers who generally deal with these problems usually work as solos or in small firms, where they lack the mentoring possibilities of large firms.

The second annual conference on Enhancing Social Justice Through the Development of Incubator and Residency Programs will take place later this month at Southwestern Law School.  All law schools need to send a representative to this conference.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Legal services sector loses 1,400 jobs in January

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog is reporting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published the  January job stats showing that the legal services sector lost 1,400 jobs last month after a stagnant 2014.  The legal services sector includes lawyers, paralegals, legal consultants, process servers, notaries and patent agents, among other occupations.  You can check out the BLS report for January, 2015 here.


February 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Because of Unprofessionalism, Med School Refuses to Award a Degree

Here, the Sixth Circuit upholds the decision by Case Western’s medical school not to grant a degree to a student whose conduct allegedly ran the gamut from tardiness to sexual harassment. The parallels to law school are obvious.

Here is a link to the opinion. Please note the second last paragraph. Think about the allegations that some law schools don’t report bad conduct to bar admissions committees.


February 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The inaugural issue of The Journal of Experiential Learning is out now

The first volume of the Touro Law Center's Journal of Experiential Learning is out now and available here.  The second volume is in the works and will be devoted to law school incubator and residency programs.  The journal is accepting submissions until March 15.  Here are the full details.


Volume Topic:


On behalf of the Touro Law Journal of Experiential Learning, we are pleased to invite you to consider submitting an essay or article on law firm incubators and residency programs for our second issue of the Journal. Please note that pdfs of the articles that appear on the website will be posted by mid-January.


Submissions for the special issue on incubators and residency programs are due by March 15, 2015. However, we need to know whether you plan to submit and what you propose to write on so that we may plan accordingly. Please contact our coordinating editor, Associate Dean Myra Berman, at to discuss your contribution.


Patricia Salkin 

Dean and Professor of Law

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center 



February 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Issues with Google Glass

Evolving technology seems to bring along legal issues that many of us may not foresee. For example, in the Texas Bar Journal, John G. Browning, explores legal issues arising with Google Glass (“wearable technology”):

 In January 2014, a moviegoer wearing

Google Glass was removed from a

theater and questioned for two hours by

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

agents over potential film piracy

charges. The man, who said he was

wearing the device because it had his

prescription lenses in it, was ultimately

able to connect his glasses to a PC and

demonstrate that he wasn’t recording

the movie. Around the United States,

establishments ranging from a restaurant

in Seattle to strip clubs in Las

Vegas have banned the use of smartglass


You can read more here.


February 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Law Libraries and Legal Education

Law Libraries and Legal Education by Jonathan A. Franklin.

Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., 2015)


"Academic law libraries are in the midst of radical change, probably more so than at any time in the past 100 years. Two factors are converging that make business as usual no longer viable for academic law libraries: transition of legal resources from print to digital formats and economic changes in legal education. Best Practices for Legal Education did not address the role of law libraries in the delivery of legal education. The changes facing law schools suggest the time is now to articulate how libraries can best contribute to the endeavor. How can best practices for law libraries be reconstructed to allocate resources and expertise to support the education mission?

This section of the forthcoming book Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Lexis 2015) briefly surveys the current state of affairs and sketches emerging best practices for the future.

Law schools and the libraries within them need to retain their focus on their traditional goals while investigating new ways to achieve them. Law school libraries will continue to excel at serving the faculty and students as their needs evolve. With agility, a service orientation, and a judicious use of limited resources, libraries will remain central to law schools and the education mission for the foreseeable future."


February 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Study showing UNH Law School's experiential program successfully trains practice ready grads

(Now updated with linkage to the full report) My co-blogger Scott Fruehwald reported last month on a forthcoming study from the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System that found UNH Law School's Daniel Webster Scholar Program has proven to be successful in turning out law grads who can outperform second year attorneys on several tasks measured by the study including client interviewing, taking depositions and drafting motions and interrogatories.  The Daniel Webster Scholar Program is a two year program that trains aspiring litigators beginning in the second year of law school.  The IAALS study compared the standardized client-interview assessments of 123 lawyers who didn’t graduate from the program with the assessments of 69 of the honors students. Daniel Webster scholars scored an average of 3.76 out of 5, compared with an average of 3.11 for the lawyers. The study's authors said that "the difference is large and statistically significant."  The full study will be released shortly (now available here) but for now we've got the Executive Summary below (we'll update this post with a link to the full report once it's available online). 

Ahead of the Curve: Turning Law Students Into Lawyers

A Study of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire School of Law


Executive Summary

In recent years, law schools have been the subject of great scrutiny—by media, by the profession, by law students, and even by legal educators within the schools—about the quality of legal education and training they offer students who will graduate to become tomorrow’s lawyers. There may be disagreement about the severity of the problem and the solutions to the problem, but there can hardly be disagreement that the increasing focus on the quality of legal education is creating more opportunities than ever for innovation in law schools and for building partnerships with the profession to develop improved models of legal education.


When New Hampshire’s law school teamed up with the New Hampshire Supreme Court and the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners over a decade ago, a unique program was born. The Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire provides a combination of training and assessment over a two-year period that serves as a variant to the two-day bar examination—simply stated, students who participate in the program are evaluated for bar admission based on their performance over a two-year period and do not sit for the traditional bar examination.


But, the success of the program lies not in its relationship to the bar exam. Rather, the success of the program lies in the fact that, on some measures, the students are actually better prepared for the practice of law. The combination of formative and reflective assessment administered in a practice-based context appears to produce better outcomes for students, which ultimately translates to better prepared lawyers.


The two-year program, beginning in the second year of law school, works within a proscribed curriculum that immerses students in experience-based learning settings, and both provides and demands formative, reflective, and summative assessment. The ultimate assessment comes, of course, at the end of the program when student participants are reviewed for bar admission based on their performance over the course of two years.


From the outside, the program seems to have all the right elements for success, but is it actually doing a better job of preparing lawyers for practice and clients? To find out, IAALS worked with an evaluation consulting firm to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of existing research to evaluate outcomes of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program. Notably, we learned:


  • In focus groups, members of the profession and alumni said they believe that students who graduate from the program are a step ahead of new law school graduates;
  • When evaluated based on standardized client interviews, students in the program     outperformed lawyers who had been admitted to practice within the last two years; and
  • The only significant predictor of standardized client interview performance was     whether or not the interviewer participated in the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors     Program. Neither LSAT scores nor class rank was significantly predictive of interview performance.

 Based on our evaluation, we believe other schools, educators, and jurisdictions can learn from the success of the program. While aspects of the program may be difficult to replicate in larger jurisdictions, full-scale replication is not the only option for schools looking to build upon the success of the program. IAALS believes the program can be unbundled into the key elements—most notably, the combination of formative and reflective assessment in a practice-based context and a focus on collaboration between the academy and the profession. Part of the genius of the program was its collaborative roots. Together, practicing lawyers and law schools can innovate effectively.


The Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program is ahead of the curve in graduating new lawyers ready to venture into the profession—and others can learn from its success.


February 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

45% of Congressional Members have J.D.s

That’s 54 Senators and 160 Representatives. The National Jurist lists the schools with the most members:

1.  Harvard Law School: 18 (7 Senators, 11 Representatives)

2.  Georgetown University:  13 (5/8)

3.  University of Texas:  7 (0/7)

4.  University of Virginia:  6 (3/3)

4.  Yale Law School (4/2)

6.  Boston College:  5 (1/4)

7. University of Alabama:  4 (2/2)

7. Samford University (0/4)

7. IU McKinney School of Law (1/3)

7. University of Kentucky (1/3)

7. Notre Dame Law School (1/3)

7. New York University (1/3)

7. University of South Carolina (1/3)

(I don't know why the magazine lists a group of these schools as #7.)


February 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Best Legal TV Shows

The magazine PreLaw consulted its experts and identified the top 20. The top three in order are, L.A. Law, Law and Order, and The Defenders. I’m not so sure about L.A. Law, though it did attract a lot of young people to take the LSAT. I definitely would agree on Law and Order and The Defenders, though I don’t remember the latter show very well. I do remember that it was unafraid to tackle controversial issues.

You can find the annotated list here.


February 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harper Lee to Publish Sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee is one of the most celebrated writers with only one book. Her 1960 classic To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize and has been a staple of high school reading lists for decades. It was expected that Lee, now in her late eighties, would never publish another book. But the expectations were wrong. This summer, the AP reports, Harper (the publisher) will publish Harper Lee’s sequel novel Go Set a Watchman. 

Rediscovered last fall, “Go Set a Watchman” is essentially a sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” although it was finished earlier. The 304-page book will be Lee’s second, and the first new work in more than 50 years.

You can read more here at Electric Lit..


February 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Learning 'the True, the Good and the Beautiful' in Law School: Educating the Twenty-first Century Litigator"

This is a new article by Professor Michael Colatrella (McGeorge) and available at 33 Rev. Litig. 741 (2014).  From the intro:

A law school education is one of the finest learning experiences American education has to offer. This well-deserved reputation derives significantly from the Socratic method of instruction, whereby a series of detailed questions are used to challenge the student in an inherently competitive environment among his or her colleagues in an effort to hone his or her analytical reasoning skills. Law students benefit from this method, and it is generally understood that “by the end of their first year, most have developed a clear ability to reason and argue in ways distinctive to the American legal profession.” The Socratic method, sometimes referred to as the “case dialogue” method and deemed the “signature pedagogy” of law school, was first introduced into American legal education at Harvard Law School in the 1870s by Dean Christopher Columbus Langdell and still predominates at law schools today.


. . . .


Expanding lawyers' perspective of clients' needs and problems is more important than ever before to meet the demands of clients in the twenty-first century. The changing economic environment has forced clients in all sectors to achieve results with greater efficiency. Clients are seeking creative problem-solvers who can participate in a team environment and appreciate not only the client's legal rights, but also their business and psychological needs. In such challenging times, holistic lawyering is not simply beneficial--it is increasingly required.


This Article explores a number of specific areas where the required core curricula of law schools should be modified and expanded to produce more holistic lawyers. I examine this topic in light of the ancient Greek ideal of its citizens being educated in “the true, the good[,] and the beautiful.” I propose three ways to bring greater balance to the law school curriculum, one concept for each of these three spheres of knowledge.


. . . .



February 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Life Balance Really Possible?

In her blog, “Listen Like a Lawyer” Jennifer Romig offers an alternative to the sometimes impossible practice of work/life balance. She quotes from Scott Elbin’s book, Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative:

 [I]f you’re an executive, manager, or professional with a demanding job, you’re about as likely to find balance as you are to be a purple unicorn. The reason is that the world and life are both fast moving and ever changing. In that environment, balance, at best, is a temporary and fleeting state. Instead of seeking balance, try to find a rhythm instead. By focusing on rhythm, you acknowledge there are times when your pace is going to be much more oriented to work, home, or community and there are times when the counterpoints of other aspects of your life come to the fore.

She writes:

It’s also not about using mindfulness as a Band-Aid. Techniques such as deep breathing can help with reducing stress in specific situations, but mindfulness really means something broader. For example, having consistent routines—like sleeping and exercising—provides resilience on days that swing to the painfully hectic side of the pendulum.

You can read the full blog posting here. I also have a problem with the phrase "work/life balance." It places work in conflict with the rest of your life. Isn't your work a big part of your life?


February 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Use of Technology in Teaching

Use of Technology in Teaching by Michele R. Pistone & Warren Binford.

Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World (Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas & Antoinette Sedillo Lopez eds., Lexis 2015, Forthcoming).


"This book chapter identifies and discusses technologies that have begun to gain traction within legal education in recent years, as well as others that are still emerging. It argues that legal educators should recognize that many of these technologies are well suited to help implement best practices in scientifically-supported teaching methods such as active learning, collaboration, problem solving, and regular assessment and feedback. The chapter urges law teachers and administrators to become familiar with the growing pool of modern educational technologies, and ensure that law school faculty members are provided with the professional development and support needed to adapt their teaching and course design to incorporate modern technologies in meaningful and relevant ways."

February 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Networking as a Two Way Street

Recently, I spoke about networking with a neighbor who lives in the corporate world. One of his assignments is to give talks to fellow employees about networking. In his talks, he emphasizes that when you network, you not only try to get something—a new client, a new job—you also should give something. For example, you might give the other person information about someone or some firm that is looking to hire someone with your correspondent’s skills and expertise.

How does this two-way street apply to law students? Students may feel that they don’t have much to give back. However, they will in the near future. Once they are out in practice, they will find opportunities to give information, potential clients, and other things to their network correspondents.

I think this conceptual framework for networking is important. Students may view networking as manipulative—a way to get practitioners to get them jobs. Manipulation is distasteful, and so students hesitate to network. When they come to understand that both parties give and get, they may become better networkers.


February 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Happy Groundhog Day!

In 2014, my wife Patti and I trekked to Punxsutawney, PA to see Punxsutawney Phil predict the weather. Phil was right—lots of snow and a late spring. Here is a video of the 2014 festivities.

You’ve got to be pretty hardy to stand in the predawn crowd for hours on Feb. 2, but I would like to do it again, preferably before I get much older. Aside from the excitement, I am attracted for two reasons. (1) My daughter Laura is a groundhog, born on Feb. 2. (2) I love the movie. Punsutawney proved too small a town for shooting the movie, so they filmed it elsewhere. Still, Punxsutawney hosts a great small town celebration.

If you want to skip the visit to middle PA, you still can buy groundhog merchandise here. And here is the official website.


February 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wrong Word Choice by the N.Y. Times


“President Obama, facing angry reprisals from parents and from lawmakers of both parties, will drop his proposal to effectively end the popular college savings accounts known as 529s, but will keep an expanded tuition tax credit at the center of his college access plan,” the New York Times reports.

 A reprisal is a retaliation.  Maybe “rebuke.” Maybe “reproach.” Maybe “response.” We can’t be perfect all the time.  Thnx to my college listserv.


February 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Law students should begin building an online professional presence while still in school

Over at ATL, Professor and Associate Dean Thaddeus Hoffmeister (U. Dayton) offers tips to law students for building an online professional presence while still in law school (i.e., of course you can't start offering legal advice until you get your license but you can and should start grooming your professional persona while still a student).  Professor Hoffmeister is also the author of Social Media in the Courtroom which you may want to check out here.  His advice is that law students considering finding a legal niche they can blog about because it creates an online presence that will help clients find you when they're searching for a lawyer online.  Another tip which I hope most law students understand by now is to curate your online persona on the assumption that every potential employer is going to Google you.  Professor Hoffmeister's advice:  "Create positive, useful information and you control the message that employers receive.”

Read the full column here.


January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should You Complete One Task at a Time or Juggle Several Tasks?

At the Harvard Business Review blog, Andrew O’Connell advises going sequentially—one at a time. He cites a recent study and then describes an empirical verification:

Having published a theoretical paper on this idea, Coviello, Ichino, and Persico went on to study a compelling real-world example: Italian judges who typically get more cases than they can easily handle. Some of the judges were heavy task jugglers, some weren’t. An analysis of the caseloads of this admittedly small sample suggests that there really is an advantage to completing tasks in sequence. The heavy jugglers took longer to complete their portfolios and were less likely to complete their cases in a given time period.

You can read more here.


January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Guidelines for the Self Evaluation of Legal Education Clinics and Clinical Programs"

This is a new article by Professor J.P. Ogilvy and available at 15 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clin. L. 1 (2013) and SSRN here.  From the abstract:

This volume is an effort to present a comprehensive set of guidelines for the self-evaluation of legal clinics and programs. The last time that guidelines were developed for legal clinics was in 1980 when a joint AALS and ABA Committee on Guidelines for Clinical Legal Education published its Guidelines for Clinical Legal Education. The present guidelines trace their lineage to the efforts of a group of clinicians working under the auspices of the CLEA-AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education Joint Task Force on Clinical Standards, which was formed in 1995 and was active for several years. These guidelines also draw inspiration from the Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid (2006), which is the work of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and reference the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Performance Guidelines for Criminal Defense Representation (2006). The volume first describes the history of this guidelines project. The balance of the volume is comprised of chapters focusing on guidelines for the Organization and Administration of Clinical Legal Education; Live-Client Clinics; Externships; and Simulation Courses. Although presented here in print form, the ultimate goal of the project is to create an editable Wiki document that can be updated and expanded by members of the clinical community to represent current thinking on best practices in experiential education.



January 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CUNY Campus Drops ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ to Foster Respect for Students’ Diversity

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The City University of New York’s Graduate Center is advising its faculty and staff members to avoid using such courtesy titles as “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Mrs.” in written correspondence with students and instead to address them by their full names, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The goal of the new policy, which was laid out this month in a memorandum from the provost’s office and goes into effect this spring, is to “ensure a respectful, welcoming, and gender-inclusive learning environment … and to accommodate properly the diverse population of current and prospective students,” the memo says.

I may be out of touch, but does this initiative take PC too far? Feel free to comment.


January 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)