Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"The Uneasy History of Experiential Education in U.S. Law Schools"

This is a new article by Professor Peter Joy (Washington U.) just posted to SSRN here and forthcoming in the Dickinson Law Review.  From the abstract:

This article explores the history of legal education, particularly the rise of experiential learning and its importance. In the early years of legal education in the United States, law schools devalued the development of practical skills in students, and many legal educators viewed practical experience in prospective faculty as a “taint.” This article begins with a brief history of these early years and how legal education subsequently evolved with greater involvement of the American Bar Association (ABA). With involvement of the ABA came a call for greater uniformity in legal education and guidelines to help law schools establish criteria for admissions and curricula. This article also discusses the influence of the ABA Standards, particularly Standard 302, in legal education. In the latter half of the 20th century, it became clear that a legal education without any professional development or practical training was deficient. A new ABA task force dedicated to “narrowing the gap” between practitioners and professors published the MacCrate Report, detailing the skills and values law students should develop before entering the profession. Lastly, although the ABA Standards have done a great deal in fixing these deficiencies, there is a great deal that law schools must do on their own. This article concludes by providing suggestions for how law schools can improve legal education in three ways: 1) by making essential lawyering skills and professional values part of the core curriculum and coordinating the teaching of these lawyering skills and values through a combination of simulation, clinic, and externship courses; 2) by providing every law student with a real-life practice experience in which each student is able to assume the role of a lawyer; and 3) by developing their curricula to respond to legal needs for today and the future.

Hat tip to Professor Robert Kuehn.


February 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Troubling Study: Results may vary in legal research databases

How consistent are searches among various legal research data bases?  The answer is that they can vary considerably, and this is very troubling for the reliability of doing online research.

ABA Journal (Susan Nevelow Mart), Results may vary in legal research databases.

"In a comparison of six legal databases—Casetext, Fastcase, Google Scholar, Lexis Advance, Ravel and Westlaw—when researchers entered the identical search in the same jurisdictional database of reported cases, there was hardly any overlap in the top 10 cases returned in the results. Only 7 percent of the cases were in all six databases, and 40 percent of the cases each database returned in the results set were unique to that database. It turns out that when you give six groups of humans the same problem to solve, the results are a testament to the variability of human problem-solving. If your starting point for research is a keyword search, the divergent results in each of these six databases will frame the rest of your research in a very different way."

"The study also looked at the age of cases that were returned in each search. Overall, the oldest cases dominated Google Scholar’s results. Almost 20 percent of the results from Google Scholar were from 1921 to 1978. The highest percentage (about 67 percent) of newer cases were returned by Fastcase and Westlaw. Ravel and Lexis Advance had an average of 56 percent newer cases."

"Another area of diversity was the number of cases each database returned. The median number of cases returned in response to the same search varied from 1,000 for Lexis Advance to 70 for Fastcase. Casetext, Ravel and Westlaw each returned 180 results at the 50th percentile and Google Scholar returned 180. Each algorithm is set to determine what is responsive to the same search terms in vastly different ways."

"For the most part, these algorithms are black boxes—you can see the input and the output. What happens in the middle is unknown, and users have no idea how the results are generated."

In sum, what this study shows is that a researcher cannot rely on just one legal database or one approach to research.  Most of us have known this for a long time.  Maybe this study will help us convince our students.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2017 NALP employment survey finds law firm entry hiring is "steady and robust" while stabilizing

From the executive summary of a newly released survey of entry law firm hiring practices by the National Association for Law Placement :

NALP: Perspectives on 2017 Law Student Recruiting


Following the near collapse of entry-level recruiting by large law firms in 2009, most law firms have rebuilt their summer programs and in many ways, Big Law recruiting volume and practices resemble those measured before the recession. On the other hand, for the second year in a row aggregate summer offer volume decreased compared with the year before, and a significant percentage of law firms said they made fewer offers for 2018 summer programs than for 2017 summer programs. Also, the average summer program class size at the largest law firms dipped in 2017. The data collected from NALP’s surveys of law schools and law firms at the end of the 2017 recruiting cycle present something of a nuanced picture, suggesting not so much a contraction as a leveling of recruiting volumes following years of growth.


Another characteristic of the most recent recruiting cycle and one that is consistent with patterns measured in the last several years is that the level of recruitment has not been consistent across law firms. Some firms are reporting increased recruiting activity and larger classes even as other firms are reporting scaling back recruiting activity and smaller summer classes. This is consistent with the dispersion and market segmentation in law firm performance generally that has been described by industry observers.


For instance, while about 29 percent of law firms reported visiting more campuses in 2017 compared to 2016, 34 percent reported visiting fewer, and 37 percent reported visiting the same number of schools compared to the previous year. We also saw variations by city, with the median number of schools visited by offices New York, Boston, and Silicon Valley offices decreasing compared with 2016. This is notable in that New York and Silicon Valley law firm offices led the recovery following the recession.


Similarly, while 45 percent of law firms reported making more offers for summer programs in 2017 compared with 2016, 43 percent reported making fewer offers, and ten percent reported making more than ten fewer offers than the year before. This follows survey data from last year that showed 50 percent of firms making fewer offers in 2016 compared with 2015, and thus marks two years in a row with significant numbers of firms reporting that they made fewer offers and follows several years during which a majority of firms reported making more offers year over year. Also of note, the aggregate number of offers made by offices in the New York was down, and nearly flat in the Silicon Valley.


The percentage of callback interviews that resulted in offers for summer programs remained essentially flat (between 52 percent and 54 percent) for the fourth year in a row after having grown from 2012 through 2014, and the yield on those offers also remained essentially flat (between 33 percent and 34 percent) for the last four years. Also, the extent to which firms recruited 3Ls was also flat after having fallen by five full percentage points between 2015 and 2016. The percent of law firms recruiting 3Ls fell precipitously from 2006 to 2009, from 59 percent to just 3 percent, and has since bobbled around in the 15-20 percent range, with figures of 18 percent measured in each of the last two recruiting cycles. 

. . . . 

Read the full survey report here.


February 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Race, Cognitive Biases, and the Power of Law Student Teaching Evaluations by Gregory Scott Parks

Since I have been studying cognitive biases, I have started to see them everywhere.  Here, is an excellent article on cognitive biases and the evaluations of minority teachers:

Race, Cognitive Biases, and the Power of Law Student Teaching Evaluations by Gregory Scott Parks.

"Decades of research shows that students' professor evaluations are influenced by factors well-beyond how knowledgeable the professor was or how effectively they taught. Among those factors is race. While some students' evaluative judgments of professors of color may be motivated by express racial animus, it is doubtful that such is the dominant narrative. Rather, what likely takes place are systematic deviations from rational judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations are illogically drawn. In short, students' cognitive biases skew how they evaluate professors of color. In this Article, I explore how cognitive biases among law students influence how they perceive and evaluate law faculty of color. In addition, I contend that a handful of automatic associations and attitudes about faculty of color predict how law students evaluate them. Moreover, senior, especially white, colleagues often resist considering the role of race in law students' evaluations because of their own inability to be mindful of their own cognitive biases. Lastly, given research largely from social and cognitive psychology, I suggest a handful of interventions for law faculty of color to better navigate classroom dynamics."

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2018

"Legal Education in the Blockchain Revolution"

Like, I assume, many law profs, I'm still struggling to understand "what, exactly, is blockchain?" Until the fog finally lifts, this recent article by Professors Mark Fenwick (Kyushu University), Wulf Kaal (St. Thomas - Minn.) and Erik Vermeulen (Tilburg University) tells us that we're going to have to change and adapt how we educate the next generation of lawyers in order to adequately prepare them to practice in a blockchain world.  See Mark Fenwick, Wulf A. Kaal, Erik P.M. Vermeulen, Legal Education in the Blockchain Revolution 20 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 351 (2017) available on SSRN here. From the abstract:

The legal profession is one of the most disrupted sectors of the consulting industry today. The rise of Legal Tech, artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, and, most importantly, blockchain technology is changing the practice of law. The sharing economy and platform companies challenge many of the traditional assumptions, doctrines, and concepts of law and governance, requiring litigators, judges, and regulators to adapt. Lawyers need to be equipped with the necessary skillsets to operate effectively in the new world of disruptive innovation in law. A more creative and innovative approach to educating lawyers for the 21st century is needed.


February 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

BU Law seeks to hire a visiting clinical prof for its Cyberlaw Clinic

Here are the details:

VISITING CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, BU/MIT Technology & Cyberlaw Clinic Boston University School of Law 
Tracking Code 

Job Description 
Boston University School of Law is seeking to hire a full-time technology attorney in its Technology & Cyberlaw Clinic (the "Clinic"). The Clinic is part of BU Law's Entrepreneurship, Intellectual Property, and Cyberlaw Program, which is a unique collaboration between BU Law and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Clinic represents current students at MIT and BU on matters related to their innovative academic and extracurricular work, in the areas of intellectual property, computer access laws, data privacy and security law, media law and the First Amendment, and relevant areas of regulatory compliance. The attorney would be expected to help law students counsel clients and represent students in pre-litigation and transactional settings, and possibly also in some litigation matters, including response to cease-and-desist letters and other legal threats. Clients often present novel questions of law in usual areas of technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and novel methods of computer network observation and data gathering. Experience with data privacy regulation, including sectoral data privacy laws in healthcare and education, is considered a plus.

The attorney's primary responsibility will be to supervise and assist students with direct client representation matters and research. The attorney will also assist the Clinic Director in preparing and teaching a year-long seminar for students enrolled in the Clinic, including developing materials, performing research, and coordinating classroom activities and guest presentations. As time allows, the attorney would also work with the Clinic Director to develop generalized legal resources and informational material to inform MIT and BU students on their legal risks when conducting innovative research and projects in emerging technologies

Required Skills

The ideal candidate is a member of the Massachusetts bar or is eligible for membership, with at least one to three years of experience advising clients on cutting-edge issues in technology law, and a willingness to support the work of creative and innovative young clients. Experience with legal issues related to research and development of new technologies is considered a plus. Teaching experience or a strong interest in developing as a clinical faculty member is also considered a plus. Exceptional writing, editing, organizational, and managerial skills are required.

The attorney will be hired as a Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor, to a two-year and one-month contract. The ideal start date is June 1, 2018.

Boston University School of Law is committed to faculty diversity and welcomes expressions of interest from diverse applicants.


Applicants should send a letter of interest and a resume to Andrew Sellars, Director of the Technology & Cyberlaw Clinic. Applications should be sent to Applications received before March 15, 2018 will be given full consideration.

To learn more about the law school, visit our website at With specific questions about the position, contact Andrew Sellars at

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.


February 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LSAT test takers in December increases 27.9% from same time last year

Scroll to the bottom of this chart from the LSAC website to see the percentage increase of LSAT test-takers from the most recent administration of the test compared to December 2016.  Some attribute the change to the so-called "Trump-bump":


These data display Testing Year. Currently, the LSAT testing year begins in June and ends in February. For example, testing year 2016–2017 indicates LSATs taken from June 2016 through February 2017.

Year June % Chg Sept/Oct % Chg December % Chg February % Chg Total % Chg
1987–1988 18,902   36,804   33,874   26,408   115,988  
1988–1989 23,064 22.0% 40,577 10.3% 42,564 25.7% 30,883 16.9% 137,088 18.2%
1989–1990 22,088 -4.2% 43,274 6.6% 44,044 3.5% 29,459 -4.6% 138,865 1.3%
1990–1991 25,677 16.2% 49,957 15.4% 42,685 -3.1% 34,366 16.7% 152,685 10.0%
1991–1992 24,211 -5.7% 50,077 0.2% 43,588 2.1% 27,691 -19.4% 145,567 -4.7%
1992–1993 24,778 2.3% 46,491 -7.2% 41,533 -4.7% 27,252 -1.6% 140,054 -3.8%
1993–1994 23,061 -6.9% 46,359 -0.3% 38,982 -6.1% 23,626 -13.3% 132,028 -5.7%
1994–1995 21,880 -5.1% 42,927 -7.4% 39,670 1.8% 24,076 1.9% 128,553 -2.6%
1995–1996 20,336 -7.1% 38,406 -10.5% 36,368 -8.3% 19,646 -18.4% 114,756 -10.7%
1996–1997 19,055 -6.3% 36,020 -6.2% 30,953 -14.9% 19,287 -1.8% 105,315 -8.2%
1997–1998 20,010 5.0% 34,399 -4.5% 29,879 -3.5% 19,703 2.2% 103,991 -1.3%
1998–1999 18,933 -5.4% 33,558 -2.4% 32,116 7.5% 19,629 -0.4% 104,236 0.2%
1999–2000 20,448 8.0% 36,540 8.9% 30,731 -4.3% 19,434 -1.0% 107,153 2.8%
2000–2001 20,151 -1.5% 37,847 3.6% 30,111 -2.0% 20,921 7.7% 109,030 1.8%
2001–2002 23,908 18.6% 46,745 23.5% 38,045 26.3% 25,553 22.1% 134,251 23.1%
2002–2003 27,808 16.3% 52,604 12.5% 41,887 10.1% 25,715 0.6% 148,014 10.3%
2003–2004 27,471 -1.2% 53,701 2.1% 41,215 -1.6% 25,230 -1.9% 147,617 -0.3%
2004–2005 28,600 4.1% 50,386 -6.2% 41,985 1.9% 24,287 -3.7% 145,258 -1.6%
2005–2006 25,984 -9.1% 49,197 -2.4% 40,023 -4.7% 22,240 -8.4% 137,444 -5.4%
2006–2007 24,879 -4.3% 48,171 -2.1% 41,033 2.5% 25,965 16.7% 140,048 1.9%
2007–2008 25,103 0.9% 49,785 3.4% 42,250 3.0% 25,193 -3.0% 142,331 1.6%
2008–2009 28,939 15.3% 50,721 1.9% 43,646 3.3% 28,092 11.5% 151,398 6.4%
2009–2010 32,595 12.6% 60,746 19.8% 50,444 15.6% 27,729 -1.3% 171,514 13.3%
2010–2011 32,973 1.2% 54,345 -10.5% 42,096 -16.5% 25,636 -7.5% 155,050 -9.6%
2011–2012 26,812 -18.7% 45,169 -16.9% 35,825 -14.9% 22,152 -13.6% 129,958 -16.2%
2012–2013 25,223 -5.9% 37,780 -16.4% 30,226 -15.6% 19,286 -12.9% 112,515 -13.4%
2013–2014 23,997 -4.9% 33,673 -10.9%  28,363  -6.2% 19,499 1.1% 105,532 -6.2%
2014–2015 21,803 -9.1% 30,943 -8.1% 28,585 0.8% 20,358 4.4% 101,689 -3.6%
2015–2016 23,238 6.6% 33,229 7.4% 29,115 1.9% 20,301 -0.3% 105,883 4.1%
2016–2017 23,051 -0.8% 33,563 1.0% 31,340 7.6% 21,400 5.4% 109,354 3.3%
2017–2018 27,606 19.8% 37,146 10.7% 40,096 27.9%        


Hat tip to the TaxProf blog and The Careerist (though both those blogs are reporting a 29.7% increase - they appear to have transposed the numbers)


February 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Poll shows recent college grads think they're competent workers while employers say otherwise

Inside Higher Ed is reporting on a new poll of 4,231 college graduates undertaken by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that shows a substantial disconnect between students' perception of their workplace competencies and what their employers actually think. Here's an excerpt:

Overconfident Students, Dubious Employers

A new study identifies the gaps between graduates' views of their skills and the views of those who hire them.


College students may believe they’re ready for a job, but employers think otherwise.


At least, that’s according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveyed graduating college seniors and employers and found a significant difference in the groups' perceptions.


The association surveyed 4,213 graduating seniors and 201 employers on eight “competencies” that it considers necessary to be prepared to enter the workplace. This information comes from the association’s 2018 Job Outlook Survey.


For the most part, a high percentage of students indicated in almost every category they thought they were proficient. Employers disagreed.


“This can be problematic because it suggests that employers see skills gaps in key areas where college students don’t believe gaps exist,” a statement from the association reads.


Figure 1: Employer vs. student perception of proficiency in career readiness competencies, by percentage of respondents. On professionalism/work ethic, 42.5 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 89.4 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On oral/written communications, 41.6 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 79.4 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On critical thinking/problem solving, 55.8 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 79.9 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On teamwork/collaboration, 77 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 85.1 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On leadership, 33 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 70.5 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On digital technology, 65.8 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 59.9 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On career management, 17.3 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 40.9 percent of students considered themselves proficient. On global/intercultural fluency, 20.7 percent of employers rated recent grads proficient, while 34.9 percent of students considered themselves proficient. Source: Job Outlook 2018 (N=201 employing organizations) and The Class of 2017 Student Survey Report (N=4,213 graduating seniors), National Association of Colleges and Employers. The percentages corresponding to “rated proficient” represent, among all responding employers, the percentage who, on a five-point scale, rated recent graduates “very” (4) or “extremely” (5) proficient in the respective competency. The percentages corresponding to “considered proficient” represent, among all graduating seniors from the Class of 2017, the percentage who, on a five-point scale, considered himself/herself either “very” (4) or “extremely” (5) proficient in the respective competency.

The biggest divide was around students’ professionalism and work ethic. Almost 90 percent of seniors thought they were competent in that area, but only about 43 percent of the employers agreed.


Nearly 80 percent of students also believed they were competent in oral and written communication and critical thinking, while only roughly 42 percent and 56 percent of employers, respectively, indicated that students were successful in those areas.


Per the survey, only in digital technology skills were employers more likely to feel that students were prepared versus the seniors themselves.


Almost 66 percent of employers rated students proficient in technology compared to 60 percent of the seniors.

. . . . 

 Continue reading here.


February 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Brooklyn Law School seeking visiting prof for immigration clinic

Here are the details:

Position Description
2018-2019 Academic Year
Brooklyn Law School seeks a one-year visitor from the academy or from practice to co-teach (with Stacy Caplow) the Safe Harbor Clinic, our immigration clinic. The clinic is offered each semester and allows students to enroll for an additional semester to continue and complete case work.  The Safe Harbor Project generally handles a caseload of applications for humanitarian relief, including asylum U & T visas, and executive pardons but also can represent clients on bond hearings, appeals and other immigration matters. 
The visitor will be a part of our vibrant group of clinical faculty members who teach in our eight in-house clinics and direct our externships.  See for a description of all of our programs.  The visitor will be welcomed into the general life of the law school, including supporting immigration-related student pro bono organizations and activities.
The visit is for the 2018-2019 academic year but can begin as early as this spring/summer.  The ideal candidate will have at least five years of immigration practice experience.  Clinical teaching experience is a plus.
We will begin accepting applications immediately.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to with the subject line Safe Harbor Visitor.  Feel free to spread this job announcement to all of your networks.  And apologies for cross-posting.


February 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What legal employers can learn from law profs about better training new attorneys for practice

That's the topic discussed in a new article by Professor Toree Randall (Western Michigan) called New-Lawyer Development Tips from the Law School Trenches published in this month's issue of the Michigan Bar Journal.  In short, Professor Randall writes to inform practitioners about the changes that have taken place in law schools since the MacCrate Report was published in 1992 with respect to the way professors teach and assess students in order to rethink their own attorney training methods. Here's an excerpt: 

Legal employers who invest in new graduates naturally expect much in return. They want motivated and practice-ready new lawyers who will make a fast start—both in terms of performing actual legal work without (much) supervision and playing a professional role in the business of law practice. So while most employers recognize the inevitable learning curve for their new hires, many become understandably frustrated when the on-ramp to productivity seems to run indefinitely.


In light of recent legal-education innovations, employers and law schools stand poised to shorten that on-ramp between young attorneys’ legal education and productive legal careers. Law schools are working harder than ever to develop new approaches to deliver the practice-ready graduates that employers expect. The lessons learned in implementing these new educational ideas can provide valuable perspective for legal employers. By building upon recent legal education trends, employers can more effectively develop their new lawyers and realize better returns on their talent investments.


. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 22, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Have you heard about that "micro-teaching" thang?

The title of this article from the Business Insider, There's No Such Thing as 'Visual' or 'Auditory' Learners, does a pretty good job of summarizing for a popular audience the research that many readers of this blog likely already know about.  The article makes an additional point that relying on "learning styles" as a teacher may negatively affect student learning insofar as it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (i.e. students falsely believe, for example, they're not good auditory learners and hence avoid auditory techniques that might actually help them learn).  Towards the end of the article, the author refers to something called "micro teaching" which claims to be an extremely effective teaching technique. It consists of taping yourself teaching and then immediately reviewing it with a "roomful of colleagues." It sounds intimidating, doesn't it?  But the article refers to some studies that claim to prove its merit.

Here's an excerpt from the BI article:

There's no such thing as 'auditory' or 'visual' learners

 . . . . 


For decades, there's been an idea that people have set "learning styles," which are often categorized into three types: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Some people also believe that some learners are more concrete while others are abstract. According to this logic, a teacher should pin down which learning style works best for their student and modify how they teach accordingly to help the pupil perform better.


There is a grain of truth here: people do tend to enjoy getting information in specific, distinct formats. A 2008 study articulated this, saying "people differ in the degree to which they have some fairly specific aptitudes for different kinds of thinking and for processing different types of information."


. . . . 


In fact, research shows that teaching students according to different learning styles has no effect on how they perform on assessments. Every time scientists have tried to prove this theory, they've failed.


One research team in 2012 simply labeled their paper: "Learning styles, where's the evidence?"


But the perception that lessons or briefings should be tailored to certain styles of taking in information persists, unfounded. In 2015, neuroscientist and teacher trainer Philip Newton from Swansea University in Wales found that 64% of US college professors still believed that teaching to a student's learning style would help them learn better.

. . . . 

So what does work?

. . . . 


But there's one key thing that can help improve student learning more than almost any other technique: the practice of "micro-teaching". This requires a teacher to set up a camera in the classroom while they're teaching, record the class, then watch the tape later with their colleagues. That exercise pushes instructors to take a closer look at themselves, reflect, and change how they teach.


The first time Newton did this himself, he was horrified.


"I noticed I was walking up and down, I was repeatedly tapping my teeth, plucking my hair. These are all distracting my students," he said.


Such lessons can be pretty uncomfortable — few of us enjoy watching ourselves on tape, especially as a roomful of colleagues look on and dissect the ways we might improve. But unlike learning styles, micro-teaching really works. It has been shown to encourage students to participate, behave better, study more diligently, and improve their understanding of material.

. . . .

Read the entire article here.


February 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Understanding and Overcoming Cognitive Biases For Lawyers And Law Students: Table of Contents

Here is the table of contents to my book Understanding and Overcoming Cognitive Biases For Lawyers And Law Students: Becoming a Better Lawyer Through Cognitive Science.

Table of Contents
Preface v
1. An Introduction to Cognitive Biases 1
2. Optimism Biases 17
3. Negativity Biases 39
4. Biases Concerning Others 53
5. Behavioral Economic Biases 73
6. Cognitive Biases and Practical Reasoning 105
7. Behavioral Legal Ethics 115
8. Special Topics 127
9. Review Exercises on Cognitive Biases 151
10. Review Exercises on Cognitive Biases
and Your Professional Life 161

You can find a sample chapter from my book on SSRN.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Gallup poll finds few law school grads think their degree prepared them well

A new Gallup poll that surveyed law school and business school grads found that the vast majority (80% in the case of JD holders who were surveyed) thought their schooling prepared them well for life after grad school. And most (77%) do not think their law degree was worth the financial investment. The survey results are based on a poll of 4,000 adult, postgraduate degree holders who graduated between 2000 and 2015.  Here are some pertinent excerpts from the Gallup survey summary:

Few MBA, Law Grads Say Their Degree Prepared Them Well


Masters of business administration (MBAs) and law degree graduates are less likely than other postgraduates to say their graduate degree prepared them well for life outside of graduate school and that it was worth the cost. Only two in 10 MBAs and law degree holders say their education prepared them well, while half of medical degree holders say the same.


Law graduates, in particular, rate the value of their degree poorly. Less than a quarter of law degree holders strongly agree that their education was worth the cost, compared with about six in 10 of those with medical (58%) or doctoral (64%) degrees.


. . . .


While both medical and law degrees are expensive, law degree holders may be less likely to say their degree was worth the cost because of the weak job market for those with a law degree in recent years. Additionally, doctoral graduates may rate the value of their degree highly because many receive financial aid during their programs in the form of teaching and research assistantships.


. . . . 


Likely contributing to their lower ratings of their degrees, postgraduates who received MBAs and those who received law degrees are also less likely than other postgraduate degree holders to report having had important support and experiential learning opportunities during their graduate programs. For example, less than a quarter of MBA (19%) and JD (24%) holders strongly agree that their postgraduate professors cared about them as a person, compared with about a third of those with other graduate degrees -- including other master's, doctoral and medical degrees.


. . . . 

You can read the full report and survey results here.


February 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Roadmap by Neil W. Hamilton

We have posted many times on this blog about the wonderful studies done by Professor Neil Hamilton on professional identity and what employers want from their new attorneys.  Professor Hamilton has collected this material and added much more into a guide for law students on how to obtain meaningful employment.

Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Successful Plan for Meaningful Employment by Neil W. Hamilton (2nd ed. 2018).

Abstract: "Roadmap is a guide to sharpen your awareness of the characteristics most valued in the workplace—whether it is in a law firm, a company, or a government entity. The map encourages you to use your time in law school to develop the competencies important to your future. The book helps the reader form a conscious plan to demonstrate these self-development experiences. It's a great resource to be prepared to enter the search for employment."

More: "What do you say when a potential employer asks, “Tell me about a project that you have managed and what you learned from that experience; tell me specifically about how you handled a difficult team member in implementing the project?” If you are like most law students, the slightest mention of “project management” or “difficult team member” makes you cringe, evoking painful memories of free-riding classmates. Once your discomfort passes, you either struggle to come up with a meaningful answer or fail to think of an experience demonstrating your project management and teamwork competencies. Would it surprise you to know that was supposed to be an easy question? What happens when you get a tricky question, such as, “What value do you bring beyond just technical legal skills to help our clients be successful?”

The Roadmap process transforms this type of challenging question into an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other students. You will not need to wait for a specific question about the value you bring beyond technical legal skills to help legal employers and clients. Instead, you will understand what skills legal employers and clients need and will be able to explain how your strongest skills can help them succeed. You will be prepared with your best stories to demonstrate persuasive evidence of your strongest skills."

The above is not just hyperbole by Professor Hamilton's editors; this book is truly a comprehensive guide on how to obtain a job in today's legal world.  It also contains a multitude of information on professional identity and what it is like to be a lawyer.  I recommend that all career services departments buy several copies.  A smart student will buy one for him- or herself.

(Scott Fruehwald)

February 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

American U. Associate Dean David Jaffe says best way to help law students is to provide professional counseling

Dean Jaffe's advice will appear in a forthcoming article called The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students, which is scheduled for publication in this month's issue of PD Quarterly, a publication of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). In the meantime, here's a summary from the ABA Journal blog:

How to best help law students? Provide full-time, on-campus counselors, among other things


Law students have many things to be anxious about—getting called on in class can be terrifying, plus the process of applying for jobs and the rejection that frequently comes with it doesn’t help. Some law students worry that they may never find jobs as lawyers. 

That being said, law school can be the perfect time for students to find healthy ways to address their anxiety and learn what types of self-care works best for them, says David Jaffe, the associate dean of student affairs at Washington, D.C.’s American University Washington College of Law.


An article he wrote, “The Key to Law Student Well-Being? We Have to Love Our Law Students,” is scheduled to be published in the February 2018 issue of PD Quarterly, a National Association for Law Placement publication.


Law students benefit greatly from having a full-time counselor on campus, writes Jaffe, a member of the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being, a group comprised of various bar groups, including the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs. He also notes that mindfulness programming will probably be better used—and respected—if deans make a point to attend. And he advises keeping track of class attendance, because repeat absences frequently signal that a student is having personal problems.


Also, some students are less comfortable with robust discourse than others, which faculty should recognize, he writes. The idea of being called on in class can produce a fair amount of anxiety for some law students, especially during the first year, Jaffe told the ABA Journal.

. . . .

Continue reading here.


February 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

What is a lawyer's duty of technology competence?

From National Jurist Magazine:

What Is A Lawyer's Duty Of Technology Competence?


At the core of legal professional conduct is a lawyer’s duty to provide competent representation to his or her clients. Today, this means that lawyers are expected to take reasonable steps to understand how technology may affect their legal representation.


In the past, lawyers were deemed to be competent based on their experience and knowledge of a substantive area of the law. As technology evolved, so to did the concept of competence.


As mandated by the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers are required to have the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for representation, including the use of methods and procedures that meet the standards of competent practitioners. 


But what does this mean in an age when client information is stored electronically?


In 2012, the American Bar Association modified its Model Rules to require lawyers to stay abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and the risks associated with relevant technology. The duty of competence includes both substantive knowledge of law and competent use of the technology that lawyers use to practice law.


“The seemingly minor change to a Comment to Rule 1.1 captures an important shift in thinking about competent twenty-first century lawyering,” Suffolk University Law School Dean Andrew Perlman wrote. “Technology is playing an ever more important role, and lawyers who fail to keep abreast of new developments face a heightened risk of discipline or malpractice as well as formidable new challenges in an increasingly crowded and competitive legal marketplace.”


Writing about a lawyer’s duty of technical competence, lawyer Steven Puiszis listed several broad areas in which lawyers are expected to demonstrate technological competency. They are:


1. Cyber security, or safeguarding electronically stored client information

2. Electronic Discovery, including the preservation review and production of electronic information

3. Leveraging technology to deliver legal services, such as automated document assembly, electronic court scheduling and file share technologies

4. Understanding how technology is used by clients to offer services or manufacture products

5. Technology used to present information and/or evidence in the courtroom

6. Internet-based investigations through simple Internet searches and other research tools available online

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

LSAC earmarks $1.5 million to increase diversity in law school

We previously reported that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and American Association of Law Schools (AALS) have teamed up to start a campaign to promote legal education as a way to increase law school applications. Now comes this news via the BlackEnterprise blog that the LSAC has earmarked $1.5 million to be divided between five law schools for the purpose of increasing law student diversity. Here are the details from the BE blog:


. . . . 

LSAC is committed to exposing underrepresented students to the demands “of law school and the rewards of the legal profession,” as Lollis told me, and recently announced its awarding of $1.5 million to five law schools so they can host the LSAC PLUS program on their campus for 20 to 30 participants.


The following schools will receive a three-year grant totaling $300,000 in three installments of $100,000 each:


The University of Akron School of Law

The University of Alabama School of Law

Duke University School of Law

University of Houston Law Center

St. John’s University School of Law


Programs like PLUS are needed. Lollis says the legal profession remains one of the least diverse. “Only veterinary medicine is less,” he says.


Another way the PLUS program addresses the diversity issue is by introducing participants to successful lawyers of color.


“It was empowering to see alumni from the University of Arkansas School of Law come back and have meet-and-greet mixers with the PLUS participants,” Dunna says.


“I had not seen a lot of people of color in the legal profession, but meeting them and hearing about their wonderful careers made me feel that law school is a good decision for someone like me.”


. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law launches new "hands-on" law and tech training program

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law joins a host of law schools expanding the range of hands-on, practical skills training opportunities for students. From CMCL's press release:

Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has partnered with Technology Concepts & Design, Inc. (TCDI), a pioneer in legal technology, to create a new legal technology lab and training program. The program offers C|M|LAW students, graduates and local contract attorneys the opportunity to gain valuable real-life experience while providing cost-effective legal services to TCDI’s corporate and law firm clients.


“This innovative partnership with TCDI will provide students opportunities to learn cutting-edge legal technologies while working with TCDI’s sophisticated clients," said C|M|LAW Dean Lee Fisher. "The Tech Lab is one of several exciting programs in our new C|M|LAW Tech Initiative that emphasize C|M|LAW's commitment to equipping students and legal professionals with the tools and knowledge required for modern legal practice."


The Tech Lab is part of the new C|M|LAW Tech Initiative that includes:


  • The Cybersecurity and Privacy concentration, and planned legal tech certificate for JD and MLS students,
  • A new eDiscovery online professional certificate program for litigation support professionals,
  • A legal tech CLE series featuring programs on current topics including cybersecurity, blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is a visionary in legal education and we are thrilled to be partnering with them to build this facility and develop the training program," said Bill Johnson, CEO of TCDI. "This unique on-campus program will help train the next generation of legal professionals and provide our clients with an alternative to costly services including document review, exhibits coding and legal research.”


The program is housed in a dedicated and secure on-campus center within the law school library. Students and local contract attorneys will use TCDI’s review platform to deliver quality, time-saving legal services. Using a blended approach of technology and process, attorney project managers will oversee all work performed in the center and work under the direct supervision and guidance of outside or in-house counsel.


Mark Smolik, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer on the DHL legal team, applauded the program saying, “C|M|LAW students will benefit significantly from this forward-thinking collaboration. The program provides opportunities for students to work on a team providing sophisticated legal services to ‘real-world’ clients, while training the next generation of lawyers to provide pragmatic and business-oriented services.”


February 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Columbia Law School names first ever "Vice Dean of Experiential Learning"

Here's the school's press release regarding it's commitment to practical legal skills training:

The new year marks a new chapter for both Columbia Law School and longtime Clinical Professor of Law Brett Dignam who is taking on a new role as the first-ever Vice Dean for Experiential Education. On January 1, Dignam assumed responsibility for the Law School’s full range of experiential learning opportunities including clinics, externshipspracticums, moot courts, and simulation-based courses.

Vice Dean for Experiential Education Brett Dignam

“By thinking in an integrated fashion about experiential pedagogy, we will be able to chart a more thoughtful course for the future and ensure the continued excellence of our curriculum in an increasingly dynamic practice environment,” Gillian Lester, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, said in announcing the appointment to the faculty.


Dignam has led the Law School’s Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic since 2010when she arrived at Columbia from Yale (along with her husband, Michael J. Graetz, the Columbia Alumni Professor of Tax Law.) In an interview in her book-lined office, Dignam described her new position as an opportunity to look “holistically” at experiential learning and expand the offerings.


“Clinics are the crown jewels, but they’re a very intensive form of education and not for everyone,” she said.  “We need to increase our capacity, and the Dean has identified this as a priority for the capital campaign so we know we are going to have sufficient resources to think broadly and be proactive.” (The Campaign for Columbia Law aims to raise $20 million for clinics.)


Dignam explains that the Law School’s ten clinics—which are devoted to practice areas ranging from immigration and human rights to mediation and the environment—comprise an independent non-profit law firm called Morningside Heights Legal Services, Inc. The clinics operate from a cheerful suite of recently-renovated offices in Jerome Greene Hall, which provide private spaces for in-person client meetings and video conferencing.


“The clinics are aimed at providing pro bono representation, but we do it with a very low caseload so that we can spend a lot of time teaching the students to practice law,” she said. “We teach what we call client-centered lawyering and believe—and this is an oversimplification—that students learn as much about the social challenges underlying the legal issues from the clients as they do from the faculty.”


While clinics have historically attracted students primarily interested in public service and social justice careers, Dignam wants to broaden the clinical offerings so as to reach students who might not have considered taking a clinic. For instance, she said she could envision creating clinical partnerships with Columbia Business School and the Knight First Amendment Institute. “Other schools are excited about exploring clinical partnerships with the Law School,” she said.


Dignam has been thinking deeply about these issues for the past year as she served on the Law School’s Experiential Education Strategy Working Group. (Other members are Professors Alexandra Carter, Olatunde Johnson, Avery Katz, James Liebman, Katharina Pistor, and Barbara Schatz.)  “Our goal is to infuse as much experiential education into as many pieces of the curriculum as we can,” she said, adding that the American Bar Association now requires law school students to have at least six-credit hours of experiential coursework.  “This is what legal education looks like in the 21st century, and we should do all that we can to support and encourage that.”


When Carol B. Liebman retires as Director of Clinical Education at the end of the academic year, Dignam will assume her responsibilities, as well as oversight for externships, simulation, trial practice courses and moot court competitions. “I really like the courtroom so it will be fun to see what we’re doing,” she said. “Our students are good on their feet. And it’ll be fun to unpack that and also look at legal writing and research.”

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


February 15, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Reminder - deadline for submitting proposals for the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning's summer conference is Thursday

Here are the details:

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2018 Conference
Exploring the Use of Technology in the Law School Classroom
June 18-20
Gonzaga University School of Law
Spokane, Washington

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law teachers are utilizing technology in their classrooms across the curriculum. With the rising demands for teachers who are educated on active learning techniques and with technology changing so rapidly, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years. The Institute is interested in proposals that deal with all types of technology, and the technology demonstrated should be focused on helping students learn actively in areas such as legal theory and knowledge, practice skills, and guided reflection, etc. Accordingly, we welcome proposals for workshops on incorporating technology in the classrooms of doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.
The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme. The workshops can address the use of technology in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support roles. Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and when they return to their campuses. Presenters should model effective teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. The Institute Co-Directors are glad to work with anyone who would like advice on designing their presentations to be interactive.

To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one page (maximum), single-spaced, and include the following information:
 The title of the workshop;

 The name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s); and
 A summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods.

The Institute must receive proposals by February 15, 2018. Submit proposals via email to Professor Sandra Simpson, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at

The conference is self-supporting. The conference fee for participants is $450, which includes materials, meals during the conference (two breakfasts and two lunches), and a welcome reception on Monday evening, June 18, 2018. The conference fee for presenters is $350. Presenters and participants must cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Local hotel accommodations include the following options:

The Davenport Hotel, 10 South Post Street Spokane, WA 99201, Tel: (509) 455-8888, Standard rooms starting at $157

Hotel Lusso (owned by Davenport), 808 West Sprague Avenue Spokane, WA 99201, 800.899.1482, Standard rooms starting at $143

Oxford Suites, 115 W. North River Drive Spokane, WA 99201, Tel: (509) 353-9000, Standard rooms starting at $142

Red Lion Hotel at the Park, 303 W. North River Drive Spokane, WA 99201, Tel: (509) 326-8000, Standard rooms starting at $110

*Red Lion River Inn, 700 N. Division Spokane, WA 99202, Tel: (509) 326-5577, Conference room block starting at $89

Holiday Inn, 801 N. Division Spokane, WA 99202, Tel: (509) 328-8505, Standard rooms starting at $119

The Davenport Grand Hotel, 333 W Spokane Falls Blvd Spokane, WA 99201, Tel: (509) 455-8888, Standard rooms starting at $157

The conference workshops will take place all day on Tuesday, June 19, and until the early afternoon on Wednesday, June 20. Gonzaga University School of Law is hosting a welcome reception on the evening of June 18, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Barrister Winery, located in the downtown area,

For more information, please contact:

Professor Sandra Simpson
ILTL Co-Director

Professor Emily Grant
ILTL Co-Director

Professor Kelly Terry
ILTL Co-Director


February 13, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)