Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Why Don’t Law Students Seek Help for Alcohol, Drug, and Psychological Problems?

According to an extensive study, here’s why:

The top seven factors

that would discourage respondents from seeking

help for alcohol/drug issues were

  1. potential threat to bar admission (63%),
  2. potential threat to job or academic status (62%),
  3. social stigma (43%),
  4. concerns about privacy (43%),
  5. financial reasons (41%),
  6. the belief that they could handle the problemthemselves (39%), and
  7. not having the time (36%).

The top seven factors that would discourage

respondents from seeking help for mental health

issues were

  1. potential threat to job or academic status (48%),
  2. social stigma (47%),
  3. financial reasons (also 47%),
  4. potential threat to bar admission (45%),
  5. the belief that they could handle the problem themselves (36%),
  6. not having the time (34%), and
  7. concerns about privacy (30%).

The authors argue that society needs a cultural shift that treats seeking help as perfectly normal and acceptable. Jerome Organ, David Jaffee, Katherine Bender, Helping Law Students Get the Help They Need: An Analysis of Data Regarding Law Students’ Reluctance to Seek Help and Policy Recommendations for a Variety of Stakeholders, 84 The Bar Examiner 9 (December 2015).

You can read more here.


August 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law and Social Innovation: Lawyering in the Conceptual Age by Raymond H. Brescia

Law and Social Innovation: Lawyering in the Conceptual Age by Raymond H. Brescia.


"A range of forces are arrayed against the institutions of the American legal profession that stand to undermine their foundations and challenge their continued existence, at least in their current form. These threats, which contain technological, economic, and social components, and are emanating from both domestic and transnational sources, require the legal profession in general and law schools in particular to respond to the new reality of the contemporary age and adapt to it, without losing sight of the core social justice principles upon which the profession should be based: access to justice, protection of civil and political rights, and preservation of the rule of law. The threats to the legal profession and law schools require an assessment of what lawyers do best and how they can best continue to serve a critical role in society. At the heart of lawyering is problem solving, and for lawyers, and law schools, ensuring that they can continue to deliver strategic, meaningful, and effective problem-solving services in the 21st century will help determine the role of the legal profession and law schools well into the future.

What are the problem-solving skills that the legal profession must possess and that law schools must instill in their students given the forces that are impacting the practice of law? Ten years ago, author Dan Pink published the prescient A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. In it, Pink explores the ways that phenomena such as automation and the ability to outsource a great deal of work traditionally performed by knowledge workers has posed challenges for those in many industries to remain relevant and viable in the contemporary age. While these forces are affecting many different sectors, the legal profession, and the law schools that educate its members, are feeling these threats acutely. Pink offers strategies for thriving in this environment, arguing that this new era, what he calls the Conceptual Age, requires a new set of skills and aptitudes that he posits are those that tend to be dominated by the right hemisphere of the brain, such as the ability to think conceptually and metaphorically, to empathize with others, to see and recognize patterns, and to appreciate and communicate compelling narratives. These skills, which he calls the aptitudes of the Conceptual Age, include design, empathy, story, symphony, play, and meaning. Such skills are necessary to thrive in the contemporary environment and deliver value to communities and markets. This Article explores how these aptitudes can be taught in a law school setting, focusing on one problem solving course through which students engage in real- world problem solving in ways that invoke the aptitudes of the Conceptual Age. Following this examination, it also explores the implications of teaching these aptitudes in a law school setting and the role they may play in both the legal profession in general and law schools in particular."


August 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Professor David Epstein Defends North Texas Law School

The Faculty Lounge has published David Epstein's defense of North Texas Law School.  (here)


"The continued existence of the University of North Texas School of Law (UNT Law) is important to the people of the State of Texas and to legal education. It is a special place that is boldly attempting to meet a pressing need."

"What makes UNT Law special are (1) UNT Law people and (2) UNT Law policies. Any list of “special people” should have Royal Furgeson at the top of list. Ask Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and other people in Royal’s law school class, ask people in El Paso where Royal practiced law and was not only president of the bar association but also president of the United Fund, ask the lawyers and their clients who appeared before him during his 17 years as a federal district judge."

"What is special about the UNT Law faculty is their commitment to teaching, and not their “scholarship,” their commitment to their students’ careers, and not their own While I was teaching at UNT Law, the other faculty members were in the building from early in the morning until late at night – helping students’ understand today’s class and working on tomorrow’s class."

"To me, what makes UNT Law students that I taught special was how much many of the students – black, brown, and white - had to overcome to get to law school and how hard they were working to get as much as possible out of law school. They recognize and appreciate that UNT Law is giving them an opportunity not available anywhere else."

"And, at UNT Law, unlike the other 16 law schools that I have been part of, students get regularly feedback from their professors as to how they are doing. The general law school norm is a single graded exam at the end of the semester. The UNT Law norm is weekly, if not more often, graded work. Students know how they are doing and can make an informed decision about continuing to incur the costs of a legal education."

"Texas does not need more lawyers who want to represent the people living in Highland Park1, more lawyers who want to represent the investment group trying to buy the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek restaurant2. Texas does need more lawyers who want to represent the people living in Oak Cliff3, more lawyers who want to represent the first generation Americans trying to transition from working as a waitress to buying a food truck. The continued existence of UNT Law is important to the people of the State of Texas and to legal education."

I strongly agree with David, one of my former colleagues at Alabama.  North Texas gives its students much more attention than the vast majority of law schools.  Its faculty is dedicated to educating its students.  The ABA should give it provisional accreditation so that its students can take the bar and establish the effectiveness of its approach.

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The new issue of "Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing" is now available online.

The summer issue is up at Thomson Reuters' website (here) and it's full of great ideas and teaching tips just in time for a road-test during the new school year. Here's the index with links to the full text articles for your reading pleasure and convenience (or you can download the entire issue here).


August 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Advice: Avoid the Teachers' Lounge

Here’s relevant advice from a third grade teacher. The “teachers, lounge” is any place where gossip and negativity abound and affect the teaching community:

What I failed to realize is that the teachers’ lounge has its way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. You don’t even realize it has begun taking hold of you until it has completely sucked you into its vortex of gossip and negativity. To my own detriment, my professors failed to share with me that the teachers’ lounge does not remain only in the teachers’ lounge proper. The teachers’ lounge can be anywhere: a teacher’s classroom, the hallway, or during the time waiting for a faculty meeting. As a matter of fact, the teachers’ lounge is not a place at all. It is an attitude or atmosphere fostered by disenchanted teachers intent on bringing everyone down a level.

You can read more here at Education Week.


August 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Overkill versus Underkill

On Succinct Advice by Mark Herrmann.

"For those guilty of underkill: Are you sure you know what a complete examination of the issues looks like?

For those guilty of overkill: You have the raw skills, and you plainly know how to think an issue through completely. But do you have the judgment (and the client’s agreement) to produce less than perfection when that’s what the occasion requires?"

(Scott Fruehwald)


August 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Scrub Metadata from Your Documents

Word processing documents usually contain hidden information, such as earlier drafts and comments. This information is called metadata, and you may not want to allow others to find it. One way to reduce metadata is to convert your document to pdf before you send it to others. This conversion, however, will not scrub all metadata.

There is a way to scrub all metadata, and a recent article in the Wisconsin Lawyer (July 2016) runs through the steps for you. You can access the article here.


August 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ETL Conference Schedule: Learning Outcomes for Hire

Here is the agenda for the ETL (Denver) conference next month:

Registration Opens
Welcome and Five Years of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers
Alli Gerkman
Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers IAALS,
Denver, CO
Ignite Presentations
5:00 Adjourn
Cocktail Reception
Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Award Ceremony and Dinner

8:00am Breakfast
Welcome to Day Two
The Whole Lawyer and the Character Quotient
Alli Gerkman
Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers
IAALS, Denver, CO
Evaluating Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Leading the Way to Learning Outcomes
James E. Moliterno
Vincent Bradford Professor of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law,
Lexington, VA
Docia L. Rudley
Executive Director for Assessment
Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall
School of Law, Houston, TX
Monica Hof Wallace
Dean Marcel Garsaud, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law,
New Orleans, LA
Moderator: Michael J. Madison
Professor of Law, Faculty Director, Innovation Practice Institute
University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA
11:15 Break
Small Group Breakout #1
12:45pm Lunch
Evaluating Tomorrow’s Lawyers: Lessons from Legal Employers
Karen L. Febeo
Managing Director, Professional Development & Training
Goodwin Procter, Boston, MA
Ann Roan
State Training Director
Colorado State Public Defender, Denver, CO
Moderator: Melissa Gibson Swain
Associate Director and Clinical Instructor Health Rights Clinic
University of Miami School of Law, Miami, FL
3:00 Break
Small Group Breakout #2
4:45 Reception

8:00am Breakfast
Welcome to Day Three
Building on Foundations for Practice: Takeaways for Law Schools
Josie Gough
Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Experiential Learning
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, IL
Jerry Organ
University of St. Thomas School of Law,
Minneapolis, MN
Patty Powell
Assistant Professor of the Practice and Director of the Academic Achievement Program
University of Denver Sturm College of Law,
Denver, CO
Sophie Sparrow
Professor of Law
University of New Hampshire School of Law,Concord, NH
Small Group Breakout #3
11:00 Adjourn

More information here.

One thing I particularly like about ETL conferences is that they provide plenty of time for discussion.

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

What's up with 1L enrollment at your law school?

I'm away from my home institution this year, visiting at the U.S. Air Force Academy (where the semester began a few weeks ago). So I was a bit surprised by an email from a colleague the other day back in Ft. Lauderdale (where I normally teach) who told me that 1L enrollment at our school, Nova Southeastern University College of Law, is "way up" compared to previous years. She didn't volunteer a specific number but given reports over the past year about less than robust applicant interest, as measured by LSAT test-takers (here, here and here, among other sources), it was unexpected news to say the least.  Then yesterday the TaxProf Blog reported (via a press release) that U. Colorado School of Law in Boulder had a record number of applicants - up 38% from last year - resulting in the most competitive, strongest entering class credentials in the school's history. Though a sample size of two does not make for a national trend, it makes me wonder whether other schools are seeing a similar, unexpected jump in 1L enrollments. If this does indeed reflect a new trend, remember that you heard it here first. Please share your observations in the comments below.


August 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Lawyer Brings Frivolous Suit. Court Orders Him to Offer Lectures to Law Students

From the Kelley, Drye & Warren blog:

The Northern District of Oklahoma has ordered an attorney to offer lectures to law students on the potential pitfalls of bringing a lawsuit without proper supervision from a more experienced attorney in Salmon v. CRST Expedited Inc., No. 4:14-cv-00265 (N.D. Okla. July 19, 2016).  Judge Clare V. Eagan accepted the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge T. Lane Wilson in sanctioning a newly admitted attorney for frivolous claims brought against one of the defendants in a TCPA suit he filed while still in law school.  In 2014, plaintiff filed a lawsuit based on alleged violations of the TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] and the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act claim arising from calls he allegedly received on his cell phone, a number he claims was on the National Do Not Call Registry since 2008.

You can read more here.


August 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Leading Formal Logical Fallacies in Legal Argument

At the New York State Bar Association Journal (July-August 2016), Acting Justice Gerald Lebovits explains and illustrate 21 formal fallacies. You can access his article here.


August 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Advice for law students on how to IRAC Supreme Court opinions

This is a new article by Professors Lawrence J. Trautman (Western Carolina), Cathy L. Taylor (Georgia) and Janet Ford (Western Carolina) entitled Irac! Irac! Irac!: How to Brief a Supreme Court Opinion which is intended to be a relatively short (18 pages) primer for busy law students. The article is available here on SSRN and here's the abstract:

The purpose of this short essay is to provide introductory guidance to busy students of constitutional law about how to go about briefing a Supreme Court opinion. Others have stated that the most difficult thing about the study of law “is learning how to read cases and statutes and finding a way to organize the materials into a workable format.” Our goal is to convey these basic analytical and briefing concepts in a format readable within 20 minutes of diligent effort. Ample additional resources are presented in our footnotes for those desiring a more robust discussion.




August 27, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 26, 2016

U,S. News Ranks Part-time Law Student Programs

Here are its top half-dozen. You can check out the methodology. Of course, many of us have issues with its methodologies for ranking law schools. You can find more part-time rankings here. (To see the acceptance rates, slide to the right.) (ljs)

Rank School name Part-time score Peer assessment score (5.0 highest) LSAT scores (25th-75th percentile) (part-time) Acceptance rate (part-time)
Georgetown University 

Washington, DC

100  4.1  160-167  5.1% 
Fordham University 

New York, NY

79  3.4  157-163  25.8% 
George Washington University 

Washington, DC

78  3.4  152-165  21.6% 
George Mason University 

Arlington, VA

70  2.8  157-162  21.1% 
University of Maryland (Carey) 

Baltimore, MD

66  3.0  152-159  27.9% 
Temple University (Beasley) 

Philadelphia, PA

62  2.7  155-162  37.6% 
University of Connecticut 

Hartford, CT

62  2.8  152-158  37.1% 
University of Denver (Sturm) 

Denver, CO

62  2.9  154-160  48.4% 
University of Houston 

Houston, TX

62  2.7  154-162  16% 

August 26, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pet Writing Peeves

Over at Lady (Legal) Writer, Megan Boyd has collected peeves that drive good writers crazy (here, August 4, 2016):

--Starting sentences with: “It is important to note that” (@ksilverkelly), “Due to the fact that” (@daniel_l_real), and “There is/are” (@ladylegalwriter)

--Using double negatives (@katrinajunelee)

--Failing to use affect and effect properly (katrinajunelee)

--Employing rhetorical questions (Who likes those?) (@djsziff)

--Using “however” in multiple consecutive sentences (@aerwrites) and failing to properly punctuate when using “however” mid-sentence (@ladylegalwriter)

-- Employing unnecessary parentheticals to define terms (@5thcircappeals)

Other pet peeves of mine include:


--using too many nominalizations (which leads to wordiness)

--failing to spell-check and proofread (They are not the same thing!)

--failing to follow local rules

--employing over-the-top language


August 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (3)

New York Post: Music School Cranks Out Geniuses

Music School Cranks Out Geniuses

"The Special Music School at the Kaufman Music Center, which includes kindergarten through 12th grade, is the only city campus that makes music a core part of its curriculum. And its teachers credit the melody-making for their students’ chart-topping test scores."

"Of the 32 schools in its Upper West Side district, SMS’s fourth- and seventh-graders posted the highest proficiency rates on recent state math exams and were second in English."

"The impressive numbers come a year after the school earned top ranking in the entire city in both categories, according to SMS officials."

“Music is discipline,” said SMS senior Johanna Nelson, a pianist. “It teaches you how to focus, how to work with others. It’s a basis for learning that can be applied to everything.”

"With many city public school kids getting little to no formal musical instruction, SMS boosters say administrators should take a look at their success story — and stop viewing the subject as an extracurricular afterthought."

When I was in high school, I was in the Louisville-Jefferson County Youth Orchestra.  At our graduation banquet, the director asked the seniors who were in the National Honor Society to raise their hands.  Every senior raised their hand.

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How to turn your smartphone into a mobile document scanner

Yup, there's an app for that too as we learn from this recent New York Times Personal Tech column. In fact, there are a several of them that are capable of turning a photo taken by your smartphone into a pdf file including Google Drive's scan function, Evernote's Scannable and a mobile app from the good people at Scanbot.  Other options include mobile apps from Cam Scanner and Turboscan. For more information and further instructions, check out the NYT's article here.


August 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Innovative Book on Writing

It is so easy to get stale in how we think about writing, so it’s helpful to have a new book with new ideas that make us think more deeply about the subject.

Compliments to my blog colleague Scott Fruehwald for his review of Steven Pinker’s book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (here). The review appears in the Summer 2015 issue of Perspectives (here). I thought it important enough to retrieve it from the archives. With his interest in cognitive learning and his openness to new ways of thinking about teaching and writing, Scott was the perfect reviewer for this book.


August 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

10 Body Language Tips to Make You Be More Likeable

From JD Journal (here):

  1. Stand up tall, as though the top of your head is being pulled up by a string, but relax your shoulders.
  2. Stand with your feet as wide as your hips. Standing with your feet too wide may make you appear cocky, while standing with your feet together implies hesitation or shyness.
  3. Pull your shoulders back slightly, but don’t puff out your chest. You want to appear relaxed, but not imposing.
  4. Keep your core tight to help both your posture and your gracefulness while moving.
  5. Smile when you enter a room, as though you’re really happy to be there.
  6. Make eye contact and don’t break it quickly. We all have a tendency to look away after making eye contact, but holding it for longer can make you appear more relaxed and confident.
  7. Use a firm handshake but don’t use excessive pressure. If someone else is giving a weak handshake, don’t squeeze too hard.
  8. Open your stance towards the person you’re talking to and angle yourself towards them. This shows you’re giving them your full attention.
  9. Don’t lean on or against the wall or other objects.
  10. Mirror the other person’s posture and movements. Did they smile? Smile back. Pick up their coffee? Do the same. Just don’t be obvious or they might start to consciously notice.


August 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Learning Curve (Summer 2016)


Letter from the Editors
Jeremiah A. Ho

3 Formative Assessment Tools That Encourage Self-Regulated Learning and Meet ABA Standards 302, 304, and 314
Christina S. Chong

Finding Your Voice: Professional Development Tips for New ASPers
Courtney G. Lee

Do Law Schools Still Really Have the Option to Preclude Academically Underperforming Students from Participating in Experiential Learning Experiences?
Katherine L. Norton & Kirsha Weyandt Trychta

Groundhog Day 1L Edition: Coloring Mandalas to Relieve Secondary Stress
Deborah L. Borman

Leveraging ASP Resources: Using Alumni to Support Bar Takers
Christine Francis & Sara Berman

Profile of a Struggling 1L
Catherine (Cassie) Christopher

Analysis Uncovered: 3 Components of a Good Analysis Sentence
Lisa M. Blasser

‘Yo, Prof!’ is Not the Proper Way to Address Me: Using a Status Email Assignment in First-Year Legal Writing to Address Issues with Student Correspondence
Meredith A.G. Strang

(Scott Fruehwald)

August 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Advice on Conducting Skype Interviews

Skype interviews are becoming more common, presumably because they are convenient and do not require travel expenditures. At Vitae, Karen Kelsy offers advice for the interviewer and the interviewee.

Here’s advice for the interviewee:

 Make sure your Internet access is totally reliable.

 Resolve any and all issues with your video camera and mic.

 Be Skype-proficient in the matter of head placement, so that your whole head and part of your shoulders are visible on screen, and looking level into the camera. You don’t want to have your face cut off at the nose, for example, or have the camera coming at you from an odd angle. You might need to place your laptop on a stack of books or a box so that the camera isn’t looking up your nose.

 Ensure that your background is clean, professional-looking, and free of distractions. You can use your office or a home space, but study your backdrop with a critical eye, and ideally have a colleague or a professor do a test Skype with you to give feedback.

 Get some advice on how your interview attire looks on camera. I once had a client who wore a soft-collared beige blouse for our practice Skype interview. It was her go-to interview look, but on Skype it looked like a drab, sad puddle of fabric around her neck, and washed out her face.

For more advice and particularly advice for the interviewer, please click here.


August 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)