Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Concerning my new legal writing book, a comment asked, "Is this book intended for practicing attorneys or law students?"
The book is intended for anyone who wants to improve their writing. The book begins with an Introduction that presents the general principles of clear and effective writing. Then, the remaining chapters deal with the details of editing, progressing from editing sentences to large-scale organization. Chapter Two concerns active and passive sentences and writing with verbs. Chapter Three involves editing for wordiness. Chapter Four teaches emphasis, clarity, and specificity, while Chapter Five shows how to combine sentences and edit paragraphs. Chapter Six covers organizing paragraphs and creating coherence. Chapter Seven shows how to write a small-scale paradigm, and Chapter Eight discusses large- and medium-scale organization. The book concludes with review exercises and a glossary.
Note: For six months, the book is only available from ABA Publishing (here).
P.S. I have informed my publisher about the typos on their website.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
The National Law Journal has published a list of the stories most popular among its readership for 2014. And here 'tis:
Law School President Quits After Just 8 Days
Georgetown 3L Claims Adjunct Professor Recorded Her Naked
Minority Push to Delay Finals Spreads to Georgetown Law
Law School’s 3Ls Ineligible to Take July Bar Exam
Thomas Jefferson Law Restructures, Slashes Debt by $87M
Study: Women Law Professors Cited More Often
At the Student Lawyer, Librarian and Professor Catherine Dunn offers advice on getting free and low cost legal research. Not all platforms are of the same quality. She gets down to specifics:
A selection of free legal resources law librarians traditionally recommend include Google Scholar (for case law and secondary source materials), GPO FDsys (for federal legal materials), Congress.gov (for federal legislative history materials), and the Legal Information Institute (for federal and state legal materials).
If you simply cannot afford access to a high-cost research platform, but you do not feel comfortable relying exclusively on free resources for your research, your next best bet is a low-cost platform. These resources are more comprehensive than free sites, and they have more sophisticated search engines and research tools available, but they do not include the full set of content and features available via the high-cost platforms.
The four main platforms in the low-cost market are Fastcase, Casemaker, Loislaw, and VersusLaw. Casemaker and Fastcase, in particular, surged in popularity after aligning themselves with state and local bar associations—nearly every state bar has one of the two as a member benefit—and the cost to subscribe to any of these platforms is a small fraction of the most expensive legal research platforms.
You can read more here.
If you are attending the AALS conference this week, please drop by the ABA Publishing booth and take a look at my new book, Legal Writing Exercises: A Practical Guide to Clear and Persuasive Writing for Lawyers. It is available in both paperback and ebook here. You can download the preface here.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Consultant Karen Kelsey suggests these questions as good ones to ask at the end of a job interview.
Questions for Interviews at Research Universities “I’d like to know more about sources of travel support on campus.” “Could you tell me about teaching-release possibilities on campus?” “I heard that there is a junior sabbatical for tenure-track faculty. Could you tell me more about that?” “What is the breakdown of undergraduate and graduate teaching?” “I’m interested to know how the graduate students are supported. Could you tell me more about that?” “What level of graduate-assistant support is available to support research?”
Questions for Interviews at Teaching-Oriented Colleges “I’d like to know more about the students; what do they tend to do after graduation?” “I’d like to know about some of the ways that students are involved in faculty research (and here are some of my ideas about that).” “Are there opportunities to lead field school or study-abroad programs?” “I’d like to know more about the [fill in the blank] Club. What are some of its activities and how are faculty involved?” “I’d like to hear about opportunities for collaborative (and/or interdisciplinary) teaching on campus.” “I’d like to know more about the advising and mentoring programs in the college. How do faculty work with students outside the classroom?”
You can read her reasons here, at Vitae..
HuffPo has an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Adele Barlow called Leaving Law: How Others Did It & You Can Too" which you can order here. In the meantime, here's an excerpt from the author's post at HuffPo:
Were you only going to be a lawyer until you figured out what to 'really' do with your life?
. . . .
"(Mental) Health is Wealth"
. . . .
. . . .
Low decision latitude'
Continue reading here.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
The ABA's recent addition of an assessment requirement to its standards may become a disruptive force in legal education. Professor David Thomson has just posted an introduction to law school assessment on SSRN.
Each year, the American Dialectic Society selects the “Word of the Year”—
The 2013 Word of the Year was “Because”:
This past year, the very old word because exploded with new grammatical possibilities in informal online use,” Zimmer said. “No longer does because have to be followed by of or a full clause. Now one often sees tersely worded rationales like ‘because science’ or ‘because reasons.’ You might not go to a party ‘because tired.’ As one supporter put it, because should be Word of the Year ‘because useful!’”
Saturday, December 27, 2014
The Cowan Group, a legal consulting and search firm in NYC, recently released its 9th Annual eDiscovery & Litigation Support Salary Survey which polled a variety of ediscovery professionals and vendors, including AmLaw 200 firms, about the expected demand for services in 2015. Based on those responses, the Cowan Group report estimates that, on average, demand will be increasing among law firms, corporations and vendors approximately 30% for the coming year. The biggest increase in demand is expected to be for analysts, paralegals, ediscovery attorneys, and consultants. In particular, based on the 297 survey responses received, the report estimates 165 new ediscovery jobs will be created in 2015. Here's an excerpt from the executive summary.
The Cowen Group is pleased to announce the results from our Ninth Annual Salary Survey.
This year we received 287 results by requesting information directly from professionals at all levels of employment, including Technologists, Project Managers, Managers, Directors and Attorneys. We supplemented our online questionnaire by conducting first person research and integrating data from candidate interviews and placements at the nation’s top law firms and vendors.
We received responses from over half of the AmLaw 200, and for the first time we expanded our survey to include data and analysis from corporations, vendors, and mid-size law firms. We received 90 responses from corporate participants.
This increased corporate participation reflects a trend we have been predicting for two years that is finally coming to fruition—increasing ownership of discovery functions in corporate law departments. While the demand for eDiscovery talent is predicted to remain the same for most organizations in 2015, on average, 30% of firms, vendors and corporations intend to grow their practice groups. As a whole, corporations are predicting the biggest increased demand for Analysts, Paralegals, eDiscovery Attorneys, and Consultants.
Overall, we predict approximately 165 new positions will be created in Am Law 200 firms in 2015, with demand focusing primarily on Project Managers and Analysts at AmLaw 100 firms. 91% of participants reported that this increase in hiring is influenced by an increase in workload. 33% of firms said hiring is also influenced by a chance to pursue new opportunities, and 15% said hiring is influenced by a need for new skills and competencies.
You can read the full report here.
Hat tip to Law Technology News.
Here is the opening argument of the petitioner’s attorney in Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, 572 U.S.___(2014). Note Justice Scalia's question and how Justice Breyer came to the poor attorney’s rescue:
ORAL ARGUMENT OF STEVEN J. LECHNER ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS
Chief Justice John G. Roberts: We will hear argument next in Case 12-1173, Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States.
Steven J Lechner: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
If upheld, the decision below will upset 100 years of property law and title to perhaps a million acres of land, based upon an implied reversionary interest that the government recently created.
I would like to make three points: First, the decision below violates Leo Sheep, where this Court rejected the government's attempt to create a property interest through implication and reaffirmed that the government does not retain any interest not expressly reserved in the patent or the granting statute.
Two, the decision below is contrary to both the government's argument and this Court's ruling in Great Northern that 1875 Act rights-of-way are easements and are not fees.
And finally, the decision below is inconsistent with the Department of Interior's longstanding interpretation that the 1875 Act granted only an easement.
It is axiomatic that the highest evidence of title in this country is a patent from the government.
When the government issues a patent, it divests itself of title except for those interests expressly reserved.
Here, the patent did not reserve any interest in the 1875 Act--
Justice Antonin Scalia: Counsel, you are not reading this, are you?
Justice Stephen G. Breyer: It's all right.
After Justice Breyer’s words, the attorney continued with his argument.
Friday, December 26, 2014
The blog JD Journal is running a poll (scroll down to the bottom) to decide which of 10 lawsuits picked by the editors will be crowned the "craziest" of 2014. Here are the candidates though you'll have to click here to get the full details (including some video explanations).
10. Dear Disney: You Stole “Frozen” from My Life Story.
9. Hey, Jimmy Johns: Where Are My Sprouts?
8. Minimum Wage Demanded for Community Service.
7. Baseball Fan Sues ESPN for Airing him Sleeping at Game (with video!).
6. A Poster Tripped Me.
5. Lawyers Target California Town with ADA Lawsuits.
4. Thanks for Saving My Life—Now I’m Suing You (video).
3. Suing for More Money That Even Exists on the Planet.
2. Little League Coach sues Player for Tossing Helmet after Win.
1. If You Claim You’re Injured, Don’t Film Yourself Shoving Boulders (with video, 'natch!).
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The story from the Baton Rouge Advocate notes that the 2014 1L class at LSU actually increased slightly from last year though the larger trend over the past few years has been a decline in matriculants as it has been at most law schools nationwide. The school has offered a year's salary to seven of its forty-five law faculty, all of the buy-out candidates are over 65, to retire this summer. The Law Center's Chancellor says it is "critical" that the school "right-size" and gain the financial flexibility it needs to move forward. The Chancellor says he expects some of those who were offered the buy-out will take them but he's not sure that everyone will. The school has retained the right to renege on the offers if less than four accept. Here are more details from The Advocate:
. . . .
“It’s critical that we have the flexibility to right-size the faculty of the Law Center,” [Law Center Chancellor] Weiss said. “The financial cash flow advantage of this plan gives us overall flexibility in terms of our program.”
LSU has the option to renege on the offer if fewer than four faculty members choose to participate.
The Law Center has about 45 faculty members, most of them tenure or tenure-track professors. Among the professors who qualify are several well-known names, including former Law Center Chancellor John Costonis and former LSU system general counsel Ray Lamonica.
Weiss said he’s not sure how many will go for the buyout.
“Certainly, some will,” he said.
He said he sees the incentive program as a way for faculty to “retire with dignity and positive feelings” about the LSU law school.
The Law Center worked with LSU leaders to come up with the plan.
“The plan has significant benefits for the Law Center,” said Daniel Layzell, LSU vice president for finance and administration.
LSU Law Center is in a re-organization effort that will put it under the umbrella of LSU’s flagship campus.
The initial cost of doling out one-time payments to those who choose to take the retirement incentive would be $1.36 million if all seven take the offer.
Half of that will be covered with a loan from the flagship’s budget.
The plan allows the university to hire some of the retirees back on flexible one-year contracts. Or it could fill jobs with new, cheaper hires.
. . . .
You can continue reading here.
Monday, December 22, 2014
A reminder to our readers that in February the California Western School of Law will be hosting the Second Annual Law School Icubator Conference in beautiful San Diego. Check out the website here for full details on the program schedule, how to register, where to stay, etc. Below is a brief summary and reminder to please register ASAP.
Enhancing Social Justice Through Development of Incubators and Residency Programs, February 27, 28, 2015—California Western School of Law, San Diego, California.
Registration is rolling for this exciting conference and the detailed program is now available through the conference web page at www.cwsl.edu/incubator . You can also register and make hotel reservations from the same conference web page.
If you are associated with an incubator program or thinking about developing one, this conference will be a unique and valuable resource. If you are involved in any community that has or might want to have an incubator program, the conference will be an inspiration. If you care about access to justice issues or the career satisfaction of law school graduates, this conference will address these important issues. The conference will include workshops and problem solving sessions to ensure that each participant takes home useful and practical information.
If you need more information feel free to contact any of the conference organizers:
Tony Luppino firstname.lastname@example.org
Fred Rooney email@example.com
Bob Seibel firstname.lastname@example.org
Register Now at www.cwsl.edu/incubator