Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Practical Training: Valparaiso

Yesterday, I listed preLaw Magazine's 20 Most Innovative Law Schools.  Today, I am focusing on Valparaiso, which preLaw mentioned for its practical training program.

Here is the description of Valpariso's curriculum from its website:

"Valparaiso University Law School provides a comprehensive study of the foundations of law, an introduction to its substantive areas, and the opportunity to study areas of specific interest. The curriculum focuses on legal analysis, practical training, perspectives on law, legal research, and legal writing."

PreLaw emphasizes Valparaiso's Intro to Experiential Learning Class.  Here is the rest of its first-year curriculum:


  • Seven-week sessions expedite assessment and feedback
  • New courses on the foundation of legal analysis and professional communications taught by senior faculty
  • Students engage in live-client contact in the first semester of law school.


Rigorous training in legal writing begins in the first year and extends into the second and third years at Valparaiso Law. This includes not just traditional seminars but courses on appellate advocacy, legal drafting, legal journalism, and subject-matter specific advanced legal writing and drafting courses. Valparaiso Law graduates have a reputation for strong legal writing and research skills, and the new curriculum has embraced and enhanced that strength.


Required Courses: Full-Time First-Year Studies

Fall Semester (Two seven-week sessions, total 14 credits)
100/101 Contracts I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
110/111 Criminal Law I & II (full semester) Cr. 2 & 2
131 Legal Research I (full semester) Cr. 1
135 Foundations (first 7 wks.) Cr. 2
145 Legal Communications (second 7 wks.) Cr. 1
170 Torts I (second 7 wks.) Cr. 2
315S1 Professionalism Education Requirement Cr. 0

Spring Semester (Two seven-week sessions, total 16 or 17 credits)
120/121 Civil Procedure I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
130 Legal Writing I (full semester) Cr. 2
160/161 Property I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
171 Torts II (first 7 wks.) Cr. 2
181 Legal Research II (full semester) Cr. 1
182 Legal Methods (full semester) Cr. 1

MANDATORY for all 1Ls that are on probation or in the bottom quartile of the class at the end of their first semester:
191 Intro to Experiential Learning (full semester) Cr. 1
315S2 Professionalism Education Requirement Cr. 0"

Valparaiso also emphasizes practical training in the second and third years: "Valparaiso Law has long been a stronghold of clinical and externship training. Our practical skills training extends from the beginning of the first semester to third-year practicums, nationally recognized externships, and eight live-client clinics in one of the oldest clinical programs in the country."

(Scott Fruehwald)


October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Should You Use “Shall” or “Will” to Create an Obligation in a Contract?

In the October 2017, Michigan Bar Journal, attorney Chadwick Busk addresses the question. Does “shall” mean “will,” or does it mean “must”? The different meanings obviously have different consequences. To complicate matters, the commentators give divergent advice.

This article, however, gives the best advice. If you want “shall” to create an obligation, define the meaning of “shall” at the beginning o  the contract, and be consistent in using  the word:

In the end, the best advice in deciding whether to use shall or will in your business contracts may be this: choose one or the other, stick to it, define your selection in the contract as imposing an obligation on the appropriate party, and leave it at that.

You can read more here.


October 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 16, 2017

The 20 Most Innovative Law Schools

From PreLaw Magazine: The 20 Most Innovative Law Schools.

Design Thinking

  • Stanford
  • BYU
  • Suffolk


  • Hastings
  • Albany
  • Vanderbilt

Technology and Business

  • Chicago-Kent
  • UWash
  • NKU
  • Miami

Technology and Digital Tools

  • Oklahoma
  • Cornell

Access to Justice

  • Minnesota
  • Duke

Practical Training

  • Elon
  • Valparaiso
  • Regent

Other Innovative Programs

  • North Texas
  • Mitchell Hamline
  • Georgetown

I will have more on this article over the next few days.

(Scott Fruehwald)

October 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

When to Use an Apostrophe: The Rules

the summer of ’67

two weeks’ notice

mind your p’s and q’s

check their I.D.’s

 These examples illustrate the problem. In many cases, we may not be sure whether an apostrophe is called for. At WordRake, Gary Kinder spells out the formal rules.

In all cases, I try to revise my sentences so that I don’t need the apostrophe and thus escape having to remember what the rule is. Besides, apostrophes often look awkward.

You can access the rules here.


October 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cognitive Biases and Persuasion

I received a tweet this weekend from a colleague, Cathren Page, pointing out that knowledge of cognitive biases can be important to persuasion in legal writing.  This is very true.  Advertisers use cognitive biases to sell their products, and lawyers can do the same with their arguments.

Cognitive biases are “a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make.” (Kendra Cherry)  These biases are products of evolution.  Our brains developed in significantly different environments than we face today.

Here are a few cognitive biases that relate to persuasion:

  • Anchoring: "The tendency to rely too heavily, or ‘anchor', on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject)."
  • Availability heuristic: "The tendency to overestimate the likelihood of events with greater ‘availability' in memory, which can be influenced by how recent the memories are or how unusual or emotionally charged they may be."
  • Bandwagon effect: "The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same."
  • Confirmation bias: "The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions."
  • Emotional reasoning: Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality.
  • Status quo bias: "The tendency to like things to stay relatively the same."

For example, anchoring demonstrates the importance of getting the important information out first.  Not only does a legal writer want to go first, that writer should put the important information at the beginning.  Similarly, the emotional reasoning bias confirms that legal writers should consider the readers' emotions when writing a brief.  Finally, an attorney can frame an argument around a status quo bias.

The above only scratches the use of cognitive biases in persuasive writing.

Of course, knowledge of cognitive biases is also important for another reason: Avoiding being swayed by them.  As I noted in my book, advertisers use cognitive biases frequently, and some companies are manipulating their employees through cognitive biases.  In fact, comedian Bill Maher recently declared, “Apple, Google, Facebook, they are essentially drug dealers.”

I hope to post more about cognitive biases in the coming weeks.

(Scott Fruehwald)

October 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Resurrecting ye olde library "treasure hunt" exercise to teach students the research skills employers demand

In this recent article published in the Law Library Journal, Clinical Professor Nancy Vettorello (Michigan) proposes resurrecting an updated version of the old "treasure hunt" library exercise that we all used in the old days as a way of addressing employers' concerns that kids today don't know jake about how to research effectively.  It's a good article that does a nice job explaining the "process" versus "bibliographic" debate concerning the most effective research instruction methodology (and if you don't know what I'm refer to, you need to school yourself, like, pronto by reading this article).  Below is the introduction to Professor Vettorello's article, called Resurrecting (and Modernizing) the Research Treasure Hunt, which you can find at 109 Law Libr. J. 205 (2017):

First-year associates will spend forty-five percent of their time on legal research; second- and third-year associates will spend thirty percent. And unfortunately, employers find their associates' research skills lacking. This is not a new complaint. Employers have been complaining for more than a hundred years that recent law graduates cannot research well.


None of this is lost on those who teach legal research, who have long debated the best way to do so. Techniques for teaching research have changed over time, and methods once thought appropriate were sometimes later disfavored. Changes were driven both by pedagogy and by the ever-changing interface of legal research.


This article explores the types of research skills employers see lacking today; traces the debate over teaching methodology for research instruction and reviews modern proposals; and suggests that those who teach legal research reconsider one of the methods that has been disfavored--the research treasure hunt. Incorporating the treasure hunt as a small part of the curriculum achieves several goals. It exposes students to a greater number of research resources, gives them more opportunity to research, allows students small victories, allows them to customize their experiences, and marries well with the skills and expectations of the millennial law student. It also reflects the type of quick-turnaround research projects that students are asked to do in their summer employment.


October 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

40 of the Creepiest Book Covers

As we move closer to Halloween. From Lithub: 40 of some of the creepiest book covers of all time, Warning: Some of them are really creepy.

You can access them here.


October 15, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How LRW Faculty Can Position Themselves for Administrative Position

At the Second Draft, Judy Stinson, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the   gives advice on how an LRW prof can position himself  or herself for an administrative positions. She identifies the four essential primary skills of a successful candidate as hard work, organization, collegiality, and open-mindedness.

Of course, having these skills is not enough, the aspirant must know how to showcase them. Dean Stinson explains how.

You can read her advice here.


October 14, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shearman & Sterling Enacts Generous Family Leave Policy

Following a trend among biglaw firms, Shearman and Sterling has established a generous leave policy:

The U.S. lawyer that is the primary caregiver can receive up to 20 weeks of paid leave, up from 18 weeks of maternity leave. A staffer that is the primary caregiver of a new addition in their family can receive up to 14 weeks of paid leave, up from six weeks of leave for salaried staffers and no leave for hourly staffers. For those acting as the secondary caregivers, they will receive eight weeks of paid “new child care leave.” This is up from four weeks of paid leave for parents of either gender.

You can read more here at JDJournal.



October 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Practices for Peer Reviewing Teaching

At Best Practices for Legal Education (Sept. 25, 2017), Professor Mary Lynch offers a thoughtful discussion of practices for peer review of teaching by fellow professors. She discusses the values of the practice, the sources of resistance, and methods of conducting a review process.

At my school, we are beginning a system of peer review of the teaching of our adjuncts—not to evaluate them but to share the lessons that we full-timers have learned about teaching.

You can read more here.


October 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Legal Education Blog

Abigail Perdue of WFU has started a new blog on legal education: Teach Law Better

Dedicated to celebrating experiments in pedagogy and facilitating the free exchange of innovative teaching ideas.

My favorite article so far: Challenging Law Students to Become Active Learners by Rosa Kim.

(Scott Fruehwald)

October 12, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A new book by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin on thinking critically in the era of fake news

The book actually came out in March but I just learned about it and thought some of our readers might be interested as well. Professor Levitin is both a neuroscientist and best selling author who's brought cognitive science and psychology to the masses with books like The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music. This new title (actually, it's an updated version of a previous book by Professor Levitin intended to provide the tools to navigate claims of "fake news" in our post-truth era) called Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in a Post -Truth Era might appeal to some law profs looking for non-law readings to recommend to students. From the publisher's press release:

October 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A new book by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin on thinking critically in the era of fake news

The book actually came out in March but I just learned about it and thought some of our readers might be interested as well. Professor Levitin is both a neuroscientist and best selling author who's brought cognitive science and psychology to the masses with books like The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music. This new title (actually, it's an updated version of a previous book by Professor Levitin intended to provide the tools to navigate claims of "fake news" in our post-truth era) called Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in a Post -Truth Era might appeal to some law profs looking for non-law readings to recommend to students. From the publisher's press release:

October 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LWI Monograph: Moot Court and Oral Advocacy

The Legal Writing Institute has released volume 6 in its series of monographs The volume offers links to 20 carefully selected articles on mot court and oral addvocacy. Our thanks to the LWI members who worked on the project:


Jennifer Murphy Romig (Emory)

Managing Editor:

Margaret Hannon (Michigan)

Editorial Board:

Deborah Borman (Northwestern)

Suzanne Ehrenberg (Chicago-Kent)

Lara Freed (Cornell)

Brenda Gibson (North Carolina Central)

Andrew Kerr (Georgetown)

Samantha Moppett (Suffolk)

Jason Palmer (Stetson)

Anne Ralph (Ohio State)

You can access the monograph by clicking here.


October 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Taking Pro Bono Cases: Three Ethical Issues

At the Proskauer firm’s blog, we learn about three ethical issues that a lawyer should consider in taking  on a pro bono case:

Scope of Representation. Who is your client, and what are the parameters of the work that you will be providing to your client? Equally important, what work will not be done on your client’s behalf? The New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”) permit attorneys to provided “unbundled” or limited-scope legal services to clients, as a way of making at least some legal representation available to greater numbers of people who may need it.

Privilege and Confidentiality. Clients seeking pro bono legal assistance will often want family members or trusted advisors to attend their meetings with you. Before allowing any third party to sit in on a meeting, you must explain to your client that the attorney-client privilege might be waived

Clients with Diminished Capacity. One of the most difficult situations often encountered by lawyers providing pro bono legal services is dealing with clients with diminished capacity. Rule 1.14 counsels lawyers to maintain a conventional relationship with the client as far as reasonably possible.

For full explanations, please click here.


October 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Deep Learning That Lasts: Transforming Law School Learning With Some Help from Science

What do students remember long after a course concludes? Now, that’s a very good question. Steve Friedland doesn’t provide us with an answer in his article. Deep Learning That Lasts: Transforming Law School Learning With Some Help from Science. However, he offers ways that should aid students in making the learning stick. The focus is on employing lessons learned from brain science, for example, interleaving (spacing) and self-testing.

You can access the article here.

Those of us who have been away from our law school days for many years might reflect on what we have retained. For myself, I have retained only a limited amount of doctrinal knowledge, and would now rely on that knowledge only as a starting point for relearning doctrine that I needed to know and update. More significantly, I remember big concepts and ways of thinking about legal issues and  problems. That knowledge has proven of great value.


October 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Metacognitive Assessment as a Means of Learning and Teaching by By Anowar Zahid, PhD

Yesterday, I posted about my new article on teaching students metacognition.  Today, I am presenting a short article from the Law Teacher, which gives you four short metacognitive questions you can ask your students.

Metacognitive Assessment as a Means of Learning and Teaching by By Anowar Zahid, PhD.

"I teach International Commercial Law."  "However, I find that most of the students do not take part in the interactive discussion."

"Recently I devised a method, which I call metacognition of class.  In this method, after every lecture I ask students a few questions through our university online learning and teaching facility and have them e-mail me their answers."

• What did you learn today in class?
• Why did you learn it?
• How can you put it in practice?
• Do you have any questions?

The above method is simple, but very effective.

(Scott Fruehwald)

October 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Legal sectors gains 900 jobs in September

According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report released a few days ago. It's decent growth given a large part of the country was getting walloped last month by major hurricanes including Harvey and Irma. More significant than the September jobs report is that BLS revised it's August report (the agency frequently revises its job stats up or down) to reflect an additional 1400 jobs added rather than 100 as it first reported. You can check out the BLS report for September here as well as a report from the American Lawyer here.


October 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fall 2017 Issue of The Second Draft is Out

The issue focuses on legal research. Here  is the Table of Contents

President’s Greeting
Kim D. Chanbonpin
From the Desk of the Co-Editor-in-Chief
Diane B. Kraft
Emphasizing the “R” in LRW: Customizing Instruction
for Real-World Practices
Michele M. Bradley
Collaborative Relationships Between Law Librarians and
Legal Writing Faculty
Ingrid Mattson and Susan Azyndar
Teaching Legal Research Through an Information
Literacy Lens
Ellie Margolis & Kristen Murray
Don’t Flip Out, Flip Your Class: My Experiences Flipping
an Advanced Legal Research Class
Jane O’Connell
Keeping It Real: How to Make Research Engaging
Sabrina DeFabritiis & Kathleen Elliott Vinson
Of Hippos, but Not Cat Memes: Teaching Fact
Ruth Anne Robbins
Zen and the Art of Legal Research
Chad Noreuil
Teaching Legal Research and Writing in a
Fully Integrated Way
Liz McCurry Johnson
Introduction to Legal Research: Connecting New Ideas To
What Our Students Already Know
Julie R. Schwartz
Not “Who?” but “How Much?”: Prioritizing Legal Research
Instruction in First-Year Legal Writing Courses
Matthew E. Flyntz
This Really Happened: Incorporating Legal News Items
and Current Events into Legal Research Courses
Clanitra Stewart Nejdl
Using Animal Law to Teach Legal Research
Sarah J. Morath
Relinquishing Legal Research
Tammy R. P. Oltz
From the Desk of the Writing Specialist: Discovering a
Predictor of Reading Comprehension Difficulties
Ann L. Nowak
News & Announcements
LWI Policy Statement on Law Faculty
Adopted March 2015

You can access the issue here.


October 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What’s the Best Way to Deal with Failure?

You may be surprised. According to one study, the best way might be to get angry. From mic network:

When you fail to achieve a goal or face a setback, whether in the workplace or elsewhere, you might respond in one of a couple ways: by raging at the futility of it all, or by calmly and rationally analyzing why you failed. Which is best?

Surprisingly, an emotional response might be the better instinct, at least according to a new paper from researchers at University of Kansas, Ohio State University and Stanford University.

That’s because people who are prompted to think about or reflect on their failures are actually more likely to slack off at similar future tasks — while those who approach failure in a more emotional way are more likely to do better next time, the research suggests: No pain, no gain, essentially.

You can read more here.


October 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)