Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hot off the press - "Experiential Educating in the Classroom: Designing an Administrative Law Practicum Meeting New ABA Requirements and Student Needs"

This is a new article by Professor Jeffrey Thaler (Maine) published at 68 Maine L. Rev. 161 (2016) and also available on SSRN here. From the abstract:

In August 2014 the American Bar Association approved Revisions to the Standards for Approved Law Schools Relating to Learning Outcomes and Experiential Learning. Standards 302-304 set forth, generally, desired skills, competencies and goals to promote experiential learning opportunities for students. This essay is the first to detail, from start to finish, how a practicum or simulation course -- blending doctrinal and clinical course pedagogies -- can be successfully developed to implement those Standards, in this instance in an administrative law practicum with an environmental and energy law focus. The ongoing decline in the number of jury trial proceedings in America has been well-documented; what has been less well-documented or discussed is the ongoing growth of the number of administrative agencies and bodies promulgating rules and regulations, conducting many more adjudicatory proceedings, and requiring very different skill sets for lawyers representing clients impacted by those agencies. The art of advocating for clients in a regulatory arena is very different from that in the courtroom, yet while almost all law schools have a trial practice course, there are virtually no comparable administrative or regulatory law practicum (versus clinical or externship) courses. This article uniquely details the design, implementation and assessment of two editions of a new practicum that focused on the many ethical, environmental and administrative law issues arising out of a proposed $200 million wind power project through use of a dozen different oral and written exercises, and an evolving Case Study, through the semester. The goal is to help interested faculty, deans and others to more effectively craft similar, blended courses that students both greatly need and will welcome.


March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Writing Institute Writers Workshop 2016


We are pleased to announce the thirteenth Legal Writing Institute Writers Workshop to take place on July 7-July 10, 2016. The workshop will give up to twelve Legal Writing faculty the opportunity to spend time working on their academic writing projects and improving their scholarly skills.

The Workshop will take place at the Resort at the Mountain in Welches, Oregon.  It will take place immediately before the Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference. The Workshop concludes on Sunday morning, July 10.  The LWI conference begins that afternoon.

Who is Eligible to Attend?


All members of the Legal Writing Institute are eligible. You must have a scholarly writing project well underway and beyond the initial stages of performing the initial research and drafting a tentative outline. You must at least have some sort of partial draft. To be clear, we expect you to arrive with a substantial work product. In most cases, a scholarly writing project should result in a law review article.

Although all LWI members are encouraged to apply, we are limited to 12 participants. We give priority to full time Legal Writing faculty for whom scholarly writing is a prerequisite for retention, promotion, or tenure. We give priority to applicants who have not attended past Workshops.

What Will We Do at the Workshop?

Participants make presentations on their projects to small groups of three and receive feedback. Each session runs about ninety minutes. They also take part in several guided discussion groups, each on a different topic. Participants will also have time to work on their drafts.

 Will There Be Facilitators?

Yes, experienced scholarly writers: Deborah Gordon (Drexel), Lou Sirico (Villanova), Chris Rideout (Seattle), and Kimberly Holst (ASU).

 Where Will the Workshop Be?

The workshop will take place at the Resort at the Mountain, a beautiful location for thought and productivity.

Who Pays?

This year, participants will pay a $300 registration. LWI will cover all meals, beginning with dinner on July 7 and ending with breakfast on July 10 (day time snacks included), and ground transportation between Portland and Welches.

 If I Have Questions, Whom Should I Ask?

 Please contact Lou Sirico at (610) 519 7071

 How Do I Apply?

Please fill out the following application and submit it by email by noon, Monday, April 18 to Lou at We will select participants as quickly as we can and on a rolling basis.



Please return this application by email to Lou Sirico:


 Law School Affiliation:

 Mailing Address:

 Email Address:

 Telephone Number:

 Are You a Full Time Faculty Member?

 For How Many Years Have You Been Teaching Legal Writing?

 Is Scholarship a Requirement for Your Retention, Promotion, or Tenure? Please Explain Your Individual Situation.

 Please describe your writing project and, in as much detail as possible. Please describe  how far along you are in completing your project. For example, do you  have a detailed outline, a first draft, substantial parts of a first draft? Please estimate how far along you will be by early July 2016.

Is there anything else you want to tell us?


March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are You a Perfectionist? 7 Negative Traits

The Wisconsin Lawyer, Paula Davis-Laack states that before you can deal with perfectionism, you have to know if you are a perfectionist. Here are the seven characteristics of perfectionists:

Fear of failure

All-or-nothing thinking


Finding Fault in yourself and others


Excessive need for control

Lack of trust in others

Perfectionism can have unfortunate consequences:

Perfectionistic patterns drain your mental and physical energy and can be associated with workaholism. Perfectionists also tend to think in a very rigid way, and this rigid style of thinking (and the strong emotions that follow) amplifies the body’s stress response. Ultimately, perfectionism can negatively affect your work, your relationships, your home life, and your recreation (do your perfectionistic tendencies make it hard for you to relax and enjoy yourself?)

You can read more here.


March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

From LegalEd

LegalEd is an important organization, which is doing great work in legal education reform.  Check out their website.  (here)

"We uploaded more than 40 videos on pedagogy and legal education.  The videos come from the Igniting Law Teaching conference, hosted at American University Washington College of Law, and from the AALS 2015 Clinical Conference.  Each less than 10 minutes long, they address many of the topics that law school professors and administrators currently are focusing on, such as assessment, learning outcomes, curricula mapping, reflection and adding experiential learning to doctrinal classes.

Michele Pistone (Villanova) and Michael B. Horn (Entangled Solutions and Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation) recently published, Disrupting Law School: How disruptive innovation will revolutionize the legal world.

Michele's blog post, Disruption Will Not Stop at the Law School Door and Michael's post, Disruption Looms for Law Schools, provide an overview of the paper's main points -- how changes in the practice of law, in higher education and in the regulatory landscape are combining to create a challenging environment for law schools.  Disrupting Law Schools helps law schools prepare for and respond to the potential disruption.  

Michele Pistone (Villanova) and Angela Upchurch (Univ of Southern Illinois) are hosting a 2-day workshop on creating educational videos during the 2016 AALS Clinical Conference in Baltimore."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Needed: Plain English, not “Copspeak”

Until I read Professor Helen Anderson’s article, Police Stories (here),I had not thought about the jargon of police officers as calling for a plain English reform. Professor Anderson states:

One interesting way in which the police narrative makes its way into appellate opinions is in the use of police language.

Police language is marked by at least two features, somewhat in tension: police slang, and overly formal—yet vague—official


To explain, she offers this example:

The opacity of copspeak is frustrating to some judges. More than thirty years ago, a judge commented with irritation on the way officers testified:

The agents involved speak an almost impenetrable jargon. They do not get into their cars;

they enter official government vehicles. They do not get out of or leave their cars, they exit them. They do

not go somewhere; they proceed. They do not go to  place; they proceed to its vicinity. They do

not watch or look; they surveille. They never see anything; they observe it. No one tells them

anything; they are advised. A person does not tell them his name; he identifies himself. A person does

not say something; he indicates. They do not listen to a telephone conversation; they monitor it. People

telephoning to each other do not say “hello;” they exchange greetings. An agent does not hand money

to an informer to make a buy; he advances previously recorded official government funds. To an

agent, a list of serial numbers does not list serial numbers, it depicts Federal Reserve Notes. An agent

does not say what an exhibit is; he says that it purports to be. The agents preface answers to simple

and direct questions with “to my knowledge.”

United States v. Marshall, 488 F.2d 1169, 1171, n.1 (9th Cir. 1973). (Still true today.)

Note how “copspeak: is often vague, but sounds precise.


March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Making Legal Education Stick: Using Cognitive Science to Foster Long-Term Learning in the Legal Writing Classroom by Elizabeth Adamo Usman

My first rule of legal education reform is that legal education reform should draw on research of general education scholars.  (here)  A recent article by Elizabeth Adamo Usman does this excellently:  Making Legal Education Stick: Using Cognitive Science to Foster Long-Term Learning in the Legal Writing Classroom.

Introduction excerpt:

"A number of surprising findings from cognitive science suggest that some of the predominant current approaches to teaching legal writing may be a mistake. In their recent text, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, Professors Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, cognitive scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, explain that cognitive research demonstrates that much of what is presumed to be true about the best way to teach and learn is 'wasted effort.'1 Using the latest cognitive research about optimal learning for long-term retention and deep understanding, the authors argue that the most effective learning strategies are not intuitive, and that most students and universities do not use optimal methods of learning and teaching.2 In fact, the optimal methods of teaching for long-term retention and deep understanding stand in diametric opposition to fundamental assumed educational truths of how students best learn.3"

"In recent years, the legal academy has begun to examine how various findings of cognitive science may suggest changes to traditional teaching methods used in law school.4 Professors Roediger and McDaniel's comprehensive work offers an opportunity to take a broad view of the current status of cognitive science regarding learning in order to examine how these surprising findings about long-term learning may have a direct impact on law school pedagogy."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The web's largest database of law student writing contests

The University of Richmond School of Law hosts the web's largest database of writing competitions for law students. It's a searchable database where results can be organized according to subject matter, due date or prize money offered. Below is a little "taste" of the competition offerings for March but click here to access the entire database and its search functions.



March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Surprise (maybe not): Women Lawyers Make Less Than Male Lawyers

From the ABA Journal blog:

Median pay for full-time female lawyers was 77.4 percent of the pay earned by their male counterparts, according to data for 2014 released earlier this month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In all law-related jobs, median pay for female workers in 2014 was 51.6 percent of the pay received by male workers, according to the data.

You can read more here.


March 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Posner Speaks on the Bluebook and Other Topics

What Is Obviously Wrong With The Federal Judiciary, Yet Eminently Curable (Part I) by Richard A. Posner.


"An other way to characterize the legal profession in all three of its major branches–the academy, the judiciary, and the bar–is that it is complacent, self-satisfied."

"The most obvious and most readily corrigible defect of the federal trial process is the use of ‘pattern jury instructions, which are drafted by committees consisting of both judges and lawyers. . . . The problem is that, being drafted in legal language, many pattern instructions are largely unintelligible to jurors. The drafters appear to have a deficient sense of the capabilities of the intended audience."

"I employ other simple methods of making trials more intelligible to jurors, such as allowing them to ask questions, limiting the number and length of the exhibits (documents and sometimes photos or videos) admitted into evidence, ruling on the admissibility of exhibits before trial in order to expedite the trial, requiring lawyers to limit their objections to one word (so as not to distract the jury with legal mumbo-jumbo), conducting the voir dire (the questioning of prospective jurors to determine their suitability to participate as jurors in the case) myself and limiting the number of voir dire questions."

"A big problem with jury trials is that often they involve technological or commercial issues that few jurors understand (not that many judges understand them either) and that the lawyers and witnesses are unable or unwilling to dumb down to a level that the jurors would understand. There is a solution to this problem, however, though one that few judges employ: appointment by the judge of an expert witness (thus a “neutral” expert, by virtue of not having been selected by the lawyer for one party to the litigation)."

"Differences in the quality of lawyers wouldn’t matter a great deal if, for example, they were compensated as judges are: with a uniform government salary unrelated to outcomes or the relative wealth of the respective parties in a case."

"We’re not about to change from a system of mainly oral testimony to one in which all testimony is written, but at least we should give jurors transcripts of the testimony they hear. Nowadays oral testimony at a trial or other hearing is not only recorded by the court reporter but also simultaneously transcribed electronically so that it can be read by the judge on a video screen on the bench as the witness."

"Finally I’d like to see the trial judge play a more active role in the trial."

"At the level of form, the first thing to do is burn all copies of the Bluebook, in its latest edition 560 pages of rubbish, a terrible time waster for law clerks employed by judges who insist as many do that the citations in their opinions conform to the Bluebook. . . .  Yet no serious reader pays attention to citation format; all the reader cares about is that the citation enable him or her to find the cited material."

"One might think that even if the Bluebook has to remain untouchable–that is to the legal profession what the Rules of Golf are to golfers–judges and their clerks would endeavor to eliminate from their judicial opinions superfluous verbiage, which is experiencing a weed-like growth and tenacity."

"Judicial complexity afflicts the substance as well as form of appellate decision making."

"The most serious problem with appellate litigation, both at the circuit level and in the Supreme Court (as I’ll argue at greater length in Part II of my article), is the stodginess and stuffiness of the American legal culture. . ."

"The problem is that the past does not contain usable solutions to contemporary problems."

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 28, 2016

The new issue of the ABA's Student Lawyer Magazine focuses on legal tech skills.

You can check out the full issue here. Below are a sample of articles that may be on interest to our readers.

  • 10 apps and tools for every student lawyer
    As a new law school graduate—and someone who’s run startups that included developing apps and software—I have insights into technology others may not necessarily see. Here are 10 wonderful tools and applications I think every law student should use.

  • Tech tools to simplify legal research and writing
    If there’s one class law students love to hate, it’s Legal Research and Writing. Although it’s clear LRW is important—arguably it’s the most important class you’ll take as a 1L—the reality is that it can take over your life if you’re not careful.
  • Leverage your tech skills into a legal job
    A recent graduate gives a firsthand account of how he’s adapting to his employers’ technology on the job and adding value by volunteering to lead its social media efforts.
  • Appellate briefs: Law school lessons adapted to the real world
    Your goal when writing an appellate brief should be to craft a document that the intended audience will want to start reading at the very beginning and not put down until the end. Your audience should feel a sense of understanding and appreciation for how you were able to tie the whole thing together.
  • The art of legal writing: How to find your voice
    In most law school seminars, the instruction of legal writing usually gets broken down into technical details. However, legal writing—just like every other form of writing—is more art than science.

Get the full list here.


March 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Merrick Garland Project

This is a project of the NYU Law Review. Here’s the Introduction:

The Merrick Garland Project seeks to present Judge Garland’s record in a unique way—by curating a selection of opinions he has authored while on the D.C. Circuit, condensing them, and organizing them by subject matter. We launched on March 21, 2016 with opinions in four principal categories: constitutional law, civil rights, criminal law, and administrative law. More opinions and categories will be released in the coming days and weeks as the Project develops.

We aim not to undertake a comprehensive review of Judge Garland’s entire judicial record, but rather to take a closer look at select opinions that we believe are representative of his judicial philosophy, with an eye towards opinions that are highly cited, clarify a previously unsettled area of the law, or are written for a divided court. We wish to make Judge Garland’s record more accessible, exploring not just his votes and holdings, but his legal reasoning. In doing so, we hope to be a valuable resource to attorneys, journalists, students, and anyone else with an interest in Judge Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and its potential implications.

You can access the curated cases here.


March 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Which are More Secure: iPhones or Android Phones?

Answer: More iPhones are encrypted. From Trust Advisor: 

Had San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook used an Android phone, investigators would have had a better chance at accessing the data. The reason? Few Android phones are encrypted.

Google has pushed encryption for Android phones and automatically encrypts its devices.

But other handset makers have resisted because they are concerned that encryption—scrambling data such as contacts, photos and videos—hurts a phone’s performance. And Google hasn’t insisted for fear of driving device makers away from the official Android model, where it makes the most money.

The result: Experts estimate fewer than 10% of the world’s 1.4 billion Android phones are encrypted, compared with 95% of Apple Inc.’s iPhones. That includes Mr. Farook’s iPhone, now the center of a high-stakes clash between Apple and the U.S. government that raises questions about privacy and security in the digital age.

You can read more here.


March 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Effect of Indeterminacy on Transfer and its Importance for Legal Education

My major criticism of current legal education is that the way it is taught does not allow easy knowledge and skills transfer to the domain of law practice.  Legal education mainly teaches students to be appellate lawyers and legal philosophers. The typical lawyer is not an appellate lawyer or a philosopher. Thus, law schools do not teach their students in a way that is best for the knowledge retrieval they will need as practicing attorneys. For example, students learn contract principles in law school, but the typical first-year contracts class does not teach students how to use this knowledge to draft a contract. When a lawyer starts to draft contracts in practice, she will be lost because of the way she has contract law stored in her long-term memory. In other words, the way that contract law is stored in a law student’s long-term memory does not transfer well to drafting contracts. Similarly, Torts may help a student write an appellate brief on a torts question, but the typical Torts class does not provide the knowledge organization to make it easy to draft interrogatories in a torts case. The torts doctrine is not organized in a manner in long-term memory that will transfer easily to drafting interrogatories.  (here)

Joshua D. Kahn & Erik James Girvan have undertaken a study of how indeterminacy affects transfer: Applying Rules and Standards Accurately: Indeterminacy and Transfer Among Adult Learners.  I cannot overstate how important this study is and how it can be used as a model for the study of effectiveness of legal education methods.


"This paper introduces the construct of indeterminacy and describes its effects on transfer in adult education. Indeterminacy is characterized as a type of stimulus-response relationship in which the stimulus evokes a response that requires secondary and/or ongoing judgments as opposed to evoking a concrete, pre-determined response. Following a brief overview of research on transfer in which we highlight the neglect of a systematic study of the construct, we review extant literature from different disciplines in which indeterminacy has been recognized as playing an important role. During this process, we distinguish it from uncertainty and ambiguity. Based upon the review, we hypothesize and provide empirical evidence suggesting that indeterminacy diminishes transfer. On this basis, we argue that understanding, measuring, and controlling indeterminacy is important for the study and design of effective adult education programs."
"In professional contexts, transfer has been defined as a 'learned behavior that must be generalized to the job context and maintained over a period of time on the job.'"
"The above examples illustrate commonplace situations in which people are expected to apply instruction on how to make discretionary judgments in a different setting from which they were trained. That is, they are expected to transfer what they learn."
"Based upon the review, we hypothesize and provide empirical evidence suggesting that indeterminacy diminishes transfer. On this basis, we argue that understanding, measuring, and controlling indeterminacy is important for the study and design of effective adult education programs."


March 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New App for Timing Oral Arguments

Mike Oeser has developed the “Argument Timer” App for timing oral arguments. We have not tried it out, but here is Mike’s sales pitch.


Argument Timer is specially designed to help law students and appellate lawyers practice oral argument more effectively.

First, Argument Timer accurately mimics the time remaining warnings given by appellate courts. The more the practice environment mirrors the performance environment, the more effective practice becomes. Multiple timers can be saved, each customized to a particular argument. Argument length, number of time remaining warnings, and type of warning (numeric, color, or audible) can all be set to mimic the competition or court environment.

Second, Argument Timer keeps practice judges focused on the most important aspects of practice--questions and critique. Practice judges often do double duty as a judge and a timekeeper. This splits their attention, usually to the determent of the substance of the questions asked, the accuracy of the timekeeping, or both. Argument Timer’s “set it and forget it” design allows practice judges to focus on substance and critique, making practice more effective.

Third, Argument Timer makes it easier to hold practices, meaning advocates can practice more often. The biggest challenge in practicing an oral argument is getting enough people together. Argument Timer eliminates the need for one person to keep time. Again, its “set it and forget it” design makes this possible. Fewer people needed to hold a practice means more practice time. More practice time means better performance.

And of course, all these advantages also apply when using Argument Timer during actual competition, or even real appellate argument.

You can buy Argument Timer at

If you have questions about how to use Argument Timer, or just want to know more, please visit


March 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who Gets More Earning Power from a Law Degree STEM or Humanities Majors?

Humanities majors, but STEM grads still average higher salaries. Here are the study results:

We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates who majored in different fields in college. Students with humanities and social sciences majors comprise approximately 47 percent of law degree holders compared to 23 percent of terminal bachelor’s. Law degree earnings premiums are highest for humanities and social sciences majors and lowest for STEM majors. On the other hand, among those with law degrees, overall earnings are highest for STEM and Business Majors. This effect is fairly small at the low end of the earnings distribution, but quite large at the top end. The median annual law degree earnings premium ranges from approximately $29,000 for STEM majors to $45,000 for humanities majors.

Michael Simkovic & Frank McIntyre, Value of a Law Degree by College Major (here).


March 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gallup poll finds that majority of grads would go to law again if given the chance

A new Gallup poll surveyed 7,000 law grads from seven participating law schools in the southeastern U.S. and found that slightly less than half said they "strongly agreed" that if they could do it all over again, they'd still go back to law school while 67% either "strongly agreed" or "agreed" that they'd do it all over again if they could.  Here are more highlights from the poll's executive summary:

Among other notable insights from this study, Access Group study participants have been successful in gaining employment, with 72 percent reporting that they work full time for an employer. This is higher than the rates for J.D. holders (66 percent), other graduate degree holders (56 percent) and bachelor’s degree holders (56 percent) nationally.


However, the data show that it is more challenging for Access Group study participants who obtained their law degree from 2010-2015 than for graduates from earlier years to obtain a good job upon graduation from their law degree program. Respondents were asked about how long it took for them to obtain what they perceive as a “good job” upon graduation. Slightly less than half (48 percent) of Access Group study participants who received their degree from 2000-2015 say they had a “good job” waiting for them after they completed their law degree, compared with more than 60 percent of graduates in earlier decades. Recent graduates are also less likely than graduates from earlier decades to say that their law school prepared them well for their career (35 percent vs. 48 percent or more). On the other hand, ratings of the helpfulness of career service offices at these schools are higher among more recent graduates than among graduates in earlier decades, suggesting that while perceptions of career services have improved, law schools might need to re-evaluate their strategies to help graduates find jobs more quickly given the current job market conditions.


But simply having a job is not enough. Engaged workers are essential to the organizations for which they work. They are more loyal, more productive and more profitable than those who are not engaged or are actively disengaged. About half (49 percent) of employed Access Group study participants are engaged in their work, regardless of whether they are practicing law. This is higher than the rates at the national level for J.D. holders (45 percent), other graduate degree holders (44 percent) and bachelor’s degree holders (38 percent). Fourteen percent of Access Group study participants are thriving in all five areas of well-being, similar to the 13 percent of J.D. holders nationally. At the national level, J.D. holders and other graduate degree holders are more likely than those with solely a bachelor’s degree to be thriving in all five elements of well-being. Access Group study participants outperformed national averages for J.D. holders and other graduate degree holders in the area of community well-being; this means Access Group participants are more engaged in the areas where they live. However, Access Group study participants are less likely to be thriving in the area of financial well-being (45 percent) compared with J.D. holders (49 percent) and other graduate degree holders (51 percent) nationally.


Twelve percent of Access Group study participants strongly agree that they had each of three support experiences while attending law school: having professors who cared about them as people, at least one professor who made them excited about learning and a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. This level of support is equal to the 12 percent of bachelor’s degree holders nationally who felt supported while obtaining their undergraduate degree. However, Access Group graduates distinguish themselves in the area of excitement about learning. Access Group study participants are more likely than bachelor’s degree holders nationally to recall having at least one professor who made them excited about learning in law school.


Graduates who strongly agree that they participated in an internship or job that allowed them to apply what they were learning in the classroom during law school are 1.4 times more likely to report that they had a good job waiting for them when they graduated than are their peers who strongly disagree that they had this valuable experience. The odds of employed Access Group study participants being engaged at work are 2.7 times higher if they recall both feeling supported and having a job or internship where they could apply what they were learning in the classroom.


Slightly less than half (48 percent) of Access Group study participants strongly agree that if they could go back and do it all over again, they would still get a law degree. Access Group study participants who are currently practicing law are equally as likely as graduates who are not practicing law to strongly agree that they would still get a law degree if they could go back and do it all over again. Recent Access Group study participants are less likely than graduates from earlier decades to strongly agree that they would still get their law degree if they could go back and do it all over again: 37 percent strongly agree among recent (2000-2015) graduates, versus 54 percent among 1980-1999 graduates and 68 percent among 1960-1979 graduates. However, these results could also reflect that more recent graduates have had less time to realize the value of their law degree than alumni who received their law degrees earlier.

You can read the full poll results here.


March 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to our reader who observe Easter. Here is Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus performed by the Mormon Tabernacle, joined virtually by singers around the world—over 2000!


March 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

CBS Sued Over Judge Judy’s Salary

From Deadline Hollywood:

 [A] scathing multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed today against CBS has no-nonsense host Judy Sheindlin, her syndicated series and its spinoff Hot Bench in the legal spotlight. Seeking widespread unspecified damages, plaintiff Rebel Entertainment Partners claims that that it has been denied contractually obligated payments since 2010 from the net profits of the 19-season CBS Television-distributed Judge Judy because it supposedly is “losing money,” while paying Judge Judy herself up to $47 million a year. . . .

“According to Defendants, in the six-month accounting period prior to Scheindlin’s pay raise, the Show reported net profits of $3,572,195, of which 5% ($178,609) was paid to Rebel,” alleges the successor-in-interest to the talent agency that originally packaged the Judy Sheindlin-fronted series. Having received regular payments over the years until 2010, Rebel claims that Judge Judy has grossed over $1.7 billion since it first went on the air in 1996.

“In the six-month accounting period after Scheindlin’s pay raise, however, Defendants reported net profits of negative $3,195,217, of which 5% (negative $159,761) was allocated to Rebel.” The breach of contract complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court on Monday (read it here) also claims more shell-gaming by CBS Studios, CBS Corporation, and producers and CBS TV Studios-owned Big Ticket Entertainment. “Defendants further reduced Rebel’s net profits by licensing the Show to CBS’s corporate affiliates — television stations owned or operated by CBS — for below-market fees in transactions that were not negotiated at arms-length,” they add.

Judge Judy’s response:

“The fact that Richard Lawrence is complaining about my salary is actually hilarious. I met Mr. Lawrence for 2 hours some twenty-one years ago. Neither I nor anyone involved in the day-to-day production of my program has heard from him in 20 years. Not a card, not a gift, not a flower, not a congratulations. Yet he has somehow received over $17,000,000 from my program. My rudimentary math translates that into $8,500,000 an hour for Mr. Lawrence. Not a bad payday. Now complaining about not getting enough money, that’s real chutzpah!

You can read more here.



March 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Carol Dweck’s Six Thoughts on Growth Mind Sets

Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck’s research on fixed mind sets has become wildly popular. Her argument: people with fixed mind sets see strengths and skills as innate and unchangeable. People with growth mind sets understand that the mind can grow and change through effort.

Dweck has grown concerned that many of her followers mistakenly believe that helping students grow their skills is simply a matter of praising them rather than helping them to develop strategies for learning content and concepts with which they struggle. The Rules of Engagement blog at Education Week summarizes six guidelines that Dweck offers:

  1. Acknowledge the nuance in the research. Growth mindsets are not a magic trick that will solve every challenge in the classroom, Dweck said. The enthusiasm for the research sometimes leads to an expectation of unrealistic results, researchers have said.
  2. Everyone has a fixed mindset sometimes. There's a misconception that every student and teacher can be put into one of two categories: those with growth mindsets and those with fixed mindsets, Dweck said, but in reality, everyone "has a little bit of both."
  3. Name your fixed mindset. Dweck told of a consultant in Australia who encouraged business executives to name their "fixed-mindset persona" so they could have a fun, comfortable way of discussing it with peers. 

In schools, the name gives a quick identifier to the triggers students and teachers identify, and it helps them recognize their responses that might not be productive, she said.

  1. Move beyond effort. If teachers and parents want to nurture growth mindset in children, they should move beyond just pushing them toward effort. They should also help them identify new strategies and approaches so that effort can be productive. 
  2. Put mindsets into a greater school-culture context. The larger culture of a school can influence their mindset formation, Dweck said. Students are less likely to avoid "looking dumb" and more likely to try new approaches if they believe that their school is interested in their success.
  3. Don't use mindsets to label students (or yourself). Dweck said she's been disappointed to hear that some teachers have used a student's mindset as an excuse, saying things like "that child can't learn; he has a fixed mindset."

You can read more here.


March 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law prevails in fraud claim brought by former student

The jury has returned a verdict for Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the widely followed fraud claim brought by a former student who claimed the school lied to her and others about the employment prospects of grads.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, three of the twelve jurors found in favor of the plaintiff with a fourth juror saying it was a close case but he was ultimately persuaded to find for the school because the plaintiff in fact had a job offer after she graduated which she ultimately turned down. Here's more from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Jury rejects fraud claim against law school

Former student said Thomas Jefferson School of Law misrepresented alumni employment data


The Thomas Jefferson School of Law did not defraud a graduate who claimed she based her decision to enroll on misleading information, a split jury decided Thursday in a widely watched trial.


Anna Alaburda, who sued the school in 2011, said during a trial in San Diego Superior Court that she enrolled in the nonprofit law school after reading statistics that showed a high number graduates had jobs nine months after earning their degrees.


Although she graduated near the top of her class in 2008 and passed the bar exam on her first attempt, she has never worked as an attorney in a law firm and said she believes the employment statistics provided by the school were inaccurate.


Jurors rejected the claim that she based her enrollment decision on misleading information, and one juror said he also was influenced by Alaburda’s decision to turn down a law firm’s job offer in 2008.


After less than a day of deliberations, the jury returned Thursday morning with a 9-3 verdict in favor of the school.


Her lawsuit was one of 15 that had been filed across the country by other law school graduates with similar claims. Judges have rejected requests for class-action status in some cases and have dismissed others. Alaburda’s has been the only case to go to trial.


She had sought $92,192 in lost income and $32,475 in reimbursement of tuition and fees.


Alaburda and her attorney left the court immediately after the case concluded. Thomas Jefferson School of Law President and Dean Thomas Guernsey said outside the courtroom that the verdict proves the merits of the school.


“I’ve been there two and a half years, and I came there because I thought it was a great place,” Guernsey said. “I like the vision, I like the mission, I’m incredibly impressed with the faculty and staff and the students.”


. . . .

In the end, [one juror who sided with the school] said he had mixed feelings about the verdict. While Alaburda said she did everything she could to find a job in a law firm, she also acknowledged that she turned down a job at a firm because she believed it was predatory against bankrupt consumers.


“The fact that she had a job offer was a big factor,” he said.

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March 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)