Friday, July 24, 2015

More on Indiana Tech's offer of full scholarships to students who stay

As we blogged a few days ago, in light of the ABA's decision to deny accreditation to Indiana Tech, the school is offering full scholarships to all students who remain while it reapplies. Though administrators expressed confidence that the ABA will act favorably on this new application, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog points out that the school's website informs current and prospective students that it makes no promises about the outcome of the accreditation process. More specifically, the website states:

The Law School is not currently approved by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association and makes no representation to any applicant that it will receive approval from the Council before the graduation of any matriculating student.

So students will get a free ride (they must still pay room and board) but it is not without risk. Check out our previous post here and the WSJLB follow up story here.


July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gerry Spence's Classic "Bird" Closing Argument

Once there was a wise old man and a smart-aleck boy. The boy was driven

by a single desire-to expose the wise old man as a fool. The smart aleck had

a plan. He had captured a small and fragile bird in the forest. With the bird

cupped in his hands so that the old man could not see it, the boy's scheme

was to approach the old man and ask, "Old man, what do I have in my

hand?" To which the wise old man would reply, "You have a bird, my son."

Then the boy would ask, "Old man, is the bird alive or dead?" If the old

man replied that it was dead, the boy would open his hands and allow the

bird to fly off into the forest. But if the old man replied that the bird was

alive, the boy would crush the bird inside his cupped hands until it was dead.

Then the boy would open his hands and say, "See, the bird is dead!"

And so, the smart-aleck boy went to the old man, and he said, as planned,

"Old man, what do I have in my hands?"

The old man, as predicted, replied, "You have a bird, my son."

"Old man," the boy then said with disdain, "is the bird alive or is it


Whereupon the old man looked at the boy with his kindly old eyes and

replied, "The bird is in your hands, my son."

It is then that I turn to the jury and say, "And so, too, ladies and

gentlemen, the life of my client is in yours."

 With this closing story, the jury understands that it alone has the responsibility for the verdict. The possible fate of the bird encourages it to treat the lawyer’s client as it would the fragile creature in the boy’s hands.

 For another powerful pathos closing argument by Gerry Spence, please click  here.


July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Steven Harper Condemns ABA Task Force Final Report on the Financing of Legal Education

Last year, the ABA created a task force to consider the problems concerning the financing of legal education.  The task force issued its report on June 17.  (here)  Law school critic, Stephen Harper, has urged the House of Delegates to reject the report.  (here)

Harper writes, "If the Delegates are interested in rehabilitating the ABA’s credibility and restoring public confidence in the profession on an issue of critical importance to the country, they could take this simple step: reject the Task Force Report. That’s right. Rather than giving the typical rubber stamp of approval amid flowery speeches thanking Task Force members for their time and effort in generating a hollow ABA statement summarizing the obvious, the House of Delegates could just say no."

He continues, "Let’s state the problem more bluntly: Marginal law schools are relying on exploding student debt to produce revenue streams that keep them alive. They get away with it because federal student loans come without school-specific accountability for graduates’ dismal employment outcomes. Schools have no financial skin in the game."

He notes that "the new Task Force didn’t pursue this obvious market dysfunction. Instead, its Final Report offers superficial fixes: better debt counseling for students, better disclosure forms from the Department of Education, more dissemination of how schools spend their money, and continued experimentation with law curriculum. They ignore the core financial accountability problem, rather than confronting and addressing it."

He points out that "The chairman of the 2014-2015 Task Force was Dennis W. Archer, former mayor of Detroit, former Michigan Supreme Court justice, and past president of the ABA. Did the ABA think no one would notice that Archer also chairs of the national policy board of Infilaw — a private equity-owned consortium of three for-profit law schools — Arizona Summit, Charlotte, and Florida Coastal.

The Infilaw schools feed on the market dysfunction that the current system for funding legal education creates. The job market for law graduates from schools such as Infilaw’s remains dismal. But even in the face of their graduates’ poor full-time long-term JD-required employment results, Infilaw’s schools increased enrollment and have become leaders in creating debt for their students.

Archer wasn’t the only problematic appointment to the 2014-2015 Task Force. Another member, Christopher Chapman, is president and CEO of Access Group — the collective voice of 197 ABA-accredited law schools."

Harper emphases that "The fact that, as one 2014-2015 Task Force witness said, legal education may be the 'canary in the coal mine' on issues relating to student debt and financing higher education generally is no excuse for the profession to refrain from offering potential solutions."

He recommends that "For that reason, at its upcoming August 3-4 meeting in Chicago, the ABA House of Delegates could reject the Task Force Report. It could then reconstitute the Task Force membership with individuals willing to deliver the tough message that the profession needs. It could direct the newly constituted group to develop meaningful proposals that tie law student loan availability to individual law school outcomes."

He concludes: "In a single vote rejecting the 2014-2015 Task Force Report on the Financing of Legal Education, the House of Delegates could match those lofty words with action."

I should add that the financing of legal education has had the greatest negative impact on the poor and minorities, groups that law schools want to help.

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win

One of our correspondents, David Gibbs, writes to recommend The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win by Joel P. Trachtman.  Professor Gibbs states, "I wanted to bring to your attention a recent book 'How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win' by Joel P. Trachtman. Joel is a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a lawyer who once practiced. His book is a thoughtful and well-written discussion of how to be persuasive as a lawyer or in other areas. Joel outlines the arguments down with a straightforward and incisive approach that will help students, young lawyers and those who have practiced and want to sharpen their skills."

You can find out more about the book here.

From a review:

"An easy-to-follow guide to argument techniques and theory.
In this manual, Trachtman moves legal argument out of the classroom and shares it with a general audience. Although the text is firmly grounded in the author’s legal background—the first chapter, for example, explores what the law is and why it matters—it also draws many parallels to other professional contexts. The author also often uses point-counterpoint examples to illustrate the techniques he describes. Overall, readers engaged in legal argument or persuasive writing and speaking will get the most value from this book.​"

   -- Kirkus Reviews

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Last minute tips for those taking the bar exam

The blog JD Journal has posted a comprehensive list of links for those bar exam takers looking for some last minute advice. There are tips covering everything from dealing with anxiety (and here), overcoming real and perceived bias and how to deal with taking multiple bar exams.

Check out the full list of topics here.


July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jury Trials: Advice from Trial Lawyers

Here is a summary of the advice that trial lawyers often give:

The lawyer is the most important witness. Find the focus of judgment. Tell stories. Trash the calendar and avoid chronology. Create pictures. Give the jury a wrong to right. Don’t tell people what to think; let them find it for themselves. Avoid the paradoxes of persuasion and preparation. Write to the ear and speak to the eye.

Chris Lutz, Foreword to 2 James W. McElhaney, McElhaney’s Litigation xvi (American Bar Assn. 2013). (good book)


July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rostron & Levit's updated guide for submitting law review articles

In case you hadn't already heard, Professors Allen Rostron and Nancy Levit (both UMKC) have posted to SSRN their annual update to the benchmark guide for submitting law review articles. Among the highlights and new features included in the updates are the following : 

First, the chart containing submission information for the 204 main journals now includes as much information as possible about what law reviews are no longer accepting submissions at the moment and when they may likely resume accepting submissions.  However, many journals typically do not provide specific dates and instead opt to indicate only that they will start accepting articles again sometime in the spring.


Second, there continues to be a gradual increase in the number of journals using and preferring Scholastica instead of ExpressO or accepting emails submissions: 22 journals prefer or strongly prefer Scholastica, 14 more list it as one of the alternative acceptable avenues of submission, and 10 now list Scholastica as the exclusive method of submission.  


The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferences about methods for submitting articles (e.g., e-mail, ExpressO, Scholastica, or regular mail), as well as special formatting requirements and how to request an expedited review.  The second chart contains rankings information from U.S. News and World Report as well as data from Washington & Lee’s law review website.

Download the guide here.


July 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law Firm Won’t Hire any Ivy League Grads

Prominent N.Y.C. real estate lawyer explains why his firm stays away from the Ivies. Here are two excerpts:

Our hires come from the top of the classes of the second, third or fourth tier law schools. We find these men and women we take under our wing to be more ambitious and more hungry to excel in the legal profession. They are hard-working and usually grew up with a middle or lower class upbringing. We do not hire our clients' sons and daughters unless they demonstrate the same merits as any stranger to our family. The candidates we recruit are those who have been battle tested in one manner or another. They have been forced to compete against their peers to rank at the top of their law school and college classes.

So why are we not hiring from the best credentialed law students in the world? First, the top students from these law schools have no interest in applying for a job at our firm. Secondly, many of these law schools either fail to rank their students or do not even grade them at all. (1) Ergo, the students have no incentive to work hard and learn when they have guaranteed summer associate positions and guaranteed job offers. Their students typically have no incentive to get the best grades in their classes. They also have no incentive to squeeze as much learning as possible out of the law school experience. Most importantly, the real world simulation of dealing with the pressures of a case or deal may be removed when the students do not need to compete for a job in a difficult market.

You can read lots more here at the Huffington Post. Any Ivy Leaguers want to comment?


July 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

There’s $$$ in Those Vending Machine Contracts

From the Toledo Blade:

A new deal to exclusively sell Coke beverages at the University of Toledo could mean $4.5 million in sponsorship fees over the life of a 10-year contract plus other perks, according to a draft of the agreement provided to The Blade on Tuesday in response to a public records request made in late June.

UT announced last month it plans to switch its soda sales from Pepsi to Coke beginning Aug. 1, the date the contract must be finalized. Pepsi had held exclusive rights to sell beverages at UT since August of 2005.

You can read more here.


July 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Indiana Tech Law School plans to reapply for accreditation

The ABA denied the school accreditation last month (here and here) and rather than appeal that decision, school administrators feel the more expeditious route - to better ensure accreditation is secured before the charter class graduates next spring - is to reapply. To give students an incentive to stay while the accreditation issues get sorted out, the school has committed to providing 100% scholarships for every student enrolled next year.

The local news outlet,, out of Kendallville, Illinois has more details:

Law school skips appeal, reapplies to ABA

The Indiana Tech Law School did not appeal a June decision by the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education denying it accreditation — but only because the university’s leaders decided reapplying for the ABA’s endorsement would be the quicker, more effective approach.


The appeals panel is required to affirm the council’s determination unless it thinks that it was arbitrary and capricious, said Charles Cercone, the law school’s dean. The school would not have been allowed to submit any additional evidence or documentation in its appeal, so the likelihood it would win was small.


“If we had appealed it would have delayed our reapplication process into next year to the point where we would have felt uncomfortable with our charter class that’s going to graduate (in 2016),” Cercone said. “So we decided to abandon the appeal and reapply right away.”


The accreditation is important, because in Indiana, students must graduate from an accredited law school in order to sit for the bar exam.


The school sent notice to the ABA “a couple weeks ago” that it intended to reapply, Cercone said in an interview July 10. That triggers the process so the ABA knows the school is asking for a site team to come visit in September or October, in preparation for a determination on accreditation to be made next spring.

. . . . 


Continue reading here.


July 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Is There White Bias in Legal Education? Part I

Deborah Jo Merritt suggests that there is.  (here)  After reading a study by Alexia Brunet Marks and Scott Moss, she writes, "The most stunning finding, however, relates to minority students. Even after controlling for LSAT score, undergraduate GPA, college quality, college major, work experience, and other factors, minority students secured significantly lower grades than white students. The disparity appeared both in first-year GPA and in cumulative GPA."

She adds, "Marks and Moss are unable to probe this racial disparity in depth; their paper reports a wide range of empirical findings, with limited space to discuss each one. They observe, however, that their extensive controls for student characteristics suggests that the 'racial disparity reflects something not merely about the students, but about legal education itself.' What is that something?"

Professor Merritt considers several reasons for this disparity. "One possibility, as Marks and Moss note, is unconscious bias in grading."  "Another explanation lies in the psychological phenomenon of stereotype threat. When placed in situations in which a group stereotype suggests they will perform poorly, people often do just that."  "Legal education itself, finally, may embody practices that favor white students. Are there ways in which our culture silently nurtures white students better than students of color?"

Other influences might include: "First, minorities may enter law school with fewer financial resources than their white peers."  "Second, minority students may have less social capital than white students. Students who have family members in the legal profession, or who know other law graduates, can commiserate with them about the challenges of law school. These students can also discuss study approaches and legal principles with their outside network."  "Finally, minority students bear emotional burdens of racism that white students simply don’t encounter."

She concludes: "I don’t know the causes of the racial disparity in law student grades. One or more of the above factors may account for the problem; other influences may be at work. Whatever the causes, the data cry out for a response. Even if the discrepancy stems from the outside forces I’ve identified, law schools can’t ignore the impact of those forces. If we’re serious about racial diversity in the legal profession, we need to identify the source of the racial grade gap and remedy it."

In response, Professor Jeffrey Harrison declares, "I have no doubt about the outcome of the study but the actual color of the students -- since there is blind grading -- cannot be the cause.  Unless I missed something in high school biology, there is no correlation between pigmentation alone and anything else. There is a causal factor, to be sure but, before coming up with solutions, how about putting social class into the equation or anything that can actually explain the outcome."  (here)

"Increasingly I think white liberals want to classify deep social issues as exclusively matters of race. This means they can continue to ignore matters of class -- of which there is a great variety within races --  more generally. The reason for this is easy. Class differences, more than race differences, are responsible for their successes and we would not want the legitimacy of their success questioned, now would we?"

He adds: "In fact, something makes me uncomfortable about the use of race as a variable in a study about grades or scores that are blind graded. Some of that discomfort comes from the possibility of stereotyping -- minority students do worse can too easily become all minority students do worse. Or, worse yet: Since you are a minority student, you will do worse."

Regardless of the reason for the disparity in the gpas of minorities, this is a significant problem that law schools must deal with.  In part II, I will suggest concrete methods law schools can adopt to help minority students.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S.  I agree with Professor Harrison that unconscious bias cannot be the reason for the grade disparity.  The vast majority of law school classes are blind graded.  Also, aren't law professors one of the most liberal and Democratic groups in academia?

July 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is There Any Wonder Why There is White Bias in Legal Education? Part II

In Part I of this subject, I discussed a post by Deborah Jo Merritt, which suggested that there is white bias in grading in legal education.  While it is not clear why this difference exists, it is clear that minorities have lower law school gpas than white students.  I am not interested so much in whether there is a white bias, but in how we can help students from all racial and socioeconomic groups do better in law school.

Is there any wonder why there is white bias in legal education?  The predominant method of legal education used today was developed in the nineteenth century at an elite law school for elite, white, male law students who had graduated from elite colleges.

In researching my article, How to Help Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Succeed in Law School, I discovered that general education scholars have developed numerous methods for helping students who are poorly prepared for advanced education.  Based on this research, I believe that students from disadvantaged backgrounds can succeed in law school and become successful lawyers if law schools adopt new methods of instructing such students.  In other words, the problem lies not in the lack of innate ability of our students, but in how law schools deliver instruction to students.

First, law schools must change the mindsets of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Many students at all levels believe that intelligence is fixed.  Such a mindset prevents learning because it creates a defeatist attitude.  Law schools need to instill a growth mindset in their students–that with effort and the proper approach any student that is qualified to enter law school can succeed in law school.  (See Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006))

Second, law schools should help motivate their students.  Many students come to law school lacking the motivation to learn.  For some students, this is because they have been poor learners for most of their educational careers and have concluded that effort does not help them learn.  For others, they have succeeded too well, and they do not want to tackle tasks unless they can do them easily.

Third, law schools must teach their students how to be metacognitive thinkers.  Metacognition concerns thinking about thinking–controlling one’s cognitive processes.  It involves knowing strategies and when to adopt a particular strategy.  It concerns monitoring one’s learning and activities.  It requires thinking about one’s learning processes and problem-solving methods so the student can improve those processes.

Fourth, law schools must help students from disadvantaged groups become self-regulated learners.  While they take advantage of expert teachers, self-regulated learners can learn on their own.  Self-regulated learners are engaged learners, and they are fascinated by learning new things.  Self-regulated learners reflect on what they have learned.

Finally, law schools need to help students develop better study habits.  Most students use the same study habits in law school that they did in undergraduate school regardless of whether those habits worked well.  In addition, law school involves a different type of learning that requires a different approach to studying.

There are a number of other techniques law professors can use to help minority students:

1.  A law professor should develop clear and detailed goals for each course.  List the goals in the syllabus, and discuss them in the first class.  I even email my students before each class telling them what we are covering.

2. Professors should be explicit in their teaching.  Hiding the ball does not help students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.  As one education specialist has asserted, “[t]hinking skills need to be explicitly and consciously taught and then used with many types of examples so that the skill aspect and its appropriate use are clarified and emphasized.”

3. Professors should break complex tasks into component skills.  While experts can often see how the parts fit together, novices often need help with unpacking.

4. Professors should use concrete examples and compare examples in class to help the learning of abstract concepts.  Examples make abstractions concrete.

5.  Educational research has demonstrated that students learn more with active learning, rather than listening to lectures.  Give the students exercises and problems to solve.  Teach experiential courses in the second and third years.

6. Professors can use think alouds when meeting with students.  During the think aloud, the student verbalizes all steps of the thinking process, including alternatives and dead ends.  Think-aloud exercises help students develop problem-solving skills, reflect on their problem-solving strategies, deal with new types of problems, and improve domain-transfer skills.

7. Use frequent formative assessments with detailed feedback.  Professors can adopt a variety of formative assessments, such as writing assignments, problem-solving exercises, multiple choice tests, observations, and mid-terms.

8. Have your students reflect on what they have learned.  After every class, students should review their notes and reflect on the implications of the class.  They should relate the new knowledge to what they already know, they should challenge what they have learned,  and they should think up alternatives to what they have learned.

I have written three books to help students succeed in their first year of law school.

1.  Think Like A Lawyer: Legal Reasoning For Law Students and Legal Professionals (ABA Publishing 2013).

2.  A Companion to Torts: Think Like a Torts Lawyer (2015).

3. Legal Writing Exercises: A Practical Guide to Clear and Persuasive Writing For Lawyers (ABA Pub. 2014).

These books break down tasks into component parts, they have many exercises for active learning, and they contain metacognitive and reflective questions.

There are also many books from the major legal publishers that incorporate an active approach to learning.  (listed here)  I think that the best series containing problem-solving and skills exercises is the Context and Practice series from Carolina Academic Press.  The books in this series are casebooks combined with many practical exercises.  Also very useful is the Skills & Values Series from Lexis/Nexis.  The books in this series are supplements to traditional casebooks that contain numerous extended exercises.

In sum, there is a mearsurable discrepancy between the grades of minority and white students in law school.  General educational scholarship has shown how law schools can overcome this problem.  The question is are we ready to put in the work necessary to graduate better minority students?

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is Justice Scalia Setting a Poor Example for Law Students?

In an LA Times editorial (here), Dean Erwin Chemerinsky writes that he sees students writing briefs laced with an increasing amount of sarcasm and personal attacks. He believes that Justice Scalia’s writing style is encouraging them to follow his example.

I doubt that students are so easily influenced by the opinions of one Justice. I suspect the snarky-ness comes from the influence of trends in popular culture.


July 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Much Will $100 Buy in Each State?

Thinking of moving? You might consider how much $100 would buy in your prospective state. From the Tax Foundation:

The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi ($115.21) Arkansas ($114.29) South Dakota ($114.16) Alabama ($114.03) and West Virginia ($113.12). In contrast, $100 is effectively worth the least in the District of Columbia ($84.96) Hawaii ($86.06) New York ($86.73) New Jersey ($87.34) and California ($89.05.)

Regional price differences are strikingly large; real purchasing power is 36 percent greater in Mississippi than it is in the District of Columbia. In other words: by this measure, if you have $50,000 in after tax income in Mississippi, you would have to have after-tax earnings of $68,000 in the District of Columbia just to afford the same overall standard of living.

It’s generally the case that states with higher nominal incomes also have higher price levels. This is because there is a relationship between the two: in places with higher incomes, the prices of finite resources like land get bid up. But the causation also runs in the opposite direction. Places with high costs of living pay higher salaries for the same jobs. This is what labor economists call a compensating differential; the higher pay is offered in order to make up for the low purchasing power.

For a state-by-state survey, please click here.



July 20, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

List of Educational Goals

Notre Dame Law School has developed an excellent list of educational goals.

Educational Goals

On May 1, 2013, the faculty approved the following statement of Formation Goals and Competencies, which, taken together, describe the purpose of a Notre Dame Law School education.


    Professional Qualities: To prepare our students to practice law with professional excellence and commitment to fairness, justice, compassion, and the highest ethical standards.
    Careers: To develop in our students the knowledge and competencies that will enable them to discern among and to succeed in a range of careers.
    Service: To prepare our students to serve the community, especially the underprivileged, with dedication to human dignity and the common good.
    Leadership: To prepare our students for leadership in the bar, the bench, the academy, and the public and private sectors.
    Faith: To encourage our students to consider the Catholic intellectual tradition and the role of faith in leading integrated and fulfilling personal and professional lives.
    Global Awareness and Diversity: To prepare our students to live, learn, and work in a diverse, multicultural and globalized environment.
    Interdisciplinarity: To foster in our students an appreciation of the interactions between the law and other disciplines and professions.


The following list includes both “core” and “valuable” competencies. Core competencies are those we believe are important for all our graduates, regardless of the fields of law or kinds of practice in which they may engage. Valuable competencies are important in many fields of law, but are not essential in all kinds of practice. Some of the competencies are accompanied by bullets listing illustrative sub-competencies which students “may” develop.

We strive to ensure that all Notre Dame Law students have the opportunity to take courses that will assist them to develop core competencies. We also offer a broad array of courses relating to valuable competencies. However, given limited resources, not all courses related to all competencies are offered every year, and others may be available through cross registration in other departments of the University. Moreover, some competencies may be developed mainly through co-curricular and non- curricular programs, including law journals, moot court programs, mock trial programs, competitions, panel discussions, presentations, religious programs, mentoring, and discussion in courses on doctrinal subjects.

The following list further classifies competencies according to two kinds: first, competencies relating to knowledge of the law and the legal profession, and, second, competencies relating to professional skills.


Core Competencies: An understanding of:

    Core substantive and procedural areas of law
    Principal sources of law (e.g., administrative law, common law, constitutional law, international law, natural law, statutory law)
    Major schools of interpretation and jurisprudence
    Methods of dispute resolution
    Moral and ethical responsibilities of lawyers to clients, the profession, and the community
    Structure of the legal profession and its role in society

Valuable Competencies: An understanding of:

    Comparative law
    History of law
    Basic knowledge of other disciplines relevant to the law (e.g., political science, statistics)
    In-depth knowledge of particular legal area(s)


Core Competencies:

    Legal analysis (“thinking like a lawyer”), such as the ability to:
        anticipate and identify legal problems
        identify relevant and decisive facts
        recognize and articulate relevant legal principles, rules, and exceptions, and apply them to the   facts in light of underlying policies
        anticipate and assess countervailing arguments
        analyze issues with rigor, logic, and appropriate precision
    Legal communication, such as the ability to:
        speak clearly, concisely, and persuasively on legal matters
        write clearly, concisely, and persuasively on legal matters
        communicate in forms and styles appropriate for a range of decision-making bodies and audiences
    Legal and personal ethics, such as the ability to:
        recognize and resolve legal and other ethical issues
        appreciate how moral principles, faith, and values can be integrated with a lawyer’s professional responsibilities
    Legal research skills, such as the ability to:
        locate appropriate legal authority
        understand the relevant weight of authority
        distinguish primary and secondary legal authority
        verify the current accuracy of authority
    Factual research, such as the ability to:
        interview (e.g., clients, witnesses, and victims)
        gather facts by formal and informal means
    Client relationships, such as the ability to:
        understand the client’s perspective and goals
        develop a relationship of trust
        provide effective counseling on alternative courses of action
    Problem solving, such as the ability to:
        identify a problem
        analyze uncertain or complex facts
        recognize legal and non-legal issues
        foresee risks and contingencies
        appreciate the importance of professional judgment
        identify and recommend appropriate strategies and courses of action
    Representational skills, such as the ability to:
        collaborate or otherwise work effectively with co-counsel and with third parties, including opposing counsel, tribunals, and other professionals
        draft agreements
    Cross cultural skills, such as the ability to interact with clients, lawyers, and others from various cultures and socioeconomic groups
    Globalization skills, such as the ability to practice cross-jurisdictionally and internationally
    Work/Life balance, such as the ability to:
        achieve a healthy balance between personal and professional life
        manage work stress

Valuable Competencies:

    Litigation skills, such as the ability to:
        advocate in pretrial, trial, and appellate settings
        draft various types of litigation documents
    Transactional skills, such as the ability to:
        structure a legal transaction effectively
        draft various types of transactional documents
    Alternative dispute resolution skills
    Basic financial, accounting, and economic literacy
    Information technology skills relating to the practice of law
    Leadership skills
    Non-legal analysis relevant to the law (e.g., empirical, interdisciplinary, and comparative)
    Practice management skills
    Project management skills

(Scott Fruehwald)

July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

One perspective on how the bar and academy can collaborate to produce "practice aware” law graduates

Thanks to Jay Finkelstein, a corporate partner at DLA Piper who has also taught as an adjunct law professor at Stanford, Berkeley, Georgetown and American for alerting me to his most recent article published in J. Legal Education. Though it's not yet available online at that site, head over to SSRN where you can download it here. In the article, entitled Practice in the Academy: Creating 'Practice Aware' Law Graduates, Professor Finkelstein offers the unique perspective of a longtime, highly skilled transactional lawyer who has also been teaching law students for close to 15 years on how both groups can better collaborate to produce "practice aware" graduates (as the term implies, like many others Professor Finkelstein thinks "practice-ready" is a misnomer insofar as it is not a realistic goal). In short, he suggests inviting more practitioners - especially transactional ones - to teach as adjuncts in collaboration with doctrinal faculty while using technology to facilitate inter-school course offerings that can solve the logistical problems that arise in making good pairings between the two groups. The article's conclusion foreshadows the benefits Professor Finkelstein envisions resulting from a greater emphasis in legal education on practitioner-faculty collaborations:

Imagine the power and the educational impact of combining critical thinking on legal issues (full-time faculty) and critical thinking on applying law to address practical problems and achieve client objectives (the role of practitioners in the classroom). Add to that the power of creative collaborations within and between law schools to replicate the actual practice of law, enhance the learning experience, and develop practical skills. Vertical and Horizontal Collaboration integrate with the doctrinal curriculum to create an improved educational result, particularly with respect to transactional law, and  produce the "practice aware" law graduate. The academy and the profession, working together, can bridge the "skills gap" and improve professional outcomes for future lawyers.

Be sure to read Professor Finkelstein's full article here.


July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Mexico Law Has Co-Deans

From JD Journal:

Summary: UNM School of Law has been going through deans due to unwilling faculty and a general lack of trust, making those in the position dodge bullets in an attempt to make everyone happy.

The University of New Mexico School of Law has appointed two co-deans. The school has been having difficulty keeping and selecting leaders for the school. The new co-deans, Alfred Mathewson and Sergio Pareja were both business law professors at the school. The school’s provost Chaouki Abdallah joked that the position “deserves combat pay” for the work they will have to do to appease faculty, students and alumni.

 You can read more here.


July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Which Grad Students Borrow the Most?

Not surprisingly, the top three groups are students studying medicine, pharmacy, and law.  63% of outgoing law students are in debt by $80,000 or more. The median debt for outgoing law students is $117,000.

You can read more and examine charts here, at NPR’s Planet Money.


July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New President of Florida Bar calls for changes to allow law schools more freedom to prep students for practice

In a speech during his recent swearing-in, the new Florida Bar President, Ramón Abadin, issued a "wake-up" call to lawyers that they need to embrace the changes sweeping the profession - largely due to technology - that are loosening their monopoly grip on the way legal advice services are dispensed. Among the changes he'd like to see, Mr. Abadin would like to permit fee-splitting with non-lawyers so they can work together with new, online legal service providers, the "unbundling" of legal service in civil matters, easing restrictions on reciprocity between jurisdictions (at present Florida does not allow it), adopting the Uniform Bar Exam and giving law schools more freedom to develop courses to better prepare students to practice law. 

Regarding the latter, here is what Mr. Abadin told the General Assembly at the recent annual Florida bar meeting

[The bar should work] closer with law school deans to fix what a broken system it is, and change the model of legal education to accommodate an academic and practical experience. We could decrease the number of subjects on the bar exam, so students can take more practical courses in law schools. We could encourage the ABA to remove arcane and obsolete restrictions on law schools so they can produce better, more well-rounded professionals.

You can read his full remarks at the Florida Bar News website here.


July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Second Circuit on Unpaid Internships

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

A recent ruling on the legality of unpaid internships may require closer coordination between employers and colleges, experts say.

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that unpaid internships may be legal as long as the intern is the "primary beneficiary" of the intern-employer relationship. The ruling also emphasized that the purpose of the internship should be educational.

In highlighting the educational nature of an internship, the court, using strong language, dismissed what it called a "rigid" list of six points used by the Department of Labor to determine whether an internship was legal. Instead, the court presented a set of seven guidelines, in addition to the primary-beneficiary principle, to consider in evaluating internships.

The guidelines include "the extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal academic work," and the degree to which the internship was similar to an educational environment.

If you have a subscription to the Chronicle, you can read more here. And here is a link to the opinion, which promises to be influential.


July 18, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)