Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do we undermine ourselves by using the term "Legal Writing Profs" rather than "law teachers?"

Author of Best Practices in Legal Education and practicum expert (I don't want to call him a "clinician") Professor Roy Stuckie seems to suggest so according to his recent post on the Best Practices for Legal Education blog.  As he says:

I am beginning to wonder whether it is useful to continue to refer to ourselves as “clinicians.”  In the early days of efforts to increase the influence and security of clinical teachers, the question came up:  how do we tell if someone is really a clinician?  The answer at that time was that if anyone was willing to self-identify themselves publicly as a clinician, they must be one.  Today, I would be hard-pressed to draft a definition of a clinician.  Wouldn’t you?  I think I’m correct to say that the Best Practices book neither speaks of law school faculty as clinicians or professors, but rather as “law teachers.”  I think all law teachers should be using similar approaches to educating students, but with different emphases depending on the specific goals of our courses.
 
Professor Stuckie also emphasizes the importance of all law faculty having the same rights to academic freedom and job security.  "Down" with the class system and "up" with equality.
 
Right on, brother Roy!
 
I am the scholarship dude.
 
(jbl).

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Librarian sues Facebook for failing to protect users from computer viruses

It might make a good writing hypothetical if you change the language of the user's agreement to omit the limitation on liability that Facebook includes for purposes of preventing suits like this.  Or, you could have students research and write about whether the librarian in question is liable for damages under Rule 11 for filing such a suit given the terms of Facebook's user agreement.

Read the whole story here.

Hat tip to the BNA Internet Law News.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The skinny on law school cheating

The National Law Journal reports that according to a 2006 study, 45% of law students admit to cheating at least once in the past year.  And while, according to this source, the percentage of law students who cheat has remained fairly constant over the years (there are surveys going back as far as the 1950's), what has changed is how students define what it means to cheat.

[Santa Clara's] associate dean for academic affairs, said that law students today may be more tempted to cheat because of the availability of online information for papers and because of the increased use of take-home tests. The school's new policy enumerates different areas of cheating, including behavior during tests; plagiarism; unauthorized collaboration on written work; and submission of the same work for more than one course. It establishes a protocol for students and faculty to report the behavior.

. . . .

The most effective academic integrity policies include students in the disciplinary process; that helps make the code a part of a school's culture, said Gary Pavela, an attorney and former honors program teacher at the University of Maryland. In June, he will become the director of academic integrity at Syracuse University. Pavela said that schools increasingly are tailoring their policies to more specifically identify what defines dishonest conduct and to set out the consequences of cheating. Having faculty members refer often to academic honesty helps, he said. The combination of student and faculty involvement, Pavela said, creates a 'double impact.'

You can read the full story here as well as Above the Law's coverage here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How well do attorneys use technology to "teach" their case to the jury?

Trial lawyers, like teachers, are trying to help jurors both understand the case before them as well as persuade jurors that one party's position is better than the other.  If you're with me so far, then you might find this article interesting because it discusses the ways in which lawyers use technology - with differing results - to help teach juries about their cases.

Here's an excerpt:

it is important to remember that technology, like musical instruments, can be acoustic or electric. Like its musical counterpart, acoustic technology doesn't plug into the wall. It includes blackboards, butcher paper and exhibit boards -- tried-and-true technology that generations of lawyers have used, and continue to use, effectively. Upon hearing this reassurance, technophobes often react the same as the Moliére character who, upon learning the definition of 'prose,' exclaims with pride: 'For more than 40 years I've been speaking in prose without even knowing it!' Technophobes are relieved to know that the skills they developed using acoustic technology are equally effective with electric technology, i.e., those tools that plug into the wall.

Technophiles view trial technology with a different core assumption. They place undue reliance on electronic technology -- projected documents, animations, etc. -- believing that high-tech is always better than low-tech. In the extreme, technophiles believe that the more they spend on electronic technology, the less time they need to learn, think about, refine and simplify their case.

Read the whole thing here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Challenging the stereotype of male students - "I need love and affection, not the house of correction!"

Granted, a white male who raises gender issues is like playing hopscotch in a minefield while blindfolded - it won't take long to set off the explosions.  Casting caution to the wind, here's a very interesting story from Inside Higher Ed about two studies that examine the male perspective on being an undergraduate student (remember - many, if not most law students are fresh out of college themselves).  In short, being, um, a dude ain't as easy as it looks.

The researchers found that males feel a great deal of pressure to conform to the male stereotypeof what it means to be a man meaning affecting an unemotional, cool-under-pressure persona.  Being "competitive, aggressive, self-assured; to not be gay, feminine or vulnerable."  

Furthermore, 'It was not manly to put a lot of time and effort into academics,' [one of the researchers] said. It’s not cool to study, to read the book:  'Sometimes it’s not cool to even buy the book. But you’ve got to ace the test. You’ve got to make the grade,' continued [the researcher], who described male students studying on the sly, telling their buddies they were spending the evening with their girlfriends and then hitting the books instead.  'The script to be a manly man means you’re good at everything and you don’t have to work at it.' 

The downside, as you might guess, are all the psychic problems that ensue from living an inauthentic life.   As one of the researchers said:  "I lose my authenticity when I pretend I’m someone I’m not.  And there’s a loss of humanity when you deny who you really are.”

In terms of strategies and recommendations, [the researchers] suggested first giving college men permission to stop performing and to be themselves. 'It’s really about creating some kind of balance to the external pressure,' said Harris. 'We talk about challenge and support, challenging the negative behavior" (such as acts of violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment that are overwhelmingly committed by the males on campus).

One hopeful outcome from these studies is to challenge the notion that educators don't have to focus on the needs of men simply because they out-earn women once they leave campus.  "We should continue to be concerned about the status of women,” [one of the researchers] stressed. 'In higher education, unfortunately, we are notorious for falling into the either-or trap.'"

Read the full article here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judgepedia

I'm not quite sure what to make of this.  It's a wiki about judges.  Click here to visit Judgepedia.

(mew)

May 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Graduation: It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Here's a legal writing hypothetical for you.  The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting on the dangers of the traditional mortarboard toss at graduation.  Apparently, someone did indeed almost lose an eye as the result of a flying mortarboard.  Thankfully, the injury (nor the predictable lawsuit against Yale), didn't last very long.  Not so lucky was the student who will bear a scar for the rest of her life reminding her of that fateful day when a flying mortarboard opened a gash in her head that required a visit to the emergency room as well as some stitches.  

The injuries reported by the CHE suggest several potential tort issues for an interesting writing problem including negligence, product liability, and assumption of the risk, among others.  Remember kids - enjoy graduation but please look before you throw that mortarboard.  Let's not turn a good time into a tragedy, OK?

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Scholarship alert: "Training field supervisors to be efficient and effective critics of student writing"

This article, by Professor Bernadette Feeley of U. Suffolk Law School, is from a conference called "Externships 4:  A Bridge to Practice."  It's available at 15 Clinical Law Review 211 (2009).  From the abstract:

This article discusses how law student externs can benefit if their field supervisors use legal writing pedagogical techniques to provide feedback on student writing. The goal of the article is to provide ten concrete techniques for legal writing critique that externship clinicians can pass along to their field supervisors to help them provide effective yet efficient critique of student writing projects. The article first discusses common roadblocks to quality supervision of student writing projects. It then explains ten techniques for critique developed from examination of pedagogy and literature of legal writing educators. The author concludes that externship clinicians can facilitate the critiquing process by educating field supervisors on ways to provide meaningful guidance and feedback that will make a significant contribution to a student extern's development as a capable legal writer.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Carnegie conference to address legal education reform

Yes, We CArNegie: Carnegiecover That's the theme and title of a one-day summer conference in Chicago on Wednesday, July 29, 2009, at The John Marshall Law School. Designed to bring together scholars, deans, and law professors in doctrinal and skills-based disciplines to discuss the implications and challenges brought by the Carnegie Foundation's 2007 report on legal education, the conference features several notable speakers, including Erwin Chemerinsky, Bryant Garth, Lisa McElroy, Michael Hunter Schwartz, and Lisa Tautges, Director of Pro Bono for the Chicago Bar Foundation.

Click here to access and download the registration form. Registration is $75 before July 1, $90 after. Note that the conference coincides with the annual ABA meeting in Chicago. For more information (including hotel suggestions), contact Professor Maureen Straub Kordesh.

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May 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lex Opus - Free Online Submission of Your Law Review Articles

LexOpus is a new service at Washington and Lee Law School offering free online submissions to law journals. Authors can submit articles to all interested law journals, inviting journals to make offers. Journals are able to limit by subject matter the articles that they see as open to offers.  Alternatively, authors can submit work to a specific list of journals on LexOpus making a short-term exclusive offer to each law journal in sequence. For non-peer-reviewed journals 'short term' is one week.  Author offers continue past each journal's exclusive period, on a non-exclusive basis, until rejected by the journal or withdrawn by the author, but any journal with an exclusive period always has acceptance priority.  An author can make a work 'open to offers' as well as submit to specific journals, or can do one or the other. As the system does permit uploading of revisions authors might make working papers open to offers and then, if no acceptable offers have been received, when the finished work is available submit that version to specific law journals.  Works can be suppressed from public view if the author so desires.

Hat tip to John Doyle at Washington and Lee Law School

(mew)

May 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Appraising student work - honesty versus encouragement

Ideally, we should do both according to this thoughtful essay that tries to reconcile those who argue a teacher's job - indeed, her professional responsibility - is to offer frank assessment versus those who argue that a teacher's job is to focus more on the person, rather than the work they produce.

Hat tip Chronicle of Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

If you had to do it all over again, would you go to law school?

That's the online ABA Journal's question of the week and they are soliciting reader comments here. When I checked earlier this afternoon, the answers seemed to be evenly split.  The comments are worth reading.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The skills new lawyers need to have according to employers

I'll give you a hint - writing is one of them.  Business development and exposure to international law are others.  We had previously reported on this survey conducted by legal recruiters exactly one month ago today, the fact it's appearing in the online ABA Journal today is reason enough to repeat the wonderful excerpt below.  Remember - for the latest-breaking legal writing news, keep your dial tuned to The Legal Writing Prof Blog.

Another common refrain from our respondents is the need for law students to be taught how to write.

"Very few associates can write well," says one; "Young lawyers need better writing skills," notes another. A bankruptcy chair of an AmLaw 100 firm adds:

"Over the years, I've heard a pretty consistent refrain of ‘writing needs to improve' or ‘I had to rewrite the entire document.' Constructing grammatically correct sentences is not the problem. Rather, the ability to organize facts and principles in a crisp, logical way is what's lacking in many newcomers to the firm."

Continue reading

May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New website devoted to discussing Google's book deal - largest library in history

So much controversy surrounds Google's proposal to create an electronic database that includes every book ever written (and I do mean every single book ever written in all of human history) that a new website - debuting today - is devoted to discussing its implications.  As The Washington Post reports:

SharedBook Inc., a 5-year-old company run by [Caroline] Vanderlip, has set up a web site so the supporters and opponents of Google's digital book project can more easily post their opinions about a legal settlement that will help fulfill or possibly derail the Internet search leader's ambitions.

Using SharedBook's annotation tools, anyone will be able to comment on the complex settlement and other key court documents in a class-action lawsuit filed four years ago by authors and publishers. New York-based SharedBook plans to turn the dissertation into a book that will be sold "at cost," Vanderlip said.

Read the full story here.

Hat tip to the BNA Internet Law News.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

what CAPITAL LETTERS TELL the reader

From David Mills at Courtoons:

Caps 

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May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How to Submit a Proposal to the 2010 LWI Conference

LWI 25 Mika 5 A reminder!  Even though the conference itself is more than a year away, the deadline for proposals is coming up quite soon -- June 15, 2009!  Click here to Download the LWI Call for Proposals.

(mew)



 


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May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas appellate cases going totally--and officially--online

A per curiam opinion issued this morning by the Arkansas Supreme Court announces that as of July 1, 2009, appellate opinions issued by that court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals will no longer be printed in official print reporters. Rather, the electronic versions of the courts' rulings posted on the Arkansas Judiciary website are declared to be the state's official reports.

The court is also getting rid of its former no-citation rule for unpublished decisions of the Arkansas Court of Appeals (as all opinions will now be electronically published). 

Click here to download the per curiam opinion: Download ArkPerCuriam-28May2009

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May 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Special Offer From Scribes -- Just for Readers of the Legal Writing Prof Blog!

Picture 056 Picture 009 Joe Kimble has extended a special offer to readers of the Legal Writing Prof Blog.

He is inviting (or in some cases reinviting) you to join Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers.

Scribes is the oldest organization devoted to honoring legal writers and improving legal writing. Anyone who cares about legal writing should be a member. Picture 175

The Scribes home office is now offering a deal: Scribes will send the last two issues of The Scribes Journal of Legal be Writing to anyone reads this Picture 066 post and joins as a new member.

Just go to the Scribes website by clicking here, print off the application form, note on it "special offer," fill it out, and send it in (with the check for your membership dues). 

Scribes is a first-rate organization.  You will be proud to be a member of Scribes for its programs, activities, and publications.  They also do a great annual awards luncheon (where these photos are from).

Hat tip to Joe Kimble

(mew)

May 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

conference in Oz

05GCA3A99JQCAHC0X1SCA1NMKQYCA17ARFTCAW0V3MBCAREZHQ3CAKCZYOGCA6Y81Q6CA5TCQ69CA0BFG5ZCABSHL4SCABRI45XCAA38P23CAGZ975OCAGCSG7KCAO8H1C1CAKTH2B0CAR4SEUKCA6I3W1HThe Law and Literature Association of Australia, along with the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand, will be holding a joint conference from December 2 to 5, 2009.  The theme is Trans(l)egalité. Information on what that theme means and topics you might present can be found at www.griffith.edu.au/conference/translegality.  The deadline for abstracts, approximately 300 words explaining your topic, should be e-mailed to translegality@griffith.edu.au by September 25, 2009.

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hat tip: Penny Andrews, Valparaiso University

(spl)

May 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

slanty words with numbers after them

Not that students think learning legal citation is fun, but geez, is it that bad?

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May 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)