Saturday, March 7, 2009

LSAC says: Applications up, applicants flat

Following up on a story we helped break last week, more information has been released from the LSAC indicating that while law school applications are up an average of 4% nationwide, the number of applicants has remained flat meaning that people are applying to more law schools likely hoping to be able to "trade-up" if the opportunity is there.

Administrators from elite schools such as Northwestern, Virginia, and Georgetown are reporting applications are up significantly this year especially given the difficulty in obtaining student loans.  At least one Northwestern official speculates that more highly ranked schools may weather the storm better than schools further down the USNWR rankings as students decide that if one is going to make the financial commitment to go to law school at all, either go big or go home.

Hat tip to the National Law Journal.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Today's generation is taking lay-offs especially hard

There's an interesting short article in the ABA Journal called "For the Affirmation Generation, Layoffs Hurt all the More" describing how the generation that grew up with "lots of affirmation and rewards" may be having even more difficulty than usual dealing with these difficult times.  The ABA article links to a longer one published in the National Law Journal entitled "Laid-off Lawyers Find Themselves Adrift."

This excerpt from the NLJ piece sets the mood:

A 2008 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, [Megan] Logsdon worked in the corporate practice group at Thacher Proffitt for just two months before she learned that the 160-year-old law firm was going out of business. She knew that it was troubled when it decided to delay her start date, but since she had already committed to a full-time position and had given up options at other law firms, she pushed ahead, only to get cut loose eight weeks after she started. Many of the attorneys in her practice group got jobs at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, but they didn't take new associates, she said. Her pay ran out on Feb. 20.

"It's super stressful," said Logsdon, 28. "Right now, I'm looking for any kind of paid legal work, and I'm going to start looking for volunteer work."

She has sent out dozens of résumés and is willing to relocate for a legal job, she said. She applied for one position in Bethel, Alaska, population 6,000.

"I would work anywhere," she said.

Hat tip ABA Journal Blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New book by Professor David Thomson - Law School 2.0

Today's adjunct law prof blog contains a very complimentary review of Professor Thomson's new book called Law School 2.0:  Legal Education for a Digital Age published by Lexis and available from Amazon hereProfessor Thomson is the director of the Lawyering Process Program Denver University's Sturm College of Law and a pretty good fella to boot.

Here's a description of the book from the publisher's website: 

Law School 2.0: Legal Education for a Digital Age describes changes coming to legal education - how our law students are changing, and how the practice of law they are about to enter is changing as well. But change will be costly, and legal education is already expensive. This book explains how technology can play an important role in facilitating change in legal education. Indeed, the book posits that the only way out of the change/cost conundrum is through the judicious, intentional, and pervasive application of technology throughout legal education. It also suggests that these changes are increasingly urgent. We must teach in a way that more effectively prepares this generation - and future generations - for the practice of law they will enter, and leveraging technology can help us do that.

Hat tip to the Adjunct Law Prof Blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Comparative Legal Skills

Helena Whalen-Bridge (University of Singapore), has published The Reluctant Comparativist: Teaching Common Law Reasoning to Civil Law Students and the Future of Comparative Legal Skills, 58 J. Leg. Educ. 364 (2009). In this article, based on a talk she gave at the Global Legal Skills Conference II, Prof. Whalen-Bridge gives an overview of legal reasoning in common law and civil law systems, and argues that we need to tell our second-language, second-law students (1) that gaps characterize our legal system; and (2) why they do. This is critical because, as she points out, in the civil law system, gaps are considered "rare pathological examples." She proposes a comparative approach not just to the law, but, more importantly, to the distinctive ways in which the two systems reason and articulate rules.

Hat tip to Professor Juli Campagna of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

(mew)

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Save the Dates - AALS Workshop for Beginning Legal Writing Teachers

AalslogoSave the Dates!  The Association of American Law Schools Workshop for Beginning Legal Writing Teachers will be held on June 20-12, 2009 in Washington D.C.  Persons who are just starting out -- or who maybe have been teaching for only a year or two -- should plan to attend.  Visit the AALS website for more information.  If you're a director or a dean, you should plan to send your new legal writing faculty to this conference.  There is also a workshop for New Law School Teachers generally on June 18-20, 2009.

(mew) 

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Women's Day

We wish all of our readers a happy International Women's Day tomorrow, March 8th.

(mew)

March 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 6, 2009

had to happen eventually ...

I've been teaching LRW for 19 years.  In the spring semester, I give my students a problem of federal law to research and then write about in a trial brief and an appellate brief.  Most years I end up using some kind of discrimination problem.  I've used the ADA, ADEA, Title VII, Title IX, Fair Housing Act, and this year, the Fair Pay Act.  The students end up getting familiar with a basic procedural scheme:  These cases tend to require that the plaintiff make out a prima facie case, then the burden shifts to the defendant to prove an affirmative defense or some kind of applicable exception, then the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to argue why that's just a pretext for discrimination.  This year for the first time I read a trial brief in which the student was explaining "the defendant's burden shifts ...."  Only problem was, the "f" was missing from the verb.  Let's hope inadvertently.
(spl)

March 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

There's a reason he's not called the Sanguine Reaper

Grimreape4 And it's because he's a very grim dude.  Which matches perfectly the mood of many lawyers and law students these days.  As we helped break the news yesterday, another tidal wave has hit of big firm lay-offs leaving an additional 1,500 lawyers and staffers out of work in the past five days alone.  That doesn't include the 1,500 jobs lost in January nor the 2,000 lost in February.  One prominent legal consultant has said there are more big numbers coming.

More tomorrow on the growing dialogue on whether there's fundamental change afoot in the legal marketplace such that we may never go back to the way things were.

Hat tip ABA Journal Blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Law students say they like classroom laptop ban

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh experimented with a classroom laptop ban and reported his experience on his Volokh conspiracy blog.  The ABA Journal Blog picked it up from there noting:

Seventy-one percent of the students who responded reported the policy had a strongly positive or slightly positive effect on their concentration in class. Fifty-four percent said it had a positive effect on their overall enjoyment of the course.

Only 36 percent reported a positive influence on learning, though; 41 percent said the experience was neutral in regard to learning

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Maps don't kill people, people kill people!

Over at our good buddies the Law Librarian Blog, one of the contributing editors proudly noted that she has just completed a project mapping every ABA accredited law school law library in the nation using GoogleMaps.

Great accomplishment.  Timing?  Not so much.  According to this report from the Associated Press, a California legislator is fearful that companies like Microsoft and Google which use photography to map the U.S., may be helping terrorists launch attacks against this country.  Thus, a bill has been introduced to force Google and others to obscure photos of "prime" targets like schools and government buildings.

The logic behind this proposed law reminds me of the government's decision to ban carry on toiletries on airplanes while doing nothing about laptops which could, in theory, be used to interfere with the plane's avionics or guide a surface to air missile to its target.  But when was the last time you heard about a commercial airliner being brought down by a can of deodorant? 

As the bumper sticker says - Maps don't kill people, people kill people!

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

If you want to do public interest work this summer, it's "pay to play."

According to the blog Litination, funding has so dried up at many public interest employers that they've had to get creative in raising money to fund the good work they do.  And knowing the desperation of some law students to get some valuable summer experience on their resumes now that law firm summer associate programs have gone the way of analog television, they are charging students up to $250.00 per week for the privilege of serving as an intern.  But the fun doesn't stop there - summer interns may  have to pay to use the Internet, the toilets, and even drink the coffee. Office supplies?  Are you kidding - it's BYOB, baby!

I kid you not.  Read the story for yourself here.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BigLaw recruiter says firms pay no attention to USNWR rankings

As we reported yesterday, a recent short article is highly critical of the USNWR specialty rankings (i.e. legal writing programs).  In anticipation of the 2009 rankings due shortly, which many deans live and die by, one BigLaw hiring partner says that he "would be surprised if any major firm paid any attention" to the rankings.  Interesting.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Forget technology in the classroom - we need to teach students how to use technology to prevent this kind of thing

The debate about technology in the classroom, IMHO, sometimes misses the point.  It obfuscates the real issue which is that the teacher needs to develop effective teaching techniques - sometimes technology facilitates that and sometimes technology becomes a substitute.

The more pressing issue may be for law schools to develop courses that prepare students to use technology effectively when they enter practice - an applied technology practice course if you will.

Unfortunately, such a course comes too late for those involved in the recent ConnectU v. Facebook litigation in which the redacted terms of a confidential, multimillion dollar settlement were unlocked by a tech-savvy AP reporter.  As the Legal Watch Blog reported today:

When Facebook settled ConnectU's lawsuit alleging it stole the idea for the popular social-networking site, its lawyers wanted nothing more than to keep the terms secret. As it turned out, they might as well have blasted it on a billboard in Times Square.

When the federal court in San Jose unsealed the transcript of its closed hearing on the Facebook/ConnectU settlement, it redacted all references to the settlement's financial terms. Or at least it thought it did. But when Associated Press reporter Michael Liedtke saw the blocked-out portions of the PDF transcript, he was able to unblock them with a few keystrokes. As he explained:

Facebook fought fiercely to keep the details of its market value and the ConnectU settlement under wraps. Before last June's hearing, Facebook lawyers persuaded Ware to remove reporters from a San Jose courtroom so the final details could be hashed out in private.

Large portions of that hearing are redacted in a transcript of the June hearing, but The Associated Press was able to read the blacked-out portions by copying from an electronic version of the document and pasting the results into another document.

You can replicate the [reporter's]"discovery" for yourself. Just open the PDF of the transcript, which is available from Justia.com and go to the bottom of page 22. There you see the word "REDACTED" followed by a line of whited-out text. Copy that line and paste it into a word processing program. Like magic, there appears the settlement figure of $65 million.

So how should a lawyer redact a document? Various companies offer redaction products. One, Redact-it, includes on its Web site a free white paper on how to redact documents properly. In looking for other guides to redaction, I found one that is particularly helpful in the way that it walks step-by-step through the process. Ironically, the source of this helpful guide to redaction is the federal court for the Northern District of California -- the very court from whence the botched Facebook transcript was issued.

I am the scholarship dude. 

(jbl)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

1L of a useful book

1lride_2 Do you know a first-year law student? Do you know a wannabe first-year law student? Are you thinking about applying to law school? Check out a book by University of Memphis Professor Andrew J. McClurg, 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School (West 2009) (420 pages) (ISBN 978-0-314-19483-1).

The book broadly covers the first-year experience, with separate chapters on skills like case-briefing, note-taking, and outlining. It has a unique chapter on legal writing, featuring interviews with five legal writing profs from different schools. Legal writing professors can obtain a complimentary copy of the book by calling 1-800-313-WEST or by going to www.westacademic.com.

Some readers may be familiar with Lawhaha, Professor McClurg's blog of legal humor. He's also one of the co-authors of Amicus Humoriae (Carolina Academic Press 2003), an amusing collection of the less serious side of law reviews.

Hat tip to David Romantz.

(cmb)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Notes from a Sabbatical

Italy Yes, I'm on sabbatical this year.  Yes, I am living in Italy.  I'm living in Vicenza, Italy, a small city just outside Venice (about 40 minutes away by train -- about the same time I need to take the bus from my apartment in Chicago down to The John Marshall Law School). 

So today I was working (yes, really) in the library here in Vicenza.  And I noticed a sign that said drinking alcoholic beverages was not allowed in the library.  So I have to wonder, is this a problem unique to Italy?

Mark Wojcik

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Newsletter for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

Aalslogo Short articles, book reviews, announcements of upcoming events and conferences, achievements and honors of section members, and other news about the fast and furious world of legal writing is sought for the Spring issue of the Newsletter for the Association of Amrerican Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  Send them to Mark Wojcik at The John Marshall Law School (hey, that's me!).  You can visit this section page on the AALS website to find links to section newsletters from 2008, 2007, and even 2006.

(mew)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Crisis Leadership in Higher Education

Maybe we all need to take this class?  The Harvard Graduate School of Education holds a seminar on “Crisis Leadership in Higher Education” from March 16-19, 2009 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Visit this website or call 800-545-1849 for more information.

(mew)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rocky Mountain? Hi!

The program and brochure are available for the Ninth Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, March 13 and 14, 2009.  Click here to visit the conference website.

Hat tip to Amy Langenfeld at Arizona State University.

(mew)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Write About Your Writing Center

Articles that explore issues or theories related to writing-center dynamics or administration are invited for possible publication in the Writing Center Journal.  Contact Neal Lerner or Beth Boquet or visit this website for more information. 

(mew)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: Planning for Higher Education

Papers are invited for possible publication in Planning for Higher Education, the quarterly journal of the Society for College and University Planning.  Contact Claire L. Turcotte or visit the Society’s website for more information. 

(mew)

March 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)