Monday, February 29, 2016
The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 24, 2016, at NYU Law School. The registration deadline is June 30, 2016.
The Workshop will provide an opportunity for clinical teachers who are writing about any subject (clinical pedagogy, substantive law, interdisciplinary analysis, empirical work, etc.) to meet with other clinicians writing on related topics to discuss their works-in-progress and brainstorm ideas for further development of their articles. Attendees will meet in small groups organized, to the extent possible, by the subject matter in which they are writing. Each group will “workshop” the draft of each member of the group.
Participation in the Workshop requires the submission of a paper because the workshop takes the form of small group sessions in which all members of the group comment on each other’s manuscripts. By June 30, all applicants will need to submit a mini-draft or prospectus, 3-5 pages in length, of the article they intend to present at the workshop. Full drafts of the articles will be due by September 1, 2016.
As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but participants will have to arrange and pay for their own travel and lodging. To assist those who wish to participate but who need assistance for travel and lodging, NYU Law School has created a fund for scholarships to help pay for travel and lodging. The scholarships are designed for those clinical faculty who receive little or no travel support from their law schools and who otherwise would not be able to attend this conference without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will be asked to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus, by June 30, a proposed budget for travel and lodging and a brief statement of why the scholarship would be helpful in supporting their attendance at this conference. The Board will review all scholarship applications and issue decisions about scholarships in early July. The scholarships are conditioned upon recipients’ meeting all requirements for workshop participation, including timely submission of drafts, and will be capped at a maximum of $750 per person.
Information about the Workshop – including the Registration form, scholarship application form, and information for reserving hotel rooms – is available on-line at:
If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to send us, we would be very happy to hear from you. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Randy Hertz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- The Board of Editors of the Clinical Law Review
NYU Law Review Seeking Submissions on Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
NYU Law Review is seeking submissions for its online publication on the Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. You can find the original message posted on the Michigan State Indigenous Law and Policy Center Blog, Turtle Talk, and also linked here.
They are looking for pieces that discuss the case itself, its legal background and importance, and its implications for Indian and non-Indian country alike—particularly Indigenous women’s issues and its insights into women’s issues in general. If your clinical practice intersects women's issues, enterprise issues, or tribal issues I encourage you to research the case. It may infuriate you, but a minimum you will have a better understanding of the legal obstacles Indian tribes face in federal courts, most especially our Supreme Court.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Via Prof. Kathryn M. Stanchi of Temple:
THE U.S. FEMINIST JUDGMENTS PROJECT:
REWRITING THE LAW, WRITING THE FUTURE
Call for Papers and Presentations
Deadline April 15, 2016
We are seeking proposals for papers to be presented during the U. S. Feminist Judgments Project conference October 20-21, 2016 at the Center for Constitutional Law at The University of Akron School of Law in Akron, Ohio. We are also seeking proposals for “snapshot” presentations to be included in the final plenary of the conference. The conference is co-sponsored by The University of Akron School of Law and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – William S. Boyd School of Law.
This conference will celebrate the 2016 publication of U.S. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. That volume brought together more than fifty feminist legal scholars and lawyers to rewrite, using feminist reasoning, significant Supreme Court cases from the 1800s to the present day. (For more information, see the project website here.) Illustrating the value of this method of practical scholarship, the volume demonstrates that different processes and different outcomes would have been possible had decision makers applied feminist theory and methods in critical Supreme Court cases despite the restrictions of stare decisis.
The conference is designed to provide the appropriate setting and the essential participants for a structured conversation that explores and assesses the effects of feminist methods and theories on real-world judicial decision making. We expect the conference will identify common core principles and propose directions for future scholarship.
To this end, we seek proposals for papers that incorporate feminist theory and methods or report on research that furthers feminist thought. The organizers view feminism and feminist theory broadly as covering issues of inequality related to gender and gender norms, but also intersectional dynamics related to race, sexual orientation, immigration status, socioeconomic class, and disability.
Potential topics cover a broad range, including women in the judiciary, women in the legal profession, women and rhetoric, women in politics, empirical studies involving gender or gender norms, feminist theory, reproductive freedom, pregnancy, reproduction, families, sex, sexuality, violence against women, employment, sexual harassment, or affirmative action. We welcome with enthusiasm proposals from faculty in disciplines other than law, and we would especially appreciate proposals from new voices in feminism and feminist theory.
Our hope is to build on the insights of the U.S. Feminist Judgments book and to explore new avenues of inquiry for feminist legal scholarship. We hope to provide a supportive atmosphere to foster scholarship and networking among teachers, scholars, and others who are interested in gender equality and the law.
The conference will include plenary sessions related specifically to the U.S. Feminist Judgments book as well as sessions that will be more general in focus, concurrent sessions drawn from this Call for Papers, and a closing panel also drawn from this Call for Papers. The closing panel will be a brainstorming session to consider future directions for scholarly and practical projects that relate to gender equality, the judiciary, future Feminist Judgments projects, or all of the foregoing.
Concurrent Sessions – Paper Proposals
The concurrent sessions will feature presentations on any topic related to gender equality issues, with preference given to presentations related to the topics of women in the judiciary, women in the legal profession, women and rhetoric, women in politics, empirical studies involving gender or gender norms, feminist theory, reproductive freedom, pregnancy, reproduction, families, sex, sexuality, violence against women, employment, sexual harassment, or affirmative action. We will organize the presentations into panels based on the subject matter of the proposals.
Interested persons should submit a brief written description of the proposed paper (no more than 1000 words) and a resume. Please let us know in the proposal which of the above categories or what other, non-listed category best fits your proposal. Please use the subject line “U.S. Feminist Judgments Project October Conference Paper Proposals” and e-mail these materials to Maria Campos (email@example.com) by April 15, 2016. We will notify selected speakers by June 1, 2016.
Brainstorming Presentations – Snapshot Proposals
The final plenary session of the conference will feature snapshots, or very brief presentations, of ideas for future projects that will advance gender equality in the law. Each selected participant will be limited to five minutes to present her or his idea or project. The presentations will be followed by audience feedback and comments. We welcome proposals for this brainstorming session on any topic related to gender equality.
Interested persons should submit a brief written description of the proposed presentation (no more than 300 words) and a resume. Please use the subject line “U.S. Feminist Judgments Project October Conference Snapshot Proposals” and email these materials to Maria Campos (firstname.lastname@example.org) by April 15, 2016. We will notify selected speakers by June 1, 2016.
Anyone interested in issues of law and gender equality is eligible to submit a proposal, including full-time faculty members, fellows, visitors, and adjuncts who teach in undergraduate or graduate schools; judges; practitioners; government officials; and business, community, and non-profit leaders. The conference is free and open to the public.
There is no publication commitment associated with the conference. Presentation abstracts will be made available on the website of the Center for Constitutional Law at The University of Akron, and by mutual agreement of interested authors and journal editors, remarks may be published in a special symposium issue of ConLawNOW, the online companion journal run by the Center for Constitutional Law.
There is no registration fee for the conference but proposers and panelists must pay all of their own expenses associated with conference attendance. There will be a conference-negotiated rate at a local hotel. The University of Akron is located approximately 15 minutes from the Akron-Canton Airport and approximately 40 miles southeast of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Recently pajamas and their displeasing appearance in public has made the news both here and in England. In England, the displeasure was specifically directed at parents turning up in pajamas at school for drop-offs and pick-ups. In the States, however, pajamas are not part of the accepted dress code for court settings (specifically District Court settings in Columbia County, PA).
That's right people. No pajamas in court. Go figure. Suits required. But what if one has suit pajamas? This dream can be yours via a product affectionately named "Suitsy" - a onesie designed with all of the comfort of pajamas but having the appearance of a casual business suit. Recently when I came home from work, my three year old daughter greeted me at the door with, "Okay Mom, now you can take your work jammies off." I thought to myself, wow, wouldn't it be great to actually have such a thing as "work jammies" - they sound so much more comfortable than regular suit attire. Sadly for me the Suitsy appears to have only a male version of their product - perhaps a hashtag campaign (along the lines of #wheresrey) such as #wheresaladysuitsy or #giveagirlasuitsy might generate enough attention that one can exist in the future. The major question then would be whether I would actually have the nerve to wear it professionally to court. Jury's out on that one folks.
For a full review of the Suitsy in all of its glory, check out a review on Business Insider from May 2015: http://www.businessinsider.com/greg-ferenstein-suitsy-review-2015-5
Thursday, February 18, 2016
You are not even in the ground yet and they come. They come with their disdain, their praise, their vitriol and idolatry, their mocking and memorializing.
You oh great proponent of originalism, the idea that our Constitution is frozen in time and hallowed, to be viewed not as a living, breathing document, but one that is dead, cemented with principles of the past, exactly as it was written.
And while I can understand the allure of such adherence, a clutching onto the solace that comes with certainty in this otherwise uncertain world, I could never concur. For you see at the time “We the People” was constructed, I was excluded from the very definition of the “people.” My blackness and my womanhood denied me the ability to be fully vested in those assigned rights.
And so I do not accept the idea of a dead document. See, we live in a world never envisioned or imagined. Those men who developed those past notions, revolutionary though they may have been in their moment, cannot continue to govern me from their graves, nor can you from yours.
I will never allow them or you to grip me from that bygone era, but that way of being does not mean that I am not sad over your passing. I am perplexed by the strange circumstances that now surround you; this peculiar war that is waging on around you before you are even buried and fully mourned. While I have never seen eye to eye with you, I have always seen you as my colleague, my equal, my foe to be sure, but a worthy opponent.
You were the dark to my light, the down to my up, the out to my in and through your hard and fixed gaze on originalism, I learned to set my sights on the flexibility that seems necessary to adjust to our constantly evolving realities. And through your strict adherence to the models of the old, I learned to flow into the stretch, the growth and even the pains that come with embracing the new. And so I see no reason for hatred here, just gratitude for the formation that only comes after being forged in the fires of deep dissent.
Until we meet again, dear Antonin. Until we meet again.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
West Academic has announced the publication of Learning from Practice: A Text for Experiential Legal Education, 3d ed. The editors are Leah Wortham of Catholic, Alexander Scherr of Georgia, Nancy Maurer or Albany, and Susan L. Brooks of Drexel.
From the publisher’s description:
The third edition of Learning From Practice covers topics relevant to law students working in real practice settings, including externships, in-house clinics, and other experiential courses. Intended for use in course seminars and tutorials, each chapter helps students succeed in their work, reflect on their development, and plan for their lives as lawyers. The book starts with topics common to all real world experience: planning to meet goals, working under supervision, observing carefully, communicating effectively, understanding bias and cultural difference, and reflection. The book offers detailed coverage of ethical issues in experiential coursework including a new chapter on professionalism. A group of chapters address key lawyering abilities such as good judgment, client relationships, collaboration, writing for practice, and making presentations. This edition expands coverage of important practice areas including judicial, criminal justice, public interest, public service, and transactional practices. The closing chapters turn to the future and focus on developing professional identity, maintaining well-being, finding a job and career, and the future of the profession. Throughout, the book encourages students toward self-direction, reflection, dialogue and collaboration, critical assessment of law practice, and well-being and career satisfaction.
In true collaborative, clinical style, there are thirty-four authors, including three contributors to this blog, Inga Laurent, Alex Scherr, and me. The first edition of this book was very important and useful to me when I was a rookie teacher, and it’s an honor to contribute to this latest, innovative edition.
Monday, February 15, 2016
"When I began as Director of the University of Chicago Law School in 1970, I held the position of Assistant Professor of Law but the other six (6) clinical teachers were called staff attorneys and not considered faculty for any purpose.”
I understand now that the late Gary Palm uttered those words in 2014 on my behalf (and so many others) before a hearing at the American Bar Association. In 1970, I wasn't even out of elementary school but Mr. Palm was laying the path for myself and many others to have opportunity as clinicians, critical players in legal education today.
The quote is part of his testimony before the ABA to save the status of Clinical Law Professors at the nation's law schools. I never met Mr. Palm but obviously, I am eternally grateful. Reading various clinicians write about him this week upon the announcement of his death, I am moved. It is refreshing to know people (colleagues) are putting in work on your behalf and created a chance for you. I stand on the shoulders of many people. Add Mr. Palm to my personal list.
Mr. Palm, also stated the following in his testimony that day:
Because of the uncertainty of funding in the 1970’s and 1980’s, those of us who negotiated 405(e) wanted flexibility but with the assurance that a core of clinical teachers would hold positions reasonably similar to tenure.
How important is the phrase "assurance that a core of clinical teachers would hold positions reasonably similar to tenure?"
Essential. Monumental for many of us.
My first clinical job had a financial guarantee of two years. I was already out looking in my second year for work. I stayed on that job for 5 years. I was able to learn the trade in those 5 years and meet individuals. I went through the meat market and got interviewed repeatedly, again learning how the system worked and most of all, I got to know intimately clinical work. Year to year promises were not the ticket. It wasn’t the law school’s fault necessarily but I had an idea of options that I had never known before.
So, now I am on a long term contract, a presumptively rolling contract that provides security and stability under the current rules. Is it perfect? No. Bt it is progress. I am now in my sixth year of my current teaching post and still learning, still savoring the stability, still enjoying the day to day with the lawyers of tomorrow.
Yet, while security and stability is great, I know the ultimate goal should be one faculty with equal rights. I have always felt this way. In the new law school era, it would be wise to give everyone equal skin in the game but at times, the pattern seems to be delay, delay, or divide, divide.
What I do know is I would never have taken the job I have now without a long term contract or stability. I would have done something but continue on the path of one year contracts? I don’t need anxiety on that level and I would not do that to my family again or insult myself with such an arrangement. As I once heard long time ago in some movie about actors taking negative, stereotypical roles just to have any old role: there is work at the post office.
So, in that respect, here is another quote from the late Gary Palm, a legend who I somehow missed when I attended various events at the AALS Clinical Conference and who I know is the best of what clinical legal education has become in the modern era:
"[T]he general sentiment is that 405(c) should provide greater protections with more long-term contracts, no “at will” contracts and greater participation in all aspects of faculty governance, including especially hiring and promotions of all faculty.
I could not agree more. We will see if Mr. Palm’s call will be realized and much more.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Come join us in Berkeley on February 27th for the Northern California Clinical Conference. Check out the Draft Agenda (still subject to change) and register at the following website: https://berkeleylaw.wufoo.com/forms/2016-northern-california-clinical-conference/
Yesterday, I made a spectacle of myself, and I am trying to decide if I need to teach my students to do the same. I didn’t set out to do it, but I was just so down. I always am this time of year, but this year seems worse. It’s been in the 20’s and 30’s the last few days, after a snowstorm blanketed the area a few weeks ago. I come to work in the dark or at daybreak and leaving in the dark. It feels like there is no life. It was time for some self-care.
My students are experiencing the same blah feelings now, too. It is not uncommon in the legal and academic world for people to feel low this time of year. The holidays are done, and there is little else exciting on the horizon until graduation day for some and Memorial Day for others. Students and teachers are in a rut, repeating for the next several months the patterns into which they have fallen this year—1L’s know how to take exam courses, upperclassmen feel they know the drill for most of what they do and must just keep doing it, and teachers don’t see the final end in sight. Relief seems relatively far away. In the medical world, my wife’s department chair when she was a resident would call this time the “nadir of house staff morale” and hold some type of party or event. Our law school notices this too and promotes things like 100 days to graduation celebrations at this time of year. I need to respect this in my students and recognize their needs, too.
So how did I make a spectacle of myself? It began on the train, where I sat down and took out my knitting. You may not think of knitting as much of a spectacle, but it turns out to be. Try it. It always draws attention and gets stares. Maybe it is because I am male and not that many men knit. Maybe it is because I am being so 1910’s instead of 2010’s to knit instead of burying myself in my cell phone. Or maybe it was the pinkish socks I was making for my wife. But yesterday, I did not care. And really that was not really making a too much of a scene.
However, it didn’t stop there. I still needed an escape and I had no time
—noon came, I had appointments to see clients at an intake site in town two and a half miles away and I had two dingy subway rides staring at me. I couldn’t stand it.
So even though I was wearing a shirt and tie and had on a long wool coat, I grabbed a bike helmet I keep in the office for more seasonal days. I left the Temple Legal Aid Office, walked to the bike share rack, checked out a bike, and rode to see clients. My coat blew around, which I had to keep open even in the cold to be able to pedal, and my tie flew from side to side. I pedaled along through campus, through low to medium income residential communities in North Philadelphia, and then through Center City streets. My helmet wouldn’t stay on right, as the headband I put around my ears to keep warm (with a Temple “T” on it!) kept it from fitting right, the headband itself continually sliding down near my eyes, making it tough to see. A few stared, and some may not have noticed because they were too down themselves to see the crazy professor on the bike. But it was great! I had to get out—too much winter weather for too long, and too much February academic blahs. For a few minutes, I was free and happy.
As a clinical teacher, I help my students reflect with how things in their lives are impacting on their practice, and this is one of those things that is. It is something that will continue to impact them when they graduate, as practice also has a seasonal flow, and this can be a challenging time for all. We talk in class about understanding who and where we are while we are with clients so we can work most effectively with them. This is one of those things I am going to raise with my students this year—recognizing the February doldrums and doing something to relieve those feelings for ourselves, our colleagues’, and our clients’ benefits.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Corrected Feb. 25, 2016 - JRB
Call for Contributions - Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions
Bridget J. Crawford
Anthony C. Infanti
The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentary on those opinions for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions. This edited volume, to be published by Cambridge University Press, is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions. The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, will be published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press. (That book’s Introduction and Table of Contents are available here.) Subsequent volumes in the series will focus on different courts or different subject matters. This call is for contributions to a volume of tax decisions rewritten from a feminist perspective.
Tax volume editors Bridget Crawford and Anthony Infanti seek prospective authors for 8 to 10 rewritten tax-related opinions covering a range of topics. Authors are welcome to suggest cases of their own choosing or to consult the editors or others for ideas. All tax-related cases are appropriate for rewriting. Possible cases from U.S. courts are listed here, but that is not an exhaustive list. Cases may come from any jurisdiction and any court, including non-U.S. jurisdictions. The volume editors conceive of feminism as a broad movement concerned with justice and equality, and welcome proposals to rewrite cases in a way that bring into focus issues such as gender, race, class, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, and immigration status.
As the core of the Feminist Judgments Project is judicial opinions, proposals must be either to (1) rewrite a case (not administrative guidance, regulations, etc.) or (2) comment on a rewritten case. Rewritten opinions may be re-imagined majority opinions, dissents, or concurrences, as appropriate to the court. Feminist judgment writers will be bound by law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision (with a 10,000 word maximum for the rewritten judgment). Commentators will explain the original court decision, how the feminist judgment differs from the original judgment, and what difference the feminist judgment might have made (4,000 word maximum for the commentary). Commentators and opinions writers who wish to work together are welcome to indicate that in the application.
In suggesting possible cases for rewriting, the volume editors have had the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Alice Abreu (Temple), Patricia Cain (Santa Clara), Joseph Dodge (Florida State), Mary Louise Fellows (Minnesota), Wendy Gerzog (Baltimore), Steve Johnson (Florida State), Marjorie Kornhauser (Tulane), Ajay Mehrotra (American Bar Foundation, Northwestern), Beverly Moran (Vanderbilt), Richard Schmalbeck (Duke), Nancy Shurtz (Oregon), Nancy Staudt (Washington University), and Lawrence Zelenak (Duke).
The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project approaches revised judicial opinion writing as a form of critical socio-legal scholarship. There are several world-wide projects engaged in similar efforts, including the U.K.-based Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (2010); Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law (2014); the Women’s Court of Canada; ongoing projects in Ireland, New Zealand, and a pan-European project; and other U.S.-based projects currently under way.
Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten tax cases should fill out an application here.
Applications are due by February 29, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Editors expect to notify accepted authors and commentators by April 15, 2016. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on August 15, 2016. First drafts of commentary will be due on September 15, 2016.
Monday, February 8, 2016
From Prof. Margaret Barry on the LawClinic and Lextern listservs:
The Awards Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education is now accepting nominations for the Shanara Gilbert Award, which will be given out during the AALS’s Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Baltimore, Maryland, April 30 – May 3, 2016.
Designed to honor an "emerging clinician," the award is for a recent entrant (10 years or fewer) into clinical legal education who has demonstrated some or all of the following qualities:
1) a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system;
2) a passion for providing legal services and access to justice to individuals and groups most in need;
3) service to the cause of clinical legal education or to the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education;
4) an interest in international clinical legal education; and
5) an interest in the beauty of nature (desirable, but not required).
Please nominate a colleague who meets these criteria. Nominations for the Gilbert Award must be received no later than March 15, 2016.
Past recipients include:
2001 Adele Bernhard (Pace University)
2002 Grady Jessup (North Carolina Central University)
2003 Beth Lyon (Villanova University)
2004 Esther Canty-Barnes (Rutgers School of Law — Newark)
2005 Melissa Breger (Albany)
2006 Michael Pinard (University of Maryland)
2007 Pam Metzger (Tulane)
2008 Kris Henning (Georgetown)
2009 Ron Whitener (University of Washington)
2010 Charles Auffant (Rutgers School of Law – Newark)
2011 Nekima Levy-Pounds (University of St. Thomas School of Law)
2012 Kimberly Ambrose (University of Washington)
2013 Sarah Gerwig-Moore (Mercer)
2014 Lisa Radtke Bliss (Georgia State)
2015 JoNel Newman (University of Miami)
NOMINATIONS GUIDELINES: To ensure that the Awards Committee has uniformity in what it is considering in support of each candidate, the Committee requests that nominations adhere to the following guidelines:
1) To nominate someone, send the name of the nominee and a nominating statement setting forth why the Section should honor the individual, specifically referencing the award criteria outlined above where relevant. The Committee strongly encourages nominators to obtain some supporting letters for the candidate, given that its deliberations are assisted immensely by a variety of voices speaking about a particular nominee. Please note that there is a limit on the amount of supporting material that will be considered. Supporting materials for nominations include: nominating statement of no more than five pages in length (required); a copy of the nominee's resume (required); a list of any scholarship, but not copies of the scholarship (required, but do not duplicate this if it is in the nominee's resume); no more than five letters or e-mails in support (no letter or e-mail should be more than four single-spaced pages long, exclusive of signatures, which may be multiple); and no more than five pages of any other materials. The nomination and documentary support must be submitted via e-mail either in Word or pdf files. Any nominators who want to submit supporting materials that they have in hard copy are responsible for converting them into portable document format or scanning them and cleaning and submitting them via pdf files attached to e-mail.
2) Members of the clinical community who have nominated a person previously are encouraged to re-nominate that person for this year’s award, provided that the person is still a recent entrant (10 years or fewer) into clinical legal education. The selection of one nominee over another should not be viewed as a statement against those not selected. The Committee can select only one person and someone not selected one year might be selected the next.
3) The Committee’s deliberations are assisted immensely by a variety of voices speaking about a particular nominee. Nominators are strongly encouraged to seek letters in support of the nominee from colleagues. Such letters may also include letters of support from students whom the candidate has supervised in a clinical setting.
Please send your nominations by e-mail no later than March 15, 2016 to:
Margaret Martin Barry
AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education
Awards Committee Members:
Sameer Ashar (Irvine)
Margaret Martin Barry, Chair (Vermont)
Dionne Gonder (North Carolina Central)
Lisa Martin (Catholic)
Thursday, February 4, 2016
“The checklists provided two main benefits . . . . First, they helped with memory recall, especially with mundane matters that are easily overlooked in patients undergoing more drastic events. . . . A second effect was to make explicit the minimum, expected steps in complex processes.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist, The New Yorker, 12/10/2007
Does compliance with the new ABA standards on experiential education give you the creepy crawlies? Here’s a cheat sheet for conducting a “clinic audit” through the lens of the new standards.
Seizing the ABA Site Visit Opportunity: UST had the pleasure of anticipating a sabbatical ABA accreditation in the fall 2015, and as a law school we seized on the occasion to fast forward our compliance with the new ABA standards for law schools. Our faculty meetings had a bit more zest in the spring of 2015 as we haggled over our new Learning Outcomes (see p. 17 of the link).
The Power of Checklists: Also in anticipation of the ABA site visit, I and our office manager Crixell Shell conducted what came to be called “clinic audits.” We put together guidelines drawn from (1) the new standards; (2) our law school’s response those rules; and (3) questions our malpractice insurer asks us every year anyway. We also referenced the ABA Managing Director’s Guidance Memos, particularly the March 2015 memo on Simulation Courses and Law Clinics.
We sat down with the faculty for each clinic to review the questions. For a number of clinics (including my own), we created a “to do list” for follow up – in most cases that involved revising syllabi, looking at how office systems could be improved, and considering how to improve assessment of student performance. In one case, we decided to re-designate a program that had evolved beyond being a great clinic into an outstanding externship.
Freedom to Celebrate and Contemplate and Collaborate: What else did we learn? Rubrics do have a systemic power – checklists that are applied across the board provide a freedom to discover and celebrate quiet successes that have been under the radar and also to have more difficult conversations about areas that need improvement. Cross clinic pollination and collaboration is also a hallmark for us, and the audit strengthened that trend.
Mapping Clinic Courses to New Learning Outcomes: Conducting the audit after our law school faculty had just passed our new learning outcomes pushed the clinical faculty to map pre-existing course goals and clinic activities to those newly identified outcomes. A pleasant but not surprising finding was that clinics already address many of the school’s learning outcomes.
Understanding the New Experiential Requirements in Practical Terms: Our faculty decided to start the new experiential 6 credit requirement with our 2015 incoming class. Conducting the audit of clinics provided us with a working knowledge of the standards and the guidance memos, knowledge which can be useful as our curriculum committee and faculty review the rest of our courses to see if and how they can be designated as experiential.
Assessing compliance with standards may not be the most enjoyable part of clinical management, but we’ve got to do it. Hopefully putting the standards into a question format can be useful to others. Here are the questions we used.
Clinic Audit Questions
I. What is a Clinic?: ABA Standard 303(a) Experiential requirements:
How is the course primarily experiential in nature? (“primarily” means “essentially, mostly, chiefly … The experiential nature of the course should, in this sense, be the organizing principle of the course”)
How does the course integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in Standard 302?
How does the course develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught?
How does the course provide multiple opportunities for performance?
How does the course provide opportunities for self-evaluation?
II. ABA Standard 304(b) Clinic Course Requirements
How does the course provide substantial lawyering experience that
(1) involves one or more actual clients; AND
(2) How does the clinic include the following:
(i) advising or representing a client;
(ii) direct supervision of the student’s performance by a faculty member;
(iii) opportunities for performance, feedback from a faculty member, and self-evaluation; and
(iv) a classroom instructional component
III. ABA Standard 310. Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework.
How does the course meet UST Law standard III.A.5, that for clinic courses, 42.5-45 hours of coursework over the semester are required for each credit hour awarded? (see below for nitty gritty)
A “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:
(1) not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction (i.e. 50 minute hours) and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
(2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in subparagraph (1) of this definition for … clinical . . . work leading to the award of credit hours.
IV. Professional Ethics and Class Attendance
Professional Responsibility and Ethics coverage – How do you cover professional responsibility issues?
V. Standard 702. FACILITIES. How does your clinic meet this requirement?
(a) A law school’s facilities shall include: . . . suitable and sufficient space appropriate for conducting any in-house clinical programs in a manner that assures competent and ethical representation of clients and meaningful instruction and supervision of students, including confidential space for (i) client interviewing, (ii) working on and discussing client cases, and (iii) security for client files;
(b) A law school shall provide reasonable access and accommodations to persons with disabilities, consistent with applicable law.
How is class attendance kept?
V. NLADA Malpractice Insurance: Loss Prevention - Risk Management Factors
- Does the Clinic use or have the following: (If yes, describe; If no, what steps will be taken to comply.?)
- Engagement Letters with more than 80% of its new clients?
- Disengagement Letters with more than 80% of clients?
- Non‐Engagement Letters with more than 80% of prospective clients?
- Written fee agreements with at least 80% of clients?
- Two or more independent docket control systems?
- Written procedures regarding maintenance of custodial accounts?
- A formal system for identifying, avoiding, and disclosing conflicts of interest?
VI. University of St. Thomas Academic Policy Manual: Course Syllabus, Course Learning Outcomes and Course Assessment (UST Academic Policy Manual - III-C-9)
How does your course meet the following requirements? (this requirement does not officially kick in until the 2017 school year, but I strongly suggest seizing the moment)
By the first day that the class meets, the instructor shall provide all enrolled students in writing with
(1) ground rules (including attendance and participation rules, office hours, and expectations for students)
(2) an overview of the topics to be covered during the semester or, at the instructor’s option, planned assignments
(3) a statement of learning outcomes (instructor shall state course-specific learning outcomes and indicate how those learning outcomes connect with the “General Learning Outcomes” for the law school) (suggestion – also incorporate goals you identify on the course evaluation form completed by students).
UST Law General Learning Outcomes:
• Professional Formation & Ethical Responsibilities
• Knowledge of Substantive and Procedural Law
• Legal Analysis, Reasoning, and Problem Solving
• Written and Oral Communication Skills
• Legal Research and Factual Investigation
• Teamwork and Relationship Skills
(4) a description of assessment (see III-C-9 from the UST academic policy manual, p. 60.)
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
As clinicians we know that our students do amazing work. A lot of what we associate as clinical work falls into the client-case-court realm, but clinicians like Prof. Fran Quigley at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney's Health and Human Rights Clinic have expanded that work into the larger forum of policy advocacy, and with some amazing results.
Starting in Fall 2015, Prof. Quigley's students identified legal barriers faced by their clients, researched those issues, and then took it a step further by creating comprehensive manuals that, according to Prof. Quigley "...outline the scope of Indiana’s problem [regarding drivers license suspension fees], explain how it relates to the national landscape, and make thoughtful recommendations for how lawmakers can solve it."
Prof. Quigley's work is another inspiring reminder that we have many options as clinicians to engage our students in multiple types of advocacy, making our impact even greater for our communities as a whole. To read more about this process and access the students' report, click on the link below.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 19, 2016
15th Annual Transactional Clinical
This year’s Transactional Clinical
The conference will explore how both lawyering and teaching employ “tools of translation.” Very often our work as clinical instructors is the work of translation: How can we help our students translate the solid legal understandings gained in their foundational courses (corporations, IP, corporate finance, etc.) to accommodate the real-world needs of their clients, and especially to accommodate the needs of small businesses and community-based organizations? How do we as teachers translate our own knowledge of the law, of lawyering, and of our local communities into meaningful learning experiences for our students?
In keeping with this theme, there will be two tracks: (1) a new clinicians “Launch Pad” designed to support those new to the teaching profession, and (2) various teaching workshops focused on “Serving Client Enterprises.”
TRACK 1 - New Clinicians “Launch Pad”
Our ranks continue to grow, and this year’s TCC will extend a special welcome to our new and newish clinicians, as we’ll mix our newest colleagues with those who have at least a few years under their belts. If you’re one of the latter and willing to share some of your wisdom, we hope you’ll submit a proposal or share in one of the ways suggested below. The AALS Clinical Conference will feature a comprehensive program for new clinicians; our goal is to complement but not duplicate the AALS program by providing very interactive discussions between new and experienced clinicians.
· What I wish I knew then
· Top 5 practical tips
· Setting priorities as a new clinician
· Concrete tools for nondirective teaching for new clinicians
TRACK 2 - “Serving Client Enterprises” Client Service/Teaching Workshops
Many of our prior programs have made available teaching and practice tools focus on larger enterprises. We hope to continue building on this rich set of resources while also providing some programs for clinicians whose law school clinics serve smaller, limited-resource, community-based organizations. These workshops will aim to share tools that serve smaller enterprises.
These sessions might include:
· Serving LLCs: challenges and tools
· How a resource-limited company protects its IP, addresses HR issues, etc.
· How to teach what every clinical student needs to know about nonprofit organizations
· Helping students translate the law into "plain English”
· Special issues in teaching students how to serve group clients, solo entrepreneurs, start-ups, for-profit-non-profit hybrids, those in the underground economy, limited English proficiency clients, etc.
Proposals for either Track
· The Planning Committee seeks individual or group proposals.
· For individual presentations, we may put presenters together on panels based on the lawyering skill or tool presented.
· The Planning Committee encourages sessions that focus on the practical application of tools and the sharing of useful resources.
· Proposals for Track 1 may be provided in any format.
· Proposals for Track 2 ideally should:
- Identify a lawyering skill or tool that the clinician teaches effectively;
- Explain the clinician’s learning objectives with respect to the lawyering skill or tool;
- Explain in detail how the clinician teaches this lawyering skill or tool; and
- Share written and other materials (such as class handouts or videos) that will assist the conference audience members in adopting the discussed teaching method.
The TCC can accommodate presentations and workshops of various sizes, lengths, and formats.
Please submit proposals (which need to be no longer than 1-2 pages) to the full committee by sending them to Jeff Ward at email@example.com by Februa
Also, we are extending a special invitation this year to our newer colleagues. Please share this call for proposal and the registration link with all who may be interested.
Thank you, 15th Annual Transactional Clinical
Mary Landergan (Northeastern)
Jaime Lee (U Baltimore)
Frances Martinez (Texas)
James Niemann (Mizzou)
Jeff Ward (Duke)
Chip Lowe (Drake)