Sunday, January 31, 2016

An update to the annual guide to submitting law review articles

If you didn't already know, Professors Nancy Levit and Alan Rostron (both of UMKC) have written the definitive nuts and bolts guide to submitting law review articles called, straightforwardly enough, Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals which is available on SSRN here.  Each year about this time the authors update their article in anticipation of the spring article submission season.  The following are some of the highlights of this latest version which was posted a few days ago:

First, as the authors have done each year, the charts in their article are updated (to the extent possible) to reflect what law reviews are not accepting submissions at the moment and what dates they say they'll resume accepting them.  Most of this information does not consist of specific dates because the journals themselves tend to post only imprecise statements in this regard. 


Second, the article notes the greater movement by some journals to using and preferring Scholastica instead of ExpressO or emails submissions: 29 (compared to 22 six months ago) journals prefer or strongly prefer Scholastica, 11 more list it as one of the acceptable alternatives for submitting an article and 18 (compared to 10 six months ago) now list Scholastica as the exclusive method of submission.  


Third, the article notes the law reviews that have changed their names since last update including: McGeorge Law Review which is now known as the Pacific Law Review, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review which is now known as the WMU-Cooley Law Review,  and William Mitchell Law Review which is now known as the Mitchell Hamline Law Review.


The first chart contains information about each journal’s preferred method 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.


Thanks to Professors Levit and Rostron for taking on this annual task.  Now get writing.



January 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Enrollment in Electives Decreasing?

Enrollment in Electives Decreasing?

At least it’s true in my shop. The curricula of students is filling up with externships, clinics, and simulation/experiential courses—I have no problem at all with these courses. But with these requirements, students find that they have less room for nonskill electives, for example, legal history, jurisprudence, comparative law, and maybe international law.

As a result, these courses gain fewer enrollments. I find this result to be unfortunate. Students need courses that will broaden their vision and also give them better insight into the human condition. And it's not much of a solution to place an experiential exercise in these course. I’m not sure there is a solution.


January 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Texas Tech University School of Law has implemented a "SMART" brain training program for its 1Ls

SMART stands for "strategic memory advanced reasoning training" and is a program developed by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. One aspect of the program is designed to instill "strategic attention" skills which seems to be a fancy way of saying that it is intended to help students develop better focus and reduce multitasking. Here's the full story from the ABA Journal Blog:

Texas Tech adopts SMART brain training for its 1Ls


The first year of law school can be akin to middle school. Anxiety and self-doubt abound: How should I study? What do I need to remember? Why was that lady carrying scales onto a train again?


Texas Tech University School of Law is out to change that. Last year, the law school introduced its entering first-year class to SMART (strategic memory advanced reasoning training), a program developed by the Center for BrainHealth, a research division of the University of Texas at Dallas, to improve cognitive performance.


Texas Tech is the first law school to offer the program. “When you think about it, what’s a lawyer’s main tool? The brain,” says law school dean Darby Dickerson.


SMART focuses on three cognitive processes, explains Lori Cook of the Center for BrainHealth, who helped develop the program. The first is strategic attention, which involves blocking and filtering information, limiting multitasking and determining priorities. The second is integrated reasoning or “big-picture thinking,” Cook explains, and the third is innovation or “creative problem solving,” with the goal of “mitigating shallow thinking and status quo approaches.”


SMART initially was developed for adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Cook says. It was so successful that center clinicians soon expanded and customized it for diverse groups, including Navy SEALs and corporate executives.


Dallas lawyer and Texas Tech law alum Chad A. West had gone through the training several years ago when it was offered to military veterans. He brought the idea to the law school because he found the training so revolutionary and felt it could help aspiring lawyers, too.


. . . . 

Continue reading here.


January 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Number of Lawyers in Congress Plummets

From the ABA Journal:

In the mid-19th century, nearly 80 percent of members of Congress were lawyers, according to the paper (available here). The percentage fell to less than 60 percent in the 1960s and less than 40 percent in 2015. The Washington Post covered the findings by study author Nick Robinson, a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and an affiliated fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession.

Reasons given include (1) Today, there are other gateways to political office. (2) Lawyers don’t want to give up their generous incomes for the lesser incomes of political figures.

You can read more here.


January 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Government Will Forgive Some Student Loans

From the Wall Street Journal:

In the past six months, more than 7,500 borrowers owing $164 million have applied to have their student debt expunged under an obscure federal law that had been applied only in three instances before last year. The law forgives debt for borrowers who prove their schools used illegal tactics to recruit them, such as by lying about their graduates’ earnings.

The U.S. Education Department has already agreed to cancel nearly $28 million of that debt for 1,300 former students of Corinthian Colleges—the for-profit chain that liquidated in bankruptcy last year. The department has indicated that many more will likely get forgiveness.

Will some law grads qualify for forgiveness? You can read more here.


January 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Language Control, 'Hyper-Sensitivity' and the Death of True Liberalism by David Barnhizer

Language Control, 'Hyper-Sensitivity' and the Death of True Liberalism by David Barnhizer.


The Rule of Law in America is buttressed by the idea of free speech. Universities are supposed to be centers of free speech, dialogue and learning, in the process educating and preparing students to protect and preserve the unique ideal of the Western version of the Rule of Law. This includes the importance of competing factions attempting to achieve compromise through political discourse. There is a rather significant problem, therefore, when the dynamic and often contentious interactions that produce the ability to recognize the potential legitimacy of others’ arguments and the flaws in one’s own are short circuited by political agendas that punish speech rather than engage in true discourse. In that situation, the ability and willingness to hold onto such ideals as are inherent in the Rule of Law are being irreversibly damaged.

My fear is that the mission of the university is being altered and in some instances undermined by the heightened sensitivity of feelings among students, faculty and administrators who seem to be hurt or offended by almost anything. While the sensitivity may be real, imagined, part of an aggressive “mob mentality” or faked as a political ploy the “appropriation” and linguistic control movement is remarkable in its scope and import. The truth is that rather than being a legitimate educational strategy in too many instances what is occurring is a ploy to gain and exercise power through the control of language and the ability to accuse others of treating one “insensitively.”


January 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday Fun: Digital life cartoons

These are good. Courtesy of the blog Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice.

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January 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What Hiring Partners Think Students Need to Learn

LexisNexis has surveyed hiring partners and issued a white paper. Here are the highlights:

Hiring partners reveal new attorney readiness for real world practice, will help inform law schools of the specific content and tasks they can integrate into applicable classes and experiential learning programs pursuant to employer demand and the new ABA standards.

Key findings include:

  • 96% believe that newly graduated law students lack practical skills related to litigation and transactional practice.
  • 66% deem writing and drafting skills highly important with emphasis on motions, briefs and pleadings
  • Newer attorneys spend 40% – 60% of their time conducting legal research · 88% of hiring partners think proficiency using “paid for” research services is highly important
  • Students lack advanced legal research skills in the areas of statutory law, regulations, legislation and more.
  • The most important transactional skills include business and financial concepts, due diligence, drafting contracts and more.

Read the full paper with charts (here). Hiring partners reveal new attorney readiness for real world practice, or view this Executive Overview Prezi*. *Chrome™ or Firefox® is best for viewing Prezi.


January 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Villanova Seeks Business and Entrepreneur Professor

Villanova University School of Law seeks an outstanding lawyer/educator/scholar to teach business law and entrepreneurship courses, broadly defined, and to serve as the Faculty Director for The John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship.

This tenured/tenure-track faculty position will be filled at the Assistant/Associate or Full Professor level depending on the candidate’s experience and qualifications. The appointment is contingent on the candidate also serving as the Faculty Director of the Center.

The successful candidate will teach business law and entrepreneurship courses, subject to the needs of the Law School. The successful candidate, as the Faculty Director for the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship, will also provide comprehensive leadership of the Center under the guidance of the Dean, including organizing scholarly conferences, serving as the Center’s spokesperson, and working with the Center’s Advisory Board.

For the full job posting, please click here.


January 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

PreLaw Magazine's list of best law schools by speciality

PreLaw Magazine, a National Jurist publication, has ranked law schools in three specialty practice areas including Intellectual Property, Technology Law and Environmental and Natural Resources Law. Schools were rated based on the breadth of their curricular offerings. For instances, those receiving an "A" offer a concentration in that specialty plus a clinic, an externship and a specialty "center." Those schools receiving an "A -" offer all of the foregoing minus the externship or specialty "center." Check out the full list of schools for each of the three practice areas here.


January 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

High Levels of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems Among Law Students

But students are very reluctant to seek help. They shouldn’t be.

Bloomberg BNA reports:

From February to May 2014, [Professor Jerry] Organ and his colleagues surveyed more than 3,300 law students from 15 law schools about their drinking, drug use, and mental health. Twenty-two percent reported binge drinking two or more times in the previous two weeks, and almost a quarter showed signs that they should undergo further testing for alcohol addiction. More than a quarter had received at least one diagnosis of “depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, personality disorder, and/or substance use disorder,” the study found. . . . .

People preferred to leave their illnesses untreated than risk not becoming a lawyer. More than 60 percent of students said they didn’t get help for their reliance on drugs or alcohol because they were worried it would affect their career prospects or their chances of getting admitted to the bar.

You can read the full report here at The Bar Examiner.


January 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Learning by Doing: The Benefits of Experiential Learning in Animals and the Law by Peter Sankoff

Law professors can use experiential learning in any type of class, even one on animals and the law.

Learning by Doing: The Benefits of Experiential Learning in Animals and the Law by Peter Sankoff.


"In recent years, I have added several experiential learning elements to my course on animals and the law, as I illustrate in this video blog on my web page. In this article, I wish to describe the experiential elements I use in the course, and make a case for the benefits of doing so. Finally, I will look more broadly at ways in which experiential tasks in the classroom can benefit a student's educational experience."

“Properly executed, experiential learning techniques offer huge benefits for students. The obvious advantage comes from the way in which these techniques allow students to develop their legal skills in a safe environment, while obtaining feedback and the opportunity to self-reflect upon their performance. Less apparent is a second benefit I believe is even more important: experiential learning is a superb way of letting students realize some of the most obvious shortcomings of the law governing animal treatment first-hand. As a consequence, they can absorb lessons about difficult concepts in a way that will not resonate anywhere near as strongly if they are conveyed by lecture or discussion alone.”

January 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Five Words, Often Mispronounced

Here are five words that people often pronounce incorrectly:

  1. Desultory. 
  2. Formidable. 
  3. Detritus.
  4. Spurious.
  5. Forte.

For example, with “desultory,” the accent is on the first syllabus. To find the correct pronunciations of the others, please click here on Attorney at Work.


January 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Attend the 15th Annual Transactional Clinical Conference this April in Baltimore

Here are the details from the Clinical Law Prof listserv. A call for proposals is expected shortly so keep your eyes peeled.




Friday, April 29, 2016 at the University of Baltimore School of Law


This year’s Transactional Clinical Conference will be held on Friday, April 29, 2016 at the University of Baltimore School of Law (our host), immediately preceding the AALS Clinical Conference. To minimize hotel costs and travel time for those attending the AALS conference, we will have a mid-morning start, and the TCC Conference Dinner will take place on Friday evening near the AALS hotel. 


This year’s conference will explore how both lawyering and teaching employ “tools of translation.” It will have two tracks: (1) a new clinicians “Launch Pad” designed to support those new to the teaching profession, and (2) various teaching workshops focused on “Tools and Skills to Serve Smaller Enterprises.” Please look for a Call for Proposals for both tracks in the weeks to come.


We’re extending a special invitation to new clinicians. If you know of any new (or newer) clinicians, please consider sharing this email and invitation with them.


Please save the date and watch for the Call for Proposals soon.


Thank you, 


15th Annual Transactional Clinical Conference Planning Committee:

Mary Landergan (Northeastern)

Jaime Lee (U Baltimore)

Frances Leos Martinez (Texas)

James Niemann (Mizzou)

Jeff Ward (Duke)


January 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 25, 2016

Movies and Books for New Law Students

On its website, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School lists resources for new law students, including movies and books. Nice lists. Here they are:


The Verdict (1982)
A Civil Action (1998)
The Paper Chase (1973)
Twelve Angry Men (1957)
Inherit the Wind (1960)
Judgment at Nuremburg (1961)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Websites One lawyer’s advice to incoming first-year law students. Information about, and records from, some of the most famous trials in history. Links to pre-law resources. From here, link to “Legislative Process: House” for information on how federal laws are made. Link to “hypertexts” and at the search field, type “Cardozo.” You will find a reproduction of important lectures delivered by Justice Benjamin Cardozo. Link to “Campus Life,” and then to “Selected Readings”. There you will find “The Path of the Law,” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an address delivered at Boston University School of Law in 1897.


January 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A new book extolling the importance of cultivating deep concentration skills

Thanks to Keith Lee over at the Associate's Mind blog for reviewing a new book by Cal Newport called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World on the importance of developing the powers of deep concentration to do the intellectually demanding tasks required by a knowledge-based economy. As I've discussed in my own recent article (updated, final draft to be posted shortly), homo erectus was never built to be especially good at deep thinking because back in caveman days, over-intellectualizing the problems you faced each day would likely get you killed. Instead, the brain was designed for quick, facile decision-making by relying on cognitive shortcuts like heuristic thinking. But today we're no longer living by our wits hunting prey and avoiding predators.  Instead, success in school and success as a lawyer both depend on the ability to shut out distractions and go deep into thought. So go read Keith's review and then see if you don't agree that Deep Work raises issues and suggests strategies we should be incorporating into the law school classroom. 


January 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Exploring Precedent by Mary Whisner

Exploring Precedent by Mary Whisner.


Legal researchers have many powerful tools for finding cases: full-text searching with different interfaces from different providers, annotated statutes, digests, and a wide variety of secondary sources. But there are areas where even experienced researchers are puzzled: when will an intermediate court follow rulings of a sister court? what sources can advocates cite? (or: why can advocates cite secondary sources but not unpublished opinions?) are fewer cases considered to be cases of first impression, since the cumulative body of precedent is so large?

This essay examines each of these questions. It is accessible to beginning students, first wrestling with the questions, but should also interest more experienced researchers.


January 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

20 Texas Private Colleges Have Opted Out of Campus Gun Carry Law

From the Texas Tribune:

Campus carry, which goes into effect Aug. 1, allows concealed license holders to carry guns into university buildings. But private universities are given the choice of whether they want to comply. So far, no private schools have opted in. 

However, many schools have yet to make a decision. Many of the schools that have opted out did so after surveying students and staff. So far, none of those surveys have favored guns on campus. Maybe the legislature is out of step with its education constitutents.You can read more here.


January 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Create Online Videos

Professor Angela Upchurch provides a valuable service by giving us step-by-step, illustrated instructions on how to created online videos (here). As someone who is perpetually technologically challenged, I am appreciative.


January 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Advancing Organizational and Social Change: 5 Books

Vitae suggests 5 books. I’m thinking about how to implement these strategies in law school. Here are the books. For explanatory explanations, please click here.

Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals By Saul D. Alinsky

Leading Change By John P. Kotter

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change By Pema Chödrön

Contagious: Why Things Catch On By Jonah Berger

Contagious: Why Things Catch OnCollaborative Intelligence: Thinking with People Who Think Differently By Dawna Markova and Angie McArthur


January 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)