Monday, March 24, 2014

Building Resilience and Mental Toughness

Law students and lawyers deal constantly with stress. In the March issue of the Wisconsin Lawyer, Paula Davis-Laack offers a number of  ways that we can train ourselves to deal with difficult situations. For example, consider “catastrophising”—spinning the worst-case story from an event and immobilizing yourself. She offers a fives step process to get back to reality:

  1. Describe the stress-producing event factually.
  2. Write down all the worst-case-scenario thoughts you’re having.
  3. Create a best-case scenario (which you’ll have to completely make up so you can create a surge of positive emotion to lower your anxiety).
  4. Analyze the most likely scenario.

The article offers many more techniques. You can read about them here.


March 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Changing Markets Create Opportunities: Emphasizing the Competencies Legal Employers Use in Hiring New Lawyers (Including Professional Formation/Professionalism)

Changing Markets Create Opportunities: Emphasizing the Competencies Legal Employers Use in Hiring New Lawyers (Including Professional Formation/Professionalism) by Neil Hamilton.

Abstract: "To guide legal educators and law students in responding to challenging markets both for entry-level employment and for applications to law schools, this article analyzes empirical research on the competencies that legal employers, the profession itself, and clients are looking for in a new lawyer. The article advances the proposition that law schools can build on an existing strength of helping each student develop knowledge of doctrinal law, legal analysis, legal research, legal writing and oral advocacy to do better at helping each student develop additional important competencies (and have evidence of those competencies) that legal employers, the profession, and clients and value, particularly the professional formation (professionalism) competencies.

The article also helps each student understand the importance of developing transferable skills (or competencies) that equip the student to respond over a career to changing markets for legal services. An overall theme for both legal educators and law students is to view these changing markets as opportunities to grow in new directions and thus to differentiate from competitors."

From the Introduction:

"The Report of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education discussed in Part II below emphasizes the importance of understanding the competencies needed to be effective in the practice of law in order to guide new initiatives responding to the current market challenges. Part III analyzes data from several new studies of the competencies that legal employers are looking for in a new lawyer. Part IV focuses on a student’s professional formation (professionalism) competencies as foundational in legal employers’ hiring criteria. Part V evaluates a number of other recent empirical studies investigating the competencies that legal employers expect new lawyers to have and the competencies that new lawyers report are the most significant in their work. Part VI explores why it is important for students to develop differentiating competencies and transferable skills to respond to a rapidly changing market. The conclusion, based on the data from Parts III and V, presents some specific proposals for law schools to consider to help each student develop professionally."

I think that Professor Hamilton's study will be very useful to law schools and their curriculum committees in deciding what needs to be taught, especially concerning skills that have not been previously taught in law schools.  I particularly like his emphasis on the development of transferable skills.  As I have stated before, I believe that the way most law school classes are taught makes it difficult for students to transfer what they have learned in law school to practice.  (here)  Finally, Professor Hamilton gives a wonderful example of how to develop competencies in his conclusion.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. Hamilton also mentions William Sullivan's views on professional identity: "William Sullivan, the co-director of all five Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching studies of higher education for the professions, recognizes the importance of this bedrock foundation of an internalized moral core of deep responsibility for others, particularly the person served by the profession. Sullivan believes that the 'chief formative challenge' for higher education in the professions is to help each student entering a profession to change from thinking like a student where he or she learns and applies routine techniques to solve well-structured problems toward the acceptance and internalization of responsibility for other (particularly the person served) and for the student’s own development toward excellence as a practitioner at all of the competencies of the profession.  Each client or patient needs to trust that her lawyer or physician is dedicated above all else to care for her with all of the professional’s ability. This is essentially a fiduciary disposition, using 'fiduciary' in the general meaning of founded on trustworthiness. Each student must internalize a fiduciary disposition for others, particularly the client."


March 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

U. Buffalo School of Law creates new Advocacy Institute to help students develop better trial skills

The new Advocacy Institute aims to establish U. Buffalo as one of the leading law schools in the nation when it comes to teaching students trial skills.  Plans include expanding and strengthening the school's existing moot court and trial advocacy programs, developing new courses on trial advocacy topics and, interestingly, bringing to campus leading trial lawyers and trial advocacy professors from other law schools to teach U. Buffalo professors how to better train students.   The program will kick-off in April when a pair of leading trial advocacy professors from Stetson and Loyola will conduct on-campus training sessions for both students and faculty.  From the UB Reporter:

Law students to build skills through new Advocacy Institute

An ambitious initiative of the UB Law School will help students and legal practitioners develop their skills in the critical task of advocating for their clients.


The Advocacy Institute, to be funded by the Law School, the university and private donors, will build on UB Law’s recent success in the moot court and trial advocacy programs that give students real-world experience in trial and appellate advocacy. Plans for the institute envision an expansion and further strengthening of those programs; new courses on advocacy topics; training for faculty in the best ways to teach these skills; and continuing education opportunities for members of the local bar.

. . . .

Another major aim of the institute, [Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Charles] Ewing says, is to train faculty members — both full-time professors and the practitioners who serve as adjunct professors — to be more effective teachers of advocacy skills. “Our hope,” he says, “is to bring in nationally known trial and appellate advocacy attorneys and instructors to teach our faculty to be better instructors. Another goal is to send members of our faculty to programs around the country to improve their advocacy and teaching skills.”


The first instance of such faculty training will come April 5, when two of the best-known advocacy professors in the nation — Charles Rose of Stetson University Law School and Zelda Harris of Loyola Law School — will work with students, faculty and moot court coaches, offering critiques and teaching tools.

. . . .

Continue reading here.


March 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Appalachian Law is Downsizing

This massive reduction in size, students, faculty, and staff is heartbreaking. From the Roanoke Times (excerpts):

 “We were about 150 to 200 students when Appalachian Law School was founded, now 16 years ago, and then we rode the rising tide like all other American law schools and grew larger,”[Dean Lucy McGough] said. “At one time, we had a student body approaching double that, near 300.”

She said the trimming will come in the form of eliminating some classes that aren’t taught all the time and don’t reflect the college’s specialties, which are natural resources and alternative dispute resolution. The school is also looking to add a public health specialty, she said, because school officials think those are the most important subject matters for lawyers in the region.

The downsizing will mean layoffs, McGough said.

“We’ve already lost three faculty members with our mutual agreement,” she said. “We will maintain a student/faculty ratio of no more than 15-to-1, and that’s always been presumptively accepted for the American Bar Association.”

Next year’s incoming class may have about 40 students as opposed to about 70, she said. The current enrollment is 222.


March 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Schools Paying the Salaries of Graduates

Some (many?) law schools have found a way to raise their employment statistics in hopes of raising their ranking in the eyes of U.S. News. From The Economist:

A close look at the online employment database of the American Bar Association reveals that GW and UVA are among the leaders in a striking trend: law schools paying the salaries of their alumni when they go to work in legal firms, non-profits or the government. GW paid the starting salaries of a whopping 22% of its 2012 graduates; at 15%, UVA was not far behind.

Some law schools have long given aid to a few alumni who forsake high-paying corporate firms to pursue public-interest law. But since the 2008-09 recession, entry-level jobs at big firms have been scarce. This has led to a big expansion of “bridge to practice” schemes, in which the schools pay graduates a stipend to do a work placement.

Do these programs result in long term jobs? Not necessarily:

The programmes rarely last more than a year, and often pay a pittance. GW, which spends 4% of its budget on these wages, tried to cut pay rates in 2012 from $15 an hour to $10 before reversing itself after an uproar. Moreover, their success in getting graduates into genuine jobs is spotty: the NALP survey found that only 24% of participants from the class of 2012 had been hired by their employers or in related fields by the following February. GW and UVA say their success rate is far higher than this.

You can read more here.



March 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Eleven Quotes to Motivate Change

It’s hard for most of us to embrace change. We find it easier to keep doing what we’ve always done, even when we suspect that the status quo is no longer good enough. Here, from, are 11 quotes to inspire change.

1. It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. --Charles Darwin

2. Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. --Max McKeown

3. The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. --Kakuzo Okakaura

4. Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. --Mahatma Gandhi

5. You can't build an adaptable organization without adaptable people--and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to. --Gary Hamel

6. People will try to tell you that all the great opportunities have been snapped up. In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours. --Ken Hakuta

7. Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you. --William Frederick Book

8. All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns. --Bruce Lee

9. A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it. --Chinese Proverb

10. The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change. --Bill Clinton

11. Each of us has the opportunity to change and grow until our very last breath. Happy creating. --M.F. Ryan



March 22, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Two computer screens may not be better than one unless you're writing a brief

Many techies believe that adding a second monitor to your desktop set-up increases productivity.  Two screens means doing almost twice the work in the same amount of time, right?  But this article from the New York Times suggests that it may be just the opposite.  Buying a second monitor for your desktop may significantly decrease productivity because it multiplies the number of potential distractions awaiting the user.  At least that's what the anecdotal evidence cited by the NYT's reporter says.  Interestingly, though, at least one study concluded that a second monitor may indeed boost productivity when working on research papers because of the ease with which the user can toggle between the source material displayed on one monitor and the document being drafted on the other.  Think Wexis opened to your cases on one screen while you write the brief on the other. Something for appellate lawyers to consider if they haven't already figured it out on their own.

Here's an excerpt from the article.

Discovering Two Screens Aren’t Better Than One

. . . .


“Two monitors are a double-edged sword,” said Gloria Mark, a professor who studies workplace distractions at the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Mark hasn’t specifically researched how second monitors might affect focus, and when she recently had a chance to work at a two-monitor machine, she felt that it did make some of her tasks easier. “But most people have their email up on the second screen, and of course, when anything comes in, it’s a great source of distraction,” she said.


The conventional argument in favor of dual monitors rests on what might be called the two-window problem. Imagine, for instance, the process of writing a research report. You have a word processor open in one window, and, somewhere else on the screen, a web browser full of tabs pointing to research papers. To write the report, you need to shift your attention frequently from the browser to the word processor and back again. On a small display, it would be difficult to keep both windows open at the same time, so you’d waste time switching from one to the other. On a large multiscreen display, you can keep both windows open on your screen — and you save all that switching time.

The research supports this. One study commissioned by NEC and conducted by researchers at the University of Utah showed that people using a dual-display machine to do a text-editing task were 44 percent more productive than those who used a single monitor.


But for most people, the time spent juggling two windows or scrolling across large documents isn’t the biggest bottleneck in getting work done. Instead, there’s a more basic, pernicious reason you feel constantly behind — you’re getting distracted.


Ms. Mark’s research, based on observations and digital tracking of office workers, has found that our workplaces are bombarded with distractions. Studies show that office workers are interrupted every four to 11 minutes by external distractions including phone calls, email and people who stop by your desk to chat about the weekend.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


March 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 22, 1457: Gutenberg Publishes His Bible

At least this is the traditional date on which Johann Gutenberg became the first person to publish a book with moveable type. Some of his success was due to his invention of an oil-based ink. Despite his accomplishment, Gutenberg had a difficult life. You can read more here.


March 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coping with the Emotional Side of Practicing Law

Sometimes lawyers lose cases, and their clients suffer. Sometimes the stakes in a case are high, and just dealing with the case is stressful. Law schools need to prepare their students for the stress. Here is an excerpt from an article on Progressive Law Practice:

Some believe lawyers should be given more tools to deal with the emotional side of practicing and that there is an inherent psychological side of the legal profession that is largely overlooked.

Sara Martin, writing for the American Psychological Association Monitor cited psychologist Jennifer K. Robbennolt when she criticized the lack of law school preparation regarding student’s ability to understand human psychology. Robbennolt is a law and psychology professor at the University of Illinois College of Law who co-authored a book about ways lawyers could be more tuned-in to the psychological needs of their clients.

“Given that lawyers spend most of their time interviewing, counseling, negotiating with and trying to persuade other people, it is really important that they think about what the science says about how people think and behave and how that might inform the way they think about best practices,” Robbennolt told the APA.

The book, "Psychology for Lawyers: Understanding the Human Factors in Negotiation, Litigation, and Decision Making" was co-authored by Jean R. Sternlight, a law professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Boyd School of Law, according to information the APA.


March 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Much Do Legal Employers Consider an Applicant's Law School's U.S. News Rank in Making Employment Decisions?

Not much according to a recent study by Neil Hamilton.

Earlier this week Brian Leiter had a post on his blog that declared, "Elie Mystal, one of the bloggers at 'Above the Law,' wrote this last week ["U.S. News, for all its faults, is how employers think of you"]. . .   No evidence was offered, and that's not surprising:  the statement is false in almost all cases. . . .  Actual lawyers and judges do not, in my experience, pay any attention to U.S. News at all.  A couple of years ago, for example, I was speaking to a distinguished group of Northwestern University Law School alumni about the U.S. News rankings.  There were about 125 to 150 lawyers (and a few judges) there.  Many of the lawyers in attendance had been or were the current hiring partners at their firms.  I asked a simple question:  how many had looked at the recent U.S. news rankings of law schools?  Maybe five hands went up in the entire room.  To a person, all these lawyers and judges said they based their evaluations of law schools--where they recruit, how deep into the class they will go for new hires--on their past experience with the schools and their graduates.  Full stop.  No one was waiting for the U.S. News law school rankings to decide where to interview or whom to hire."

When I read this argument, I felt that it coincided with my experience.  Prospective law school applicants obsess with U.S. News, but legal employers do not.  However, both my intuition and Leiter's experiment are anecdotal.  I don't like to rely solely on anecdotal evidence.

Neil Hamilton has recently posted an empirical study that backs up the above anecdotal evidence: Changing Markets Create Opportunities: Emphasizing the Competencies Legal Employers Use in Hiring New Lawyers (Including Professional Formation/Professionalism).  In this study, Hamilton examined the various competencies that differing types of legal employers used in making hiring decisions.  These competencies included rank of the law school attended.

Hamilton first looked at "The Relative Importance of Different Competencies in the Decision to Hire a New Associate for the Largest 14 Minnesota Law Firms."  Rank of law school attended placed 22nd in Hamilton's study.  Next, he evaluated "The Relative Importance of Different Competencies in the Decision to Hire a New Lawyer for 18 County Attorneys in Minnesota."  Rank of candidate's law school was last at 23.  Finally, he studied "The Relative Importance of Different Competencies in the Decision to Hire a New Lawyer for the Regional Aid Offices in Minnesota."   Law school rank again came in last at 23.

Based on this study, it is obvious that most legal employers place little emphasis on a prospective employee's law school rank.  For years, I (and many, many, many others) have attacked the reliability of the U.S. News law school rankings.  Now, we also know that legal employers don't care very much about the rankings.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S.  I will discuss Professor Hamilton's article more next week.

March 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A reminder of the upcoming conference "Enhancing Social Justice through the development of Incubators and Residency Programs"

From the Touro website:



Enhancing Social Justice Through The Development of Incubators & Residency Programs

Thursday, April 3, 2014  and Friday, April 4, 2014

Program Description
Amidst the impact of the recession on the practice of law and controversy over the cost of legal education, a positive development is emerging-people who choose to attend law school are increasingly choosing careers committed to expanding access to affordable legal services for the mainstream groups that have not been adequately served. Law schools, Legal Aid programs and bar associations across the United States are assuming an increasing role in the development of post-graduate training and support programs for attorneys wishing to establish solo and small firms or not-for-profit organizations. Inherent in almost all programs is a focus on the training of lawyers who can eventually help to resolve the unmet legal needs of individuals from moderate to low-income communities.
This conference addresses the opportunities and challenges institutions face in the conceptualization, design and implementation of successful incubators and residency programs. It is co-sponsored by:
• Touro Law Center
• The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services*
• California Western School of Law
• The Legal Aid Society of Orange County CA
• The Modest Means/Incubator Project Committee of the California Commission
on Access to Justice
• The Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN)
• DirectLaw, Inc.
• Clio
*pending approval from the ABA Board of Governors
In striving to create sustainable post-graduate programs, law school, Legal Aid and bar association administrators, in conjunction with faculty members, alumni relations directors, career service providers and local NGOs, are working together to create meaningful support programs for their graduates or members. The challenges lie in managing limited resources available for the programs and ultimately ensuring sustainability of the programs and the law practices created by the participants.
This conference will explore ways to overcome institutional obstacles to program development and implementation, promote collaboration among interested organizations, define costs involved in creating new programs, and highlight the best practices for successful post-graduate incubators and residency programs. It will use a range of formats: speaker presentations, round-table discussions and visits to programs in New York City metropolitan area.
Program Schedule
There will be a two-day program beginning Thursday, April 3, 2014.
* Day 1: Speaker presentations will identify a wide-range of post-graduate programs that currently exist, explore ways to overcome institutional obstacles to new program development and highlight the opportunities and challenges that the speakers have encountered relating to program resources and long-term sustainability.
* Day 2: A round-table session designed to support the development of new programs at home and abroad through a frank discussion of challenges that lawyers enrolled in post-graduate programs face while in the program and upon completion of their stint. Also discussed will be methods for program evaluation and for the development of a model curriculum for incubators and residency programs. Lastly, a half-day visit to existing programs will be arranged for each participant.
*Conference program and schedule to be forthcoming.
The cost of the conference is $150 per registrant, which will cover lunches and dinners.
To register, please CLICK HERE.
Where to Stay
The Marriott Residence Inn is located within walking distance from Touro Law Center in Central Islip.
Discounted rooms are available for this conference by giving the code IRCS when making a reservation.
The room rate is $119 per night for the nights of April 2nd & April 3rd. Checkout will be on April 4th.
The cutoff date for room reservation March 10th, 2014

7 Courthouse Dr, Central Islip, NY · (631) 231-0025 or 1-800-331-3131
How to Get to Touro Law Center
EASTBOUND: Long Island Expressway (I-495) east to Exit 56 (Route 111). Turn right at the first traffic light onto Route 111 south. Bear left onto Wheeler Road (County Road 17) south. Wheeler Road becomes Carleton Avenue. Travel south on Carleton Avenue for approximately 3 miles and turn left into the court complex entrance – Courthouse Drive. Take Courthouse Drive ½ mile to end, turn right, school is on the left.
EASTBOUND: Southern State Parkway east to Exit 43A, Central Islip. Bear right onto Carleton Avenue (County Road 17) north approximately ½ mile and turn right into the court complex entrance – Courthouse Drive. Take Courthouse Drive ½ mile to end, turn right, school is on the left.
WESTBOUND: Sunrise Highway (Route 27) to Carleton Avenue North exit. Bear right onto Carleton Avenue (County Road 17) north. Travel north on Carleton Avenue for approximately 1½miles and turn right into court complex entrance – Courthouse Drive. Take Courthouse Drive ½ mile to end, turn right, school is on the left.
WESTBOUND: Long Island Expressway (I-495) west to Exit 56 (Route 111). Turn left at the first traffic light onto Route 111 south. Immediately bear to the left onto Wheeler Road (County Road 17) south. Wheeler Road (County Road 17) becomes Carleton Avenue. Travel south on Carleton Avenue for approximately 3 miles and turn left into the court complex entrance – Courthouse Drive. Take Courthouse Drive ½ mile to end, turn right, school is on the left.
Eastbound LIRR trains arrive frequently at the Central Islip station, about 2½ miles from the building, with the trip from Penn Station or Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn taking a little more than an hour. For the current Central Islip schedule, please click here. Touro Law provides free shuttle bus service to/from the Central Islip Train Station, the shuttle schedule can be found here: Shuttle Bus Schedule
Touro Law is served by the Suffolk County Transit 3C bus line.
Touro Law is also convenient to area airports. We are located about 15 minutes from Islip MacArthur, Long Island and an hour from LaGuardia and JFK.
More Information 
For questions or additional information, please contact Jaclyn Curtin at (631) 761-7064 or by email at



March 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wikipedia in Academia

Wikipedia continues to find a place in the groves of academia. Two news items:

Cal-Berkeley Hires a Wikipedian in Residence: A 24-year-old geography major is the first Wikipedian-in-residence at the University of California, Berkeley.

The school announced recently that it had hired Kevin Gorman to advise students and professors on the complex task of editing articles for Wikipedia, the user-generated online encyclopedia that gets 500 million monthly visitors.

Many universities around the country have classes producing content for Wikipedia, but in-residence Wikipedians have previously been tied only to private institutions like the U.S. National Archives.

UC Berkeley would be the first American university to create a position devoted to improving the site and getting its own scholarship out to the public.

You can read more here.

Wikipedia Cites in Medical Journals. But a new Canadian study has found that thousands of peer-reviewed papers in medical journals have cited Wikipedia in recent years — and the numbers of references are increasing fast.

The trend – apparent even in some of the world’s most influential medical publications — raises the possibility of spreading misinformation and “could potentially affect care of patients,” researchers from the University of Ottawa say in a paper just published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Articles in the BMJ itself have had 13 references to Wikipedia in the last decade, they note.

What struck the study authors most, though, is that the citations began to multiply in the last three years.

(You can read more here.)


March 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reconceptualizing Legal Education from the Socialization Stage to the Self-Authoring (Self-Directed) Stage

One of the things that I and others in the legal education movement (e.g., here, here) have stressed is the need for law schools to develop self-engaged, self-directed graduates. Law schools need to turn out lawyers who can think on their own and be creative. It is these types of lawyers who best represent their clients and change the law. A recent article by Professor Michael D. Cedrone, The Developmental Path of the Lawyer, articulates this concept very clearly.

Professor Cedrone writes, "Research beyond Carnegie is necessary to appreciate the developmental complexity of law students’ paths into professional life. Achieving a mature professionalism requires that students reshape their fundamental ways of thinking and making meaning about the world. A career in law requires wrestling with the ethical demands of the profession and with conflicts between personal values, the values of clients, and values of the legal system. Law students must recognize the multiple pressures on lawyers as agents in the legal system. These challenges are developmental. Entering the legal profession requires individuals to develop new ways of understanding the world."

He continues, "This Article focuses on the ways in which law-learning is fundamentally a process of human development that must embrace the relationships and tensions between self, client, legal system, and society. Though not fully considered by the Carnegie authors, this developmental view militates in favor of Carnegie’s central recommendation that students should be asked to apply cognitive knowledge of legal doctrine in practical contexts accompanied by mature reflection on ethics and professional purpose. Such experiences can result in developmental changes. Knowing the process by which this developmental change takes place will assist law schools in designing a curriculum that supports these changes. A developmental approach to the law curriculum requires a new paradigm that exceeds the Carnegie recommendations. In such a revised curriculum, students would be expected to discover and create knowledge by being both individually and collaboratively responsible for investigation of law and facts. Students would also write more, so that they capture their new ways of understanding and analyzing problems. These modifications to the curriculum would ensure that experience and reflection on experience have a more intentional and central role in students’ formation."

Based on research in general education scholarship, Professor Cedrone lists the stages of adult cognitive development: First order: impulsive, Second order: instrumental, Third order: socializing, Fourth order: self-authoring, Fifth order: self-transforming. Only the third and fourth orders are important for this discussion.

In the third order, the "socialized way of knowing," individuals can undertake abstract thinking and deal with the theoretical. This order stresses social identity–"the self is no longer the only ‘set or category’ (as in the more concrete second order), but a person can instead ‘experience the self in relation to a . . . set or category.’" In this order, a person can "can internalize both the individual’s own viewpoint and that of another person, and can make self-reflective decisions based on the interaction of these viewpoints." Significantly, individuals "can ‘subordinate their needs and desires to the needs and desires of other people.’" Thus, this is a socialization stage–"education is pursued to "meet the goals and expectations of external authorities . . . and/or valued others.’"

In general, scholars criticize social construction education ("social constructivism") approaches as romanticizing the community and not preparing students "to critically examine the community's values, practices, and beliefs." The danger is that this order fails to help individuals "perceive limits in the dominant paradigms of the day or to perceive conflict between those paradigms and more fundamental values." Stated similarly, "Membership in these communities does not include an ability to stand apart from the community and appreciate that membership in a community can sometimes involve blindness to the community's evils." As one author has noted, "this epistemology does not empower students with a capacity to reflect on how lawyers think—in sum, to move beyond the socializing values of the third order of consciousness." It certainly does not create lawyers who are capable of becoming self-engaged, self-directed thinkers.

In contrast, the fourth order is the "self-author[ing]" way of making meaning. At this level, "knowledge is no longer the property of external authorities or experts; instead, it is constructed ‘through experience, reflection, [and] analysis,' informed by thoughtful use of ‘teacher, texts, [and] authorities.'" In this stage, identity is separate from the social context, and "individuals at the fourth order can take perspective and reflect on their roles within social contexts and systems." In other words, "lawyers and law students who function at the fourth order have the capacity to critically reflect on the legal system as a whole and on their own interaction with and role in the system." Individuals at this level can "make systematic critiques of the law by observing both how numerous aspects of the legal system interact with each other and from observing the moral reasoning that takes place as the values of the legal system interact with their own personal values." Individuals at this stage can change the discourse.

I hope that you recognize that law schools today mostly function at the social construction stage. To create the best lawyers, law schools also must help their graduates achieve the self-directed or self-authoring stage. As Professor Cedrone has argued, "Academic environments must do justice both to the social view of legal education and to robust notions of individual development." He has added, "The self-authoring way of knowing best permits lawyers to function within the legal community without being consumed by it"

"To achieve these ends, the developmental view requires that legal education be reconceptualized. The developmental view posits that education is not merely the collection of ‘cumulative bits of knowledge or even heightened understanding of complex concepts.’ Instead, education should prompt a ‘change[] in general worldview.’ This kind of education (1) sets learners on a ‘growth trajectory’ and guides them to make ‘progress to more advanced knowledge levels’; (2) includes learning experiences which produce ‘fundamental restructuring,’ i.e., ‘qualitative shifts in knowledge reorganization’; and (3) builds support for ‘selfscaffolding,’ by which learners become able to construct ‘more advanced knowledge’ independently. Self-scaffolding becomes the basis for lifelong learning?"

I will let you read Professor Cedrone’s article to see his suggestions for helping students reach the self-authoring stage. You can find my suggestions here.

In sum, law schools need to reconceptionalize legal education from the socialization stage to the self-authoring stage.

(Scott Fruehwald) (hat tip: James Levy)

March 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The "risk-free" J.D.

Cleveland-Marshall Law School has begun offering what it calls a "risk-free" J.D.  in that students who complete their first year of law school but decide that the practice of law is not for them can walk away with an MLS (masters of legal studies) instead.  It's risk-free in the sense that students will earn a credential after their first year of law school rather than having to incur even more debt chasing a J.D. when job prospects for attorneys can be poor.  A student possessing an MLS cannot sit for the bar in Cleveland-Marshall's home state of Ohio.  The article suggests that other law schools also offer an MLS degree, though Cleveland Marshall claims to be the first to allow students to jump from a J.D. track to an MLS track.   The National Law Journal has more details.

Risk-Free' J.D. Offers Students a One-Year Escape Hatch

At Cleveland-Marshall, they can leave with a master's degree if they change their minds about practicing law.


The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is launching what it calls the first “risk-free” juris doctor program.

The initiative will allow students who complete one year of studies but don’t want to continue their legal educations to receive a master of legal studies (MLS) degree. The idea is to provide a foundation in the law without actually preparing students to practice. Holders of the master degree are not eligible to sit for the bar examination.


“There are many good reasons why a law student may decide not to continue to pursue a J.D.,” dean Craig Boise said. “They might have financial concerns, family or personal issues, or they may realize that though they still have an interest in law, a career in traditional legal practice is not right for them.”


With this program, that year won’t be a waste of their time, and the degree would be attractive to employers, Boise said.


Cleveland-Marshall began offering a master of legal studies degree this year, following a trend among law schools that hope to broaden their student base amid waning interest in the traditional J.D. But it does appear to be the first to offer such a “convertible” J.D.


March 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

In Memoriam: Russell Weintraub

Professor Russell Weintraub of the University of Texas Law School passed away on December 12, 2012. The law school is holding a memorial for him on April 24. Here is his obituary.

Professor Weintraub was my Contracts professor for a single class hour in which he changed my way of thinking and ultimately my way of teaching. During that hour, he guest-taught the Carbolic Smokeball case. I expected him to guide us in analyzing the reasoning of the court from the judicial perspective. Instead, he asked us for the arguments of the plaintiff and the arguments of the defendant. I was stunned. I had never thought about a case by looking through the eyes and arguments of the litigants. I learned to think about cases and law from the standpoints of litigants.

Later, as a lawyer, I naturally approached the law as an advocate. As a law professor, I came with the understanding that my students might not have that perspective. It was my job to help them see cases through the eyes of the litigants and the court.  Years later, I was fortunate enough to speak with Professor Weintraub and to thank him for teaching me this valuable lesson. As law professors we never know when a word or a class we teach will significantly influence a student.


March 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UCLA LAW is also seeking a Director of Extern and Field Placement Programs


And here is the description for this job:

The UCLA School of Law is seeking a highly energetic, experienced individual to manage and teach in a range of UCLA externship and field placements under the general direction of the Assistant Dean of Clinical Education, Experiential Learning, and Public Service.  The Director will have primary responsibility for ensuring that students receive a high-quality educational experience in the field and strong supervision by UCLA Law faculty in the wide array of experiential learning opportunities UCLA students enjoy:  the full-time agency and judicial programs, the part-time externship program where students work in various public interest, government agency, in-house counsel and judicial settings in the Los Angeles area, and the UCDC Law Program where students work as externs in congressional offices, regulatory agencies and other government and nonprofit placements in the nation’s capital.


The Director will also manage and teach a one-semester, one-unit first-year course, entitled “Introduction to the Lawyer-Client Relationship,” which is currently under development.  The course includes both a classroom component and limited field placements.  The Director, along with a program administrator, will develop and manage relationships with legal services providers who will partner with the law school to provide required field placements for this course. 


The Director will also take the lead in advising students on complying with new experiential learning admission requirements for the California State Bar and will assist in developing appropriate Law School responses to the proposed experiential learning requirements in the ABA standards. 


Minimum requirements include an excellent academic record; a J.D. from an ABA accredited law school, admission to practice in California, established relationships with local public interest legal service providers or professional organizations, and demonstrated management, administrative and organizational skills.  Also desirable is prior successful teaching experience.  The level of appointment will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.  This is a full-time, academic, non-tenure track position.  This appointment is subject to the rules and regulations of the Regents of the University of California, which are mostly embodied in The UCLA CALL and University of California Academic Personnel Manual.  (See; and


Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made.  To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Monday, April 21, 2014 but will be considered thereafter until the position is filled. 


Please apply online at by submitting a cover letter, resume, and the names and addresses of at least three professional references to the attention of:


Edna Sasis

Office of the Dean

UCLA School of Law

Box 951476

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476


The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, and seeks candidates committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities and to a campus climate that supports equality and diversity.



March 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UCLA is Seeking an Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs

UCLA is Seeking an Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs


Here is the job description:

 The Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services, also known as the Dean of Students, provides strategic leadership for law school programs and services that foster the academic success and professional development of students enrolled at the law school. The incumbent cultivates an environment of mutual respect and appreciation of diversity among students.  Key responsibilities of this position include: serving as a liaison for students with faculty and administration; advising and supporting students in their academic development; overseeing implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities; overseeing student organizations; implementing academic standards; formulating new policies affecting student conduct or academic options; overseeing student welfare and discipline; and overseeing the creation and support for procedures and programs that promote diversity, foster an inclusive environment, and enrich law students in their professional development.

The Assistant Dean reports to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Curriculum and works in a collaborative relationship with other offices within the law school and campus, the faculty and the legal community. The candidate directly supervises the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Student Services.

Discretion and independent judgment are required of this position. Some travel may be required to attend on and off campus events during and outside normal business hours.

 For more information, please contact Catherine Gonzales  The deadline for applications is April 10, 2014.



March 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Infographics

Here is a pinterest displaying a host of law infographics, visuals that lawyers use in explaining issues to clients, judges, and juries. Just click on anyone that interests you.


March 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Does FERPA Privacy Apply to Records of Your Graduates?

Does FERPA Privacy Apply to Records of Your Graduates?

In some cases, yes.  According to Academic Impressions:

FERPA does apply to records that relate to the alum's life while he/she was a student, even if the record is being accessed after the alum is no longer a student:

  • Name, social security number, date of birth
  • Address at enrollment at your institution
  • Degree, academic awards, and honors received during attendance at your university
  • Participation in student activities
  • Parent name, address, employment during student’s enrollment
  • Information about the student prior to attending the university (such as high school attended)

To what does FERPA not apply? You can read more here.


March 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Council Decisions

The ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar met in San Diego last weekend.   The Council rejected both alternatives 1 and 2 to Standard 405 , and it decided not to send out any further proposed changes to this standard for review and comment.  This means that tenure and security of position rules will remain the same as they currently are.

The Council voted in favor of adding 6 credit hours of experiential learning to Standard 303.  While it is disappointing that they didn't adopt the 15 hour proposal of CLEA, this change, along with the California Bar's vote last fall to require 15 hours of experiential credits, is a major move forward in legal education reform.  I expect to hear more from state bars over the next few months.

(Scott Fruehwald)  (hat tip: Mary-Beth Moylan) 

March 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)