Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book recommendations to improve your public speaking skills

Moot court season is just around the bend.  If your students are looking for some book recommendations addressing basic public speaking skills to help them with oral arguments, consider this list from OnlineCollegeCourses.com

13 Books to Polish Your Speaking Skills

No matter how many times you do it, public speaking is always a little nerve-wracking. While you may not be able to ever remove all the butterflies, you can help make yourself more confident and capable when it comes to speaking to an audience, whether it's in a boardroom or in a college classroom. A combination of practice and education on public speaking may be just what you need to give you those qualities and while we can't provide the practice — that's up to you — we can provide some books that are essential reads for polishing your speaking skills. Read through this list to find amazing books on speaking, offering advice, information, and research that can help make public speaking a much less dreaded occurrence.

  1. Public Speaking for Success by Dale Carnegie

    First published in 1926, this book by Dale Carnegie is one of the most widely-read and well-respected books on public speaking ever written. While updated and revised to meet the needs of modern-day public speakers, the advice at the heart of this book stands as true today as it did when it was written, more than 85 years ago.

  2. The Art of Public Speaking with Connect Lucas by Stephen E. Lucas

    Often used in communications and speaking courses in college, this textbook can help anyone looking to hone their skills. Readers will find explanations of contemporary theory as well as ways these theories and ideas can be applied in real life.

  3. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion by Jay Heinrichs

    A big part of speaking in any situation is being able to sway your listeners toward your point of view. In this book, you'll learn about the strategies employed by some of the world's most renowned speakers (Cicero and Winston Churchill, to name a couple), as well as a wealth of modern techniques you can apply to be a more persuasive speaker.

  4. An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavski

    A book on acting to help you with public speaking? It makes more sense than you might think. After all, no one has to do more public speaking than actors. Crack this book to learn the methods Stanislavski uses not only to act but also to emote, communicate, and be engaging on the stage and off.

  5. Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun:

    Professional speaker Scott Berkun shares his techniques for great public speaking in this must-read book, offering practical advice, engaging stories, and even a few tales of public speaking gone wrong.

  6. Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki

    The best speakers know how to enchant their audiences, and in this book by business guru Guy Kawasaki you'll learn what ingredients go into creating the perfect recipe for maximum enchantme

Check out the other recommendations here.

(jbl).

January 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why law students should take more skills courses

From the Lawyerist blog:

Law Students Should Take Practical Skill Classes

99% of lawyer skills are learned after law school

That’s a pretty common statistic thrown out by practicing attorneys. I don’t think the percentage is accurate, but I do think the concept is spot on. Substantive law classes don’t teach you how to talk to a client, file anything with a court, deal with opposing counsel, etc. Finding the right mentor can help you acquire those skills after law school, but would’t you rather have at least some baseline knowledge?

Like anything else, law-talking skills get better with practice and experience. It’s not realistic to walk out of law school with the same legal skills as someone who has been practicing for years. At the same time, there is a big difference between a law school graduate who has focused on acquiring practical skills during law school versus the graduate who only took substantive classes. By most accounts, the former is more highly regarded than the latter. If you only need to learn 92% of your skills after law school, you are ahead of the pack.

Practical skill classes are more work, more instructive, and more fun

In early January, I was one of eight adjunct instructors for a one-week, 40-hour intensive practical skills class at a local law school. The class was one giant simulation that involved researching, negotiating, and drafting a complicated business deal between two parties. By all accounts, the class was an overwhelming success. Many of the students said it was the most work they had ever put into a class. Many students also said it was their best law school experience to date.

For one, law students get to walk and talk like a lawyer in most practical skills class. That is far cry from reading and regurgitating case law. Two, practical skill classes are designed around teaching skills to law students, not just teaching the substantive law of a particular area. Practical skills translate across all areas of law, whereas substantive knowledge is more restricted.

Three, practical simulations are usually pretty fun for law students. Some of the simulations are more daunting than others, but it is a chance to experiment in the sandbox. Do you really want your first “real” deposition to be your first deposition? Lastly, most practical skills classes are taught by, or heavily involve adjunct professors. They might not tenured faculty, but they are practicing attorneys willing to pass on their practical knowledge. Don’t underestimate the value of that.

Next semester, take a pass on Con Law Part Four, and take a practical skills class. You might even like it.

(jbl).

January 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Frequency of Words in the Republican Debates

From an article by Richard and  Karen Gift in Columbia University’s Teachers College Record (as of  November 18):

In the eight GOP debates so far this year, the term “education” or “educational” has been invoked just 64 times—a number dwarfed by terms like “regulation” (70 times), “kill” (78 times), “Reagan” (82 times), “energy” (107 times), “illegal” (109 times), “Washington” (124 times), “Obamacare” (125 times), “border” (128 times), the number “9” (382 times), and “job” (471 times). In the most recent debate in Rochester, MI, education was mentioned only 11 times—8 of which were in the context of getting Uncle Sam out of education altogether.

 What does the word count tell us about national priorities?

(ljs)

 

January 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LexisNexis – Social Media Visibility Service

LexisNexis unveiled this new service at the LegalTech Conference today.  See the press release here.

This new service is aimed at helping:
“solo practitioners and lawyers at smaller law firms to establish a solid, comprehensive, and manageable social media presence. The service includes creation of an exclusive blog page as well as guidance and assistance in crafting profiles and in generating and posting appropriate content on major social sites, including Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn®. By leveraging social media more effectively, lawyers and firms are better able to demonstrate thought leadership, extend the reach of their websites, improve site performance on search engines, and engage prospective clients via popular interactive communities.”

Do you talk about using social media with your students? 

(dkh)

January 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Legal Skills Success Story

Beth A. Tomerlin has written a success story concerning the effect of new legal educational approaches on young attorneys.  The Practicality of Practicums: Thinking and Acting Like a Lawyer, One Class at a Time

"During my first few weeks at a civil litigation firm, fresh out of law school, I was asked to fill in for another attorney in the middle of a month-long deposition of a plaintiff in a lengthy case. This was incredibly intimidating, but I had an understanding of how to prepare, what to expect, and how to interact with the various parties in the room, thanks to a course I had taken while at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

That course, the Discovery Practicum, differed drastically from other traditional law school classes. As the name implies, the course focused exclusively on discovery rules, and we did not learn simply about the rules and the theory of discovery, we actually engaged in discovery. There was not a lecture component to the practicum; instead, students interacted with Prof. David Thomson, the materials, and each other. This provided the backdrop for students to fully engage with the law and facts of the case as one would in practice.

I believe courses like the Discovery Practicum will drastically change how law students understand law and procedure and will actually provide them with the skills necessary to practice law. After the Discovery Practicum, I felt I understood the basics of litigation and that I was armed with the skills to effectively begin my career. . . .

I was fortunate to attend a law school that provided a curriculum that was balanced between theory and practice. At DU Law, I found there were numerous opportunities to participate in a clinic or externship, and the law school offered practicum courses that mirrored the practice of law. . . .Law school may not have prepared me for every step, but my experience in the practicum certainly made those early steps a lot easier. I graduated from law school not only learning how to 'think like a lawyer' but also with a set of tools and skills to actually be a lawyer."

You can read the rest of the article here or in the Denver Bar Association: The Docket (February 2012).

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Big firm partners are doing well. Associates? Not so much

From the Wall Street Journal:

Law Firms Keep Squeezing Associates

Law firms are finally starting to recover from the recession, but they aren't taking their young lawyers along for the ride.

Even as profits return, cautious partners with one eye on damaged balance sheets and the other on stingy clients plan to hang onto the lean silhouettes they acquired during the downturn.

That means little relief for young associates—who took on hefty law-school loans, only to run into layoffs and stagnant pay in the years since 2008—and fewer chances for new law-school graduates to get in on the ground floor. And the elusive brass ring of partnership has grown more remote.

"What happens if Greece falls apart again?" says Greg Nitzkowski, managing partner at Paul Hastings LLP, an international firm that has reduced entry-level hires by about a third since 2008. "We just think it's prudent to plan as if this coming year is going to be a relatively flat year.…We're not planning for a big upsurge in demand."

Conditions at law firms have stabilized since 2009, when the legal industry shed 41,900 positions, according to the Labor Department. Cuts were more moderate last year, with some 2,700 positions eliminated, and recruiters report more opportunities for experienced midlevel associates.

But many elite firms have shrunk their ranks of entry-level lawyers by as much as half from 2008, when market turmoil was at its peak. Salaries and bonuses for those associates have remained generally flat. Meanwhile, a degree at a top law school can cost $100,000 or more.

ASSOCIATES

Associates at prominent law firms say some of their peers hired during the boom years are happy just to have jobs at all. "The world has changed," says a senior associate at a top firm.

During the downturn some firms pared associate ranks through layoffs and by delaying start dates for fresh law-school graduates. And many firms for routine tasks now use less-expensive alternatives to young associates, such as contract attorneys and outsourcing firms.

"Law firms basically focused a lot of head-count reductions during the recession on associate ranks, says Dan DiPietro, chairman of Citi Private Bank's law-firm group. "They feel like the associate ranks are where they want them to be."

White & Case LLP, an international law firm, plans to hire about 60 entry-level lawyers this year, compared with prerecession classes of 90 to 100.

"The efficiency of law practice has just changed dramatically in the past five years," says Bill Dantzler, a hiring partner and head of the firm's tax practice. "We don't have to have these armies of young associates. It's good for the clients, it's good for everybody."

That means reputable firms can be even more picky about whom they hire. While firms still compete for the highest-ranking graduates from Ivy League and other top law schools, it is a different story for solid candidates who lack gold-plated résumés. Students with lower class rankings or from second-tier schools who once would have made the cut "wouldn't have a prayer of getting in now," Mr. Dantzler says.

For those who do land jobs at big law firms, the hours remain grueling. In 2010 associates at firms with more than 700 lawyers billed an average of 1,859 hours—the equivalent of more than seven hours a day—according to the National Association for Law Placement.

As head counts fell, the average workload for those associates has risen 2.3% since 2007, or about 50 extra hours a year.

And the road to partnership is longer and more uncertain than in the past. Many lawyers now toil eight or even 10 years before being chosen. A decade ago, the most common partnership track took seven years. Other firms have thinned their top ranks of partners who didn't bring in enough business, making it even tougher to elbow into a spot.

Partners at several large law firms also say they don't plan to raise associate salaries, which haven't increased since 2007. December bonuses remained roughly the same as in 2010, with first-year associates at elite firms such as Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP getting $7,500. The most senior associates received bonuses of $37,500 to $42,500.

"Most firms are hesitant to lock themselves into something they can't sustain," says Paula Alvary of consulting firm Hoffman Alvary. "While there is clear evidence that work levels are returning, they're not at prerecession levels for most firms."

Still, many people continue to pursue law as a career, not least because the median starting salary for entry-level lawyers at top New York firms is $160,000. That is nearly double the going rate in 1996, before the tech boom drove salaries skyward.

And phones are ringing again at law-firm recruiters. Junior lawyers who once clung white-knuckled to their jobs are loosening their grips and moving to corporations' law departments or to law firms where they might have better shots at making partner.

Eric Fishman in 2010 took what many colleagues then saw as a huge risk when he left one of New York's elite practices for midsize Pryor Cashman LLP, where he hoped to get more experience running cases and building a practice.

"There was little chance many of my peers would have considered a move from a big law firm at that time," says Mr. Fishman, now a senior associate at the respected firm. "Now they're less fearful; the economy is getting better."

But the pace of such movement isn't what it was. Before the downturn, firms lost between 25% to 30% of their associates after a few years, people in the industry say. R. Bruce McLean, chairman of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, says the attrition rate at his firm is around 15% now.

"It's like lots of things in our economy," he says. "The outlook is brighter, the anxiety level is diminished, but it's not completely gone.…This is still a period of anxiety for our entire associate population. This is not what they anticipated when they started law school."

Hat tip to ATL.
(jbl).

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should a middle-aged professional go to law school?

From the ABA Journal blog:

Is Law School a Good Idea for Middle-Aged Professional? Experts Warn of Risks and Bias

A woman who describes herself as a middle-aged, midcareer government relations professional is thinking about a career change.

The woman tells the Careerist she is going through career counseling and is thinking about becoming a lawyer with a focus on public service law. The blog asked two experts for advice. Both urged the woman to interview lawyers who did the same thing. And both urged caution.

Marilyn Tucker, director of alumni career services at Georgetown Law Center, says some federal agencies have law related-positions that don’t require law degrees. “Ask yourself whether a law degree is really necessary for what you want to do. Is it worth the cost?” Tucker advises. “Keep in mind that you will likely make less as a junior public interest lawyer than what you are currently making.” Tucker also warns that going to law school at this stage is risky, and “age discrimination is definitely out there.”

Recruiter Dan Binstock of Garrison & Sisson says the woman may be a good candidate for an evening program at a law school. “Don't quit your day job, in case you don't like law school,” he says. “If you have enough money saved up and your debt will not be overwhelming, going to law school can’t hurt. But it also can’t hurt to learn how to fly a helicopter.”

(jbl).

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Techniques for Teaching Law 2

Here’s a valuable addition to your bookshelf: “Techniques for Teaching Law 2” (Gerald Hess, Steven Friedland & Sophie Sparrow ed.) (Carolina Academic Press 2011). The book contains a great number of explanations of general teaching principles and of concrete teaching ideas from a wide variety of law professors who care about teaching. Given the editors, you know from the beginning that this is a great book. Disclosure: Jim Levy and I have made modest contributions to this effort.

(ljs)

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Course Portfolios: First-Year Contracts by Gillian Hadfield

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the course portfolios on the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Website, which gives examples of doctrinal courses with strong skills elements.  A recent addition to this page by Gillian Hadfield illustrates how a first-year contracts course can better prepare students for practice.

She declares:

"I strongly believe that our efforts to bring problem-solving and team-based approaches into legal education should start in first year. I teach a first year Contracts course that still covers all the key doctrines but simultaneously gets students developing their skills in legal argument, analysis, judgment, and team work right out of the gates. This approach also significantly improves their understanding and retention of the legal rules and cases that have made up first year Contracts for decades."

She continues:

"A key goal of the course is to develop situated understanding of legal doctrines and in particular to focus on the development of fact-rich arguments and (on-point) counterarguments. Ambiguity and alternative interpretations of facts—and the exercise of judgment about the plausibility and strategic value of alternative interpretations—are emphasized. Other goals include the ability to see how legal issues interrelate, how their structure informs the assessment of the likelihood of success on alternative strategies for the client, and the development of judgment in identifying the most important issues on which to focus."

She concludes that "I have been teaching Contracts for 20 years and I feel confident that students master legal rules and doctrines better in this course than in the conventional course."

The above can only begin to demonstrate the wealth of detail on Hadfield's contracts portfolio page.  In addition, to discussing her methods in detail, she includes class materials, such as an outline, study materials, and a sample exam.

(Scott Fruehwald)

 

January 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hot off the press - "Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument"

Authored by professors Austen L. Parrish and Dennis T. Yokoyama, both of Southwestern School of Law, it's just been released by Carolina Academic Press and is available here for purchase.

Here's a description from the publisher followed by a partial table contents:

Effective Lawyering takes a unique approach to legal writing and oral advocacy. Many excellent legal writing books exhaustively detail how to write effectively. Those books — which are written primarily for first-year law students and are often several hundred pages long — meticulously explain the dos and don’ts of effective advocacy and provide numerous exercises for students to complete. Effective Lawyering, which can serve as a useful supplement to these lengthy introductory texts, takes a different approach. The book assumes the reader has learned the basics of legal writing, and at most needs only to be reminded about them. The book also assumes that most practitioners (and, for that matter, law students) lack the time to read lengthy discussions of all the subtleties of legal method.

Effective Lawyering concisely describes useful, yet often neglected, writing techniques. The book has pithy discussions of: (1) ways to avoid recurring, yet frequently overlooked, writing problems; (2) sensible approaches to writing common legal documents (trial court and appellate briefs, memoranda, letter writing, and academic writing); and (3) methods for preparing an oral argument.  In addition, it provides the reader with a series of checklists to turn to when undertaking a writing project or preparing for oral argument. In sum, this book is not for the novice who requires a comprehensive guide. Nor is it for the sophisticated writing expert, looking for nuanced discussions about esoteric topics not commonly covered in legal writing books. But it is for practitioners and law students who want to be refreshed on the basics of effective lawyering: fundamentals that they most likely learned in the first year of law school, but perhaps have forgotten.

While maintaining the same structure, tone, and approach of the original edition, the Second Edition of Effective Lawyering provides expanded coverage and more detailed information in every chapter, as well as revised checklists at the end of each chapter.

Chapter 1 

Techniques for Effective Legal Writing
Effective Writing Checklist

Chapter 2

Trial Court Briefs
Trial Court Brief Checklist

Chapter 3

Appellate Briefs
Appellate Brief Checklist

Chapter 4

Effective Oral Argument
Oral Argument Checklist

Chapter 5

Interoffice Memorandum
Interoffice Memorandum Checklist

Chapter 6

Letter Writing
Letter Writing Checklist
E-Mail Checklist

Chapter 7

Academic Writing
Academic Writing Checklist

Appendix A

Recommended Reading and Selected Bibliography

Appendix B

Sample Briefs

Appendix C

Sample Memos and Letters

A more detailed table of contents can be found by clicking here.

(jbl).

January 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips for writing better parentheticals - Part 2

In this second post from guest blogger Nicholas Wagoner (of CircuitSplits.com), we learn more tips for writing effective parentheticals in briefs.  For those of you who missed Part 1, you can find it by clicking here.

Crafting Perfect Parentheticals (Part 2 of 3)

Earlier this month in a piece entitled “Common Parenthetical Pitfalls,” we learned how to diagnose poorly drafted parentheticals. Today we shift our focus to studying ways to cure poorly drafted parentheticals, as outlined in Ross Guberman’s new book on legal writing, Point Made: How To Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates.

So what does it take to craft perfect parentheticals? In Point Made, writing guru and former chief judge of the Third Circuit, Ruggero Aldisert, boils it down to three key ingredients:

(1) the parenthetical must tell the reader why you are citing the source if it’s not clear from the preceding sentence,

(2) the parenthetical must show the reader where the case fits into the theme or focus of the piece as a whole, and

(3) the parenthetical must do so in a clear and concise manner.

A thoughtful mixture of these three ingredients, Judge Aldisert explains, should produce a parenthetical in one of the following three flavors:

1. A “participle parenthetical” that begins with an “-ing word” (e.g., “holding”).

For example, in Contrerasv. Attorney General of the United States, the Third Circuit wrote, “Panels of the Seventh Circuit have issued conflicting decisions on the matter. Compare Castaneda-Suarez v. INS, 993 F.2d 142, 144 (7th Cir. 1993) (recognizing due process right) with Magala v. Gonzales, 434 F.3d 523, 525 (7th Cir. 2005) (denying due process right).” No. 10-4235, at n.3 (3d Cir. Jan. 4, 2012).

Point Made encourages readers to feel free to “depart from the -ing format when you’re simply providing various examples of the same thing,” as the following case illustrates:

Discrete groups in our society often have been excluded from jury pools. See, e.g., Taylor, 419 U.S. 522 (1975) (women); Thiel, 328 U.S. at 219 (daily wage earners); Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954) (Mexican Americans); Smith, 311 U.S. 128 (African Americans); Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935) (same).

Brief of the NACD, ACLU, and NJP as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent Smith, Berghuis v. Smith, 130 S. Ct. 1382 (2010) (No. 08-1402), available at http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/amicus_brief.pdf.

2. A parenthetical that consists of a single-sentence quotation.

In his appellate brief in United States v. Martha Stewart, defense attorney Walter Dellinger demonstrates how to effectively use this form of parenthetical:

To have “waived” a Crawford claim, Stewart would have to have foreseen the most significant Confrontation Clause ruling in the last half-century, but nevertheless deliberately (and irrationally) decided to ignore core constitutional violations that substantially prejudiced her. Not only is there no evidence to support such a supposition, this Court has emphasized how unrealistic it is. See Bruno, 383 F.3d at 78 (“[O]nly a soothsayer could have known with any certainty that [Crawford] would change the legal landscape.”); United States v. Viola, 35 F.3d 37, 42 (2d Cir. 1994) (“[P]enaliz[ing] defendants for failing to challenge entrenched precedent . . . would  . . . insis[t] upon an omniscience . . . about the course of the law we do not have as judges.”).

Reply Brief of Defendant Martha Stewart at 30–31, United States v. Stewart, 433 F.3d 273 (2d Cir. 2006) (Nos. 04-3953(L)-cr & 044081(com)-cr), available at http://www.nacdl.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=16218.

3. A “hybrid parenthetical” that alternates between the two.

In Gill v. JetBlue Airways Corp., the court uses the “hybrid” parenthetical form to great effect in the following passage: 

District Courts within the First Circuit have generally adopted the Hodges approach, holding that “service” includes activities peripheral to point-to-point transportation itself. See Chukwu v. Board of Dir. British Airways, 889 F. Supp. 12, 13 (D. Mass. 1995), aff’d mem., 101 F.3d 106 (1st Cir. 1996); DeTerra, 226 F. Supp. 2d at 277; Seymour v. Continental Airlines, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105980, 2010 WL 3894027 (D.R.I. 2010). Even those courts that have found particular activities to be outside the scope of “services” contemplated by the statute have done so through reasoning that is consistent with the Hodges standard. See Somes v. United Airlines, Inc., 33 F. Supp. 2d 78, 82-83 (D. Mass. 1999) (holding that the in-flight provision of medical equipment is not a “service” because it is not a “bargained-for or anticipated” element of air travel); Stone v. Frontier Airlines, Inc., 256 F. Supp. 2d 28, 39 (D. Mass. 2002) (same).

Civil Action No. 10-11454-FDS  (D. Mass. Dec. 14, 2011). Notice how the following parenthetical (1) tells the reader why Somes is cited (i.e., to show that Gill and Somes rely on the same legal standard even though they reach seemingly inconsistent outcomes), (2) shows where the case fits into the focus of the court’s opinion (i.e., it acknowledges seemingly inconsistent precedent and explains why this is in fact not the case), and (3) conveys these nuanced points in a clear and concise manner.

To recap, in Part I we looked at “common parenthetical pitfalls” before learning how to “craft the perfect parenthetical” in Part II. Stay tuned for Part III, which will consist of a list of top “parenthetical starter words.”

(jbl).

January 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Most Significant Disciplinary Cases of 2011

Each January, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania identifies the most significant Pennsylvania disciplinary cases of the past year.

In selecting the cases, The Board looks at several factors, including (in no particular order):

  • Unusual or extraordinary fact situations;
  • Decisions which address legal issues that often come up in disciplinary cases;
  • Decisions which discuss the meaning of one of the Rules of Professional Conduct or Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement;
  • Decisions which present reviews of prior cases on a subject;
  • Decisions addressing new issues, especially involving technology;
  • Decisions regarding situations which may arise regularly in the practice of law.

Here’s a link to summaries of those cases.

On the national front, John Steele of the Legal Ethics Forum has identified his Top Ten Ethics Stories of 2011.

(ljs)

January 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

David Segal of the NYT on law school reform: "Not much is going to happen."

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you're well familiar with the controversial series of articles  written by New York Times reporter David Segal on the so-called "law school scam." Love him or hate him, Mr. Segal has certainly succeeded in raising awareness about the pitfalls of attending law school at a time when the job market for lawyers may be undergoing permanent, fundamental change.  Interestingly, in this interview with Bloomberg Law, Mr. Segal says that despite predications of a revolution in legal education, he thinks that the "business" of educating lawyers will remain essentially the same, although some schools may eventually have to lower admission standards to fill all the seats.

Hat tip to the TaxProf Blog.

(jbl).

January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top iPad apps for lawyers

Courtesy of Jonathan D. Frieden at the E-Commerce Law Blog.

1.  Dropbox (Available on App Store, FREE) - Dropbox is a cloud storage service used by more than 25 million people.  The Dropbox app allows me to use my iPad to access Word, Excel, PDF, and other documents that I've stored "in the cloud."  The service offers 2 GB of storage for free, with additional storage available for a fee.  If you use this link to sign up for the Dropbox service, you'll receive an extra 250 MB of free storage.

2.  Sugarsync (Available on App Store, FREE) - Sugarsync is another cloud storage service with an iPad app.  Like Dropbox, both the app and some amount of storage are free but Sugarsync provides more free storage (5 GB) than Dropbox.  Like Dropbox, additional storage is available for a fee.  If you use this link to sign up for the Sugarsync service, you'll receive an extra 500 MB of free storage.

I use both Dropbox and Sugarsync, so I have a total of 7 GB of free cloud storage accessible from my iPad, iPhone, and work and home computers.

3.  Goodreader (Available on App Store, $4.99) - A reviewer at pcmag.com said that "Goodreader transforms your $500 iPad into the best reader, file manager, and annotator on the market."  I don't know if it's the best such application on the market, but it's the most useful that I've found and it's an app that I use every day.  Goodreader allows me to read, annotate, and store locally all of those Word, Excel, PDF, and other files that I've stored using Dropbox and Sugarsync.  I use it to read and revise documents (with this stylus) and review my notes during trial and oral argument.

4.  Note Taker HD (Available on App Store, $4.99) - Note Taker HD has some of the same annotation features as Goodreader but I use it primarily to take handwritten notes in meetings, depositions, and hearings and then email them to my assistant for inclusion in the relevant electronic or paper files. Except for hearings in those few courts whose security protocols prevent me from bringing in my iPad, I haven't used a legal pad in months.

5.  Quickoffice HD Pro (Available on App Store, $19.99) - Quickoffice HD Pro is the "Office" suite for your iPad.  Obviously, its word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software does have all of the features of Microsoft Office, but they are surprisingly capable and interface seamlessly with Dropbox and Sugarsync.  If pressed, I'm certain that I could use Quickoffice to draft any document I needed to but I'd probably have to ask my assistant to clean up some of the formatting before sending it out.

6.  WestlawNext (Available on App Store, FREE) - WestlawNext allows me to conduct all of my computer-assisted legal research on my iPad.  The app is free but, of course, the WestlawNext service is not.

7.  TripIt (Available on App Store, FREE) - As I mentioned in my review of iPhone apps a couple of years ago, TripIt is a great app for keeping travel itineraries.  When you receive confirmation emails from your airline and hotel, you simply email them to plans@tripit.com and the site organizes your itinerary for you, complete with relevant maps.  (The TripIt website has additional details.)

8.  Time Master (Available on the iPhone App Store, $9.99) - In 2009, I mentioned that I was attempting to help my clients control and predict legal costs through the use of alternative billing arrangements but that the majority of my work was still performed on the basis of the traditional billable hour.  More than two years later, I'm still tied to the billable hour, though more and more of my work is done under alternative arrangements. Time Master allows me to track my time, attribute it to the appropriate client and matter, and email completed timesheets to my assistant for input into the firm's accounting system.  The application also tracks my client-reimbursable expenses and could be used to create billing statements to send to clients, if I wished.  (On-Core has a website explaining all of the application's features and the iPhone version of the application has been reviewed by iPhone J.D. and the Apple Blog.)

9.  FlightTrack (Available on App Store, $4.99 (Regular Version) or $9.99 (Pro Version)) - The FlightTrack app allows me to import my flight information from airline confirmation emails and track those flights with push alerts for flight changes.  Occasionally, I've been traveling and the FlightTrack app updated a relevant departure gate or baggage carousel before the monitors in the airport.

And, here is a "bonus" app that isn't quite a "must-have" but is very useful:

10.  Black's 9th (Available on App Store, $54.99) - The Black's Law Dictionary app puts the iconic legal dictionary at your fingertips.  I use the app regularly but couldn't bring myself to call it a "must-have" because it is so much more expensive than the others.  However, it's pretty reasonably priced when compared to the cost of the hardcopy version.

If you, dear reader, have your own personal favs, please let us know in the comment box below.

(jbl).

January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (2)

For a “Power Look,” Dress Like Margaret Thatcher

According to some sources, Margaret Thatcher is the fashion model for successful women in the corridors of power:

This is how OxfordStudent analyzes Thatcher's sartorial arsenal:

She was a woman who throughout her career managed to turn her clothes and accessories into clever mediums of communicating power. . . her signature pearls, shoulder pads, handbags, and lurid blue suits stand out as a medium of control.  .  .  . Her style was always precise and impeccable. It was a regal uniformed [sic], highly groomed and sharp. She opted for tailored suits so that she could stand quite literally ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with men.

Thatcher wore skirts, not pants.

A study by the University of Hertfodshire supports Thatcher's choice, finding that says skirts deliver a "better first impression." Reports today.msnbc.com about the U.K. study:

In the study, 300 participants (males and females aged from 14 to 67) were asked  to provide snap judgments of images featuring women in various office outfits—skirts and pantsuits made in the same exact fabric and color—with the faces blurred. They then gave feedback based on five factors: confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary, and flexibility. In just three seconds, they were able to determine they far preferred the more feminine options.

Here’s the link to the story in The Careerist.

(ljs)

January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facebook Privacy Settings – Advice for Job Seeking Students

With the recent changes to Facebook and what is displayed about users (timeline and the open graph), it is really important that law students who are job seeking understand what is “findable” by a potential employer.  This post on Mashable provides some useful information and advice.

You can find more information about Facebook privacy settings here and from the Facebook help center here.

Advise your students to take the time to review and manage their online image.

(dkh)

January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Where is the Practice of Law Going?

Here’s the answer given by Mark Tamminga, Leader in Innovation Strategies at Canada’s Growlings LLP:

I don’t think there’s any such thing as the practice of law. The field of law practice is really a category of disparate businesses that are as different one from the other as architecture is from engineering. I think the partnership model as a large law firm business vehicle is in serious trouble. Having hundreds of owners involved in the decision-making process bogs things down badly. Distributing all the profit at the end of a year also bogs things down badly. Those two things together mean trouble in a world of extraordinary change. Smaller, more nimble vehicles with more focused command and control structures and the ability (and desire!) to make significant capital investments hold a large advantage over law partnerships. What success we lawyers still enjoy is largely a factor of the market monopoly we hold and cannot fairly be attributed to any form of business acumen.

Here is the link to the interview.

(ljs)

January 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Editorial says law school is still a good investment

An article from the National Law Journal by William A. Chamberlain, Assistant Dean for Career Strategy and Advancement at Northwestern University School of Law.

Law schools are adapting to the shifting job market

Following the crash in 2008, large law firms drew criticism for the massive layoffs caused by the recession and, in part, by inflated associates' salaries. In 2011, law schools came under fire for charging excessive tuition, strapping graduates with unmanageable debt and for allegedly publishing incomplete or misleading employment outcomes to lure unsuspecting students.

To be sure, students graduating into this economy have many reasons to be frustrated. Just a few short years ago, jobs in the legal profession were plentiful — although perhaps we remember those times as better than they were. Many students could rely on on-campus interviews, job postings or applying directly to government offices to get their first jobs. Networking, contacting alumni, constant follow-up and frequent lack of response from potential employers were not the norm. Rejection happened, but there always seemed to be another opportunity just around the corner.

But shortly after students from the Class of 2011 enrolled, the traditional sources of jobs had contracted. Job searching today takes more work outside of one's comfort zone — both for students and career services professionals. It is not surprising that law schools, and in particular career offices, have become the lightning rods for this frustration. In good times, telling students that we could not give them jobs — but that we could give them tools to do a successful job search — seemed sufficient; nowadays, this just is not enough.

Beyond the media hype, what is really going on in career offices these days? The vast majority of career counselors genuinely want to help their students find jobs. We are career counselors not for the money or the U.S. News rankings, but because we want to help. The cynic might say that all career offices care about is their U.S. News & World Report employment percentage. While the U.S. News rankings are a challenge we must face each year, each student who graduates without a job — particularly those who are following our advice — is disheartening.

In these challenging times, career offices are under pressure to adopt aspects of the long-discarded mantle of "placement office," to try to place our unemployed students and recent grads. While it is seldom possible to literally "place" anyone, we can expand our advocacy and outreach efforts with potential employers and strive to match individual students or grads with alums and even non-alums in the practice areas and markets in which they are interested. The new economy requires that law schools devote more time, energy and resources than ever before toward outreach with employers. Cultivating and strengthening those relationships is imperative.

. . . .

So what . . . is ahead for 2012? With so much uncertainty in the world markets, it is difficult to predict whether entry-level hiring truly has hit bottom, but noticeable increases in the number of employers on campus last fall and in fall recruiting outcomes for the Class of 2013 may signal an increase in employment at graduation for that class. Lateral hiring continues to be on the upswing — an indicator, at least in past cycles, of better things to come in the entry-level market.

Even with high tuition and a contracted job market, the J.D. is still worth having. All sectors of the economy have been hit by the recession, but, in relative terms, getting a law degree still makes a lot of sense. Lawsuits make for good headlines, and law schools have been easy targets in a bad economy. However, attending law school is not, and has never been, a guarantee of an immediate six-figure salary, and it remains the threshold to a worthwhile profession for those who truly want to be there

Read the rest here.

(jbl).

January 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Two clinical law prof job openings at Cleveland-Marshall

CLEVELAND-MARSHALL COLLEGE OF LAW

C|M|LAW Seeks Two Clinical Professors to Join Faculty

Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (C|M|LAW) invites applications for two clinical professor positions to begin in the 2012-2013 academic year. The clinical professors will be non-tenure-track full-time members of the law faculty on 11-month contracts with full benefits and will be eligible for a long-term contract after five years. C|M|LAW strives to be a model of experiential education by offering a broad array of experiential learning opportunities in a variety of practice areas for our students. In furtherance of this goal, we seek clinical professors with an entrepreneurial spirit who will actively grow our experiential learning curriculum. The clinical professors will be responsible for providing experiential learning opportunities, or “engagement experiences,” designed to prepare our students to enter the legal marketplace with the skills and knowledge needed to make them successful lawyers committed to excellence and ethical practice. In this role, the clinical professors will (1) develop and oversee a variety of external engagement experiences supervised by adjunct faculty or onsite attorneys, (2) develop and teach a skills course to prepare students for their engagement experiences, and (3) directly supervise students in the representation of clients. We seek to fill one position with a transactional lawyer and the other with an experienced litigator.

Minimum qualifications: Candidates must be admitted or be eligible for admission to the Ohio bar.

Preferred qualifications: Candidates should have a strong academic record and significant transactional or litigation experience (5 years or more); ability to manage and supervise other attorneys; teaching experience and knowledge of pedagogical methods; familiarity with the Cleveland bar; strong interpersonal skills; and strong communication and writing skills.

To apply, candidates should submit the following items in pdf format by email to Rosa DelVecchio at rosa.delvecchio@law.csuohio.edu: a resume, a list of three references, and a cover letter addressed to Mark J. Sundahl, Chair of Hiring Committee. Candidates should indicate in their cover letter whether they are applying for the transactional or the litigation position. The search committee will begin to review applications on February 21, 2012 and the positions will remain open until filled. Hiring is contingent on maintaining existing levels of funding from the state.

Cleveland State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply. All applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

(jbl).

January 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gabby Giffords and Leadership

This post by John Baldoni at CBS news about Representative Giffords is inspiring.
As most are aware, Representative Giffords announced this week that she is leaving Congress to continue to work on her recovery. 

“The lesson for leaders: Sometimes you need to leave your position so you and the organization can do better. Giffords said she cannot devote the intense hours necessary to represent her district. She is stepping aside voluntarily so that someone one else can serve. …
A leader who demonstrates her vulnerabilities is a leader who is secure in her own self.”

I hope there has been some good discussion of leadership as a result of this remarkable example.

(dkh)

January 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)