Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Updated Analysis Of Law School Attrition Data — 2018 by Jerry Organ

Jerry Organ has posted a detailed study of law school attrition data on the Tax Prof Blog.

Here is the last paragraph:

"While we still do not know for sure how attrition distributes across the profile of a given entering class within a given law school, the data presented here, showing increasing attrition as law school median LSAT decreases, would suggest that students on the lower end of the distribution of a law school’s entering class profile are more likely to experience academic attrition than students on the higher end of the distribution."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

U. Michigan is seeking a law fellow for its Community & Economic Development Clinic

Here are the details:



The University of Michigan Law Clinical Fellows Program seeks applicants for a fellowship in its Community and Economic Development Clinic (CEDC). This is a two year appointment with a possibility of extension for a third year.

The Clinical Fellows Program is designed to allow attorneys to explore the possibility of a career in clinical teaching and fully support them in that endeavor. Michigan Clinical Fellows gain valuable experience and mentoring in clinical pedagogy and in their substantive area of practice. Their duties include clinical teaching and student supervision in conjunction with a clinic director, and participation in the operation and development of the clinic in which they teach. Support is provided for personal and professional development and scholarship.

The CEDC provides transactional legal services to nonprofit and community organizations, social enterprises, and neighborhood-based businesses and entrepreneurs in Detroit and the metro Detroit area. The Clinic works with both start-up and established clients. New organizations seek assistance in formation, governance, tax and regulatory compliance. More established organizations seeks the CEDC’s assistance to accommodate their organizations’ and programs’ growth: draft and negotiate contract and leases; create worker cooperatives and social enterprises; counsel regarding land use, permits and other regulations; provide tax advice on income-generating activities; advise on employment issues; counsel on risk management; and research and advise on intellectual property issues.

The fellow will work with entrepreneurs and small businesses and partner with faculty at the Ross School of Business, the Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Computer Science and Engineering, as well as other schools and departments, through the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, a new initiative in the CEDC supported by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.

The ideal applicant will have a minimum of 3 years experience in at least one of the CEDC’s core areas of practice, a strong interest in clinical teaching, a demonstrated commitment to engage in public interest lawyering through transactional work for nonprofit and community organizations, and potential for scholarship and success as a clinical teacher. Candidates must hold a J.D. degree and be eligible for licensure in Michigan. Michigan’s Clinical Fellows salaries and benefits are very
competitive. The fellowship begins in July, 2018.

Questions can be directed to Associate Dean David Santacroce at or 734-763-4319. We will begin reviewing applications on February 12, 2018, but will accept applications until the position is filled. Applicants should send a letter of interest and résumé to:

John W. Lemmer
Experiential Education Business Administrator
The University of Michigan Law School
701 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer.


January 16, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lou is doing good . . . .

As a reader of this blog, you'll be very happy to know (as, of course, all of us are) that Lou is back home, resting comfortably and in good spirits. That's the best news we've heard all week.

- The staff of the Legal Skills Prof Blog.

January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Don't humblebrag during job interviews - science proves it doesn't work

Not only doesn't it work as a job seeking strategy, this new study by Harvard behavioral scientists found that it actually backfires - causing those on the receiving end of "humblebragging" to perceive you as insincere and manipulative (not exactly the image you want to portray during a job interview or any other career enhancing opportunity).

The results of the study, entitled Humblebragging: A Distinct—And Ineffective—Self-Presentation Strategy (boy, that's a refreshingly descriptive title), have just been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology here.  From the abstract:

Self-presentation is a fundamental aspect of social life, with myriad critical outcomes dependent on others’ impressions. We identify and offer the first empirical investigation of a prevalent, yet understudied, self-presentation strategy: humblebragging. Across 9 studies, including a week-long diary study and a field experiment, we identify humblebragging—bragging masked by a complaint or humility—as a common, conceptually distinct, and ineffective form of self-presentation. We first document the ubiquity of humblebragging across several domains, from everyday life to social media. We then show that both forms of humblebragging—complaint-based or humility-based—are less effective than straightforward bragging, as they reduce liking, perceived competence, compliance with requests, and financial generosity. Despite being more common, complaint-based humblebrags are less effective than humility-based humblebrags, and are even less effective than simply complaining. We show that people choose to deploy humblebrags particularly when motivated to both elicit sympathy and impress others. Despite the belief that combining bragging with complaining or humility confers the benefits of each strategy, we find that humblebragging confers the benefits of neither, instead backfiring because it is seen as insincere.



January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching by Serge Martinez

My former colleague, Serge Martinez, has written an excellent article on cognitive science and clinical teaching: Why are We Doing this? Cognitive Science and Nondirective Supervision in Clinical Teaching.


"When, not that long ago, I was a brand new clinic professor attending my first clinical conference, I heard clinical supervision described this way: Imagine you have been an excellent professional taxi driver for some time. Now, imagine you have to get into the back seat and let a beginning taxi driver take the wheel. You have to get her to take you safely to your destination without giving her directions. You need to help her understand the rules of the road and the operation of the vehicle with as little explicit instruction as possible. This sounds like a terrible idea for road safety, but any clinical professor will recognize that the experienced taxi driver in the example is practicing "nondirective" supervision of the trainee. At the time I heard this allegory, I was not told why it was the right way to teach a novice, or what the benefits (or alternatives) to nondirection were. It was simply explained to me that this was the way of clinical education, and it did not occur to me until many years later to ask why this was the best way, or how we arrived at this pedagogical theory."

(Scott Fruehwald)

January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vanderbilt is hiring a clinical professor

Vanderbilt University Law School is seeking to hire a clinical professor to work in their First Amendment clinic. Here are the details:

Vanderbilt University Law School seeks applicants for a full-time clinical faculty position. The successful applicant will design and direct a First Amendment Clinic focused on speech, press, and assembly rights. In addition to teaching a live-client clinic the successful applicant will also have the opportunity to teach a non-clinical course and to engage in writing as well as community and professional service. The First Amendment Clinic is funded for an initial five-year period, after which continuation is contingent on securing additional funding. Please send a cover letter, resume, clinic proposal/research agenda, and list of references to:


The final candidate for this position must successfully complete a background check. Vanderbilt University has a strong institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining an academically and culturally diverse community of faculty. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups, in particular, are encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.


January 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Five Habits of Extreme Learners

What are extreme learners? According to one  small study:

They loved to learn. Like extreme athletes, they were passionate and fearless. Instead of letting institutions define what and how they learned, they engineered their own personal ecosystems of learning and connected their learning to earning in creative ways.

Here are their five habits:

1.) They were self-motivated and found connections between their learning and working, both volunteer and paid.

2.) They maintained a strong sense of curiosity across disciplines, often spanning the arts and the sciences. These learners are the type of students prized by many universities and companies: Students interested in a wide range of topics, and deeply knowledgeable in a few topics.

3.) They were networkers.

4.) They were technology savants, accessing a vast world of online learning for resources, contacts, courses, platforms, and tools.

5.) They developed their social-emotional skills, learning to work well in groups and taking on leadership and teaching roles.

How do extreme learners perform in life?

These extreme learners had an entrepreneurial spirit. While they may take on jobs in established companies, they will also do well in the "gig economy," where self-starters fill in periods of underemployment. They developed that spirit as entrepreneurs of their own learning, seeking out projects, identifying supporters, and applying lessons from one experience to the next.

For more explanations and examples, please click here (Education Week).


January 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips from a pro on allotting time to study for the bar exam

In this guest post at National Juris MagazineAshley Heidemann, the owner of JD Advising (a law school applicant, student advising, and bar prep exam company), provides some planning tips on the number of hours and how many weeks you'll need to adequately prep for the bar exam. And if you were planning to take it in February and haven't started prepping already, you should seriously consider deferring until July.  That's because Ashley advises that, as rough guidelines, you should plan on the following at a minimum:

  • 200 hours just to study the law.
  • An additional 200 hours to take practice questions and tests.
  • Begin your studying routine at least 9-10 weeks before the exam (assuming you can devote full-time, 40-50 hours per week studying).
  • Roll that back to 15-20 weeks before the exam if you're working part time and can only devote 20 or so hours per week to studying.
  • The above estimates assume quality, actively engaged study time - not just passively attending bar review lectures, etc.

You can read Ashley's full column here.


January 14, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Circuit Court Decisions: The Vast Majority are Unanimous

Federal Circuit Court decisions are overwhelmingly unanimous:

 The data on the pages below confirm that very few dissenting and concurring opinions accompany the decisions issued by the courts of appeals in the United States. Data has been collected for 12 of the 13 circuits—the First through the Eleventh Circuits, and the DC Circuit. No information was available for the Federal Circuit.

 ‘Unpublished’ decisions constituted nearly 90 percent of all dispositions by courts of appeals between 2011 and 2016. There were 151,771 unpublished decisions out of 172,680 total dispositions (87.89% of the total). I have assumed that dissents rarely, if ever, accompany unpublished decisions. Between 2011 and 2016, counting both ‘published’ and ‘unpublished’ decisions, the courts of appeals issued a total of 172,680 decisions on the merits.

Only 2,220 of these decisions (or 1.3% of the total) included a dissent. Between 2011 and 2016, the courts of appeals issued a total of 20,909 ‘published’ decisions. Only 2,220 of these decisions (10.6% of the total) included a dissent.

From Hon. Harry T. Edwards, Collegial Decision Making in the U.S. Courts of Appeals (November 15, 2017). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-47.  You can access the study here.


January 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sixth biennial transactional law and legal skills conference in June - call for proposals

Emory is seeking for proposals to present at the sixth biennial conference on transactional law and legal skills the school is hosting in April. The theme of this year's conference is To Teach is to Learn Twice:  Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education. 

Here are the details:


Emory’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice is delighted to announce its sixth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills. The conference, entitled “To Teach is to Learn Twice: Fostering Excellence in Transactional Law and Skills Education,” will be held at Emory Law, beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, and ending at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2018.

Four New and Different Things about the Conference:

• Presentation of the inaugural Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills. Note: For information about how to nominate yourself or someone else for this award, please visit here.  

• New 45-minute “Try-This” time slots for individual presenters to demonstrate in-class activities.
• Reduced registration fee for new transactional law and skills educators.
• Reduced registration fee for adjunct professors.


We are accepting proposals immediately, but in no event later than 5 p.m. on Monday, February 16, 2018.

We welcome you to present on any aspect of transactional law and skills education as long as you view it through the lens of our theme. We expect to receive proposals about theories, programs, curricula, courses, approaches, methods, and specific assignments or exercises that foster excellence in transactional law and skills education. In other words, what works best (excellence in teaching) to achieve particular student outcomes (excellence in learning)? If it’s true that “to teach is to learn twice,” what wisdom can you impart to others who may want to replicate or imitate what you are doing? How have you made yourself a better teacher? And how have you assured that you are achieving the best student outcomes?

Try-This Sessions. Each Friday afternoon “Try-This Session” will be 45-minutes long and will feature one classroom activity and one individual presenter.

Panels. Each Saturday session will be approximately 90 minutes long and feature a panel presenting two or more topics grouped together for synergy.

Please submit the proposal form electronically via the Emory Law website here before 5 p.m. on February 16, 2018.


As in prior years, some of the conference proceedings as well as the materials distributed by the speakers will be published in Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law, a publication of the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law of The University of Tennessee, a cosponsor of the conference.


Both attendees and presenters must register for the Conference and pay the appropriate registration fee: $220 (general); $200 (adjunct professor); or $185 (new teacher). Note: A new teacher is someone in their first three years of teaching.

The registration fee includes a pre-conference lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m., snacks, and a reception on June 1, and breakfast, lunch, and snacks on June 2. We are planning an optional dinner for attendees and presenters on Friday evening, June 1, at an additional cost of $50 per person.

Registration is now open for the Conference and the optional Friday night dinner at our Emory Law website here.


Attendees and presenters are responsible for their own travel arrangements and hotel accommodations. Special hotel rates for conference participants are available at the Emory Conference Center Hotel, less than one mile from the conference site at Emory Law. Subject to availability, rates are $149 per night. Free shuttle transportation will be provided between the Emory Conference Center Hotel and Emory Law.

To make a reservation at the special conference rate, call the Emory Conference Center Hotel at 800.933.6679 and mention “The Emory Law Transactional Conference.” Note: The hotel’s special conference rate expires at the end of the day on May 18, 2018. If you encounter any technical difficulties in submitting your proposal or in registering online, please contact Kelli Pittman, Program Coordinator, at or 404.727.3382.

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Sue Payne                         Katherine Koops             Kelli Pittman
Executive Director         Assistant Director         Program Coordinator


January 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Federal Clerks, Confidentiality, and Revealing Harassment

The Federal Judicial Center has amended the Federal Law Clerk Handbook:


In a section of the clerk handbook that proclaimed “law clerks owe judges complete confidentiality as to case-related matters,” two boldfaced sentences were added:


“However, nothing in this handbook, or in the Code of Conduct, prevents a clerk, or any judiciary employee, from revealing misconduct, including sexual or other forms of harassment, by their judge or any person. Clerks are encouraged to bring such matters to the attention of an appropriate judge or other official.”


You can read more here at the Appellate Advocacy blog.


January 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Sanctions for Evading Maximum Page Limits

Crafty lawyers have used all sorts of ways to evade a court requirement limiting the number of pages in a document:

Orders and reported opinions catalogue various strategies, including these: presenting the main text in a font smaller than the court’s required font; presenting the main text with spacing less than required double spacing; using excessive footnotes, often single-spaced or in small fonts; or narrowing required margins on the sides, the top, or the bottom of pages.

In a short article in the Journal of the Missouri Bar, Douglas Abrams relates how courts have dealt with the sneaky lawyers (here). Sanctions for Evading Maximum Page Limits on Court Filings 73 Journal of the Missouri Bar 316 (Nov – Dec 2017).


January 12, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Good news about our friend Lou

Our great friend, co-blogger and legendary law professor Lou Sirico is heading home from the hospital. But don't let that stop you from continuing to send good thoughts and positive energy his way.  Keep it going. That's an order.

The staff of the Legal Skills Prof Blog.

January 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Harvard is hiring a clinical legal aid instructor

Here are the details and a link:

From Stephanie E. Goldenhersh, Esq., Assistant Director for the Family Practice, Senior Clinical Instructor, Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.


"I’m pleased to advise a position of Clinical Instructor – Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is open for applicants. The job requisition number is 44538BR and you may view this posting here: 44538BR : Clinical Instructor-Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Please feel free to share this link far and wide. Application must be made through the link, but please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions."


January 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

100 Worst Passwords of 2017

SplashData analyzed 5 million leaked passwords to compile a list of the most used passwords of 2017.

The top 5: 123456, Password, 12345678, qwerty, and 12345.

You can access the full list here.


January 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A report from the recently concluded AALS conference by the Section on Teaching Methods

A little known fact is that I'm a former chair of the Section on Teaching Methods so I'm happy to promote the efforts of a successor (a few generations removed) regarding the Section's program at the recently concluded conference. Dateline San Diego, January 8, 2018:

One of the highlights of the recent AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego were the two back-to-back sessions held by the Teaching Methods Section.


In the first session, entitled Something Borrowed: Using Cooperative Learning Strategies in Legal Education, Catherine Haras, Senior Director of the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning at Cal State Los Angeles, began by urging us away from the well-worn theory of “learning styles,” explaining that there is no research supporting the idea that people have one preferred style of learning. She suggested instead that all learners are “multi-modal,” and that teaching and learning need not be geared toward any one style. She drew on her extensive background working with teachers in other disciplines to underscore the value of the Langdellian case method and traditional Socratic dialogue, while encouraging law faculty to break out of their silos, critically examine learning theory, and borrow ideas from other fields. Professor Haras suggested that we teach to students’ prior knowledge and expertise to enhance metacognition.


In the second session, Learning Together: Diverse Models of Collaborative Learning in Law School, the Teaching Methods section presented a panel of law faculty who shared their methods of using collaborative strategies to enhance learning in their classrooms. Particularly interesting was Mel Weresh’s (Drake) demonstration of Team Based Learning (TBL), which had attendees working in teams – some on the floor - to piece together a legal analysis problem. Angela Mae Kupenda (Mississippi College) focused on “inevitable disagreement” in collaborative learning, based on her appellate practice, her business school teaching experience, and her current role as a teacher of Constitutional Law and related subjects. We look forward to Professor Kupenda’s forthcoming paper on this subject.


I was impressed by the size of the audience, showing how we care deeply about our students and our mission to best prepare them for their life’s work in the law. The focus on collaborative learning was particularly relevant, as I strongly believe that students need to practice working as part of a team while still in law school, instead of being expected to do so for the first time after becoming junior associates.


These were some of the best and most practical sessions I have ever attended at an AALS meeting. Teaching Methods Chair Debbie Borman (Seattle) is to be commended for her creativity in constructing two sessions that flowed together so seamlessly and that taught us so much.


Gregory J. Marsden

Professor and Dean of Postgraduate Study

Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey

Monterrey, Mexico


January 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to Pronounce Chinese Names

In our multicultural world, Professor Donald Clarke does us a service with this short guide on pronouncing Chinese names. Here is the abstract:

This short guide is written for faculty and staff at institutions where they deal frequently with students from the People’s Republic of China and would like to do them the courtesy of not totally mangling their names. It is intended to be brief and user-friendly; its ambition is to get readers about 75% of the way to correct pronunciation and does not aim higher than that.

You can access the 5 page guide here.


January 10, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sending positive energy . . .

. . . to our co-blogger and friend Lou. 


January 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Great writing tips from the world of science

I saw this article recommended in the Twitter feed of Daniel Willingham, a noted professor of cognitive scientist at UVA and author of the book Why Don't Students Like School? [hint - it's because book learnin' is really hard] and thought some of our readers might be interested too. It's called Ten Simple Rules for Structuring Papers and consists of writing tips for scientists preparing research papers for publication. A central theme of the article is that the authors of such works need to be especially aware of the need for clarity and good organization because their subject matter is often very technical and challenging for readers. As you'll see, some of these tips apply equally well to both law students working on seminar papers and their professors working on their own scholarship. And though some of this advice is, concededly, either common sense or already known by people who do a lot of writing for a living, it's always helpful to hear it explained from a slightly different angle. Among the tips:

  • Focus your paper on a single point and communicate that in the title. Your paper is a success if colleagues can describe its contribution to the field or topic a year later.
  • Write for flesh and blood humans who don't know your work.
  • Tell a complete story in your abstract.
  • Communicate in the introduction why the paper matters.
  • Don't get too attached to your own writing during the drafting process. Be prepared to trash entire paragraphs and even whole sections since that often turns out to be a more efficient way of improving it than incremental editing 

Actually, a lot of this advice to good brief writing as well. Check out the full article, which is not long, here at Public Library of Science website (it's open source so feel free to spread the cheer).


January 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Networking: How to Work a Room

For us introverts, working a room can be uncomfortable, even painful. At Attorney at Work, we find an exhaustive list of pointers on how to prepare for an event, what to do at the  event, and how to follow up. Here is the most interesting piece of advice, at least for me:

  • Act like a host.I read a study once that said the difference between people who are good at networking events and those who are not is the good ones act like hosts and the bad ones act like guests. How would your behavior be different if you were the host?

You can read more here.


January 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)