Saturday, January 25, 2014
From Viva Chen at The Careerist (only slightly humorous):
1. Law firms and investment banks will tout their work/life balance initiatives. Don't worry—they don't mean it. Just keep billing those 2,500 hours, and everyone will be happy.
2. Law firms will insist that they want to hire for emotional intelligence. Again, don't worry, because partners have no clue what emotional intelligence means.
3. Law firms will say that they want to hire law grads with practical skills. They don't mean that either, because a middling Harvard Law School grad will trump an honors grad from Ohio State with amazing practical skills any day.
4. The stay-at-home husband will be the latest must-have. Ambitious women will realize that the best (only) way to get ahead and have a family is to get what men have always had: a stay-at-home spouse. It's nice to have someone pick up the kids and the dry cleaning while you're climbing the corporate ladder. Plus, what's cuter than a big guy in an apron?
5. Middle-age women will still be confused about what they should wear at the office: Should they dress like Madonna, Angela Merkel, or Patti Smith? What "look" will get women ahead—sexy, dowdy, earthy? So many role models. So much confusion.
6. Women will be confused about how to negotiate for better pay/credit. Be direct and ask for what you deserve. But be careful not to come off as a shrill bitch. So be demure and forceful. Got that?
7. Women will just be confused. About everything.
8. Men will continue to be in control. While women are wrestling with cleavage/power ties, kids/career, flex-time/full-time, home cooking/takeout, etc., men will keep their eyes on their careers and rise to the top.
9. Compliance lawyers will be top sex symbols. That's because they're the only ones in this market who will have job security.
1. Law schools will start rethinking the system of charging high tuition and then discounting it for students that they want.
2. Parents paying full tuition for their kids will realize that they are subsidizing other students who get the discounts. They will be angry.
Friday, January 24, 2014
The new issue of The Journal of Dispute Resolution is devoted to teaching law students practical legal skills
The Journal of Dispute Resolution is a student-edited, academic journal published semi-annually by the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution. The latest issue, 2013 Vol. 1, is entitled Overcoming Barriers in Preparing Law Students for Real-World Practice" and contains several very informative and helpful articles devoted to the teaching of practical legal skills training published in connection with a 2012 symposium sponsored by the CSDR. Here's the table of contents:
John Lande, Reforming legal education to prepare law students optimally for real-world practice, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 1.
David M. Moss, The hidden curriculum of legal education: toward a holistic model for reform, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 19.
Judith Welch Wegner, Cornerstones, curb cuts, and legal education reform, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 33.
Hon. Solomon Oliver, Jr., Educating law students for the practice: if I had my druthers, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 85.
Lisa A. Kloppenberg, Training the heads, hands and hearts of tomorrow's lawyers: a problem solving approach, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 103.
Clark D. Cunningham, What do clients want from their lawyers? 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 143.
Barbara Glesner Fines, Out of the shadows: what legal research instruction reveals about incorporating skills throughout the curriculum, 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 159.
Note, Joanna L. Byrne, The labor-relations privilege: how far can we tip the scales to hide the truth? (Peterson v. State, 280 P.3d 559, 2012.), 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 197.
Note, Rachel M. Hirshberg, You can't have your trust and defeat it too: why mandatory arbitration provisions in trusts are enforceable, and why state courts are getting it wrong. (Rachal v. Reitz, 347 S.W.3d 305, 2011.), 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 213.
Note, Ryan Nichols, Read between the lines: considering the party agreement when determining arbitrability in bilateral investment treaties. (Republic of Argentina v. BG Group PLC, 764 F. Supp. 2d 21, 2011, rev'd, 665 F.3d 1363, 2012.), 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 233.
Note, Kristen Sanocki, Determining arbitrability of the dispute: the clear and unmistakable standard for choice of law in arbitration agreements. (Cape Flattery Ltd. V. Titan Mar., LLC, 647 F.3d 914, 2011.), 2013 J. Disp. Resol. 251.
From the Huffington Post:
A Florida gun rights group is suing the University of Florida claiming that a school-wide firearms ban barring students from keeping weapons in dormitories breaks both state and federal laws.
The lawsuit is the second time in recent months Florida Carry Inc has taken one of the state's 12 public universities to court over gun control policies. On Dec. 10 a state appeals court ruled 12-3 that the University of North Florida violated state law when it prohibited a woman from storing a loaded gun in her car.
The court said the state legislature ultimately holds the power to regulate guns, trumping local governments and universities. For decades, the legislature has spurned tighter gun control.
The latest suit raises concern over whether students can keep guns in their dorm room, which Florida Carry believes qualify as homes and second amendment protection.
You can read more here. I have a hard time imagining anything riskier than guns in a college dorm.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Check out the video below from Cardozo Law School touting a variety of legal skills opportunities offered by the school during the month of January. From the school's website:
Cardozo Law will start 2014 with a bang, with over 250 students spending January in “law & life” intensives designed to meet the demands of the changing legal landscape. Lawyering Skills Month consists of experiences that utilize simulation and immersion programs to transform the educational process. During this time, the school becomes a workshop for law in action.
Multiple “law & life” intensives will be conducted on campus. Two overseas human rights seminars will take place in Ecuador and Cambodia. In addition, Cardozo offers a Washington D.C. practice intensive, and a weeklong program in public service.
Yesterday, I posted a list of schools that had cut tuition. I failed to include Ohio Northern:
Ohio Northern University has announced a reduction of tuition for the Pettit College of Law starting with the 2014-15 academic school year. Called The ONU Law Promise, this new initiative is intended to make an ONU legal education more affordable, to reduce student loan debt, to sustain academic quality, and to prepare students for long-term success in their legal careers.
Beginning with the 2014-15 academic year, the College of Law will reduce its tuition rate levels by 20-25 percent off its 2013-14 tuition rates (reduced by $8,926 to a rate of $24,800). While the tuition reduction helps make a legal education more affordable, everything else about ONU’s innovative law program will remain the same. Rick Bales, dean of the College of Law said, “The ONU Law Promise is about affordable excellence. We believe every student should have the opportunity to receive a private legal education at a price that allows for long-term success and minimal debt.”
Current law students also will see the same reduction in tuition to $24,800. Many students – those with no scholarship or with a scholarship less than $8,926 per year – will see a net tuition decrease of up to $8,926 per year. Other students – those with a scholarship of $8,926 or more per year who maintain their academic requirement for their scholarship – will pay no more net tuition in 2014-15 than they did in 2013-14, because the tuition reduction will be offset by a commensurate reduction in their scholarship awards. All students will benefit, however, from the University’s pledge to not increase nominal tuition for the 2014-15 academic year. - See more at: http://law.onu.edu/news/3657#sthash.g8uxkXjg.dpuf
My apologies for the oversight.
[T]he University of Iowa (16 percent), the University of Arizona (11 percent for in-state residents and 8 percent for out-of-state residents), the University of Cincinnati (30 percent for out-of-state residents), and Pennsylvania State (nearly 50 percent for in-state residents).
And Roger Williams University Law School is cutting tuition by About $7,600.
You can read more here.
This essay reviews the recent criticisms of legal education (costs, loss of job opportunities, content of curricula) and suggests that law students might be better served by studying and learning different things in law school – not only conventional Socratic, doctrinal and even, adversarial clinical education, but organizational development, problem solving, decision making, group dynamics, dispute resolution and dispute system design. The article also contrasts two other professions – one newer (business consulting) and another about the same age (architecture) for more adaptable models of educational change and professional task definitions and realignments. Rather than continuing the “negative” critique of current forms of legal education, this essay suggests a slightly more optimistic course for why studying and practicing law, as a more broadly defined discipline, should still be attracting both students and faculty who care about making the world more just, fair, efficient, effective, and peaceful.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The new tools are part of its cloud based Concourse platform launched last year for corporate and government legal departments. These new drafting tools are designed to assist transactional lawyers by permitting them to scan documents for errors, inconsistencies, "missing information" and help identify problems like cross-reference discrepancies. For litigators, TR's new Drafting Assistant works with your existing word processing software to help you better prepare court documents. For instance, one feature called "Authority Compiler" allows users to download and compile a brief, with the authorities automatically pulled from WestlawNext and appended to the documents. It will also automatically format the document so you can share it with clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel and even the judge.
It sound like the lawyer-bots have taken one more step towards world domination.
You can read the full TR press release describing the new suite of Concourse legal drafting tools and related products here.
Villanova University School of Law is launching a new "Innovation Scholars" program, funding up to 50 full scholarships for the incoming class of fall 2014. "Innovation Scholars" will receive full-tuition for all three years of study.
The Center for Law, Entrepreneurship and Innovation transforms the educational experience at Villanova Law by immersing all students, regardless of their chosen field, in the practical application of their law studies and preparing them for today's business-centric legal practices with required courses such as Financial Literacy for Lawyers and Business Aspects of the Law. In Business Aspects of the Law, legal practitioners along with faculty members explain the nuts and bolts of the structure, personnel and economics of a law firm. Designed in consultation with business, financial and legal service leaders, Financial Literacy for Lawyers provides valuable lessons on analyzing financial statements, and understanding important business concepts, such as the time value of money, financing options, property valuation and the steps in a transaction. The Center is also home to the new Clinic for Law and Entrepreneurship, where students put to use the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom by assisting start-ups and entrepreneurs in the formation of new ventures.
The Villanova Law education - with its focus on business principles and experential learning - provides our graduates with the skills needed to succeed in today's highly competitive market.
Innovation Scholars eligibility requirements:
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher (as calculated by LSAC)
- LSAT score of 157 or higher
- Innovation Scholars must maintain good academic standing
You can read more here.
From the ABA Journal blog:
A lawyer arguing on behalf of a Wyoming family fighting the government’s effort to reclaim a strip of land got off to a rough start in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
According to SCOTUSblog, “Lechner didn’t answer, simply standing silent for a lengthy embarrassed moment. Lawyers at that lectern are, it seems, supposed to extemporize.”
Justice Stephen G. Breyer then jumped in, telling Lechner, "It's all right."
You can read more here.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
From The Guardian:
I am one of the lucky ones. In just under eight months time, provided there are no major hiccups or incidents between now and then, I shall be a qualified solicitor. It will have taken me a short nine years from leaving school to qualify.
Leaving school I was young, eager and bright eyed; excited about the adventures that lay ahead at university. I was also naïve and ill-informed. While I was aware of the long hours and laborious reading that was involved in a law degree, I was oblivious to the world that lay beyond graduation.
In 2009, at the young age of 22 and having no assets whatsoever, I had little trouble obtaining a professional loan in the amount of £25,000 to cover LPC fees and living expenses. At this stage I had not even made one application for a training contract.
Like all other LPC and BTPC providers, my law school was happy to take nearly £12,000 in fees from me with no consideration given to whether I had any prospect of obtaining a training contract at the end of the course. At no point was I ever told that some city firms were receiving well over 100 applications per training contract position. I was still eager and naïve.
I am not alone. Many embark on the LPC or BTPC with no certainty of a job at the end of it. Those, who like me take out a professional loan to cover their fees and expenses, are expected to begin repaying that loan a few months following the completion of the course. I was fortunate enough to fall into a paralegal role almost immediately on completing my LPC course; others are not so fortunate.
Competition for obtaining a training contract or pupilage is extremely high. The Legal Education and Training Review final report published in June 2013 says: "Inevitably, some will spend considerable sums in pursuit of a career that they are never likely to achieve."
. . . .
Continue reading here.
From the Disciplinary Board ofthe Supreme Court of Pennsylvania:
Seriously – is there anyone left who really believes a long-lost relative in Nigeria is going to send him $19 million upon the accommodation of paying a few thousand dollars in “expenses”? Apparently so, and his lawyer does too.
The Supreme Court of Iowa has suspended the license of Robert Allan Wright Jr. Wright represented one Floyd Madison in a criminal case. Madison advised Wright that he had documents indicating he would receive an inheritance of $18.8 million from a long-lost Nigerian cousin, upon payment of $177,660 in taxes on the inheritance. Wright agreed to help Madison obtain the money for a fee of 10 percent.
To raise the funds, Wright persuaded five clients to lend him money upon a promise of large returns. Eventually the clients lent Wright over $100,000. Wright paid the funds out to the persons seeking money for “estate taxes,” who identified themselves as the “Central Bank of Nigeria,” the “African Union,” the President of Nigeria, and a lawyer named Okey Okafor. Madison was informed that the money would be transferred to a Spanish diplomat in Madrid in the form of two suitcases full of cash, which he could pick up in Madrid. Madison traveled to Madrid and saw two suitcases, but (surprisingly enough) he did not take possession of them and did not recover any cash.
The Iowa court found that Wright violated several Rules of Professional Conduct relating to competence, conflicts of interest, and dishonesty, related to his failure to disclose his interests and the risky nature of the transaction. A charge that he assisted a client in conduct he knew to be illegal or fraudulent was withdrawn, as counsel for the Board noted that “Wright appears to have honestly believed — and continues to believe — that one day a trunk full of . . . one hundred dollar bills is going to appear upon his office doorstep.” The Board described this conduct as “delusional, but not fraudulent.”
Wright’s license was suspended with no possibility of reinstatement for one year.
The Court noted that “a cursory internet search using the query ‘anti-terrorism certificate’ in early 2011 would have revealed evidence that Madison’s dream of a Nigerian inheritance was probably based on a scam.” This is another illustration of a trend we have previously noted, holding that a lawyer’s duties of competence and diligence include a reasonable familiarity with and routine use of commonly available technological tools.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Professors R. Lawrence Deesem and Gregory M. Stein think so:
There has been vigorous debate in recent months over whether a law degree is a worthwhile investment. Much of this discussion has focused on whether the economic costs of obtaining a degree pay off over a lawyer’s career. This conversation has largely overlooked the many non-economic benefits of a law degree. In this essay, we seek to re-introduce several non-economic factors back into this important dialogue. We suggest that prospective law school applicants would be wise to consider these non-economic factors in addition to economic ones.
The Economist on the affect of technology on employment across the economy including the legal services industry
This article from The Economist surveys the opinions of several economists on the impact of technology on employment in the near and long term, including white collar occupations like the legal services industry. An excerpt:
. . . .
For much of the 20th century, those arguing that technology brought ever more jobs and prosperity looked to have the better of the debate. Real incomes in Britain scarcely doubled between the beginning of the common era and 1570. They then tripled from 1570 to 1875. And they more than tripled from 1875 to 1975. Industrialisation did not end up eliminating the need for human workers. On the contrary, it created employment opportunities sufficient to soak up the 20th century’s exploding population. Keynes’s vision of everyone in the 2030s being a lot richer is largely achieved. His belief they would work just 15 hours or so a week has not come to pass.
When the sleeper wakes
Yet some now fear that a new era of automation enabled by ever more powerful and capable computers could work out differently. They start from the observation that, across the rich world, all is far from well in the world of work. The essence of what they see as a work crisis is that in rich countries the wages of the typical worker, adjusted for cost of living, are stagnant. In America the real wage has hardly budged over the past four decades. Even in places like Britain and Germany, where employment is touching new highs, wages have been flat for a decade. Recent research suggests that this is because substituting capital for labour through automation is increasingly attractive; as a result owners of capital have captured ever more of the world’s income since the 1980s, while the share going to labour has fallen.
At the same time, even in relatively egalitarian places like Sweden, inequality among the employed has risen sharply, with the share going to the highest earners soaring. For those not in the elite, argues David Graeber, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics, much of modern labour consists of stultifying “bullshit jobs”—low- and mid-level screen-sitting that serves simply to occupy workers for whom the economy no longer has much use. Keeping them employed, Mr Graeber argues, is not an economic choice; it is something the ruling class does to keep control over the lives of others.
Be that as it may, drudgery may soon enough give way to frank unemployment. There is already a long-term trend towards lower levels of employment in some rich countries.
. . . .
A 2013 paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, of the University of Oxford, argued that jobs are at high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted. That includes accountancy, legal work, technical writing and a lot of other white-collar occupations.
. . . .
Even after computers beat grandmasters at chess (once thought highly unlikely), nobody thought they could take on people at free-form games played in natural language. Then Watson, a pattern-recognising supercomputer developed by IBM, bested the best human competitors in America’s popular and syntactically tricksy general-knowledge quiz show “Jeopardy!” Versions of Watson are being marketed to firms across a range of industries to help with all sorts of pattern-recognition problems. Its acumen will grow, and its costs fall, as firms learn to harness its abilities.
The machines are not just cleverer, they also have access to far more data. The combination of big data and smart machines will take over some occupations wholesale; in others it will allow firms to do more with fewer workers. Text-mining programs will displace professional jobs in legal services. Biopsies will be analysed more efficiently by image-processing software than lab technicians. Accountants may follow travel agents and tellers into the unemployment line as tax software improves. Machines are already turning basic sports results and financial data into good-enough news stories.
Jobs that are not easily automated may still be transformed. New data-processing technology could break “cognitive” jobs down into smaller and smaller tasks.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
You pose a question to your class, and no one responds. What next? In 2009, Michael Hunter Schwartz offered the best answer at the Institute for Law Teaching website. Here it is.
Before class, you carefully crafted your question, thinking through all of the possible responses so that you can maximize student learning. Now, you're in class. You unleash the question, and . . . silence. You can hear the crickets chirping. No one raises her hand to take the wonderful bait you crafted. Now what?! Should you verbally rewrite your question? Should you step in and answer the question yourself?
Wait. If you modify your question, your students might now feel they have two questions to answer and may be even more confused. Trust your students. The longer you wait, the more they will be able to think through the analysis. And, after all, few lawyers regularly tackle challenging problems in ten or fifteen seconds. If you just wait, a student will step in and fill the silence.
But, what if there's still no response and now it has been a minute? Let your students discuss the question with their peers for a minute or two and then try your question again. Listen to their discussions; you may learn that your question was confusing in some way you didn't anticipate. We suspect you will, instead, hear lots of students engaging in analysis.
Good teachers know they do not need to be talking for their students to be learning. Your students' extra thinking and discussing time will produce more widespread learning than either a verbal re-write or a professor answer.
Excerpts (from here):
"Every year the fishermen of Taiji, in Wakayama prefecture, drive hundreds of dolphins into a cove, select some for sale to marine parks, release some back into the sea and kill the rest for meat."
"In an unusual move, U.S. ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy has expressed deep concern over the traditional dolphin hunt in western Japan, where local fisherman corral the mammals into a secluded bay before killing many for meat. '(I am) deeply concerned by inhumanness of drive hunt dolphin killing,' Kennedy tweeted at the weekend, adding that the U.S. government opposes drive hunt fishing."
"'Dolphin fishing is one of Japan's traditional fishing techniques and is carried out appropriately in accordance with the law,' Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters at a regular news conference in Tokyo on Monday."
"Sea Shepherd, one of the animal protection groups that monitor fishermen in Taiji, said more than 200 dolphins had been rounded up into the secluded bay. 'It takes up to 20 to 30 minutes for these dolphins to die, where they bleed out, suffocate or drown in the process of being dragged to the butcher house,' Sea Shepherd activist Melissa Sehgal told Reuters."
"Taiji came into the spotlight after the 2009 release of 'The Cove,' directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos. It shows the hunt in grisly detail and calls for an end to commercial fishing of marine mammals."
FYI: The phone number for the Japanese Embassy is 202-238-6700; Fax: 202-328-2187.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Thanks to Stephanie West Allen for the link to this story from CNN reporting the results of a CDC study that found among professions, lawyers rank 4th behind dentists, pharmacists and physicians (in that order) in terms of the highest per capita suicide rate. Compare that figure to a previous National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that ranked lawyers 12th among all other occupations based on data collected from 1984 to 1998. Some have have cautioned that the link between certain occupations and suicide may not be well established. This latest report found that among lawyers, it is middle aged, white trial lawyers who are most likely to commit suicide. The report from CNN also notes that some believe that lawyers' problems with depression that lead to suicide start in law school where up to 40% suffer from depression by the time they graduate according to one source interviewed for the article.
From Daily Writing Tips:
Genteel came into English as a second borrowing from French, this time with the meaning of “nice, graceful, pleasing.” In modern usage genteel has a negative connotation. An excellent example of someone to whom the word applies is Hyacinth Bucket in the British comedy series Keeping Up Appearances. Poor Hyacinth goes to great lengths to give the impression of gentility, only to succeed in being comically genteel.
In terms of language, a genteelism is a word or turn of phrase that a speaker thinks is more refined than the usual word or phrase: pugilist for boxer, expectorate for spit
The incorrect use of “I” for “me” in such constructions as Give the book to Jane and I probably originated as a genteelism. It has been used so frequently on television, however, especially on soap operas, that many speakers simply parrot it, imagining that it must be correct because they’ve heard it so often.
This past semester, one of my daughters turned in a report to her grad school professor. He edited it, changing “me” to “I” when the word appeared as an object in a sentence (like the last example above.) Groan.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Elon in North Carolina has hired Luke Bierman as its new dean effective June 1. He is currently the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Law at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. The National Law Journal provides some additional details about Dean Bierman's experience with and commitment to practical legal skills training:
Bierman has been at Northeastern — known for an innovative co-operative program that places students in a series of real-world legal settings — since 2010. He helped establish The Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law in 2011, comprising 100 law schools that exchange ideas about how to incorporate practical skills in the law school curriculum. The organization also advocates for a greater emphasis on real-world legal training.
Additionally, Bierman sits on the advisory board of Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers — a project of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System that aims to "facilitate innovation" in legal education.
"Luke Bierman has long been an innovative leader and a pioneer in confronting the challenges that face the future of legal education in America," said Judge James Wynn Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.