Thursday, November 1, 2018
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:
- Georgia State
- Florida International
- Seton Hall
- Mississippi College
- Texas A&M
- Cleveland State
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.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday of the year. But living in Florida, I really miss all the sights and sounds of an old school Halloween in New England, where I grew up. In general, I miss Fall in New England.
It's 11:45 p.m. EST and I just got out of class. Another Halloween is almost gone. But before it completely disappears forever into ether of memory, an All Hallows' Eve tradition - A vintage clip of The Cramps from across the mists of time, performing "Garbage Man" in an old tyme graveyard. Ah, the memories of a misspent youth trudging out to The Channel in Boston where those ghouls from parts unknown were a perennial holiday treat. Happy Halloween everyone!
On page 22 of The Law Teacher (Spring 2017) we find the grid for a crossword puzzle entitled Legal Ease. The ensuing pages give us the clues, both “across” and “down.” On page 33, we find the solution (no peaking!)
The designer of the devilish puzzle is Ashley S. Lipson. You can access the puzzle here.
PreLaw Magazine has published a list of the top law schools for "legal technology" training which the publisher defines as schools that go beyond offering a "basic" menu of coursework addressing the intersection of law and technology, like intellectual property and patent law, but also offer courses addressing emerging technologies like crypto-currencies and blockchain. In creating its "Top 30" ranking of legal technology schools, preLaw graded each school based on the following criteria: 1. The breadth of each school's technology offerings; 2. the number and types of courses it offers; 3. whether the school has a technology oriented clinic, externship or lab; 4. whether it offers a certificate in "technology law" and/or an LL.M. program; and 5. whether the school has a technology oriented journal and/or technology oriented student groups. Based on that criteria, here is the magazine's list of "Top 30" schools:
1 Suffolk University
2 UC Berkeley School of Law
3 Arizona State University
4 Santa Clara Law
5 University of Colorado
6 Emory University School of Law
7 Brooklyn Law School
8 New York Law School
9 University of Miami
10 Fordham Law School
11 Harvard Law School
12 University of Minnesota
13 Notre Dame Law School
14 UC Hastings
15 University of Missouri - KC
16 University of Dayton
17 Washington University
18 Columbia Law School
19 Stanford Law School
20 Ohio State University
21 Chicago-Kent College of Law
22 John Marshall
23 NYU School of Law
24 University of Pennsylvania
25 University of Washington
26 Vanderbilt Law School
27 NKU Chase
28 Georgetown University
29 Loyola University New Orleans
30 Michigan State University
You can read the companion story describing some of these school's programs in more depth, as well as the ranking criteria used by the magazine, here.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
From Dr. Mary Campbell’s BarWriteGlobal (here):
Do not trust that what worked in law school will work on the bar exam. You must master every word of the key rules of law that a real lawyer should know. Now is your chance.
Do not skip making study schedules.
Never ever believe that to recognize something is to understand it. Just because you recognize the word does not mean that you understand and can apply the legal principle. Can you explain that rule to someone else? If not, then you don’t know it.
Do not aspire to know everything. To be successful on the exam, pick out the most important rules to know, learn them backwards and forwards, and learn how to apply them—well. You will have your hands full.
Do not trust that if you do only what your big commercial bar review course tells you to do, you’ll be all right. Wrong again. Don’t leave memorizing until the end just because that’s what your review course says. My veterans exploded. “They should be saying, ‘Memorize this rule!’”
Do not assume you know what the mechanics of the exam are: what it is, how it’s graded. Not a good idea. Find out what percentage of your score is the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), the essays, and whether there is an additional state test and, if so, what it is like. Pace your studying accordingly.
This essay originally appeared in slightly different form as a guest blog post on American Lawyer Media, June 24, 2015, on the blog “The Careerist,” edited and written by Vivia Chen.
From Better Homes & Gardens:
No other candy can match the creamy taste of candy corn, a sweet Halloween favorite for more than a century. Get the background on how candy corn came to be, discover fun candy corn facts, and learn all about how candy corn is made.
Plus, try our candy corn recipes and even some sweet Halloween decorating ideas that feature the striped treat.
Please click here.
Monday, October 29, 2018
The owners of a shuttered Gresham bakery fined by the state after refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple want to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lawyers for Aaron and Melissa Klein, the former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, filed a petition Monday asking the high court to overturn the state's order to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they turned away.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries imposed the damages in 2015 after finding the Kleins had violated state anti-discrimination law. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the order, and the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case earlier this year.
That leaves the U.S. Supreme Court as the final avenue of appeal, but the odds it will hear the case are long.
You can read more here at Oregon Live.
Here is the Table of Contents to my book How To Grow A Lawyer: A Guide for Law Schools, Law Professors, and Law Students (2018):
1. Teaching and Learning Theory 1
2. How to Become an Expert Law Teacher 19
3. Teaching Law Students How to Become Metacognitive Thinkers 53
4. The Growth Mindset and Motivating Students 87
5. The Details of Teaching and Learning 111
6. Using Bloom's Taxonomy 143
7. Developing Law Students' Professional Identities 163
8. Teaching Materials for 21st-Century Legal Education 195
App. I. The Major Elements of Legal Education Reform 203
App. II. Legal Reasoning and Problem-Solving Class for First-Years 207
You can download a sample chapter from SSRN.
This is a recent opinion piece from the New York Times making the case that teachers should rely on cognitive science to teach children how to read rather than popular, but debunked, theories like "whole language" which posits that learning to read is as innate an activity as language acquisition itself (it isn't).
Teacher preparation programs continue to ignore the sound science behind how people become readers.
Our children aren’t being taught to read in ways that line up with what scientists have discovered about how people actually learn.
It’s a problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.
How do we know that a big part of the problem is how children are being taught? Because reading researchers have done studies in classrooms and clinics, and they’ve shown over and over that virtually all kids can learn to read — if they’re taught with approaches that use what scientists have discovered about how the brain does the work of reading. But many teachers don’t know this science.
What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.
. . . .
Continue reading here.
Sunday, October 28, 2018
This finding comes from a recent Yale study:
Women seeking jobs often have to overcome the conscious or unconscious gender bias of those doing the hiring, many studies have shown. But women job-seekers also must overcome another hurdle: Gatekeepers in charge of hiring are heavily influenced in their decisions by the biases of the employees the woman would work with, a new Yale-led study has found.
Andrea Vial, John Dovidio, and co-author Victoria Brescoll conducted several experiments asking a series of questions of subjects who played the role of “gatekeepers” charged with reviewing job applications of women and men. They found these gatekeepers, both men and women, tended to accommodate the biases of third parties because they feared that a woman would not get along well with those individuals — that hiring a woman would therefore disrupt workplace efficiency.
However, many of those gatekeepers later expressed guilt about their roles. “But it does mean that realizing diversity goals is a lot trickier than we thought,” Vial said.
You can read more here.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
That’s according to Sallie Mae:
Family income and savings covered nearly half (47 percent) of all college expenses last year, according to “How America Pays for College 2018,” the national study from Sallie Mae — the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company — and Ipsos, an independent global market research company. The annual research report examines how families pay for college, how much they spent, and how they made their funding decisions. The average amount spent on college in 2017-18 was $26,458.
Three quarters of college funds came from sources other than student loans. Nearly half of college costs, 47 percent, were paid out of pocket with parents’ and students’ income and savings. Scholarships and grants paid 28 percent of college costs, and loans covered 24 percent of college costs. Extended family and friends paid an additional 2 percent of college costs.
Of course, our students also pay the expense of law school.
You can read more here.
This is a new article by Professor Danielle R. Cover (Wyoming) that discusses the notion that if trial attorneys see jurors through the lens of adult learning theory, it may enhance their ability to effectively persuade them. Professor Cover's article is called Of Courtrooms & Classrooms and can be found at 27 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 291 (2018). From the introduction:
Trial planning and preparation focus on the creation of a story the fact-finder can follow throughout the course of the trial. Storytelling and narrative are essential to capturing the fact finders' attention and ultimately convincing them that one side should prevail over the other. Trial presentation through storytelling is about persuasion--it is the essence of the trial process to persuade the fact-finder which party should win. Done well, the story an attorney tells over the course of the trial draws the juror in, helps her to understand the client, and convinces her to decide in the client's favor. Yet, even with the benefit of compellingly told stories, a courtroom can be an inherently challenging environment for a jury-- the days can be long and filled with unfamiliar concepts and emotionally draining details. In the face of such considerations, trial attorneys must find ways to influence how a juror hears and accepts the information presented over the course of a trial.Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, comprehensive juror studies debunked the philosophical ideal that juries are unbiased, neutral decision-makers. Not surprisingly, the research demonstrated that jurors bear the same characteristics as the general population. Not only do jurors have the same capacity for listening and comprehending new information as their neighbors on the street, they also color their decision-making with their own experiences, beliefs, and biases.In the same way that jurors reflect the characteristics of the general population, they also bear striking similarities to learners in traditional lecture-based teaching environments. Broadly conceived, the juror experience looks very much like a classroom learning experience. Teachers, in the form of lawyers and judges, present carefully prepared information through witnesses and other evidence to influence perception, create empathy, and impact the eventual outcome of the jurors' understanding of the case. The courtroom experience is a mirror of a classroom community, where in the microcosm of a specific listening environment there are shared moments of learning filtered by individual beliefs, biases, and backgrounds.This Paper argues that if trial practitioners view jurors from the perspective of adult learners, not simply passive listeners, attorneys may be able to increase the persuasive value of their message. Part I introduces the reader to andragogical theory as a teaching and learning theory. Part II draws the parallels between a courtroom during a jury trial and the more traditional lecture-based classroom. Part III provides a brief discussion of the similarities and differences between jurors and students in a classroom setting. This section illustrates the connection between the similar traits and similar responsibilities of students and jurors in their respective learning environments. Part IV does the same for the lawyer and the classroom teacher. Finally, Part V initiates the discussion of how persuasion in a trial-based setting can be served by approaching the courtroom like a classroom. This section introduces Jack Mezirow's theory of the disorienting moment and discusses how attorneys might use the disorienting moment to incorporate some andragogical principles into trial planning.
Throughout, this Paper offers a framework for systematically exploring how adult learning theory might influence trial practice. Attorneys who approach their trial preparation from an adult learning perspective may be able to create more desirable and understandable learning experiences that could affect how a jury decides a case.
Friday, October 26, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
R. Lisle Baker (Suffolk), Designing a Positive Psychology Course for Lawyers
"Legal education is slowly beginning to include not only education in critical thinking and legal knowledge, but also education in complementary qualities of personal conduct and early professional formation. Positive psychology, with its emphasis on the evidence-based study of how people can thrive, not just be treated for mental illness or emotional difficulty, can aid these additional educational objectives. This Article examines some of the ongoing pedagogical choices involved in creating a law school course on positive psychology oriented around experiential student learning. Highlighted are a few key insights from the field, including resilience, character strengths, positive values, and enhanced relationships with other people. While only an introduction, this course is designed to help law students become sufficiently grounded in these insights and others from positive psychology to continue their education after law school. Because the course is experimental, the hope is that it will lay the foundation for initiatives by other law professors to make the application of positive psychology more broadly available to law students in general. "
Roger Williams University School of Law seeking to hire clinical prof to teach in its corporate counsel and governmental externship program
Here are the details, folks:
ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW in Bristol, Rhode Island, invites applications for the position of Clinical Professor of Law to begin in the summer of 2019. This is a full-time non-tenure track position leading to the possibility of a presumptively renewable multi-year appointment. Depending on experience, the individual will be hired as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law or as an Associate Clinical Professor of Law.
The person hired will be responsible for directing and teaching the Corporate Counsel Clinical Externship Program and for creating, directing and teaching a new Government Clinical Externship Program that will combine some of our previously existing programs. The person hired will also be expected to direct and teach a summer section that incorporates one or more of our Clinical Externship Programs. Applicants must have a J.D. and must have significant experience as a practicing lawyer, preferably with experience in supervising law students. Clinical and/or externship teaching experience is preferred. Salary is negotiable depending upon qualifications and experience.
The School of Law welcomes and encourages applications from women, members of minority groups, and others whose background may further diversify the intellectual community at the School of Law.
To apply, please submit your application and supplemental materials by November 15, 2018, at https://rwu.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=103914. Application materials must include a resume or curriculum vitae, a cover letter, evidence of past teaching success (if applicable), and contact information for at least three professional references (name, telephone number and email address). References will not be contacted until advanced stages of screening and candidates will receive prior notification. For further information regarding application procedures, please contact Andrew Horwitz, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, at email@example.com. For more general information about the School of Law, please visit our website: https://law.rwu.edu.
Roger Williams University School of Law is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability.
EBay filed a lawsuit against Amazon in Santa Clara County, California, on Wednesday, accusing the company of orchestrating a scheme to steal its biggest sellers.
Amazon instructed employees to create fake eBay accounts and reach out to eBay sellers, using eBay’s messaging system, asking them if they’d like to sell on Amazon.
Some Amazon employees allegedly created multiple eBay accounts with this aim, using them to send dozens of introductory messages like, as excerpted in the suit:
“I am part of what you would call a hunter/recruiter team which actively searches for sellers we believe can do well on the platform”; “I work for Amazon and we are trying t0 recruit a couple sellers”; and “I work for a small team here at Amazon that recruits a finite number of high-potential sellers.”
This, eBay argues, is in violation of its user agreement, which states: “We encourage open communication between our members but we don’t allow our members to use these options to send spam, offers to buy or sell off eBay, threats, profanity, or hate speech.”
The company is demanding, from Amazon, “monetary relief” to cover damages, as well as restitution of Amazon’s “unlawful proceeds” (which requires a look at Amazon’s sales and revenue records for all of the sellers it allegedly poached), punitive damages “as may be awarded at trial,” attorney’s fees, and interest on all of that.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says she has been diagnosed with dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease, and is stepping away from public activities.
The 88-year-old O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, said in an open letter released by the court Oct. 23 that doctors diagnosed her “some time ago” with the beginning stages of dementia.
“As this condition has progressed, I am no longer able to participate in public life,” she wrote. “Since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts.”
You can read more here.
New lawyers in search of career advice may want to check out the "Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks" newsletter
Author of the wildly popular legal career advice book Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: The Essential Guide to Thriving as a New Lawyer Grover Cleveland (yes, that's his real name) has been a good friend to the Legal Skills Prof Blog over the years. Yet I only just discovered that he's also got a quarterly newsletter that dispenses sage advice on career development issues for new lawyers and soon-to-be new lawyers. The best part is that it's free! The Q3 edition of Grover's newsletter features a short piece on the importance of racking up serious facetime at work in order to build strong interpersonal relationships despite the fact that a lot of legal work today, as well as professional networking, can be done remotely via technology. Check out Grover's newsletter here and the Lessons for Baby Sharks website here.
Tuesday, October 23, 2018
At SSRN, Professors Susan McMahon and Sonya Bonneau have published their chapter on analogical reasoning from their new book, Legal Writing in Context. Since analogical reasoning is at the heart of so much legal analysis and persuasion, a thorough, student-friendly, well-written chapter on the subject is a boon to us all.
You can access the chapter here.
Monday, October 22, 2018
Can London cabbies wear T shirts? Can members of Parliament wear suits of armor? In France, can you marry a deceased groom? (no, no, and yes).
The October 2018 issue of the Washington Lawyer offers a collection of quirky laws. You can access them here.