Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight

1.  Griggs, Marsha (Washburn) and Curcio, Andrea Anne (Georgia State), Book Review, Joan Howarth, Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing, 71 J. of Legal Educ. 543 (2022).

From the abstract:

In Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing, Professor Joan Howarth issues a clarion call to the academy, the legal community, and the judiciary to reform how we license lawyers in the United States. In this book Howarth identifies the current crisis in law licensing, the history of racism that created this crisis, and the tools available to address it. Shaping the Bar challenges our entrenched notions of professional identity, and it forces us to confront vulnerabilities in attorney self-regulation. It does so in a manner that will stir even those not immersed in the current debate about law licensing. This review highlights Howarth’s explanation of how the attorney licensing system fails to protect the public by failing to assess the skills and abilities new lawyers need to competently represent clients while simultaneously unjustifiably excluding people of color and those without financial resources. The review summarizes her data-based arguments that explain how we have developed and perpetuated a system that fails the public and systematically disadvantages particular groups, and her eminently workable suggestions for how to change the system. It discusses how Howarth connects the law licensing process to legal education, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the two, and noting that as legal educators, we must accept responsibility for our part in creating, and hopefully now dismantling, this system.

2.    Kincaid, Rachel (Baylor), Law Schools: Want to Help Bend the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Justice? Hire Law Professors with Public Service Experience, __ Univ. of Richmond L. Rev. __   (forthcoming __).

From the abstract:

We are living in momentous times. Social justice and the legitimacy of our political systems are at the forefront of many people’s minds. Demands for change - sometimes revolutionary change - abound, based on myriad crises: the murders of Tyre Nichols, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor; mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty; the bungled response to COVID-19 and resulting economic precarity of many across the globe; threats to our democratic institutions and educational institutions at home and abroad; the erosion of reproductive rights, the environment, and tribal sovereignty; attacks on LGBTQIA+ people and their rights; and persistent and devastating levels of gun violence, to name a few. During momentous times like these, law schools can and should make a difference. But how we do that is a more complex question. Is it only through career services offices that encourage students to pursue careers fighting for social justice? Or do professors, even ones in required doctrinal courses, have a role to play in transforming our society? In this article, I argue the latter. And I argue that one way law schools can ensure that their professors are equal partners in this fight for social justice is by hiring law professors with experience in public service (more than just a year or two clerking). Doing so requires evaluating the law professor hiring process, both in fact and in the way we talk about it. But if my suggested interventions are adopted, I think law schools can ensure that the legal community contributes to the revolutions and reforms necessary to meet the demands of these momentous times.

[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]


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