Friday, February 28, 2014

Will listing quirky interests on your resume enhance your chances of getting a law firm job?

The Wall Street Journal thinks so noting that "[l]aw-school graduates generally have near-identical transcripts and little work experience. Quirky interests, such as 19th century French poetry or a stint as a sports team mascot, can differentiate candidates for law firms."  But the blog The Legal Watchdog urges students to ignore that advice and instead focus on earning good grades.  That's because despite the many changes overtaking the legal services industry, employers generally only consider the traditional criteria for sorting job applicants - grades and class rank.  

I hope prospective and current law students don’t take this article seriously. No one at any law firm will care if you were stuffed into a costume during your five-year, binge-drinking stint at Fayetteville (pictured above) or some other college town, or if you like reading French poetry or have any other “quirky interests.” (Unless those interests are too quirky, in which case the law firm may indeed want to know about them.)

. . . .

. . . the Dog’s advice to law students is to put away your copy of Baudelaire and focus on your class rank instead.

On the other hand, given what a tight job market students face, listing a quirky interest in the hope of catching an employer's eye certainly couldn't hurt your chances (unless it's too weird).  While admittedly a longshot strategy, what's to lose?

Hat tip to Above the Law.


February 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Colleges and Universities Have a Poor Mobile Presence

Today, a good mobile presence is essential to attract potential students. From University Business:

Most colleges and universities would benefit from a refresher course in “Mass Media 101,” based on their failure to communicate effectively with their primary target audience – young, tech-savvy teens and young adults – through their mobile devices, including smart phones and hand-held tablets. According to an in-depth analysis of 200 public and private schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, more than 70% of those institutions were lacking a mobile presence entirely, and nearly 50% of schools with a mobile presence were deficient in significant ways, either in terms of technology, mobile content or both.

According to the representative sampling conducted by Princeton Partners – a strategic brand marketing firm founded in 1965 – higher education’s apparent failure to capture the attention of their primary target audiences through mobile devices represents a significant opportunity for those schools that do understand the magnitude of mobile technology adoption by teens and young adults, and that invest in the resources necessary to communicate effectively with those audiences through their mobile devices. This “technology gap” comes at a time when colleges and universities are facing greater competition for a declining population of potential applicants.

You can read more here.  How is your school developing its mobile presence to reach out to potential students?


February 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

There Is No Success Without Labor Or Effort

There Is No Success Without Labor Or Effort by Keith Lee.


"People often want to put a happy face on the practice of law. Push for work-life balance. But being a lawyer is hard work. If you want to find some measure of success as a lawyer, it is going to require labor and effort."

Nothing worth gaining is ever gained without effort. You can no more have freedom without striving and suffering for it than you can win success as a banker or a lawyer without labor and effort, without self-denial in youth and the display of a ready and alert intelligence in middle age.

Theodore Roosevelt, Duties of an American CitizenBuffalo, New York, January 26, 1883

"It was true 140 years ago, it’s true today, and will be true a 100 years from now. No short cuts. Just do the work.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

UK law school and law firm team up to give students more practical skills training

This story comes from across the pond where Sheffield Hallam University in South Yorkshire, UK has teamed up with a law firm to offer students more practical skills training by having them help the city's elderly prepare wills.  Much needed legal services are delivered to clients who ordinarily couldn't afford them, the students gain worthwhile practical experience and the law firm gives back to the community by sponsoring the program.  From the Yorkshire Business Link Magazine:

Law firm boosts students' employment skills


hlw Keeble Hawson is giving law students at Sheffield Hallam University a unique insight into the legal profession to gain hands on experience.


A champion of putting something back into its local communities, the firm’s Wills and Probate department together with the law school at Sheffield Hallam University have launched a new initiative – helping the city’s elderly residents write their wills.


The placement is part of the Private Enterprise Scheme – a programme run by both organisations which is designed to give first and second year students practical work experience in a professional legal environment.


This latest initiative, involves one second year student working with hlw Keeble Hawson’s clients each month.


hlw Keeble Hawson partner Michele Todd, who helped to set up this latest addition to the programme, says it demonstrates students’ commitment to the profession – and enables the law firm to develop potential employees

. . . .

Law firm boosts students' employment skills

Continue reading here.


Sheffield Hallam University
Sheffield Hallam University

February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 15 Most Annoying Grammatical Mistakes

At, we find an analysis of two internet threads and discover which grammatical errors people find most annoying. Here they are:

1. Using "it's" instead of "its."

2. Using "I" and "me" in the wrong spots.

3. Using an apostrophe for plurals (example,  plural's, meaning more than one plural).

4. Improper ellipses.  Ellipses are three dots. There should also be a space on either side. Use four dots when you place a period at the end of the ellipsis.

5. Using "than" instead of "then." Proper Example 1: “We left the party and then went home.” Proper Example 2: “We would rather go home than stay at the party.”

6. Confusing homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings, for example, There, their, they’re).

7. Using "affect" instead of "effect."

8. Using "less" instead of "fewer."

9. Using "over" instead of "more than." "Over is a spacial comparison. 'The bird flies over the house.' More than is appropriate for volume comparisons. 'She makes more than he does per hour.'"  (I’m not sure that I agree with this one.)

10. "A lot." A lot is two words — no exceptions. You wouldn't write "alittle," so why write "alot?"

11. Using adjectives instead of adverbs. Bad examples: "Let's walk quiet." "I'll do it careful" "Make sure to stir it gentle."

12. Improper comma use.

13. Irregardless. This isn't an accepted word. Never use it.

14. Using "to" instead of "too."

15. Confusing "loose" and "lose."



February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tastykakes: the Hundredth Year Birthday

Around the Philadelphia area, Tastykakes are a standard snack food. But in many parts of the country, they are an exotic delicacy. February 25, marked  the 100th birthday of Tastykakes.

The company has produced a marvelous website chronicling its history. Be sure to move along the timeline at the bottom of the screen.

Here’s the story of the beginning:

Phillip Baur, cofounder of Tasty Baking Company, was born to bake. His father owned the Bauer Brothers Bakery in Pittsburgh, and young Phillip eagerly learned the basics of snack making - great taste, good value, and most importantly fresh ingredients. When his Dad sold the Pittsburgh bakery, Baur joined forces with Herbert Morris, an egg salesman, They had a fresh idea: individually wrapped snack cakes, baked and delivered fresh daily. On February 25, 1914 with $50,000 they raised from family members they founded Tasty Baking Company.


February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Effective Client Interviewing and Counseling

Effective Client Interviewing and Counseling by Oscar Javier Salinas.


Our success in helping our clients often depends on how effective we are in developing a strong professional relationship with them. Strong professional relationships build on trust, comfort, and communication. Effective client interviewing and counseling can facilitate the development of a strong professional relationship with our clients.

This article provides a brief summary of effective client interviewing and counseling. The first section outlines the format for a general client interview. The second section provides short descriptions for each part of the client interview. The third section highlights some fundamental counseling skills that may improve how effectively we interview and counsel our clients.

February 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gonzaga Law School announces new "Experiential Learning Requirement" for all students to begin this summer.

The changes including increasing from 3 to 6 the experiential learning credit hours students are required to earn (pursuing a traditional 36 month degree) working with clients through an externship or internship program.  In addition, the school is adding 4 new options for the 4th term legal writing "capstone" course.

3 experiential learning credits working with clients through an externship or internship - See more at:

From the school's website:


Here are more details from the school's website:

 "Beginning with the classes starting in Summer of 2014, the experiential learning requirement for students in the traditional 36 month program will be increased to 6 credits; students in the 24-month Accelerated J.D. program will be required to earn 12 credits. All students will continue to be allowed to take up to 15 total credits of experiential learning, the equivalent of one full term."

"'Though the requirement is newly expanded, the students that have already graduated through this curriculum have proven the value of experiential learning, as well as the ability of our Clinic and Externship offices to provide rich and interesting experiences to our students' explained [Dean Jane] Korn. 'The value of experiential learning has already been demonstrated by current students’ participation, which went far above and beyond the existing 3-credit requirement.'"

"Students currently average 8 credits of experiential learning, with many students choosing to participate in both a Clinic internship and Externship experience."

Continue reading here.

Beginning with the classes starting in Summer of 2014, the experiential learning requirement for students in the traditional 36 month program will be increased to 6 credits; students in the 24-month Accelerated J.D. program will be required to earn 12 credits. All students will continue to be allowed to take up to 15 total credits of experiential learning, the equivalent of one full term. - See more at:
Beginning with the classes starting in Summer of 2014, the experiential learning requirement for students in the traditional 36 month program will be increased to 6 credits; students in the 24-month Accelerated J.D. program will be required to earn 12 credits. All students will continue to be allowed to take up to 15 total credits of experiential learning, the equivalent of one full term. - See more at:


Beginning with the classes starting in Summer of 2014, the experiential learning requirement for students in the traditional 36 month program will be increased to 6 credits; students in the 24-month Accelerated J.D. program will be required to earn 12 credits. All students will continue to be allowed to take up to 15 total credits of experiential learning, the equivalent of one full term. - See more at:
Beginning with the classes starting in Summer of 2014, the experiential learning requirement for students in the traditional 36 month program will be increased to 6 credits; students in the 24-month Accelerated J.D. program will be required to earn 12 credits. All students will continue to be allowed to take up to 15 total credits of experiential learning, the equivalent of one full term. - See more at:

February 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Accommodating a Student’s Religious Convictions: How Far to Go?

A column at the Chronicle of Higher Education illustrates the issue by discussing an conflict at Ontario’s York College:

A university official overturned a professor’s refusal to grant accommodation to a male student who had asked to be excused from a group assignment. According to the professor, J. Paul Grayson, the student argued, “Due to my firm religious beliefs, … it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women.” Believing that granting the student’s request would make him “an accessory to sexism,” Grayson declined to cooperate, leading Canadian academics to debate the extent to which claims of religious privilege should be accommodated in secular institutions.

We may agree that tolerance and acceptance are good values to have, but where religious beliefs are concerned, just what is it that we are supposed to tolerate and accept? Is it simply someone’s right to have certain beliefs? For most people, that is easily done. While we may question the content of a person’s beliefs, we do not normally deny his or her right to have them.

But is there more to it than that? Are we also required to respect and accommodate the beliefs themselves?

If possible, I would have accommodated the student on the principle that it’s better to avoid a conflict until it is inevitable—particularly when religious convictions are involved. Of course, there are limits.  Here, perhaps, the professor could have reconfigured the composition of the groups. Save the hard decision for another conflict that is more intractable. Others may disagree.


February 26, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Law schools establish "employer outreach" programs in effort to take a more proactive approach to finding students jobs

The National Law Journal reports a new trend among law schools; they are hiring career services personnel whose job it is to proactively approach and establish relationships with potential employers with the hope that it will result in more student jobs.  Indeed, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) has already created an "employer outreach" section that boasts 300 members.  Gone are the days when many law schools could count on scores, if not hundreds, of employers showing up on campus eager to recruit students for summer and full time jobs.  Instead, these employer outreach personnel are going to employers trying to convince them to hire their students, even if the initial position is only an unpaid internship.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

It's Their Job to Find the Jobs for Law Students

Thomas Carpenter, general counsel of the American Federation of Tele­vision and Radio Artists, doubted he had time to oversee a law student extern when Jill Backer, associate director of employer relations at Brooklyn Law School, came calling in 2007.


Her visit paid off: Carpenter has hosted an extern from the law school every semester since and offered two of them full-time jobs.


Backer has been a pioneer in direct outreach to employers since arriving at Brooklyn Law in 2002. These days, she has plenty of company. The two-year-old Employer Outreach Section of NALP (the National Association for Law Placement) is the organization's fastest growing arm, now boasting about 300 members.


"I think that's a reflection of the growing importance of employer outreach in law schools," said section chairman Chris Smith, assistant dean for career services at Elon University School of Law.


"Legal recruiting shifted with the recession," he said. "The traditional model of law schools being able to depend on alumni, for example, to generate recruiting activity, changed. Law schools recognized that they needed to be more proactive in going out and creating and reinforcing recruiting relationships with legal employers of various types."


Since the 2008 recession, when large law firms cut back on new associate hiring, roughly two dozen law schools have created positions like Backer's that focus exclusively on employer relations rather than student career counseling. Many more have given employer-relations duties to their existing career services staff.


. . . .

In line with the level of interest, NALP is developing a set of best practices for employer outreach as members share notes about what works and what doesn't, Smith said. In flusher times, law schools could wait for legal recruiters to come to them, but those days have passed. Schools understand that they need to go directly to employers, said Donna Davis, assistant dean of career development at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland.


The school takes a national approach: Each year, it polls students about the top three locations where they would like to practice, along with favored practice areas. The staff then creates an outreach schedule. Those trips might include alumni receptions or small dinners with employers, Davis said. Her office has made 140 employer outreach visits during the past year. "In the past, you did some employer outreach, mostly locally," Davis said. "Every now and then you would go somewhere regionally. But now we go to California, New York, Boston, Chicago and Texas. We're covering the country, and I think that's really different from five years ago."

. . . .

Continue reading here.


February 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

If the LSAT Were Optional, What Difference Would It Make?

One study suggests it would make no difference. The National Association for College Admission Counseling sponsored an extensive study that  looked at students who reported their SAT and ACT results to college admissions offices and students who made the permitted choice of not submitting those results. The study then looked at the cumulative GPAs and graduations rates of both groups. It found no significant differences between the two groups. College GPAs, however, closely tracked high school GPAs. 

Students who did not submit test scores were more likely to be first-generation-to-college-students, minorities, women, Pell Grant recipients, and students with learning differences.

 You can read the study here.

  I suspect that a similar study concerning the LSAT would reach similar results. All we know now is that there is a moderate correlation between LSAT scores and 1L grades. Legal education could benefit from an extensive similar study.


February 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 24, 2014

What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers

What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers by Lawrence S. Krieger and Kennon M. Sheldon.


Attorney well-being and depression are topics of great concern, but there has been no theory-driven empirical research to guide lawyers and law students seeking well-being. This article reports a unique study establishing a hierarchy of five tiers of factors for lawyer well-being, including choices in law school, legal career, and personal life, and psychological needs and motivations established by Self-Determination Theory. Data from several thousand lawyers in four states show striking patterns, repeatedly indicating that common priorities on law school campuses and among lawyers are confused or misplaced. Factors typically afforded most attention and concern, those relating to prestige and money (income, law school debt, class rank, law review, and USNWR law school ranking) showed zero to small correlations with lawyer well-being. Conversely, factors marginalized in law school and seen in previous research to erode in law students (psychological needs and motivation) were the very strongest predictors of lawyer happiness and satisfaction. Lawyers were grouped by practice type and setting to further test these findings. The group with the lowest incomes and grades in law school, public service lawyers, had stronger autonomy and purpose and were happier than those in the most prestigious positions and with the highest grades and incomes. Additional measures raised concerns: subjects did not broadly agree that judge and lawyer behavior is professional, nor that the legal process reaches fair outcomes. Specific explanations and recommendations for lawyers, law teachers, and legal employers are drawn from the data, and direct implications for attorney productivity and professionalism are explained.

 (Scott Fruehwald

February 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Go-To Law Schools for Big Firm Jobs

From Tax Prof Blog:

 The Naational Law has ranked the top 50 law schools by the percentage of 2013 law school graduates who took jobs at NLJ 250 firms—the nation’s largest by headcount as identified in The National Law Journal’s annual survey.

The Top 50 Go-To Law School:  These schools sent the highest percentage of new graduates to NLJ 250 firms:


Law School 

2013 Grads @ NLJ 250 

2013 JDs 

% of Grads @ NLJ 250 





















































































































Notre Dame





No surprises here. My law school ranks #47.


February 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Your Astrological Sign Tells What Kind of Law You Should Practice  says that a lawyer’s astrological sign tells what types of practice he or she is best suited for. I sit on the cusp of Virgo and Libra and naturally found my match-ups interesting, particularly the statement that Virgos would be good at teaching law:

Virgos are definitely going to be more of the type who wants to sit behind a desk, rather than one who wishes to argue in a roomful of people. Virgos would excel at research, corporate law, and civil suits. They would do well in health-related lawsuits, such as the growing number of mesothelioma law firm attorneys, asbestos lawyers, or automobile accident attorneys. Virgos could also be good at teaching law to those in need of education, as their natural patience and helpfulness can be a boon to law students.

Libras are also naturally open-minded, and are represented by the scales which are a symbol of justice! Libras would be better at judging than arguing a case, though constitutional law or being a civil rights attorney would be right up their alley. Government law of all kinds would be a good focus point for Librans. Libra people like things to be fair and balanced for everyone, and would prefer to make the world a better place.

What are your best match-ups? You can find out here.


February 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tips from new law grads on how to better network

The ABA's Student Lawyer has republished an article from The Young Lawyer magazine in which new lawyers offer advice to law students about how to overcome their dread of networking.  If it helps, it isn't just you who doesn't like to network, almost no one does yet it is probably the single most repeated advice from career counseling experts on how to get a job.  Perhaps you'll find something here to help make it a less painful experience for yourself.

Networking Doesn’t Have to Be Painful

The most commonly given job-hunting advice is to get out there and network. If there is something that intimidates law students more than the first experience with the Socratic Method, it’s probably networking. Does this sound like you? Rest easy. It isn’t just you. It isn’t even just law students. Networking is an activity dreaded by lawyers young and old. The ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) recently tackled the many styles of networking’s in the pages of its quarterly magazine The Young Lawyer (TYL). TYL’s editorial board is made up of new lawyers and many very recent law school graduates. They’ve been where you are and taken the next step.

Student Lawyer is republishing TYL’s article “Networking Doesn’t Have to Be Painful” as a special feature for Law Student Division members. The advice is great and the article exemplifies the valuable content regularly published in TYL.

. . . .

Continue reading here to see what tips members of the TYL editorial board have to offer.


February 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 24, 1803: Marbury v. Madison Decided

On this date, Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the decision that confirmed the doctrine of judicial review. As I read James Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention, I find that the deputies in 1787 accepted judicial review; Marshall only confirmed it.

 I remember my law school Con Law professor telling us that he could teach a whole course on Marbury. I also remember how hard a time I, a 1L student, had in understanding the opinion.

Compliments of Jurist.Org, here are links to materials on the decision:

Watch an explanatory video featuring Professor Joel Grossman, a constitutional scholar in the Johns Hopkins University Political Science Department. Learn more about Marbury v. Madison from the James Madison Center at Virginia's James Madison University.


February 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some NY Law Student May Take the Bar Before Graduating

From the ABA Journal blog:

New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced a new “pro bono scholars” program on Tuesday in which third-year law students would take the bar exam in February in exchange for devoting their last semester to pro bono work.

The first-of-its-kind program has already been approved by the Board of Law Examiners, Lippman said in his annual speech (PDF) on the state of the judiciary. An advisory committee will “address the logistics of an expanded February bar exam, ensure compliance with ABA standards, and develop a more precise timetable" for implementation, he said. The New York Times, the Associated Press and the New York Law Journal (sub. req.) covered his remarks.

New York’s 15 law schools, along will other law schools, will have the option of participating in the program, though there will need to be some limits on student participation as the program is developed, Lippman said. Participating 3Ls would begin studying for the bar after finishing fall semester exams, and would begin full-time pro bono work after taking the bar exam in February.

There are some reservations:

The Times says law deans responded to the program with “cautious enthusiasm.” Some said the quality of training would have to be high, while others expressed concern about the short time period to study for the bar and the incentive to work hard after passing.


February 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New smartphone apps are replacing the need to hire lawyers.

From the Los Angeles Times business section:

Technology is bringing legal advice and documents to the masses

Joey Mucha used to seal a business deal with a handshake or an e-mail. Now he whips out his smartphone.

The San Francisco entrepreneur runs a side business renting out skee ball machines. With the company growing steadily, Mucha decided last year he needed to use contracts to protect his clients and the business.


But he didn't go to a pricey lawyer. Instead, the 27-year-old downloaded a smartphone app called Shake. It guided him through the process of creating easy-to-read contracts, which customers can then sign with a swipe of their fingers on the screen.


"I don't make enough money to pay $250 an hour for a lawyer to draft a contract," Mucha said. "But I needed something to use as a defense in a scenario where I wasn't paid, without hiring a lawyer or trying to write my own contract."


Technology is creeping ever faster into the $200-billion U.S. legal field, shaking up an industry that has long been defined by tradition and dominated by white-shoe firms.


Law firms are already adapting to seismic shifts in the industry. The collapse of several big ones and the downsizing of many other firms during the economic turmoil left thousands of lawyers out of work. Survivors faced a stark new landscape in which clients demanded more flexibility and an alternative to the tradition of billing by the hour.


Industry experts say the industry is ripe for big tech shake-ups, including new innovations on social media and apps for smartphones and tablets.


"As software becomes more intelligent, we will have digital apps that can either substitute for the labor of lawyers or will assist a lawyer in being more productive," said Richard Granat, co-director of the Center for Law Practice Technology at Florida Coastal School of Law.

continue reading here.


February 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can a Lawyer Respond to a Client’s Negative Online Comments?

Suppose that you are an attorney in your clinic, and you represent a client who then turns around and bashes you on one of the many online sites for evaluating lawyers? Can you respond? You can give your side of the story only in general terms and must not disclose any confidential information. You cannot respond at all unless your representation of the client has concluded.

Here is a Bloomberg BNA/U.S. Law Week article surveying the issue and the opinions of some bar associations. This standard conforms to accepted notions of attorney-client confidentiality; however, it gives cold comfort to the victimized attorney.


February 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Wall Street Journal on skills BigLaw values in new lawyers

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has picked up the story about the Harvard Law School survey on skills BigLaw values in new attorneys referred to by my co-blogger Scott Fruehwald here and here.  The survey results do not purport to be representative of the skills legal employers value generally but if you're interested in working for some of the most elite law firms in the country, you'd be wise to double-down on accounting courses.  

Want to Excel in BigLaw? Master The Balance Sheet

Math-phobic law students with BigLaw dreams, listen up: if you want to excel after graduation, best brush up on your accounting skills.


This comes courtesy of Harvard Law School . . . which polled 124 lawyers at the 11 major law firms that employ the most HLS graduates on what courses and types of expertise best equip students for practicing law. The results were released this week.


Their responses—learn accounting, statistics, and how to analyze a financial statement—are sure to sadden the legions of students who opted for a legal career precisely because they loathe number-crunching.

. . . .

In addition to accounting, the attorneys advised students to take courses in corporate finance, negotiation and business strategy.


“Accounting is absolutely central to commercial life and for lawyers whose practice involves commerce, it is essential,” according to one veteran corporate partner at a top New York firm.

Continue reading here.


February 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)