Friday, November 9, 2018

American Bar Assn. Adresses Immigration-and-Children Issue

Once again the ABA stands up for social justice. Thank you, ABA. From the media release:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2018 — American Bar Association President Bob Carlson sent a letter
Tuesday to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, opposing proposed changes to the Flores Settlement Agreement, or FSA. The settlement restricts the time children can be held in immigration detention and sets minimum standards for their care while in custody.

“The proposed regulations would essentially authorize the indefinite detention of children and codify the practice of family separation,” Carlson wrote. “As such, they are antithetical to the purpose of the FSA.”

To read the letter (comment), please click here.


November 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

FIU Law Review publishes special issue on legal education

The Florida International University Law Review has just published a special issue devoted to the Decanal view of legal education featuring articles by at least four law school deans offering opinions on everything from the current state of legal skills training to the future of legal education. Below is the table of contents for this special issue including links to pdfs of the full articles.


November 9, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 8, 2018

SCOTUS Blog Cites Sirico

Shameless Promotion Department: The blog of the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUSblog)
has cited several of my articles. (piece by Adam Feldman)

An area that has not received as much attention is the justices’ citations to academic journals. This is not to say that such scholarship does not exist. Louis Sirico has a series of empirical articles looking at the Supreme Court’s citations to law reviews, including one from 1986 with Jeffrey Marguiles and one solo authored piece from 2000, among others (here).

My articles on the subject include:

“The Citing of Law Reviews by the Supreme Court: 1971-1999,” 75 Indiana Law Journal 1009 (2000).

"The Citing of Law Reviews by the United States Courts of Appeals:  An Empirical Analysis," 45 University of Miami Law Review 1051 (1991) (coauthored with Beth Drew).

"The Citing of Law Reviews by the Supreme Court:  An Empirical Study," 34 UCLA Law Review 131 (1986) (coauthored with Jeffrey Margulies).

Justice Scalia once said that law review articles have a life span of five years. His generalization seems a bit broad, at least in this case. You never know when your past will pop up again.


November 8, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Worst Writing Advice Ever

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rebecca Schurman identifies the worst writing advice in the world:

You must rise at some ungodly hour — 5 a.m., better yet make it 4 or 4:30 — and then force yourself to write for two or three hours. Maybe even four.

Her assessment of this advice:

It’s ridiculous advice. Academics who tell you with a straight face that they wake up every morning at 4, sit at their desk in scholarly rhapsody for hours, and then go do a full day’s work are not being truthful. And even if they are, they probably spend most of that time staring off into space and yawning. At any rate, they shouldn’t be bragging about tragically mismanaging their time and doing long-term damage to their health.

Her own advice:

Summon 25 minutes of laser focus on your work, one to three times during your work day.

My advice

Figure out what method works best for you and then employ it. We are all different, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.

You can read more here.


November 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Legal sector adds 600 jobs in October

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report (scroll down to "Professional and business services") shows the legal sector, which is a relatively broad category that includes jobs like legal secretaries, paralegals and licensed legal practitioners, added 600 jobs last month. That makes the second month in a row the legal sector has shown job growth which should not be a surprise given the very strong economy overall. The American Lawyer has more details about the BLS report for October here.


November 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Sleep in an Airport

At Attorney at Work, we find lots of suggestions. The best: call Uber and go somewhere else, or join an airline club and sleep in its lounge. But you can find lots of other tips on this posting, for example, what should you include in an overnight emergency kit?

  • Post-it notes (Write “WAKE ME UP AT 5 A.M.!” and stick them everywhere. It’s surprisingly effective.)
  • Space blanket
  • Candy bars
  • Appropriate doses of your meds
  • Gum
  • Dental kit
  • Spare undergarments
  • Wipes
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Travel deodorant
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Sleep mask (great place for a Post-it)

For more valuable advice, please click here.


November 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northwestern School of Law cutting clinical faculty/Northwestern hiring a clinical law prof!

First there's this story from that Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law will be reducing staff, clinical, and non-tenure lecture positions through attrition and the non-renewal of some contracts to deal with a university wide budgetary shortfall that the law school's dean has characterized as a "challenging financial position." reports that Northwestern Dean Kimberly Yuracko has declined to disclose the size of the budgetary shortfall but confirmed that tenure and tenure track positions will not be impacted by the budget cuts. You can read the full story here.

Juxtaposed with that story is this job posting I saw tonight on the clinical listserv announcing that Northwestern is seeking to hire clinical law prof. Here are the details for that available job:

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for the position of Clinical Assistant Professor of Law in its Communication and Legal Reasoning (CLR) program. Northwestern Pritzker is an innovative, top-ranked institution that teaches students to meet the challenges of the complex, competitive, and changing legal and business worlds. Our students are academically exceptional and have strong interpersonal skills. Many students have substantial work experience.


Faculty in CLR generally teach Communication and Legal Reasoning, the first-year legal analysis, writing, and research course for JD students. On occasion, faculty members teach Common Law Reasoning, which is a required legal analysis and writing course for international LLM students, and other writing courses in the upper division of the JD program and in the Master of Science in Law program. Faculty members teaching CLR in the JD program teach approximately 30 students in one section for a full academic year.


We seek applications from candidates with excellent academic records, outstanding writing and editing skills, and experiences that demonstrate their potential for excellence in classroom teaching. A successful applicant must have a JD degree and strong experience as an attorney; we prefer those applicants who have at least three years of practice experience, as well as those who have prior teaching experience. We welcome applications from those who would add to the diversity of our faculty.


The initial appointment is for a one-year contract expected to begin in August 2019, with the potential for renewal to successive three-year contract terms that become renewable upon promotion to Clinical Associate Professor of Law. The search committee will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue to consider them through December 1 or until the position is filled. Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume or CV via the link below.


Please read ALL instructions and make preparations before proceeding to the application page:


  • Applications will only be accepted via online submission (see link below).
  • Please prepare all documents in advance as Adobe PDF files, and please be sure all information is entered correctly and accurately (especially names and email addresses), as there will be no opportunity for online revision after your application has been submitted.
  • All required fields in the application form are marked with an asterisk and must be filled before clicking the “Submit” button.
  • Be aware that incomplete applications cannot be saved.


Applications accepted here:

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.


November 6, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 5, 2018

YouTube will Invest $20 Million to Create Learning Resources

From EdWeek MarketBrief:

YouTube is ramping up the educational resources available through its site by creating a $20 million pool of funding designed partly to support the creation of new content by individuals and organizations.

The massive video-sharing platform this summer announced an effort called YouTube Learning, which YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said would provide grants and promotion from companies and others who go through an application process. 

YouTube is ramping up the educational resources available through its site by creating a $20 million pool of funding designed partly to support the creation of new content by individuals and organizations.


You can read more here.


November 5, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Grads Flee the Country to Avoid Student Debt

Here, CNBC presents the stories of three American graduates who found their post-school lives financially impossible and moved to India, the Ukraine, and Japan, respectively. Their debt continues to grow, but the government doesn’t pursue them. I don’t know how common this course of escape is. Still the burden of student debt is oppressive:

Outstanding student debt in the U.S. has tripled over the last decade and is projected to swell to $2 trillion by 2022. Average debt at graduation is currently around $30,000, up from an inflation-adjusted $16,000 in the early 1990s. Meanwhile, salaries for new bachelor degree recipients, also accounting for inflation, have remained almost flat over the last few decades.

Half of student loan borrowers haven't paid even $1 toward their debt's principal five years into repayment, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Forty percent of student loan borrowers are expected to default by 2023, according to the Brookings Institution.

Although there is no national data on how many people have left the United States because of student debt, borrowers tell their stories of doing so in Facebook groups and Reddit channels. How-to advice is offered on personal finance websites.


November 4, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Georgetown Law is seeking to hire tenure track profs for its criminal law clinics

The deadline is November 15. Here are the details:  

Faculty Position In Criminal Justice Clinic and Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic


Georgetown Law invites applications for one tenure-track faculty position in the Criminal Justice and the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinics, which are both part of Georgetown’s top-ranked clinical program.


Georgetown Law is fortunate to have two criminal clinics that serve many third-year law students and six E. Barrett Prettyman fellows each year.  Because of the size of the two programs, in addition to the directors of the respective clinics, an additional full-time faculty member is shared between the two year-long clinics, teaching in the seminar and supervising students in both clinics on their criminal cases. 


The faculty member in this position plays a vital role in supervising the E. Barrett Prettyman program (a 57 year-long Georgetown institution).  As the Co-Director of the Prettyman program, the faculty member runs a six-week training program for the fellows at the beginning of their fellowship and supervises the fellows in their misdemeanor and felony caseloads through the year.  With teaching responsibilities in two different clinics and the supervision of students and fellows in multiple criminal cases, this position requires an energetic, thoughtful, and experienced practitioner and scholar. Since this appointment is on the tenure track, the faculty member will be expected to produce high-quality scholarship and to engage in the academic life of the law school. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three references and a scholarly agenda to Emily N. Smith at


Georgetown Law has operated its highly regarded in-house clinical program for more than 50 years. Through this program, students learn the practical art of lawyering while providing quality legal representation to under-represented individuals and organizations. We offer 17 different clinics, and more than 300 students participate in this program every year.


Georgetown Law has a strong commitment to diversity among its faculty and encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans.



November 3, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remember to "fall back" tonight - Daylight Saving Time ends

Daylight Saving Time will end on Sunday, November 4, at 2:00 a.m. Don't forget to set your clocks accordingly before bedtime tonight.  A PSA from your friendly neighborhood Legal Skills Prof Blog.


November 3, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Memphis Improperly Gained Information about Activists

A federal judge in Memphis ruled Friday that the city’s failure to properly train members of its police department caused it to violate a 1978 agreement not to collect political intelligence on activists exercising their First Amendment rights.

“The failure was one of training and inadequate direction over a sustained period of time,” Senior U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla wrote in a 39-page opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, which brought the lawsuit against the city, hailed the decision as a “tremendous victory for free speech” because residents of Memphis enjoy greater protections that what is guaranteed by the First Amendment due to a 1978 consent decree.  

In his opinion, Judge McCalla said the city violated its consent agreement when it used its real-time crime center to search several social media sites for posts relating to the Black Lives Matter movement “because the information gathered related to First Amendment rights.”

You can read more here at Courthouse News.


November 3, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Trump’s Threat to End Birthright Citizenship

From CNN (excerpts):

Trump's vow to end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil came in an interview with Axios released Tuesday. Such a step would be regarded as an affront to the US Constitution, which was amended 150 years ago to include the words: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."

Several other countries, including Canada, have a policy of birthright citizenship, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for reducing immigration.

The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Trump's proposal Tuesday morning.

"The President cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment's citizenship guarantee is clear," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms."

Asked about Trump's promise on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said the President has the "right to raise that debate" if he wants but "this notion that he can simply violate the Constitution by executive order, let's face it, no serious legal scholar thinks that's real."

So, who are those legal advisors?

You can read more here.


November 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Yakama Tribal Chair Couldn’t Wear Headdress to Court

From Bloomberg:

Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy was barred from U.S. Supreme Court oral argument Oct. 30 because he insisted on wearing the full complement of his traditional tribal regalia, which he said left him feeling “very dehumanized.”

Goudy traveled from Washington State to Washington, D.C., to hear an argument involving a treaty between his tribe and the government.

Court personnel offered multiple rationales for keeping Goudy out of the argument if he wore the headdress, Goudy told Bloomberg Law the day of the argument. Their reasons included concerns that his headdress would obstruct others’ views and that his attire could sway the court’s decision in the case, he said.

“The court is not to be subject to outside influence,” a court official can be heard telling Goudy in a video he took from inside the Supreme Court building that day and posted to his Facebook page.

You can read more here.


November 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Creative Initiatives at U.S. Law Schools

Although this Report is from 2014, it still tells us a great deal about innovative programs at American law schools.

Creative Initiatives at U.S. Law Schools By Christine N. Cimini (University of Washington - School of Law), Roberto L. Corrada (University of Denver - Sturm College of Law), Myra Berman (Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center), Christine E Cerniglia (Stetson University - College of Law), Katherine R. Kruse (Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

"Creative initiatives and programs that address problems in legal education are underway at many law schools. Some are entirely new in design and aim, running the gamut from full programs to individual innovative courses. Other initiatives build on or give new direction to existing programs, such as clinics and externships. Others are designed to address the costs and time commitment associated with a traditional three-year JD. The breadth and variety of these many efforts signal that law schools hear, take seriously, and are responding to criticisms being leveled at legal education. This report begins the process of identifying and cataloging creative programmatic initiatives in law schools. It organizes the efforts into seven categories: — requirements or guarantees of experiential education opportunities — simulation/observation courses; — structured experiential programs; — the establishment of Deans/Directors/Chairs and/or Centers/Programs focused on experiential education; — pro bono and public interest initiatives with experiential components; — post-graduation innovations; and — multi-disciplinary approaches.The authors, from five different law schools, were the Working Group on Creative Initiatives of the Alliance for Experiential Learning in Law. The reports of six working groups — including this one — were presented at the Second National Symposium on Experiential Education in Law;, held at Elon University School of Law, June 13-15, 2014."

(Scott Fruehwald)

November 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Publishing house releasing new book design to replicate experience of reading on a smartphone

I wrote a review a few years ago about Robert Darnton's homage to the book, called The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future, in which the Director of Harvard University's library makes the case that the book is an example of a technology so perfectly designed, it defies improvement.  Now Dutton Books, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, is releasing a series of books that may represent the first major design tweak in close to 2,000 years. This new design, which has already become "wildly" popular in the Netherlands as of late, is called a "dwarsligger." The pages in a dwarsligger are oriented like a horizontal flip book to replicate the experience of reading on a mobile device by swiping left. Dutton is hoping the new design will catch on stateside among younger readers who are used to reading on digital devices but may prefer an old school technology that avoids all the distractions associated with the former. 

The New York Times has a story on Dutton's book design gambit here. An excerpt:

Tiny Books Fit in One Hand. Will They Change the Way We Read?

Dutton, a Penguin Random House imprint, has just released its first batch of mini books, with a box set of novels by the best-selling author John Green.


“A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic,” the cosmologist Carl Sagan once said. “It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years.”


As a physical object and a feat of technology, the printed book is hard to improve upon. Apart from minor cosmetic tweaks, the form has barely evolved since the codex first arose as an appealing alternative to scrolls around 2,000 years ago.


So when Julie Strauss-Gabel, the president and publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers, discovered “dwarsliggers” — tiny, pocket-size, horizontal flipbacks that have become a wildly popular print format in the Netherlands — it felt like a revelation.


“I saw it and I was like, boom,” she said. “I started a mission to figure out how we could do that here.”


This month, Dutton, which is part of Penguin Random House, began releasing its first batch of mini books, with four reissued novels by the best-selling young-adult novelist John Green. The tiny editions are the size of a cellphone and no thicker than your thumb, with paper as thin as onion skin. They can be read with one hand — the text flows horizontally, and you can flip the pages upward, like swiping a smartphone.


It’s a bold experiment that, if successful, could reshape the publishing landscape and perhaps even change the way people read. Next year, Penguin Young Readers plans to release more minis, and if readers find the format appealing, other publishers may follow suit.

. . . . 

Continue reading here.


November 2, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Four Properties of Powerful Teachers

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, powerful teachers possess four qualities: personality, presence, preparation, and passion.

Here is a 2:40 second video (!) offering advice on developing these traits. The Chronicle also suggests this article: Rob Jenkins’s article “The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers.”


November 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jeffrey Kinsler & Jeffrey Omar Usman, Law Schools, Bar Passage, and Under and Over-Performing Expectations

Jeffrey Kinsler & Jeffrey Omar Usman, Law Schools, Bar Passage, and Under and Over-Performing Expectations


"The focus of this article is to build a foundation for exploring whether there is a meaningful solution to help address the bar passage problem that can be found looking to the legal education programs of law schools that are particularly successful in preparing students to pass the bar exam. To accomplish this aim, a critical and essential step is to begin to identify the law schools that are adding the most in terms of assisting their students to pass the bar exam. That first critical step is the step taken by this article. A common-sense assumption, which finds support in this article, is that students with lower UGPAs and LSAT scores are less likely to pass the bar exam than students with higher UGPAs and LSAT scores. The central question this article explores is that once a predicted bar passage rate is calculated based upon UGPA and LSAT scores, what law schools are over-performing and what law schools are under performing in terms of preparing their students to pass the bar exam? In addressing this question, this article analyzes the calendar-year 2015 bar passage results that law schools reported to the ABA. The authors of this article concede the findings herein are a snapshot. As new reliable data becomes available, the authors of this article, with the foundation formed by the methodology and findings of this article, intend to take additional snapshots over the next few years, before synthesizing those as a critical component for making recommendations for best practices for elevating bar passage rates. In the meantime, however, for law schools that want or need to increase their bar passage rates more immediately, this article identifies institutions that are, at least at the time of this snapshot, over-performing in terms of preparing students to pass the bar exam, and thus gives schools a starting place for further exploration of why and how the over-performing schools are achieving success. For this snapshot, this article examines the entering class of 2012 and the bar passage results of that class in 2015. In particular, this article compares 2012 input credentials-Median LSAT Scores and Median UGPAs-with 2015 first-time bar passage rates to determine which law schools over-performed in terms of preparing students to pass the bar exam and which law schools under-performed in terms of preparing students to pass the bar exam. Using linear regression models, this article assesses law schools' performance using four metrics: (1) Median LSAT and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate; (2) Median UGPA and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate; (3) Median LSAT and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate Differential; and (4) Median UGPA and Composite Average First-Time Bar Pass Rate Differential. The article also aggregates the number of standard deviations from the mean of the variance from each of these four metrics, thereby equally weighting the four, to determine an overall performance score."

The twenty law schools that most overperformed on the 2015 bar exam compared to their incoming UGPA and GPA predictors:

  1. Belmont
  2. Georgia State
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Florida International
  5. Campbell
  6. Seton Hall
  7. Kansas
  8. Akron
  9. Widener-Commonwealth
  10. LSU
  11. Widener-Delaware
  12. Mississippi College
  13. Gonzaga
  14. Quinnipiac
  15. Texas A&M
  16. UMKC
  17. Cleveland State
  18. Elon
  19. Florida
  20. Stetson

Interestingly, the authors taught at the top performing law school, Belmont.  However, a check of Law School Transparency showed that Belmont has had a high bar passage rate in recent years.

(Scott Fruehwald)

November 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)