Thursday, August 28, 2014
“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
My father was hiking in Mammoth Lakes with his wife, their 5-year-old daughter, and one of his cross-country runners last month when he unexpectedly had a heart attack and died. He was 75 years old and still went to work six days a week, eleven months a year. He had just arrived for a high altitude training camp for his runners. It was his favorite week of the year in a job he loved.
The only thing he loved more than coaching was his family. Thus, at the age of twenty, when he had his first of seven children, he began a lifetime tradition of packing up our entire family (and often a couple of neighborhood friends), driving us to the 405, and asking, “North or South, East or West?” We never knew at the beginning of these month-long vacations whether we would wind up in the Canadian Rockies, a Kansas farm belonging to a third cousin, or the White House. These summer journeys became our sacred time--a time to rejuvenate, reflect, and cocoon as a family, away from work and school.
When I learned of my father’s death, I was in the midst of one of these sojourns with my older sister and our two families. We had just arrived in Ireland for a work-free week of family vacation. Somehow I had managed to complicate my first two weeks away from campus with two law conferences, a grant application, the presentation of two papers, and several professional meetings with potential collaborators. Needless to say, I am no John Binford.
Returning to campus three days after my father’s burial, I immediately threw myself headlong into work—focusing on meeting the end of summer writing deadlines, and preparing to survive the late August tsunami of students and clients and committees. I became friends with midnight and a stranger to my children.
Transitioning from work to sleep one early morning, I read the following article in Times Higher Education (“THE”) on the link between relaxation and work, which reminded me that working longer hours can often compromise productivity, not increase it. It brought to mind a New York Times essay I read last year that cited similar research. Somehow between infancy and high school, I became caught up in America's "Busy Trap," and here in mid-life, I have still not learned to break free. Was this busy-ness compromising my productivity as a professor? Did it make me a poor role model for my students? Was I missing out on motherhood because I mistakenly thought that working 14 hours a day would make me more successful or helpful to those in need or a better provider or whatever it is that is driving me?
What would happen if we stepped back and experimented with some new approaches to productivity, such as those suggested in this Forbes article? What if we set aside three hours a day, away from our students and family and clients and colleagues just to write, and broke those hours into 90-minute blocks? What if we made it a priority to sleep at least eight hours a night? Should we turn off email for hours at a time as suggested in this New York Times op-ed? What if we silenced all notifications when we wanted to think or needed to meet with people? Could we stop sleeping with our iPhones next to us? Better yet, what if we declared our time away from work a digital-free zone? Would that make us smarter, more present, productive, efficient, relaxed? Is it possible to be at peace with not at least trying to answer every email every day? Would it possibly make us more professional to manage our time and communications more proactively, rather than go through life with an “Always Open” neon sign across our chests? Maybe my dad was right about the sanctity of summer vacations. Should we, could we stop trying to work on vacation? According to NPR, adults need recess, too. What about dancing and singing and loving? Will these make us better teachers, scholars, attorneys, people? Maybe we should find out.
Care to dance with me this semester?
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The AALS Request for Proposals for Concurrent Sessions, Workshops, Poster Presentations and Session Moderators for the 2015 Conference on Clinical Legal Education, via its email to members of Aug. 25, 2014:
From Dr. Saru M. Matambanadzo of Tulane University School of Law, please see this Call for Participation in the Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop. The FDW is a yearly effort to support junior faculty and aspiring faculty whose work is committed to critical and progressive perspectives.
Call for Participation
Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT
Junior Faculty Development Workshop
October 9, 2014
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) are pleased to invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), immediately preceding the SALT Teaching Conference. This annual workshop is designed for critical, progressive, and social justice oriented pre-tenure professors, including clinicians and legal writing professors, as well as those who may be contemplating a teaching career. However, we also encourage more senior members of the profession to attend, share their experience, and serve as resources and mentors.
The FDW is designed to familiarize critical, progressive, and social justice oriented junior faculty with LatCrit and SALT principles and values and support them in the scholarship, teaching, and service aspects of professional success. In addition, the FDW seeks to foster scholarship in progressive, social justice, and critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory, among new and junior faculty, students, and practitioners. Finally, the FDW aims to cultivate a community of scholars interested in the continuation of this and similar projects over the years.
To facilitate community building through shared experiences and the exchange of ideas, we strongly encourage all participants to attend the entire workshop.
If you have questions about the workshop or would like to attend, please email SALTLatCritFDW@gmail.com. Although we will make efforts to accommodate all interested participants, RSVPs are strongly suggested by September 30, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
From Prof. Margaret Johnson of the University of Baltimore School of Law, please see this Call for Papers for the Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference:
CALL FOR PAPERS: "APPLIED FEMINISM AND WORK"
The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference. This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism and Work.” The conference will be held on March 5 and 6, 2015. For more information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.
As the nation emerges from the recession, work and economic security are front and center in our national policy debates. Women earn less than men, and the new economic landscape impacts men and women differently. At the same time, women are questioning whether to Lean In or Lean Out, and what it means to “have it all.” The conference will build on these discussions. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change. The conference seeks papers that discuss this year’s theme through the lens of an intersectional approach to feminist legal theory, addressing not only the premise of seeking justice for all people on behalf of their gender but also the interlinked systems of oppression based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, immigration status, disability, and geographical and historical context.
Papers might explore the following questions: What impact has feminist legal theory had on the workplace? How does work impact gender and vice versa? How might feminist legal theory respond to issues such as stalled immigration reform, economic inequality, pregnancy accommodation, the low-wage workforce, women’s access to economic opportunities, family-friendly work environments, paid sick and family leave, decline in unionization, and low minimum wage rates? What sort of support should society and law provide to ensure equal employment opportunities that provide for security for all? How do law and feminist legal theory conceptualize the role of the state and the private sector in relation to work? Are there rights to employment and what are their foundations? How will the recent Supreme Court Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn decisions impact economic opportunities for women? How will the new EEOC guidance on pregnancy accommodation and the Young v. UPS upcoming Supreme Court decision affect rights of female workers?
The conference will provide an opportunity for participants and audience members to exchange ideas about the current state of feminist legal theories. We hope to deepen our understandings of how feminist legal theory relates to work and to move new insights into practice. In addition, the conference is designed to provide presenters with the opportunity to gain feedback on their papers.
The conference will begin the afternoon of Thursday, March 5, 2015, with a workshop. This workshop will continue the annual tradition of involving all attendees as participants in an interactive discussion and reflection. On Friday, March 6, 2015, the conference will continue with a day of presentations regarding current scholarship and/or legal work that explores the application of feminist legal theory to issues involving health. The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Amy Klobuchar, and NOW President Terry O’Neill.
To submit a paper proposal, please submit an abstract by Friday, 5 p.m. on October 31, 2014, to email@example.com. It is essential that your abstract contain your full contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address where you can be reached. In the “Re” line, please state: CAF Conference 2015. Abstracts should be no longer than one page. We will notify presenters of selected papers in mid-November. We anticipate being able to have twelve paper presenters during the conference on Friday, March 6, 2015. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review. Thus, please indicate at the bottom of your abstract whether you are submitting (1) solely to present or (2) to present and publish in the symposium volume. Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication. Regardless of whether or not you are publishing in the symposium volume, all working drafts of symposium-length or article-length papers will be due no later than February 13, 2015. Abstracts will be posted on the Center on Applied Feminism’s conference website to be shared with other participants and attendees. Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate, as well as meals.
We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Margaret Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Ciaran White, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the Ulster Law Clinic at the University of Ulster, has asked me to share this opportunity with the clinical community. The University of Ulster is hiring a permanent Lecturer in Law to be associated with the Ulster Law Clinic at the Jordanstown campus, seven miles north of Belfast (at the base of the South Antrim Hills). Details can be found here.
If you have not been to Belfast recently, it is undergoing dynamic transformation as a result of the reconciliation efforts being made by many. It is now the safest city in the United Kingdom, and has a rich and vibrant culture with strong Irish, Scottish, and English influences. The complex political and economic history in the region makes the award-winning Ulster Law Clinic ideally situated for those committed to access to justice, especially in peaceful post-conflict settings. There continue to be socio-economic disadvantages faced by large segments of the population, and there is a concerted effort to create a more just and integrated society.
In addition to the engaging setting of this opportunity, the opportunity to collaborate with someone like Ciaran White is exceptional. I recently had the opportunity to visit with him and his family in Belfast and he is a perfect blend of intelligence, wit, humility, and humor. His dedication to social justice is inspiring, and greatly needed in the Belfast community as it continues to move toward greater reconciliation and healing. If you are in the position to consider an opportunity like this, I strongly encourage you to apply.
Ciaran can be contacted at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Monday, August 18, 2014
In recent days, several stories have highlighted dating violence and intimate partner violence in college. Here is NPR from today, and here is an important piece in HuffPost on the intersections of campus culture, dating violence and sexual assault. Here the Washington Post reports on Coach Nick Saban inviting speakers to address the Alabama football team on domestic violence and human dignity.
Registration is now open for Pepperdine’s conference on DV/IPV on college campuses, October 10 - 11, 2014, at the School of Law in Malibu, California:
Joining me on the organizing committee are Prof. Tanya Cooper of Alabama, Dr. Alesha Durfee of Arizona State, Prof. Margaret Drew of UMass, Prof. Leigh Goodmark of Maryland, and my colleagues, Profs. Carol Chase, Maureen Weston, Janet Kerr and Tony Miller of Pepperdine.
So far, multidisciplinary panels include professors, lawyers and activists from Alabama, North Carolina, UC-Davis and the UC system, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine and other schools. These panels will discuss critical topics including Title IX and Clery Act compliance and strategic interventions, intersectional critiques of institutional responses to DV/IPV, and comprehensive strategies to address campus culture through Greek life, student health, and model bystander programs.
Please join us to discuss and illuminate this epidemic crisis in higher education. Please share this information with leadership, administration, counsel, staff and faculty at your schools so that we may advance justice, peace and well-being among our students.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
This week, besieged by news of injustice, violence, oppression, war, disease and death at home and around the globe, I have felt insulated in privilege and virtually helpless to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. I have cast about for ideas and action to take beyond shouting into the social media storms, and I remember this powerful weapon against injustice:
This is the new classroom for clinics at Pepperdine. We just moved into new quarters at the School of Law, and this room will serve our clinic seminars, case rounds and externship workshops. Presently, it is plain and simple, with temporary furniture and awaiting all of the technology of modern classrooms. Even without projectors, computers, wired tables and ergonomic chairs, it is sacred space.
Classrooms are our sanctuaries, and into that space we enter with students who are becoming lawyers, operatives and guardians of the Rule of Law. They will be the public citizens responsible for ensuring the fate of the Republic. Whether they are prosecutors or defenders, impact litigators or corporate counsel, in Congress or in a basement, they will enter communities with power and skills to shape society. In our classrooms, we do not indoctrinate, but we work with students to shape who they will be, to guide how they will use their gilded brains and technical prowess. This is holy ground.
This is why I insist that students call me Professor. The title marks the relationship, the obligations and purpose of our undertaking. Like we name judges, clergy and representatives, so we mark the office of teacher. We remind ourselves and our students of the important work of preparing for work in the world. They will take lives, families, liberty, fortunes and justice into their hands, so we do not take their training casually. This is justice work.
This week we had a brilliant full-moon. My nine-year old daughter and I went out to look at it rising over the mountains around our house. She said that she had never been able to understand the Man in the Moon. She couldn’t envision it, couldn’t make her mind see the shapes in an image that everyone else could see. I explained that the image was really shadows on the craters of the moon and described it as an abstract picture of a face that covered the whole circle of the moon, with wide eyes, a squiggly nose, an open mouth. She said, “Oh, I see it! Like it’s saying, ‘Oh!’” She saw it, and she will see it forever. She will forget that she could ever look at a full moon without seeing it.
This is our best teaching. We explain and demonstrate the concrete facts, the reality, but we infuse the cold, hard edges with ancient wisdom and the vision to see what might be. We inspire imagination as we impart knowledge. We interpret a vision that will forever shape the hearts and minds of students, and we must be careful. We must show them the world as it is but lead them to imagine what can be.
Our students go forth into the world to amplify our lessons to everyone in their worlds and to future generations. In dark days, when doing my job seems ridiculously inadequate to the task, I take hope from the realist wisdom of Reinhold Niebuhr:
The fight for justice in society will always be a fight. But wherever the spirit of justice grows imaginative and is transmuted into love, a love in which the interests of the other are espoused, the struggle is transcended by just that much.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Prof. Stacy Caplow is the Associate Dean for Professional Legal Education & Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. Brooklyn recently announced the addition of several new clinical faculty to support new and expanding programs.
1. Recently you shared an announcement of several new hires on the Brooklyn clinical faculty. Who are the professors joining you, and what will they be teaching?
Brooklyn Law School was able to hire four new clinicians this year. The first, Jodi Balsam, is filling a newly created position of Director of Civil Externships. Jodi most recently taught in the Lawyering Program at NYLS and before that in the Lawyering Program at NYU. She worked for a major NYC law firm, the NFL and clerked in the federal court in both the SDNY and Second Circuit. We have one of the most extensive externship programs in the country (not difficult in NYC) in which students work in judges’ chambers, law offices (both private and public interest) government agencies, and corporations. More than 200 students each semester participate in externships (and that’s on top of the approximately 100 in our in-house clinics and another 50 in our hybrid clinics). Jodi will bring experience as a both a teacher and practitioner to help us harness this program by creating better designed reflective components, working more closely with adjunct faculty, and reviewing all of the placements. It’s a huge job but she’s already hard at work.
Two clinical faculty members were recruited through our Center for Urban and Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE) a new center at Brooklyn Law School that stresses introducing students to the skills and values of being business lawyers, particularly to new enterprises. We already have three popular and established transactional clinics —Community Development, Corporate Real Estate (affordable housing) and BLIP (Brooklyn Law Innovation & Policy-tech working with start ups and policy). Expanding our clinics to enroll more students and to handle more and different types of projects has been a key goal of CUBE. Our two new clinical faculty will work in these three clinics. Ted DeBarbieri, an alum of the Community Development Clinic, has worked for years at the Urban Justice Center particularly in organizing worker’s coops. Ted is a true ‘economic justice’ lawyer who most recently co-taught in a clinic at NYU. The other new clinician, Marjorie White, stands in contrast to Ted. She has spent her entire career in the private sector, both law firms and corporations, in a sophisticate global transactional practice. Marjorie will work primarily in the BLIP clinic bringing her expertise in corporate law to Brooklyn Law School students.
Natalie Chin is the director of our newest offering, Advocates for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Clinic. This program was funded with a four-year grant to serve a very underrepresented group within the community of the disabled. Natalie was most recently a Clinical Fellow at Cardozo where she co-taught in their Guardianship Clinic. The AIIDD Clinic will assist individuals transitioning into adult services in employment and housing, and will also work to help draft and create instruments to assure the care and security of individuals as their own long-term caregivers age. Natalie will spend this semester planning the program and we’ll enroll its first students in January.
2. That is significant growth for a program in one year. How did you, the deans and faculty at Brooklyn plan and prepare for the addition of these clinics and teachers?
It certainly is… and it’s more growth than we’ve experienced in a long time. There are at least two explanations for this burst of activity. First, we have a new Dean who is very supportive of our clinics and externships. He truly understands that we need to provide the best designed, most thoughtful and most diverse opportunities to our students. He cares about quality not just quantity. Second, we have been really lucky in our fundraising. It should come as no surprise that donors respect and are excited by the kind of education that takes place in clinics. But this is really the first time in the law school’s history that we have raised so much private funding (the late lamented DOE and LSC money did wonders but that’s long gone) that does not merely allow us to expand temporarily but to do some serious long term building. Third, it’s no accident that this is happening at a time that law schools are undergoing seismic changes. Our school has distinguished itself for a long time by having a large, diverse and exciting clinical program. The message about learning from practice as a way of preparing for a career is resonating even more loudly these days. Applicants to the school see these opportunities, and employers value our students’ clinical experiences. Why wouldn’t a school support one of its most enduring and valuable pillars!? In fact, our faculty voted a practical skills course requirement this year too. It was easy to persuade them to do this since all but 17 students in last year’s graduating class had taken at least one semester of a clinic or externship
3. What are your strategies and visions for the program in coming years after such a big year of expansion?
Obviously we are not likely to experience such dramatic growth often. We will be looking for one more new clinician once Natalie starts in September since our grant also funds a fellow/staff attorney position. So that will make 5! But one of our senior, tenured clinicians is retiring at the end of next year so my immediate goal is to engage our faculty in thinking about what kind of clinical program should be our next step, and to start a tenure-track hiring process. Ask me next summer if I managed to persuade my faculty that this would be an important next step. We are also hiring a new Director of Legal Writing so I am hoping to collaborate with my new colleague to bring more writing and skills classes to the upperclass elective curriculum. Over the past decade, most of our expansion took place in hybrid programs. With all of these new programs and the expansion of existing programs, we should be reorienting ourselves to expanding or at least holding fast to our in-house offerings and making sure we have a strong faculty infrastructure for all of our programs
4. How has the expansion of your programs affected your work as program director and your own teaching and clinical practice?
Funny you should ask! I had a sabbatical last semester but worked harder than ever recruiting all of these new hires and pushing through other projects. After about a year of effort, I am launching a new program this fall that I’ll be teaching. It’s called the Public Interest/Public Service Fellowship Program. It’s modeled after and owes a big debt to the Lawyers for America Program at Hastings. Nine students will be doing year-long, full-time externships at six different law offices (6 public interest, 3 government placements) and taking a 4-credit seminar with me that also satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement. After they take the bar exam, they will return to their placements as paid Fellows for one year. In most cases, their salaries are comparable to entry-level hires at these offices. While there is no guarantee that they will find permanent employment at the host office, at the end of two years they will have had a lot of valuable experience and will be admitted to the bar (hopefully). And by the way, I’m still supervising students in the Safe Harbor Immigration Project and teaching immigration law. My academic dean gave me a break this fall and allowed me to not teach Criminal Law for the first time in more than twenty years.
5. In California, the state bar is ready to enact rules to require 50 hours of pro bono and 15 units of professional skills classes as a requirement for admission to the bar. New York already has such rules; how have New York’s bar rules affected your work in clinics and externships?
Not really since the 50 hour requirement includes all clinics and externships in the public sector, even judicial, so our students have no trouble meeting the requirement. As I mentioned above, we passed a skills course requirement (excluding simulations) with no controversy. We’ve found that more than 60-70% of our students take two semesters in either a clinic or externship. 100% of the class take a skills course, including simulations.
Yesterday, the ABA House of Delegates voted to approve a number of law school reforms, including one that would require students to “take a minimum of six hours in a legal clinic or other ‘experiential’ environment,” the National Law Journal reports. Kudos to Kate Kruse and Claudia Angelos, who have led this charge for positive change on behalf of the Clinical Legal Education Association or CLEA, whose mission is “to advocate for clinical legal education.” In their most recent update for the spring 2014 CLEA newsletter (p. 3-4), they recount the history behind “the most sweeping changes to the ABA Standards to come in the area of law school curriculum” and CLEA’s petition to the ABA that, compared to numerous other professions to require practical training, “the law lagged far behind.” Of course, as Bob Kuehn writes in the fall 2013 CLEA newsletter (p. 6), several “states are stepping into the breach to address the lack of adequate practice-based training in law school” by requiring new candidates for admission to their bar to have prior experiential education. Even though, as Kruse and Angelos note, “implementation of the 6-credit experiential education requirement will go into effect three years after enactment,” this is a great day for experiential law; congrats to all.
This has been a Happy year for artist Pharrell Williams, and also for clinical law school teachers. Lawyer happiness (well-being and career contentment) was a central theme at this year’s AALS Clinical Conference, Becoming a Better Clinician, where several clinicians presented empirical research (see Nancy Levit, et al.’s bibliography on p. 89-90). Turns out that factors like professional autonomy in a supportive environment, a genuine sense of serving a benevolent purpose, and alignment of work/personal values really matter when assessing job satisfaction, as Larry Krieger and Ken Sheldon’s 6200-subject study on what makes lawyers happy found. In a summary for the spring 2014 CLEA newsletter (p. 27-8), Krieger puts his study’s “striking” findings in context for clinicians: “they showed that the hierarchical, competitive, and materialistic priorities common to many law schools and law firms can undermine lawyer happiness and satisfaction. . . . For example, when comparing subjects by practice grouping, the group with the highest mean pay and class ranks, lawyers in ‘prestige’ jobs, were less happy, and felt less competent in practice, than the group with the lowest mean grades and pay, lawyers in public service positions. Thus, both ‘success’ and ‘competence’ as traditionally measured in law school do not appear to translate to real lawyers in actual work settings.”
In the real world, too many lawyers are unhappy, as Leigh McMullan Abramson wrote in last month’s The Atlantic. Abramson left the law, disenchanted with her large-firm experience, and was surprised to learn there is an industry devoted to helping people leave the profession. “Law-firm associate consistently ranks at the top of unhappy-professions lists and despite starting salaries of $160,000, law firms experience significant yearly associate attrition.” (hyperlinks in original). “The problem,” Abramson notes, “can begin with the choice to go to law school, which is often made for reasons having nothing to do with the actual practice of law and without diligence about whether the profession is really a fit.”
Finding your fit in the profession is precisely how some law schools help students address this lawyer-burnout problem. At the University of Alabama School of Law, for example, Pamela Pierson has created The Business of Being a Lawyer, a mandatory ethics course that explores topics like the ever-changing legal market and employment trends, basic personal finance planning, emotional intelligence (see also Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman’s Authentic Happiness questionnaires), and how to effectively become a “free agent” given that “the average attorney will change jobs seven times in a career,” and “attorneys need marketing skills to position themselves for multiple employment situations and transitions throughout their careers.”
Another reason for lawyers’ blues, Abramson highlights, is the “disconnect between the training students receive and the skills required in practice.” Too many new grads feel ill-equipped for practice. Enter experiential learning. If only it was ubiquitous and mandatory. That should change since the ABA voted yesterday that new “standards for law schools would require students to take a minimum of six hours in a clinic or other ‘experiential’ environment,” the National Law Journal reports. The data does not however suggest, Krieger explains, that either clinical or externship experience in law school contributes to lawyer wellbeing; instead, “the most important factors relating to well-being are also factors that would tend to develop more in experiential programs – autonomy, competence, relatedness to others, interest in/passion for one’s work, and valuing altruistic service.”
Speaking of legal education reform, Montré Carodine suggests in her article for Ozy that law profs get back to practice: the “key to innovation in law schools is having policy makers immersed in the real world for substantial periods of time.” As a clinician, I relish that daily privilege. Practicing with students keeps me informed about how the law is interpreted and justice meted out in everyday scenarios that usually involve the poor, unpopular, and often disenfranchised segment of local society. In those opportunities, I learn what is and how to teach best practices, and it is satisfying. Clients and students alike report similarly positive outcomes, and how they felt treated and able to participate in the process. We are, according to Jane Aiken, Provocateurs for Justice. On occasion, a monumental case with issues of law and fact of first impression will arise, and we can contribute to its common lawmaking. We especially get to interact with those people affected and that makes a big difference in our experience and ability to convey their plight, and the responsibilities and rewards abound. And I for one am happy to clap along.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Prof. Kathryn M. Stanchi of Temple University Beasley School of Law and her co-editors share this call for applications for contributors, authors and editors for The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project:
The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of revised opinions and commentary for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. This edited volume is a collaborative project among feminist law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key Supreme Court decisions relevant to gender issues. Editors Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger and Bridget Crawford seek prospective authors for 20 to 25 rewritten Supreme Court opinions covering a range of topics including reproductive rights, equal protection, the state’s use of criminal power, privacy, the family, women’s political participation, Title IX, employment discrimination and substantive due process. The editors also seek authors for commentaries of 1,500 to 2,500 words to put into context each of the rewritten cases.
The U.S. Feminist Judgments project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments:From Theory to Practice, edited by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 and has been very well received. Like the sister project in Britain, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project endeavors to pioneer “a new form of critical socio-legal scholarship” that illustrates how cases could have been decided differently had a feminist method been employed. We believe that U.S. Supreme Court law is ripe for this kind of scholarly treatment.
Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten opinions should fill out an application here.
Applications are due by September 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by October 7, 2014. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on February 1, 2015. First drafts of comments on the rewritten opinions will be due on March 15, 2015. The editors are in the process of identifying a publisher; publication of the final volume is anticipated for late 2015.
A list of cases tentatively scheduled for rewriting is available here.
Applicants may indicate their preferences among the list of cases. Applicants also may suggest other cases for rewriting. The tentative cases were chosen with the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Bartlett,Devon Carbado, Mary Anne Case, Erwin Chemerinsky, April Cherry, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Martha Fineman, Margaret Johnson, Sonia Katyal, Nancy Leong, Catharine MacKinnon, Rachel Moran, Melissa Murray, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Nancy Polikoff, Dorothy Roberts, Dan Rodriguez, Susan Ross, Vicki Schultz, Dean Spade, Robin West, and Verna Williams.
Friday, August 8, 2014
My friend, Ken Dunham, begins his last semester teaching this week. He is retiring after a long, fruitful career first as an accountant, then a lawyer for decades, then reborn as a mediator and clinical law professor. I met Ken at Faulkner University Jones School of Law where I started teaching as the school’s first dedicated clinical director.
The truth is that Ken had been the clinical director there before there was a clinical program to direct. He started the first clinic there, JSL’s Mediation Clinic, even as he founded the school’s center on alternative dispute resolution and as he helped design and shape Alabama’s systems for alternative dispute resolution. He researched, designed and launched the school’s externship program, all before the school moved from state-accreditation to full approval by the ABA. Ken wisely navigated complex local politics, using his training and experience as a mediator and negotiator to help guide JSL through great and disruptive transitions.
Ken laid the foundation for the clinical program which I led for a long season as a rookie law professor, and he only ever encouraged and empowered me. We became and are fast friends, and he is a wise, calm and committed colleague with a heart for justice. We coached JSL’s ABA Negotiation Competition and the ABA Representation in Mediation Competition teams, and won a national championship in 2013. In these competitions, we traveled the country together with students, and I discovered Ken’s secret weapon. He knew really good restaurants in every single city we ever visited, and this is knowledge not to be underestimated.
Professor Ken Dunham is a loving, funny teacher, and he has had a formative effect on generations of students at JSL. He has transformed Alabama’s system and culture of alternative dispute resolution. He has been indispensable in the building of a strong and scrappy law school that serves Montgomery and Alabama with excellence. He is a great friend to many and is a wise mentor to young lawyers throughout the South. He is devoted as a husband and father, and he tells great stories without end. He is an excellent, practical lawyer.
Thoreau wrote, “Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” Ken Dunham is moral, and he is good. He lives a full and abundant life, and he has been good for something. He has earned retirement, but he will strive to teach and love students for one more semester. His legacy is secure.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
If you are like me, summers go way too fast. One of the challenges of being a clinician is that your summers are more often than not filled with roll-over cases/students, summer classes, externships, and miscellaneous writing/vacations/activities. Sooner than we know, it is fall semester again, and we are once again faced with new students, new cases, new challenges and an impetus to energize ourselves and our curriculum. As I am not quite ready to face that yet, and others of you might feel similarly, I thought I would post a distraction instead, to get us through the remainder of summer. My summer ends in 11 days, and I plan on making the most of it!
It's around this time of year that I take a few minutes at work to recycle, clean my office, water my neglected plants and look for new office decorations to get me through another academic year. Some of my favorite works are by an artist called Brandon Bird. Brandon gained a decent reputation when he developed a Law and Order Coloring Book several years ago, which if you haven't seen it, is available here and offers up a few chuckles: http://brandonbird.com/lno_color.html. As further incentive, it contains a dot-to-dot of the cop character Lenny Briscoe, which is always useful on a day you need something to procrastinate with.
My most recent work purchase is a print called "A Night Away" (image below from http://brandonbird.com/lno_camping.html). I like it for its subtlety and because students usually do a triple take once they see the print. And because, let's be honest, sometimes we all just need a night away. Even Lenny Briscoe and Jack McCoy.
Here's to all of us having a good rest of our summer and a fresh start to the new academic year. May your offices be free of clutter, files neatly organized, withdrawals all granted and classes all prepped. Best wishes for Academic Year 2014-15!
Monday, August 4, 2014
This week I am extremely proud to see coverage of some amazing immigration work by my friends and colleagues, Penn State's own Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia; and University of Baltimore's Liz Keyes. Wadhia, who directs Penn State Law's Center for Immigrants Rights is the Samuel Weis Faculty Scholar, developed a toolkit for practitioners representing noncitizens in withholding only proceedings. Read more about this important project she involved her clinic students in here:
In related news, a recent Washington Post story profiled Elizabeth Keyes' Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law. The story explains the clinic's work with Baltimore's Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) on cases involving unaccompanied immigrant minors:
With the national spotlight shining on immigration issues, this important work by our colleagues reminds us why instilling the values of lawyering for social justice are critical to our work with law students.
Today, Prof. Terry Adamson joins Pepperdine’s clinical faculty as our new Director of Externships. Prof. Adamson has been a valuable part of the law school’s community for years, as an adjunct, coach and, most recently, as our Distinguished Jurist in Residence. She is a former Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Superior Court where she served for nearly 20 years. She was a prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney after law school at the University of San Diego.
Terry has a teacher’s heart and loves our students. She is an excellent, practical lawyer, and she has cultivated a vital network of friends and colleagues in Southern California. With our Prof. Harry Caldwell, she is the author of CRIMINAL PRETRIAL ADVOCACY.
We are working to expand and improve experiential learning at Pepperdine, with new programs, new space and new faculty. Terry is a vital part of our school and brings new depth and focus to our field placement program. As you have opportunity, please welcome her to the clinical community.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
This summer, Professor Artika Tyner of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, published her book, The Lawyer as Leader: How to Plant People and Grow Justice. Dr. Tyner teaches in the Community Justice Project Legal Clinic at St. Thomas’s Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services.
The social justice challenges of our time are enormous. About one in seven U.S. residents live in poverty and the disparity between the haves and have-nots is wider than at any point since the Great Depression. The poor are largely marginalized from the public policy process and often are unable to assert their legal rights in regard to basic necessities such as nutrition, health, shelter, income, education, and protection from violent physical abuse. More broadly, the poor are perpetually victimized by systems which maintain and uphold discrimination, disparate outcomes, and subordination based upon one’s social identity.
Experienced educator and community advocate, Dr. Artika Tyner shows how you can make a difference in the world. The book is a beacon call for those who wish to join the fight for social and economic justice. Highlights include:
- The three pillars of new social justice lawyering: (1) Origins and theories of social justice lawyering, (2) Principles of servant and transformational leadership, and (3) The lawyer as policy entrepreneur and coalition builder.
- How to build your own leadership platform; how to create communities based on a shared vision of justice; and how to plant seeds to empower future leaders.
The Lawyer as Leader will provide those who are passionate about social justice with the inspiration, ideas, and tools to build and lead coalitions to fight for social and economic justice.
Friday, August 1, 2014
After we launched the blog with a bang at the end of the school year, we slowed down during the summer months. We’re law professors, after all. As we approach the new school year, we are committed to growing this community and contributing good information and ideas for the sake of justice and good teaching.
If you have news to share, please do! We love to amplify stories of clinical programs and teachers, new faculty additions, new programs, expanding initiatives, job postings, student successes, clients, causes and classrooms. Please reach out to any of our contributing editors if you have stories, news and ideas to share.