Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Publication opportunity for LRW faculty, law librarians, clinicians and practitioners interested in legal research and writing training

Here's a great opportunity to get published if you're interested in writing about issues related to the teaching of legal research or legal writing whether you're a LWR faculty member, clinician, doctrinal faculty, law librarian or practitioner. Perhaps you're a practicing lawyer who mentors or helps trains junior lawyers and you've some good teaching techniques, observations or insights you'd like to share.  Or perhaps you're a practitioner who's also teaching part time as an adjunct which gives you a unique perspective on LRW pedagogy. This is your chance to reach more than 5,000 readers by submitting a short manuscript or "micro" essay (there's also an opportunity to have your "poster presentation" published - see below) to Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, a Thomson Reuters publication. The submission guidelines and publisher's contact information are below.

From the Board of Editors:

There are three opportunities for publishing with Perspectives: short articles, posters, and micro essays.


Share your knowledge and insights about legal research and writing by authoring an article for Perspectives. Our editors and editorial board are looking for accessible manuscripts on practical topics that will help readers teach and learn. Readers include law school professors, librarians, instructors of paralegal and other students, practitioners, and court personnel. 


Most articles are approximately 1,500 to 7,000 words in length and lightly footnoted. The next submission deadline is January 15 for the Spring issue (but if you've got something ready to go now, contact a Board member about possibly squeezing you into the current, Fall issue). We also greatly welcome inquiries and opportunities to advise new and prospective authors seeking some helpful guidance on how to get started.


We are also looking for posters you may have presented at recent conferences, and shorter submissions for the next in our series of "micro essays." For the latter, we are asking readers to submit 100 words or less on one or both of the following topics: “Digital Natives” or “Print Matters?” We welcome multiple submissions and will publish the best selections in volume 25 (we will even do so anonymously if you want). Be honest; be creative; let us know what these words provoke or inspire!


For an online submission link, the Perspectives current issue, archive, Author’s Guide, how to contact the Board and other details, please click here.

See you in print!


August 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 22, 2016

How to Overcome a Bad First Impression

From the Harvard Business Review Management Blog (here):

A bad first impression can be hard to shake. But changing how others view you is not impossible. Here are four ways to overturn entrenched beliefs:

  • Surprise people. For example, if you’ve developed a reputation for never speaking up, make a point of being the first person to speak in meetings, and make multiple comments.
  • Overcompensate over time. Bombard people with a lot of evidence to suggest that their first impression was wrong — do it not just once, but consistently.
  • Get closer to people. If you’ve started out on the wrong foot with someone, don’t avoid them. Find ways to get to know them better so they can see who you really are.
  • Wait it out. Sometimes the bad impression your colleague formed has nothing to do with you. If you’re patient and continue to act in ways you’re proud of, most people will come around eventually.
  • Source: Adapted from “4 Ways to Overcome a Bad First Impression,” by Dorie Clark




August 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Opening an Oral Argument Before the Supreme Court

Shameless promotion department:

Opening an Oral Argument before the Supreme Court: The Decline of Narrative’s Role

(The Review of Litigation, The Brief. Summer 2016) (here)

Louis J. Sirico, Jr.*


In contrast to previous eras, today’s oral advocate can expect Supreme Court justices to start asking questions earlier and often. Consequently, the advocate should expect to launch the argument with only a few sentences before the questions begin. These critical sentences offer a brief opportunity to introduce the theme of the subsequent argument. Advocates in other “hot bench” courts face the same challenge.

Our study of opening statements in Supreme Court oral arguments finds that the statements have one of three themes: a conventional legal argument, a policy argument, or a narrative argument. The conventional legal argument is the most common, followed by the policy argument, followed by the narrative argument.

The dearth of narrative arguments—even as supplementary arguments—can have adverse consequences for the advocate seeking to be persuasive and the Court seeking to decide the case properly.

You also may be interested in A Proposal for Improving Oral Argument Before the United States Supreme Court. (here)


With rare exceptions, the U.S. Supreme Court allots thirty minutes to each side for oral arguments. A review of transcripts and recordings of oral arguments confirms that the Court poses questions and makes comments with remarkable frequency. When students and lay people listen to the recordings, they may remark on the constant interruptions and view the Justices as rude interrogators. 

With the many questions that the Justices have and the limited time available, the advocates have little opportunity to present their arguments fully. The Justices may interrupt counsel with questions concerning the law or the relevant facts of a case. They may wish to pose hypotheticals. They may wish to present direct or indirect arguments in hopes of swaying a fellow member of the bench. With respect to these questions and hypotheticals, the Justices are asking counsel to think on their feet and may catch counsel unprepared to give a full and accurate response. 

This Article offers a simple solution for reducing the overload of questions at oral argument. Justices, individually or collectively, could pose written questions on facts and law to the litigants' counsel before oral argument and expect written responses.

The submitted questions might inquire about the facts of the case, about the litigant's interpretation of the relevant law, about the response that the litigant would make to a hypothetical scenario, or about the precise holding that the litigant wishes the Court to propound. The responses should allow for more thought-out answers than oral argument can produce and might both reduce the number of questions that the Justices ask during oral argument and improve the quality of the answers.

The Article places this proposal in historical context by examining how Supreme Court rules on presenting argument have developed - shifting the emphasis from oral argument to written argument. After explaining the value of oral argument and the ways in the which courts have tried to deal with the brevity of oral arguments, the Article illustrates the value of the proposal by closely analyzing the oral argument in Kelo v. City of New London.


August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The dark web and student cheating

According to security experts interviewed for this Business Insider story (and here), students seeking to cheat are now using services available on the so-called "dark web" to disrupt exams through cyber attacks, surreptitiously change grades and even hack electronic attendance records. While it's unclear how widespread these practices have become, one cyber security consultant said that he's seen a "tremendous uptick" in educational cyber attacks over the last 18 months. Read on.

Students can use the dark web to cheat their way through school


When I was in school, to get out of a test, I'd feign a fever by holding a thermometer up to a light bulb.


Today, students are hiring hackers on the darknet to attack their school servers with a Distributed Denial of Service. Kids these days.


"In the new digital era, students are looking to cheat the system just like those of the past," Daniel Smith, a security researcher at the cybersecurity company Radware, said in an email.


"The only difference is they're using computers now and run the risk of facing lengthy charges if caught."


One new way to cheat the system is tapping into remote corners of the internet that can only be accessed through special tools — the Dark Web. 


As summer winds down and school nears session again, students can access the Dark Web to hire a hacker to change their grades, attack their school's network with a DDoS, buy drugs and more, a Radware spokesperson said in an email. 

. . . . 

Continue reading here (and here).


August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Advice on Writing a Law Resume

LawCrossing offers a number of tips. Here are a few:

  • Place your most marketable features up front on your resume (i.e. if you did particularly well in law school, mention that fact on the first page).
  • Often it is best to put your "Education" section at the beginning of your resume, noting your graduation year. This is helpful, as it will help the reader know whether he/she is dealing with a senior, junior or mid-level lawyer.
  • Use heading and bullet-point sentences in the "Work Experience" section. It is important that you avoid long paragraphs and provide only an outline of your experience. If you wish to provide more information about your practice, attach a "Transaction Summary" sheet to your resume. The goal is to make your resume as easy as possible for your reader to read.

You can read more here.


August 20, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 19, 2016

How to Diagram Sentences

Some of us were taught to diagram sentences. I learned how in 8th grade. A sentence diagram gives a picture of the grammatical parts of a sentence. I think that when students understand diagramming, they are less likely to write sprawling, disorganized sentences.

Wikihow offers a 13 step guide to diagramming (with pictures). The first part is a bit heavy on grammar jargon, but don’t let that discourage you. You can access the guide here.


August 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Metaphor and Legal Research by Amy E. Sloan & Colin P. Starger

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Metaphor and Legal Research by Amy E. Sloan & Colin P. Starger.


"We construct our conceptual world using metaphors. Yet sometimes our concepts are flawed and our metaphors do damage. This Article examines a set of metaphors currently doing damage in law – those for legal research. It shows that while technology has radically altered the material world of legal research, our dominant metaphors have remained static, and thus, become outmoded. Conceptualizing today’s reality using old metaphors fails; it is like pouring new wine in old wineskins. To address this problem, this Article first surfaces unwarranted assumptions buried in the metaphors we use when talking about research and then proposes new metaphors to better serve theory and practice. It concludes by examining how this investigation into 'finding law' implicates primary jurisprudential concepts of law."

August 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Law school class of 2015 found fewer jobs in private practice

From the New York Times Dealbook blog:

2015 Law School Graduates Got Fewer Jobs in Private Practice


Last year’s law school graduates landed fewer jobs in private practice than any class in the last two decades, according to the National Association for Law Placement, which tracks developments in the legal profession.


“You have to go back to 1996 to find a comparably small number of private practice jobs,” said James G. Leipold, the association’s executive director. Private practice includes firms of any size as well as solo practitioners.


In 2007, there were 37,123 such jobs, the association found, compared with 33,469 last year, according to the report, “Employment for the Class of 2015 – Selected Findings.”


The number of such jobs for newly credentialed lawyers probably shrank, Mr. Leipold said, because graduates are competing “with other junior lawyers for most jobs other than entry-level associate positions at large law firms, some judicial clerkships and some government honors programs.”


And there is little change in sight, he said, because law firms of every size will face a smaller head count “in the coming years and even decades” as law firms incorporate “growing efficiencies created by technology and business systems and increased competition from nontraditional legal services providers.”


Even with the number of available jobs down and the smaller size of graduating classes, the percentage of law school graduates hired was 86.7 percent, the same employment rate as in 2014. But the rate was significantly lower than that of the 2007 graduating class, when 91.9 percent of such graduates found employment within nine months of leaving school.


In the six years after the 2008 economic meltdown, employment for law school graduates fell steadily. But in 2014, the employment rate climbed two percentage points, from 84.5 percent to 86.7 percent, where it remained in 2015.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


August 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Ruin Your Brief

In the August Michigan Bar Journal, Marine Judge Advocate Austin Hakes gives witty advice on what not to do. How to Ruin Your Brief—Or, The Screwtape Lawyers. He gives eight pointers. Here are the first 4:

When drafting, avoid feedback.

Let trial testimony determine the order in which you present facts.

Use ridiculous words.

Rely on exclamation points, bold typeface, and capitalization.

You can read the rest here.


August 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Sued for Allegedly Mismanaging Retirement Funds

From the Insurance Journal (excerpts):

Columbia University was accused on Tuesday of mismanaging its retirement plan in a federal civil lawsuit that alleges $100 million in damages.

The suit is the latest to target a major university’s retirement plan management and to bring under scrutiny fees charged by financial service providers.

The complaint says the Ivy League university, based in New York, retained expensive and poor-performing investment options that consistently underperformed their benchmarks.

“This caused its (retirement) plans and their participants to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses of retirement savings,” said law firm Sanford Heisler LLP, which filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. “As a result, the University’s 401(k) plan included $4.6 billion of investment options that were primarily poor to mediocre performers.”

Other well-known universities have also recently been sued over the management of their retirement plans, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University and New York University.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see similar litigation against other institutions. You can read more here.


August 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

2016 ETL Conference - 6 Weeks and Counting!

From Alli Gerkman at ETL:

Dear ETL Friends:

Discussion around our Foundations for Practice project has been sweeping through law schools across the country, all leading up to our 5th Annual Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference next month.

In the past five years, we've covered a lot of ground together, and we hope you'll join us again this year as we discuss Learning Outcomes for Hire on September 22-24, 2016.

What if learning outcomes could be more than an ABA requirement and an internal tool to evaluate student learning objectives?

What if learning outcomes could also signal to legal employers that students have the foundations they desire in their workplace?

Building on Foundations for Practice, this Conference will focus on:

  • How to create meaningful learning outcomes
  • How to measure whether those outcomes are being met
  • How to turn those outcomes into tangible hiring criteria for legal employers

For more details on the conference—including registration instructions and location— please click here.

Our conference fills up quickly and hotel rooms at our special rate sell out every year—we encourage you to register now and book your room to ensure you are a part of these groundbreaking conversations.

We need you at the table this September as we discuss the future of legal education.

Alli Gerkman | Director

(Scott Fruehwald)


August 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don’t Use Periods When You Text

According to studies, when you use periods in text messages, you sound insincere or angry. Here’s an illustration from The Conversation:

JACKIE I AM SO SO SO SORRY! I thought you were behind us in the cab and then I saw you weren’t!!!!! I feel soooooooo bad! Catch another cab and ill pay for it for youuuuu

Note that this message does not contain a message-final period, since that may convey insincerity that would contradict the apology being presented. Instead, the sender uses the non-standard long vowels in “soooooooo” and “youuuuu” as well as five exclamation points at the end of one sentence.

Compare this to a standardized version of the text message:

Jackie, I am so sorry. I thought you were behind us in the cab and then I saw you weren’t. I feel so bad! Catch another cab and I’ll pay for it for you.

This more formal version, according to the arguments made by Tannen and Darics, reads more like a work email sent to a colleague than one to a friend sincerely and fervently apologizing for a transportation mishap.

So much for the Queen’s English. You can read more here.


August 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Number of People Taking the Ohio Bar is Down 20% from 2013

From the Kegler, Brown, Hill and Ritter blog:

The number of individuals taking the Ohio bar continues to drop. 1,072 people applied to take the July 2016 Bar Exam, according to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

That number is down from July of 2015, when 1,117 people applied to take the July Bar, and 1,351 who sought to take the July 2013 Bar. The 2016 figure represents a 20% drop in applicants since 2013.

This reflects the current disenchantment with joining the legal profession. You can read more here.


August 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Suffolk U. School of Law seeking to hire a director for its IP clinical program

Here are the details on this tenure track opening for a candidate to direct the school's IP clinical program which is focused on clients with limited resources.

Suffolk University Law School in Boston invites applications for a tenure-track clinical faculty member to direct its Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic (“IPEC”) starting in the 2017-2018 academic year.  We seek candidates with strong academic records and a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship.  Prior experience with clinical teaching is preferred, though not required.  Applicants must either be admitted or eligible for admission to the Massachusetts bar.

IPEC is a dynamic inter-disciplinary clinic that collaborates regularly with Suffolk’s Sawyer Business School. It provides free legal services to underserved clients with limited resources on issues relating to new and emerging businesses, with a focus on intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets). Law students supervised by the clinic director provide a broad range of intellectual property and transactional services. Clients include entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, designers, software developers, online publishers, cloud service providers, artists, authors, filmmakers and musicians and are individuals, for-profit businesses, or nonprofits. This innovative clinic provides students with the hands-on, practical experience needed to navigate the rapidly evolving fields of intellectual property and entrepreneurship.

The ideal candidate will be a self-motivated individual who will “grow” the clinic by developing relationships with alumni, members of the academy and external entities. In addition to teaching a full-year clinic, all clinical faculty teach one non-clinical course in a related field. 

IPEC is one of nine in-house clinics in the Clinical Programs and is part of the Intellectual Property Concentration, which integrates doctrinal and experiential offerings. Both the Clinical Program and the Intellectual Property Concentration are nationally ranked. 

We encourage applications from women, minorities, and others whose backgrounds will contribute to the diversity of the faculty.  To apply, contact Professor Joseph Glannon (jglannon@suffolk.edu), Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108-4977.  Suffolk University is an equal opportunity employer.


August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Concealed Handguns on Campus

Handguns on college campuses is a controversial issue. Legislatures are pushing colleges to permit gun owners to carry their weapons on campus. The Texas legislature now requires public colleges to permit concealed handguns on campus, and the University of Texas has implemented policies to comply. To learn about its policies, please click here.


August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump and Clinton on Energy and Environmental Policy

From Dentons, a detailed analysis of the positions of the two candidates. The summary:

Secretary Clinton's approach would largely build upon and expand current Obama Administration policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy resources, while Mr. Trump would seek to increase fossil fuel production, undo what he considers burdensome regulations and end the US commitment to the Paris Agreement

You can read more here.


August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Writing Opening at Texas A&M

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks a full-time faculty candidate to fill a tenure-track or contract position in its Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program. From its tenure-track positions to its expanded writing center, Texas A&M University School of Law prioritizes legal analysis, research, and writing. Our program consists of eight required credit hours of first year and upper-level specialized drafting courses.

Candidates must have a minimum J.D. degree or its equivalent. Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills. Additionally, while the law school primarily is interested in entry-level candidates, more experienced candidates may be considered to the extent that their qualifications respond to the law school’s needs and interests. Texas A&M Law School has a unified tenure track system that requires all tenure-track and tenured faculty to engage in scholarship in addition to teaching and service.

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member. The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures. As part of its commitment to continue building on its tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service, Texas A&M acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August of 2013. Since that time, the law school has embarked on a program of investment that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; hired nineteen new faculty members, including thirteen prominent lateral hires; improved its physical facility; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff. 

Texas A&M School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country. The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living, a strong economy, and access to world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at appointments@law.tamu.edu. Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.

August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers by Michael D. Cicchini

Three Rules for Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers by Michael D. Cicchin.


"Legal education reform is currently a hot topic. The most promising ideas involve elevating skills-based training from its current sideshow status (where it is taught by adjunct and clinical instructors) to a meaningful and integral part of the mainstream curriculum. This type of skills-based reform, however, not only faces some practical roadblocks, but also it glosses over legal education’s deeper, more fundamental problem: the failure to adequately train students in the underlying substantive and procedural law. To address this more immediate issue, this Essay recommends three basic rules for reform. First, professors should teach an actual body of law, instead of a cobbled-together, multistate mishmash of cases from a casebook. Second, professors should teach the complete body of law, including the many topics they mistakenly view as too pedestrian to warrant classroom time. Third, professors should publish scholarship that benefits the bench and bar, rather than the academy, thereby strengthening their understanding of the important subjects they teach their students. This Essay explains the incredible benefits that would flow to students from this proposed, three-part reform, and further demonstrates how these three rules for educating tomorrow’s lawyers can be implemented today, by the existing professoriate and without any structural changes to the existing legal education model."
"I learned of academic freedom firsthand when my law school class (including myself) were victimized by it nearly twenty years ago. In constitutional law our visiting professor taught only a few topics—topics which just so happened to coincide with the subject matter of his article-in-progress. I am sure it was a fun experience for the professor, but as a result we students learned next to nothing about free speech, and even less about the commerce clause and other important constitutional subjects.  Similarly, our ethics professor ignored many of the actual ethics rules by which we future lawyers would soon be governed, and instead immersed us in cases like Annesley v. Anglesea, an eighteenth century dispute litigated in William the Conqueror’s Court of Exchequer. Again, this was no doubt enjoyable for the professor (and perhaps even made him feel scholarly), but it left us students ignorant of many of our soon-to-be ethical obligations. And this problem is widespread."
"Professors should not focus on their topics of interest at the expense of what they view as the pedestrian aspects of the law—such as the ethics rule of confidentiality or the substitution-of-judge statute."
"Other articles, however, seem to cross the line that separates the headscratching from the bizarre, at least to the practicing lawyer. In one such article, a professor argued that “the mundane reality of the traffic stop” can destroy our fantasies—”freedom, escape, friendship, romance”—that we have come to associate with the “open road” through “books, movies, [and] songs[.]”40 In a more extreme example, another professor wrote about how our government should tax zombies in the coming “zombie apocalypse,” and also addressed the important question of “how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts.”41
"My issue with much of the so-called legal scholarship is not that the professors wrote on such topics—I strongly believe that everyone should be free to write about sports or neural networks or movie-based fantasies or (especially) zombies. But the problem is that law professors might not be writing such articles on their own time; they could be getting paid many tens of thousands of dollars per article in what might essentially be a tuition-subsidized frolic."42

August 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2016

The special skill set of introverted lawyers

From a special law school supplement to the New York Law Journal:

Harness the Skills of the Introverted Lawyer


. . . . 


A mindful and formidable introvert movement is underway in this country. Transformative books like Susan Cain's "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking," hit the market in 2012. Other authors like Sophia Dembling, Laurie Helgoe, Jennifer Kahnweiler, Arnie Kozak, and Marti Olsen Laney offer advice on how to navigate the extroverted business world as an introvert. While introversion and our adversarial legal system may seem incompatible at first blush, legal educators and lawyers have begun noting how this personality trait adds undersung value in relationship-building, problem-solving, and promoting legal writing excellence in the profession. In February 2016, the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division and the ABA Journal presented a joint webinar addressing the pivotal role that introverts can play in the profession.


Existing legal education and law practice training models undervalue the natural strengths of the introverted law student and lawyer, fostering unnecessary stress and anxiety for these individuals in a profession already fraught with mental health concerns. By increasing self-awareness of the assets they bring to legal problem-solving, and by mindfully approaching interpersonal interactions in the legal context, introverts can amplify their authentic voices and transform the profession. 

. . . . 


Continue reading here.


August 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amazon Enters the University

From Yahoo Finance:

Amazon today announced an agreement with the University of Illinois at Chicago to open Amazon@UIC, a staffed pickup location in the Student Center East on the UIC campus. The Amazon pickup location offers the UIC campus community a convenient location to pick up and return Amazon orders, including virtually everything one needs for university life, from everyday essentials to tech devices.

Opening later this year, this approximately 2,300-square-foot space will be conveniently situated for UIC students, staff and faculty. Additionally, Amazon Prime members will receive Free Same-Day Pickup for orders placed by noon and Free One-Day Pickup for orders placed by 10PM. Students can sign up for an Amazon Prime Student membership and get a six-month trial followed by 50% off the regular price of Prime. To learn more about Amazon Prime Student, visit amazon.com/joinstudent.

You can read more here. This is only the beginning.


August 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)