Sunday, January 10, 2016

Important New Legal Education Article: Curricular Integration

SPIRALS AND SCHEMAS: HOW INTEGRATED LAW SCHOOL COURSES CREATE HIGHER-ORDER THINKERS AND PROBLEM SOLVERS by Jennifer E. Spreng (37 U. La Verne L. Rev. 37).  A couple of times a year, a new article appears that takes a novel and innovative approach to legal education.  Spirals and Schemas is that article for early 2016.  This is an important article, which everyone interested in legal education needs to read and digest fully.
"As legal educators continue to shift focus to preparing students for practice, they should put integrated first-year courses and curricula into the top tier of potential reform vehicles. Integration refers to the extent to which a course or curriculum blurs disciplinary boundaries as well as boundaries between doctrine and authentic learning activities. Integrated courses promote active, deep learning that facilitate orderly knowledge construction and reveal more connections between vital legal concepts. The authenticity of integrated courses improves students’ retention and transfer of knowledge. Such accessible, interconnected knowledge in such a vital learning environment is like intellectual rocket fuel to law students as they hone higher-order thinking and problem-solving capacities, especially those emerging from sixteen years of passive education. Best of all, integration brings all of these elements into the doctrinal classroom where they belong.
The article starts with established learning theory about how and what students learn to explain why the traditional first-year curriculum is inadequate to many students’ needs and schools’ practice-oriented missions. It then provides a high overview of what is meant by “integrated courses and curricula” and what they can and should achieve pedagogically. After zooming in, the article shows what particular integrated curricula, courses and activities that law schools could insert into their catalogs and syllabi today would look like. Finally, the article examines both anecdotal evidence and scholarly studies of outcomes from students educated with an integrated curriculum. The article concludes optimistically that integrated first-year courses and activities have enough potential to make transformative pedagogical improvements in legal education that they demand further consideration as a framework for reform."

"Many law school graduates do not understand what the law is: what they must know, what they must do and “why” it works when solving legal problems."

"Many new law students need a cognitive reconstruction of their concepts of law and learning."

"“More curricular “integration” can help. “Integration” refers to the extent to which the program of education is ordered based on disciplinary, departmental, or clinical boundaries, which in law boils down to what I call “doctrine,” “intellectual and professional capacities,” and clinics and externships. Integration is a standard feature of introductory and advanced professional education. Many medical schools now organize their basic science curricula by body system instead of traditional disciplines. Many have adopted “problem-based learning,” a pedagogy familiar to law professors but now almost a signature for medical schools in which students learn and apply their knowledge to a set of authentic problems, that often present new information or developments to the same set of foundational facts throughout the term, that call for active, deep learning and the intellectual and interpersonal capacities they will employ in diagnosis, treatment decisions, patient counseling, and collegial teamwork.”

"Compared to medical schools, only the slightest whispers of integration have invaded law school curricula."

 "Legal education has not even conceptualized what it would mean to level the “doctrine-skills divide” – and may actually reinforce it – which is the essence of integration."

"This article argues that law schools should explore first-year curricular integration in the process of other programmatic reforms."

"Professional school curriculum reform should start with the question, “What do we want students to know and be able to do” come Graduation day."

"Leading educational psychologists believe every student has a 'mental model of learning.'"

Engaged reading is active and occurs when the student calls on “‘higher-level thinking skills, such as connecting ideas and sources of information, spotting faulty logic in argumentation, recognizing bias or hidden agendas, identifying unsupported ideas, understanding metaphorical levels of meaning, and entertaining other perspectives and points of view on a subject.’”

"Whether a student adopts deep learning, surface learning or performance-driven learning strategies depends on the student’s concept of learning, formed over time based on the student’s experience of what students learn, what they should learn, why they learn and what behaviors and strategies they employ to learn."

"Surely law school should orient students that active, deep learning is central to performance and the practice of law."

"Students interpret new knowledge based on their existing knowledge. On to that existing knowledge, students are continually “constructing” and “reconstructing” their understanding based on new information gleaned from experience. These constructions are cognitive tools useful for problem solving – “schemas,” “scripts,” and “mental models” of a particular subject -- that represent or derive from 'prototypical expectations about objects, situations and actions.'”

"From the perspective of cognitive psychology, a law school’s mission is scaffolding students identifying, collecting, constructing and using law-related schemas and scripts to produce a relational understanding of the law."

"To use those cognitive tools to solve problems, the student must transfer her “knowledge, skills and attitudes” from one situation to another, which is not simple but more likely to succeed if the student has a strong domain-knowledge rooted schema base."

"Law schools seek to produce higher-order thinkers and sophisticated problem solvers for practice. So first, those students must also be active life-long learners to acquire the necessary domain and tacit knowledge. Then, they must organize that knowledge into complex schemas and scripts so they are able to retain and eventually retrieve and transfer that knowledge to a particular problem."

"Legal educators must confront students with their misconceptions from Day One to facilitate a radical conceptual reconstruction of students’ models of learning and learning law."

"The ultimate purpose of integration in professional schools is maximizing the speed and extent to which students develop expertise to solve complex problems."

"Integration also facilitates knowledge retention and transfer for use in other settings."

"The concept of integration is to “blur boundaries” between disciplines or between theory and practice."

Professor Spreng then goes on to shop what is and what is not integration.

"The complaint drafting activity described above is an example of a very pedagogically productive point of integration."

"Honing students’ higher order thinking capacities, such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation are desired learning outcomes also."

"Law may be a good fit for greater integration, especially given that the capacities and outcomes integration and problem solving seek and do promote are such high priorities for legal education."

There are many more gems in this article, but I had to stop somewhere.

I have emphasized many times on this blog that legal education reform requires much more than adding a few skills classes to the second and third years.  It requires that law professors radically change their approach to teaching all classes, especially in the first year.  Professor Spreng's article is a brilliant illustration of how to do this.

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

George Orwell’s Rules on Writing

George Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language is a classic. You can access it here and share it with your students. His rules are:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you

are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if

you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.


January 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lord of the Rings in Turkish Court

From the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Dec. 2015 newsletter):

Gollum on Trial: Is Smeagol a Smear?

Turkish physician Bilgin Çiftçi is the subject of a criminal case which revolves around a fascinating question: did Çiftçi insult Turkish President Recep Erdoğan by circulating on social media a graphic comparing the president to the character of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings series?

In the United States far worse ridicule is tolerated as the normal course of business in political discourse, but the matter is quite serious in Turkey, where the President has cracked down hard on adverse portrayals in the media. The Turkish penal code prescribes a prison term of up to four years for anybody who insults the president of the republic. Çiftçi, who was already fired from his job with the Public Health Service for sharing the image on social media, raised a remarkable defense in his criminal trial.

He asserts that he did not insult the President, because for all his strange and slimy ways, Gollum (born Smeagol) was actually a good guy. The trial judge conceded he had not seen enough of the movies to resolve the issue,1 so he convened a panel of five experts -- two academics, two behavioral scientists or psychologists, and an expert on cinema and television productions, to review the evidence and advise the courts on the merits of the issue. The panel has two and a half months to complete its work.2

The whole episode fills us with gratitude for the First Amendment and New York Times v. Sullivan. You might even call it our precious.   1 Apparently reading the books is out of the question. 2 Running time for the Lord of the Rings cycle is 9 hours and 18 minutes; running time for The Hobbit trilogy is just under 8 hours.3 3In contrast, one paperback edition of the LOTR cycle ran 1,241 pages, while The Hobbit ran 304 pages. We suppose that editorializing on the merits of splitting fantasy books into cinematic trilogies is beyond the scope of this newsletter.


January 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The legal sector ends the year strong adding 1,200 jobs in December

That's according to the monthly job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was also the fourth straight month of job growth in the legal sector meaning that in total approximately 10,000 jobs have been added to the legal sector in 2015. That brings the total number of people employed n the legal sector to 1,128,000 as of December. The Bloomberg's Big Law Business Blog has more details here


January 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 8, 2016

N.Y. May Allow Foreign Attorneys to Practice Temporarily

From the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Dec. 2015):

The Office of Court Administration for New York is accepting comments on a proposed amendment  to allow out-of-state and foreign attorneys to practice law on a temporary basis in the state. Under the proposal, a lawyer licensed in another U.S. or a foreign jurisdiction could provide legal services in New York state on a temporary basis in certain circumstances, including:

  • on matters where a New York attorney assumes joint responsibility;
  • in a proceeding before a tribunal in New York where the out-of-state lawyer is authorized to appear;
  • in certain alternative dispute resolution situations; and
  • for services related to a matter that arises in the jurisdiction in which the lawyer was admitted, for example, in a transactional matter where an attorney representing a client in another state comes to New York to negotiate a contract.

New York, like most states, already allows pro hac vice admission to lawyers from other states, but the new rule is intended to provide a more flexible alternative for lawyers working in less formal situations. The proposal would make New York the tenth state in the union to allow foreign attorneys to practice under certain circumstances.


January 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Twitter from AALS: Professor Kuehn on Costs of Clinical Education

I am not a big fan of twitter overall, but it is a convenient way to follow a conference.  For example, Michelle Storms tweets, "Robert Kuehn's statistical review finds clinical education costs less than seminars, only a bit more than small podium ."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 8, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Updated ABA Required Disclosures

Law schools have submitted their reports for 2015. You can access them here.

The highlights from the Associate’s Mind blog:

  • Same as last year, 98 of 146 ranked law schools have had double-digit matriculant percentage drops since 2011.
  • 129 ranked law schools have had matriculants decline since 2011 (+2 from 2014).
  • 17 schools increased in matriculants (-1 from 2014).
  • 1 remained even (-1 from 2014).
  • 1 (EDIT: This was an error on my part, Humphreys, listed in the 509 reports as University of Memphis, remains ABA accredited. I mixed up Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law with Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law, which is an unaccredited law school in California. I apologize for the mistake).
  • Largest decrease: Hamline at -65.37% (205 to 71). Last year’s largest decrease: Hamline.
  • Runner-up decrease: Toledo at -48.53% (136 to 70) Last year’s largest decrease runner-up: New Hampshire.
  • Largest increase: Wyoming at 37.68% (69 to 95). Last year’s largest increase: Wyoming.
  • Runner-up increase: Arizona State at 27.98% (168 to 215). Last year’s largest increase runner-up: George Washington.
  • 1 school had 50%+ decreases in matriculants: Hamline (-1 from 2014).
  • 10 schools had decreases in the 40%+ range: Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seton Hall, Rutgers Camden, Catholic University, Albany, UConn, New Hampshire, Toledo, and Hamline (+1 from 2014).
  • The highest ranked school (Yale) had a -2.44% decline.
  • The lowest ranked school (McGeorge) had a -22.67% decline.
  • (ljs)

January 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Memoriam: Judge Judith S. Kaye

Judge Kaye was the first woman to serve as New York's chief judge.   I had the pleasure of hearing her speak several times.  You can find the NY Time's obituary here.


(Scott Fruehwald)

January 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Posner on the Continued Emphasis on Teaching the Bluebook in Legal Writing Classes

In his Salon article, Judge Posner attacks the continued emphasis in legal writing classes on teaching the Bluebook, which he implies produces formalism in students.

He writes,

"Another curricular error is the continued emphasis in legal-writing courses on the Bluebook, which has swollen from obese to grotesque size and by reason of its length and complexity has spawned auxiliary book-length treatments of citation form, such as Harvard’s Blackbook, which annotates and extends the Bluebook in an effort to cope with its gaps and contradictions, the result of its great length and its authors’ outsized ambitions.There are alternatives to the Bluebook, some simpler, but they have not caught on. In part this reflects the intellectual conservatism of the legal profession, which students find comforting. But in part the Bluebook’s very complexity is an attraction. Modern students want the same things their predecessors wanted—a good job upon graduation, of course, but also to be the members of a real profession (a guild, even a mystery), “profession” implying esoteric knowledge, a specialized vocabulary, and a technique for generating objectively correct answers to even the most difficult questions that arise in one’s professional field."

The problem with this statement is there is no such emphasis on the Bluebook in legal writing classes.  Yes, legal writing professors teach citation as a component of legal writing.  However, it is a very small part of two-semester legal writing.  When I taught legal writing, I generally devoted one hour of class time to bluebooking.  I also corrected my students' bluebooking mistakes in their assignments and helped them with their bluebooking in meetings.  I also taught an extra optional class on scholarly citation for those who wanted to try out for a journal.

Judge Posner's comments reflect a common misconception of what legal writing professors teach.  Legal writing is a class on legal writing and how to communicate that analysis effectively in writing.  It does require some teaching of grammar and other technical aspects of writing, but it doesn't emphasize these things.  In fact, legal writing is the most realistic class students take in the first year of law school because it forces them to deal with real world problems, including from a policy viewpoint.  One thing I emphasize in the appellate part of the course is to write for a judicial audience and for the students to re-read their briefs as if they were the judge, which I think uses the approach that Posner wants in legal education.  Finally, at most law schools, legal writing is taught by professionals who are as expert in their field as the doctrinal professors are in theirs.

I agree with Posner's criticisms of the Bluebook, as do most legal writing professors.  However, students do not need to memorize the entirety of the Bluebook; only a small number of rules are necessary to do proper citations for most problems.  For example, an extensive portion of the Bluebook is devoted to the citation of foreign materials, something that most lawyers never have to deal with.  In addition, legal writing professors have written their own alternative to the Bluebook, the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation, which simplifies many of the Bluebook's complexities.

In sum, as was true of his characterization of the teaching of statutory interpretation, which I discussed yesterday, Judge Posner has set up legal writing as a straw man in his fight against formalistic instruction in law school.  I agree with him that existing approaches to legal education are often overly formalistic, but we should attack the proper enemy.   Law schools need to deal more with real world problems.  They need more active instruction, including incorporating problem solving and drafting into first-year courses.  They need more courses that combine theory and practice.

(Scott Fruehwald)

Update: Judge Posner has added a comment on the comments page.

January 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Nova Southeastern College of Law launches an incubator program to provide legal services to veterans.

Since this blog is always announcing the launch of legal incubators by other schools (hereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here), it's only fitting I post an announcement that my own school is starting one to provide legal services to veterans and modest income clients. The program is open to recent grads who, if accepted, will receive training, shared office space and mentoring by experienced attorneys in exchange for their service to the community. The program is intended to instill in participants the necessary legal and business skills needed to open their own practices upon completion of the program. So hey there ABA, please add us to the list.

Here are some additional details from the press release: 

The Legal Incubator is a post-graduate program that will enable NSU Law graduates to start their own solo, small firm, or non-profit practices while serving the veteran community and low and moderate income individuals. This program fulfills a dual mission in providing new attorneys the infrastructure and basic training needed to get their practices up and running, while also providing the local community legal assistance at an affordable cost. 


Florida has a large population of veterans who require legal counsel to successfully reintegrate back into the community as well as a substantial modest means population that cannot afford legal services. 


The NSU Law Legal Incubator will allow young attorneys the ability to provide legal services to veterans and the underprivileged while being mentored, trained, and supported by experienced attorneys. 


Contact Jayme Cassidy at for more information. The deadline to apply for the legal incubator program is Monday, February 1, 2016. 


January 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rowan University and Widener (Delaware) Law Start Combined 6 Year Program

From Philly Voice (excerpts):

Rowan and Widener University have launched a partnership that will allow Rowan students to earn a bachelor's degree and law degree within six years, with a bonus of at least $10,000 in merit scholarships.

Widener, based in Chester, Pennsylvania, runs the Delaware Law School in Wilmington, the only law school in the state. Rowan, based in South Jersey, has been trying to attract more students by rolling out fast-track, money-saving options like a three-year undergraduate program.

There's also an "express admission" path where Rowan students go to Delaware Law School after four years of undergraduate study. Those students will also qualify for the merit scholarships.

Delaware Law has similar agreements with Cabrini College, Neumann University and, of course, Widener's own undergraduate program, noted the Philadelphia Business Journal.

You can read more here.


January 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Judge Posner on Statutory Interpretation

Judge Richard Posner has excerpted a part from his new book, Divergent Paths: The Academy and the Judiciary, in Salon:

Here’s how we fix law school: This is the real-world training future lawyers need

The article presents a limited and odd view of legal education. While the title concerns fixing law schools, it fails to mention any solutions. In any event, I want to concentrate on two aspects of the article: statutory interpretation (today) and the Bluebook (tomorrow).

Judges Posner says the following about the teaching of statutory interpretation:

“Students emerge from law school today about as formalist as their predecessors of a half-century ago, possibly even more so because of the law schools’ greater emphasis on legal theory, which supplies tools that the inventors and suppliers claim can assure correct decisions without any taint of ideology or any need to choose among competing factual claims. I mentioned the movement to make statutory interpretation a mandatory course. As I understand it, considerable emphasis in such courses is placed on the canons. This is perverse, if my criticism of the canons has merit. Other than the small number of substantive canons, such as the rule of lenity or the rule of constitutional avoidance—avoid deciding on constitutional grounds a case that can be decided on nonconstitutional grounds—the canons are at best window dressing, at worst the emperor’s new clothes in Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of that name. They are not valid instruments for guiding statutory interpretation.”

This is an incorrect view of how statutory interpretation is taught in law schools. I have taught statutory interpretation many times both in a separate course (legislation) and as part of legal writing and legal methods courses. I have also thoroughly studied the statutory/legislation texts. I even wrote a chapter on statutory interpretation in my Think Like A Lawyer book.

Legislation is a dynamic course that studies statutes from multiple perspectives. While courses on statutes do cover the canons, they are only a small part of the course. Legislation courses include how to read statutes, the different approaches to statutory interpretation (textualism, originalism (legislative intent), and dynamism (open-ended)), the theory behind the approaches, the legislative process, etc. In particular, classes on statutory interpretation read the great cases on interpreting statutes by Brewer, Brennan, Scalia, Kennedy, Hand, and, even, Posner. They also apply what students have learned to new sets of facts.

He continues:

“If the professor teaches the canons, even while telling the students that the canons (with the exception of the handful of substantive ones) are window dressing, the lesson the students will take from the course and seek to apply as law clerks or litigators is to dress statutory opinions in canons, much as the sharpies in The Emperor’s New Clothes dressed the emperor in luxurious nonexistent clothing.”

When I teach legislation, I usually devote one hour out of twenty-eight hours to the canons. When I teach legislation in legal writing, I usually devote about ten minutes of a two-hour class to the canons. The texts devote about the same proportion of space to the canons. Based on this, I doubt that students will become formalists and overemphasize the canons while interpreting statutes.

Judge Posner continues:

“ What would be useful would be a course on Congress, or the legislative process more generally. The more realistic a judge's or law clerk's or litigating lawyer's understanding of how legislation is produced-the relative role of the legislators, their staffs, executive branch officials, and lobbyists, and of the procedures employed by Congress to enact legislation-the better equipped the judge or his law clerks will be to "legislate" in the interstices left open by the legislative process, when the judge is confronted with an interpretive question.”

The problem with this statement is that legislation courses already include this.

Finally, he declares: “I actually doubt the need for any course on statutory interpretation. Interpretation is a natural human activity; it doesn’t require instruction.” Wow! In this statement, Judge Posner demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of typical law students today. The typical student is not as brilliant as Judge Posner. They need explicit instruction. I came to understand this very quickly in my teaching career, and my observation is reinforced by a ton of research by researchers on general education and legal education. Even a student at an elite law school will benefit from a course on statutory interpretation, which draws on the seminal cases, discusses the theory behind these cases in depth, and applies this learning in a practical manner.

In sum, Judge Posner’s view of how statutory interpretation is taught in law schools today is wrong. Equally incorrect, is his view of what law students need and how they learn.

(Scott Fruehwald

January 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAC reports law school applicants up 0.7% and applications down 2.3% compared to last year

Those are the latest figures from the LSAC as of January 1, 2016 compared to last year at this time.  The LSAC also reports that as of this time last year, 36% of the final applicant figures were in.  Here's the full report:

Three-Year ABA Volume Comparison

The following charts report ABA applicants and applications for each of the past three academic years.

As of 01/01/16, there are 117,498 2016 applications submitted by 20,095 applicants for the 2016–2017academic year. Applicants are up 0.7% and applications are down 2.3% from 2015–2016.

Last year at this time, we had 36% of the preliminary final applicant count.

Three-year-aba1 (1)



January 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can You Trust Online Ratings of Lawyers?

In a nearby suburb, an attorney was suspended for five years after admitting to taking money from his firm, lying to a court that a client agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against her, and neglecting clients after starting his own firm. Given the full story, I would have disbarred him.

I checked him out on several online ratings services and learned that he is a “Super Lawyer” an Avvo four star lawyer, and the recipient of other accolades. This guy has been in trouble since at least 2013. You can’t trust those ratings.


January 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Will Technology Eliminate Lawyers?

New York Times: The End of Lawyers? Not So Fast.


"[A] study prepared by McKinsey & Company suggested that adding technology to the workplace is more likely to transform, rather than eliminate, jobs. This echoed a growing consensus that it is important to distinguish “task” automation from “job” automation."

"The McKinsey study found that less than 5 percent of jobs can be completely automated based on existing technologies within the next three to five years. Even more striking is a similar study by James Bessen, a Boston University School of Law researcher, who found a positive relationship between the degree of computerization in a particular job category and employment growth."

"[W]hile A.I. technologies would continue to replace routinized jobs, they would also increase the number of workers whose jobs require problem-solving, flexibility and creativity."

"The research suggested that, for now, even the most advanced A.I. technology would at best make only modest inroads into the legal profession. Based on their analysis of actual billed hours, the researchers examined the work that lawyers do in broad general categories. They then analyzed how much of each category might be displaced by existing A.I. and automation technologies."

"The researchers noted that many of the tasks that lawyers perform fall well within what Polanyi defined as human behavior that cannot be easily codified."

"In an analysis of actual legal work practices from billing invoice data, the researchers estimated that about 13 percent of all legal work might ultimately fall prey to automation. If that amount of work disappeared in a single year, it would be devastating, of course. But implemented over many years, this amount of technological change would be less noticeable, they said."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Stories from Supreme Court Clerks

Here are brief new stories from former clerks of Justices Sherman Minton, Robert Jackson, Potter Stewart, Abe Fortas, and Hugo Black. They summarize stories in a new book of SCOTUS clerk tales, Of Courtiers & Kings, co-authored by Todd Peppers and Clare Cushman.


January 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Panels of Interest at AALS Conference to This Blog's Readers

This year's AALS Conference in New York includes a large number of panels on legal skills and legal education.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

9:00 am - 10:00 am AALS Opening Plenary Program
Lawyers as Professionals and as Citizens

10:15 am - 12:00 pm AALS President’s Program
Challenges Facing the Legal Profession and Strategies to Address Them

10:15 am - 12:00 PM Arc of Career Program
Using Rounds about Teaching to Provide Peer Support and Learning Over the Course of a Career: Continuing Education for Teachers Who Educate Lawyers

10:15 am - 12:00 pm Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research
Best Practices for Supervising Seminar Papers and Other Scholarly Writings

10:15 am - 4:30 pm Student Services
It Takes a Village: Collaborative Ways to Promote Student Professionalism, Resiliency, and Leadership

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm Professional Responsibility, Co-Sponsored by Criminal Justice
Ethics in Criminal Practice -The Hardest Questions Today: A Conversation in Honor of Monroe Freedman

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm AALS Discussion Group
Introducing Professional Identity Development into the Law School Curriculum

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research
Pedagogy for New Law School Teachers: What Every Law Professor Should Know About How Students Learn

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm Transactional Law and Skills
Pedagogy for New Law School Teachers: Teaching Transactional Skills Using Interactive Methods in Doctrinal Classes: Flipped Class Rooms, Lab Courses, Drafting and More

Friday, January 8, 2016

7:00 am - 8:30 pm Baylor University School of Law and Stanford Center of the Legal Profession Breakfast
Topic: Leadership for Law Students and Lawyers

8:30 am - 10:15 am Part-Time Division Programs, Co-Sponsored by Prelegal Education and Admission to Law School
Hot Topics in Part-Time Legal Education

9:00 am - 12:00 pm Agricultural and Food Law, Environmental Law, and Natural Resources and Energy Law Joint Program
Engaging Students in Real-World Problem Solving: An Interactive Workshop

10:30 am - 12:15 pm Balance In Legal Education, Co-Sponsored by Academic Support
Finding Your Voice in the Legal Academy

1:30 pm - 3:15 pm Clinical Legal Education
Examining the Value of Clinical Education: Thinking Beyond Cost

1:30 pm - 3:15 pm Teaching Methods, Co-Sponsored by Civil Procedure
The Pedagogy of Procedure: Using Civil Procedure to Showcase Innovative Teaching Methods

Saturday, January 9, 2016

10:30 am - 12:15 pm AALS President’s Program
Preparing Professionals: Higher Education's Responses to the Demands of a Global Marketplace

10:30 am - 12:15 pm Academic Support
Raising the Bar

1:30 pm - 3:15 pm Transactional Law and Skills
Transactional Lawyering and Contractual Innovation

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm AALS Discussion Group
Fostering Entrepreneurial Lawyering in Curricular Design

Sunday, January 10, 2016

10:30 am - 12:15 pm Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research
Reimagining the Curriculum to Address Student Needs and Bench and Bar Demands

(Scott Fruehwald)



January 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Texas law school deans describe top goals for 2016

They include expanding experiential training opportunities, controlling tuition costs and establishing a successful alumni-mentoring program. The Texas Lawyer has more:

Looking Ahead: Law School Deans Outline Goals for 2016


Texas Lawyer asked deans of three Texas law schools—University of Texas School of Law, University of Houston Law Center and Texas A&M University School of Law—to list their top institutional goals for 2016. Below is what they identified in emailed responses, which were edited for length:


Ward Farnsworth, dean of the University of Texas School of Law in Austin:


My top priority is controlling the cost to our students of getting their legal education here. That was true last year and will be true next year, so I don't suppose it represents a change—but it is the most important thing to say in response to any question about our aims. We were glad to recently be ranked as providing the best return on investment of any school in the top 20, and are working to re-earn that distinction at all times.


As for changes, we have a new alumni-mentoring program that we're excited about. It aims to ensure that every one of our students gets advice and guidance from our community of graduates. So when 1Ls come on board, they are set up in a mentoring relationship with one of our alums, usually in Austin; as the aspirations of our students evolve and become clearer, they are introduced to other UT Law grads in their fields of interest and in the locations where they want to work.


. . . . 


Leonard Baynes, dean of the University of Houston Law Center in Houston:


. . . . 


With a generous grant from the Provost's Office, UH Law Center re-established a pipeline program aimed at first-generation college students who are from low-income backgrounds and members of groups underrepresented in the legal community. This next year, this program will be expanded to include a second cohort who are nearer to graduation and who, during the summer, will focus exclusively on LSAT review. The Law Center entered into an arrangement with the University of Houston Honors College which will identify students early in their college careers so they can get on track to graduate from the University of Houston and the Law Center in six years not seven.


Andy Morriss, dean of the Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth:


Expand experiential and global learning efforts: We're taking multiple steps to prepare our students for the practice of law in an increasingly global world. On the experiential side, we launched a public policy externship in Washington, D.C., and we have one in the works to begin in Austin next year. Our externship program is also expanding in the D/FW area. We've opened new clinic space in downtown Fort Worth, consolidating our existing clinics into a modern law office and giving us a platform for our new Veterans Clinic as well as future expansion. To enhance our students' exposure to the global practice of law, we've added new faculty focused on global legal issues; we are also launching both new degrees to bring foreign lawyers [onto] our campus and new programs to send our students abroad. Our goal is for every student to leave Texas A&M with real exposure to the practice of law and an awareness of the global context.


. . . . 


Continue reading here.


January 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School Can Be Difficult for First Generation Law Students

From our experience, I think all of us can agree with that statement. A few law schools are trying to make the path easier for these students. Here are excerpts from an article in the L.A. Times, focusing on efforts at U.S.C.

Yet for a small group of USC law students who are the first in their family to attend college, the experience is still nerve-racking. Some said they were afraid to approach professors for advice or speak up in class because they worried they didn't know as much as their classmates, most of whom have parents with advanced degrees or are lawyers themselves.

To try to help such students, USC has started a program aimed at first-generation law students. Other schools, including Yale and Columbia universities have similar initiatives, which are meant to boost confidence more than just academic performance.

You can read more here.


January 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Commercial videos for “The Texas Law Hawk”

Bryan Wilson, the self-styled Texas Law Hawk,has produced some outrageous commercials that have gone viral. I wouldn’t recommend to my students that they follow his lead. Here is a youtube with two of the videos.


January 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)