Thursday, August 4, 2016

Languages of the World

Here is a visual showing the languages of the world and the frequency with which they are spoken. How many do you speak? More importantly, how many do your students speak as their first languages?


August 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Must You Delete All Adjectives and Adverbs?

One line of thinking answers yes—they add unpersuasive hyperbole. Another answers is to use your judgment—employ them selectively. At Lady (Legal) Lawyer (June 24, 2016), Megan Boyd gives examples from a brief by renowned appellate advocate Paul Clement. Here are a few:

When the Government starts picking favored speakers, First Amendment values are in grave danger.

The inclusion of the modifier “grave” takes the sentence up a notch—First Amendment free speech rights aren’t just in danger (which is bad enough)—they’re in gravedanger (even worse!).

Clement uses other descriptors strategically throughout the Allergan brief with similar results:

“It is perfectly lawful for physicians to prescribe Botox® for [spasticity] and other off-label uses.”

The Government opens its brief by ominously warning that Allergan has launched a “sweeping assault” on the framework for new drug approval that the Kefauver-Harris Amendments to the FDCA established in 1962

You can read more here.


August 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Accreditation Powers

As this blog has recently noted, a federal panel has recommended suspending the ABA's accreditation powers for one year.  Two blogs have extensive posts on this issue: the Law School Cafe and the Tax Prof Blog.

Leading legal education expert Deborah J. Merritt wrote on the Law School Cafe: "It’s clear that the panel intended its action to 'send a signal' to the ABA Council that accredits law schools. All of us in legal education need to hear that signal: It affects the standards we adopt for accrediting law schools, as well as the eligibility of our students to take the bar exam."

She declared, "But the future might not be that bright. Our profession has a particularly poor record of serving low- and middle-income clients. Will we really improve that service at the same time that students pay (and borrow) more than ever for their legal education? Twenty years from now, we might find that a significant number of law graduates have not recouped the cost of their education; that government lenders are not recovering their loans; and that individuals and small businesses are more desperate than ever for affordable legal assistance."

You can find a transcript of the panel's meeting here.

Paul Caron wrote on the Tax Prof Blog, "The transcript for that meeting has now been released, and it is an extraordinary shot across the bow of legal education and the ABA.  I encourage folks to read the riveting back and forth, beginning at page 168.  The committee essentially accused the ABA of being Nero, fiddling while much of legal education burns down."

He added, "On its own, the committee raised virtually every hot button issue facing legal education: rising tuition and student debt, declining bar passage and job placement rates, accreditation standards that drive up costs and for which the ABA admitted it had no data to support the educational benefit, protecting faculty at the expense of students, and the ABA's failure to punish law school perfidy."

Stay tuned for updates.

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Amazon’s “Zombie Clause”

If you scrutinize the lengthy Terms of Service for Amazon’s game engine Lumberyard, you will discover the Zombie Clause (here):

57.10: The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

A true “belt and suspenders” provision. Thnxs to Chris Rideout.


August 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips for online job applicants

While OCI and face-to-face interviews remain the prevailing method for screening many law firm job applicants, employers in all fields are increasingly soliciting resumes online. Accordingly, this story from the New York Times education section discusses strategies for making your resume digital-ready at a time when employers are using algorithms to screen applicants.  Among the other tips, it's vitally important to make sure the way you describe your experience and qualifications align with the positions sought by incorporating key search terms. On the other hand, even in an advice column that's directed at online job applicants, the importance of in-person networking remains paramount.  Submitted for your reading pleasure:

Job Hunting in the Digital Age

Like many recent college graduates, Ben Kim felt he was casting his résumé into an abyss when he clicked “apply online” for the hundredth or so time. “The most common response was nothing,” he said.


That may be because, before capturing an employer’s eye, job hunters in the digital age often have to get past a round of robots scanning their résumé for keywords.


Although the business of hiring is still largely a manual process, employers are experimenting with increasingly sophisticated technology. Some companies are setting loose automated recruiters that crawl the web for the perfect hire, based on an algorithm. Others are asking job candidates to answer their first round of interview questions via video — perhaps not a huge ask for members of the YouTube generation.


Use Keywords

Many recruiters use tracking systems to sift through virtual piles of résumés searching for specific qualifications — say, software developers fluent in a programming language — or previous jobs that illustrate leadership qualities. What does this mean for applicants?


“Make sure you are carefully reviewing the job description and aligning your experience and transferable skills based on what the organization is looking for,” said Mercy Eyadiel, associate vice president of career development and corporate engagement at Wake Forest University. “If you don’t, you risk not showing up in the list of potential candidates for consideration,” which is often based on keyword searches. That doesn’t mean regurgitating job descriptions or being untruthful, but it does require imagination.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


August 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Foundations for Practice: IAALS Asks What Makes a New Lawyer Successful and 24,000 Lawyers Answer

I have been talking about learning outcomes for the past several days.  One question is how do law schools determine what their learning outcomes should be.  One answer to this question is to look at studies done by experts in legal education.

Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers have just completed a study concerning what skills new lawyers need: Foundations for Practice: IAALS Asks What Makes a New Lawyer Successful and 24,000 Lawyers Answer.

"In a first-of-its kind project, Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, an initiative of IAALS, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, reveals the keys to success: first, lawyers must have a high “character quotient.” Integrity, work ethic, grit, and common sense are just a few of the necessary characteristics. Second, according to IAALS’ report, Foundations for Practice: The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient, findings show that, while character reigns, being a successful lawyer requires a blend of character quotient with professional competencies and legal skills."

“Just as the medical profession realized that ‘bedside manner’ matters in a doctor, IAALS’ research reveals that being a ‘whole lawyer’ means possessing a high character quotient in addition to having skills and intellect,” explained Alli Gerkman, Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers. “Our findings in this study have the power to radically shift the discussion about what law schools teach and how employers hire and motivate a different approach to educating, training, and employing America’s next generation of lawyers.”

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Stetson Law’s “Out of the Box” Teaching Collection

Remember that recipe box that your parents or grandparents had containing recipes on index cards? (Actually, my family still has one.) Stetson echoes that box with a box of teaching ideas on index cards:

Teaching Legal Writing: Out of the Box Ideas Inside is a project to collect, organize, and share our community’s favorite classroom exercises and other teaching ideas. It starts with a box on your desk where you can explore legal writing teaching ideas by topic. Then, when you want teaching materials to implement an idea you’ve found, you can go online here, in the password-protected area, and find the materials you need, all easily downloaded and customized. New Idea Cards are sent and new teaching materials are added each year.

Want The Box for Yourself? 
Legal writing faculty can email with your name and address.

Very creative!


August 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Learning Outcomes: The Next Step

Last week, I discussed learning outcomes, and I presented four learning outcomes from law school websites, which I thought were particularly well-done.  The next step concerns how law schools determine whether learning outcomes have been met.  As James Fischer noted in a comment, "I agree; however, what I believe would be of much greater value would be the identification of ways to meaningfully assess whether students have reached the desired competencies. This would also require that we benchmark what the competency is. It is rather easy to say that someone shall be competent in a particular activity; it is more difficult to define that competency in ways that allow the teacher to see if the desired level of competency has been achieved."

Of course, this issue needs more than a blog post, but I will start a general discussion today.

The best way to measure learning outcomes is to measure them in every class.  However, the present system of law school testing with often just a single exam at the end of a semester is a poor way to measure outcomes.

What is need is formative assessment--frequent assessment throughout the semester with feedback.  Not only does formative assessment aid in determining learning outcomes, it helps students learn, and it tells them how well they are doing.

Frequent formative assessment could be combined with well-designed rubrics.  Rubrics are "detailed written grading criteria, which describe both what students should learn and how they will be evaluated."  I got the above definition from Sophie M. Sparrow, Describing the Ball: Improve Teaching by Using Rubrics--Specific Grading Criteria.  Professor Sparrow continues, "These criteria are based on the learning goals of the course. These goals are what the professor has identified students should learn by the end of the course. Within these goals, benchmarks may describe varying levels of student performance."  Her article contains numerous examples of rubrics.

Based on rubrics, a professor can create a grand rubric at the end of the semester to show how well a students has met the class's learning goals.  These grand rubrics should then be given to the student and the administration.  Based on a combination of the grand rubrics, the administration can determine whether a student has met the institution's learning goals.

The above is just one suggestion on how law school's can evaluate learning goals.  I am certain that there will be many papers and conferences on learning goals over the next few years.

Actually, Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference for 2016 will be on learning goals:

Learning Outcomes for Hire

September 22-24, 2016 in Denver.

"Law schools across the country are talking about learning outcomes—what should they be, how do you develop them, and how do you measure them? But what if learning outcomes could be more than an ABA requirement and an internal tool to evaluate student learning objectives? What if learning outcomes could also signal to legal employers that students have the foundations they desire in their workplace?"

More information here.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Confusing Wording on a Ballot Proposition?

As with some other states, Pennsylvania is debating whether to raise the maximum age for judges from 70 years to 75 years. On November 8, this proposition is scheduled to appear on the state election ballot:

Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?

Two retired state Supreme Court justices and a prominent lawyer have sued to prevent this proposition from appearing on the ballot, arguing that it "deceitful." The Philadelphia Inquirer explains:

The reworded question asks only whether judges should be required to retire at 75, not mentioning that they are already required to retire at 70. The new wording might produce an outcome different from the invalidated vote in April, when a slight majority said "no" to raising the retirement age.

Of course, since we are in Pennsylvania, there’s politics involved. Some argue that the language is the result of Republicans and some Democrats who want to keep on the court the Republican chief justice who is about to turn 70. His successor will be a Democrat. (in Pennsylvania, judges are elected—a method that has failed to work in Pennsylvania, IMHO).

The high court has given the secretary of state until next Wednesday, August 3, to respond. An interesting word-parsing question to propose to students. But for us who live here, more discouragement over the politics in our judicial system.

The Philadelphia Inquirer offers more background here, here, and here.


July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Persuasive Writing: Exercise in Fundraising Writing

Here a possible exercise. Have students pick a nonprofit and write a letter calling on recipients to contribute money to the cause. Have students think about what techniques would be effective. As a practical matter, anyone who enters the nonprofit arena can expect to spend substantial time raising funds. I speak from experience.

Here are guidelines offered by Jeff Brooks on the GuideStar blog (abridged):

  1. The importance of being urgent

Fundraising requires [a] sense of aggressive urgency. When it’s not there, when it’s the equivalent of “somebody call 9-1-1?” We get the same result. Everyone thinks someone else will take care of it. Hardly anyone gives.

  1. Make it easy to read

Sixth-grade level copy isn’t just for 6th-graders. It’s just easier to read. Easier for everyone, no matter how well-educated.

  1. Long messages work better
  2. Grammar for fundraisers

Fundraising copy that works is colloquial, informal, and simple. It doesn’t call attention to the education of the writer. In fact, it’s far more important to sound natural than it is to obey the grammar, usage, and structure rules your english teachers taught you.

  1. Persuade with story, not statistics

If you want action, you must help donors feel the pain of hunger by seeing it play out in one life. Then give them the opportunity to save one life—then another and another.

If you want to put it in environmental terms, it’s one pelican, covered in sticky tar and flopping along the beach, that galvanizes response to an oil spill. Not the reports of millions of gallons of oil churning into the ocean.

  1. Make it all about the donor

You’re not raising money to fund your organization. You’re enabling your donors to make the world a better place—through your organization.

That means the only facts that matter in fundraising are those you can directly connect to donors. To do that, apply the boy rule.

Boy stands for “because of you.” It means you never lose a chance to credit donors for the good work your organization does.

  1. Call to action

It’s normal to start a conversation with easy, inconsequential small talk (“nice weather we’re having”). We do this to gauge the mood of those we’re talking to and to ease our way to the topic at hand, especially when the topic is difficult.

Let me tell you a secret: nobody is fooled by your fundraising appeal. They don’t think they’re getting a letter from a pal. They know you sent it to ask for money. If you fail to ask, or pretend not to ask, all you accomplish is unclear communication.

So just ask.

You can read more here.


July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Passive Voice

When I was in school, I was taught that I should avoid the passive voice.  Later, I learned a little better rule that said that no more than 10% of sentences should be in passive.  But, this rule was still problematic.  What 10% should be in the passive voice?  This was just another mechanical rule that provided no real guidance.

A recent article by Geoffrey Pullum gives more guidance to students: Finger-Pointing, Trouble-Saving, and Pussyfooting.

He writes, "Warnings against the passive have in fact been getting increasingly extreme for about a hundred years. . .  So when I encounter a book that’s a bit better than the average, as I recently did, it’s only fair that I should comment. The Handbook of Good English (1982), by Edward D. Johnson, also known as The Washington Square Press Handbook of Good English, is a bit more sensible on the topic than most works addressed to the general public in the past half century."

Some good advice: “Don’t be afraid of the passive voice,” he says firmly [Johnson]. Adults “can forget that ‘Avoid the passive’ rule”: It’s for kids. “The passive voice is respectable, is capable of expressing shades of meaning that the active voice cannot express, and is sometimes more compact and direct than the active voice.”

He asks, "When does the passive express a shade of meaning that the active doesn’t? In what could be called the finger-pointing use of long passives. A passive with a by-phrase lays stress on the agent."

He continues, "And when is the passive more compact and direct? One class of such cases comprises Johnson’s “trouble-saving passive.” If you were to take a sentence like Smith was arrested, indicted, and found guilty, but the money was never recovered and try to wrestle it into the active voice, as so many writing guides insist you should, you would have to find subjects for all the active verb phrases. You’d need subjects for arrested Smith (the police department? the county sheriff?), and indicted him (a grand jury, as in the U.S.? the Crown Prosecution Service, as in Britain?), and for found him guilty (a judge? a trial jury?), and for recovered the money (the detectives? some bank or post office? the people whose cash had been stolen?). Implementing this pointless and clumsy elaboration would make the sentence nearly twice as long."

Johnson also notes the utility of what he calls “the pussyfooting passive,” which he says “is essential in journalism” because “often the writer does not know who did something or is not free to say who did it, but he wants to say it was done.”

Pullum concludes: "Edward Johnson’s discussion of the passive and when to use it, then, while not complete or perfect, is vastly superior to the “use the active voice” dogma repeated in so many dreadful books and articles and web pages on writing."

I agree with Pullum's and Johnson's comments, but I don't think they have gone far enough.

In my book, Legal Writing Exercises: A Practical Guide to Clear and Persuasive Writing for Lawyers 12-17 (ABA Pub. 2014), I stated, "You should only use the passive voice when you have a particular reason to do so."  I continued, "Effective writing uses both active and passive sentences. The passive voice may sometimes be preferable, such as where the actor is obvious or where the writer wants the actor to be ambiguous."


Mistakes were made. (In this example, the person who made the mistakes is hidden to de-emphasize the subject)
Mistakes were made by Jim. (In this example, the fact that Jim made the mistakes is de-emphasized.)
John was shot by Jim. (In this example, I wanted to emphasize John so I used the passive voice.)

In addition, the passive voice can affect emphasis and paragraph coherence.  As I wrote in Chapter Four of my book, "The above sentences say the same thing and, for the most part, they sound equally correct. The version one chooses depends on the emphasis desired (and how the sentence fits with other sentences in the paragraph). A writer should never settle for the first version but should consider all correct means of expression."

In other words, a writer should not apply a mechanical rule to the use of the active and passive voice, but she should choose the voice based on the intended meaning, emphasis, coherence and sound.  As I stressed throughout my writing book, while you should know the rules of writing, the number one thing is to follow your ear.

(Scott Fruehwald) (hat tip: Volokh Conspiracy)

July 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know"

That's the subject of a new article by Professors Tracey E. George and Suzanna Sherry (both of Vanderbilt) recently posted to SSRN here. The full title of the article is What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: Introducing New Law Students to the Study of Law and here's the abstract:

Law school is an exciting and enriching experience but also an intimidating and difficult one for students. Students and professors want students to succeed. We have written this essay and a book in order to decrease students' anxiety and increase their chances of achieving academic success. We offer here a short introduction to how a new law student can succeed, taken from the Introduction and first chapter of the book. The full book serves as a law school success guide, featuring insight into how and why law school works the way it does and the tools and techniques to fully understand first-year substantive law. In addition to teaching techniques for getting the most out of reading and out of class, the book also conveys information about the American legal system and court structure, and about cross-cutting legal concepts such as burdens of proof and standards of review. By reading this book before law school, students will be able to not only get by, but thrive in the classroom. We want to help law students feel more confident starting their new academic endeavor and be better prepared with the knowledge of what is to come and how to conquer it. We provide a foundation on which law teachers can build in the first year.


July 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Equal Citizenship for Legal Writing Professors

By now, one would think that legal education would have recognized the professional quality and contribution of legal writing professors. However, despite acceptance at some schools, many LW professors still lack the status that they deserve. At the Best Practices for Legal Education blog (July 15, 2016), Professor Shailini George reports on the current campaign for equal citizenship:

The Legal Writing Institute (“LWI”) the Association of Legal Writing Directors (“ALWD”), and the Society of American Law Teachers (“SALT”) have formally adopted a policy statement on full citizenship for all faculty.  Here is the text of the statement:

The Legal Writing Institute is committed to a policy of full citizenship for all law faculty. No justification exists for subordinating one group of law faculty to another based on the nature of the course, the subject matter, or the teaching method. All full-time law faculty should have the opportunity to achieve full citizenship at their institutions, including academic freedom, security of position, and governance rights. Those rights are necessary to ensure that law students and the legal profession benefit from the myriad perspectives and expertise that all faculty bring to the mission of legal education.

 LWI launched a campaign for individual signatures which began at the conference and will continue.

A recent article also discusses the impact of the lack of full citizenship for a group of faculty who are largely female: Stars Upon Thars: Law Schools Use ABA Standard 405(c)’s Tenure Like Security of Position to Discriminate Against Female Legal Writing Faculty, 34 Law. & Ineq. 137 (2016) by Melissa Weresh from Drake Law School.  This article addresses the potential for exploitation of law faculty members who hold ABA Accreditation Standard 405(c) status (“reasonably similar to tenure”) and the likelihood that such exploitation will have a disparate and discriminatory impact on a predominantly female cohort of law faculty.

You can read more here.


July 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Millennials: Tips for Talking with Your Elders

At Attorney at Work, consultant Linda Hazelton offers tips for talking across the generational divide. For example, here are her tips to millennials on communicating with elders via email:

More and more, email is the mode of formal communications, so keep your tone and format professional.

  • Subject line. Use an informative subject line, and change it when the subject changes. In some instances, it’s helpful to indicate what the reader should do, and when.
    • “Anderson Project — Would you please read and respond by tomorrow at 9 am? Thanks!” or
  •          “Anderson Project — For your information. No response necessary.”
  • Use a greeting and closing to avoid seeming abrupt. “Hello Ms. Roberts,” or “Good morning,” are better choices than “Hi!” “Dear Ms. Roberts” is a bit stilted. Close by thanking the reader (when appropriate) and saying “Best regards” or “Warm regards” or something similar.
  • State your purpose clearly and get to the point quickly (although some small talk is fine, for example, “I hope you had a great weekend.”) Emails should be precise and concise. If you need multiple paragraphs to get your point across, email isn’t the right medium.
  • What next? Convey the action step you want the reader to take. If no action is necessary, say so. “I’m sending this to keep you in the loop. No action on your part is required.”
  • Proofread! You must read your email carefully before sending it. Make sure your tone is appropriate and that there are no typos or grammatical errors. Autocorrect is not always your friend. When possible, print your email (or any other document, by the way) and read the hard copy.

You can read more here.


July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Learning Outcomes: University of Dayton School of Law

For a final look at learning outcomes, here is the list from the University of Dayton School of Law.

Learning Outcome 1: Graduates will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the law and the American legal system.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Identifying, describing, and interpreting the fundamental terms, rules, and principles of law, including significant alternative formulations, such as minority rules.
Criterion 2: Describing the American legal system’s structures, processes, and procedures.

Learning Outcome 2: Graduates will exhibit issue-spotting skills.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Identifying each potentially applicable legal theory as it relates to the facts.
Criterion 2: Identifying each legal rule relevant to each potentially applicable legal theory.
Criterion 3: Identifying the legally significant facts relating to each applicable legal rule.

Learning Outcome 3: Graduates will demonstrate competency in analytical and problem-solving skills.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Critically reading the applicable authority, including identifying the key rules within each authority.
Criterion 2: Synthesizing the relevant rules of law into a logical framework for analysis.
Criterion 3: Where rules conflict, thoroughly analyzing which rule a court is likely is likely to apply.
Criterion 4: Meticulously applying the identified rules to the facts, including evaluating potential counterarguments, to determine the likely outcome of the case.
Criterion 5: When appropriate, analogizing the facts to and distinguishing the facts from those of
precedent cases in specific and helpful ways to determine the likely outcome of the case.
Criterion 6: Articulating practical considerations, such as cost and effects on other people.

Learning Outcome 4: Graduates will communicate effectively and efficiently to individuals and groups.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Writing documents that are clear, concise, well-reasoned, organized, professional in tone, appropriate to the audience and the circumstances, and if appropriate, contain proper citation to authority.
Criterion 2: Speaking in a clear, concise, well-reasoned, organized, and professional manner that is appropriate to the audience and the circumstances.
Criterion 3: Actively listening to clients, colleagues, judges, and others.

Learning Outcome 5: Graduates will research effectively and efficiently.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Devising and implementing a logical research plan, which reflects an understanding of the limitations created by time and financial constraints.
Criterion 2: Accurately assessing the weight of authority.
Criterion 3: Identifying and effective
ly employing the fundamental tools of legal research.

Learning Outcome 6: Graduates will demonstrate competency in legal practice skills.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Capably managing a legal project (e.g., case, memorandum, mediation) from its inception to its conclusion.
Criterion 2: Effectively planning and controlling their use of time.
Criterion 3: Identifying and effectively engaging in appropriate dispute resolution processes.

Learning Outcome 7: Graduates will recognize and resolve ethical and other professional

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Listing the sources of the law governing lawyers.
Criterion 2: Identifying and explaining the applicable law governing lawyers.
Criterion 3: Using the law governing lawyers to recognize ethical and other professional dilemmas.
Criterion 4: Applying the law governing lawyers to help resolve ethical and other professional dilemmas.
Criterion 5: Exercising professional judgment to help resolve ethical and other professional dilemmas.

Learning Outcome 8: Graduates will continue to develop professional skills and attributes.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Exhibiting self-directed learning skills that will allow them to understand areas of the law with which they were previously unfamiliar.
Criterion 2: Participating in extracurricular opportunities to increase knowledge, hone
skills, and inform values.

Learning Outcome 9: Graduates will exemplify the Marianist charism of service, community, and inclusivity.

Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by . . .
Criterion 1: Exhibiting civility and treating others with respect.
Criterion 2: Displaying diversity skills, including sensitivity to social and cultural difference.
Criterion 3: Contributing to the profession's fulfillment of its responsibility to ensure that adequate legal services are provided to those who cannot afford to pay for them.

I especially like that this list includes developing self-directed learning skills.  I also like the problem-solving presentation in no. 3.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

New law grads offer advice on hanging a shingle

The blog interviewed several recent law grads who decided to hang a shingle for a variety of reasons ranging from they couldn't find a traditional law firm job in a tough economy to enjoying the freedom and entrepreneurship represented by working for oneself. These newly minted solo practitioners offer advice to others who are contemplating a similar career path including everything from the importance of effectively managing your law school debt to using incubators and other experiential learning opportunities while still in law school to develop key legal skills before attempting the solo life.

In Tight Job Market, New Law Grads Boldly Hang a Shingle


Let’s face it, the Big Law life isn’t for everyone. Some 4.4 percent of law school graduates—or about 1,900 each year—launch their own firms, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which last ran the numbers in 2014.


In talking to young lawyers who went into business for themselves during the past few years, found that some had no choice: They couldn’t find a place at a law firm, where hiring from top-tier schools has improved since the recession but generally not from lower-ranked schools. Some of the recent graduates we talked to did find a law firm job; but they didn’t like it. Others were realizing ambitions—they preferred the flexibility and autonomy of running their own practices, plus the close interaction with clients.


The solo career choice is not easy, they said, but added that practice incubators, which provide office space and support for young solos, can ease the pain.

. . . .

Continue reading here.


July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Irrational Rules: Miniscule Mysteries of Grammar Demystified

In 42 Litigation No. 1 (Fall 2015), George Gopen deals with three controversial topics of grammar: (1) Can you split the infinitive? (2) When a comma or period follows a quote, should it be placed inside or outside the question mark? (3) Should you use the Oxford comma?

As usual, Professor Gopen’s answers are well-reasoned and accord with common sense. You can access the article here.


July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journal of Legal Education: Book Review: Building on Best Practices

Book Review of Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World by Deborah A. Maranville, Lisa Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez by Jeffrey R. Baker.

Conclusion: "Building on Best Practices is a worthy addition to the canon of literature on reforming legal education. Before the Great Recession, without today’s pressing economic incentives, law schools made uneven strides to incorporate lessons from MacCrate, Best Practices, and Carnegie. Today, compounding economic crises and escalating accreditation requirements make reform urgent, necessary, and inevitable. To demonstrate that law schools can still add value to careers and society, legal educators must grapple with structural changes that affect every aspect of teaching, learning and researching. Building on Best Practices provides diverse expertise and useful guidance on approaching these challenges and on improving and expanding the enterprise of legal education."

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Learning Outcomes: California Western School of Law

Cal Western also has an excellent, detailed list of learning outcomes.  It is a little long to post so I will just provide the link.  Look especially at the Skills section.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sixth Annual Western Region Legal Writing Conference: Awakening the Force: LWI and the Development of Professional Identity


Jeffrey E. Proske and Hether C. Macfarlane:

Exciting news! It’s not too late to register for the Sixth Annual Western Region Legal Writing Conference which will be held at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law on August 5-6, 2016. The theme this year is “Awakening the Force: LWI and the Development of Professional Identity.” We have an exciting line-up of presenters, and there is no registration fee.  However, we do ask that everyone, including presenters, register so we know how many people will be attending. The link on the McGeorge website is:

 The website includes information about hotels in the area and the free parking at the law school. It also includes a list of the presenters and presentations we’ll be featuring this year.

 We’re looking forward to seeing everyone in August.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)