Thursday, March 26, 2015

From Judge Painter: 30 Ways to Improve Readability

Here are the 30 ways, from emeritus Judge Mark Painter of the Ohio Court of Appeals. For each rule, he gives advice. The rules are a compact collection of methods to make legal writing understandable. If you would like 40 rules, you might consult his book, The Legal Writer: 40 Rules for the Art of Legal Writing.

(ljs)

March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote of the Week

It is virtually impossible to become proficient at a mental task without extended practice.
                            Daniel T. Willingham

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Closing the 'Gap': Novice Criminal Attorneys' Perceptions on Law School Learning Experiences"

This is an article from a few years ago that was recently posted to SSRN by Professors Bryan Taylor (Concordia and Idaho) and Mary Gardiner (Idaho).  It's also available at  13 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clinical L. 397 (2011). From the abstract:

This qualitative investigation examined law school learning experiences from the perspective of novice criminal law attorneys to provide information to bridge the so-called “gap” between law school and legal practice. The researchers administered a pre-interview questionnaire, engaged in face-to-face interviews, and observed participants, which provided triangulating data. A cross-case analysis was conducted with data collected from five attorneys from three law schools. The study found several major themes concerning how novice attorneys practicing criminal law viewed their law school learning experiences. Findings indicated the importance of: (a) connecting theory with practice, (b) enhancing critical communication skills for today’s global society, and (c) engaging in experiential learning. Based on these findings from student conceptions of learning, this article concludes with recommendations regarding ways to incorporate andragogical principles in law school and recommendations for further studies.

(jbl).

March 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20 Ways to Keep $$ Safe While Traveling

With summer approaching, many of our readers are planning to travel. From the Trust Advisor blog, here are twenty useful tips on protecting yourself financially (here).

(ljs)

March 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

California is considering Limited Licensed Legal Technicians

Following the lead of Washington state, the State Bar of California has just posted for public comment a proposal to do that same thing in that state.  Both Robert Ambrogi's LawSites blog and the ABA Journal blog have the report.  Here's and excerpt from the latter:

 

Will California be the next state to allow legal technicians? Bar group calls for pilot program

Washington is currently the only state with a program allowing limited license legal technicians to help civil litigants prepare legal documents and provide advice on legal procedures. But bar groups in two other states are taking steps that could lead to legal technician programs in their own jurisdictions.

 

A task force of the Oregon State Bar issued a report last month recommending that the bar’s board of governors consider the concept of legal technicians to help increase access to justice, according to Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites. Now a California bar task force has published for comment a draft report that calls for a legal technician pilot program in one subject matter area, LawSites says.

 

The report by the State Bar of California’s Civil Justice Strategies Task Force says the state bar should first study design of the pilot program, addressing how oversight and licensing would be handled.

. . . . 

You can continue reading the ABA Journal blog here.

(jbl).

March 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Do Employers Expect of Law Students and Law Graduates?

In a survey, the researchers asked employers what documents they expected law students and law graduates to be able to write. The results:

A majority of employers expected recent graduates to be able to write the following document types with minimal supervision: office memos (93%), motions (78%), client letters(77%), pleadings (69%), discovery documents like interrogatories (69%), orders (65%), trial briefs (65%), demand letters (59%), and appellate briefs (56%).

By contrast, a majority of employers expected law students to be able to write only one document type with minimal supervision after their 1L year: the office memo (91%). After two years of law school, students were expected to master only three legal document types: office memos (90%), client letters (58%), and motions (57%).

They also asked what skills these two groups should possess. The article contains the chart. 

The gaps between expectations for law students and law grads is sometimes striking. These findings come from  Alexa Chew & Katie Rose Guest Pryal, Bridging the Gap between Law School and Law Practice (here).

(ljs)

March 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 23, 2015

A survival guide for your first year in the job from the ABA's Student Lawyer Magazine

A helpful guide to new law grads courtesy of the ABA's Student Lawyer Magazine:

How to Survive Your First Year on the Job

You’ve landed your first job out of law school . . . congratulations! Now you’re all set to start working, but you may be a bit nervous about making a good impression as you launch your legal career. What can you do to start off on the right foot and ensure that you’ll receive a stellar review when you hit the one-year mark? Student Lawyer polled a wide array of experts from across the country for their top tips to help you successfully navigate your first year at your first job out of law school. Here's what they had to say.

 

[Topics in the article include]

 

Do Your Homework Before Starting the Job

. . . .

Make an Excellent Impression from Day One

. . . .

Take Initiative

. . . .

Learn the Business

. . . .

Find a Work Balance; Learn from Mistakes

. . . .

Nurture Your Network

. . . .

Advice for Acing First Year

. . . .

Summer Associate Superstar

. . . .

Read the full article here.

(jbl).

March 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yale Law is Deleting Its Admissions Records

From the New Republic (here):

That was the takeaway from Yale Law School Dean Robert Post’s annual “State of the School” address last Tuesday. In frank terms, he explained that students who requested access to their educational records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) would no longer be receiving the fat file they expected. To avoid being forced to hand over a wide range of documents in response to a flood of recent student requests, the school had decided to destroy its student admissions evaluation records along with any notations made by the career development office in individual student files. 

In choosing to read the 1974 statute as it did, the Yale Law School did not just outmaneuver all of its aspiring lawyers. The school may have defeated the intentions of another one of its own: James L. Buckley, a 1949 Yale Law School grad and the man responsible for drafting and spearheading FERPA’s passage.

By its own terms, FERPA was designed to fulfill at least two major objectives: to allow students to access and correct inaccuracies in their own records, and to prohibit schools from publicly disclosing students’ identifying information.

Whatever you think of FERPA, this move, though legal, certainly contradicts its spirit.

(ljs)

March 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

California May Require Pro Bono Hours and Training for New Lawyers

New California lawyers should be required to complete 250 hours of practical skills training, perform 50 hours of voluntary legal service, and take 10 additional hours of continuing legal education as a condition of licensure, a state bar task committee recommended in a Feb. 12 report.

You can read more at Bloomberg (here).

(ljs)

March 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why We Need Law Schools by Noah Feldman

Why We Need Law Schools by Noah Feldman.

Excerpts:

"Yet law school is absolutely essential -- not for lawyers with clients, but for our society as a whole. The reason has everything to do with what makes law distinct as a social phenomenon."

"Law is the set of master rules that govern every other aspect of our society and our state. Law functions as a monopoly over all other forms of decision-making. When you make a life decision without a lawyer, it's because the law allows you to do it. Unlike art or accounting or investment banking or even medicine, law affects and governs literally every aspect of human existence -- whether you like it or not."

"To educate lawyers to understand that the law is a living thing, we necessarily draw on the tools of other academic disciplines. Legal history teaches what the law has been and how it has evolved in conjunction with society. Legal philosophy teaches students to ask whether and how the law is moral. Legal economics teaches students to ask whether the law is efficient, and who wins or loses when the rule is set. Legal sociology and anthropology explore how the law is shaped by our social practices and cultural beliefs, and how law shapes those in return."

"So the answer to who needs law school is: all of us. No society in history has ever changed as rapidly and dynamically as ours. Our economy invents new kinds of products, our financial engineers invent new transactions, our physicians invent new technologies and treatments, all of which could hardly be imagined a generation ago. This amazing dynamism all requires legal regulation so that it doesn't spin out of control. And our government itself -- a government of laws, not of men, as the old adage goes -- depends on the law to operate."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Where Are Students Going Instead of Law School?

The answer: engineering and med. school. You can read more here.

(ljs)

March 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.K. law school creates the first "teaching law firm"

From LegalFutures.co.uk:

The first “teaching law firm”? Law school applies for ABS licence

Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, has applied to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for an alternative business structure (ABS) licence that would allow it to create a “teaching law firm”.

 

The application is believed to be the first made by a university and, if granted, would apply to the law school’s newly expanded Legal Advice Centre.

 

The centre is already set to take on in excess of 180 pro bono cases in 2014-15 in various areas of the law including employment, housing, business and intellectual property. The work of the centre not only includes student work on cases, but also local community outreach, miscarriages of justice, public legal education and overseas placements.

. . . .

Continue reading here.

Hat tip to TaxProf Blog.

(jbl).

March 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 20, 2015

World Ranking of University Reputations

From the Times:

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015 employ the world's largest invitation-only academic opinion survey to provide the definitive list of the top 100 most powerful global university brands. A spin-off of the annual Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the reputation league table is based on nothing more than subjective judgement - but it is the considered expert judgement of senior, published academics - the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities.

Here are the top  ten:

1 Harvard University                                                                             United States                                   
100.0                                                
                                    
2 University of Cambridge                                                                             United Kingdom                                   
84.3                                                
                                    
3 University of Oxford                                                                             United Kingdom                                   
80.4                                                
                                    
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)                                                                             United States                                   
77.8                                                
                                    
5 Stanford University                                                                             United States                                   
72.1                                                
                                    
6 University of California, Berkeley                                                                             United States                                   
60.0                                                
                                    
7 Princeton University                                                                             United States                                   
35.0                                                
                                    
8 Yale University                                                                             United States                                   
33.1                                                
                                    
9 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)                                                                             United States                                   
24.1                                                
                                    
10 Columbia University                                                                             United States                                   
21.0

Here is the listing.http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2015/reputation-ranking  

 (ljs)

March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Bar Exam Controversy

The New York Times has an article on whether we should retain the bar exam and the lower bar exam scores from last year.  (here)  My position is that states should not abolish the bar exam.  Instead, they should revise it to test what students need to do in practice, rather than testing what they learned in law school.  Then, maybe law schools will start teaching what students need to learn for practice.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"First--and this may seem self-evident: you do better on a test to demonstrate your competency at seeing patients in a clinic if your learning experience has involved seeing patients in a clinic."  Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014).

(Scott Fruehwald) 

March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

National Jurist ranks 50 best law schools for practical skills training

National Jurist Magazine has picked the 50 best schools for practical skills training. Check out the entire list and details about several programs here.

(jbl).

March 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Staying Healthy on Campus

As professors, we come in contact with lots of people—and probably lots of germs. At Inside Higher Education, here are some suggested preventive steps we can take. You probably will gree with most of them:

In sum, making sure that your body is producing the hormones it needs (it turns out vitamin D itself acts like a hormone) or addressing deficiencies with supplements is an important first step to beating colds. Create an environment that is not too dry, always have hand sanitizer around and dress in a way that keeps your body warm even in chilling temperatures. Incorporate garlic, ginger and honey into your regular diet, and stay hydrated. Reach for some elderberry and zinc when you are starting to feel a cold coming on.

And give yourself a break! Extra rest is crucial when you are starting to feel like you are coming down with something. The world will go on if you take a sick day, and taking one sick day will certainly be better than taking five.

You can read more here.

(ljs)

March 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

April 24: The Apple Watch Will Arrive

Here it comes. Wikipedia describes the watch as

a smartwatch created by Apple Inc. and announced by Tim Cook on September 9, 2014. The watch incorporates fitness tracking and health-oriented capabilities as well as integration with iOS and other Apple products and services. Apple announced the Apple Watch with three "collections," distinguished by different combinations of cases and interchangeable bands. The watch relies on a connected iPhone to perform many of its functions and will be compatible with the iPhone 5 or later models running iOS 8.2. The device is available to pre-order on April 10[5] and scheduled to begin shipping April 24, 2015.[6][7]

The watch, then, will include a watch, a connection to your iPhone, and other features. From Tech Crunch:

Apple has built a lot of unique features into the Watch so that it can truly supplement the iPhone – there isn’t all that much in the way of duplication, but instead the wearable goes beyond, offering sensors that aren’t present on Apple’s smartphones and tablets.

Some of the unique features of the Apple Watch include its taptic engine for providing physical cues and messages, as well as notifications; heart rate monitor and motion sensors for activity tracking; Built-in Bluetooth support for connecting to accessories; and the digital crown, which allows for control without sacrificing screen real estate.

The cost for the least expensive model: $349. It’s unclear whether the product will be a boom or bust.

(ljs)

March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

This Friday: Igniting Law Teaching Conference

Registration is now open for LegalED’s Igniting Law Teaching 2015.  The conference is Friday, March 20, 2015 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm EST at American University Washington College of Law.  It is also available for live viewing by webcast.

The conference will feature talks by 30 law school academics and practitioners from the US, Canada and England in a TEDx-styled conference to share ideas on teaching methodologies.  LegalED’s Teaching Pedagogy video collection includes many of the talks from last year’s conference, which have been viewed collectively more than 5000 times.

The panels for this year include: Law Teaching for the 21st Century, Applying Learning Theory to Legal Education, The Art and Craft of Law Teaching, Using Technological Tools for Legal Education, and Pathways to Practice.  Here is a link to the topics, speakers and schedule.

 The Igniting Law Teaching conference is unlike other gatherings of law professors.  Here, talks will be styled as TEDx Talks, with each speaker on stage alone, giving a well scripted and performed 8 minute talk about an aspect of law school pedagogy.  In the end, we will create a collection of short videos on law school-related pedagogy that will inspire innovation and experimentation by law professors around the country, and the world, to bring more active learning and practical skills training into the law school curriculum.  The videos will be available for viewing by the larger academic community on LegalED, a website developed by a community of law professors interested in using online technologies to facilitate more active, problem-based learning in the classroom, in addition to better assessment and feedback.

 We hope you can join us on March 20th, either live or virtually

 

March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

"It is better to solve a problem than memorize a solution."

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014).

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)