Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Sunday, May 28, 2017
This Fall semester, in addition to teaching my Penn State Law clinical students, I will teach Professional Responsibility. When I was in law school, if memory serves, it was called "Legal Ethics". I really wish I could reclaim that course name.
Professional Responsibility is the industry standard now--I get it. The codes of conduct in most states use some version of that language in their titles. Pennsylvania, for example, has Rules of Professional Conduct, not Rules of Legal Ethics.
But the casebook for my course is called The Law and Ethics of Lawyering (my own emphasis added). And it happens to be the same casebook used in the Legal Ethics course I took long ago and far away, albeit a new edition. I know that for sure because I saved that book. It's sitting on my office bookshelf beside the new casebook I'll soon pore over to prepare to teach the course for the first time. So what? Why am I fixated on the word "ethics" as it relates to this course?
I think our students could benefit from a little more education on ethics. Knowledge of the sources and norms about ethical obligations, a humanistic sense of right and wrong, is fundamental to the legal profession. We owe it to future lawyers to engage them in the study of the underpinnings of our profession's ideals about the outer limits of acceptable human behavior and our systemic regulation of it. To my mind, "professional responsibility" conceptually strikes me as just a few shades lighter than "malpractice avoidance". We must be better than that. Lawyers must not simply avoiding bad behavior. We must cultivate and thus deeply understand good--ethical--behavior.
It's a bit late to rename my course, but I do plan to re-brand it, class by class and student by student. Maybe I'll discover this is is semantics; a distinction without a difference, once I'm engaged in the course itself. Stay tuned . . . .
Monday, May 22, 2017
Pepperdine University School of Law
Director of Externships and Pro Bono Programs and
Adjunct Professor for Academic Success and Bar Preparation
The Director of Externship and Pro Bono Programs responsibilities will include direction of the School of Law's externship program, including extensive student advising, teaching in diverse modes and settings, extensive communication with field placements and supervisors, and records management. The pro bono program direction will involve significant student advising and counseling, recruiting and creating pro bono placements and opportunities, and records management. These responsibilities are anticipated to comprise approximately one-half to three-fourths of the successful applicant's total responsibilities.
The Adjunct Professor for Academic Success and Bar Preparation responsibilities will involve teaching responsibilities and student office hours in the law school's academic success and bar preparation courses, and additional responsibilities for developing, coordinating, and implementing a program that supports the School of Law's commitment to academic success in law school and success on the bar exam. These responsibilities are anticipated to comprise approximately one-fourth to one-half of the successful applicant's total responsibilities.
The successful applicant will report to the School of Law's Director of Clinical Education and to the Associate Dean for Student Success, will work closely with the Clinical Program Manager, will closely direct and monitor more than 100 students per term in externships and pro bono practice, and will supervise ASP and Bar Exam Workshop student teaching fellows.
Friday, May 19, 2017
I’m struggling. But in truth, it’s been that way for quite some time, since foot touched ground in this land of wood and water.
They say there are different Jamaicas, and I no doubt know this to be true. Aptly capturing this sentiment, photographer and creator, Peter Dean Rickards wrote “We are Jamaicans living within and without cultural control. We are at once proud nationalists and critics of our country of origin. A country known for its extremes. A place packed with originality and creative energy that continues to flourish despite the current socio-political state that has removed the personal pride of many. An island filled with beauty unsurpassed and ugliness that would make a rat puke.”
In all honesty, I’m not sure which Jamaica I will leave with in my mind.
The paradox of life here is so astounding -- splendor always brushing up against pain. Fear hovering on the periphery, worry right inside the line of sight; eclipsed momentarily when depth returns to breath and light comes pouring through. Joy heightened by anxiety. Which of these is more genuine? Is one real simply because the other exists? Tangibility through co-occurrence?
Sometimes I’m surprised to learn the new contours of a mind that I believed I knew so well. I thought I had managed my fear only to realize that the fear had often managed me. Ugliness is sneaky that way. Making life myopic. Narrow. Tight. Restricting the range of possibilities imaginable. Causing me to only see a landscape of corruption, chaos and systems failing to function. Moments when I can only focus on Dennis’ nephew, shot ten times in front of a KFC; the grit, filth and cacophony of ramshackle tin neighborhoods; the boy in the taxi cab, shot on his way to school, whose killer could not be prosecuted for lack of evidence; the electric current surging through a frenzied crowd as they run toward and not away from the fresh blood that flows in the street after a police officer was killed with his own gun; the sounds of a neighbor yelling for help as she’s robbed at knifepoint at 8:30 in the morning on her walk to work; the strain in a young man’s face as he momentarily opens to say “Miss, I’m tired of the violence;” a newfound ability to judge gunshot proximity by sound.
How can we continue standing inches from such a precipice?
Sometimes I’m surprised to feel the scowl affixed to my face instinctively smooth into a smile. I thought I had forgotten how to dance only to realize my feet were already moving long before my mind even registered the beat. Beauty is sneaky that way. Making life grander. Expansive. Sweeping. Opening a range of limitless possibilities. Allowing me to see scenes of warmth, fecundity and systems of thriving interconnection. Moments when I can only focus on the sweet, juicy, fibrous taste of an Otaheite apple; the crisp, shocking thrill of sliding into a frigid waterfall after a long, arduous hike; the laughter of boys imitating lawyers, mastering and wielding concepts of cross examination; the pastel painted sky of sunrise across the valley; feeling like Belle walking through the streets of her hometown, waving, smiling and speaking mawnin’ mawnin’ to security guards patrolling, men with machetes for gardening and women carrying bags of fresh fruits and veg; the sound of voices softly singing along anytime music is playing; a discussion of best practices shared among a room full of community volunteers, peacemakers.
How can we drink such goodness into the soul?
In all honesty, I’m not sure which Jamaica I will leave with in my heart.
I struggle because the centrality of this duality is part and parcel of life here, I struggle because the gnawing guilt of privilege that allows some measure of escape, I struggle over all that I will miss. I struggle because this reality has existed long before my arrival and will remain long after I am gone.
I’m struggling. But in truth, it’s been that way for quite some time, since foot touched ground in this land of wood and water.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
From Prof. Chris Zawisza upon her retirement from the University of Memphis:
As you make your way to Denver, I wish you a very successful conference. I won’t be joining you this year, unfortunately. I am retiring after 40 years of practicing law and 20 years of teaching clinically. This community has been a source of strength, ideas, inspiration, support, and fellowship during years of calm, years of change, and now tumultuous times. As I reflect back on my times as a social justice advocate, I realize that our community has weathered tumultuous times before. Some of us remember the Vietnam era with the tear gas, the riots, the demonstrations, and the soul searching about our place in the world. I remember well the debates about working inside the system or working outside the system and what each entailed. I remember choosing to work inside the system by taking a job as a Management Intern with the then Department of HEW (now HHS) and then sitting idly at my desk watching the Nixon impeachment hearings. At the very least that era motivated me to go to law school and also gave me the savings to pay for law school! I remember our anxieties and fears as the Legal Services Corporation funding was substantially cut during the Reagan years along with other safety net programs. And I remember well having to find a new home when Congress prohibited legal services attorneys from doing class actions and legislative advocacy. That era led me to a home in clinical legal education which has been a true joy!
As a community, we have found that hard times bring out the best in us. We summon up our creativity, courage, and resilience and find new ways to serve clients, organizations, neighborhoods, and society. I’m sure we will forge a way forward. Thank you for all you have given me.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
"The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at NYU Law School. The registration deadline is June 30, 2017.
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, 2017, all applicants must 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, 2017.
As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but 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 workshop without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will need to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus (which is due 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 submission of drafts by the deadlines identified above, 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"
In Denver this week and next, clinical law profs will gather from around the country for three conferences and all manner of clinical business.
The CLEA New Clinicians Conference is Saturday, May 6, at the Colorado Bar. Download the schedule and directions here. Follow and participate with CLEA for this conference and through the rest of the conferences at #CLEA2017.
The AALS Clinical and Experiential Law Program Directors Workshop begins with a reception on May 5 and continues throughout the day on May 6. Its theme this year is "Leadership in Tumultuous Times." See the program and more information here.
The 40th Annual AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education begins Saturday, May 6, and continues through Tuesday, May 9. Its theme is "Serving the Client in Tumultuous Times: Fostering Responsibility to Individuals, Communities, and Society in Clinical Legal Education." See the program and more here.
Follow along and contribute via social media at #clinical2017.
(Your humble servant/blogger/editor is speaking at all of them and looks forward to seeing our fantastic community again in the Rockies.)
Tuesday, May 2, 2017