Sunday, September 27, 2020
A footnote in the Massachusetts case of Comstock v. Gloucester Zoning Board of Appeals made local news for its discussion of how the zoning term "grandfathering," often used to refer to non-conforming uses, had racist origins. I just learned of the case, though, and thought I'd post that footnote here in case others had not come across the decision or its discussion, which I found interest. Here is the footnote:
Providing such protection commonly is known -- in the case law and otherwise -- as "grandfathering." We decline to use that term, however, because we acknowledge that it has racist origins. Specifically, the phrase "grandfather clause" originally referred to provisions adopted by some States after the Civil War in an effort to disenfranchise African-American voters by requiring voters to pass literacy tests or meet other significant qualifications, while exempting from such requirements those who were descendants of men who were eligible to vote prior to 1867. See Webster's Third New International Dictionary 987 (2002) (definition of "grandfather clause"); Benno C. Schmidt, Jr., Principle and Prejudice: The Supreme Court and Race in the Progressive Era, 82 Colum. L. Rev. 835 (1982).
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
I recently appeared on a podcast regarding short-term rentals at the C. Boyden Gray Center at GMU Scalia Law School. You can listen to it here. More about the podcast below...
Conversations about “the administrative state” usually focus on federal regulators, but for many upstart tech companies, local regulation often presents the most significant challenges. Uber and Lyft, for example, famously collided with local taxicab regulations. And “short-term rental” companies like AirBNB have faced countless regulations from countless regulators.
That is the subject of a new Gray Center Working Paper by Professor Jordan Carr Peterson (North Carolina State). In “Zoning for Disruption,” he finds that AirBNB’s arrival in a city can trigger significant regulatory responses not spurred by less-famous short-term rental companies. He describes that dynamic, and the wide range of regulations at issue.
To discuss his paper, and broader issues of regulation and short-term rentals, Adam White and Professor Peterson are joined by the University of Idaho’s Professor Stephen Miller and AirBNB’s former Head of Policy Strategy, David Owen.
Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Call for Panelists: AALS Section on Real Estate Transactions and Section on Academic Support: The Changing Architecture of Legal Education: Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study
AALS Section on Real Estate Transactions and Section on Academic Support
The Changing Architecture of Legal Education:
Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study
What real property law courses should law schools be teaching?
Who should be teaching these courses?
How should the courses be taught?
The Section on Real Estate Transactions and the Section on Academic Support seek to explore these questions and related issues at their joint online session during the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting, The Changing Architecture of Approaches to Legal Education: Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study.
Members of the legal academic community are invited to submit statements of interest in joining the panel of presenters who will discuss the following in the context of real property law and related courses (mortgage finance, securitization, commercial leasing, housing law, real estate development, etc.):
- Law schools’ curricular choices
- Course content and design
- Teaching and pedagogy application.
As explained more in the “Background” section below, the Sections are specifically looking to highlight issues related to course offerings, curricular design, and teaching methodologies that can better prepare students for modern practice and ensure student achievement of course objectives. Statements of interest (including a description/summary of your proposed presentation) should be emailed to Andrea Boyack at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 17, 2020.
There is no formal paper requirement associated with participation on the panel.
**Note that the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2021 will be held in a completely digital format, and individual registration fees will not be charged for participation in/attendance at the Annual Meeting.**
In the past decade, legal education has experienced a number of body blows from which it still struggles to recover. In 2007, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (more commonly known as the “Carnegie Report”) criticized the academy for insufficiently preparing students for legal practice. In the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis and global recession, many attorneys (especially from Big Law) were laid off and new graduates faced fewer and fewer job prospects. Mainstream and social media spotlighted lawyer and law student discontent, worries about sustainability of legal careers and the high cost of legal education, schools skewing data to try to game US News rankings, and the growing number of for-profit institutions. Law firms and their clients started exhibiting an increasing hesitancy with respect to hiring and training inexperienced attorneys. Law school admission rates tumbled as college graduates changed their opinions about the value of a legal education, as the ABA began making new demands of law schools pertaining to skills training and assessments. The practice of law, in the meantime, has changed dramatically, with automation, internet resources, and contract attorneys (or non-attorneys) taking the place performing tasks lawyers once controlled. Furthermore, schools have struggled to adapt to different expectations of the Millennial and Gen-Z generations of law students. Then, in March 2020, legal academia and law practice suddenly shifted to operating (temporarily?), primarily in the digital/virtual realm. The world has changed over the past 15 years, the practice of law has changed, and law schools struggle to adapt quickly enough to stay relevant and valuable.
The evolving demands and expectations for law schools are not just issues to be addressed by deans and administrators. Nor can the task of preparing new lawyers be allocated exclusively to clinicians and adjunct instructors of specialized “skills” classes. Doctrinal professors may want to also change their approach in the classroom in response to new industry demands for practice competencies and evolving attorney roles in an ever-changing marketplace, but have our pedagogical approaches adequately adapted to this new world? And how has law schools’ increasing reliance on adjunct professors impacted the students’ experience and preparation for the bar and beyond? In short: In what ways do we need to rethink what we teach and how we teach it in order to remain optimally relevant to tomorrow’s lawyers.
Per AALS rules, faculty at fee-paid law schools, foreign faculty, adjunct and visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school), graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit a statement of interest.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
ABA Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law
Call for Papers
Race and Racism in Affordable Housing Law & Policy
Drafts due November 1, 2020
The Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (the Journal) invites articles and essays on issues related to race and racism in affordable housing law and policy. Practitioners and scholars have long known of the racial inequities in housing, such as redlining, disparate impacts of zoning, racially restrictive covenants, segregated public housing projects, and the concentration of housing tax credits in low-income neighborhoods, to name but a few. While addressing the legacy—and continued applicability—of racially-based housing laws and policies has proven challenging, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis opened a new conversation about racism embedded in American social institutions. How should we think about race and racism in housing now? What are the important issues where race and housing collide, and what are the solutions to address them?
For this issue, the Journal seeks wide participation and especially welcomes shorter essays (2,000–3,000 words). In addition, the Journal will also continue to seek general essays (typically 2,500–6,200 words) or articles (typically 7,000–10,000 words) related to the Journal’s traditional subjects: affordable housing, fair housing and community/economic development.
The Journal is the nation’s only law journal dedicated to affordable housing and community development law. The Journal educates readers and provides a forum for discussion and resolution of problems in these fields by publishing articles from distinguished law professors, policy advocates and practitioners.
Interested authors are encouraged to send an abstract describing their proposal no later than September 7, 2020. Submissions of final articles and essays are due by November 1, 2020. Please email abstracts and final drafts to the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Stephen R. Miller, at email@example.com. The Journal also accepts submissions on a rolling basis. Please do not hesitate to contact the Editor with any questions.