Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Please join us for the 11th Feminist Legal Theory Conference at University of Baltimore School of Law sponsored by the Center on Applied Feminism, University of Baltimore Law Review, and CLEA. The focus of the conference is “Applied Feminism and #MeToo,” and our keynote speaker is Debra Katz, who represented Christine Blasey Ford in the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. The conference is being held at the University of Baltimore School of Law April 11 and 12, 2019. There is no registration fee, but we do ask that people RSVP.
Conference webpage including the RSVP is available here: http://law.ubalt.edu/centers/caf/conference/EleventhFeministLegalTheoryConf.cfm
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
New from Prof. Ted Afield on the work of Low Income Taxpayer Clinics:
Tax justice is social justice. To those regularly working to resolve tax controversies for low-income taxpayers and who are often dealing with the financial implications of life and death issues like human trafficking, the ability to afford medical care, and the risks of financial despair leading to suicide, this is an uncontroversial statement. To those for whom “tax attorney” is often the punchline to their favorite lawyer joke, however, this statement appears not to fit in with traditional conceptions of social justice. This is particularly true when social justice is defined as requiring not just improved access to representation in any type of legal matter but also as requiring specific societal outcomes that reduce poverty, improve housing access, combat racial discrimination, reduce hunger, and improve healthcare access. At first blush to those outside the tax bar who do not appreciate that most of these issues are inextricably linked to the tax system, tax justice does not appear to do any of these things. Accordingly, tax issues are often overlooked in the conversation about improving social justice.
Tax justice, however, is in fact a social justice issue. The most illustrative example of the social justice gains that can occur when tax justice is prioritized as an area of need can be found in the work of low-income taxpayer clinics (“LITCs”). LITCs engage in a combination of representation, education, and advocacy work that is essential in protecting taxpayer rights, securing economic benefits for the poor, and helping the vulnerable avoid having a tax liability impact their ability to obtain housing, healthcare, and/or employment.
Appreciating the social justice components of tax justice is not solely an academic issue of definitional precision—failing to understand the connection between tax work and social justice has negative societal consequences as well. The limited resources available to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals are often allocated towards solutions perceived to be improving social justice as well as access to justice, and tax issues are consequently often not prioritized because of a perceived lack of connection to this mission. This is particularly true in the academic clinical community, which, given the resource advantages that many academic institutions have over legal service organizations, is a critical component of both improving access to justice and advancing social justice.
Because of a misperception that tax representation is not a social justice issue, academic LITCs have not grown as quickly as one would expect given the financial incentives for such growth in the form of the availability of federal grant funds. Thus, appreciating tax justice as a social justice issue has practical implications for future LITC growth and for the benefits that such growth provides, particularly in the academic community. Accordingly, making this connection explicit to the academic community is an important step in closing the access to tax justice gap. This paper attempts to make this connection as explicit as possible and suggests changes to the LITC program that could even more directly tie in the work of LITCs to a social justice mission, regardless of how social justice is defined.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
Chrissy Cerniglia, Davida Finger, Luz Herrera, JoNel Newman, and I have posted our working paper, In Times of Chaos: Creating Blueprints for Law School Responses to Natural Disasters. We each have recent, intense experience guiding our schools' responses to natural disasters through legal clinics and pro bono programs. In the article, we gather lessons and ideas from these experiences and offer guidance for law schools who will face more, and more destructive, natural disasters in the "new abnormal."
UPDATE: 80 Louisiana Law Review --- (forthcoming 2019).
A recent onslaught of domestic natural disasters created acute, critical needs for legal services for people displaced and harmed by storms and fires. In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Michael struck much of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, displacing millions from their homes. Wildfires burned throughout California and tested the capacity of pro bono and legal aid systems across the state. In 2018, Hurricane Florence flooded North Carolina, and Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle. California again suffered wildfires, the largest and most devastating in recorded history. Natural disasters are both more common and more destructive, the “new abnormal.”
Social and economic inequities emerge sharply after each natural disaster. Low-income and vulnerable people both suffer more from disasters and experience heightened barriers to accessing the post-disaster resources necessary to survive, rebuild, and return home. Marginalized and vulnerable populations, in particular, need legal assistance and expertise to overcome these barriers.
Natural disasters also inspire law students, law clinics, law schools and law faculty to help. Law school responses to assisting with post-disaster legal needs have been diverse. Some efforts have been law student initiated, while several law school clinics have provided legal assistance in a variety of ways. Some law schools have launched clinics with a devoted budget and strict focus on disaster practice. Some took on disaster work because it was the greatest need for existing clients and communities. Others shifted the focus of existing clinics to disaster needs, and still others launched temporary clinics in various forms to respond to acute crises. Some wanted to help but did not have ready relationships or resources to be responsive.
Each of the authors has direct experience surviving natural disasters and providing legal assistance from within the academy. This article provides necessary information about the nature of natural disasters, the ecosystem of response systems, and common legal issues for law schools and clinical programs interested in providing legal assistance to disaster-affected communities. It then describes varying models of law school institutional responses to increasingly common natural disasters. Building on lessons learned through these experiences, law schools can develop a blueprint for community-engaged disaster response. Building a framework for institutional responses in the legal academy can advance and improve access to justice for vulnerable communities recovering after a disaster and can provide students with an opportunity to learn from this social justice engagement.
Monday, February 25, 2019
ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law
Call for Papers
The State of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program:
What’s Working, Problems, Solutions and Visions for the Future
Drafts due May 1, 2019
The Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (the Journal) invites articles and essays on the theme of the state of Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. What’s working? What are important problems/issues and proposed solutions? What are visions for the future? The Journal welcomes essays (typically 2,500–6,200 words) or articles (typically 7,000-10,000 words).
In addition, the Journal welcomes articles and essays on any of the Journal’s traditional subjects: affordable housing, fair housing and community/economic development. Topics could include important developments in the field; federal, state, local and/or private funding sources; statutes, policies or regulations; and empirical studies.
The Journal is the nation’s only law journal dedicated to affordable housing and community development law. The Journal educates readers and provides a forum for discussion and resolution of problems in these fields by publishing articles from distinguished law professors, policy advocates and practitioners.
Interested authors are encouraged to send an abstract describing their proposals. Submissions of final articles and essays are due by May 1, 2019. Please email abstracts and final drafts to the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Tim Iglesias, at email@example.com. The Journal also accepts submissions on a rolling basis. Please do not hesitate to contact the Editor with any questions.
Friday, February 15, 2019
Over on the Best Practices in Legal Education blog, I shared my thoughts on teaching implicit bias:
Last week in my Family Law Clinic seminar, we discussed Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, which describes the author’s quest to overcome her biases stemming from white privilege. A student shared their pain and frustration over college and law professors never using their full name, and often mispronouncing the parts of their name the professor is willing to speak out loud. “It’s dehumanizing,” my student said.
Those words have haunted me all week. Names are fundamental parts of human identity. Why can we, as educators–members of an elite profession–not get this right? Why is it not a norm in higher education for professors and teaching assistants to learn to pronounce every student’s name?
Also this week, I read in a memo from a colleague a to-do item along the lines of “practice pronouncing graduates’ names.” The colleague was sharing with me tips for the job I will soon begin: associate dean for academic affairs. One privilege of this job is reading the names of all Penn State Law graduates at the annual commencement ceremony. It was profoundly touching to learn that my colleague takes the time to practice every graduate’s name–and they felt it important enough to share with me as one of a handful of their significant monthly action items.
I give all my students the opportunity to share the pronunciation of their name with me on the first day of class, on note cards I keep with me at every class. An earlier post explained more about the note card system, which I learned from fellow blogger Paula Schaefer. Pronouncing each student’s name is challenging, and I sometimes falter. Last semester I began writing the pronunciations on my seating chart, to minimize my fumbling through the note cards. This is my seventeenth year of teaching. My only regret is not starting this earlier. It enriches my classroom, and it enriches me. It bakes into my pedagogy an indirect lesson about implicit bias, a lesson I re-learn every time I call on a student and say their name, whether it is Ainslie or Zhao-Ji.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Via Dean Tiffany Graham:
Low Income Tax Clinic Director, Lecturer
The University of South Dakota School of Law invites applications for the position of Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Director, to begin in July 2019. The position is non-tenure track and paid out of a federal grant. Continued employment is contingent on the availability of grant funding. The grant period ends on December 31, 2019, but is expected to be renewed. Applicants may be eligible for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer position, dependent upon qualifications.
The Director will lead the only LITC in the Dakotas. Responsibilities will include representing low-income taxpayers before the IRS and the U.S. Tax Court, teaching and supervising clinical law students in the representation of clients, engaging in outreach to South Dakota and North Dakota communities, developing and coordinating a panel of pro bono attorneys, managing the LITC’s docket, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of an IRS-funded LITC.
Teaching experience at an ABA law school and/or experience with an LITC are highly preferred qualifications.
The successful candidate must be a licensed attorney in a United States jurisdiction (a state or the District of Columbia) by the time of the appointment.
The University of South Dakota embraces and practices the values of diversity and inclusiveness. Candidates who support these values are encouraged to apply. EEO/AA
Applications must be submitted through the Board of Regents electronic employment site: https://yourfuture.sdbor.edu/. For application assistance or accommodation, call 605-677-5671. Please include your application letter, vita, and the names and addresses of three current references.
Inquiries may be directed to Ramon Ortiz, Director of Experiential Learning, University of South Dakota School of Law, 414 E Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069; e-mail Ramon.Ortiz@usd.edu; telephone 605-658-3528.
Monday, January 21, 2019
1. "I've got a bad feeling about this." -- Han Solo
It's a new semester. You have brand new cases and deadlines... and at least one of those deadlines is comin' in hot. You've got a sick feeling in your stomach. You can see dread in the students' faces. Your fresh take on the court's refusal to grant an extension or continuance? A bad feeling. But it can't stop there.
2. “I need someone to show me my place in all this.” -- Rey
The role of the clinical law professor is twofold: to represent clinic clients in a zealous and professional way and to teach clinic students their "place in all this." Sometimes that means subdividing sections of a brief or a larger project; sometimes it's suggesting research terms and leading a brainstorming session. But it's also more than that: students look to their clinical law professors to help them make sense of their lawyering experiences to assess their own path. Deadlines are important- but clinical students are more than research assistants or interns. Fundamentally, law clinics are lab courses in which students' work is also twofold: representing their clients and reflecting on their own professional development.
3. "Do or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda
Clinic litigation often doesn't have the luxury of extended pontification, and it certainly can't stop with "try." Behind every clinic case is a client relying on students' work product. There's no "A for effort" here, though grades and feedback also cannot be based on a court result. Clinical learning outcomes are the skills gained, the words written (and edited and rearranged and rewritten). We may all get writer's block or paralysis, but we can't stay there for long.
4. "The time to fight is now." -- Jyn Erso
Clinic briefs filed in an adversarial system are our weapons in the battle for justice for our clients, and the fight is on. We can count on opposing counsel to make the case against our client's claims, and we have to meet each of them head on. Clinical faculty and our students are bound by rules of professional conduct, and I am a strong believer in the powers of civility toward opposing counsel. But within those bounds, we are zealous. It doesn't hurt us to own the mantle of a freedom fighter; at our best, that's what we are.
5. "Look, Your Worshipfulness, let's get one thing straight. I take orders from just one person: me."-- Han Solo
I've mostly included this as a tongue-in-cheek counter-example of the kind of coachability we need in clinic students. Our students are smart, intuitive, hardworking, solid writers. But they still have to listen. Only once or twice have I encountered a student who didn't love taking heavy edits on a brief, and with a deadline clock ticking, it wasted valuable time.
6. "Never tell me the odds"-- Han Solo
I run an appellate and habeas clinic. The odds are never in our favor. Why bog ourselves down with the reversal rate of the appellate court hearing the case? Irrelevant. Next issue.
7. "It's a Trap!!"-- Admiral Akbar
There comes a point in all justice work when we become too enamored with our own perspective. We don't want to become paralyzed by bad odds, but we also need a healthy perspective on the court's view of our client's case record and issues. What arguments will be persuasive? What will the State argue? Where are the weak spots, and what will shore those places up? Better to consider these weaknesses before the filing deadline instead of after.
8. "That's impossible-- even for a computer!"-- Rebel pilot
As someone who learned legal research in the stacks of the law library, I'm always amazed with the newfangled bells and whistles of our research resources. Ever have a program create a beautiful table of authorities? E-filed remotely when you used to have to make 9 hard copies with heavy covers, stapled down the side, all FedExed before 9 pm? A thing of beauty... plus, it saves hours in clinic work time.
9."Use the Force, [class]." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi
In the last few days before a filing or other court deadline, accumulated stress takes its toll. Students have other courses to study for, clinical faculty have other teaching obligations. We've all put our lives on hold. But there's still final editing left to do. A brief isn't finished 'til it's filed... and sometimes we need that extra boost of adrenaline (and The Force) to make sure we create clinic work product we're proud of. We have to dig deep for motivation, and I generally find that in our clients' confidence in us and in what is at stake for them if we lose.
Monday, January 14, 2019
CALL FOR PRESENTATION PROPOSALS
Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Summer Conference
“Teaching Today’s Law Students”
June 3-5, 2019
Washburn University School of Law
The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law professors and administrators are reaching today’s law students. With the ever-changing and heterogeneous nature of law students, this topic has taken on increased urgency for professors thinking about effective teaching strategies.
The conference theme is intentionally broad and is designed to encompass a wide variety of topics – neuroscientific approaches to effective teaching; generational research about current law students; effective use of technology in the classroom; teaching first-generation college students; classroom behavior in the current political climate; academic approaches to less prepared students; fostering qualities such as growth mindset, resilience, and emotional intelligence in students; or techniques for providing effective formative feedback to students.
Accordingly, the Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses. Presenters should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. The Institute Co-Directors are glad to work with anyone who would like advice on designing their presentations to be interactive.
To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one page (maximum), single-spaced, and include the following information:
- The title of the workshop;
- The name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s); and
- A summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
- A description of the techniques the presenter will use to engage workshop participants and make the workshop interactive.
The proposal deadline is February 15, 2019. Submit proposals via email to Professor Emily Grant, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, January 4, 2019
In fall of 2018, 84 law schools reported that 16,502 law students in the class of 2018* contributed 3,481,066.11 hours in legal services as part of their legal education, an average of about 211 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $24.69 an hour. Using this number, the total value of the students’ time at these schools is estimated to be in excess of $85.9 million. The schools represent approximately 48 percent of students in American Bar Association accredited law schools in the class of 2018.
In the same survey, 83 schools reported that 51,627 law students in all class years (1L-3L) during the academic year 2018-19 contributed 4,266,319.83 hours in legal services, an average of approximately 82.6 hours per student. Using the Independent Sector value of volunteer time, the value of these services is estimated to be in excess of $105.3 million.
Monday, December 31, 2018
CLEA Newsletter Committee
Lauren Bartlett (Ohio Northern)
Tanya Asim Cooper (Pepperdine)
Susan Donovan (Alabama)
D'lorah Hughes (UC Irvine)
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
The Georgia Law Review Online has published the first in a series of articles about the University of Georgia School of Law's clinical programs. Entitled Towards a Jurisprudence (and Pedagogy) of Access: a Reflection on 25 Years of the Public Interest Practicum, the article traces the history, context, and theory of a 25-year-old experiment in access to justice pedagogy, the Public Interest Practicum. This piece represents the start of a year-long exploration of the history and impact of UGA Law's clinical programs since we first started representing clients 50 years ago.
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Student Writing Competition: 2019 ABA Forum of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law Annual Student Legal Writing Competition
Via Prof. Tim Iglesias:
I am writing to ask you to encourage your students to participate in the 2019 ABA Forum of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law annual Student Legal Writing Competition.
The competition is open to current law students writing on a question of significance in affordable housing, fair housing or community development law. The winning entry will be awarded a prize of $1,000, up to $1000 in expenses to attend the Forum’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., and publication of the article in the Forum’s Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law. The deadline for submission of entries is March 8, 2019, and the winner will be announced by April 7, 2019. Please refer to the attached official rules for further details.
Professors who teach property law, land use law, local government law, real estate transactions, environmental law, civil rights law, poverty law and related courses and clinics are in an ideal position to encourage students to participate in the competition. Each year, many of the entries appear to have been prepared initially for seminars.
Please support the Forum’s Student Legal Writing Competition by encouraging your students to submit entries. If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Via Dean Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Blog:
U.S. News Report is making a dramatic change in their ranking of nine law school specialty programs (Clinical Training, Dispute Resolution, Environmental, Health Care, Intellectual Property, International, Legal Writing, Tax, Trial Advocacy). Since their inception, the specialty ranking ballots have asked professors teaching in those areas to identify up to a given number (currently 15) of law schools having the top programs in the area. This year, the ballots give faculty the opportunity to rank all 200 law schools on a 1-5 scale, the approach used in the overall peer reputation survey....
Monday, November 19, 2018
Legal Interviewing & Language Access Film Project -- Videos & Teacher's Guide for Use in Teaching Client Interviewing
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
We are hiring! The Family Law Clinic I direct here at Penn State Law needs a director while I move into the position of Penn State Law's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for at least 2 years, starting July 2019. This position is for a 2-year clinical law Visiting Assistant Professor role, which will be a perfect fit for someone--maybe you, dear reader! As you may know, we here at Penn State Law in University Park are also hiring for tenure-stream and legal-writing positions this year. This is great opportunity for someone planning to go onto the academic market to prepare and be mentored. It could also be a wonderful move for someone with experience in another clinic. I will be here the entire time, just down the street in our main building, and look forward to helping transition someone into this role.
I encourage readers like you and our community members to apply. Please also feel free to share this opportunity with your networks. Here’s the link to the position where those interested can learn more and apply: https://psu.jobs/job/83909. I also include the position description here:
Penn State Law, based in University Park, PA, is seeking to hire an experienced legal professional to serve as a visiting assistant professor of clinical law and director of the Family Law Clinic. The successful candidate will have a background in representing clients in family law matters, particularly in cases involving domestic and sexual violence, and supervising law students in clinical casework. The Clinic is an “in-house” clinic that functions as a small pro bono law firm representing low-income Pennsylvanians in a variety of family law matters, including divorce, custody, protection from abuse, child support and adoption. The director manages the Clinic’s direct legal services to clients, and supervises the law students who represent those clients. Situated at Penn State’s largest campus in University Park, Pennsylvania, the Family Law Clinic is an integral part of Penn State Law’s work as a land grant university serving rural Pennsylvanians while competing on a global scale with scholarship and public policy work. Examples of Family Law Clinic cases and projects include protective orders for victims of domestic violence, securing financial support and property for indigent clients in divorces, asserting custodial rights for parents, and conducting Brief Legal Advice workshops on family law issues. The Director is also responsible for teaching the weekly Clinic seminar class, including simulations and other skill-building exercises, doctrinal law instruction, and case rounds. The Director ensures the effective management of the Clinic year-round, including during summers and other academic year breaks, which may include supervising student work on client matters. In-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania family law and domestic violence required, with preference for those with experience in VAWA work and/or in certain other Clinic practice areas -- specifically, divorce economic relief, child custody and support, and campus sexual assault. The Director also manages Penn State Law’s Public Interest programs, which includes management of a large grant that partly funds the Clinic’s operations. The Public Interest programs job duties include collaborating with numerous student initiatives like the Family Law Society; Public Interest Law Fund and Alternative Spring Break; chairing the Public Interest Law Placements faculty committee; working with Career Services staff to maximize student matching with public interest opportunities; cultivating and publicizing pro bono opportunities for students; representing Penn State Law on public interest law boards and committees such as Student Legal Services, Mid-Penn Legal Services, the PA-IOLTA Board; and the AALS, ABA, and other national groups’ Public Interest/Pro Bono networks. Must have a desire to mentor, supervise and train law students in an “in-house” clinical program; a demonstrated passion for social justice and a commitment to working with low-income communities; excellent writing, communication and organizational skills; and the ability to work effectively within diverse stakeholder communities. The successful candidate will display excellent written and oral communication skills, demonstrated knowledge and experience with client-centered lawyering, and outstanding legal practice skills. We seek a candidate who is creative, curious and self-motivated with an ability to anticipate issues and follow-up independently; is an exceptional strategist who can thrive in a collaborative, collegial environment and enjoys thinking through complex legal issues; and exhibits professionalism, drive and tenacity. This position is a benefits eligible, fixed-term academic appointment beginning in Summer 2019 and funded for two years from date of hire. Starting rank is negotiable depending on the applicant’s experience. A J.D., admission to Pennsylvania Bar or eligibility to become a member of the Pennsylvania Bar and minimum four years of family law practice experience with substantial trial work preferred. Preferred start date is July 1, 2019. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled; only those candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.
Dear Lawyers, Law Professors, Legal Clinics:
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Balsam and Reuter, Externship Assessment Project: An Empirical Study of Supervisor Evaluations of Extern Work Performance
The paper tells the story of a year’s worth of field supervisor evaluations of student externs to extract insights about the extern experience, especially regarding the variety, complexity, and responsibility levels of their work. Using qualitative data analysis, we distilled the supervisor narratives in a comprehensive, uniform, and disciplined matter. We overlaid those narratives with student demographic data to understand variations along class year, GPA, gender, and race. The evaluations revealed that educational opportunities varied among different field placement settings and practice areas, in expected and some unexpected ways. Our analysis seeks to describe extern performance and learning in a clear-eyed fashion and offer guidance for externship program design and assessment of programmatic and institutional learning outcomes.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Reimagining Clinical Legal Education
Edited by Linden Thomas, Steven Vaughan, Bharat Malkani and Theresa Lynch
Clinical Legal Education (CLE) can be defined in broad terms as the study of law through real, or simulated, casework. It enables students to experience the law in action and to reflect on those experiences. CLE offers an alternative learning experience to the traditional lecture/seminar method and allows participants to take the study of law beyond the lecture theatre and library. CLE has been a part of English law schools for several decades and is becoming an increasingly popular component of a number of programmes. It is also well established in North America, Australia and many other countries around the globe. In some law schools, CLE is credit-bearing; in others, it is an extracurricular activity. Some CLE schemes focus on social-welfare law, whilst others are commercially orientated. A number are run in conjunction with third-sector organisations and many are supported by private practice law firms. This edited collection brings together academics, lawyers, third-sector organisations and students to discuss the present experience and potential of CLE. As such, it will be of interest to a wide and diverse audience, both within and outside the UK.
Linden Thomas, Steven Vaughan and Theresa Lynch are all researchers at the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) at the Law School, University of Birmingham.
Bharat Malkani is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University.