Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Dog Teaches Us About Networking

Psychologist Pamela Enders learned some lessons about
networking by watching her dog. Here are the lessons:

  1. View small talk as a
         safe way of finding common ground and discovering if a deeper connection
         is possible.
  2. Show genuine interest in
         others and ask questions that will help them talk about themselves.
  3. Really listen. (Don’t
         allow your eyes to wander the room, looking for other  “better”
         prospects.)
  4. Figure out if you can
         provide something of value to others such as a helpful resource, a
         business tip, or a lead.
  5. Look to introduce people
         who have something in common or who might benefit from knowing each other.

What
do these lessons have to do with her yellow lab Rosie? You can read more here.

(ljs)

July 23, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Penn State to implement "health tax" on staff and faculty

Beginning in the fall, Penn State will levy a "health tax" (they're calling it a "surcharge") of $100 per month against any employee, including faculty, who fails a healthcare screening that includes a “full lipid profile,” blood-glucose test, body mass index and waist circumference measurement.  Yeow!  So even if you're in relatively good shape but pound Twinkies between work-outs which sends your lipids rocketing past the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you're going to have to pay-up.  Inside Higher Ed has the full story.  

Weigh In Or Pay 

It’s increasingly common for colleges and universities, like other businesses, to offer the employees they insure incentives for staying healthy. And that makes sense; experts agree it’s a lot cheaper to treat illnesses earlier rather than later, or to prevent them altogether. But instead of offering “carrots” to its employees for seeking preventive care, Pennsylvania State University starting this fall is opting for the “stick,” imposing a $100 monthly surcharge on those who don’t meet new health requirements.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Penn State’s “Take Care of Your Health” initiative has some faculty up in arms.

“I care about my health – I try to exercise every day and I eat pretty well,” Matthew Woessner, professor of political science at the Harrisburg campus. “But I resent that my employer requires that I submit to medical exams, essentially. There’s a fine line between encouraging employees to be healthy and requiring them to comply with health screenings.”

Larry Backer, a professor of law and past Faculty Senate president at Penn State’s main campus in University Park, agreed.

“The coercive feature is novel, at least at Penn State, though program administrators tried hard to mask it in the language of choice and consequences,” he said, noting the Senate wasn't consulted on the plan.

. . . .

By November, faculty and their spouses or domestic partners covered by university health care must complete an online wellness profile and physical exam. They’re also required to complete a more invasive biometric screening, including a “full lipid profile” and glucose, body mass index and waist circumference measurements. (Mobile units from the university’s insurance company, Highmark, will visit campuses to perform these screenings.)

Employees and their beneficiaries who don’t meet those requirements must pay the monthly insurance surcharge beginning in January.

“It is important to note that screening results are confidential and will not be used to remove or reduce health care benefits, nor raise an individual’s health care premium,” a university announcement reads. “The results only are for individual health awareness, illness prevention and wellness promotion.”

(jbl).

July 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Can You Start a Law Firm with No Money?

From the PhillyLaw Blog:

I think one of the most common questions I get asked is,
“Jordan, I want to start my own firm, but I have like $1700 in my savings
account. Can I start a law firm with no money?”

The simple answer is yes, yes you can. It doesn’t take
much more than a law license, a working computer, a printer, and a cell phone
to start a law firm.

But here is the better question. Will your law firm
succeed in the long term if you start it with no money?

Well, that answer is a bit more complex…

I think one of the most common questions I get asked is,
“Jordan, I want to start my own firm, but I have like $1700 in my savings
account. Can I start a law firm with no money?”

The simple answer is yes, yes you can. It doesn’t take
much more than a law license, a working computer, a printer, and a cell phone
to start a law firm.

But here is the better question. Will your law firm
succeed in the long term if you start it with no money?

Well, that answer is a bit more complex…

The answer is yes, you can start your firm very
inexpensively, but it takes some money to keep it running. Your students may
find the rest of the article sobering. The real message is save up some $$$
before you hang out that “open for business” shingle.

(ljs)

 

July 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Standards Review Committee Votes to Require 6 Credits of Experiential Courses

Last week, the ABA Standards Review Committee voted to increase the experiential learning requirement from 1 credit hour to 6 credits hours.  (here)  Law schools can satisfy this requirement through clinics, externships, or simulation courses.  While this is less than the 15 credit hours recommended by CLEA, it is a step in the right direction.  I am sure this issue will come up again at next month's meeting of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.

The committee also adopted a student-learning outcomes requirement.  One commentator describes the requirement as: "Law schools would have to establish a list of competencies that students must achieve and assess whether they are meeting those goals. This measure is intended to make schools look beyond bar-pass rates to determine whether they are meeting student needs. However, the recommended standard leaves law schools plenty of leeway in determining what the learning outcomes should be and how to assess them."

This change could turn out to be important.  Law schools need to look at more than what they want their students to learn; they must look at what their students actually learn.

The Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar will consider these  changes at the ABA meeting in San Francisco next month.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

U. C. Berkeley seeking professor for technology and public policy clinic

Here are the details:

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law seeks applicants for a full-time Assistant Clinical Professor of Law to serve as the Associate Director of Berkeley Law’s Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic (Samuelson Clinic) to begin July 1, 2014.

The Samuelson Clinic was the first, and is today the leading, program established at an American law school to provide clinical training for students in cases and other projects involving public interest issues raised in new technology controversies.  The Clinic represents consumers and nonprofit groups in intellectual property, communications policy, Internet free speech, and information privacy and security matters.  The Clinic, which promotes a public interest law and technology practice, is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.  

The Associate Director works with the Director to plan, develop and manage the Clinic, conducts academic and policy research, and fulfills service as a member of the full-time faculty.  In consultation with the Director and Clinic Fellows, the Associate Director is responsible for building a docket of cases and public policy projects for the Clinic.  He or she supervises students as they file friend-of-the-court briefs; proposes and comments on proposed legislation or regulations; develops policy white papers; counsels clients; and provides legal assistance in lawsuits that raise important issues relating to law and technology.  The Associate Director also co-teaches a seminar in conjunction with the Clinic, and is responsible for co-supervising any Fellows who are working with students enrolled in the Clinic.

Candidates must have excellent academic credentials, substantial teaching or practice experience, administrative ability, and a strong background in technology law.  The candidate should also have demonstrated potential for research and writing on law, policy, or the profession, and for teaching, supervising, and mentoring law students as they transition to their role as lawyers.  Admission to the California Bar, or willingness to become a member promptly, is essential.  The Associate Director will join the Berkeley Law faculty as a full-time Assistant Clinical Professor of Law with the potential of promotion to Clinical Professor of Law.

Additional information about Berkeley Law’s clinical program and the Samuelson Clinic may also be found at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/clinics/index.html and http://www.law.berkeley.edu/clinics/samuelsonclinic/.

Application Procedure: 

To apply please go to the following link: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF00160

Applications should include in pdf format a resume or CV, cover letter explaining why you are interested in this position and what you have to offer, writing sample and a list of three references with contact information.  Early applications are encouraged.  The final deadline for applications is August 15, 2013.

Letters of reference do not need to be sent at this time, but references of top candidates may be contacted later.  All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including third party (i.e., dossier service or career center) referees, to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality: http://apo.chance.berkeley.edu/evalltr.html.

The University of California is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

(jbl).

July 21, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joe Kimble Defends Plain Language Drafting

In the July 2013 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal, Professor Joe Kimble takes on
a critique of plain language drafting by Jack Stark. Joe refutes the objections to using
plain language and takes apart, piece by piece, Stark’s example of a plain
language federal regulation allegedly gone wrong. 

You can access the article here. Worth reading.

(ljs)

July 21, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chief Financial Officers Are Pessimistic About Universities’ Financial Sustainability

In a new survey by Inside Higher Ed and Gallup, barely a quarter of campus chief financial officers(27 percent) express strong confidence in the viability of their institution's
financial model over five years, and that number drops in half (to 13 percent)
when they are asked to look out over a 10-year horizon.

Asked to assess the sustainability
of the business models of various sectors of higher education, they take a more
negative than positive view on several of them (nonselective private and
non-flagship public institutions, and for-profit colleges).

And more than 6 in 10 CFOs disagree
or strongly disagree with the statement that "reports that a significant
number of higher education institutions are facing existential financial crisis
are overblown."

You can read lots more here.

(ljs)

July 20, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experiential Learning Textbook on Business Negotiations

One of the best ways to facilitate education reform is to write experiential learning textbooks.  Such textbooks allow professors to teach courses that encompass the latest in learning research without having to start from scratch.

Daniel D. Bradlow & Jay Gary Finkelstein have just published an experiential text on business negotiations, Negotiating Business Transactions: An Extended Simulations Course.

They introduce their book: "The textbook accompanies our transactional law and practical skills course, International Business Negotiations, which we developed at American University Washington College of Law. The course is also profiled on the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers (ETL) website. The textbook, together with its online teacher’s manual, is the first book designed to facilitate the adoption of an extended transactional simulation course using experiential learning and collaborative teaching pedagogy."

The authors describe their book: "The course and textbook are designed to introduce students to business transactional practice and provide an innovative curriculum offering that focuses on building transactional and negotiation skills through an interactive, hands-on learning model, which replicates issues faced in an international practice. The course satisfies the ABA requirements for practical skills training."

"The course showcases collaborative teaching methodology by pairing classes at two different law schools or by pairing two parts of one class at the same law school to conduct the semester-long negotiation (each group of students representing one party to the transaction), thereby bringing a heightened element of reality to the training exercise. After conducting their analysis and developing their strategy, students must work in teams to negotiate with the opposing group to achieve a mutually acceptable result, memorialized in a letter of intent."

"The text includes the full simulation module (domestic and international versions), background materials for the business and legal context of the transaction, and chapters on transactional lawyering, negotiation skills, ethics of negotiation, and other key issues in business transactional practice. Also included are sample documents from comparable transactions that are illustrative of the legal agreements that would be used in an actual transaction. The teacher’s manual includes a sample syllabus, negotiating instructions for each side, materials on the pedagogy of the course, and detailed lecture and topic outlines."

Other law schools have successfully used the author's materials: "The International Business Negotiations course, which is one of the first ETL-profiled courses to be added to the curriculum at multiple law schools, has been well received by students at each school where it has been taught and meets a timely need for more practical skills and transactional law training in law school. The course was offered at five law schools during the 2012-2013 academic year and is being offered by nine law schools during the upcoming academic year (two of which will offer it in each semester), including four ETL consortium schools and five of the top 15 law schools: American University Washington College of Law (WCL), Berkeley Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Hastings Law School, Northwestern Law School, Stanford Law School, University of Dundee (Scotland), University of Virginia Law School, and Washington and Lee University School of Law."

Daniel D. Bradlow is a tenured faculty member at American University Washington College of Law (WCL),and Jay Gary Finkelstein is an adjunct faculty member there who is also a transactional partner at DLA Piper US.

This is exactly the type of textbook that students need to prepare them for the complex business world.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 20, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 19, 2013

More on the value of a law degree

Since the blogosphere first took note of the article by Professors Simkovic and McIntyre finding that a law degree adds, on average, $1 million to lifetime earnings beyond an undergraduate degree, several commentators have weighed in on both sides of the issue.  Earlier we told you about a report from Inside Higher Ed in which Professor Tamanaha expressed criticism of the study's conclusion because it focuses on the average salary which he believes inappropriately blends the better outcomes achieved by graduates of elite schools with the lower salaries of those who graduate from lesser schools. 

In this column from the NYT's Dealbook, Professor Steven Davidoff (Ohio State), who has written before about the economic value of a law degree, defends the findings of Professors Simkovic and McIntyre.  And the Washington Post also has a very detailed and favorable discussion of the study's conclusions here.  Professor Brian Leiter adds his endorsement as well here.

On the flipside, Professor Campos has a three part criticism here, here and here in which, among other points, he argues the authors should have focused on the median salary, not omitted the cost of obtaining a law degree and that the historical data they relied on doesn't predict future outcomes for law grads in light of a job market that isn't generating enough positions to accomodate the supply of new lawyers each year.

(jbl).

July 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

You Can’t Charge for Brushing Up on Basics

A Manhattan lawyer was ordered to turn over all but $750 of more
than $22,000 he collected from two clients after a judge determined the
attorney billed the clients up to $450 an hour for time he spent brushing up on
basic legal principles.

The clients, Gerald and Vivian Kleinerman, hired Ronny Buni in
March 2011 to represent them in litigation against their co-op board, which was
already in progress. In June 2011, Buni told the Kleinermans that he would not
do any more work on the matter, citing an unpaid invoice for $6,239.

The matter went to the court system's fee dispute resolution
program, an arbitration program pursuant to Part 137 of the Rules of the Chief
Administrator. An arbitrator awarded the Kleinermans $5,000.

However, Buni initiated a new case in Manhattan Civil Court
against the couple, seeking to recover the $6,239 bill minus the $5,000
arbitration award. The Kleinermans, for their part, sought return of all the
money they had paid to Buni throughout the litigation, a total of $22,371.

Manhattan Civil Court Judge Frank Nervo (See Profile) ruled on July 1 in Buni v. Kleinerman, 000160/12, not only that Buni cannot
recover any more money from the Kleinermans, but that he must remit most of
what they already paid him.

You can read more here.

(ljs)

July 19, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Neil Dilloff on Bridging the Gap between Legal Education and the Practice of Law

Professor Neil Joel Dilloff has posted an article on SSRN concerning legal education and the practice of law.

Law School Training: Bridging the Gap between Legal Education and the Practice of Law

Abstract:
Over the past several years, there has been a plethora of articles by law school administrators, faculty members, legal foundations, practicing lawyers, judges, various commentators, and national, state, and city bar associations about the perceived gap between what currently is being taught in the nation's law schools and what various practicing members of the legal profession believe needs to be taught. In addition, law schools have conducted various symposia in which law school administrators, faculty, and practitioners have met and discussed ways to improve law school curricula so that what a student learns is immediately useful to the student, and to his or her employer, when the student enters the workplace.

The backdrop for the renewed attention to making legal education more practical has been the dismal job market for lawyers, which is now entering its fifth year. Law graduates are scrambling for jobs in a buyer's market. Employers are looking for applicants who have the training, legal maturity, and experience to become instant contributors to the productivity of the firm, corporation, or agency. While few employers expect recent law graduates to be able to meet job demands without some acclimation and on-the-job training, many employers no longer have the time, will, or finances to dedicate to training new lawyers. Accordingly, those law schools that are able to turn out "finished" work-ready graduates will move to the head of the pack, and their graduates will have a leg up in this uncertain job market. This Article will explore ways for law schools to accomplish this mission.

(Scott Fruehwald

July 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tip of the day: "Follow your dreams . . . as long as they are realistic and pay reasonable well"

We live in a culture in which young people are constantly told that with enough hard work, anything is possible.  "Follow your dreams" they are told.  Optimism is good.  Believing in oneself is also good and it's a vital part of every teacher's job to encourage students to reach their full potential.  But that optimism also needs to be tempered with some realism as the law school crisis has made abundantly clear to thousands upon thousands of law students who can't find employment no matter how hard they try simply because the jobs aren't there.  Law teachers at lower tier schools in particular have to be more careful and responsible in the messages they send to students since it's a fine line between offering appropriate encouragement and enabling an unrealistic dream.  A culture of grade inflation makes things worse because nearly every student gets the message that their work is "special." 

That's why this short editorial from the Chronicle of Higher Ed, A Father's Sad Truth, is such a breath of fresh air.  In it, a faculty member at liberal arts college who just became a new father vows to level with his children in a way that he wishes someone had done with him; follow your dreams but only up to a point.  The world may not place an economic value on your dreams that is equal to  your passion for them.  The cold, hard reality is that you're going to have to pay the rent too and that sometimes means finding a different dream.  

(jbl). 

July 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump Wins $5 Million Slander Award Against Beauty

A beauty queen's claim that the Miss USA Pageant run by Donald
Trump was rigged has cost her $5 million in damages for defamation.

Southern District Judge J. Paul Oetken on Tuesday upheld an
arbitration award against Sheena Monnin, the former Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012
who alleged on Facebook and the "Today" show that the 2012 pageant in
Las Vegas had a "script" dictating the final 16 and the top five
finishers   
  
  Oetken also criticized Monnin's attorney, Richard Klineburger,
for refusing to participate in the arbitration before Theodore Katz in 2012,
saying his "ineptitude" led to a result that was perhaps unfair to
Monnin, who "undeniably is suffering from her poor choice of
counsel."

You can read more here.

(ljs)

July 18, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New study on the financial value of a law degree

A law professor from Seton Hall and a business professor from Rutgers have teamed up to publish a study showing that over a lifetime, the mean, pre-tax value added of a law degree is about $1 million.   The study found that even for lower ranked law schools, the economic value of a law degree still justifies the decision to enroll.  Inside Higher Ed has a good summary of the study here including some commentary from Kyle McEntee of the Law School Transparency Project and Professor Brian Tamanaha who says the study is flawed because it doesn't compare lifetime earnings for those who go to top ranked schools versus lower ranked ones but instead "blends the winners and losers" to come up with the $1,000,000 figure.  Over at Above the Law, Elie Mystal has his own take on the study's conclusions.

Here's the abstract of the study which is available on SSRN:
Legal academics and journalists have marshaled statistics purporting to show that enrolling in law school is irrational. We investigate the economic value of a law degree and find the opposite: given current tuition levels, the median and even 25th percentile annual earnings premiums justify enrollment. For most law school graduates, the net present value of a law degree typically exceeds its cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We improve upon previous studies by tracking lifetime earnings of a large sample of law degree holders. Previous studies focused on starting salaries, generic professional degree holders, or the subset of law degree holders who practice law. We also include unemployment and disability risk rather than assume continuous full time employment.

After controlling for observable ability sorting, we find that a law degree is associated with a 60 percent median increase in monthly earnings and 50 percent increase in median hourly wages. The mean annual earnings premium of a law degree is approximately $53,300 in 2012 dollars. The law degree earnings premium is cyclical and recent years are within historic norms.

We estimate the mean pre-tax lifetime value of a law degree as approximately $1,000,000.

A powerpoint presentation version of this article is available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2270175.
(jbl).

July 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court’s Guide for Oral Argument

Your students may be interested in the guide that the U.S. Supreme Court provides for attorneys preparing to argue a case.  It covers everything from how to get into the Supreme Court building to how to prepare for the argument. You can access it here.

(ljs)

July 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Salinger Anniversary

Missed it by one day. 
On July 16, 1951, “Catcher in the Rye” was published. Although it’s
Salinger’s most popular book, it never impressed me. But my all time favorite
book is “Franny and Zooey.” Aside from the book’s contents, I still marvel at
Salinger’s ability to write dialogue that sounds authentic.

(ljs)

July 17, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Evaporating Trust in American Legal Education

Kyle P. McEntee of Law School Transparency has written an important article on the evaporating trust in American Legal Education.

Abstract: Through a combination of ever-increasing and unfair costs, disturbing self-dealing, and — most widely publicized — deceptive marketing, law schools (justly) face historic skepticism about the services they provide and their methods of promoting those services. Persistent doubts about educational quality supplement concerns about law school economics.

A society of laws depends in part on the legal profession’s credibility: If the society doesn’t trust lawyers, it doesn’t trust the legal system. As such, all lawyers must recognize a duty to build trust through good behavior and continued enforcement of professional rules of conduct. Law schools and their agents harm the whole profession when they breach those duties. (emphasis added)

Though the ABA Section of Legal Education has made efforts to hold law schools accountable, it’s not apparent that the ABA seal is enough to earn back trust. This essay suggests a simple, efficient certification program for law schools to build reputation while helping rebuild public trust in the profession. The program increases the quality and consistency of consumer information (employment, financial aid, etc.), and it allows individual schools to assure prospective students that they are committed to best practices. The certification builds on the essential foundation set by the ABA to reignite the trust that the legal profession needs law schools to hold.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pew Research Center's study on effect of internet on student writing skills

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has just issue the results of a survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers about what they see as the effect of the internet on middle and high school student writing skills.  There's both good and bad news.   On the plus side, of the 2,462 teachers surveyed, the vast majority said that digital technologies encourage student creativity and collaboration in their writing.  On the downside, a majority also said that digital tools encourage students to take shortcuts, put less time into their writing and thus write more quickly and carelessly. 

You can access the full survey results here. Below is a summary prepared by the study's authors.

Overall, [the] AP and NWP teachers see digital technologies benefitting student writing in several ways:

  • 96% agree (including 52% who strongly agree) that digital technologies “allow students to share their work with a wider and more varied audience”
  • 79% agree (23% strongly agree) that these tools “encourage greater collaboration among students”
  • 78% agree (26% strongly agree) that digital technologies “encourage student creativity and personal expression”

The combined effect of these impacts, according to this group of AP and NWP teachers, is a greater investment among students in what they write and greater engagement in the writing process.

. . . .

In focus groups, these AP and NWP teachers shared some concerns and challenges they face teaching writing in today’s digital environment.  Among them are:

  • an increasingly ambiguous line between “formal” and “informal” writing and the tendency of some students to use informal language and style in formal writing assignments
  • the increasing need to educate students about writing for different audiences using different “voices” and “registers”
  • the general cultural emphasis on truncated forms of expression, which some feel are hindering students willingness and ability to write longer texts and to think critically about complicated topics
  • disparate access to and skill with digital tools among their students
  • challenging the “digital tool as toy” approach many students develop in their introduction to digital tools as young children

Survey results reflect many of these concerns, though teachers are sometimes divided on the role digital tools play in these trends.  Specifically:

  • 68% say that digital tools make students more likely—as opposed to less likely or having no impact—to take shortcuts and not put effort into their writing
  • 46% say these tools make students more likely to “write too fast and be careless”
  • Yet, while 40% say today’s digital technologies make students more likely to “use poor spelling and grammar” another 38% say they make students LESS likely to do this

. . . .

Asked to assess their students’ performance on nine specific writing skills, AP and NWP tended to rate their students “good” or “fair” as opposed to “excellent” or “very good.”  Students were given the best ratings on their ability to “effectively organize and structure writing assignments” with 24% of teachers describing their students as “excellent” or “very good” in this area. Students received similar ratings on their ability to “understand and consider multiple viewpoints on a particular topic or issue.”  But ratings were less positive for synthesizing material into a cohesive piece of work, using appropriate tone and style, and constructing a strong argument. 

Hat to Inside Higher Ed.

(jbl).

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools' Untapped Resources

Professor Wes Reber Porter has posted a short essay on the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Website entitled Law Schools’ Untapped Resources: Using Advocacy Professors to Achieve Real Change in Legal Education.

Professor Porter's thesis is that, for real change to happen in legal education, "law schools must involve and elevate their former second-class citizens on the faculty: advocacy professors, clinicians, and legal writing instructors. These faculty members already teach, and have long taught, in the way that would represent real change in law schools."

He continues: "For this advocacy professor, the most-effective model for real change across the law school curriculum must include three elements:

  1. True integration of doctrine and practical simulations aimed at teaching skills and values;
  2. Individualized approach to students and their learning styles: more assignments, assessment, and attention to individuals who will join our profession; and
  3. Genuine, detailed feedback from the professor for all exercises and assignments."

He notes that "The advocacy professors at your institution, like clinicians and legal writing professors, lead courses that include these elements. These colleagues have, from the outset, effectively blended doctrine and simulations, taught skills and values, interacted with individual students, catered to different learning styles, designed and demonstrated exercises and teaching scenarios, demanded students complete many assignments other than a final exam, and provided endless oral and written feedback."

He concludes, "Law school faculties will discuss “integrated courses,” “skills labs,” “experiential learning,” and other code words for real change. But don’t reinvent the wheel in your reform efforts. Advocacy professors, like your clinicians and legal writing professors, have mastered this pedagogy."

I couldn't agree more.  Advocacy professors have been developing new and effective approaches to legal education for years.  They have been presenting the new approaches at conferences, and they have been using them in the classroom.  Advocacy professors can lead the way to educating students for the 21st century.

(Scott Fruehwald

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Masters Degrees for NonLawyers

An increasing number of law schools are offering short courses of studies for nonlawyers. From the National Law Journal:

Emory is among nearly 30 law schools that have or soon will offer a master's degree for nonlawyers, up from just a handful two years ago, according to the school's director of graduate programs, Lynn Labuda. The programs differ slightly in name, structure and cost, but they generally are marketed to working professionals. While the movement remains in its early stages, to administrators across the country it represents a promising counterpoint to waning interest in the traditional three-year J.D. degree.

DECLINING ECONOMY THE SPUR

"The catalyst has been economic," said Douglas Sylvester, dean of Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, which next year will expand its eight-year-old Master of Legal Studies (MLS) program to include a track for nonlawyers who want to work with ­patents. "I would expect that we will see more of this in the future, unless the legal economy improves."

You can read more here.

(ljs)

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)