Saturday, June 13, 2009

it's got legs


6a00e553f11fb388330115707c2f9d970b-150wi Ben Opipari is writing a blog called Literary Legs, in which he combines his love for running and and his love for writing.  If you don't run, you can skip those parts of course and still get good ideas from his posts about writing.  For example, he's posting about important books about writing you may never have heard of.

(spl)  

June 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Illinois Lawyer Now

ISBA The Illinois State Bar Association's online news delivery system is now up and running. Please click here to to view the first postings. Illinois Lawyer Now also can be accessed from the ISBA home page under the "ISBA News" column.

Just a reminder -- law students in the United States are eligible for FREE student memberships in the Illinois State Bar Association.  You don't have to live in Illinois either. 

(mew)

June 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have you been the victim of "academic mobbing?"

Here's the definition of "academic mobbing" from the Chronicle of Higher Ed:  it's a "form of bullying in which members of a department gang up to isolate or humiliate a colleague" which can result in destroying that person's career.

Sound far-fetched?  Hardly. Read on: 

Ms. Friedenberg and the paper’s co-authors, Mark Schneider, an associate professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and Kenneth Westhues, a professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo, presented their research at today’s session. Mr. Westhues, who discussed his studies of academic mobbing with The Chronicle in 2006, also offered a handout that included a list of 16 indicators of mobbing. Among them: If rumors are circulating about the target’s supposed misdeeds, if the target is excluded from meetings or not named to committees, or if people are saying the target needs to be punished formally “to be taught a lesson,” it’s likely that mobbing is under way.

But victims should not assume that notifying an administrator will help. Evidence suggests that administrators may find it easier to become part of a mob than to try to stop one, Mr. Schneider said. That’s because administrators are likely to think it’s better to have one person upset with them than a group. And faculty associations, he said, can’t really “confront and expose mobbing unless they are very strong.”

Read the full article here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Time Magazine says Facebook is "gold mine" of impeachment fodder for litigators

This is as credible a source as any when reminding students about the professional (and personal) perils of social networking sites - they've become a "gold mine" of potentially damaging information for litigators.  You can read the full story here and here.

Hat tip online ABA Journal.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Starting tonight - land-grab for usernames on Facebook - get yours before someone else does

If you want to hold onto your Facebook username, you better act quick because at midnight tonight (EST), Facebook is going to start allowing its 200 million users to register usernames and if someone else takes yours first, it might be hasta la vista, baby:

Facebook will now allow companies [and private individuals or any other entity like LWI] to plug their name into the username. In the past, a company could have a Web page on Facebook, but the URL assigned to that page was facebook.com, and then a random series of numbers and digits. It didn't identify the company by name. But now Facebook is changing that format to allow a much cleaner URL, which will appear as 'facebook.com/company name.'

To prevent cybersquatting, Facebook is giving [Trademark] owners a chance to pre-emptively protect their rights and block their trademarks from being used by others by registering the trademark before Saturday. And if a company misses the deadline, Facebook will feature a grievance procedure allowing brand owners to report that someone's username infringes on their intellectual property or publicity rights.

Read the full story here courtesy of the National Law Journal.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)


June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More of the good stuff - Scholarship alert part III: "A proposed definition of the term "lawyering".

By Josiah M.Daniel, III, a partner at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., Dallas, and can be found at 101 Law Lib. J. 207 (2009).  From the abstract:

'Lawyering' is the work of a specially skilled, knowledgeable, or experienced person who, serving by mutual agreement as another person's agent, invokes and manipulates, or advises about, the dispute-resolving or transaction-effectuating processes of the legal system for the purpose of solving a problem or causing a desired change in, or preserving, the status quo for his or her principal. ... As Stephen Schwarcz and Marc Steinberg have pointed out, lawyering occurs in the transactional, as well as the litigation, arena and involves negotiations, and contract formulation and drafting for clients. ... Certainly before the twentieth century, and even at the present time, some persons who engage in lawyering may not hold a license from a court or governmental agency to conduct their activities on behalf of clients.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scholarship alert part II: Research in the wild: CALR and the role of informal apprenticeship in attorney training

This one is by Judith Lihosit, Instruction and Outreach Reference Librarian, University of San Diego Pardee Legal Research Center, and can be found at 101 Law Lib. J. 157 (2009).  From the abstract: 

Much recent scholarship has posited that computer-assisted legal research will fundamentally alter the manner in which practicing attorneys conduct legal research, resulting in an overall change to the legal system itself. Ms. Lihosit argues that, while we have been undergoing a major transformation in the format of legal materials, and the influence of the West digest system is waning, there will not be a resultant restructuring of the legal system. After a brief overview of American legal history, provided to show that apprenticeship training has always been present in the American legal system in some form, the article uses the author's study of practicing attorneys and law firm librarians to provide an alternative model of how attorneys conduct research.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scholarship alert: The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism twenty years ago: reflections from our founding members

Co-authored by Professor Sara Ricks and found at  20 Yale J.L. & Feminism 247 (2009). Here's an excerpt from Professor Rick's essay:

The [Yale Journal of Law and Feminism’s] receptivity to a wider variety of material as legitimate sources of legal understanding informs my work as a law teacher today, as I
draft a constitutional litigation textbook that contextualizes the students’
learning of doctrine by including photographs, briefs, interviews with litigants
and lawyers, and information on the working conditions of police, prison
guards, and social workers. Our Journal conversations helped me find my
voice within law school and, as a law teacher now, I try to honor that
experience by experimenting with ways to encourage my students to find their
own voices within law school and in their working lives. Hopefully, part of the
Journal’s continuing influence on its editors and readers is a willingness to
encourage new voices in legal and policy debates and an openness to reforms
of legal education rooted in practical, real-world experience.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

new directors at WVU

1186972211 1240803154
Grace Wigal, long-time legal writing director at West Virginia University, is leaving that job to become the new academic support director there.  Meanwhile Hollee Temple, long-time legal writing professor at West Virginia University, will be the new legal writing director there.

Congratulations to you both!

(spl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

outsourcing LRW

Images  Professor Laurel Oates has posted updates about U.S. law firms outsourcing overseas many core legal research and writing functions.  This trend goes far beyond document review, all the way to the basic legal research and document drafting taught in 1L LRW courses.  It might be worth showing students who are slacking off, to give them a reality check on the competition they'll be facing upon graduation.

(spl)

June 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

the other side

Images Spurred on by a recent legal writing professors' listserve discussion, Lisa McElroy and Chris Coughlin have written an article on the cognitive reasons why students have difficulty formulating counter-analysis and how we can best help students to analyze “the other side of the story.”  Their article is forthcoming in the Baltimore Law Review and is called The Other Side of the Story: Using Graphic Organizers as Cognitive Learning Tools to Teach Students to Construct Effective Counter-Analysis.  You can access it now, via SSRN, just by clicking on the title above.

(spl) 

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Law profs sue West Publishing for falsely attributing their names to poorly researched treatise

Here's the skinny courtesy of Law.com:

In the suit, professors David Rudovsky of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Leonard Sosnov of Widener Law School claim that they did none of the work on the December 2008 supplement, or "pocket part," to their book, "Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure: Law, Commentary and Forms."

Their lawyer, Richard L. Bazelon of Bazelon Less & Feldman, argued that the supplement was a "sham" that offered almost nothing new to subscribers and that users of the book would mistakenly connect the poor quality to Rudovsky and Sosnov.

Over the two decades since the treatise was written, Bazelon said, the professors have routinely added about 150 new cases each year in annual updates. But the supplement published in December 2008, he said, added just three new cases and failed to take note of any of the cases that had been reversed in the past year by the state Supreme Court.

Read about the whole sordid affair right here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Reform badly needed for evaluating public school teachers

Here's a pretty scathing indictment of the manner in which public school teachers are evaluated courtesy of today's New York Times Op-Ed page.

Read it and see if you agree.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

The effect of the vanishing trial on legal education

A civil trial may become as elusive and rare as the Yeti according to this symposium scheduled for July 31 at DePaul.  It will be an exclusive affair - only law schools deans have been invited to attend this all expenses paid, 5 star hotel shindig to ponder the future of legal education in a world where almost no civil litigant goes to trial anymore. 

The symposium, called "Vanishing Act: Legal Education in a World Without Trials," will discuss, among other topics, whether the case method system of instruction is still viable in such an environment. 

'There are two phenomena going on right now that are substantially weakening the future existence of the civil justice system, said [DePaul alumnus and personal injury attorney] Robert Clifford [who's funding the whole thing]. 'One is the vanishing trial, and the other is confidentiality.'

The rise in alternative dispute resolution and the corresponding increase in confidential settlement agreements is problematic because the lack of transparency will make it difficult for the government and taxpayers to determine how the court system is performing and to what it extent it should be funded, Clifford said.

Read the full story here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

The future of lawyer outsourcing and its impact on the American job market

Here's an interesting interview with a leading outsourcing firm in India courtesy of Above the Law.  In the interview, the director of Mannthan Legal, Gururaj Potnis, discusses what he believes is a "tectonic shift . . . taking place in the legal industry."  Mr. Potnis says that "law firms [need] to acknowledge the clear cost savings that Indian companies can provide"

Read the full interview here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Don't close the paper mills yet - more problems with E-textbooks

Following up on our story from a few days ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting on more problems integrating E-textbooks into the undergraduate curriculum. 

Last year [Northwest Missouri State University] tech-happy president, Dean L. Hubbard, bought a Kindle, Amazon's e-book reading device, and liked it so much that he wanted to give every incoming student one. . . . Students who got the machines quickly asked for their printed books back because it was so awkward to navigate inside the e-books.

The CHE lists 6 lessons learned from universities that have experimented with e-books.  In particular, here's one that might have an analogue among law school courses:

Continue reading

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

Should the bar exam test legal research skills?

That's the question our good buddy and master law librarian Joe Hodnicki is asking over at the Law Librarian Blog.  As Joe says: 

The National Conference of Bar Examiners and many others have been skeptical that legal research can be testable in a bar exam format but most ALR instructors know that a carefully crafted set of questions can test for an understanding of both the principles of legal research and their application -- it's really nothing more that determining if the exam takers are thinking like law librarians by analyzing a research issue from the perspective of access points and routes to legal resources.

Joe's proposal has already spurred some debate in ye olde blogosphere courtesy of the Legal Blog Watch

Though I recognize the importance of strong legal research skills, I strongly disagree with Hodnicki and other law librarians (including Clair Germain of Cornell Law, my alma mater) over the value of including a legal research component on the bar. First, I don't think that there's an objective way to measure effective legal research skills because the amount of research that lawyers perform, and the way in which they do so will depend upon the availability of resources

Both blogs invite your comments - and we do too.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Electronic textbooks - not a sure thing just yet.

We'd previously reported that the Kindle DX is likely to be the next big thing in academic technology.  However, the Chronicle of Higher Ed reminds us that even seemingly great ideas must still find acceptance among the ever fickle public.  In the case of electronic textbooks, there's been some resistance among both students and professors who are having trouble figuring out how the darn things work:

Students and professors have to learn how to use the newfangled textbooks. 'I mean, you can easily read it, but if you want to highlight or enlarge the text or share your notes with other people,'you have to learn to do that, said Tania Brobst, a junior at the university. Initially skeptical, she now says she prefers the electronic version in part because of its search feature and the ability to paste passages into a Microsoft Word document for note taking. 

Other students apparently still prefer print rather than the electronic format. 

The CHE invites you to leave your own thoughts about the future of electronic textbooks here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

2010 Legal Writing Institute Conference - Remember to Submit Proposals by June 15!

Marco Island Rowe 3 The deadline to submit proposals for possible presentation at the 2010 LWI Conference is June 15, 2009.  Click here to read one of our earlier posts about how to submit proposals to the LWI.  The web site accepting proposals will be shut down on June 16th, so be sure to be on time with your proposal.

(mew)

Hat tip to Suzanne Rowe for her photo of the Marco Island Planning Committee hard at work.

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

California court to consumers - there's no such thing as a Crunchberry tree.

No wonder the public has a cynical view of lawyers.  Some California lawyers agreed to take a case alleging that Cap'n Crunch engaged in fraud by calling one of its cereals "Crunchberry" and thereby deceiving the public into thinking it was getting a portion of real fruit in every mouth-watering bite.  In dismissing the complaint, the court noted that, essentially, only a moron would think the box illustration represented an actual fruit found in nature.  The court explained its finding much diplomatically than I just did:

In this case . . . while the challenged packaging contains the word "berries" it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term "crunch." This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a "crunchberry." Furthermore, the "Crunchberries" depicted on the [box] are round, crunchy, brightly-colored cereal balls, and the [box] clearly states both that the Product contains "sweetened corn & oat cereal" and that the cereal is "enlarged to show texture." Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the Product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist. . . . So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world.

Believe it or not, there's actually precedent for the result here.  The court noted that the same plaintiffs' attorney had previously brought a misrepresentation claim against the good people who make Fruit Loops cereal on the grounds that despite the name, Fruit Loops doesn't contain any fruit.  That complaint was also dismissed.  See McKinnis v. Kellogg, 2007 WL 4766060 (C.D. Cal. 2007).

Read more commentary about the two cases at the legal humor site, Lowering the Bar.

A big tip 'o the hat to Professor Ted Becker.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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