June 19, 2009
UNBELIEVABLE!!! DePaul University FIRES Its Law School Dean for Reporting Truthful Information to the ABA!!!
He was fired apparently because of a letter he sent to the Consultant on Legal Education for the American Bar Association, disclosing that certain information given to the ABA Accreditation Committee was no longer accurate. He sent the letter now because the ABA Accreditation Committee is meeting next week. (Won't THEY have an interesting meeting now!)
We've obtained a copy of the letter he sent that got him fired, and we're posting it here for you. Download Askew Letter June 16 2009 In that letter, Dean Weissenberger stated his belief (quite correct) that he was under an obligation to promptly advise the ABA Accreditation Committee of any statements in its June 22, 2008 report that were inaccurate. He also stated that an earlier submission to the committee "did not address the pertinent issues, and as such, it communicates the erroneous proposition that the University and the College of Law have reached an agreement on the matter of 'Margin Agreement.'" Read the full letter to see more.
So DePaul University, in response to the Dean's truthful disclosure to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education, fired him yesterday. Got that? He sent the letter on June 16th and got fired on June 18th.
The DePaul website people work quickly. His bio on the law school website removed the title of Dean and now says this: "Weissenberger served as dean of DePaul’s College of Law from 2002 to June of 2009, when he returned to the faculty."
Thate website previously said that he had been given a five-year contract in 2002 and that his contract was renewed for another five years in 2007, so his contract was supposed to have run until 2012.
I cannot imagine that the faculty or students at DePaul are going to take this well. The law students have started a petition drive, but it is only for members of the law school community. (I think there are hundreds of professors from other law schools who would sign such a petition as well!)
None of us can be happy about this. This is a dean, standing up for the rightful finances of his law school, who gets fired because he truthfully reports to the ABA Consultant on Legal Education that information before the Accreditation Committee was incorrect. Dean Weissenberger correctly noted that he had a duty to report that the information was false and that's what he did.
Here is a post about this on Brian Leitner's Blog.
Here is a post from the Tax Prof Blog.
Here is a post from Above the Law, which ALSO INCLUDES a letter from the DePaul University College of Law Student Bar Association. Above the Law also wonders who would want to be the NEXT dean at DePaul . . . maybe former Illinois governor Rod Blogojevic?
Will Kellen started a Facebook Group in support of Dean Weissenberger. At the end of its first day it had already 166 members.
Now here is something else I´m wondering about . . . DePaul University College of Law was meant to host a meeting next month of EVERY LAW SCHOOL DEAN IN THE UNITED STATES!!! Here´s a description of that meeting from the website of the Clifford Law Offices:
Deans from across the country will be gathering at DePaul University College of Law at a program sponsored by Clifford Law Offices entitled, "Vanishing Act: Legal Education in a World Without Trials."
The two-day symposium will be held July 31-Aug. 1 at the law school in Chicago in conjunction with the American Bar Associaion's Annual Meeting that will be held here at that time. The symposium was profiled in a
in the National Law Journal.
DePaul College of Law Dean Glenn Weissenberger has invited 185 fellow deans from law schools to attend the event.
Robert A. Clifford, senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, said his personal injury firm sponsored the event in support of his alma mater and for his concern in promoting intelligent discussion on a topic that is of interest to him as a trial lawyer.
An all-star panel from the law schools at University of Chicago, Yale and Duke are among the panelists who will be speaking. The keynote speaker is Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington, D.C. attorney and Special Master of the September 11 Victims' Compensation Fund.
So I am wondering how DePaul is going to handle this meeting now . . . . Really, what WERE they thinking by firing Dean Weissenberger when EVERY LAW SCHOOL DEAN IN THE COUNTRY is going to be visiting their law school NEXT MONTH!!!
P.S. MORE UPDATES AND LINKS
Here's a link to The Faculty Lounge Blog.
Chicago Conference on Change in Legal Education
The John Marshall Law School of Chicago will host a forum on July 29, 2009 to discuss change in legal education in response to the Carnegie Report. Click here for more information. If you're coming to Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, come a day or two early to attend this important and promising conference.
identifying the Digital Native
What is a Digital Native? Well, you probably have a classroom full of 'em. Here's a piece listing characteristics of this demographic group . . . those who grew up immersed in technology. While you may be a Digital Native rather than an Immigrant even if you were born before 1980, this take on the DN's view of the world is eye-opening.
hat tip: Sharon Blackburn, Texas Tech University School of Law
secondary hat tip: BlawgIT
Introduction to Legal English -- A New Edition of the Book for Lawyers and Law Students Who Speak English as a Second Language
The International Law Institute of Washington D.C. has just published the third edition of Introduction to Legal English. This book was the first in the United States to focus specifically on the needs of lawyers and law students who speak English as a second language. The book was originally designed to be used during a two week intensive English language course that prepared students for law school lectures, legal writing assignments, and participation in professional conferences such as bar association meetings. It has also been used in other types of course settings and for individual study. Click here for more information. Copies of the book can be ordered directly from the International Law Institute. It also makes for a good book to have on reserve in your law school library as a resource for your international students.
June 16, 2009
To right a wrong, judge orders defendants to write a book
I know some of my students would consider that sentence tantamount to torture. The New York Times has a cheeky editorial today describing the habit of Judge Ricardo Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of D.C. ordering convicted defendants in white collar cases to write a book about their crimes as a warning to others. As the author of the editorial notes:
Many people in professional life believe they have a book in them. Whether it ever gets out is usually a matter of passion, persistence and chance, not court decree. We don’t know if there is any deterrent value in Judge Urbina’s approach (beyond deterring us from reading the product).
Given the vanity in publication, it might be better if he ordered white-collar defendants not to write books about what they did. Now that would sting.
Read the whole thing here.
I am the scholarship dude.
Scholarship alert - "Information For Submitting Articles to Law Reviews and Journals"
The wildly popular "how-to" guide for successfully placing scholarly publications written by UMKC School of Law Professors Nancy Levit and Alan Rostron has been recently updated and is available here (login may be required) on SSRN. From the abstract:
This document contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers about 188 law reviews. The document was fully updated on June 9, 2009.
With more than 5,600 abstract views and 2,300 downloads, you know they're doing something right.
I am the scholarship dude.
On the other hand, hiring within India is up
As reported below, while some domestic firms are reluctant to use offshore Indian lawyers until certain issues are resolved, the market for legal services within India itself is on the rise according to the ABA Journal. In fact, some US firms are looking to open offices there.
'India is a ‘must have’ when the rules for entry of foreign law firms are clear,'says Nandan Nelivigi, a New York partner of White & Case.
'The outlook for India is very promising—more than any other Jones Day market, in my view,'says partner Jeffrey Maddox. He works in his firm's Hong Kong office.
Read the full story here.
I am the scholarship dude.
More offshoring news - firms say why they are reluctant to use Indian firms
Legal Blog Watch is reporting (via The Times of India) that many US and UK firms are reluctant to use offshore Indian firms because of: 1. Data security issues; and 2. quality of work concerns (ed. note - there's certainly no shortage of quality attorneys looking for work in both the US and UK). As LBW reports:
[Domestic] firms are apprehensive about data security and quality of work. On the other hand, firms do recognize that offshoring can result in substantial cost savings. Some firms looking to outsource are setting up joint ventures or subsidiaries to retain more safeguards over data while benefiting from a lower-priced labor pool.
Still, that may not be enough to satisfy clients hungry for savings now. Will law firms step up to the plate and embrace LPO as a way to cut costs? Gavin Birer at Slaw.ca doesn't think it's likely, unless law firms can find a way to benefit themselves in the process.
Read the rest here.
I am the scholarship dude.
"Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators."
- Albert Camus
Obviously Camus didn't have to account for the SCOTUS nomination process.
Assessment Conference in September at the University of Denver - Call for Proposals By July 1, 2009
The University of Denver Sturm College of Law will be hosting a conference on September 11-13, 2009 focused on Assessment in Legal Education. Proposals for possible presentation are being sought before July 1, 2009. As David Thomson notes, assessment is not only a "hot topic" in legal education these days but also a topic that the legal writing community already knows a lot about. He says that this is particularly true of formative assessment, because we do more of that form of assessment than do many of our colleagues. The draft of the conference program and the call for papers can be found by clicking here.
Hat tip to David I. C. Thomson
Predictions about the legal job market from the NALP
I'll give you a hint - it ain't pretty according to this conference call entitled Nationwide Phone Briefing to Discuss Job Prospects for Attorneys in a Difficult Economy sponsored by the National LGBT Bar Association which included, among others, the Executive Director of the NALP.
The class of 2007 had a 92 percent employment rate after graduation, an all-time historical high. Starting salaries also reached a new high.
At NALP, we expect the employment rate for the next several classes to fall into the mid 80-range. But it shouldn't go as low as it did for the class of 1993 (83.4%).
The news isn't all bad. Small and midsize firms that have lower price points are doing quite well in some markets, from Detroit to St. Louis. These firms are actually growing in some cases, because they're seeing credentials from laterals and new associates they didn't see in the past. There is tremendous pressure in corporate America to reduce total legal spend, so work is flowing down to smaller firms and smaller markets.
The legal hiring market in the public interest arena is very difficult. Many public interest groups are funded through IOLTA funds -- escrow funds held for clients that generate interest, with the interest being used to fund civil legal services. Because interest rates have fallen to near zero, the IOLTA funding mechanism has collapsed.
Many public interest groups have had layoffs, furloughs, and pay freezes. Into this mix you add deferred associates, bearing stipends from their firms. Although it's commendable of firms to support public interest, deferred associates are displacing lawyers who trained for three or so years in preparation for a move to public interest. So there has been a fair amount of disruption to the public interest legal market as well.
Is this just a temporary blip? Probably not: "The large law firm model is undergoing a period of structural change as a result of this economy, in a way that suggests that things will not return to normal after this is over." For example, we probably won't see a resumption of the practice of large law firms hiring large classes of summer associates two years out.
Read the rest of the disturbing details here.
I am the scholarship dude.
More relevant sociological studies - this time "post-racial America" is a myth
I can't say this editorial from yesterday's NYT surprises me much given what I've already read about the pervasiveness of sub-conscious biases we all carry. It's nevertheless interesting, important and sobering news.
Here's an excerpt:
People who believe that blunt-force racism is a thing of the past tend to gasp when they see this data. But the findings are consistent with what black job seekers and community organizations have been saying about their experiences for a long time.
All of this should come as sobering news to people who believe that the election of an African-American president moved the country into a new phase beyond racism. We may yet reach that goal. But we won’t do it by pretending that centuries-old biases were magically swept away in a single election. We can do it only by exorcising poisonous preconceptions that go to the very heart of who we are.
You can read the rest here. I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
Advice to students on how to make their clients feel valued
We've reported previously (here) that law firms want students who are more business oriented and some law schools (here) are already responding by thinking of ways to bring business courses into the curriculum. Help your students stay ahead of the curve with this advice from the online ABA Journal.
1) Introduce clients to others who can help their businesses.
2) Promote the client’s company. Try wearing the corporate T-shirt, or nominating the client for an award.
3) Interview a client for an article you are writing.
4) Help the client solve a nonlegal problem, such as a need for new office space or a different banker.
5) Use your client’s services or buy the client’s product.
Read the whole shebang here.
I am the scholarship dude.
June 15, 2009
Salaries are good if you're a SCOTUS clerk - for the rest of us, not so much
The online ABA Journal is reporting (via the National Law Journal) that the bad (um, how about horrifying?) legal economy is affecting even the best of the best - those clerking for the United States Supreme Court. Apparently last year, the going rate at firms hiring former SCOTUS clerks was $250K (still chump change compared to what elite employees earn in other fields like professional sports, to take an example). This year, however, firms may be more reluctant to "make the scene with the long green" when it comes to those with elite clerkships.
Why is intelligence like style?
You either got it or you don't, baby! At least according to this column in the Chronicle of Higher Ed by a professor of behavioral and applied sciences at Texas A&M. Here's an excerpt:
[Howard Gardner - author of Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and winner of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award"] has posited that our intellectual abilities are divided among at least eight abilities: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalistic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. The appealing elements of the theory are numerous.
It's 'cool,' to start with: The list-like format has great attraction for introductory psychology and education classes. It also seems to jibe well with the common observation that individuals have particular talents. More important, especially for education, it implicitly (although perhaps unintentionally on Gardner's part) promises that each child has strengths as well as weaknesses. With eight separate intelligences, the odds seem good that every child will be intelligent in one of those realms. After all, it's not called the theory of multiple stupidities.
. . . .
The only problem, with all respect to Gardner: There probably is just a single intelligence or capacity to learn, not multiple ones devoted to independent tasks. To varying degrees, some individuals have this capacity, and others do not. To be sure, there is much debate about Gardner's theory in the literature, with contenders for and against. Nonetheless, empirical evidence has not been robust. While the theory sounds nice (perhaps because it sounds nice), it is more intuitive than empirical. In other words, the eight intelligences are based more on philosophy than on data.
Ouch! Read the rest of the article here - it tends to explode many commonly held assumptions.
I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
Academic freedom is under attack at many law school clinics
So reports the Chronicle of Higher Ed in this piece. Here's an excerpt:
Many faculty members at law-school clinics feel pressure from their bosses to steer clear of cases that might incur the displeasure of donors, lawmakers, or others who could complicate life for their institutions, the results of a recent survey suggest.
The survey of about 300 faculty members at law-school clinics found that nearly 10 percent reported having been urged by their law school's dean to avoid a particular case, and nearly 15 percent report having been urged by their clinic's director to avoid one. The survey, conducted by an associate dean at the University of Michigan Law School, was discussed at a conference on academic freedom held last week by the American Association of University Professors.
Read the whole thing here. I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
Maybe we should close the paper mills after all - yet another commentator weighs in on e-textbooks
I wish the commentators would make up their minds already . . . sheesh! We've reported on those who like Kindle and its ilk and those who don't, here and here. You can now add this professor at Southern Vermont College to the column marked "fan-boy." In this article from Inside Higher Ed,, Professor Crowell touts the benefits of e-book readers while the interesting comments that follow his piece still find problems with the devices for use in university level courses.
I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
What's the next frontier of legal research?
Read this entry from the Law Librarian blog and consider yourself enlightened. Hat tip to Joe Hodnicki. I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
Visit the Legal Writing Store
Are you a Badass Woman or Man of Legal Writing? Does your Dean Support Legal Writing? Are you a Member of Pink Ink? Did your Students Survive Oral Argument?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, be sure to pay a visit to the Legal Writing Store. Click here for more information.
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