Sunday, May 3, 2015

"A New Era: Integrating Today's 'Next Gen' Research Tools Ravel and Casetext in the Law School Classroom"

This is a new article by Professors Katrina June Lee, Susan Azyndar, Ingrid Mattson (all from Ohio State Moritz School of Law) and available at 41 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 31 (2015). From the introduction:

The landscape of legal research tools is changing . . . again. In the not so distant past, law professors brought new research tools like WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Google Scholar into their classrooms. Now, in a technological blink of the eye, law professors must grapple with how to integrate the latest next generation (“next gen”) research tools, including Ravel and Casetext, in their classrooms. Should law professors teach these next gen research tools as part of the skills curriculum? If so, how?


In this article, we contend that law professors should integrate the new next gen research tools into the law school skills curriculum, and we propose a set of teaching ideas for doing so without sacrificing precious class time. Making the latest next gen research tools a part of the skills classroom agenda advances current pedagogical goals: teaching law students information literacy (e.g., research strategy, context, and source evaluation); teaching metacognitive skills; preparing students for law practice; and exploring professionalism and ethics issues. In Part II, we define “next gen” for purposes of this article. In Part III, we provide an overview of the pedagogical goals that form the major focus of recent literature about teaching legal skills. In Part IV, we give an overview of the newest next gen tools Ravel and Casetext and discuss how teaching these tools furthers those pedagogical goals. In Part V, we describe how, in our teaching and assessment pilot in a legal writing classroom, we introduced first-year law students to these tools. We provide post-exercise comments from students and offer ideas regarding how these tools may be integrated into future legal writing courses. In this article, the first to explore at length the teaching of the newest next gen research tools in the law school classroom, we aim to demonstrate that these tools provide an intriguing and exciting possibility for achieving the pedagogical goals of legal skills classrooms.


May 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

12 Resume Mistakes that Might Cost an Applicant a Job

From LawCrossing, here are 12 items of advice on (not) drafting a resume:

1. Emphasizing responsibilities but not accomplishments -- or, conversely, getting bogged down in minutiae.
2. Telling (instead of showing) the reader how wonderful you are.
3. Allowing chronology to determine structure
4. Using a "one size fits all" approach

5. Wasting critical space under your name with a prominent display of your address and phone number.
6. Making margins so wide that the text is forced into narrow columns
7. Including your photograph.

8. Using small print.
9. Using a scripted font
10. Using bold typeface for standard categories.
11. Having your legal resume professionally printed.
12. Failing to take into account how the means of transmittal will alter the appearance. Another thing about e-mail is that the proliferation of viruses (and fears about viruses) have generated reluctance to open certain attachments. So in addition to attaching your résumé, you may want to cut and paste it into the e-mail, thereby giving the receiver the option of reviewing the e-mail, the attachment, or both.

You may not agree with them all. Please click here for full explanations.


May 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Barbri's report on the "state of the legal field" and what skills matter most to practicing lawyers

Barbri, the bar prep company, has published the results of its first ever survey intended to gauge the state of the legal field regarding the skills needed to succeed as lawyers, how well law school prepares students for practice and predictions about the job market among other topics. Barbri commissioned an independent research company to survey the opinions of 1500 law students, professors and practicing attorneys. The law school respondents were evenly distributed among law school tiers and about half the students surveyed were 3Ls. The following is a summary of the key findings though you can read the full report here which includes some nifty charts and graphs.


Law students (and particularly 3L law students) assess their own readiness to practice law more positively than do attorneys who work with recent law school graduates.


76 percent of 3L law students believe they are prepared to practice law "right now." In comparison, 56 percent of practicing attorneys who work with recent law school graduates believe that, in general, recent law school graduates are prepared to practice law.



When forced to choose, both attorneys (41 percent) and law school faculty (51 percent) agree that writing is the most important skill for recent law school graduates.


Attorneys placed more importance than did faculty on interpersonal skills (24 percent) and research skills (18 percent).

Almost a quarter of attorneys who have worked with recent law school graduates rate interpersonal skills as the most important skill for them to have mastered.



Law students assess their legal writing skills and their practice skills more positively than attorneys who work with recent law school grads.


82 percent of 3L law students believe they are effective legal writers. In contrast, only 57 percent of practicing attorneys who work at companies that hire recent law school graduates believe recent law school graduates are effective legal writers.



Most attorneys expect a somewhat stagnant job market, but law students are optimistic.


Attorneys at companies that hire recent law school graduates report a median salary starting at $50,000/year. The median expected starting salary among law students is $70,000/year.

91 percent of attorneys at companies with 1-10 attorneys expect their companies to stay the same or decrease in size over the next 3 years.

At companies with more than 10 attorneys, 72 percent expect their companies to stay the same or decrease in number of attorneys over the next 3 years.



Although most law students will have significant debt at graduation, 82 percent of them expect to get good value out of that investment. And 78 percent of practicing attorneys agree that their income since graduation has justified the cost of their J.D.


83 percent of current law school students expect to have education loans when they graduate. More than half expect to have over $100,000 in loans when they graduate.

Hat tip to Professor Joe Harbaugh.


May 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five Methods of Legal Reasoning

"Five Methods of Legal Reasoning--this August 3, 2011 posting is often a favorite of our archive searchers. My colleague Scott Fruehwald identifies the methods as:

Rule-based reasoning

Reasoning by analogy

Distinguishing cases

Reason by Policy

Inductive reasoning

You can access the posting here.


May 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 1, 2015

ABA recommends against accreditation for Indiana Tech Law School (updated)

(Updated below) The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel is reporting that the ABA is recommending against accreditation for the two year old law school. Thus far the ABA has not communicated its reasons to school officials who remain confident Indiana Tech will be able to address the concerns and obtain provisional accreditation by the time its inaugural class graduates in Spring 2016. From the News-Sentinel:

Indiana Tech Law School fails in first bid for accreditation

An American Bar Association committee has recommended against accreditation for Indiana Tech's two-year-old law school, but officials say the decision was not unusual and should represent only a temporary setback.


"It is common for the ABA to want to see a broader history when assessing a (new) law program. This is an ongoing process, and based on what we have learned we feel we are moving in a positive direction," said Matt Bair, Indiana Tech director of marketing and communications. "We have already received valuable insight and useful information from this process. Soon, the ABA will provide us with details and its feedback and recommendations for us."


Once that happens, Bair said, Indiana Tech will develop a plan to address any issues identified in the committee's report. "There's no reason to believe (we can't be accredited) by commencement 2016." That's important, because some states, including Indiana, do not allow students from non-accredited schools to take the bar examination necessary to practice law. But Bair said the school isn't "anticipating a negative impact."

. . . .

Continue reading here.

Update from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.


May 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Workplace Bullying

Here is valuable article on workplace bullying. Consider these survey results.:

  • Most bullies are in positions of managerial or supervisory control – 72%
  • Most bullies are men – 62%
  • Bullying is four times more prevalent than illegal forms of harassment
  • Most employers ignore or worsen the problem of bullying – 62%
  • Most bullied employees never inform their employers of the bullying, or do not have a scope to inform – 40%
  • Only very few bullied employees ever go to court – 3%
  • Many bullied employees – 40% - quit the job to address a decline in health and sanity

You can read more here about who does the bullying and how as well as who are the typical targets of bullies. In the end the responsibility for dealing with the problem lies with the manager or employer.



May 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA reports job market improving for law grads

From the ABA Journal online blog:

Good news for new lawyers: Fewer grads mean better job prospects, report shows

The job outlook for new lawyers is improving, recent figures show.


That may have as much to do with fewer law school graduates looking for work than to any actual improvement in the job market for entry-level lawyers.


Nearly 60 percent of all 2014 law school graduates were employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs, requiring bar passage as of March 15, according to data released Wednesday by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.


That’s up nearly 3 percent from last year, when 57 percent of all 2013 law school graduates held full-time, long-term legal jobs requiring a law license nine months after graduation.


Another 11.2 percent of all 2014 graduates were employed in full-time, long-term jobs in which a law degree is preferred, which was up 1.1 percent from the class of 2013, when 10.1 percent of all graduates held such jobs.

. . . .

Continue reading here.


May 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)