Sunday, November 22, 2015
Veterans law clinics have been recently growing in popularity including a new one launched by the University of Missouri School of Law in 2014. After its first year of operation, an instructor, Professor Angela Drake, and participating student, Stacey Nicks, take a moment to reflect on what's worked and what hasn't. Both perspectives are included in a new article Perspectives on the Veterans Clinic Model at Law Schools: Lessons Learned by an Instructor and a Student which is available at 45 U. Mem. L. Rev. 943 (2015). Here's an excerpt:
The following essays present two perspectives on the Veterans Clinical Model. One is written by an instructor, and one is written by a student. Both essays discuss experiences at the newly created Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.
II. Skills Training At The Veterans Clinic At The University Of Missouri School Of Law: Lessons Learned
I consider one of my greatest professional accomplishments to be launching The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law in the spring of 2014. After decades of private practice followed by teaching as an adjunct, I currently have the privilege to serve as the Clinic's Supervising Attorney and Instructor. It is always exciting to be part of a new academic venture, whether that might be a new course, a program, or a clinic. It has been particularly exciting to be part of this new project here at Missouri because of the Law School's commitment to prepare students for the practice of law through the teaching of client-centered skills. In the following sections, I share some of my experiences during the Clinic's first year of existence.
A. First, a Few Words About the Clinic
The mission of The Veterans Clinic is to help veterans and their families secure disability related benefits provided by the federal government. These benefits range from educational stipends to compensation for service connected disabilities. Clinic services are offered to low income veterans and their dependents. The Clinic does not charge its clients for its services. Often, readjustment to civilian life is difficult for veterans and many have trouble finding employment. Helping veterans with educational benefits is important because these benefits increase marketability in an increasingly competitive job market. Disabled veterans in particular have paid a high price for serving their country. The Clinic is specifically designed to give back to these veterans.
The Clinic is also designed to provide students with important practical experience. Because student work is done at each level of adjudication--from the Regional Office level to the Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims-- students learn the importance of making a good record and arguing the law. The practical skills introduced in the Clinic include: law firm and time management, client interviewing and counseling, problem solving, legal theory development, negotiation, record collection, witness statement preparation, medical record chronologies, and appellate brief writing and argument. Importantly, the Clinic highlights the importance of pro bono work in a lawyer's professional life.
All work is performed in a law firm atmosphere. Weekly debriefing conferences allow students an opportunity to present the substantive issues involved in their cases, as well as to review the evidence they assembled. Collaboration is the hallmark of the Veterans Clinic. Students are both paired with peers and encouraged to reach out to experts in the field.
. . . .
Saturday, November 21, 2015
The embattled Charleston School of Law has a new part-owner who plans to turn the for-profit school into a nonprofit.Edward Bell, a local attorney said he paid an undisclosed price to become one of three owners, along with founding partners, Robert Carr and George Kosko.
He said he is now president of the law school and managing partner of the company that owns the law school, and will pay himself $1.20 a year. His top priority is to covert the law school into a nonprofit entity. He also said he hopes to build a permanent campus in downtown Charleston.
The owners had previously tried to sell the school to InfiLaw Corp., which owns three other for-profit law schools, but that effort was highly criticized by students and faculty. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education was expected to vote in June of last year not to recommend a license for InfiLaw to operate the school. But infiLaw pulled its application 24 hours before the vote.
You can read more here.
We have published a great deal of criticism of Christopher Columbus Langdell and his case method on this blog. Harold Anthony Lloyd has just posted a particularly insightful critique of the Langdell Method on SSRN:
"Continuing along these lines, it is also hard to see how any alleged divide between theory and practice does not suffer from the same kinds of problems that afflict Cartesian dualism. Descartes believed that mind is an inherently different substance from body, with the former essentially involving thought or consciousness and the latter essentially involving bulk or spatial extension. Although he believed minds and bodies were causally interrelated, he unsurprisingly could never clearly explain how this worked. How can dimensionless thought even touch, much less move something physical? The very notion seems to involve a contradiction: though thought has no dimensions it can nonetheless somehow take hold of and move a body with dimensions. Gilbert Ryle famously mocked this notion with his “ghost in the machine” label—the mind is somehow a nonphysical ghost that resides in and operates the body."
As I have mentioned several times before on this blog, I believe that the Socratic method and reading appellate cases remain important tools for educating lawyers, particularly in the first year. However, law professors need to use these tools more effectively and combine them with other teaching approaches.
National Jurist is reporting that the Blakely Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston School of Law has ranked the top moot court programs for 2015 (based on a methodology that relies on competition results from around the nation, including both individual and team results, as well as taking into account the size and prestige of each competition). The top 16 schools are then invited to compete in January at the annual Andrew Kurth Moot Court Competition held at U. Houston to determine the "best of the best" in moot court teams. See the list of invitees for the 2016 competition here. The top 20 schools as reported by National Jurist are set forth below (click here for the accompanying article). You can find the Blakely rankings for all law schools here (FYI - I did notice a discrepancy between the rankings reported below by National Jurist and the full list of the law school moot court programs found on the Blakely Institute's website).
1. Florida Coastal School of Law
2. Georgetown University Law Center
3. South Texas College of Law
4. UC Hastings College of Law
5. Chicago-Kent College of Law
6. Texas Tech University School of Law
7. University of Oklahoma College of Law
8. Regent University School of Law
9. Michigan State University College of Law
9. SMU Dedman School of Law
11. Liberty University School of Law
12. Loyola University Chicago School of Law
14. U. Miami
15. Seton Hall
16. New York University School of Law
17. St. John’s University School of Law
19. George Washington
20. New York Law School
Friday, November 20, 2015
"The passing rate for the 5,838 first-time applicants was 60.0 percent overall. The passing rate for the 2,485 applicants repeating the examination was 16.0 percent overall." (here) Last year, the passing rate for first-time applicants was 61.4%. In July 2013, it was 67.7%.
Very interesting. Although I don’t know if these are “real words,” I believe they identify real emotions. Interesting, not so much for the weird words, but for stating emotions we sometimes feel and don’t know how to explain.
In terms of persuasive legal writing, we often want to tell a compelling story about our clients that will make them sympathetic characters. Yet, some of these emotions are so subtle that we would have a very hard time introducing them subtly into our legal arguments.
- Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
- Opia: The ambiguous intensity of Looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.
- Monachopsis:The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
- Énouement: The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.
- Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.
- Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.
- Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
- Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.
- Jouska: A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
- Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.
- Vemödalen: The frustration of photographic something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.
- Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening
- Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.
- Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.
- Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.
- Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.
- Adronitis: Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.
- Rückkehrunruhe: The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.
- Nodus Tollens:The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.
- Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time.
- Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.
- Altschmerz: Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.
- Occhiolism: The awareness of the smallness of your perspective.
You can find this list all over the internet. It may have originated at the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer (2015) by E. Scott Fruehwald.
Chapter Six: Overcoming Cognitive Biases
Chapter Seven: Attorney Well-Being
Chapters Six and Seven of my book give students additional tools they need to develop their professional identities and to operate in the legal world.
Drawing on the seminal work of Daniel Kahneman, Chapter Six helps law students recognize cognitive biases in themselves and others. Not only does it present the ideas of key cognitive scientists on this subject, it includes exercises to help students recognize cognitive biases.
Chapter Seven encompasses attorney well-being. Dealing with our mental problems is obviously an important part of developing one’s professional identity. Attorney well-being is also important to clients and the general public because it affects how lawyers deliver their services. Attorney well-being is essential to competence.
Using ideas of Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon, this chapter discusses the latest research on attorney well-being and includes exercises to help students examine and improve their well-being.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
From the Urban Dictionary:
When you or your Scrabble opponent has so many vowels on their rack, they can't make a word on the board, or the only word that can be made is going to score very low. Complaining about having too many vowels and getting irritable reign over swapping a vowel tile and skipping a turn.
This is a new book by two U. Missouri law profs and published by West but available gratis via SSRN here. Get on it you 1Ls. Here's the abstract:
This book, entitled How to Write Law Exams: IRAC Perfected, provides students of all levels with a detailed, comprehensive, and practical guide to success on law school exams. The text is dedicated entirely to exam writing and applies equally to all subject matters, making this guide an ideal supplement for every law school course. The material contained in this book can also be used after graduation to help students prepare for the bar examination.
Written by two law school professors with special expertise in both writing and substantive coursework, How to Write Law Exams differs from other writing guides in several ways. First, this book focuses on law school and bar exams rather than the kind of assignments seen in legal writing class. Therefore, this book helps students improve their grades in all of their substantive courses, not just in their first year legal writing class.
Second, this book provides readers with a proven and easy-to-implement means of maximizing points on a law school exam. Rather than repeating vague generalities about grammar and style or providing simple bullet-point lists as other writing guides do, this text breaks the well-known IRAC method of legal writing into comprehensible segments and gives students the tools needed to master their law exams.
Finally, How to Write Law Exams provides readers with detailed student-written examples of the IRAC method in action. Annotated with line-by-line critiques, these sample essays show readers exactly what can go wrong in a law school exam and how to fix those problems before they appear on a graded paper.
This document provides a brief introduction to How to Write Law Exams by featuring the book’s table of contents as well as a sample chapter outlining the “I” step of the IRAC analysis. As this material shows, the book is suitable for use not only by individual students but also by law professors looking for a way to teach legal analysis in their substantive courses or in academic success classes.
Combining in-depth analysis, easy-to-understand writing, and innovative design features, How to Write Law Exams: IRAC Perfected is the answer to every law student’s exam questions.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
In recent years, many of us have thought about how our audience is affected by font, formatting style, and visuals, including graphics. But have we thought about how color affects our audience. Probably different colors affect different people differently.
Here are some thoughts by my artist daughter, Kathy Sirico:
Blue, to me, is the best color because it’s the most mysterious; it’s the most emotional. It’s something that you can’t really grasp. It’s like the un-graspable, mysterious color that just leaves you down a rabbit hole… it’s like the “blue of distance” kind of idea. You chase it, and it's not – it's like the presence and absence kind of thing. And it is the echo of the blue landscape, and the arctic, and the ice – for me. And the white… white, to me, is a very violent color. I know we’re used to seeing it as “pure,” where in other parts of the world white can signify death, but for me its like a “whitewashing” effect. Like, covering up history, covering up…cycles of violence, and washing away culture. And so I use it as a form of “void-ness.
Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer by E. Scott Fruehwald.
3. The Attorney-Client Relationship
4. The Lawyer and Society
5. Attorney Advertising and Solicitation of Clients
These chapters help students devlop their professional identities within certain topics–the attorney-client relationship, the lawyer and society, and attorney advertising and solicitation of clients. These chapters also help them to continue to develop the ability to use practical wisdom.
From Chapter Four:
Questions: Pro Bono
On these questions, I want your opinion, not what you think others will say. Be honest!
1. What did you answer at the beginning of this chapter when I asked whether attorneys should perform pro bono? Why should a person perform pro bono? To look good to others?
2. Should law students be required to perform pro bono before they are admitted to the bar? Can you see any problems with this rule? What are the advantages of this rule?
3. Should large law firms require their attorneys to perform pro bono?
4. Is the current rule mandatory or aspirational? Should state bars require their members to perform pro bono? Can you see any problems with this rule?
5. Is 50 hours a sufficient requirement?
6. What do you think about this last part, “In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means?”
7. Can you come up with any other solution for helping those who cannot afford attorneys?
8. When do you think these ideas mainly developed?
9. What type(s) of organization might you be interested in doing volunteer work for or make donations to? Make a list of organization that might need pro bono lawyers.
Followed by a discussion of these questions.
You can see Chapter Three here.
That's the question asked by this column in The Legal Intelligencer. Here's an excerpt:
Janet Yellen, the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, said, "Making fuller use of the talents and efforts of women in the workplace has made us more productive and prosperous."
Early in my career, my mentor told me, "Let people underestimate you, then use it to your advantage. When someone underestimates your abilities, they often underprepare and that is your opportunity." He taught me a lot in the years that I worked for him but this is something that has always stayed with me. I consider myself lucky because I cannot easily identify a particular situation when I was underestimated due to being a woman in the legal profession. However, I am sure at some point, to some degree, it did happen. There is no denying that female attorneys have come a long way in recent years. According to Census data, in 1970, women accounted for only 4.9 percent of lawyers. Since that time, countless initiatives have been implemented to increase the number of women within the profession and it has worked. Women now comprise approximately 50 percent of law school graduates and approximately 36 percent of attorneys, which is vastly improved since 1970. However, when you look at the percentage of women who are equity partners, the number dips to approximately 16.8 percent, when looking at Am Law 200 firms, and only 21 percent of general counsel in Fortune 500 companies are women. Women in the judiciary fall into a similar percentage. According to the National Association of Women Judges, in 2014, only 26 percent of judges in Pennsylvania were female.
A recent study done by the American Bar Association, "First Chairs at Trial: More Women Need Seats at the Table," illustrates that a significant gender gap still exists when looking at factors such as equity partnership and lead trial attorneys. The study found that in civil cases, approximately 68 percent of attorneys were men and 32 percent were women. However, among those attorneys, 76 percent of men were designated as lead counsel as opposed to only 24 percent of women.
. . . .
You can continue reading the entire article here.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
I have written before about the consequences of permitting advertising in judicial elections. Here, I want note the size of expenditures. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Legal Intelligencer, the regional legal newspaper in the Philadelphia area. Disclosure: I am on the editorial board, but have nothing to do with the contents of articles written by its accomplished reporters.
With three seats on the state's high court at stake, the 2015 Pennsylvania judicial election was the most expensive election in U.S. history. Total documented spending was nearly $16 million by Election Day, according to an analysis by nonpartisan organizations Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.
"I think this is the new normal," said Christopher Borick, political science professor at Muhlenberg College. "As long as judges to the state Supreme Court are elected in a partisan manner, you are going to see characteristics of the races like campaign finance grow."
The top fundraisers also happened to be the top vote-getters in last week's race.
Superior Court Judges David N. Wecht and Christine L. Donohue and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty were all tens of thousands of votes ahead of their Republican counterparts, Superior Court Judge Judith F. Olson, Adams County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Michael George and Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey, and Independent candidate Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul P. Panepinto.
By Election Day, committees for Dougherty, Wecht and Donohue had reported contributions of about $4.5 million, $3.4 million and $2 million, respectively, including in-kind contributions. Covey, George and Olson had reported about $1 million, $937,000 and $667,000, respectively, and Panepinto got about $237,000, including his own contribution of $200,000.
The six candidates who lost in the primary raised a total of about $1.5 million. There was also spending on advertising by third-party groups that would not have been included in the candidates' reports.
CLEA outlines reasons the New York Bar's Task Force on Experiential Learning and Admission to the Bar should adopt a clinical training requirement for all graduates
We previously reported that a task force appointed by the New York Court of Appeals was soliciting public comment for several suggested proposals (or "pathways") regarding how a law school might satisfy an enhanced experiential learning requirement as a prerequisite to bar admission. The Clinical Legal Education Association ("CLEA") submitted a detailed response on November 9 recommending that the Task Force drop "pathway 1" from its proposal and instead mandate that law schools should require 15 credit hours of experiential coursework prior to graduation (i.e., "pathway 2") as well as requiring students to participate in a three credit clinical training experience. As far as I can tell, the Task Force has not yet posted the comments it received in response to its public request but Professor Bob Kuehn, CLEA's immediate past president, sent me a copy of comments submitted on behalf of that organization. Below is a summary of the talking points and I'll post a link the complete document once it's available online.
CLINICAL LEGAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (CLEA) COMMENT ON BAR ADMISSION SKILLS COMPETENCY PROPOSAL OF NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS TASK FORCE ON EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND ADMISSION TO THE BAR November 9, 2015
The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the skills competency proposal from the New York Court of Appeals Task Force on Experiential Learning and Admission to the Bar.
. . . .
Although CLEA strongly supports efforts of state courts to adopt bar admission requirements that will require law students to be better prepared for the practice of law, the Task Force’s Pathway 1 simply mirrors the experiential training requirement already required by the American Bar Association (ABA) and would not result in any enhanced competency to practice law. As set forth below, CLEA urges that Pathway 1 be deleted in favor of Pathway 2 and that a three-credit clinical training requirement be added for all J.D. applicants to the New York bar.
Judges, Lawyers and Bar Committees Overwhelmingly Agree that Students Need More Skills Training than ABA Accreditation Standards Require
There is broad agreement that applicants for admission to the bar too often are not ready for the effective, ethical practice of law.
By an over 3 to 1 margin, federal and state judges agree that “more coursework on practice-oriented skills” would most benefit law schools, while “expansion of core curriculum” was a distant second. State judges feel particularly strongly that more practice-based coursework is needed — state appellate judges favor more skills courses over more core doctrinal courses by an over 3 to 1 margin, and state trial judges by over 8 to 1.
In a survey of hiring partners and law firm associates, 95% believe recent graduates lack key practical skills. “Most attorneys involved with hiring and management of new lawyers agree practical skills can be effectively honed through clinics, internships, clerkships, and experience in actual or simulated application to a case.” A survey of corporate counsel and private practice attorneys reported that 90% believe law schools fail to teach the practical skills needed to practice law in today’s economy. The ABA’s Young Lawyers Division unanimously resolved in 2013 that law schools should “require at least one academic grading period [15 credits] of practical legal skills clinical experiences or classes as a law school graduation requirement for all matriculating Juris Doctorate (or an equivalent degree) students.”
. . . .
Pathway 1 Merely Duplicates ABA Accreditation Requirements and Would Fail to Increase the Competency of Any New Lawyer in New York
What is described at Pathway 1 adds nothing significant to the existing requirement that applicants hold a degree from an ABA-accredited law school and fails to contribute to the objectives of ensuring that bar applicants possess the requisite skills for practice. Pathway 1 would require an applicant to submit a “certification” showing that his or her school “has developed a plan identifying and incorporating into its curriculum the skills and professional values that, in the school’s judgment, are required for its graduates’ basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession . . . and has made this plan publicly available on its website,” and that the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and familiarity with those values.
. . . .
[O]ther than requiring a new piece of paper from each bar applicant’s school saying that the student has successfully met the ABA’s required learning outcomes for professional skills (i.e., completed 6-credits of skills coursework starting with J.D. students graduating in 2019), Pathway 1’s certification requirement merely reiterates what is already mandated by the ABA. To the extent there is to be any monitoring at the level of individual progress towards professional skills of the over 7,000 applicants from potentially as many as 200 accredited law schools each year, Pathway 1 also would impose very burdensome new oversight and enforcement demands on the Board of Law Examiners and the Court without any corresponding benefit to the bar or residents of the state.
Because the bar application process for J.D. graduates already requires a degree from an ABA accredited law school, the additional requirement that schools produce a certification that they comply with ABA accreditation requirements will do nothing to ensure that applicants to the New York bar are any more prepared for the practice of law than any graduates of an ABA accredited school seeking admission elsewhere. It is a paper exercise.
Indeed, because Pathway 1 duplicates the ABA learning outcome requirements, it actually undermines the objectives of the Task Force. Accordingly, it should be dropped as a means to meet a new practice skills competency requirement.
J.D. Bar Applicants Should Be Required to Have a Clinical Experience in School
A glaring absence in ABA Accreditation Standards and present bar admission rules is a requirement that a J.D. student have a clinical experience, either through a law clinic or faculty supervised externship/field placement, while in law school. At a minimum, the Task Force should require a law clinic or faculty-supervised externship/field placement experience of at least three credits for every J.D. applicant under Pathways 1 and 2.
. . . .
Thus, there is no practical basis for not requiring a clinical experience before a student is licensed to represent clients. Furthermore, it is illogical for New York not to implement such a bar admission requirement. As Dean Erwin Chemerinsky stated, “there is no way to learn to be a lawyer except by doing it.”24 He pointed out the irrationality of not requiring all students to handle real cases with real clients by remarking that “it is unthinkable that medical schools could graduate doctors who had never seen patients or that they would declare that they just wanted to teach their students to think like doctors.”
15 Credits of Practice-Based Experiential Coursework Should Be Required of All J.D. Applicants to the Bar, As Similarly Mandated by Other Professions
The ABA has done too little to address the need for more practice-based education. After decades of calls for reform, the ABA’s new requirement in Accreditation Standard 303(a)(3) would allow a J.D. graduate to sit for the bar having only taken one or two courses (6 credits) in professional skills and no clinical experience through a law clinic or externship. Six credits represents only 1/14th of the 83 total credits required for a degree. By adopting the ABA’s learning outcomes for professional skills, Pathway 1 would further enshrine this inadequate requirement.
. . . .
[F]or other professions, at least one quarter, and as much as one half, of a student’s required education must be in professional skills or clinical courses, as compared to the ABA and Pathway 1’s one-fourteenth. These requirements in other professions apply to every student regardless of the student’s planned specialty area. Even Pathway 2’s 15-credit requirement would only be one-sixth of a law student’s total academic units, still far below that required by other professions.
Almost all other professions also require additional, post-graduate clinical or other practice experience prior to licensure. Therefore, Pathway 2’s required 15 credits of practicebased experiential coursework is a modest, yet still critical, first step toward achieving in legal education the level of professional experience required in the education of other licensed professions in New York. It would not be too difficult or expensive for all law schools to deliver the experience based education that we urge.
. . . .
In conclusion, the legal profession and residents of New York cannot simply hope that individual law students will be able to, and will choose to, take the courses necessary to develop the professional skills they need for the competent, ethical practice of law. And given the widespread complaints about the inadequate preparation of students under the ABA Accreditation Standards, one cannot claim to have taken steps to improve the competency of new lawyers by merely adding a reporting mandate to the inadequate ABA accreditation requirements.
For the good of the profession and protection of the public, all J.D. applicants for the bar should be required to have a law clinic or faculty-supervised externship experience and Pathway 2’s 15 credits of practice-based legal education.
(footnotes and tables omitted).
Monday, November 16, 2015
Helpful advice to pass on to students and friends interviewing for jobs. From Professor John Cawley, here’s a sampling:
Research your companions prior to the dinner, and bring two to three talking points for each of them. You should have something to discuss about the research of each person, and you could also discuss issues related to their teaching and alma mater.
There are three things you should never talk about: religion, politics, and sex. Just because other people open the door to those subjects doesn't mean you should walk through it. Hold your tongue and discreetly change the subject.
Never talk with food in your mouth.
In the old days, men would stand when a female guest stood to leave the table. A man should not do this today -- it might signal that he has anachronistic gender views and that he would treat women differently in other ways as well.
Elbows on the table are only forbidden while eating. After the table has been cleared, when you are in repose and chatting, it is fine to put your elbows on the table.
You can find more advice here.
Sunday, November 15, 2015
At the end of Chapter Two of my book, I give my readers a method of solving ethical and moral problems--practical wisdom. “Practical reason [wisdom] is the general human capacity for resolving, through reflection, the question of what one is to do.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Practical Reason http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/practical-reason/) I use a three-part test I have borrowed from Professor Benjamin Madison: “(1) balancing competing values with empathy and detachment, (2) considering the variable courses of action and the consequences to others from each option, and (3) resolving the question in a way that is the best alternative in the circumstances." (Benjamin V. Madison III, The Emperor has No Clothes but Does Anyone Really Care? How Law Schools are Failing to Develop Students’ Professional Identities and Practical Reasoning, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2414015, at *43 (2014)) I also discuss James Rest's four capacities for making ethical actions: 1) moral sensitivity, 2) moral judgment, 3) moral motivation, and 4) moral implementation. (James R. Rest, Background Theory and Research in Moral Development of the Professions: Psychology and Applied Ethics 1, 22–25 (James R. Rest & Darcia Narvaez eds., 1994) In this chapter, I fully explain these concepts, and I give the students reflection questions and exercises on practical wisdom.
At the end of each of the other chapters in my book, I develop a particular aspect of practical reasoning, including how to deal with ethical problems with detachment, how to deal with ethical problems with empathy, how to choose alternatives, moral sensitivity, and moral implementation. By dealing with practical wisdom throughout my book, I think I have given students a way to effectively evaluate and solve ethical problems.
This is part of Chicago-Kent's "open house" program for prospective law students. All interested students are invited to attend this month's program on how the school prepares practice ready graduates. Though attendance is free, you must register beforehand either online or by calling (312) 906-5020. The program starts at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning (November 21). Below is the schedule and you can click here to find out more details.
Preliminary Program Schedule
|10:00 - 11:00 a.m.||Registration and Opening Reception
Meet Chicago-Kent faculty, students and staff
(Optional early bird tour at 10:15 a.m.)
|11:00 - 11:15 a.m.||Welcome by Dean Harold Krent
|11:15 - 11:30 a.m.||Chicago-Kent Admissions Process
|11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||Panel Discussion: "Preparing You to Practice"
Chicago-Kent faculty and students discuss opportunities to gain practical experience during law school
|12:00 p.m. - 12:15 p.m.||Break and Box Lunch Pick-up|
|12:15 - 1:00 p.m.||Law School Mini-Class
Experience law school firsthand as you attend a law school mini-class
|1:00 - 1:30 p.m.||Law School Tours|
Saturday, November 14, 2015
In a recent VITAE column, former professor Katie Rose Pryal, discusses using BATNA, a negotiation technique in a way that I never considered. What is BATNA?
It stands for: “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Thinking in terms of BATNA can make your life off the tenure track — or your transition out of academia — a little more well planned and enjoyable.
. . .
BATNA — “best alternative to a negotiated agreement” — is a negotiator’s term. It is not synonymous with your “bottom line,” which, according to negotiation expert David Venter, refers to the "worst possible outcome that a negotiator might accept.” Bottom lines are terrible. You don’t want to negotiate with your eye on the bottom line. You want the best alternative, not the worst. If you can't agree with your adversary, you want your BATNA.
The function of BATNA, Venter explains, is that "it prohibits a negotiator from accepting an unfavorable agreement or one that is not in their best interests because it provides a better option outside the negotiation” (emphasis added). BATNA is the open door that you can run through as soon as you see that your negotiations are going awry. It’s your escape route, he says.
If all you do after reading this column is start rethinking your work situation, then you’re already on your way to creating your BATNA. Having the BATNA means shifting the power to your hands and out of the hands of those people who force you to play Survivor with your colleagues. It means that — if at any point you can’t reach a fair negotiated agreement with your chair or dean — you have an alternative.
Pryal improved her BATNA by developing other methods of employment—free lance writing and consulting. Thus, she now had an alternative method of self-employment to which she could make a full-time job.
Fully aware of my tenuous job security, I worked hard so my side-gigs would pay off. Then, when I got my fake promotion, I had strong BATNA. The strongest, in fact: I was willing to leave the job if the division didn’t meet my terms. And leaving wouldn’t be a desperate move on my part. I would be leaving to do something that would make me just as happy as the job I’d been in. Leaving my job was truly a good alternative for me.
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But your current BATNA could be simply doing less in the job that you now hold: doing less unpaid service or holding only the minimum of office hours. All of the “adjunct heroics” (as Rebecca Schuman has put it) may need to go out the window. Then you’ll have time for your own work that could lead to alternative income — like writing a book or consulting on the side. You’ll have time to strengthen your BATNA anew. After all, who knows when you might need it.
For people with my personality, this last choice would be very difficult to adopt. Fortunately for me, I am a tenured professor making a traditional professor salary, so my only real concerns are nonmonetary.
You can read the full article here.
Friday, November 13, 2015
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So, what will lawyer skills look like in 20 years? The best way to assess that is to look at the green shoots we see starting to grow, and evaluate them against the tall trees that may fall — or those that may stand for another century.
Some old timber is still standing strong. Take appellate lawyers. The law will change; facts will change; technology will change. But, the work won’t really change. An intellectually gifted appellate lawyer will likely be as valuable to her client in 2035 as she is now — even if she’s technology-challenged. That’s not where the key value is created. We could make a list of similar roles where the skill set is likely to stay put. But the foundations in other areas are shifting, and that’s where the conversation gets interesting.
One big area is legal operations management. Every day at Novus Law, legal professionals are regularly doing some or all of the following things:
• Designing and building online collaboration portals to manage projects and deliver work product to clients.
• Creating and administering skills assessments to build the matter-specific knowledge attorneys use to prepare work product.
• Running an integrated system of quantitative analytics, each with its own detailed checklist, to regularly measure and manage quality.
• Measuring, analyzing improving and controlling work processes to reduce variation, eliminate error-prone steps and increase efficiencies.
• Using the science of statistics to permit clients and their law firms to audit and verify the accuracy and quality of our work product.
• Using the science of collective intelligence, sometimes known as the wisdom of crowds, to ensure that everyone who works on a matter, clients, their law firms and
our team, all participate in creating work product for a piece of litigation or the fact base for a transaction.
This kind of legal operations work is growing — through the advent of legal operations specialists inside large companies, the emergence of process mapping and operations management by legal services providers, and the beginnings of process consciousness in a few influential law firms.
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