Saturday, January 31, 2015

Law students should begin building an online professional presence while still in school

Over at ATL, Professor and Associate Dean Thaddeus Hoffmeister (U. Dayton) offers tips to law students for building an online professional presence while still in law school (i.e., of course you can't start offering legal advice until you get your license but you can and should start grooming your professional persona while still a student).  Professor Hoffmeister is also the author of Social Media in the Courtroom which you may want to check out here.  His advice is that law students considering finding a legal niche they can blog about because it creates an online presence that will help clients find you when they're searching for a lawyer online.  Another tip which I hope most law students understand by now is to curate your online persona on the assumption that every potential employer is going to Google you.  Professor Hoffmeister's advice:  "Create positive, useful information and you control the message that employers receive.”

Read the full column here.


January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Should You Complete One Task at a Time or Juggle Several Tasks?

At the Harvard Business Review blog, Andrew O’Connell advises going sequentially—one at a time. He cites a recent study and then describes an empirical verification:

Having published a theoretical paper on this idea, Coviello, Ichino, and Persico went on to study a compelling real-world example: Italian judges who typically get more cases than they can easily handle. Some of the judges were heavy task jugglers, some weren’t. An analysis of the caseloads of this admittedly small sample suggests that there really is an advantage to completing tasks in sequence. The heavy jugglers took longer to complete their portfolios and were less likely to complete their cases in a given time period.

You can read more here.


January 31, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Guidelines for the Self Evaluation of Legal Education Clinics and Clinical Programs"

This is a new article by Professor J.P. Ogilvy and available at 15 T.M. Cooley J. Prac. & Clin. L. 1 (2013) and SSRN here.  From the abstract:

This volume is an effort to present a comprehensive set of guidelines for the self-evaluation of legal clinics and programs. The last time that guidelines were developed for legal clinics was in 1980 when a joint AALS and ABA Committee on Guidelines for Clinical Legal Education published its Guidelines for Clinical Legal Education. The present guidelines trace their lineage to the efforts of a group of clinicians working under the auspices of the CLEA-AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education Joint Task Force on Clinical Standards, which was formed in 1995 and was active for several years. These guidelines also draw inspiration from the Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid (2006), which is the work of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and reference the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Performance Guidelines for Criminal Defense Representation (2006). The volume first describes the history of this guidelines project. The balance of the volume is comprised of chapters focusing on guidelines for the Organization and Administration of Clinical Legal Education; Live-Client Clinics; Externships; and Simulation Courses. Although presented here in print form, the ultimate goal of the project is to create an editable Wiki document that can be updated and expanded by members of the clinical community to represent current thinking on best practices in experiential education.



January 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CUNY Campus Drops ‘Mr.’ and ‘Ms.’ to Foster Respect for Students’ Diversity

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The City University of New York’s Graduate Center is advising its faculty and staff members to avoid using such courtesy titles as “Mr.,” “Ms.,” and “Mrs.” in written correspondence with students and instead to address them by their full names, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The goal of the new policy, which was laid out this month in a memorandum from the provost’s office and goes into effect this spring, is to “ensure a respectful, welcoming, and gender-inclusive learning environment … and to accommodate properly the diverse population of current and prospective students,” the memo says.

I may be out of touch, but does this initiative take PC too far? Feel free to comment.


January 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Practice Continuum: Integrating Experiential Education into the Curriculum

A Practice Continuum: Integrating Experiential Education into the Curriculum by Cynthia Batt.


"Legal education has been inundated in the last decade by criticism that many graduates are unable to function competently in today’s practice venues. Although the term “practice-ready” is at best elusive and at worst impossible, law schools continue to grapple with the most fundamental question: how to educate law students so that they can enter the legal market as competent, ethical lawyers. Some argue the traditional law school curriculum teaches law students how to find the law and analyze the law . Others state that it exposes students to legal skills and may provide opportunities for immersion in real practice. However, what the traditional law school curriculum generally does not do is integrate doctrine, skills, and practice in a way that allows students to understand their simultaneous integration to serve clients’ needs.

Drawing on the lessons laid out in two major reports on the state of legal education — Best Practices for Legal Education and the Carnegie Report — this article addresses integration by infusing experiential education throughout the “traditional” curriculum. The Article proposes a continuum of legal education focused on practice: a system where a student’s experience begins with the traditional doctrinal classroom but his or her role can be expanded beyond that of a passive listener, moves to simulation courses where the student first begins to put his or her doctrinal knowledge into practice, and culminates in an immersion into real practice through an externship or field placement, where the student’s role emulates the role of the practicing attorney as closely as possible. Ultimately, the Article recommends a set of best practices specific to the practice continuum, while acknowledging the challenges involved in shifting the legal academy’s inertia towards a more experientially integrated curriculum."

January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Publication opportunity for those with an interest in the teaching of legal writing and research

Here's a great opportunity to get published if you're interested in writing about issues related to the teaching of legal research or legal writing whether you're a LWR faculty member, clinician, doctrinal faculty, law librarian or practitioner. Perhaps you're a practicing lawyer involved in mentoring or training junior lawyers and you've some good teaching techniques, observations or insights you'd like to share.  Or perhaps as a practicing lawyer teaching part time as an adjunct faculty member you have a unique perspective on LRW pedagogy. This is your chance to reach more than 5,000 readers by submitting a short manuscript to Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, a Thomson Reuters publication. The submission guidelines and publisher's contact information are below (ignore the part about a mid-July deadline and instead submit whenever your manuscript is ready).

Perspectives is a journal for law librarians, law professors, and everyone else who is intrigued by the challenge of teaching legal research and writing. In three electronic publications each year (fall, winter, and spring), Perspectivesprovides a forum for exploring a broad array of teaching theories, techniques, and tools. Readers and authors include: 


  • new and experienced law librarians and law professors;
  • practicing attorneys who help associates to develop as researchers and writers or who serve as adjunct faculty at law schools; and
  • writing specialists at law schools, law firms, courts, and other legal institutions. 

Submissions from authors are generally due in mid-July for the fall issue, in mid-September for the winter issue, and in mid-January for the spring issue. Perspectives articles tend to be short, typically between 1,500 and 5,000 words (between two and eight double-spaced pages). The articles generally examine how teachers can best help law students, young lawyers, and others learn to research and write efficiently, enjoyably, and effectively. The articles do so, moreover, in a relaxed, lightly footnoted, and highly readable prose—more like that of many bar association publications than that of traditional academic journals. Most articles focus on a practical issue, task, or topic, for example: 


  • the use of wikis as a teaching and learning tool;
  • game-based teaching techniques;
  • clinicians’ insights for research and writing professors;
  • student engagement with appellate advocacy assignments;
  • incorporation of frequent student-to-faculty feedback;
  • collaborations between research and writing instructors; and
  • creating and managing online courses. 

In addition, regular columns address curricular design, teachable moments, technology for teaching, thorny research matters, and experts’ writing tips. Members of the Perspectives editorial board manage these columns. The editors are experts in teaching research and writing in law firms, libraries, and law schools. They have discretion to edit articles, including by shortening them to conform to available space, and the editors are available to advise prospective authors. 


Perspectives is available in PDF at 


Submitting Articles to Perspectives 

  1. How, to Whom, and When to Submit 

Submit manuscripts by e-mail as an attachment to:

Elizabeth Edinger, Editor

Catholic University of America Law Library



Alternatively, particularly if your article would fit well in a regular column, you may submit an article to a column editor. The editors’ names are listed in each issue of Perspectives. Deadlines are generally in mid-July for the fall issue, in mid-September for the winter issue, and in mid-January for the spring issue.


        2.  Manuscript Form and Length 

1. Author Information. Provide only your name, professional title, and institutional affiliation. Place this information immediately after the article’s title, not in a footnote.

2. Typeface and Margins. Type in standard-face, double-spaced text with 1.5-inch margins.

3. Length. Articles should run between 1,500 and 5,000 words (two and eight pages). Longer articles may be considered but also may be shortened to fit available space.

4. Footnotes. Use footnotes, not endnotes. Identify notes in the text by superscript numbers.

5. Citation Form. Conform citations to The Bluebook (19th ed. 2010). Follow in particular its “Bluepages,” which describe citation form for legal memoranda and court documents and use regular fonts, not LARGE AND SMALL CAPITALS. Use italicizing, not underlining.

6. Ellipses. Treat an ellipsis as a single word, constructed of three periods preceded and followed by a space—for example: “The idea was ... hers.”

7. Commas. Use “serial commas.” That is, in a series of three or more elements, separate each element by a comma—for example: “The names were Ax, Boxx, and Crux.” In addition, do not use a comma to separate Jr. or Sr. from the name—for example: John Kennedy Jr.

8. Word Preferences.

a. Use appendixes or indexes, not appendices or indices.

b. Use citation, not cite, and citing, not “Bluebooking.”

c. Generally, do not hyphenate legal writing or legal research.


January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Alan Alda and Clear Communication

Actor and educator Alan Alda realized that scientists do not communicate clearly with nonscientists. To help remedy the problem, he founded the Alan Alda Institute for Communicating Science at Stonybrook University.  At the Institute, he created the Flame Challenge. Scientists receive a question—this year, “What is Sleep?”--and devise an explanation that 11 year olds can understand. Eleven year olds then choose the winner.

You can read more here.

The analogy to our field is obvious. Like scientists, many in our profession have difficulty communicating with others, including students and clients. To further the cause of clear communication in law, maybe we need a Flame Challenge for lawyers.


January 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ticketed for Eating a Double Quarter Pounder While Driving

From the ABA Journal online:

An Alabama man who ordered a double quarter-pounder with cheese last week at a McDonald’s restaurant in Georgia could soon find himself arguing to a local judge that he deserves a break today.

Madison Turner says he was pulled over in Marietta for eating the burger while driving and has the ticket to prove it, reports WSB.

While the state does have a distracted-driving law that is vague enough to be applied in this manner, a seasoned traffic defense lawyer not involved in Turner’s case says he has never seen such a citation before.

You can read more here.

What’s worse: texting while driving or raising your cholesterol level while driving or risking getting McD’s special sauce dripping on your clothes while driving?



January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Famous Trials

Professor Douglas Linder has constructed a remarkable website with detailed information and documentation on 74 famous trials spanning history from the trial of Socrates  to the Zimmerman (Trayvon) shooting trial. And more is on the way. To access, please click here.


January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

For Want of an S a Company was Lost

Taylor & Sons, a thriving business established in 1875, was destroyed when the UK government’s registrar of companies recorded it as having gone out of business.  However, it was Taylor & Son, rather than Taylor & Sons, that had gone bust.  By the time the mistake was caught three days later, the company's reputation was ruined, and it was forced to file bankruptcy.  There was a happy ending, though.  The company's owners will recover $17.2 million from the British government.  (here)

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on limited licensed legal technicians

As previously noted, Washington is the first state in the nation to license non-lawyers to dispense legal advice (AKA "limited licensed legal technicians") though at present these new legal services providers may only do so in domestic relations matters.  Other states like California and New York are considering similar programs.  Robert Ambrogi has a good post at his LawSites blog that discusses and links to stories around the web (including the ABA Journal and ATL (also here)) expressing a variety of viewpoints on LLLTs from those who are worried they will take business away from lawyers to those who share Mr. Ambrogi's view that the unmet need for legal services by lower income clients is so large that LLLTs can't put a dent in it much less undermine the business of solo and small firm practitioners.  

It's highly likely we'll see more states get on board with LLLTs in the near future so you may want to check out what others are saying about this new group of quasi-lawyers at Mr. Ambrogi's blog here.


January 28, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Do Practitioners Keep Track of Their Clients?

You would be surprised. Trust and estates lawyers in Pennsylvania have a listserv. Members were sent this question (paraphrase): After you write a will or trust, do you contact the client in a few years to see if the client needs an update? Seventy lawyers responded. How many responded “yes”? The answer: ZERO. A common recommended practice is to contact clients every five years.

The five year contact obviously is in the client’s best interest and in the lawyer’s best interest. It may be a lawyer’s ethical responsibility. Our students aren’t the only ones who have trouble reaching out to others.


January 27, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Yup, "drone law" is here

I was kidding when I suggested last fall that drone might be the next big thing after watching this video compilation of drone related mishaps courtesy of the NYT.  Well, it turns out that the first BigLaw drone practice group was launched more than a year ago and 2015 looks to be the break-out year for drone law as a speciality practice area.  From the National Law Journal:

Drone Law Practices Are Beginning to Take Flight

. . . .


For now, the commercial use of drones in the United States is prohibited without special Federal Aviation Administration approval. Hobbyists can fly small drones under certain conditions, but only companies in a handful of industries, like movie making and real estate, have earned one of the 14 highly specific flight exemptions the agency has granted so far. About 200 more requests for exemption await the FAA's judgment.




D.C. regulatory lawyers took notice after New York firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in December 2013 unveiled the first drone practice in Big Law. Special counsel Brendan Schulman represented Raphael Pirker, who used a drone to film a university campus for a project and was fined $10,000 by the FAA. Last week, the agency agreed to settle with Pirker by dropping some of the accusations and reducing the fine.


Washington lawyers said they spotted Kramer Levin's news and saw an opportunity for existing clients. Holland & Knight, for instance, realized it could provide media clients with a voice at the FAA and on Capitol Hill, said Charles Tobin, that firm's media practice chairman.


In May 2014, the firm filed an amicus brief backing Pirker on behalf of several national news organizations. The firm has since expanded its drone practice to include lobbying for the National Press Photographers Association and arranging a partnership between the organization and Virginia Tech University to test the use of drones in newsgathering.


Aviation lawyers across town began researching ways their clients could work within existing policy. Cooley's clients earned the first group of exemptions for companies wanting to fly drones. "For these entrepreneurs who want to push a new device or new service, we had to fit the new wine into the old bottle," said Anne Swanson, the Cooley partner who represents the seven film production companies cleared to fly as of May 2014.

. . . .


"So the question is: Is there a real business here? We've been pleasantly surprised," said Michael Senkowski, Wiley's telecommunications group leader and a drone hobbyist himself; he owns three. "It was uncertain when we undertook this if it would be productive or not. There were no guarantees at the time."

. . . .


Despite the spreading interest, drone work is not the most lucrative of regulatory practices, partly because of its technical nature and partly because of the FAA's recent lack of action."People usually need the prospect of a quick return before they start spending money on a complex application," Swanson said.


. . . .

Continue reading here.


January 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Coaching for Best Practice in Clinical Legal Supervision

Coaching for Best Practice in Clinical Legal Supervision by Dr. Colin James.  Dr. James has several helpful charts from this presentation, which he gave last summer at the Clinic Without Borders Conference.  One of his charts shows how coaching improves both goal attaiment and quality of life.  Another concerns the 8 steps of coaching.

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Methods of Empathic Teaching and Learning

I have always considered Paula Franzese a master teacher. In the Fall 2014 issue of The Law Teacher (page 54) (here), she writes about the importance of emphasizing empathy in the classroom:

Traditional law school pedagogy exalts the linear, logical, and analytical, often at the expense of the more integrative, intuitive, and empathic. The latter faculties are sometimes dismissed as “soft” or less than rigorous, perhaps because we serve a profession where gentleness can be mistaken for weakness. As law teachers we can correct that misperception and show that wisdom and compassion are indivisible. The deductive can and must coincide with the empathic.

 Using empathy to anchor core constructs gives our students a literal “feel” for the subject matter and therefore the opportunity to engage in conceptual thinking. Conceptual thinking is “out of the box,” creative, and integrative. It asks our students to “think away from the page” to see, and then derive meaning from, the larger contexts of which the cases are a part. Conceptual learning relies on big picture synergies and interconnectivities. It is the circle (and circle within circles) rather than the straight line. It depends on the more intuitive, emotionally alert, and nonlinear sensibilities.

 In her article, she offers a number of pedagogical devices that she uses in her Property class. They are easy to use in other classes as well.



January 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Table of Contents and Introduction: Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World

Deborah Maranville, Lisa Radtke Bliss, Carolyn Wilkes Kaas, and Antoinette Sedillo López (eds.), Building on Best Practices:  Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World

The editors of this follow up to Best Practices in Legal Education have posted the table of contents and introduction here.


(Scott Fruehwald)

January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to pick a cost effective legal education.

This column from the USNWR Grad School blog offers tips for students shopping around for the best value in a JD.  The advice includes carefully weighing career and life goals so you have a good idea going in whether your preferred practice area will pay the bills given the COL in the place where you'd like to ultimately settle down.  Read the fine print in scholarships offers to make sure the school won't pull it for failing to maintain a certain GPA or that the offer isn't predicated on other conditions that may result in revocation.   Think carefully before deciding to pursue a part-time JD because it's easy to burn out and though it may at first seem like a less expensive alternative you're giving up opportunities to pursue summer internships that often lead to full time employment later.  USNWR's final suggestion is that if you don't get into a top school, consider negotiating for a generous scholarship at a lower ranked school since many are highly motivated these days to cut favorable deals (but see caveat # 2, above).

Check out the full column here.  Hat tip to ATL.


January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

“Composed of” v. “Comprised of”

The bottom line, use “composed of.” “Comprised of” is always wrong.

Our faculty is comprised of the finest legal minds in the country.

Our faculty is composed of the finest legal minds in the country.

Pick the second version. The grammar rule here is one that we should apply mechanically without trying to remember why.

If you would like to know why, please click here at the “Business Writing blog.”


January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Latest Issue of Perspectives is Out

The Fall 2014 issue of Perspectives is out, with 84 pages of articles. You can access it here.


January 25, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Bibliography on Legal Education Reform

From Touro Law School, here is an 18 page, up-to-date bibliography of books and articles dealing with reforming legal education. If you are facing up to this issue, here is the place to start. Please click here.


January 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)