June 15, 2009
The John Marshall Law School of Chicago holds a Forum to Discuss 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. Scholars, deans, and professors in doctrinal and skills-based disciplines will be reaching across the aisles to explore new ways of educating students to meet the expanding challenges of the legal profession. Among those sharing their perspectives on educational reform and the Carnegie Report will be Erwin Chemerinsky, the Founding Dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law, and Bryant G. Garth, Dean of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.
Hat tips to Maureen Kordesh and Maureen Collins of The John Marshall Law School.
Does the web make students better writers? Several longitudinal studies try to find out
This is big - we'll finally have some empirical data to help us determine whether Web 2.0 is helping or hurting the writing abilities of students, according to this very interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Of course, one of the many interesting points the article makes is that teachers often make the erroneous assumption that written work students submit for class is the sole criteria by which to judge their writing abilities. As one Michigan State academic noted: "The unstated assumption there is that if you can write a good essay for your literature professor, you can write anything. . . . . That's utter nonsense."
Among the many points raised by the CHE article:
Digital technologies, computer networks, the Web — all of those things have led to an explosion in writing. People write more now than ever. In order to interact on the Web, you have to write.
Some scholars say that this new writing is more engaged and more connected to an audience, and that colleges should encourage students to bring lessons from that writing into the classroom. Others argue that tweets and blog posts enforce bad writing habits and have little relevance to the kind of sustained, focused argument that academic work demands.
This is a new kind of composing because it's so variegated and because it's so intentionally social. Although universities may not consider social communication as proper writing, it still has a strong influence on how students learn to write . . . . We ignore it at our own peril.
The data may show that students routinely learn the basics of writing concepts wherever they write the most. For instance, students who compose messages for an audience of their peers on a social-networking Web site were forced to be acutely aware of issues like audience, tone, and voice.
On the other hand, why is it that with young people reading and writing more words than ever before in human history, we find no gains in reading and writing scores?
Determining how students develop as writers, and why they improve or not, is difficult. Analyzing a large enough sample of students to reach general conclusions about how the spread of new technologies affects the writing process, scholars say, is a monumental challenge.
Read the whole thing here - you really need to.
I am the scholarship dude - bringing you the good stuff day after day (mostly).
Lap Cat Scholar
William Myhill at Syracuse University writes a thoughtful blog called Lap Cat Scholar. He "discusses timely issues impacting the academic community," particularly those related to scholarship and publishing, including more nuanced views of plagiarism, technological advances, etc.
Westlaw's Keycite makes a mistake - and it's a big one
Here's a very valuable reminder to students and practitioners alike - that Westlaw's keycite notions, like judgments about what Digest Topics to assign the cases- are made by people who, ultimately, are fallible. To wit - Westlaw's Keycite is erroneously showing a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court - Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625 - is still good law even though Justice Scalia explicitly overruled the decision on May 26, 2009 in Montejo v. Louisiana.
Thanks to our good buddy Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog for bringing this major boner to our attention (and special thanks to law librarian extraordinaire David Walker at Charleston School of Law for discovering the mistake in the first place). According to David, Lexis' Shepards service got it right. Allow me to let David explain the rest in his own words:
on May 26, 2009, my colleague, William Gaskill, planned to use Michigan v. Jacksonas a Shepard’s/Keycite example in his Legal Research Bootcamp course. He sent his class an email asking them to determine whether Michigan v. Jacksonwas still good law by class that evening. I opined that students’ answers would be different depending on the time of the day they verified the case. I was wrong. The next morning, William had informed me that according to Keycite, Michigan v. Jackson is still good law.
We’ve been keeping track of the case over the past two weeks and as of today at 3:30 p.m. EST, according to Westlaw, Michigan v. Jackson is still good law. West did enter Montejointo its system, but someone must have read over Nino’s quote or maybe they just figured the majority was wrong. In any event, I hope for sake of criminal lawyers everywhere that this will be remedied soon.
By the way [Lexis'] Shepard's [account required] picked up the change in Michigan’s status.
When you get a chance, please pay the Law Librarian Blog a visit, ok?
I am the scholarship dude.
June 14, 2009
Laurel Oates, Mimi Samuel, and Anne Enquist have been sharing some interesting thoughts on some of the implications still to be realized from legal outsourcing. Their posts appear on the Seattle University School of Law website, Cases and Controversies. Click here to read one of the posts (and from that post you can see the earlier ones). Very thoughtful stuff indeed. Here's an excerpt from one of the posts (from Anne Enquist).
. . . I also want to pick up on Laurel’s final question about what outsourcing might mean for our students, alums, and the practice of law. Our students will have to compete for work and jobs in this changing market. They cannot assume that when they graduate they will be able to make a six-figure income doing basic legal work for several years as they work their way up to partner. They will have to adjust their expectations, and they will have to figure out how to justify the salaries they hope to receive.
As legal educators, we have an obligation not only to inform them about the effect LPOs will have on their careers but also to prepare them for this dramatic shift in the practice of law. We have to get ahead of the curve on the whole issue of outsourcing and think through how to make it a win-win situation for all involved, including clients and lawyers here and in countries doing outsourcing work. This will require some creative, fearless thinking and problem-solving.
Their posts include observations they shared from their excellent presentation at the Global Legal Skills Conference IV at Georgetown University Law Center. Click here to read more.
Another Hein OnLine Legal Research Training Video
We've posted here before about the research videos available from Hein OnLine. Here's a new video on the exciting subject of pulling up a section of the Code of Federal Regulations. This video is only 44 seconds long, which is sometimes just about as long as you can hold someone's attention when teaching them how to use the C.F.R.
Northwest Regional Legal Writing Conference in Portland - August 28-29, 2009
The Empire State Strikes Back - A Writing Conference in New York on May 14, 2010
Hofstra Law School in Hempstead, New York, will host the first Empire State Legal Writing Conference on May 14, 2010. The Conference will be a one-day event, timed in such a way that people in the greater NYC area can easily travel to the law school and back on the conference day. Out of town participants will be welcome, and the conference organizers will be arranging a conference rate at a local hotel, as well as transportation to the law school. They plan to send out a Request for Proposals in the fall and the Committee will make selections by December or January. The Planning Committee (still in formation) includes Robin Boyle, St. John's; Ian Gallacher, Syracuse; Tracy McGaugh, Touro; John Mollenkamp, Cornell; and Marilyn Walter, Brooklyn, as well as Amy R. Stein, Scott Colesanti, Susan Joffe, Frank Gulino, and Richard Neumann, all of Hofstra University School of Law. (I don't know about you, but I am thinking this is going to be a popular event.)
Hat tip to Amy R. Stein
Last Call! Monday is the Deadline for Submitting Proposals for the LWI Conference
You can't put it off any longer! Click here to submit a proposal for possible presentation at the 2010 Legal Writing Institute Conference, to be held June 27-30, 2010 at Marco Island, Florida. The website accepting proposals will be shut down on June 16, so you must meet the deadline of June 15.