Wednesday, March 11, 2009

proposal deadline for Lone Star regional LRW conference

The Lone Star Regional Legal Research and Writing Conference will be held at Texas Tech University School of Law on May 29-30, 2009.  We invite proposals for presentations at this conference and welcome proposals from anyone involved in legal education, including LRW profs, academic support professionals, other-than-skills profs, and law librarians.

While we anticipate and welcome proposals on a broad range of topics, we hope to have sufficient proposals to establish a separate track for those involved in moot court programs, including those who advise moot court programs and do not teach LRW.  In addition, we encourage proposals on program assessment and teaching methods.

A complete proposal will contain the following information:

1.       The presenter’s name and complete contact information.

2.       A paragraph or thereabouts describing the program.

3.       A description of the session’s planned structure and teaching approach.

4.       The preferred length of the program:  25 minutes, 55 minutes, or 80 minutes.  (We hope to have more of the shorter programs and fewer of the longer, but we’re flexible.)

5.       Any other information that you think would be helpful for us to know in making selections and planning the program.

The deadline for submissions is March 16, 2009.

We hope to have the program complete before the end of March. Thank you.  We look forward to seeing your proposals and putting together a great program.

The Lone Star Program Committee: Nancy Soonpaa, Beth Youngdale, Lori Roberts

March 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

judges as authors, and vice versa

A working paper by Ryan Benjamin Witte examines the extent to which some federal judges "summon their inner novelist or poet to add life to the pages of the Federal Register." The paper, titled The Judge as an Author/The Author as Judge, does not confine itself to the literary aspects of judicial opinion writing, as shown by its abstract:

The use of humor, poetry, and popular culture in judicial opinions is not without its criticism. This paper is divided into two main topics; the first discusses the judge as an author. The section will begin with an examination of the audience of judicial opinions and an outline of the different styles of judicial opinion writing. The section will also examine the advantages and disadvantages of using literary tools to advance the law.

The second section addresses the role of the artist as a judge. This section will study a small segment of judges who, in addition to the law, maintain an outside career as an author or artist. Judges who fit into this group include authors of books, operas, and magazine articles, and their opinions are often written in a manner which reflects their experience. This section will also discuss the advantages (and potential drawbacks) of having these unique judges deciding cases dealing with a wide range of author's issues, including copyright and free speech, both substantively and stylistically.

To download the paper, click here.

(cmb)

March 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Jessup International Moot Court Competition Celebrates its 50th Anniversary on March 27th

The 50th Anniversary of the Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition is being celebrated on March 27, 2009 in Washington D.C.  The featured speakers are two former presidents of the International Court of Justice:  Dame Rosalyn Higgins of the United Kingdom and Judge Stephen M. Schwebel of the United States.  A reception and dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center begins at 6:30 p.m.  Tickets ($125 per person) may be purchased through this Friday. Click here or send an email to events [at] ilsa.org to purchase a ticket or to make a donation to support the International Law Students Association (ILSA), which administers this global moot court competiton. 

(mew)

March 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Presidential Signing Statements

United_states_president_seal President Obama has issued an important statement on Presidential signing statements.  It may be a point you will want to include when teaching federal statutory research.  Click here to read a post about it by Steve Schwinn of The John Marshall Law School on the Constitutional Law Prof Blog.

(mew)

March 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New scholarship alert - Pitfalls Ahead: A Manifesto For The Training of Lawyers

A recently published essay by Professor Anita Bernstein of Brooklyn School of Law appears in 94 Cornell L. Rev. 479 (2009).  Below is the abstract from Westlaw:

Many entrants into the legal profession decided to become lawyers after they were inspired by improvements in social conditions achieved by lawyers like Abraham Lincoln and Thurgood Marshall or literary heroes like Atticus Finch. The historical record of achievement recursively invites new generations into this occupation. Once these entrants arrive at law school, however, the sense of inspiration with which they began often fades, and an inchoate pessimism, if not full-blown cynicism or depression, takes its place. Critics of contemporary legal education who lament this descent into malaise tend to see no cure for it. When they do offer a fix, it looks uncannily like an agenda they advocated in another context, repackaged as a tonic.

This Essay explores a better source of vigor and occupational skill within legal education. Learning about the perils and defeats that their profession experiences would, paradoxically, increase the strengths of new lawyers. In this context, forewarned really does mean forearmed. Informed judgment about this profession includes knowing how and why lawyers lose their licenses; why a lawyer pays out money for malpractice; what constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty; what level of work performance is incompetent or ineffective under the Sixth Amendment; when to struggle against judges; why a lawyer is disqualified from representing clients; and why lawyers forfeit some of their freedoms of speech and association. A command of pitfalls enables individual lawyers not only to defend themselves against the attacks they might someday face but also to advance what is good for their clients and the public. Only from a base of pitfalls-knowledge can lawyers master their own profession.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UK study shows average IQ of attorneys has declined

So reports the UK website "The Lawyer.com"  As they explain:

The study, carried out by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) at Bristol University, suggested that lawyers have moved closer to average intelligence over the past 12 years.  The study [had a specific] purpose. Researchers ­wanted to look into the barriers ­apparently preventing many people from poorer backgrounds from making it into certain careers. 

Unexpectedly, the report found that "although the comparative wealth of lawyers’ parents had increased between the two study groups – born in 1958 and 1970 – their scores in IQ tests had moved closer to the average."

Researchers tracked some 18,000 people from birth to age 34, recording vital data along the way. The 1970 group is the latest study (apart from one carried out in 2000, which is of little use when analysing today’s lawyers). The results of the 1970 survey were only released a couple of years ago and it was not until this year that the data was broken down by ability and income for each profession. The ­participants of the 1970 survey are now well established in law firms and ­chambers, making this the best data available, given that large-scale ­economic studies are thin on the ground.

Hat tip to Law.com

(jbl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Should Thomas Jefferson Law School offer a course in dinosaur law?

You may have read in early February that excavation for the new $68 million Thomas Jefferson School of Law building uncovered the 500,000-year-old fossil of a Columbian mammoth.  Then came the discovery 10 days ago of the 600,000-year-old remains of a baleen whale

Today, a report comes that paleontologists have found the remains of a 600,000-year-old giant sloth at the same location (which raises an interesting question: What drew a whale, a giant sloth and a mammoth to the site of a law school?  If they were seeking a career change, it turned out badly for them).

When completed, this will certainly give the new law school building some unexpected and very interesting history.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal Blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Are big firms beginning to ratchet down starting salaries? They're nuts if they don't.

It's not a surprise to anyone who's read the news in the past six months that given the present state of the legal marketplace, $160k starting salaries for BigLaw associates are not sustainable.  Some would argue they were never rational in the first place. 

In a sort of "arms-race" in reverse, firms are waiting to see who will blink first by beginning to ratchet down BigLaw starting salaries to better reflect the supply of qualified lawyers versus demand. One top legal consultant was last week actively encouraging law firm managers to cut starting salaries:  "If you don’t cut associate starting salaries now, you are nuts." 

Big firm starting salaries often influence, at least indirectly, starting salaries in other segments of the legal market.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal Blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

2,500 lost legal jobs in the past 10 days

Reported the ABA Journal yesterday.  One law firm consultant says he expects to see law firm lay-offs continue at least through the fourth quarter of this year.

While financial wiz-man Warren Buffett told CNBC yesterday that the "economy has fallen off a cliff" and that unemployment will climb higher before things get better, in the long run he expects:

“Everything will be all right. We do have the greatest economic machine that man has ever created.”

Gravestone_2                        

Of course, you know what John Maynard Keynes said about where we'll all be in the long run.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference this weekend

Rmstlogo2 Over 110 legal writing professors are getting ready to travel to Arizona State University for the 9th annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing conference, taking place this coming Friday and Saturday, March 13th and 14th.  The theme of the conference is Spring (Legal Writing) Training, and Professor Linda Edwards, now at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, will be the keynote speaker.  Professor Nancy Soonpaa, co-editor of this blog, will be on site, providing blog news and photos as the conference unfolds.

For the full program of topics to be covered by the many expert presenters, click here.

Conference attendees who are new to legal writing should contact Professor Rosa Kim, rkim@suffolk.edu, chair of LWI's New Member Outreach Committee, so you can receive information about a special gathering for new(er) legal writing professors during the conference. 

(spl)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Library Research Grants at Harvard - Schlessinger Library on the History of Women

The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America invites scholars whose research requires use of the library's collections to apply for research support. Applications will be evaluated on the significance of the research and the project's potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge as well as its creativity in drawing on the library's holdings. Grants of up to $3,000 will be given on a competitive basis to cover travel expenses, living expenses, photocopying, and other incidental research expenses, but not the purchase of durable equipment).  Deadline: Applications must be received by Friday, April 3, 2009. Awards will be announced by the end of May 2009, to be used for research at the library from July 2009 through June 30, 2010.  Click here for more information.  The library is part of Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

(mew)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nebraska Joins 43 Other States in Requiring MCLE

Nebraska – the state that gave us the unicameral (the "one house" state legislature) – will join 43 other states that have mandatory continuing legal education.  Active members of the Nebraska bar will have to collect 10 credit hours annually starting in January of 2010, of which two credits must be in the area of professional responsibility.

In other news from Nebraska, the Research Guide to Nebraska Law has been updated and can be found as a supplemental volume for the Revised Statutes of Nebraska Annotated, published by Matthew Bender & Company (which is now part of the Lexis Nexis Group).

Mark E. Wojcik (former law clerk to the Nebraska Supreme Court)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Please Repeat the Question" -- A Music Video from NYU Law Students on Web Surfing in Class

The debate on laptops in the classroom has raised many thoughts, but none as WONDERFULLY expressed as in this music video made by students at New York University School of Law.  (I went there for an LLM, but I don't remember the movie-making class!)  The video is called Please Repeat the Question.  You'll enjoy it! 

Watch this,  Really. 

If clicking on the video doesn't work, try clicking here to see "Please Repeat the Question" from Amanda Bakale on Vimeo. Hat tip to my colleague Kim Chanponbin at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and thanks to the super-creative students at NYU who came up with the song and the video.

(mew)

March 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 9, 2009

If college admission offices are sweating, where does that leave law schools?

The New York Times reported Saturday that college admissions offices face uncertainty about applicant numbers for the first time in decades. 

Colleges have been in the catbird seat for the past decade or so. As the number of high school students swelled, applications rose, allowing colleges to be more selective. And families benefiting from a flush stock market seemed willing to pay whatever tuition colleges charged.

But all that has changed. For students, the uncertainty could be good news: colleges will admit more students, offer more generous financial aid and, in some cases, send acceptance letters a few weeks earlier. Then again, it could prolong the agony: some institutions say they will rely more on their waiting lists. But there is no question, admissions officers say, that this year is more of a students’ market.

'It’s like the dot-com bubble burst for higher ed,' said Barbara Fritze, vice president of enrollment at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. 'We’ve been in this growth mode for a period of time. Now there’s a real leveling going on.'

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawyers use online networking but a generation gap persists

The Chicago Lawyer reports that more and more attorneys are using social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Legal OnRamp as a time efficient way o keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues and clients.  People are too busy these days to spend as much "face-time" as they used to so the social networking sites provide a vicarious experience.

However, a generation gap is emerging.  As the article reports:

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2008 tracking study, 35 percent of American adult Internet users ages 18 and older have a profile on an online social networking site, four times as many as three years ago.

Fifty-seven percent of online adults ages 25 to 34 have a profile on a social networking site; while 30 percent of online adults ages 35 to 44, 19 percent of online 45- to 54-year-olds, and 10 percent of online adults, ages 55 to 64, have profiles on these sites.

”This is a Facebook generation, so to speak,” said Robert Ambrogi, a Massachusetts-based lawyer, technology writer and consultant. ”It’s not something older lawyers have grown up with or have necessarily gotten used to.”

Hat tip to the Legal Blog Watch.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Boys don't cry, but they sure do flunk out

Here an interesting article, Stop Avoiding the Issue of Failing Boys, from Inside Higher Ed noting that males flunk out of high school and college at far higher rates than females.  I wonder if anyone has studied whether the same pattern holds true in law school.  If not, it would make an interesting study - to learn whether the retention patterns seen in high school and college continue through law school or if there's something about the law school experience that alters it. 

Hat tip to Insider Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hiring for college grads down 22% - worse on the coasts

This report comes to us from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.  The parts of the country reporting the worst numbers are the Northeast - where hiring of college grads is projected to be down 38.9% - and the West where hiring is expected to drop by 31.9%.

It's too late for these grads to apply to law school for the fall term but perhaps this will cause the application numbers to spike for 2010.

Hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 9, 2009 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Subscribe to the "word of the day" feed

The world wide web is, like, big.  Really big.  I'm constantly finding new stuff that makes me wonder:  "I spend hours and hours on the web each week looking for relevant material to post about so how come I've never found this before?"   

Well, today's discovery is this:  The Merriam-Webster's "word of the day" RSS feed.  It's even archived so you can look at all the words you've missed since the inception of the internet. 

Today's "word of the day" happens to be "Pooh-bah" which is not to be confused with "poo-poo" (see the post below). 

I think this is going to be my last post for today about "poo/pooh," if you don't mind.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Vote for the "Big Law" word of the year!

Here's an interesting little contest being run by the legal news site The Daily Report.  (You'll have to register to enter but it don't cost nothin' so what 'ya waitin' fer?).  They're holding a contest to determine the best "Big Law" word of 2008.  According to the site, Merriam-Webster and the American Dialect Society have already picked "bail-out"as the layperson word of the year.   

Now it's your chance to obtain immortality by being the lucky winner to pick the legal equivalent.  Some suggestions provided by the Daily Report's columnist known as the Snark include:

De-equitization or de-equitized. For those of you who may not be familiar with this concept, de-equitization is the process by which an equity partner who shares in the profits of the firm is demoted to a glorified associate.

Poo-Poo or Poo-pooed. I first heard it used by a partner well over a year ago, but I thought it may have been an isolated incident. He said, 'I need to call the client and ask what he thinks of my proposed strategy, but I am worried he will 'poo-poo' it before I get a chance to explain.' I thought it odd to hear a grown man, a highly educated partner at a large law firm, use 'poo-poo' as a verb to describe the actions of an in-house lawyer from a Fortune 100 client.

Whiplash. This word summarizes the feeling many of us Cogs employed by Big Law experienced this year after starting the year enjoying unprecedented raises and ending the year hoping for continued employment, or at least a decent severance. Other words in this category include 'roller coaster,' 'instability' and 'What-the- . . . !?'

If a legal writing professor doesn't at least place in this competition, I'll eat my ballpoint.

Hat tip to Law.com

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl) 

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

job opening in Denver

Random_photo_admissions The University of Denver Sturm College of Law has an opening for a one year visitor teaching position in its first-year legal research and writing program, to begin in the 2009-2010 academic year.  Applicants must have a law degree as well as a strong academic record, an interest in teaching, excellent legal research, analysis, reasoning, and written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. A minimum of 2 years of legal practice experience is preferred. For more information or to apply for a posted position, visit the University of Denver’s job website at https://www.dujobs.org/.

Applications, including a resume with the names of three references, should be submitted by May 1, 2009. For questions, please contact Fred Cheever, Chair, Appointments Committee, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 E. Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80208, or via E-mail at: fcheever@law.du.edu. You may also direct questions to David Thomson, Director, Lawyering Process Program, via E-mail at dthomson@law.du.edu.

1. The position advertised:
_X_ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

2. The professor hired:
_X_ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below.
_X_ $60,000 - $69,999
_X_ $50,000 - $59,999

4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
_X c. 36 - 40
_X d. 41 - 50

hat tip:  Prof. David I. C. Thomson

(spl)

March 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)