Monday, April 29, 2019

Ultimate Bar Passage: Law Schools at Risk

The Faculty Lounge has a post on the potential effects of ultimate bar passage:

Ultimate Bar Passage: Law Schools at Risk by Gary Rosin.

"The Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has twice proposed that, for accreditation purposes, the Bar passage requirements of Standard 316 be amended to focus solely on what the ABA calls "Ultimate" Bar passage: the percentage of a law school's graduates who pass the Bar within two years of graduation. All ABA law schools would have to maintain Ultimate Bar passage percentages of at least 75% for every year-group of graduates. The proposed Standard 316 would abandon the current alternate measure, which compares a law school's first-time Bar passage percentage to the ABA first-time Bar passage percentages in each state where its graduates took the Bar.

The proposed new Standard 316 has twice been rejected by the ABA House of Delegates. Despite that, ABA rules permit the Section Council to "reaffirm and adopt" the proposed revision to Standard 316. It is widely expected that they will do so."

"For 2015 graduates, 20 law schools reported Ultimate Bar passage percentages below the 75% minimum required to comply with the proposed amendment to Standard 316. For 2016 graduates, 24 law schools reported Ultimate Bar passage percentages below 75%.

Of these, 14 law schools reported two-year Ultimate Bar passage percentages below 75% for both 2015 and 2016 graduates."

As I have stated many times in the past, instead of fighting the change to ultimate bar passage, law schools should improve how they deliver instruction so that they can avoid ultimate bar passage's consequences.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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April 29, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Where Are We on the Path to Law Student Well-Being?: Report on the ABA CoLAP Law Student Assistance Committee Law School Wellness Survey by Jordana Alter Confino

Where Are We on the Path to Law Student Well-Being?: Report on the ABA CoLAP Law Student Assistance Committee Law School Wellness Survey by Jordana Alter Confino.


This Article reports the results of the Law School Wellness Survey, which representatives from 103 law schools completed in spring 2018. In 2017, the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being issued a groundbreaking report pronouncing a call to action for the legal community and proposing a slate of recommendations for various stakeholders. The recommendations included nine proposed strategies for law schools to implement in order to counter the harmful aspects of legal education and better support law student well-being. Inspired by the Task Force report, the ABA CoLAP Law School Assistance Committee surveyed law schools nationwide to assess the landscape of well-being initiatives currently underway across the country and evaluate the extent to which law schools are heeding the Task Force’s recommendations. Taken as a whole, the results of the CoLAP Survey are confidence inspiring. Many law schools have made great strides in areas such as orientation programming, mindfulness and physical fitness offerings, and collaboration with Lawyer Assistance Programs. Moreover, a handful of schools have emerged as trailblazers in this arena, developing innovative courses and programs designed to promote holistic well-being, and devising creative strategies for engaging all members of the law school community in these endeavors. Nevertheless, shifting the culture around law student well-being is a formidable undertaking, and some law schools still have considerable work to do. To support such efforts, this Article draws on the CoLAP Survey data to highlight best practices as well as areas for improvement, and recommends a number of actions that members of the legal education community can take to move the ball forward. The Appendix to this Article contains a compendium of resources cited in the survey responses, which may serve as a roadmap or toolkit for students, faculty, and administrators who seek to further develop the well-being offerings at their law schools.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 27, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Beyond the 'Practice Ready' Buzz: Sifting Through the Disruption of the Legal Industry to Divine the Skills Needed by New Attorneys by Jason Dykstra

Beyond the 'Practice Ready' Buzz: Sifting Through the Disruption of the Legal Industry to Divine the Skills Needed by New Attorneys by Jason Dykstra.


"A heightened velocity of change enveloped the legal profession over the last two decades. From big law to rural practitioners, the traditional law firm model proved ripe for disruption. This disruption is fueled by several discrete changes in how legal services are provided, including technological advances that allow for the automation of many routine tasks and the disaggregation of legal services; enhanced client sophistication and cost-consciousness; global competition from offshoring routine legal services; the rise of the domestic gig economy, creating a new wave of home-shoring legal services; and competition from non-traditional legal services providers. In the face of declining revenues, rapid systemic changes, and burgeoning competition from near and far, law firms have shuttered many of the traditional mentorship opportunities for new attorneys. Firms have also curtailed many once-billable activities that formerly served as profitable training grounds for new associates at law firms.
Given this new norm, students must emerge from law school both ready for practice and prepared to immediately generate revenue, whether they ply their practice-ready skills as contract attorneys, associates, in-house counsel, or solo practitioners. This Article proposes designing a required, upper-division legal writing class that incorporates the skills most needed by new attorneys entering the practice of law. The data shows that most new lawyers are destined for private practice, whether with small firms or as solo practitioners, and most likely, this private practice will include civil litigation. Since most civil litigation resolves by settlement or dispositive motion, new lawyers will focus primarily on pretrial civil litigation. Given this reality, the Article proposes requiring an upper-division legal research and writing course designed to introduce practice-style legal research and writing. This course would serve as an analogue to introduce the pretrial civil litigation skills most needed by new attorneys."

Key point: "Since the curricular migration of legal education from apprenticeships to formal academic settings, critics periodically push for the reincorporation of practical skills into legal education. The latest buzz amidst law schools encompasses the notion of a “practice-ready” legal education. While many law schools trumpet their “practice ready” bona fides, the concept of what constitutes a practice-ready curriculum varies widely and its efficacy proves somewhat illusory. Despite incremental changes, “[t]he core of the law school curriculum . . . has not dramatically wavered.” Some schools merely affix a “practice ready” moniker upon existing course offerings that already include experiential courses like externships, clinics, and practicums. Some of these courses may provide a good analog to the actual skills needed for many practice settings, while others prove too granularly focused or tangential to the civil litigation skills needed for most legal practices. Other notions of a practice-ready curriculum range from the remedial to the innovative.202 Assembling a dauntingly long list of assorted skills that are viewed as key for newly-minted attorneys could make the creation of a practice-ready curriculum rather cumbersome."  (emphasis added)

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 24, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 22, 2019

Cursive is back!

This recent article in the New York Times reports that cursive is making a comeback and the reasons are many fold from political conservatism to claims about the cognitive benefits of writing by hand.  But a humorous bit of handwriting trivia revealed by the article is that during the Cold War, cursive writing became associated with patriotism. As a result, some believed that if our kids didn't learn cursive in school, as a nation we were more vulnerable to the "red menace." 

Cursive Seemed to Go the Way of Quills and Parchment. Now It’s Coming Back.


While cursive has been relegated to nearly extinct tasks like writing thank-you cards and signing checks, rumors of its death may be exaggerated.


The Common Core standards seemed to spell the end of the writing style in 2010 when they dropped requirements that the skill be taught in public elementary schools, but about two dozen states have reintroduced the practice since then.


Last year, elementary schools in Illinois were required to offer at least one class on cursive.


Last month, a law went into effect in Ohio providing funding for materials to help students learn cursive by fifth grade.


And beginning this fall, second graders in Texas will learn cursive, and will be required to know how to write it legibly by third grade.


Even as keyboards and screens have supplanted pencil and paper in schools, lawmakers and defenders of cursive have lobbied to re-establish this old-school writing pedagogy across the country, igniting a debate about American values and identity and exposing intergenerational fault lines.


. . . . 


Psychologists and neuroscientists say that handwriting positively affects brain development, motor skills, comprehension and memory. Cursive may be particularly helpful for those with developmental dysgraphia — motor-control difficulties in forming letters — and it may help prevent the reversal and inversion of letters, according to a 2012 report.

But some research has been taken out of context, or misrepresented, to further a pro-cursive agenda, said Kate Gladstone, who calls herself the Handwriting Repairwoman and runs an organization by the same name.


“The world of handwriting is very much the world of fake news and crooked elections,” she said.


In 2018, State Senator Jean Leising of Indiana was called out for citing a study that she claimed showed cursive writing “prepares students’ brains for reading and enhances their writing fluency and composition.” The researcher said the study made claims only about writing by hand.


There are also corporate interests at play. In 2013, Ms. Gladstone traced research that was used in bills in North and South Carolina to require cursive instruction in schools to a for-profit company that creates instructional materials to teach handwriting, Zaner-Bloser Publishing.


Kathleen Wright, a spokeswoman for the company’s handwriting division, said that it does not lobby for legislation, but that it does provide lawmakers with research “because we’re recognized as the gold standard of handwriting instruction,” she said.


But Ms. Wright acknowledged that some legislators “may have erroneously conflated studies showing the cognitive benefits of writing by hand to focus specifically on the benefits of writing in cursive.”


Sheila Lowe, the president of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, said that about 21 states had adopted some form of cursive requirement in schools since the Common Core standards were introduced.


“We’re not trying to replace electronics,” Ms. Lowe said. “Cursive is an important part of brain training.”


. . . . 

Continue reading here.


April 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students and Faculty Worked Harder, by Richard Vedder

Here is an insightful article on one of the major problems with colleges and universities:  students and professors are not working hard enough.  Of course, this applies to law schools, too.

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students and Faculty Worked Harder, by Richard Vedder (Ohio University; author, Restoring the Promise: American Higher Education Today (2019)) [reposted from the TAXProf Blog]

"I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago.

One reason college is so costly and so little real learning occurs is that collegiate resources are vastly underused. Students don’t study much, professors teach little, few people read most of the obscure papers the professors write, and even the buildings are empty most of the time.

The New York Federal Reserve says more than 40% of recent college graduates are “underemployed,” but many already are while in school. Surveys of student work habits find that the average amount of time spent in class and otherwise studying is about 27 hours a week. The typical student takes classes only 32 weeks a year, so he spends fewer than 900 hours annually on academics—less time than a typical eighth-grader, and perhaps half the time their parents work to help finance college.

It wasn’t always this way. As economists Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks have demonstrated, students in the middle of the 20th century spent nearly 50% more time—around 40 hours weekly—studying. They now lack incentives to work very hard, since the average grade today—a B or B-plus—is much higher than in 1960 when the average grade-point average of around 2.5 implied a typical grade of B-minus or C-plus.

I’m part of the problem: I’ve been teaching for 55 years, and I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago. ...

To be sure, there are many exceptions. On some campuses, students study much more. Engineering majors probably work much harder than communications or gender-studies majors. And there are professors who are in their offices more than a few hours a week. Students in law and medical schools often work very long hours. Many hard-science researchers spend much time in their labs.

Still, Time Use Survey data from the Labor Department suggest that students spend more time on recreation and partying than on academics, and most professors are not often found during daytime hours in the office, classroom, laboratory or the library. Where are they? What are they doing? Why can’t students and faculty show the same work ethic that made our market-disciplined nation the wealthiest place in history?"


ESF: All educational researchers say that learning is effortful. If you don't put in the work, you won't learn. Students may be happy with their (inflated) grades, but these students are setting themselves up for failure once they graduate. High grades may get you a job, but what you know and what you can do helps you keep that job and move up. There is no substitute for hard work.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 22, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

NYT: Fascinating Article On Individualized, Computerized Instruction

Here is a fascinating article from the NYT on individualized, computerized instruction:

Silicon Valley Came to Kansas Schools. That Started a Rebellion.

"[P]ublic schools near Wichita had rolled out a web-based platform and curriculum from Summit Learning. The Silicon Valley-based program promotes an educational approach called 'personalized learning,' which uses online tools to customize education. The platform that Summit provides was developed by Facebook engineers."

"Many families in the Kansas towns, which have grappled with underfunded public schools and deteriorating test scores, initially embraced the change. Under Summit’s program, students spend much of the day on their laptops and go online for lesson plans and quizzes, which they complete at their own pace. Teachers assist students with the work, hold mentoring sessions and lead special projects. The system is free to schools. The laptops are typically bought separately."

"Then, students started coming home with headaches and hand cramps. Some said they felt more anxious."

"“We’re allowing the computers to teach and the kids all looked like zombies,” said Tyson Koenig, a factory supervisor in McPherson, who visited his son’s fourth-grade class."

"In a school district survey of McPherson middle school parents released this month, 77 percent of respondents said they preferred their child not be in a classroom that uses Summit."

:The resistance in Kansas is part of mounting nationwide opposition to Summit, which began trials of its system in public schools four years ago and is now in around 380 schools and used by 74,000 students."

"He said he liked Summit’s program. His daughter, Kelcie, 14, said she felt self-directed. 'Everyone is judging it too quickly,' he said."

"Around the country, teachers said they were split on Summit. Some said it freed them from making lesson plans and grading quizzes so they had more time for individual students. Others said it left them as bystanders."

Key point: "For years, education experts have debated the merits of self-directed, online learning versus traditional teacher-led classrooms. Proponents argue that programs like Summit provide children, especially those in underserved towns, access to high-quality curriculums and teachers. Skeptics worry about screen time and argue that students miss out on important interpersonal lessons."

I have mixed feelings about a program like Summit's.  I believe that the most important thing any school can do is to turn out self-directed learners.  On the other hand, too much screen time can hurt students psychologically.  Perhaps the solution is to mix computerized instruction with old fashioned classes.

(Scott Fruehwald)


April 21, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Albany Law School launches new experiential learning program to prep students for high-tech careers

The program, called the Innovative Intensive clinic, involves a partnership between Albany Law School and and SUNY Polytechnic that will see law students and SUNY business and engineering students to "advance their tech-focused projects and facilitate university innovation, from lab to market." The program will launch in Fall 2019 and will involve a classroom and lab component in which participating students will delve into issues involving technology valuation, intellectual property law, intellectual property strategy and protection, market analysis, entrepreneurship, startup formation, business planning, seed and venture funding, economic development, and industry and government relations. Here's a further description from Albany's website:

Albany Law School, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Research Foundation for SUNY Launch Innovative Experiential Learning Program


Albany Law School, SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), and the Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) are partnering to provide a unique, immersive experience that will both prepare students for high-tech careers and promote the development of marketable technologies in the Capital Region and beyond.


The institutions today signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the Innovation Intensive clinic, through which students from Albany Law School and SUNY Poly will gain hands-on experience in technology commercialization by performing work on behalf of the RF. The program will be offered beginning in the fall of 2019. Law, business, and engineering students will work in interdisciplinary teams—under the supervision of RF attorneys—to advance their tech-focused projects and facilitate university innovation, from lab to market.


In addition, Albany Law School and SUNY Poly will work together to develop a host of collaborative academic programs, pathways for accelerated degrees, and cross-registration opportunities.


Working on-site in SUNY Poly's laboratories, Innovation Intensive students will be on the cutting-edge of the law and such rapidly evolving areas as nanotechnology, nanobioscience, quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence.


"This is an exciting partnership for Albany Law School and a great addition to our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Pathway," said Albany Law School President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. "The Innovation Intensive will be a game changer for business and tech-focused law students, who will have unparalleled opportunities to experience actual practice in the increasingly intertwined fields of business, entrepreneurship, science, and law."


"SUNY Poly looks forward to working closely with Albany Law School, in partnership with the Research Foundation, as we jointly develop a collaborative academic curriculum and offer access to high-quality experiential opportunities for students located both here in the Capital Region and in the Mohawk Valley," said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Grace Wang. "We are excited to enhance their high-tech-centered experience via additional technical, professional, and legal scholarship options as we continue to strengthen student opportunities at both of our institutions."


"The Innovation Intensive is a win-win for all," said RF President Jeff Cheek.  "Together with our partners at Albany Law and SUNY Poly we have created a unique, focused, and practical program that at once builds a necessary field of workforce expertise, provides fulfilling mentoring opportunities for our management, and assists researchers and entrepreneurs across the SUNY system transform their discoveries into life-changing innovation."


. . . . 

Continue reading here.


April 19, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Windmills of Your Mind: Understanding the Neurobiology of Emotion by Debra S. Austin

Here is a fascinating article on the neurobiology of emotions and how it affects law students and lawyers:

Windmills of Your Mind: Understanding the Neurobiology of Emotion by Debra S. Austin.


"Intelligence has been parsed into categories including general intelligence (IQ), which is cognitive capacity, and emotional intelligence (EQ), describing social competency. Perhaps the most important new form of intelligence that lawyers can cultivate is neuro-intelligence (NQ), which is an understanding of the most important tool a lawyer must deploy – the brain. NQ can help us understand how emotions that arise in the brain are often experienced in the windmills of the mind as “words that jangle in your head”. Boomers will enjoy the Noel Harrison version of Windmills of your Mind, which won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Original Song, while Millennials should check out the Sting version from the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair.

This article describes the importance of developing mental strength, and challenges lawyers to enhance their understanding of the role emotion plays in their relationships with colleagues, clients, employees, and constituents. Brain Literacy defines key components of the emotional and thinking brains. The process of memory formation is illustrated in Learning and Memory. Stress and Cognition outlines the harmful impacts of stress on brain health and mental performance. Recent research results are reviewed in Law Students and Lawyers are at Risk for Impaired Well-being. The brain’s automated response to emotional stimuli is detailed in Emotion. Emotion Regulation explores methods for responding to emotion, and the difference between survival and attachment emotions. Emotion and Decision-Making depicts the process that helps us determine what outfit to wear, what rewards we are strong enough to defer to meet our long-term goals, and how public policy is shaped by emotion. Finally, Interventions to Strengthen the Mind links mental strength to happiness, explains three obstacles to developing mental strength that are commonly experienced by law students and lawyers, and provides ten practices that can promote mental strength.

This article proposes that law students, legal educators, and lawyers will benefit from developing their NQ, as well as their understanding of the impact of emotion and stress on performance, and the how building mental strength can empower their professional and personal lives. With greater NQ, individuals can improve well-being and performance, and organizations can leverage healthy human beings to enhance capacity and innovation."

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 18, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Manual for Law Schools on Adjunct Faculty by Karen L. Tokarz

Adjuncts have become an important part of legal education.  Here is a guide to help law schools prepare their adjuncts for teaching and other law school duties.

A Manual for Law Schools on Adjunct Faculty by Karen L. Tokarz.


"In 1991, American Bar Association (ABA) President Sandy D'Alemberte created the ABA Coordinating Committee on Legal Education with the mandate to explore ways to expand the participation of practicing lawyers and judges in American legal education. The committee, composed of representatives from a substantial number of ABA sections and a roughly equivalent number of law school professors, focused on the role of part-time and adjunct faculty in American law schools, and published in 1993 the first edition of A Manual for Law Schools on Adjunct Faculty. The purpose of this Manual is to highlight steps that law schools might take to provide adjunct faculty with orientation, guidance, monitoring, and evaluation, and in the process enrich the educational program of the school. Neither committee concludes that any of the points in the Manual are in any way mandatory for any institution. The purpose of the document is not regulatory, but is suggestive and hortatory. The information provided in this Manual is offered as a starting point for discussions regarding orientation, guidance, monitoring, evaluation, and other issues relating to adjunct faculty at individual schools.

This report represents the work product of the 1996-97 ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar Skills Training Committee and the 1996-97 ABA Coordinating Committee on Legal Education."

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Big Fail: Why Bar Pass Rates Have Sunk to Record Lows

Law.Com, The Big Fail: Why Bar Pass Rates Have Sunk to Record Lows

"In this first installment of The Big Fail, a series focused on the high percentage of law graduates failing the bar and the impact on law schools and the legal profession, examines how far rates have dropped in recent years and the reasons for the decline."

A recent study commissioned by the State Bar of California concluded that the declining credentials of law students account for up to 50 percent of the state’s falling pass rates.

But Kellye Testy, president of the Law School Admission Council, said there’s much more at play. She suspects the falling pass rates are the results of a combination of factors, the most obvious being the lower credentials of incoming students. The declining quality of public education—meaning an erosion of the reading and writing foundations children develop in elementary and high schools—may also be a contributor, she said.

Moreover, the evolving way that law is taught may explain why today’s law graduates are struggling more on the bar exam, said Testy, whose organization develops the LSAT. Professors now put less emphasis on memorizing rules, and have backed off on some of the high-pressure tactics—like the Socratic method—that historically dominated the classroom.

“The way we used to teach wasn’t as good for caring for the student, but it made sure you could take a closed-book exam,” she said. “You knew the doctrine. It was much more like a bar exam, in some ways. Today, when you go into a classroom, it’s all PowerPoint. The teachers give them an outline, the students are on computers. There’s a different student approach and a different faculty approach.”

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 15, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

"2019 Future Ready Lawyer Survey" from Wolters Kluwer finds most lawyers are lagging in key technology skills

A recent survey conducted by Wolter Kluwer of 700 lawyers working in law firms, legal departments and business services firms across the U.S. and Europe found that most lack key technology understanding and skills leading to lack of preparedness on the part of their organizations in the ability to deal with changes affecting the legal services marketplace. Not surprisingly, the survey found that demographics plays a big role in attorney comfort and facility with new technologies with 30% of millennials surveyed saying they have a "very good understanding of the technologies" that impact their practice areas with Gen X'ers and baby boomers hovering around 19%. Among the other key findings of the Wolter Kluwer survey:

  • Overall, only about one-third of lawyers (34%) believe their organization is very prepared to keep pace with changes in the legal market
  • Legal professionals report that the Lack of Technology Knowledge, Understanding or Skills comprise the top category of reasons for resisting new technology (36%).
  • More than 7 in 10 lawyers across Europe and the U.S. say that both “Coping with increased volume and complexity of information” and an “Emphasis on improved productivity and efficiency” are top trends with impact. Yet, only 31% feel very prepared to address it.
  • The top challenges for corporate legal departments today include reducing and controlling outside legal costs; improving case and contract management; and automating routine tasks and leveraging technology in work processes.

There's also an article in LegalTechNews providing some additional commentary about the WK survey here.


April 14, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

FIU Law Review publishes "A Summit on the Future of Legal Education"

Below is the table of contents including links to the articles appearing in Volume 13 of the FIU Law Review entitled A Summit on the Future of Legal Education and Entry to the Profession:


April 13, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 12, 2019

PreLaw Magazine's Top Law Schools for Practical Skills Training

PreLaw Magazine has ranked law schools based on a formula that takes into account the number of clinical opportunities available per the total number of students enrolled, the number of field placement opportunities available to students, and the number of seats offered in law practice simulation classes.  In addition, according to the accompanying article, PreLaw also considered each school's pro bono programs as well as "other [course] offerings" (you can read a more detailed explanation of the magazine's ranking methodology by scrolling to page 27 of the accompanying article here).

Based on the aforementioned formula, here is PreLaw Magazine's 2019 list of the best law schools for practical skills training:

1 Northeastern University                               
2 University of St. Thomas - Mn.                  
3 Pepperdine University                                 
4 UC - Irvine                                                     
5 Yale Law School                                              
6 Ohio Northern University                             
7 Brooklyn Law School                                     
8 University of Chicago                                     
9 University of Arizona                                         
10 Florida Coastal School of Law                        
11 University of Utah                                             
12 Case Western Reserve University                 
13 University of New Hampshire                     
14 Loyola University Chicago                           
15 University of Wisconsin                                 
16 University of Denver                                     
17 North Carolina Central Univ.                     

You can read the accompanying article here.


April 12, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Kim Kardashian tells Vogue Magazine she plans to become a lawyer while avoiding that pesky law school thing

In the earliest days of legal education in this country, budding lawyers learned their craft not in the classroom but through apprenticeships with experienced lawyers.  Attending law school, as I recall, didn't even become a widespread "thing" until the latter part of the 19th Century. Well, according to Vogue Magazine, Kim Kardashian will put that early model of legal education to the test once again by training to become a lawyer in California via a four year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm. In fact, the California state bar allows a candidate to forego law school altogether (whether an ABA accredited school or one of state's many unaccredited law schools) as long as she studies "under a judge or lawyer for four years" followed by attaining a passing grade on the so-called "Baby Bar" which is a prerequisite to taking the full-blown California bar exam.  From Vogue Magazine:

[L]ast summer, [Kardashian] made the unlikely decision—one she knew would be met with an eye roll for the ages—to begin a four-year law apprenticeship, with the goal of taking the bar in 2022.

“I had to think long and hard about this,” she says, gleefully devouring chile con queso with chips now that her Vogue shoot is over. What inspired her to embark on something so overwhelmingly difficult and time-consuming—even as she also runs a multimillion-dollar beauty enterprise—was the combination of “seeing a really good result” with Alice Marie Johnson and feeling out of her depth. “The White House called me to advise to help change the system of clemency,” she says, “and I’m sitting in the Roosevelt Room with, like, a judge who had sentenced criminals and a lot of really powerful people and I just sat there, like, Oh, shit. I need to know more. I would say what I had to say, about the human side and why this is so unfair. But I had attorneys with me who could back that up with all the facts of the case.


. . . . 


To Kim’s sisters, it all makes a certain kind of sense. Both Kourtney and Khloé point out that when Kim was young, she was obsessed with court TV shows, as well as true-crime programming. Kim was also close to her father, Robert Kardashian, who died in 2003 and who famously was a member of O. J. Simpson’s defense team. “On the weekends they used our home as an office, with Johnnie Cochran and Bob Shapiro,” Kim says. “My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room, with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics.”

Kourtney thinks her sister is constitutionally lawyerly. “It’s because she seems to have all the answers or something,” she says. “Like she just kind of knows.”

. . . . 

Um, we'll see . . . .

Continue reading here.


April 10, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching Communication Skills in Transactional Simulations

Teaching Communication Skills in Transactional Simulations by Eric J. Gouvin, Katherine M. Koops, James E. Moliterno, Carol Morgan, & Carol Newman.


This Article describes the role of communication exercises in transactional law and skills education, and provides several examples of such exercises. After a discussion of fundamental differences between communication in the context of litigation and transactional law, the Article discusses exercises designed to improve written communication skills, including the use of e-mail, in the context of transactional law. It follows with a similar discussion of exercises focusing on oral communication skills, including listening, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and presentations. The Article concludes with examples of exercises combining oral and written communication skills in the context of simulated transactions.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 10, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Political Extremists Are More Like Each Other Than They Are Like Moderates

A new study has concluded that left and right political extremists are more psychologically similar to each other than they are to moderates. 

Psychological Features of Extreme Political Ideologies by Jan-Willem van Prooijen & APM Krouwel.


"In this article, we examine psychological features of extreme political ideologies. In what ways are political left- and right-wing extremists similar to one another and different from moderates? We propose and review four interrelated propositions that explain adherence to extreme political ideologies from a psychological perspective. We argue that (a) psychological distress stimulates adopting an extreme ideological outlook; (b) extreme ideologies are characterized by a relatively simplistic, black-and-white perception of the social world; (c) because of such mental simplicity, political extremists are overconfident in their judgments; and (d) political extremists are less tolerant of different groups and opinions than political moderates. In closing, we discuss how these psychological features of political extremists increase the likelihood of conflict among groups in society."


"To conclude, although there are important psychological differences between people with left-wing and people with right-wing ideologies, there are also substantial similarities between left- and right-wing extremists that differentiate them from political moderates. The features presented here provide a psychological perspective on political extremism and contribute to a more complete understanding of how political ideology predicts human cognition, emotion, and behavior."

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 8, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 6, 2019

So Ordered: The Techniques of Great Judicial Stylists by Jill Barton

So Ordered: The Techniques of Great Judicial Stylists by Jill Barton.


This article showcases and analyzes the writing techniques of the nation’s best judicial writers and describes six strategies that every legal writer should emulate. The article argues that while examples of unapproachable legal analysis abound, the goal of legal writing has always been plain language. James Madison called for concise, straightforward language when the founders were drafting the Constitution. And among the more recent calls, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner slashed a district court judge’s opinion from 3,237 words to 602. His chief reasons for the edits were that the opinion lacked focus, forethought, and editing. From the U.S. Supreme Court to the trial courts, the best judicial stylists today write more conversationally. They use contractions, sentence fragments, and consistently break other conventional grammar rules to make their prose more lively and informal. The article highlights the plain language and authoritative style that make judicial orders and opinions a pleasure to read — and a challenge to write.

(Scott Fruehwald)

April 6, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Call for authors - "Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions" to be published by Cambridge University Press

I'm posting this on behalf of Professors Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod (FIU) and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson (Nova):

Call for Authors - Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions


Deadline for Applying: Friday, April 26, 2019


The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentary on the rewritten opinions for an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions. This edited volume is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions in the United States. The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Cambridge University Press has approved a series of Feminist Judgments books. In 2017, Cambridge University Press published the tax volume titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions. Other volumes in the pipeline include rewritten trusts and estates opinions and rewritten family law opinions.


Property law volume editors Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson seek prospective authors and commentators for fifteen rewritten property opinions covering a range of topics. With the help of an advisory board of distinguished property law scholars, the editors have selected a list of cases that have not appeared in other Feminist Judgment volumes; potential authors are welcome to suggest opinions which do not appear on the list.


Proposals must be either to (1) rewrite a case opinion (subject to a 10,000-word limit) or (2) comment on a rewritten opinion (subject to a 4,000-word limit). Rewritten opinions may be re-imagined majority opinions, concurrences, or dissents. Authors of rewritten opinions will be bound by the law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision. Commentators should explain the original court decision, how the rewritten feminist opinion differs from the original decision, and the impact the rewritten feminist opinion might have made. The volume editors conceive of feminism as a broad movement and welcome proposals that bring into focus intersectional concerns beyond gender, such as race, class, disability, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and immigration status.


To apply, please email (1) a paragraph or two describing your area of expertise and your interest in this project; (2) your top two or three preferences from the list of cases below; and (3) whether you prefer to serve as an author of a rewritten opinion or an author of a commentary to a rewritten opinion. Please submit this information via email to the editors, Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson, at [email protected] and [email protected] by Friday, April 26, 2019. The Feminist Judgments Project and the Property book editors are committed to including authors from diverse backgrounds. If you feel an aspect of your personal identity is important to your participation, please feel free to include that in your expression of interest. The editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by Monday, May 13, 2019. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on Monday, September 16, 2019. First drafts of commentaries will be due on Monday, October 28, 2019.


Tentative List of Cases:


  1. Moore v. City of E. Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) (exclusionary zoning)
  2. Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013) (patents)
  3. Sawada v. Endo, 561 P.2d 1291 (Haw. 1977) (tenancy by the entireties)
  4. Gruen v. Gruen, 496 N.E.2d 869 (N.Y. 1986) (inter vivos gifts)
  5. Coggan v. Coggan, 239 So. 2d 17 (Fla. 1970) (ouster of co-tenant)
  6. Phillips Neighborhood Hous. Tr. v. Brown, 564 N.W.2d 573 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (lease termination for illegal activity)
  7. Taylor v. Canterbury, 92 P.3d 961 (Colo. 2004) (secret severance of joint tenancy)
  8. White v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., 971 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1992) (publicity rights)
  9. Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823) (Native American property rights)
  10. Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994) (exactions/eminent domain)
  11. Bartley v. Sweetser, 890 S.W.2d 250 (Ark. 1994) (premises liability)
  12. Tate v. Water Works & Sewer Bd. of City of Oxford, 217 So. 3d 906 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) (adverse possession and condemnation)
  13. Blake v. Stradford, 725 N.Y.S.2d 189 (Dist. Ct. 2001) (ejectment of domestic partner)
  14. Moore v. Regents of Univ. of California, 793 P.2d 479 (Cal. 1990) (property interest in one’s genetic material)
  15. Pocono Springs Civic Ass’n, Inc. v. MacKenzie, 667 A.2d 233 (Pa. Super. Ct.1995) (abandonment of real property)


April 3, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Does The Uniform Bar Exam Affect State-Specific Practice?

In recent years, many states have adopted the uniform bar exam.  However, this has had unintended consequences by affecting young lawyers preparedness for state-specific practice.

"Responding to anecdotal evidence that new lawyers don’t understand the rules for practicing in New York courts, the state bar association is announcing today that it’s creating a task force to study whether the adoption of the Uniform Bar Exam is responsible."  (here)

"At one time, 80 to 90 percent of students at some New York law schools would take a course in New York practice; some law schools say that number has declined to less than 20 percent."  (here)

(Scott Fruehwald)



April 3, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Attention law students! Here's a great opportunity to serve on the Editorial Board of the ABA Law Student Division

Looking for an opportunity to add a prestigious editorial board membership to your resume? Want to gain invaluable and marketable experience creating and editing content for the largest law student oriented legal publication? Would you like to work on a publication that reaches nearly every law student in the country?  Then this is your chance. The ABA Law Student Division has just opened up applications to join its editorial board which is responsible for publishing Student Lawyer Magazine as well a blog. Below is a list of qualifications to apply as well as a description of the duties and responsibilities involved. Continue to scroll down for a link to submit your application. But don't dally because the deadline closes April 16.

Job Requirements

Experience in journalism is a plus, and responsiveness and flexibility is essential. Ability to produce up to four original articles for various law student channels during the year is an absolute must. This role deals with tight magazine production deadlines, so members must be able to return phone or e-mails from the staff editor or ABA Law Student Division Council leadership within 24 hours.


  • Time commitment: 20 hours monthly
  • Selection Method: Up to 6 law students will be appointed appointed by the Division Chair, with input from the Delegate of Communications.
  • Term: One year (September 2019 – August 2020)
  • Membership Level: Must be a Premium Law Student Division member.*

Job Responsibilities

Members who are selected for the Editorial Board will collaborate with a group of top law students from across the country, working remotely. The Editorial Board is responsible for writing and editorial assignments for Student Lawyer and Before the Bar blog as agreed upon with the staff editor. In addition members may be asked to act as lead editors on individual Student Lawyer issues, or a themed series of posts for the blog. The magazine is published September through May (4 issues).

Editorial Board Member Duties Include:


  • Writing at least one article per issue of Student Lawyer magazine (published four times a year).
  • Producing at least four original articles for the magazine and/or blog. Students who cannot meet this minimal requirement need not apply.
  • Working with staff, Law Student Division Council, and fellow Board members to generate content and topic ideas.
  • Seeking out, reporting, and writing on Law Student Division news for the magazine and blog, and filing articles on deadline as established by the staff editor.
  • Reviewing magazine copy prior to publication and alerting the staff editor to any oversights or potential problems.
  • Assisting in judging of the Law Student Division’s law school newspaper contest.
  • Carrying out other minor assignments to assist the staff editor.
  • Follow and understand the current Law Student Division Bylaws.


All Editorial Board work and collaboration is done remotely. No travel is required for this role, and reimbursement is not available through the Division. However, attending Annual Meeting in August is strongly encouraged, and some schools may offer reimbursement.


To be certified as a candidate for Student Editor, an individual must be:

  • A law student attending an ABA-approved law school in good standing at law school (not on academic probation or suspension) during the academic year;
  • An ABA Law Student Division member for the current bar year by the filing deadline;
  • Premium Law Student Division member, or will become one upon appointment;
  • A law student attending law school during the entire academic year subsequent to June 1, 2019;
  • A law student who is in compliance with the submission deadlines and requirements.

>Apply Now

More details can be found here.


April 2, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)