Saturday, June 28, 2014
To find out, Professors Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon performed an extensive study of lawyers. Here are the top factors for making lawyers happy.
Autonomy need satisfaction
Relatedness need satisfaction
Competence need satisfaction
Internal work motivation
Friday, June 27, 2014
According to this post on Slate, things are looking rosy for the class of 2018. By the time that class graduates, according to Slate, the number of new grads will better align with the number of jobs available. An excerpt:
. . . .
Here is the key number to keep in mind: 36,000. That is roughly the number of new J.D.s we should expect to graduate in 2016. Getting to that figure is pretty straightforward: In the fall of 2013, 39,700 students enrolled in law school. Given that about 10 percent of each law school class generally drops out, we should expect no more than 36,000 to reach commencement. (I’m actually rounding up the number a bit to be conservative.)
In comparison, 46,776 law students graduated in 2013. So we’re talking about a potential 23 percent plunge.
With less competition it should be far easier for graduates to find decent work. Again, let’s assume the legal job market doesn’t grow at all in the next two years—that it simply stays flat. What might that look like?
. . . .
The Clinton Presidential Library has released a new set of documents. They include a series of memos from the early ’90s advising the President whom to nominate to the Supreme Court—Stephen Breyer or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg prevailed, but Justice Breyer joined the Court a few years later. You can access the memos here.
Thanks to Nota Bene, the librarians’ blog at the O’Quinn Law Library at the University of Houston (here).
Front Matter for: Legal Writing in the Disciplines: A Guide to Legal Writing Mastery by Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb.
Legal Writing in the Disciplines re-conceptualizes law in its disciplinary context. The text is designed to effectively communicate legal analysis and writing skills to pre-law and new law students using the language of their undergraduate and graduate majors. Legal writing is disciplinary writing, not just another form of technical writing. Law school is a disciplinary community. Integration into any disciplinary community occurs through the processes of reading and writing.
The first chapter of the text details all aspects of the processes used to create practical legal writing (case briefs, notes, outlines and MindMaps, legal memos, legal briefs, exam outlines and exam answers). The five remaining chapters are divided into five broad disciplinary categories: Science, Social Science, Arts, Humanities and Business. Each chapter contains discipline-specific instruction on creating the different types of legal writing. The chapter sections lead the reader through the resolution of a legal problem through legal writing and provide answers for self-check with discipline-specific explanations on an interactive CD-ROM. The CD-ROM allows students to load PDFs (the materials, exercises, model answers, and case files to which the text refers) onto an iPad or other tablet for flexibility and ease of use in practicing legal writing skills. Additionally, the materials, exercises, and model answers are annotated in color with discipline-specific explanations to guide students as they assimilate new legal writing skills.
A teacher's manual accompanies the text and features semester and quarter course planning options, learning outcomes and performance criteria for each week, lecture notes for each week, in-class exercises and supporting materials, and assessment rubrics for all assignments and skills. The rubrics are keyed to the weekly learning outcomes and performance criteria. An interactive CD-ROM with case files for a legal memo, legal brief, and other instructional materials is included.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
This is a new "legal skills" article by Professor Cynthia G. Bowman (Cornell) called Learning By Doing: Adding A Clinical Component To A Traditional Family Law Course and available at 29 Wis. J.L. Gender & Soc'y 129 (2014). In it, Professor Bowman describes the "hydrid" course she developed at Cornell from course proposal to implementation and the invaluable student feedback that followed. From the abstract:
This paper describes a clinical component recently added to the course in Family Law at Cornell Law School. Students who are either co-registered for or have previously taken Family Law receive an extra two credits for clinical work under the instructor's supervision. Each student undertakes to represent at least one client, who is referred from Neighborhood Legal Services, from the initial client interview through drafting, filing and service of the many documents required to obtain a final judgment for dissolution of marriage in New York State. In order to complete this work in one semester, the students do relatively simple divorces that will result in a default judgment. In addition to obtaining a divorce judgment on behalf of a client, students are required to staff a desk in the local family court for three hours a week in rotation, to assist persons filling out petitions for support, modification of support, or for violation of a support order.
A Story to Keep Lawyers Humble
At “The Philadelphia Lawyer,” attorney Steve LaCheen recalls a case in which he got his clients out of deep trouble. In the course of the lengthy representation he worked closely with them and developed something resembling a social relationship. Here’s how the story ends:
The charges were
withdrawn, and the matter
ended, with the understanding
that we would be getting
together for a celebratory night
out in the near future.
“We owe you our lives,”
he said; and she nodded in
I waited two weeks before
making the follow-up call.
“Who is it?”
A momentary silence.
“Steve, you remember, your
attorney,” I said jokingly.
“Oh, sure. Sorry. Hold on
a sec,” he said, and then he
covered the speaker with his
hand; but I still heard him say,
“Hon, it’s that lawyer. Will you
see what he wants?”
I didn’t wait for her answer.
You can read the full story here.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
These programs allow students to fast-track their undergraduate and law school degrees in 6 six years rather than 7. Several schools have adopted such programs (here and here) presumably in an effort to bolster falling admission numbers. Now USC Gould School of Law has joined the list by announcing a program under which undergrads can apply to law school in their junior year and matriculate the following year earning both degrees in 6 years. Under this program, it also means applicants do not have to take the LSAT. The USC News website has more details:
In a move to create additional opportunities for the best and brightest USC undergraduates on campus, the USC Gould School of Law will begin admitting a select group of USC seniors in the fall.
The program, known as 3+3, will allow select students to complete their undergraduate and law school studies in a total of six years. The USC students would apply for law school as juniors, and, if accepted, enroll at USC Gould the following year. After one year of law school, students will earn their bachelor’s degree and after another two years, their law degree. They will not be required to take the Law School Admission Test for admittance.
“The 3+3 program will enable the best USC undergraduates to stay at USC for law school and take advantage of being in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest legal market,” said Chloe Reid, associate dean for admissions and financial aid at USC Gould. “It is a highly selective program for those students who can tackle the rigors of academic life at one of the country’s leading law schools. Students who are set on the legal profession will find these aspects very appealing.”
The program, which is open to all majors, requires a minimum GPA of 3.8, strong faculty recommendations, a personal statement, an interview, multiple writing samples and the completion of required major coursework by junior year.
As part of the program, students must complete their major requirements by junior year. This program augments the traditional route from undergrad to law school.
. . . .
“Law schools know that they need to be creative and forward thinking when it comes to legal education,” [Dean Robert K. Rasmussen] said. “We are extremely excited to offer this program to Trojans who want to continue their academic careers here.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
Here, an Ohio trial judge, miffed at the public defender, removed the defender from all 70 of cases before the judge. Because the defender could not deal with these cases, he was fired. The defender sued the judge. he Sixth Circuit was not pleased with the judge’s conduct, but held that he enjoyed judicial immunity. Here are the opening paragraphs of the Sixth Circuit’s opinion (Bright v. Gallia County).
In this case, there is no debate that Judge David Dean Evans failed to meet the minimum expectations for members of the judiciary: He overreacted to attorney Robert Bright's criticisms and inappropriately removed Bright from nearly seventy felony cases. The judge's high-handed actions caused Bright great hardship, but litigation seeking to hold Judge Evans personally liable is not the solution. Generally, we rely upon the judges further up the judicial hierarchy to review and correct the rulings of lower courts. Only in a few circumstances do we allow lawsuits against individual judges to proceed, and for good reason. The specter of facing a lawsuit naturally encourages overly timid judging and presents a direct threat to judicial independence. While Judge Evans's conduct was worthy of censure, it does not fit within one of the exceptions to absolute judicial immunity; thus, we must REVERSE the district court's denial of immunity.
Unfortunately for Bright, our case law also requires us to side against him in his lawsuit against the Gallia County Board of Commissioners ("the Board"), the Gallia County Public Defender Commission ("the Commission"), and the Gallia County Criminal Defense Corporation ("the Corporation"). Under Mezibov v. Allen, 411 F.3d 712 (6th Cir. 2005), the First Amendment offers no protection to an attorney for his speech in court. Id. at 716. Without such protection, Bright cannot state a valid claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and we must AFFIRM the district court's dismissal.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has this post about some of the new, niche courses law schools will be offering in the fall. Among them are:
- Video Game Law at Pepperdine University School of Law.
- Law of Robots at Georgetown University Law Center.
- Law and Neuroscience at Harvard.
- Spectacle and Surveillance at Columbia (per the course description this class "takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines issue of surveillance but with a postmodern spin.")
Continue reading here.
And you thought that a story like this was limited to TV fiction. From the Tampa Bay Times
The simmering legal scandal centers on a bitter defamation trial between warring radio shock jocks Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
In January 2013 after a day in court, attorney C. Philip Campbell, who represented Schnitt, sat in an upscale steakhouse bar downtown. A young paralegal from the Adams & Diaco firm [representing Clem] took the stool next to him, lied about where she worked, flirted and drank with him, according to witnesses. Campbell was later arrested for DUI while driving her in her car.
Then came the revelation of multiple cellphone calls and texts that flew that night between the paralegal in the bar, her bosses and a Tampa police DUI sergeant outside Malio's Prime Steakhouse.
You can read more here.
Monday, June 23, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, my co-blogger, Jim Levy, posted a wonderful and comprehensive list of books on teaching and general education. (here) Below is a list of books and other materials on law school teaching.
Gerald F. Hess et.al., Techniques for Teaching Law 2 (2011)
Michael Hunter Schwartz et.al., Teaching Law by Design (2009)
Michael Hunter Schwartz et.al., What the Best Law Teachers Do (2013)
David Thomson, Law School 2.0: Legal Education for a Digital Age (2010)
Carol Andrews, Four Simple Lessons about the Needs of First-Year Law Students, 18/2 The Law Teacher 4 (2012)
Hillary Burgess, The Challenges of ‘Innovative’ Teaching, 17/2 The Law Teacher 1 (2011)
Hillary Burgess, Deepening the Discourse Using The Legal Mind’s Eye: Lessons from Neuroscience and Psychology that Optimize Law School Learning, 29 Quinnipiac . Rev. 1 (2011)
Leah M. Christensen, Legal Reading and Success in Law School: An Empirical Study, 30 Seattle U. L. Rev.603 (2007)
Jessica Erickson, Experiential Education in the Lecture Hall, 6 Northeastern U. L.J. 87 (2013)
Kristin B. Gerdy, Teacher, Coach, Cheerleader, and Judge: Promoting Learning through Learner-Centered Assessment, 94 L. Lib. J. 59 (2002)
Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Thinking Like A Lawyer: The Heuristics of Case Synthesis, 40 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1 (2007)
Gerald F. Hess, Value of Variety: An Organizing Principle to Enhance Teaching and Learning, 3 Elon L. Rev. 65 (2011)
Stefan H. Krieger & Serge Martinez, Performance Isn’t Everything: The Importance of Conceptual Competence in Outcome Assessment of Experiential Learning, 19 Clinical L. Rev. 251 (2012)
Anthony Niedwiecki, Teaching for Lifelong Learning: Improving the Metacognitive Skills of Law Students through More Effective Formative Assessment Techniques, 40 Cap/ U. L. Rev. 149 (2011)
Michael Hunter Schwartz, Teaching Law Students to Be Self-Regulated Learners, 2003 Mich St. DCL L. Rev. 447
Sophie M. Sparrow, Describing the Ball–Improve Teaching by Using Rubrics–Explicit Grading Criteria, 2004 Mich St. L. Rev. 1
Robin S. Wellford-Slocum, The Law School Faculty Conference: Towards a Transformative Learning Experience, 45 S. Tex. L. Rev. 255 (2004)
The above is only a beginning. You can find a longer list here.
The June issue of the Orange County Lawyer Magazine, a publication of the Orange County California Bar Association, has several brief articles on practical skills training in law school including the following:
- Pedagogy of the Practical Kind by Tom Campbell, Dean of the Fowler School of Law, Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Law, and Professor of Economics, Chapman University.
- Legal Education: Integrating Practical Skills into the Curriculum by Professor Eunice Park, Assistant Director of Legal Writing and Research at Western State College of Law and Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills.
- Getting Involved in Legal Education by Professor Lori A. Roberts, Director of Legal Writing atWestern State College of Law.
- 1Ls and Zeros—Law Schools Join the Digital Age by Professor Martin Pritikin, Acting Dean of Whittier Law School.
- Transforming Legal Education One Pro Bono Project at a Time: A Practical Model for Law Schools
You can read the full issue here.
The University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal annually award the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. And you get to vote for your choice.
The prize, authorized by Ms. Lee, is given annually to a book-length work of fiction, published in the preceding year, that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change. Past winners include The Confession by John Grisham, The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, and Havana Requiem by Paul Goldstein. . The winner will receive a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee. Here are the three finalists:
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
Brothers Jim and Bob Burgess are both lawyers who live in New York, and that’s where the resemblance ends. Jim is a high-powered, corporate success story. His brother Bob is a softhearted Legal Aid attorney who drinks too much. But when they return to the small town in Maine where their nephew is accused of a hate crime, the long-buried tensions that have shaped their attitudes toward each other are challenged and changed in ways they could not have expected.
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson (St. Martin’s Griffin)
When a survivor of the Holocaust becomes convinced that a respected civic leader is a former Nazi SS officer, he hires lawyer Catherine Lockhart to bring the man to justice. What emerges is a much more complicated story of abandonment, identity, betrayal and a Polish family’s struggle to survive.
Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Doubleday)
Jake Brigance, the young defense lawyer in Grisham’s A Time To Kill, returns to the town that witnessed his first brush with fame. One of his wealthy white clients, Seth Hubbard, has committed suicide by hanging himself from an old sycamore tree, leaving the bulk of his fortune to his African-American housekeeper. Brigance is instructed to defend Hubbard’s will from any challenges by his greedy children. In doing so, Brigance uncovers new depths to Ford County’s history of racial violence.
You can vote here on the ABA Journal Website
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Grover Cleveland, author of Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as a New Lawyer, is a font of good advice when it comes to helping new lawyers succeed (here, here and here. He's now compiled a list of tips for summer associates you can check out here, via the Careerist Blog at The American Lawyer. Below is list of his top tips but head over to the Careerist to get the full word.
- Treat your summer job as a forever job—even if you’re not sure you want to stay forever.
- Be assertive; take challenging assignments.
- Seek out feedback.
- Smile and be friendly.
- Show confidence.
- Focus on the firm's needs.
- Don’t ask questions where you can look up the answer yourself.
- But don’t spin your wheels for too long.
In our roles as mid-level managers, we may be tempted to use sports analogies. Our team should work and succeed like a top sports team. But hold on. Not everyone is a sports fan. And some people are turned off by sports fans and hence by sports analogies. Moreover, the analogies aren’t necessarily accurate. From "5 Secrets to Developing a High-Performing Team in Higher Education," a white paper from Higher Ed Impact:
There is another reason that sports analogies don’t contribute to (and may detract from) a team’s dialogue around crucial decisions. It’s because the original analogy is usually a false one. Sports teams are artificial creations that work within specific (and short) time frames. These teams understand strongly reinforced rules of play with concrete punishments for breaking the rules, and they have a way to keep score, minute by minute. Most non-sports teams don’t operate under these conditions.
Also, if you watch a sports team perform, you will notice that they have lots of coaches—sometimes more than the number of players. These coaches provide ongoing feedback and advice, shout instructions, cajole, and praise the players constantly. Does that sound like your workplace? Can you call a timeout when a meeting is going downhill and you feel overwhelmed?
Here is another way to benefit from analogies:
Team leaders need to talk to their teams in a way that relates to that specific group of people, instead of just projecting a single experience onto the group. Involving the members themselves is crucial to creating a shared environment. One of the best ways to build a real team is to have each team member share their own metaphor for how they would like the team to operate. Maybe a member imagines the team working like a jazz ensemble, where people create in the moment and where everyone contributes.
Inviting this input from the team itself will generate powerful and evocative pictures of people’s expectations and hopes for the team—and will help you establish more of a shared language.
You can read more here.
Fordham Law School has launched a search for its 11th Dean. Current Dean Michael M. Martin will return to the School’s law faculty at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Located near Lincoln Center in the heart of New York City, Fordham Law enrolls approximately 1,520 J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. students from more than 35 countries. Its admissions standards are among the most selective in the country, with the majority of students scoring at or above the 88th percentile on the LSAT. With approximately 80 full-time professors drawn from the nation’s most prestigious clerkships and graduate programs, and more than 280 adjuncts drawn from the nation’s deepest pool of lawyers and judges, the Law School’s faculty includes prominent figures in every area of law, legal theory, and clinical education. Its alumni are leaders in the top courts, government and public interest offices, prestigious law firms, and corporate boardrooms throughout the world.
“The next Dean will have an extraordinary opportunity to advance the Law School’s mission and enhance its commitment to excellence in research, teaching, and public service,” said John D. Feerick, chair of the search committee. Feerick is the Norris Professor of Law; he served as the school’s 8th Dean from 1982 to 2002.
“The new Dean will be able to draw upon the resources of a new building, designed by Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, that will open in Fall 2014 and will transform the Law School while adding critical, state-of-the-art teaching, library, and community space,” Feerick noted.
The School is a part of Fordham University, a Jesuit university founded in 1841 that is governed by an independent board of trustees.
The University has engaged Witt/Kieffer to manage the search. Confidential nominations and applications are being accepted via e-mail and mail. Review of applications will begin immediately. The consultants assisting with this search are Jean Dowdall, Lucy Leske, and Sheila Murphy.
Attn: Fordham Law Dean/Donahue
2015 Spring Street, Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Fordham University is committed to excellence through diversity and welcomes candidates of all backgrounds. Fordham Law School is an Equal Opportunity employer.
Dean search web site: law.fordham.edu/deansearch
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Professor Henderson, author of the Legal Whiteboard and noted scholar on the changes overtaking the legal profession, has published a review of two influential books that discuss those same changes. The first of these books, The Lawyer Bubble, authored by Steven J. Harper, a former Kirkland & Ellis partner who writes the popular blog Belly of the Beast, is a critical look at the conditions that have led us to the present economic crisis in both law practice and legal education. The second book reviewed by Professor Henderson is Tomorrow's Lawyers by Richard Susskind, a "legal futurist" well known for his prescient views on the profound changes coming to law practice. Professor Henderson's review is called Letting Go of Old Ideas and can be found at 112 Mich. L. Rev. 1111 (2014) and here on SSRN. From the abstract:
Two recently published books apply a rigorous analytical lens to the same topic — the state of the legal profession — and come to dramatically different conclusions. Yet, what is more remarkable is the fact that the authors’ analyses neither overlap nor conflict with one another. One is backward-looking and filled with regret at the legacy we have squandered (Steven Harper’s The Lawyer Bubble); the other is forward-looking and bound to inspire a mix of fear and hope among its readers (Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers).
Similarly, there’s been a lot of public handwringing in recent years over the state of the legal industry, with some arguing that we are in crisis and others countering that the real problem is overzealous critics. Those looking for a common narrative to unify and lead law practitioners and students must grapple with these two important books. In this review, I suggest that arriving at such an understanding requires each of us to do something uncomfortable and unnatural — let go of old ideas.
The Thomas E. Cooley Law Review has published a lengthy set of articles on law reviews. You can access it here. If you are looking for advice on how to spruce up your law school’s journals, you may find some here. However, if you are aware that fewer and fewer lawyers, courts, and law students are looking to law reviews—except authors in search of footnotes for their pieces— and you are looking for innovative thinking, you’re looking in the wrong place.
Few of us read law reviews for entertainment or general enlightenment. Those of us who write for the reviews know that publication likely occur about one year after a review accepts an article—so much for timely commentary. Academic blogs and other internet sources have moved to the forefront. True, they may not offer the depth of a review article, but for many purposes, they are sufficient.
It’s time for law reviews to rethink their mission and their vehicles.
How do differences between print research and electronic research affect the substance of legal research?
Accessing Law: An Empirical Study Exploring the Influence of Legal Research Medium by Stefan H. Krieger & Katrina Fischer Kuh.
This Article presents the results of one of the most robust empirical studies conducted to date comparing research processes using print and electronic sources. While the study presented in this Article was modest in scope, the extent and type of the differences that it reveals are notable. Some of the observed differences between print and electronic research processes confirm predictions offered, but never before confirmed, about how the research medium changes the research process. This Article strongly supports calls for the legal profession and legal academy to be more attentive to the implications of the shift to electronic research."
In particular, "Some scholars, for example, have argued that electronic researchers will have a harder time than print researchers developing a sense of the structure of law (recognizing the relationship between legal concepts) and crafting sophisticated arguments in part because electronic researchers are exposed to fewer secondary sources that organize law by concept. Many scholars have similarly postulated that a relative focus on facts and cases as opposed to legal concepts and secondary sources could negatively affect research outcomes and legal reasoning and analysis. . . . These assertions about differences in the research process, which appear to be supported by this study’s findings, formed the basis for two predictions about the influence of electronic legal research: (1) that print researchers were likely to show greater uniformity than electronic researchers with respect to the legal theories that they identify as relevant; and (2) electronic researchers are more likely to unknowingly advance long shot or marginal arguments."