Saturday, May 23, 2009

punctuation lessons from real life #1

Ever on the search for teaching materials, I offer the screen from the personal movie monitor onboard an unnamed airline's flight.

 P1020466
















(njs)

May 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How to Submit a Proposal for the 2010 LWI Conference

Mika 4 The never-to-be-missed event for teachers of legal writing and research is the Legal Writing Institute national conference.  The next one (save the date now!) will be June 27-30, 2010 at Marco Island, Florida.

You can now submit a proposal for the 2010 LWI Conference.  Click here to see the LWI Program Proposals Website.  You can review the Call for Proposals, see a sample proposal, read more about poster presentations, and submit your proposal.   All proposals must be submitted by June 15. 

Plan to submit a proposal now and plan to attend the LWI conference in June 2010 (even if you're not presenting!)

(mew)

May 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago

ABA Early bird registration for the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago is available until May 29, 2009.  Click here for more information.

SCRIBES will also meet during the ABA Annual Meeting.

(mew)

May 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm off the grid. Next stop - Las Vegas!

LasVegasSign

I'm taking a brief hiatus from my blogging duties here at the 'ol Legal Writing Prof blog while I relocate for the summer to UNLV where I'll be teaching a couple of courses in their fantabulous LP program along side the likes of legal writing goddesses Linda Edwards, Terry Pollman and Jean Whitney. 

Don't worry, kind readers - I'll be back on the grid soon - I may even do a weekly live feed from the Peppermill Lounge if time and scheduling permits.  I'll keep you posted.

But until we meet again, be good, take care of yourself and each other.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)
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May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is there a pile-up in the making between deferred '09 grads and the class of '10?

Several legal media outlets are discussing (here, here, and here) what might be the coming pile-up between the '09 law grads who are deferred until 2010 (in some cases until 2011) and current 2L students who are just now beginning summer clerkships in the hope of offers for full-time employment upon graduation in 2010.  One possibility is that 2009 grads will see those deferred offers of employment withdrawn as cheaper labor (i.e., the class of 2010) enters the workforce.  Some firms have already offered 2009 grads "buy-outs" to simply go away.

Another possibility is that this year's crop of 2L students will receive "dramatically fewer" offers this summer for full-time employment upon graduation because firms know they are already over-committed.  In fact some firms have already axed next summer's programs.

One recent story noted that smaller firms are benefiting from the BigLaw meltdown as clients search for low cost alternatives.  Traditionally, the majority of law grads who work in the private sector find jobs with these small to mid-size firms.  Query whether laid-off attorneys from BigLaw with better class ranks and/or credentials will take some of these jobs away from the traditional applicants. Most importantly, think about the added stress this is causing our present students and how this will undoubtedly play out in our classrooms.

It may be a very difficult year ahead for all concerned - we shall see.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another problem with Twitter - fake identities

It's a growing problem that is now affecting academics according to this story in the Chronicle of Higher Ed reporting that a couple of imposters (or possibly the same person) set up Twitter accounts in the names of two university presidents.  We had previously reported that a prankster had set up a phony Twitter account in the name of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.  Thus, you (and your students) need to be sometimes skeptical about the true identity of the person on the other end of that Tweet.

I am the scholarship dude.

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May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some federal judges say law schools need to tell students to drop the "Ally McBeal" look

I couldn't tell you what the "Ally McBeal" look is - I've never seen the show.  The "Oz" look?  Check.  The "Sopranos" look?  Gotcha'.  The "Anderson Cooper 360" look?  I'm all over that like white-on-rice. 

Whatever the "AB look" is - apparently it's pretty racy according to a recent panel at the Seventh Circuit Bar Association meeting during which a couple of federal judges said that the "look" is a "huge problem" that distracts them from the arguments. 

The solution?  Some said it is the responsibility of law firms to better educate new lawyers about proper attire, while others said that law schools need to take up the cause.

Read the whole article here.

I am the scholarship dude.

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May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The liability pitfalls of Twitter

We've previously reported on the first defamation suit arising out of Twitter.  The Legal Blog Watch has now conveniently compiled a list of Twitter legal foibles that every attorney - and every client - should consider.  It includes everything from breaching client confidences to committing securities fraud by misstating pertinent financial information.

Put it this way - if saying it can get you into trouble, Twittering it can get you into even more trouble because you've now created an electronic record of your verbal faux pas.

I smell a writing hypothetical.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Report on panel discussion about how to manage Generation Y in the legal workplace

The Idealawg blog is reporting on a continuing blogosphere debate that began at the InsideCounsel's 9th Annual Super-Conference held May 5th to 6th in Chicago.  A panel discussion was held on May 5th entitled "Dealing with Gen-Y @ Work." 

Apparently it's been a pretty interesting discussion with one participant calling it"[one of the most controversial and lively discussions ever at a conference."  Idealawg's Stephanie West Allen has gathered links to the some of the blog discussions here as well as raising the question of whether some of passionate debate has to do with differences in how the generations define effective client service.

An offshoot of this discussion has turned into a debate about whether Gen-Y is more narcissistic than earlier generations.  This link will lead you to that portion of the discussion as well as an article called Narcissism in Gen Y: Is it Increasing or Not? Two opposing perspectives.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Zealand court agrees with Australia - service via Facebook is A-OK, mate!

In December, we reported on a story in which an Australian court approved service of process through Facebook, making it the first known court to do so.  Several months later In an unrelated case, a New Zealand court ruled in March that a plaintiff can serve a foreign defendant living in Britain via Facebook when the plaintiff is unable to find any other address for him.  According to the New Zealand Free Press  "Justice Gendall did not bat an eyelid in the court room when approving the order after being assured that newspaper adverts could not be effectively targeted."

As we previously reported, Facebook itself endorsed the use of its site to serve process stating: "We're pleased to see the Australian court validate Facebook as a reliable, secure and private medium for communication. The ruling is also an interesting indication of the increasing role that Facebook is playing in people's lives. . . ."

Hat tip the Legal Blog Watch.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Legal Skills Conference

The fourth Global Legal Skills Conference will be held at Georgetown University Law Center from June 4-6, 2009.  Click here for information on the program and registration.

(mew)

May 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time Magazine report on the relative happiness of various professions including lawyers, librarians and legal assistants

Thanks to our good friends at the Law Librarian blog for this interesting story that, at least with respect to lawyers, seems to confound the conventional wisdom that lawyers are an unhappy lot.  Because Mark Giangrande already took the time to collect the data relevant to the legal profession, I'm going to quote his post in its entirety.

Time Magazine has an happiness index measuring how happy various job categories measure up in their happiness quotient.  Clergy hit the top of the scale and gas station attendants hit the bottom.  Librarians, for some reason, are listed twice in the index, once at about one-third to the bottom, and again at about the half-way point.  It's the only profession to be listed twice. Lawyers are about a sixth of the way from the top (very happy) and legal assistants are about a sixth of the way from the bottom.  Correctional institutional officers rank higher than legal assistants.  The moral is the more power, the happier, I guess.  You can play with the rankings here.  The rankings seem to come from 2007, so lawyer happiness is pre-recession layoffs.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

William Mitchell faculty "task force" on the future of legal education focuses on "outcome based education"

That's a mouthful - but a tasty one nonetheless.  According to this very interesting post on the Best Practice in Legal Education blog, the William Mitchell law faculty formed a task force last fall to discuss and study the best ways to "pioneer the next generation of innovations in legal education" in light of current educational trends, the Carnegie Report, and interest by the ABA in curriculum reform.

[The Carnegie and ABA reports] urge law schools to: (1) identify knowledge, skills, and professional attributes that graduates should possess (outcomes); (2) design curriculum based on them; (3) communicate educational outcomes to students; (4) provide feedback on student progress; and (5) validly measure student proficiency with respect to the outcomes. The reports encourage law schools to evaluate their programs based on demonstrated student learning.   

They embrace the practice of outcomes-based education — urging law schools to focus on “output” (what students ultimately know and can do) and rely less on 'input' (what students are taught).  In fact, in a remarkable policy shift, the ABA Report recommends that output measures substantially replace input measures for the purpose of law school accreditation. Consequently, Task Force members discussed questions such as: What do we mean by 'the practical wisdom to put the law to work'?  What evidence demonstrates achievement of practical wisdom? How should practical wisdom be taught? 

Read the rest of the story here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Professionalism berserk? Partner says few excuses for being unavailable via email

Get this - the online ABA Journal is reporting that a partner at a major law firm tells his colleagues that using the email "out-of-office" auto-reply function is almost never acceptable unless, for example, the attorney "is on an international flight in a different time zone and a colleague, for some reason, is unable to cover.  In that case, the e-mail should specify the exact time period—in hours, not days—that the attorney will be unavailable, and provide alternative phone numbers."

Thus, it goes without saying that, for this attorney, using the "out-of-office" auto-reply function while on vacation is about as reasonable as a student from a third tier law school asking Scalia for a clerkship

Unfortunately, given the ferocious competition these days to get clients and keep them happy, being available 24/7 via email or a social networking site may quickly become the status quo - if it isn't already.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Advice for your students about how to deal with that "Ornery Partner"

There's an important distinction between an "ornery partner" and an "ornery pard'ner."  I reckon that the best way to deal with the latter is to beef him with 'yer Peacemaker.   The former?  Not so much. 

Instead, trying killing - um, I mean beefing him - with kindness according to this column from the online ABA Journal blog.   My favorite part of the advice is the last line about how if you can't win him over with kindness, empathy and understanding - then get-the-hell-outta-dodge, and I mean pronto pard'ner!  In other words, some people truly are the socio-pathetic, narcissistic head-cases you imagine them to be.  If that person happens to be your boss and a felony conviction is not a viable career move, you need to find someplace else to work. 

Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One company uses social networking site to hire lawyers

The American Lawyer, via the Legal Blog Watch, is reporting that a Houston company, FMC Technologies, is using the legal social networking site Legal OnRamp to hire outside counsel. 

FMC developed a three-step process, the first of which requires completion of a questionnaire that's posted on Legal OnRamp. Lawyers who don't participate in Legal OnRamp miss out. FMC then screens the applications and selects lawyers with whom they'll talk numbers. But FMC is clear: Lawyers must be willing to embrace alternative billing arrangements to stand a chance of being hired.

LBW notes that whether FMC's approach to hiring lawyers is the wave of the future is unknown.  But if it proves to be popular and effective, you can expect law oriented social networking sites to explode in popularity among attorneys. 

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Advice on how to avoid email typos

This is very helpful - a post from the Business Writing Blog on how to avoid those pesky email typos. 

  1. Rethink your attitude toward proofreading. Proofreading is not a luxury. It's as essential as bread and water. The 45 seconds it may take to carefully proofread an email can save hours of resending messages, clarifying, and getting over embarrassment. The manager who wrote to a new employee "Please bare with me while I learn the ropes" probably still shudders when he thinks of it.
  2. Proofread aloud, reading every word. Aloud may mean just whispering to yourself, but do voice each word. Doing so will help you find errors as well as sentences that don't make perfect sense.

Continue reading

May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poll shows undergrads are more stressed yet happier than they were a year ago

According to the results of an MTV-Associated Press poll of more than 2,200 students, aged 18 to 24. Generally, the poll found that college students are more worried about finances and finding a job upon graduation but that they are happier than they were last year at this time (wait until they start getting a monthly retirement portfolio statement).

Here are the specific findings:

  • Students reporting stress from financial worries reached 32 percent, up from 27 percent in March 2008.

  • Students whose stress levels were affected a lot by graduate-school admissions tallied 17 percent. Last year, 15 percent said they were affected a lot.

  • 57 percent of students are somewhat or very worried about finding a job after graduation.

  • Since 2008, the percentage of students reporting they felt “very unhappy” fell from 9 percent to 7 percent, while students reporting they were “very happy” grew from 31 percent to 36 percent.

  • According to the report, 18 percent of students said one of their parents had been laid off or otherwise lost a job.

  • Among students who had a parent lose a job, 27 percent considered dropping out of school in the past three months.

  • Four percent of students reported somewhat honestly answering the questions, and 1 percent said they weren’t honest at all.

Hat tip the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Professionalism alert - can lawyers ethically mark-up electronic research charges?

We reported ten days ago about a lawsuit brought by a client of Chadbourne & Parke alleging that the firm overcharged for electronic research.  That story was followed by accusations that the practice is more widespread among law firms than most clients realize.

The Legal Blog Watch has collected several comments from legal ethics experts around the blogosphere who seem to share the view that what Chadbourne & Parke did is a violation of professional ethics.  Professor Roy Simon, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics at Hofstra University School of Law, said that:

Bottom line: Lawyers can mark up expenses beyond cost plus overhead if the client agrees after full disclosure. A client might agree if the product (Lexis, or a court reporter) is one that the client really isn't in a position to buy directly.

Apparently the law firm retainer in this case didn't include the necessary disclosure.  Even it if did, another expert said:  "firms should treat online legal research costs as ordinary overhead expenses, which are typically rolled into an hourly rate or flat fee, rather than passed through to clients as disbursements."

You can read the full story, including the opinions of several experts, here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 18, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More about the website Scribd - the writer's "YouTube"

Professor Liemer blogged about Scribd a few weeks ago.  Now comes this article from the NYT reporting that beginning today, Scribd will allow budding authors to upload their manuscripts to the web and charge those want to read it. 

The article goes on to describe Scribd as:

the most popular of several document-sharing sites that take a YouTube-like approach to text, letting people upload sample chapters of books, research reports, homework, recipes and the like. Users can read documents on the site, embed them in other sites and share links over social networks and e-mail.

Read the full NYT's article here and test-drive Scribd for yourself here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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May 18, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)