Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Angsting about Angsting

So ... I entered a piece in the law review submission free-for-all.  It has caused me to reflect further on this system that generally causes academic jaws to drop in every other discipline when you describe it. Being at this stage of my career (see Further Reflections on the End of Ambition) where placements tend to be a matter of bucket list check-off and pure ego, my heart really does go out to those whose angst is related to getting or retaining a job. I thought "ctr" (the Appointments Chair at a T50 school) offered some wise counsel in the comments, consistent with the data, about not getting too hung up on the relative rankings of the schools in which you place your pieces.

I do not discount the angst.  I recently went through the five stages of law review submission grief.

Denial:  [Imagine thought balloon if this were a cartoon] "Oh wow, I've been called now by the fourth different Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review that Has Never Published Anything Written by Anybody Who Has Ever Been on Our Faculty to do a peer review of a submission.  I must be thought of as having scholarly chops well above the station otherwise indicated by the faculty letterhead on which I am obliged to submit my own work."

Bargaining:  "Dear Senior Articles Editor for Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review that Has Never Published Anything Written by Anybody Who Has Ever Been on Our Faculty:  I was flattered when you asked me several months ago to be an unpaid peer reviewer for the article submitted by [deleted] and was happy to turn around thoughtful comments in fewer than 24 hours because you were on an expedite deadline.  I did point out at the time the irony of your calling me for a review when all of my submissions to your journal have been rejected within hours, if not minutes, of their submission. Nevertheless, I did do it for you in the appointed time.  As you may recall, you commented on my comments as 'fascinating,' 'insightful,' and 'extremely helpful to our board's consideration.'  I now have a new piece ready for submission, and am willing to give it to you for an exclusive review for two weeks."

Depression:  "Dear Professor:  Thank you for submitting your article to the Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review.  Even though I found it fascinating and insightful, I am afraid that we will not be able to consider it for inclusion.  We wish you the best of luck in your placement of the article.  We hope, however, that you consider the Very Highly Ranked Flagship Law Review for future submissions."

Anger:  "Ungrateful little shits."

Acceptance:  American Samoa Journal of Bible Studies and Blockchain Technology.

[I promise more serious advice in a future post.]

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 16, 2018 at 10:45 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hiring: University of Utah: Professor and Director of Clinical Programs

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is seeking a visionary leader to serve as Professor and Director of Clinical Programs beginning in the academic year 2019-2020. This individual will join the College as a full-time tenure-line or career-line faculty member. Rank and compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Tenure-line candidates would be expected to satisfy the same standards for research, teaching, and service as other tenure-line faculty members. Relevant qualifications may include a record of success or potential as a clinical director, clinical instructor, or law professor, excellence in academics or practice, or strong scholarly distinction or promise in any relevant field.

In addition to fulfilling the responsibilities of a faculty member, the Director of Clinical Programs will be responsible for supervising and developing the structure and support for our clinical programs. In recent years, the College has been ranked second nationally in offering clinical opportunities per student (2014), sixth in public service (2016), and fifteenth in practical training (2018). By drawing on in-house clinics, clinical courses, and an extensive program of field placements, we offer clinical opportunities in an exceptionally wide range of practice areas. Over 90% of our students participate in our clinical programs, and we significantly exceed the national averages of clinical and pro bono service hours per student. The Director will lead our Clinical Programs into the next era of legal education and training. The Director will engage with the administration and faculty in strategic planning, including the pursuit of innovations in the structure and content of our clinical programs.  The Director will be responsible for teaching experiential courses, mentoring other faculty assigned to teach experiential courses, overseeing staff, advising students, and promoting the College’s clinical and pro bono service programs on a local, national, and international level.

The University of Utah is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and educator. Minorities, women, veterans, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified veterans. Reasonable disability accommodations will be provided with adequate notice. For additional information about the University’s commitment to equal opportunity and access see: http://www.utah.edu/nondiscrimination/. Applications must be submitted to: http://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/79919.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 15, 2018 at 08:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

An interesting pedagogical observation

I have an an opportunity for an interesting pedagogical experiment this semester. My 15-person Fed Courts class has 4 men and 11 women, an unusual imbalance even for a school like FIU that has more women than men. I am curious to see whether men nevertheless dominate the conversation. The four men seemed quicker to volunteer during the first class. It will be interesting to see how it plays out over the semester. I also must be conscious of waiting for hands to go up and ensuring some balance between raw numbers and hesitancy. There are panels in the class, so that will mix things up somewhat. Still, it will be interesting to watch a strange balance play out.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 14, 2018 at 10:40 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Boardroom scene in "Succession"

A question for the Corp/Bus Orgs folks out there: What did people think of the boardroom scene in Episode 6 of Succession, showing a motion for a vote of no confidence against the CEO* and the rules of order and machinations going before and after it. Worth showing in class as an example of corporate governance and democracy?

[*] Purportedly based on the real-life move against Michael Eisner at Disney.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2018 at 02:53 PM in Culture, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Failure, It Turns Out, is an Option, and a Pretty Good One Sometimes

Image.ashxIn my last post, I promised to talk about fear not just in the horse but in the rider.  The point, of course, has to do with the relationship of fear to learning. Kaci Bishop's (North Carolina) recently posted article, Framing Failure in the Legal Classroom, provides a nice segue.  (H/T Paul Caron.) Failing, at least in the micro, is learning, and I agree with Professor Bishop's bottom line that academic and practicing lawyers tend not to be very good at connecting the subject and the predicate in those three words.

I have four very vivid memories of the subject of failure - in the abstract - coming up during my education and career.  I'm paraphrasing most of it.  The first was when I watched the moot court competition finals at Stanford.  The esteemed federal Third Circuit judge A. Leon Higginbotham was a member of the panel.  During the post-argument comments, he said something like "a well-prepared advocate can never lose; the client may not win, but the advocate never loses."  The second was when I was interviewing for my first job out of law school (the Dykema firm in Detroit).  One of the litigation partners said to me, "One of the things we have to do here is train people how to lose."  The third was when I left the firm to join the law department at what was then AlliedSignal (now Honeywell). One of the recruiting documents I received was the 1991 annual report, which contained CEO Larry Bossidy's first letter to shareholders (he had just come over from General Electric where he was second in command to Jack Welch).  The piece I remember most was about leadership and it went like this:  "Of course there will always have to be leaders who make the final decision, but the tyrant in the corner office, the guy with all the answers, need not apply here." (This much appealed to me because, in 13+ years at the law firm, both as associate and partner, I rarely felt that I had any answers to much of anything.)  The last was an interview with Steve Kerr, who had just been installed as GE's first Chief Learning Officer, on the tension between failure and Jack Welch's famous (or infamous) "stretch goals": namely, that if you set ambitious goals for people, you can't punish them if they fail to meet them.

At the risk of TMI, I'm sixty-four years old and still have the standard dreams about failure - for example, the one about missing the entire semester of a math class that met early on Tuesday mornings and now having to take the final.  I started as a litigator, and it became clear that it was easier to give Judge Higginbotham's advice (particularly if you were the judge) than to take it.  I took losing very personally.  Looking back, and then considering what I internalized as failure even in the deal-making or business context, I see it as an illusion (or delusion) of one's own ability to control circumstances.  You can't eliminate the fear; you have to learn to cabin it or manage it (and I think that is one of the points Professor Bishop is making).

I had a couple reactions that I'll talk about after the break.

First, I do agree that failing, in the micro sense, is integral to learning.  I also think that Professor Bishop is correct in incorporating Carol Dweck's distinction between the fixed and the growth mindset.  As I interpret it, it's the difference in the affective orientation to learning that precedes any learning.  If you want to learn, you learn.  If you don't want to learn, you don't.  The fixed mindset is one that has given up on learning; the growth mindset invites it.

Second, Professor Bishop mentions classroom "failures" (i.e. that "law students have as a primary goal not embarrassing themselves in the classroom") but doesn't center her arguments on what I think is a particular aspect of law school culture: the difference between private failure and public failure.  The fear of public failure is what I recall most vividly from the very first class on the very first day of law school forty-two years ago.  It wasn't so much that I read the first case in the Dawson & Harvey contracts casebook (Groves v. John Wunder & Co.) and was mystified; it was that from the opening bell others in my 25-student small section appeared to understand it so well (yes, Robert Weisberg and Douglas Baird, I'm talking to you).

Dealing with public failure if you run a moderately interactive law school classroom is a challenge.  It is hard to be nurturing when a significant aspect of the job is the theatrics of it all.  If you believe in the non-paternalistic classroom, then you ought also to believe that your job as professor is to make the experience more compelling than what is available by way of internet, text, or Angry Birds. Nor is it easy.  Some things students say or ask in class are misplaced or wrong or distractions.  For each student that you try to accommodate gently, there's another one thinking you should have been more brutal.

My quibble, if I have one, with Professor Bishop's piece is that her focus on mindset is confined solely to that of the student.  Just as psychoanalysts need to experience their own analysis to be able to guide anybody else, I don't see how there's going to be much change in the classroom if the fixed mindset is in the mind that is behind the podium.  Over the years, one of the ways I have tried to put myself in the position of a fearful student has been to make myself learn in environments that are not my natural habitat.  The three things I've tried to pick up over the last ten years are playing the piano (I never learned to play any musical instrument) and two athletic endeavors.

All my piano failures are private and relatively trivial, ego-wise.  Not so the athletics.  To put it bluntly, I think I'm pretty agile mentally, but I really, really suck as an athlete.  My joke over the years is that I engage in athletic endeavors (golf, for example) for the massive doses of humility I get.  I think, more seriously, that the activities I've selected in the last couple years force me to confront not only fear of failure, but physical fear, and, more importantly, the delusion of control.  When you ride a horse in an indoor ring with other riders present, you are dealing with a thousand pound sentient being with a point of view, and one that often is not aligned with your own.  Several years ago I decided to start taking fencing lessons (epee).  I'm really bad.  And your opponent is waving a long thin sword around, trying to jab you with it.  Even with all the equipment, it can hurt.  Every one of my opponents' touches is a public failure, but also a learning experience.  Particularly when the opponent is a thirteen year old young woman who wins 10-2.  It's really hard to learn when you are afraid!

Even with all of this, the performance art of teaching law students causes me, unfortunately, to get in touch more often than I should with my inner smart ass and outer stand up comic. (One only need look at some of the things some students say about me in their evaluations to know that I am no paragon of virtue when it comes to making students comfortable with "failure" in class discussion.) Fear has to have its source in evolutionarily adaptive instincts that get housed deep, deep in the reptilian and pre-reptilian parts of our brains.  And, of course, what we are doing in class is the polar opposite. As the Carnegie Report observed,“[a]t a deep, largely uncritical level, the students come to understand the law as a formal and rational system, however much its doctrines and rules may diverge from the common sense understandings of the lay person.”  They are doing that because that is what we are teaching them to do!

I should conclude by observing that, contrary to some popular memes, the vast majority of law professors I've met in the last fourteen years care very deeply about the quality and effectiveness of their teaching.  Wanting to be better, wanting to learn, comes from the inside.  And there are external sources of fear.  Before tenure, there are student evaluations and classroom visits from tenured faculty that bear significantly on your career.  Even after tenure, getting lousy evaluations is like being criticized as a corporate board member from the shareholder activists.  It may not make a lot of difference, but it doesn't feel very good.

Perhaps the lesson from Professor Bishop's piece, at least for me, is to think about the failures that occur from my side of the podium.  One of those might be the failure to heed at least two tenets of Kant's Categorical Imperative: (a) to act in every instance in way that you would legislate the rule of your action as a universal rule (for you aspiring legal philosophers, the source of Rawls's "veil of ignorance" as the basis for justice), and (b) to see every other person as an end rather than a means.  To return to a theme of an earlier post, think about what that says about cold-calling on one student as a means of teaching another student!

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 10, 2018 at 09:09 AM in Article Spotlight, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The First Day of Class - A Horse's Perspective

Buck_poster2During the summers, I usually spend a lot more time around horses and dogs than I do around students (or any people, for that matter).  I climbed on the back of a horse for the very first time almost to the day nine years ago at age 55, and life was never quite the same thereafter.  And about a month ago, I became responsible up here in Michigan for the care and feeding of a Half-Arabian - the other half is Hackney - with the barn name Markie (registered name: EQL Mark of Mine), below right.  (You can see the riding equivalent to a law student's first moot court oral argument here.  Last year, after eight years of coaching, I got up the guts to do what is known as a schooling show. It demonstrates the reason for my own barn name - "Tighty Whitey".  As I suppose often happens, my partner Markie saved my bacon.  Here we are a year later and a little less tighty.)

About this time of year, probably because of the impending transition back to the classroom and dealing with IMG_1934humans, it seems like I always go back to one of my favorite movies, Buck, about the horse trainer (and model for The Horse Whisperer) Buck Brannaman. I posted this several years ago on a blog called The Legal Whiteboard, but it doesn't exist anymore, so I'm resuscitating it here.

Five minutes into the movie, he's beginning a "colt starting" class, in which horse owners are learning how to get horses who've never been saddled, much less ridden, to accept the rider.  He narrates:  "Colt starting is always interesting because most of the youngsters never been saddled, never had anyone on their back, or a bit in their mouth, so there’s a lot of fear in both the horse and the human."  

Then the film cuts to his opening remarks to the owners who are themselves going to have to teach their horses:

“The way I do these colt classes, you guys, you’ll have to get ’em exposed to a lot of things that seem perfectly normal to you but it doesn’t seem normal to the horse.
“You walk up to ’em smelling like a Big Mac, you know, or somethin.’ Your diet is gonna make you smell different to the horse.
“And then you’re gonna tell the horse, ‘don’t worry, I want to crawl on you’ … in a similar posture to how a lion would attack and kill a horse. They jump right up in the middle of them and they reach their front claws around and as they’re biting down on their spine they’re cutting their throat with their claws. You’re asking the horse to let you be in that posture and crawl on him.
"And then about the time he says, ‘Alright, maybe,’ and then you say, ‘Oh one more thing. I want to strap some hides of other dead animals around you before I crawl on you.’
"Damn sure have to have some trust. He’s got to believe in you to let you do that. And amazingly enough, they’ll let you do it.”

I'm pretty sure there's a lesson there for all teachers, but particularly law professors facing a class of 1Ls on the first day.   More on the rider's (i.e. my own) fear to come.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 7, 2018 at 10:53 AM in Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 06, 2018

Two items on teaching law

Classes at FIU begin next Monday, so here are two items on what we teach.

Here are remarks by Max Stearns (Maryland, blogging at Blindspot) at a welcome event for incoming 1Ls at Maryland law. I pretty much agree with everything he suggests, with the small exception that study groups are not for everyone and I am more circumspect in recommending them.

Here is a summary (with video) of an interview by Justice Ginsburg for a Duke Law School event. One of her topics was recommending moot courts as part of legal education, both as a way to promote public understanding of the Court and a way to teach students to sharpen their arguments and positions. I do this as the end-of-semester projects in Civil Rights and Fed Courts, so I am glad to see recognition of its value.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 6, 2018 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Classroom Without Paternalism?

Slide1As my last post on cold-calling seemed to stir the pot, I'm going to close out the month by trying to do it again.  But this time without being a nattering nabob of negativism ($200 in Jeopardy! if you can identify the source of that line - answer below the break).  (As to cold-calling as a means of generating participation, by the way, I admire the alternatives suggested in Steven Baicker-McKee's subsequent "Flipping the Classroom" post.  I mean to try some of that.)

One of Douglas Levene's comments in the earlier post captures my own bias perfectly: "I figure they are all adults and will get out of the class what they put into it."

Indeed, one of my lines on the first day of class, as I am walking through my own expectations of classroom protocol is the following: "Nobody in this building will care more about and work harder at leading you to water than I will, but nobody will care less than I about whether you choose to drink." That usually comes right before or after I tell them I don't care where they sit, how they take notes, or whether they surf the internet during class.

To be clear, I am not suggesting this is the way I would run a primary or secondary school or even an undergrad class. But I do believe pretty firmly that once you are a graduate student bound, even if prospectively, to a code of ethics and disciplinary rules and within three or four years of licensure and accountability by way of grievance or malpractice, you have first to be accountable to yourself and not to your professors.  That includes deciding, in the face of the performance standards you don't control (like what counts toward getting a good grade), how you want to go about meeting the standards.  That was the source of my nattering negativity about cold-calling. I believe oral participation in a first-year contract law classroom (as opposed to a legal practice skills class) is a means to an end, not an end in itself, and something of a paternal imposition on my part if I demand it without consent.  My primary learning objectives are (a) how to translate real world narratives involving promises, commitments, and transactions into legal theories that produce legal consequences, and (b) how to use some of the rules within the contract law canon to achieve that.  (Foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds Disclaimer #1:  I start the year with on-call "panels" that tend to fade out over time.  Why bother at all?  I don't know.)

Below the break, some positive thoughts about running a moderately non-paternalistic class.  I will don my Kevlar "Jim Harbaugh khakis" and leave the comments open.

220px-Spiro_AgnewSeating charts.  Why bother?  There's a reason why Kingsfield is unrolling one at the beginning of The Paper Chase.  It's so he can know where the student on whom he wants to focus his attention is sitting.  If you don't really believe in cold-calling, then there is no reason at all to have one.  Or, worse, it's just a pure power play.  "I am the professor and can move wherever I want.  You are the student and have to sit where I tell you."

I much prefer Howard Katz's suggestion in the comments to the earlier post.  Our school issues the students name cards that even I can see when they are used up in the back row.  Now, in the early days, when I'm still using the on-call panels, it means I have to spend a minute before class begins scanning the room to find where the six or seven students are perched.  That gets pretty easy because, even without a mandatory seating chart, students tend to sit in the same place all semester.  Foolish Consistency Disclaimer #2:  Sometimes I will walk into class, not see very many name cards up, and announce that anybody without a name card showing is on call.  This usually has the effect of causing the name cards to go up.  I acknowledge, however, that this is my preference - wanting to know student names.  I suppose, taking anti-paternalism to its extreme, it's really up to the student to decide whether the student wants me to know his, her, or their name.  

Laptops.  I acknowledge, with some reservations, the controlled studies indicating that as to certain matters, the mean performance of a population of students who take handwritten notes exceeds, to a statistically significant extent, the mean performance of a population of students listening to the same material but taking notes on a computer.  Here are my reservations (with disclaimer that I am not an expert in the interpretation of statistical data - I have consulted with someone who knows a lot more about this than me and am waiting to hear back, so what follows could be wrong).  First, the studies do not show what I think is a problematic counter-factual - how would the specific student taking notes one way in the study perform if the student took notes the other way?  That is, the studies only speak to the average performance of populations, not to the impact of note-taking methodology on individual students.  Second, in my quick look at the studies, I cannot see whether there was any evaluation of the homo- or heteroscedacity of the data.  In other words, are the variances consistent across all sub-populations or do they vary?  Do better students vary less than poorer students when changing note-taking styles?

My real problem with laptop bans, however, is again the paternalism of it all.  I have not handwritten anything of passing importance in probably twenty-five years.  If bored students are going to surf the internet on their laptops, and I ban laptops, they can use their phone or their Apple watches to play games, text, disturb other nearby students, or otherwise ignore me.  Short of making the classroom door look like the security entrance at the airport, I think it's an illusion of control on the professor's part. (I am still waiting for laptop ban proponents to agree that they must deposit all electronic devices outside the faculty meeting room.)

I do do some things designed to encourage more thinking and less verbatim note-taking, whether by hand or keyboard.  All Power Point slides are available on Blackboard from the beginning of the year (or from when I create it if I make up a new one). I audio record all of my classes and make the recording available through a link Media Services creates on Blackboard.  I organize classes in units.  Upon the completion of each one, I post my class notes on Blackboard as well.  All of this is in the manner of "lead you to water."

Having thought this through as writing this post, however, I have decided to abandon my former "don't care if you drink" approach with disclosure regulation.  Starting this fall, it's going to be something like this:  "I don't care what your manner of note-taking is.  Be aware that there are studies showing that the mean performance of a population of students who take handwritten notes exceeds, to a statistically significant extent, the mean performance of a population of students listening to the same material but taking notes on a computer.  I do not know what that means for an individual student.  I know that I would prefer to take notes on a keyboard, but you need to make your own decision about what is best for you."

Verbal interaction.  I would agree that my classes tend to be more about what I have to say on a subject than what students have to say.  I pose questions to the class or even to individual students all the time.  I would agree with the Socraticists that I want each student in the class individually to be processing what the answer to the question should be.  My own experience as a student, again, recalling from many years ago, is that I tuned out most of the student responses, focused on my own working through of the problem, and waited to see what the professor had to say about it.  As a student, I certainly tuned out any student questions or comments that struck me as going far afield of the point being made.

I confess to not having a lot of patience merely to have students debate an issue capable of different outcomes depending on the rule applied or the manner in which a single rule gets applied.  My consistent point is that what makes non-trivial lawsuits non-trivial is that there is sufficient play in the fact situation to point the case toward one analogous prototype or another.  Hence my ubiquitous Venn diagrams of competing issues (the above picture on trying to figure out if a conditional promise creates a bargain or a gift being an example). Sometimes it takes one of those debates to demonstrate that play, but I don't believe that there are philosophically determinate answers in the Venn diagram overlap, so the debates quickly have diminishing pedagogical returns (at least in my view).

As I mentioned above, the "flipping the classroom" techniques look interesting as a way of promoting engagement without paternalism.

Evaluation.  I do a lot of evaluation.  All of the evaluation is completely open book and open note but must be completed individually (enforced solely by Honor Code commitment as to the quizzes). In first year contracts, there are eight units in the first semester and twelve in the second.  In Business Entity Fundamentals, there are nine units.  After each unit, I post an online multiple choice quiz that is generally due one week later.  So by the end of the year, the contracts students will have done 200 multiple choice questions and the BEF students close to that many.  There is an all-essay final at the end of each semester.  The quizzes count one-third of the total grade in each semester.  I design most of the quiz questions (particularly after the first couple quizzes) so that the student should be able to read the narrative and the call of the question and then think about what the essay answer would be before looking at the proffered answers and distractors.

The point is that I create all of the multiple choice and essay questions from my class notes.  Hence, students who don't engage (whether orally or otherwise) in what is going on in the classroom are at a distinct disadvantage.

Alright.  Kevlar khakis are on.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 1, 2018 at 10:15 AM in Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Law School Classroom Techniques: Myth- or Reality-Based?

IMG_0162My friend Hadar Aviram's post about cold-calling awakened me from my anti-dogmatic slumbers.  Trigger warning: this is a "just asking'" post about accepted wisdom among law school professors about what it means to do a good job in the classroom.

I teach contracts to 1Ls (I think that's me on the day I taught the Frigaliment "what is chicken?" case) and business organization law to upper-class students.  Usually, these subjects do not generate impassioned views as to which students feel compelled to speak.  In upper-level classes, I do not call on students at all.  In the Contracts class, I start the year with "on-call panels" but my willingness to call on students generally fades out by the eighth or ninth week of the first semester and never appears at all in the second semester.  (I also don't do seating charts.  I do like it when the students have their school-supplied name cards out in front of them.  And I do tend to learn the names of the students who volunteer.)

Here's my just askin' question.  Does student oral participation in class actually make a difference to a desired learning outcome?

Invariably, when I finally get the results of the blind grading, several of the top performers turn out to be students who never said a word.  I harken back to my own experience.  I was never a shrinking violet in class before I went to law school.  Indeed, I have been described in the past as something of a manic expressive.  My law school organized our first-year class into small sections of about twenty-five students each.  I recall vividly the first day of class - Contracts - having read the case of Groves v. John Wunder and having no clue about anything when I was done.  Two of my classmates went on to distinguished academic careers. They and a whole bunch more in the class seemed to know what they were talking about, and had opinions from day one.  I was sufficiently intimidated on the first day never to say a word unless called on, particularly in large classes, for the next three years.

My suspicion is that the relationship of oral participation in class - and the pedagogical methods that encourage or require it - to learning outcomes or post-graduation success is grounded more in myth than reality.  I suspect the myth originates in the conception of lawyers as barristers and the purported efficacy of the Socratic method.  I have a further suspicion that it gets further support from the tenure process. That is, if you are a pre-tenured professor and being observed for tenure committee evaluation purposes, the observer is going to have a much harder time determining if you are effective if the students don't say anything but are nevertheless thinking deeply.  The availability heuristic is at work.  Orally participating students constitute available information, whether or not it is information on which one can reliably reach a conclusion.

Stay tuned for my next contrarian rant on the subject of banning laptops in the classroom. 

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on July 26, 2018 at 03:09 PM in Life of Law Schools, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pragmatism and Compliance

One of the reasons I enjoy working in the compliance area is its pragmatism, which I think is reflected in two important ways. 

First, compliance is a pragmatic area of study for students.  I have seen this with both my actual compliance students and my research assistants.  For example, one of my former students went on to apply for a position with the SEC Student Honors Program and was eventually placed with the Office of the Whistleblower.  She emailed me shortly after starting the program to explain how she felt prepared for the placement, because we had covered the SEC whistleblower program during class.  Similarly, my summer research assistants often email me after on-campus interviewing to explain how their summer working for me was helpful to them during the process.  Because much of the “law” I rely upon is not available on Westlaw/Lexis, I tend to conduct specialized training for my research assistants where we cover what an enforcement action is and different methods of identifying and analyzing information that is not available in case law databases.  For those students who end up in a regulatory or white collar practice for the summer or after graduation, they tend to have a bit of a leg up on their counterparts who may have little to no awareness of these sorts of enforcement documents.

Second, compliance is an area that has huge applicability and ramifications for practicing attorneys.  I love that each of my projects tackles a concrete problem confronting practitioners and leaders within industry and attempts to help them sort through potential solutions or considerations they should take into account.  When I send out my reprints, I probably send about 20% to people in practice at law firms, in-house at corporations, or senior government officials.  To my delight, I often get a response back, which allows me to have informal conversations that help me get a better understanding of the challenges and struggles faced by those within industry.  These conversations almost always help me to sharpen my ideas.  And I am hopeful that these interactions will aid me when I eventually transition to some qualitative projects, which I plan to start working on in a couple years.

There are, of course, other ways in which working in the compliance space is pragmatic; just as there are other scholarly areas with similarly pragmatic attributes.  But the pragmatism—for both my students and my scholarship—associated with compliance work is one of the things I enjoy about working in the area.

Posted by Veronica Root on July 24, 2018 at 10:36 AM in Corporate, Criminal Law, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

University of Illinois-Chicago to acquire John Marshall

Brian Leiter reports. The idea of UIC taking over John Marshall has been in the air for years. My experience clerking in Philadelphia and teaching at FIU suggested the advantages enjoyed by an urban public law school attached to a non-flagship university. FIU is a lot like UIC--urban, majority-minority, many first-generation students. And there is an opportunity to attract good students  who want to pay lower public tuition while staying in the city rather than moving to the non-urban flagship state university.

This could be interesting to watch.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 19, 2018 at 10:46 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Now (or soon to be) in Paperback: Beyond Legal Reasoning: A Critique of Pure Lawyering

9781138221307A brief pause for a semi-commercial announcement.  Actually, if we consider the royalties to which I am entitled from Routledge after deducting the cost of a professional indexer, there's very little commercial about it from my standpoint.

Beyond Legal Reasoning: A Critique of Pure Lawyering first takes a granular look at "thinking like a lawyer" - its logic and theory-making - and then at the perils of succumbing to it when one is not in the traditional "lawyer as warrior" mode.  My original title, Unlearning How to Think Like A Lawyer, still lingers in various descriptions.

Apparently the law library market is price inelastic and the publisher waits eighteen months before putting out a paperback edition.  That is now available for pre-order (release date: Aug. 24) at a fraction of the hard cover price.

But ... most of us write to be read, not for the several hundred dollars of royalties that an academic book generates for the author (translating into cents per hour for the time creating it).  If you are interested in a free taste, the preface is available on SSRN.   Or the entire book is available for free at any of these fine libraries.

Or, after the break, you can watch the presentation from last April at the Harvard Law School's Center for the Legal Profession:

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on July 19, 2018 at 06:16 AM in Books, Deliberation and voices, Legal Theory, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Teaching Compliance

During bar study, July 4th is a big “you don’t have much time left” marker, and that is how I feel about the academic summer.  As soon as the fireworks have died down, I start thinking about teaching.  I love teaching.  I love teaching Contracts to 1Ls, in part, because it is hard to imagine a greater privilege than being able to help introduce the law to a brand new set of students.  But I also love teaching my Compliance course, because it allows the students to confront legal issues that are still being debated and determined.

Developing my Corporate Compliance & Ethics Seminar was both exciting and challenging.  At the time I started teaching it there was one compliance casebook (it is excellent), but I wanted to use a different set of materials for a seminar.  As many of you know, coming up with a set of materials for a course from scratch is time intensive, but it is also very rewarding, particularly when it overlaps with your scholarly interests. 

I decided to break my course up into modules and to use case studies as a vehicle for learning each concept covered.  Module I covers introductory materials like the Organizational Sentencing Guidelines, the importance of self-policing, as well as some background reading in behavioral ethics.  In Module II, we go through different actors within compliance efforts, like regulators, gatekeepers, and whistleblowers.  In Module III, we cover substantive compliance areas.  I have traditionally covered the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Antitrust, the False Claims Act, and Title IX.  In Module IV, I merge the theoretical concepts we have learned in class with some more practical concerns.  This latter module has changed each year I’ve taught it, with last year focusing on conflicts of interest and sanctions for compliance officers.  Finally, I weave in coverage of applicable Model Rules of Professional Conduct throughout the course.  

In other words, there is a whole lot of information crammed into a 14 week course, but it has generally been quite successful.  I use some classic exemplars for case studies—like Enron and Siemens—but I also use current events when I can.  For example, during last year’s whistleblowers class, I put together materials from the Wells Fargo scandal.  The mix of (i) case studies, (ii) theoretical background reading, and (iii) Model Rules has sparked intensive discussions about the role lawyers play within compliance efforts and where the boundaries should be when defining the scope of responsibility that lawyers should have for ensuring successful compliance programs are created and developed.  It is fun to teach, and the students seem to enjoy the concepts learned.  And because this is a class where the law is still quite dynamic, I’m looking forward to amending my antitrust and whistleblowers sections next week!

Posted by Veronica Root on July 13, 2018 at 08:27 AM in Corporate, Criminal Law, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Vaccine Safety Resources for Teaching and Litigation

 

Anyone teaching about public health and vaccines – whether in the context of a public health law class or a traditional health law class with a section on vaccines - could benefit from a quick introduction to the scientific issues surrounding vaccines, including potential claims about safety concerns. To make life easy for those seeking such information, the Vaccine Education Center of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (VEC) put together a collection of the strongest referenceson several commonly raised safety concerns. The collection was created through a collaboration between Dr. Stanley Plotkin, MD, Dr. Paul Offit, MD, and Dr.  Heather Bodenstab, PharmD.  

The logic behind the effort is that it is rarely possible to be familiar with all anti-vaccine arguments, especially since in today’s social media world claims change very fast, and few experts or professors can keep up with them. Similarly, an expert in evolution will not be familiar with all claims put forth by creationists, or an astronomer with flat earth claims. The library includes summaries of the most relevant, scientifically-based studies on each topic as well as links to a topical overview from elsewhere on the VEC website. It can help law professors be  prepared to address these common claims without requiring them to spend long hours tracking anti-vaccine claims and researching answers. It can also help lawyers and expert witnessesin cases related to vaccines, and could be of value to anyone interested in the science of vaccine safety.

 

Posted by Dorit Reiss on July 12, 2018 at 08:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 07, 2018

AALS Call for Papers: “New Voices in Legislation”

 

The AALS Section on Legislation & Law of the Political Process is pleased to announce that it will host a “New Voices in Legislation” program during the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  This works-in-progress program will bring together junior and senior scholars in the field of legislation for the purpose of providing the junior scholars with feedback and guidance on their draft articles.  Scholars whose papers are selected will present their work in small panel sessions.  A senior scholar will moderate each panel and lead discussion about the draft article.

Eligibility:  The New Voices Program will be open to full-time faculty members from AALS member schools who are untenured or have been tenured for two years or less.   All scholars, whether or not presenting a paper or moderating a discussion, are welcome to attend the program and participate in discussions.

Submission Requirements: Submissions should be drafts of articles relating to legislation and the law of the political process, including articles related to legislative structure, the legislative process, the budget process, statutory interpretation, and deliberation.  Submissions should be near completion and should not exceed 30,000 words, including footnotes.  The purpose of the program is to provide junior scholars with feedback that can be incorporated into their works-in-progress; as a result, articles are ineligible for the program if they are expected to be in print at the time of the program in January 2019.  However, articles that already have been submitted to journals for publication, and accepted for publication, are not ineligible for this reason.

Submission Process: To be considered for participation in the program, please email a copy of the paper and abstract to Anthony O’Rourke, [email protected], by Sunday, October 1, 2018.  Selected participants will be notified in early November 2018.  Final drafts of those who are selected must be submitted by December 15, 2018.

Senior Scholars: If you are interested is serving as a commentator for one of the junior papers, please contact Anthony O’Rourke, [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 7, 2018 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 02, 2018

Repost--Colorado Law Review Exclusive Submission beginning July 9

The Colorado Law Review is excited to announce its exclusive submission track for Volume 90. We welcome innovative and thoughtful submissions on any topic of legal interest and look forward to reading scholarship that presents solutions to today’s most challenging legal questions.

This exclusive submission track will remain open from Monday, July 9 to Sunday, July 15, 2018. All pieces submitted will then be reviewed by the Colorado Law Review’s complete article selection committee and publication decisions will be issued by Sunday, July 22, 2018.

In exchange for this expedited full board review, authors agree to withhold their work from submission to competing publications until decisions are released.  Additionally, authors agree to accept a binding publication offer if an offer is extended. All articles selected for publication will be published in the spring of 2019.

For consideration, please send all submissions in PDF format, including manuscript, CV, and cover letter, to Marisa Hazell, Executive Editor of the Colorado Law Review, at [email protected]. If you have already submitted your manuscript via Scholastica, we ask that you please resubmit your materials to the above email address before the July 15 deadline.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 2, 2018 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dean Search: Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law

From Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law:

Founded in 1893, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law has for 125 years provided service to students and the legal community throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and across the Ohio River to Cincinnati and its environs.  Chase is a jewel in the crown of Northern Kentucky University, with a history that predates that of the University.  Long known as the “The Lawyer’s School.”  Chase has served both traditional and non-traditional students throughout its history and in recent years has gained a strong reputation for the quality of its clinical and other experiential learning programs.

NKU and the Chase College of Law now seek a Dean to continue this tradition of success and service.  The Dean is the chief executive of the law school and serves on the leadership team of the University.  Leading a committed faculty and staff in service to a dedicated and hard-working student body, the Dean will be in a position to make significant contributions to the future of the institution.

The academic experience at Chase extends beyond the classroom and provides Chase students with the tools they need to be successful members of the bar.  Students have the opportunity for hands-on learning experiences in Chase’s clinics and numerous externship programs.  These placements provide students with first-hand, practical understanding of the law by trying real cases and working alongside local practitioners.  The knowledge and experience they gain supplements lessons learned from the casebook and the classroom.  Chase is optimally poised to build upon these offerings and thus to position itself and its graduates for the changing legal and business environment.

To lead Chase to a new and exciting future, its Dean must be an outstanding and inspiring leader of people and programs.  She or he will possess a J.D. degree and must demonstrate achievements in legal teaching and scholarship, or in legal practice and leadership commensurate with appointment as a professor in the College of Law.  Above all, he or she must express and uphold the strongest belief in academic values and the finest tradition of legal education, including a collaborative approach to leadership, a transparent and accessible personal style, and unquestioned personal and professional ethics.

The Dean must possess outstanding communications and relationship-building skills.  Previous experience as a successful fundraiser will be a decided advantage, as the Dean will provide leadership in developing financial support for the College of Law in order to ameliorate budgetary challenges.  The Dean will work with the faculty of the College of Law and the administration of the University to develop a plan to attract well-credentialed students from a shrinking applicant pool and to increase the bar passage success of recent graduates from the College of Law.  The College of Law is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community and the curriculum.  Candidates who can contribute to these goals are encouraged to apply and to identify their strengths and experiences in this area.      

Chase’s new Dean will join the institution at a time of great opportunity for change and growth.  The University has a new President committed to student success and community engagement.  Chase’s new Dean will have the opportunity to make a significant impact on this historic institution.

Review of applications will begin July 1, 2018, and recruitment will continue until the position is filled.  Confidential nominations and expressions of interest can be submitted to Professor Jack B. Harrison at [email protected].  Applications (including a cover letter and C.V.) should be submitted at http://jobs.nku.edu/postings/6884.  For best consideration, applications and nominations should be provided by August 15, 2018.

Confidential inquiries and questions concerning this search may be directed to Professor Jack B. Harrison.

It is Northern Kentucky University’s policy to ensure equal employment opportunity for all persons and to take the necessary actions needed to recruit, employ, train, promote, and retain qualified faculty and staff, including members of protected groups.  Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is defined as age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or genetic or veteran status, is prohibited. 

Any candidate offered this position will be required to complete a thorough pre-employment criminal background check as mandated by state law.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 16, 2018 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Colorado Law Review-Exclusive Submission

The Colorado Law Review is excited to announce its exclusive submission track for Volume 90. We welcome innovative and thoughtful submissions on any topic of legal interest and look forward to reading scholarship that presents solutions to today’s most challenging legal questions.

This exclusive submission track will remain open from Monday, July 9 to Sunday, July 15, 2018. All pieces submitted will then be reviewed by the Colorado Law Review’s complete article selection committee and publication decisions will be issued by Sunday, July 22, 2018.

In exchange for this expedited full board review, authors agree to withhold their work from submission to competing publications until decisions are released.  Additionally, authors agree to accept a binding publication offer if an offer is extended. All articles selected for publication will be published in the spring of 2019.

For consideration, please send all submissions in PDF format, including manuscript, CV, and cover letter, to Marisa Hazell, Executive Editor of the Colorado Law Review, at [email protected]. If you have already submitted your manuscript via Scholastica, we ask that you please resubmit your materials to the above email address before the July 15 deadline.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 14, 2018 at 04:51 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 01, 2018

Professors and political correctness

Neil Buchanan has an excellent post at Dorf on Law on how changing expectations around matters of race, sex, etc., affect how we teach, drawing connection to comedians on campus and on Roseanne's self-immolation. I will add a few points.

As professors, our focus is not on what we discuss in class but how we discuss it. While changing expectations require us to alter the tone we adopt on some subjects, addressing a touchy subject is unavoidable, either because students must learn the touchy material or because students must be able to see the material within sensitive or disturbing contexts. Neil's example is (I believe) a 1991 tax case from the Seventh Circuit, involving tax-evasion charges against twin sisters who accepted gifts from a wealthy older man. (I used the case as my Evidence final several years ago). The opinion delights in the salaciousness of the underlying facts and gets punny at times ("the relative scantiness of the record"). And Neil says that over the years he has pulled back from the sniggering tone the case allows, giving our better understanding of the possibly exploitative nature of the relationship involved in the case.

Importantly and appropriately, Neil does not argue that it is improper to teach the case (for the distinction between gift and income). Nor would I agree that it is improper to use the facts for an exam (for hearsay and the distinction between statements of intent of not-hearsay statements inferring consent).  This is the what, as opposed to the how. It is a good teaching case  and a good set of facts, even if dealt with in a sophomoric tone. It remains important for students to learn to deal with general issues and principles in troubling factual contexts.

To use another example. Several years ago, one assigned essay in Civ Pro involved an employment-discrimination case in which the plaintiff sought to compel the defendant to submit to having his genitals photographed to compare with the sext he allegedly sent the plaintiff. One students, who wanted to go into employment work, said she appreciated how the question pushed her out of her comfort zone. I did criticize one student for using the phrase "dick pic" in what was supposed to be a judicial opinion, which I thought reflected a lack of seriousness.

Even if we as professors change our presentation, the question remains whether the presentation in the assigned case becomes problematic over time and thus no loner usable. Is the relationship described in that Seventh Circuit case so toxic or presented in such a sniggering way that it should not be used, if some other vehicle is available to teach the gift/income distinction? This can be about a court's tone or language. Plyler v. Doe uses the phrase "illegal alien," which has drawn complaints in Con Law.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 1, 2018 at 05:59 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, May 31, 2018

CFP: Chicagoland Junior Scholars Works-in-Progress Conference

Northern Illinois University College of Law will host a Junior Scholars Works-in-Progress conference at Loyola University Chicago School of Law on Friday, October 5, 2018. This event will offer junior scholars (those who have spent 7 years or fewer as full-time professors) the opportunity to present their works-in-progress, get feedback from their colleagues, including senior faculty, and network with other scholars from the Chicago area and beyond. Articles may be presented in various stages of development.

If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference, please submit a working title and abstract of 200-300 words to LeAnn Baie (lbaie[at]niu.edu), no later than June 15, 2018, with final papers due no later than September 5, 2018. There is no registration fee for this conference. Meals will be provided.

Email Prof. Dan McConkie at [email protected]niu.edu with questions.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 31, 2018 at 05:16 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 28, 2018

RBG

I took my daughter and two of her friends to see RBG. It was pretty good, if not groundbreaking, and the girls (especially my daughter) enjoyed it. A few thoughts:

• The audience for the sold-out show appeared to be a mix of  families with tween girls and elderly Jewish women.

• The movie is less angry or snide in tone than the Notorious RBG. There was less of the "she's so cool, she's such a rockstar" that defines the book, although some of it remains. Because Ginsburg is interviewed extensively, the movie adopts a more serious tone. The movie depicts the positions opposite Ginsburg's (in cases such as Ledbetter, Bush, or Shelby County) as diverging from hers and incorrect. The  book ridicules those positions.

• The movie draws an explicit line between Thurgood Marshall and Ginsburg. Both made their reputations litigating civil rights cases and turned that into positions on the Court. And both spent part of their time on the Court writing dissents, particularly on the civil rights issues they had litigated. Posner argued that Marshall was a more influential lawyer than justice. I think we will remember Ginsburg as a more influential justice, given the more ideologically divided Court on which she has served and her leadership position on the Court since 2010, whereas Marshall worked in tandem with the more-senior and more-influential Justice Brennan for all but about one year on the Court.

• Speaking of ideology. The movie flashes two graphics showing the Court's ideological spectrum in 1993 (Ginsburg's first term) and 2005 (the first term with Roberts and Alito). In 1993, Ginsburg was fourth-most liberal Justice, with Stevens, Blackmun, and Souter to her left and Kennedy as the median Justice. In 2005, Ginsburg was second-most liberal, with only Stevens to her left. But that means she leapfrogged Souter ideologically. I wonder how they measured that.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 28, 2018 at 05:36 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Antony Page appoined dean at FIU

I am delighted that Antony Page (Indiana-Indianapolis/McKinney School of Law) is the new dean at FIU. Antony had been Vice Dean at IU for the past six years. His job here is going to be continuing recruiting great students while helping get the word out about what we are doing here.

The FIU press release is below.

MIAMI (May 23, 2018) — Antony Page has been named dean of the Florida International University College of Law. Page joins FIU Law from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, where he was vice dean and a professor of law.
 
“Today marks a significant moment in FIU’s history,” said Provost Kenneth G. Furton. “FIU Law is already a leader among Florida law schools, and Dean Page shares our enthusiasm for continuing its rise in the national rankings as well.”
 
Page is distinctively qualified to lead FIU Law into its next era of ascent among top American law schools. His tenure at McKinney followed years of public service, including as a diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service. As vice dean, he played a key role leading McKinney, from launching new graduate interdisciplinary programs to developing initiatives that improve access to legal education. He is also an acclaimed teacher and scholar in corporate law and related subject areas, with publications in high impact journals like the Michigan Law Review, Emory Law Journal, and Boston University Law Review.  His previous legal experience includes private practice as a transactional attorney in the London and Los Angeles offices of New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell and clerking for Judge Harry Lindley Hupp of the Central District of California and Judge Arthur Lawrence Alarcón of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
 
“I’m honored to be entrusted with leading FIU Law at this most important juncture for legal education,” said Page. “Significant transformations are taking place in the legal profession and FIU Law is developing a reputation as one of the country’s most forward-thinking law schools.”
 
Page will bring his ambitious vision to a law school that quickly is earning national acclaim. FIU Law graduates have finished number one on four of the past five Florida Bar Examinations. The College’s acceptance rate ranks 30th in the nation – and number one in Florida – according to U.S. News & World Report, and it was recently named the nation’s 17th Best Value Law School by The National Jurist
 
“We will maintain our student-centered focus, while also exploring new avenues to ensure that our students are prepared to thrive in a rapidly evolving profession,” said Page. “FIU is one of the world’s most globally minded universities, and it’s located in one of the nation’s most entrepreneurial and innovative cities.  We are ideally positioned to serve the legal profession and the community in Florida, the United States, and internationally.” 
 
Page’s term formally begins on July 30, 2018, but he is already beginning his first order of business: getting to know FIU Law’s students, faculty, alumni, and other stakeholders. “Our people are our greatest asset,” he said. “We’ll go as far as they will propel us.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 23, 2018 at 10:01 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Online JDs and legal education: might law schools disrupt themselves?

I confess I'm not a particular fan of the term "disruption" as used today, which seems to float everywhere by everyone who seeks to impress an audience when discussing technology (or, perhaps, when pitching it to investors or buyers). I use the term here some deliberate irony. Online legal education is growing, primary among master's degrees. But a recent proposal from the American Bar Association would offer greater opportunities for some online educational components in the traditional JD program. The Council moved ahead with plans to permit up to one-third of credits, and up to 10 credits in the first year, offered online.

So, with the advent and expansion of online legal education, might law schools actually disrupt... themselves? I thought I'd muse about what that might look like.

Typically, "disruption" is the idea of a new player dramatically changing how an existing enterprise operates: Netflix to home movies and cable, Uber to taxis, and so on.

Law schools are understandably clamoring for outlets to earn revenue. The dramatic spike in innovative non-JD degree offerings from law schools is a testament to that. (The value proposition of these degrees remains deeply underexamined.) Some of these are online degrees.

But the JD has remained a largely brick-and-mortar, in-person experience. Schools have done some things to innovate in this area, including broadening externship opportunities and field placements. They have even recently permitted students to receive academic credit for paid externships.

The recent innovation has been led by schools like Syracuse proposing a mostly-online JD, and Mitchell|Hamline (or its predecessor) has offered one for some time.

But existing schools would be building on infrastructure that is decidedly not optimized for online legal education. And they risk demonstrating how their costly existing model is--perhaps undermining their own JD programs in the process. That is, if students are attracted to a significant component of the JD online, what happens to the much more expensive in-person JD experience?

The online JD has significant cost advantages for schools (that, presumably, will offer the program at the same price as in-person courses). Once an asynchronous course in contracts or torts is recorded, it rarely has to be updated or altered. And once the course is "built," it becomes fairly easy to teach repeatedly.

To the extent there are such asynchronous course offers or lecture-based presentations, what's the purpose of that "old-fashioned" law school experience--showing up, sitting in classes, costly enterprises?

Of course, I think there's value in the Socratic method (requiring interactive Q&A), and occasionally small group discussions, and other live and interactive components. Online JDs would eschew all these elements--or, at least, convert them into online experiences when offered in synchronous courses.

It might be that some schools will survive by converting their models into online ones, with dramatically lower overhead and greater ability to scale. That is, as they vie for enrollment, online components might be a way of attracting a new cohort of students.

This isn't to say that online JDs are good or bad. It's simply to indicate they're different--in particular, cheaper for law schools to operate in the long run. And if they're cheaper, what might that do to legal education?

One is the price might drop for legal education, but that seems highly unlikely--recall, schools are built on the brick-and-mortar experience, and they're not winding down those high-priced operations anytime soon.

It might "normalize," in a way, the online JD experience, to the extent that matters to prospective law students. And that might pressure many other law schools to follow suit.

It might also incentive new law schools--built on a lower cost, lower tuition model--to pop up and perhaps undercut existing law schools. That is, law schools might disrupt themselves by creating partly online JDs, making them perfectly ordinary for prospective students, and incentivizing new schools to undercut them in price in the future.

Then again, we might see the signaling function of attending a brick-and-mortar institutions, or at least the institutions that have been around for a long time. Perhaps we'll see a strata of separation between those with the luxury of a costly in-person JD degree (with all the benefits of three years in a social setting physically with other students), and perhaps the future legal services market might reflect that.

It's worth emphasizing perhaps I'm overreading this. It's only a partially-online JD component; it requires school buy-in; it may be that for students externing or studying abroad or moving to a city to work and complete classes in their final year, that these online JD elements are simply convenient devices for schools. And online degree-seekers are recruited mostly locally, anyway; spend a few minutes reading SEC filings with online education companies to see why they develop relationships with so many geographically different universities.

I've offered enough (rampant) speculation about the potential future impact of online components of a JD. But all that is to say that the future impact of online JDs, even as components of a mostly in-person experience, turns mostly on what law schools do with them. If they supplement existing programs, it may have a very modest impact; if they seek to replace existing programs and attract new cohorts of students, they might dramatically alter the landscape of legal education in the next 30 years.

 

Posted by Derek Muller on May 22, 2018 at 11:58 AM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Open Letter from Jewish Law Professors Protesting the Treatment of Professor Katherine Franke

Katherine Franke (Columbia) was detained and denied entry by Israeli authorities earlier this month. The incident sparked a number of open letters objecting to her treatment. The letter, after the break, is from (some) Jewish law professors.

We, the undersigned, write to protest the refusal of the State of Israel to permit entry to Professor Katherine Franke of Columbia University Law School, along with Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Franke and Warren arrived to meet with Israeli and Palestinian colleagues. They were questioned for 14 hours before being sent back home without entry. As colleagues of Professor Franke, we know her as a serious scholar of gender, sexuality, civil rights, and human rights and as the author of one book, numerous well-regarded law review articles, and a second forthcoming book. She holds a chaired professorship at Columbia Law School, where she has also served as vice dean, and she has testified before congress and contributed to several edited volumes.

While much of her work has focused on gender equality and civil rights for African Americans, Professor Franke has been deeply engaged in and concerned about the status of Palestinians both within Israel and under the Israeli occupation. She has worked as a mentor to colleagues in human rights at Al Quds University in Jerusalem. Professor Franke had travelled to Israel as part of a civil rights delegation with the Center for Constitutional Rights and as an academic to meet with Columbia graduate students in Haifa and Ramallah and to meet with faculty at An-Najah University about a possible master’s program in human rights. She previously served as a member of the academic advisory council of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that supports elements of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Presumably, it is Professor Franke’s former affiliation with Jewish Voice for Peace and its position on BDS that led to her exclusion. The Knesset has passed a series of laws, most recently in 2017, directed against those who support a boycott, including those who support a boycott of settlement products in the occupied territories. In addition, and with the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Knesset has passed several bills in recent years limiting the right to open and free expression. While some of us agree with Professor Franke’s substantive views, and some of us do not, we are united in our serious concern at her recent exclusion from the country, and the growing trend to exclude visitors based on their viewpoint and beliefs. Denying entry to those with dissenting views is a worrying sign of the erosion of democratic foundations in Israel.

A critical measure of a society’s commitment to democracy lies in its willingness to tolerate political views at odds with those of the ruling regime. We have seen examples around the world, from Turkey to Hungary to Venezuela, of increasing intolerance for dissenting views—and for the very principles of liberal democracy. By its latest action against Katherine Franke and Vincent Warren, the Israeli government has registered its own indifference to the core values of democracy and a deeply concerning unwillingness to tolerate dissenting viewpoints. As Jewish law professors dedicated to democratic values and academic freedom, we call on our academic communities and our academic institutions to stand in support of Professor Franke and the principles which were violated by the denial of entry. We also call on the Israeli government to reconsider its recent steps and permit Katherine Franke and all those who support peaceful political dialogue and engagement to enter the country.

  1. Richard L. Abel, Connell Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor, UCLA Law School
  2. David Abraham, Professor of Law, University of Miami Law School
  3. Kathryn Abrams, Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
  4. Libby Adler, Professor of Law and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Northeastern University
  5. Erez Aloni, Assistant Professor, Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia
  6. Scott Altman, Virginia S. and Fred H. Bice Professor of Law, University of Southern California
  7. Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School
  8. Jon Bauer, Clinical Professor of Law and Richard D. Tulisano '69 Scholar in Human Rights, University of Connecticut School of Law
  9. Paul Schiff Berman, Walter S. Cox Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  10. Susanna Blumenthal, William Prosser Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Minnesota Law School
  11. Linda Bosniak, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School
  12. Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law School
  13. Brenda Cossman, Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  14. Anne C. Dailey, Evangeline Starr Professor of Law, University of Connecticut Law School
  15. Joshua Foa Dienstag, Professor of Political Science and Law, UCLA School of Law
  16. David R. Dow, Cullen Professor, University of Houston Law Center
  17. Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  18. Sam Erman, Associate Professor, USC Gould School of Law
  19. Catherine Fisk, Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law School
  20. Carole Goldberg, Jonathan D. Varat Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  21. Ariela Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, USC Gould School of Law
  22. Bruce Hay, Professor of Law, Harvard University
  23. Deborah Rosenfield Hensler, Judge John W. Ford Professor of Dispute Resolution, Stanford Law School
  24. Morton Horwitz, Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  25. Paul W. Kahn, Robert W. Winner Professor of Law and the Humanities, Yale Law School
  26. Hila Keren, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School
  27. Jeremy Kessler, Associate Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  28. Karl Klare, George J. & Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor, Northeastern University School of Law
  29. Diane Klein, Professor of Law, University of La Verne College of Law
  30. Pnina Lahav, Professor of Law and Law Alumni Scholar, Boston University School of Law
  31. Sanford Levinson, W. St. John Garwood and W. St. Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas Law School
  32. David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University Law Center
  33. Michael Meltsner, Northeastern University School of Law
  34. Naomi Mezey, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  35. Frank Michelman, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  36. Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean and David G. Price and Dallas P. Price Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  37. Samuel Moyn, Professor, Yale Law School
  38. Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  39. Darren Rosenblum, Professor, Pace Law School
  40. Tanina Rostain, Professor Georgetown Law Center
  41. Lawrence Sager, Alice Jane Drysdale Sheffield Regents Chair of Law, University of Texas
  42. Susan R. Schmeiser, Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law
  43. Hilary Schor, Professor of English, Comparative Literature, & Law, USC Gould School of Law
  44. Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  45. Amy Sepinwall, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  46. Peter M. Shane, Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
  47. Jed Shugerman, Professor of Law, Fordham Law School
  48. Dan Simon, Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law and Psychology, USC Gould School of Law
  49. Jonathan Simon, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law
  50. Joseph William Singer, Bussey Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  51. Abbe Smith, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  52. Brad Snyder, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  53. Clyde S. Spillenger, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  54. Carol Steiker, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  55. Beth Stephens, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers Law School
  56. Simon Stern, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toronto
  57. Nomi Stolzenberg, Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair in Law, USC Gould School of Law
  58. Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  59. Adam Winkler, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  60. Gideon Yaffe, Professor of Law & Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Yale Law School
  61. Jonathan Zasloff, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
  62. Noah Zatz, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 17, 2018 at 04:45 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (15)

Friday, May 11, 2018

On mixing academic and journalistic writing (Updated)

Olga Khazan at The Atlantic summarizes a new article by Austin Frakt, Aaron Carroll, Harold Pollack, and Keith Humphreys--all academics who write for newspapers, blogs, and other popular outlets--discussing the rewards and challenges of writing for popular journalistic outlets and audiences as an academic.

From my limited experience writing regularly here and at SCOTUSBlog and dabbling with op-eds in newspapers or magazines, it seems to me there are two issues--one is style/tone, the other is level of detail and support. The latter obviously decreases in these formats--writing 500-1000 words on a germinating idea that will get 20,000 in a full article means less detail and support. A blog post or opinion recap is not meant to be a full scholarly analysis. I find style/tone to be trickier--I assume readers here are law-trained, which I sometimes forget when writing for a different audience that is law-interested but not law-trained.

Update: I also agree with Frakt, et al. about speed, which is unnecessary for academic projects. I am a slow reader and processor, so the process of quickly turning around a report on an argument or opinion is painful for me. I also tend to rush when pressed for time and make bad grammatical mistakes or fail to provide the right links (as happened in this post--the link to Khazan's piece is fixed).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 11, 2018 at 02:20 PM in Blogging, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Because it's International *Shoe*

For the third straight year, most of my Civ Pro students completed extra-credit "creative projects," including video skits, parody songs, board games, poems, and crossword puzzles. I stole this idea from former GuestPrawf Josh Douglas and I love how it has caught on. Students know about it from year to year and they seem to have a good time with it.

Among my favorites this year was a series of buttons that one student made. One button read "Certain Minimum Contacts," then the rest contained a drawing of a different type of shoe bearing the name of one of the tests for purposeful availment ("stream of commerce," "Effects," "Seek to Serve," etc.). Pretty cool-I can wear the appropriate one to class when we cover each of the tests.

But until someone pointed it out to me today, I did not understand why the student drew shoes.

I need a vacation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 10, 2018 at 05:46 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

To Dismiss or Transfer a Mockingbird

My recently-administered-but-still-to-be-graded  Civ Pro exam was built around the lawsuit over the Aaron Sorkin-penned stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, including questions on personal jurisdiction. On Monday, as my students were taking the exam, the district court denied Rudin's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court concluded that there was purposeful availment given the contract with Lee (an Alabaman) and her ongoing influence over the script, along with the fact (downplayed in Rudin's brief) that Rudin pursued Lee in Alabama (through emails to Lee and her Alabama attorney) for some time to get her to enter into negotiations. But the court transferred the action to the Southern District of New York under § 1404, finding that the private interest factors (mainly the location of witnesses) favored New York and that Lee's choice of forum received less deference because of her inequitable action in suing rather than meeting with Rudin to discuss concerns with the script.

All of which became moot today, when the Estate and Rudin "amicably settled" the litigation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 10, 2018 at 05:28 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Teaching in Two-hour Blocks

For many years, before moving to UNLV this year, I taught Constitutional Law as a four-hour course in two, two-hour blocks. Two hours is a long time even with a ten-minute, mid-class break, so last year, I split the two hours. I taught the first hour before lunch and the second hour after lunch. And I think it went much better that way. It felt much more like two one-hour classes than one two-hour class.

I also used the lunch break to meet with students over lunch so we could talk about the course in a less formal setting.

Because I was teaching a required first-year course (second semester), we didn't have to worry about creating conflicts with too many other classes, as might be a problem with an upper-level course that crosses two scheduling blocks.

I'm now teaching the individual rights part of Constitutional Law as a three-credit course, so I can't continue my experiment. But I recommend it to others who find a two-hour stretch challenging.

(It's great to be back for a visit. Thanks very much for including me this month.)

Posted by David Orentlicher on May 10, 2018 at 02:33 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Lewis & Clark faculty statement on free expression

Jeff Schmitt argues that speech norms should be different in law schools, given the style and manner of legal education in compelling students to engage with disagreeable ideas. Jeff's argument is similar to Heather Gerken's argument, last summer, explaining why we had seen fewer disruptions and counter-protests in law schools. That was before Josh Blackman at CUNY and the protest/disruption of Christina Sommers at Lewis & Clark.

Last month, the L&C law faculty issued a unanimous statement that "pluralism, professionalism, and First Amendment values are all essential to our mission, and we as a faculty reaffirm our commitment to each." Worth a read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 2, 2018 at 08:49 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Policy questions on law school exams

I am methodical when it comes to grading my exams. I grade question by question, and often subpart by subpart, to maximize consistency of awarding points and to avoid biases from previous answers. On the first question, I'll move front to back through the stack; on the second, I'll pick a random spot in the stack, and I'll move from back to front; and I'll continue on this pace to avoid biases from recent scoring. If I offer a multiple choice component, I scrutinize the biserials and the reliability coefficient, going back over weaker questions and determining if I should throw any out.

Another thing I like to do is to scrutinize the correlation between exam parts, both the multiple choice across each essay (or subpart), or between essays (or subparts). If I get too granular, the data can get noisy, but it's a useful tool to make sure I'm grading consistently and that my questions are fairly consistent.

I've had mixed feelings about policy questions on exams. On the one hand, I fear they can turn into overly-subjective or rambling thoughts loosely related to the course. On the other hand, they can sometimes reflect a student's passion or zeal about the subject, including a deep grappling of elements of the course, that may not be apparent from the rest of the exam. I've come up with pretty good ways to grade these parts--include some clear calls in the question (pick two cases, etc.), require them to address certain elements, and award greater points for deeper analysis.

But each time I've done a policy question, I've noticed that the grading rarely lines up with remainder of the exam. If I have five essays, and one of them is a policy question, for instance, I'll notice fairly high correlations between each of the first four essays. But the correlations with any of the first four essays and the policy question will be almost nonexistent.

Back to two hands. On the one hand, this makes me extraordinarily nervous. Am I grading this element of the exam with less consistency? Are my directions unclear? (But, mostly follow the directions correctly.) Is the policy question simply too subjective? (Then again, I've gone back through answers and never found that a particular position taken earns more credit.)

On the other hand, it's usually the last essay, and some simply run out of time, which tends to make my last essay less reliable in the first place. But more importantly, the policy question is designedly doing something different from the rest of the exam. And that's the point... no? To reflect a different legal acumen than may be obvious from an issue-spotter of legal analysis? So, we might see others thrive differently on this component of the exam--particularly if they're passionate about some element of the course, or have truly thought through a great amount of the material in ways not reflected in the rest of the exam.

I'm sure others have thoughts... how have you approached the policy question? And are answers less consistent with the rest of the exam a sign the question is doing what it's designed to do, or a sign that it's a problem (and, as is often the case, rightly relegated to a slim part of the overall exam)?

Posted by Derek Muller on May 1, 2018 at 09:01 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Exclusive Submission: Dickinson Law Review, Volume 123

The Dickinson Law Review is now accepting exclusive submissions for Issue 1 of Volume 123. All articles submitted to the Law Review between now and May 11, 2018, at 11:59 PM Eastern Time will be evaluated and considered for publication by May 18, 2018. If you have previously submitted an article to the Dickinson Law Review, you must resubmit the article for consideration in this review.

By submitting an article via this exclusive submission track, the author agrees to accept an offer of publication, should one be extended. Articles that receive offers of publication will be published in Issue 1 of Volume 123.

To submit, please email your article manuscript in Microsoft Word format, along with your CV, to [email protected] Please title the subject line “2018 Exclusive Submission Track.”

Posted by Administrators on April 30, 2018 at 05:03 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

U Va Law bans non-students from library during exams

Story here (forwarded to me by a colleague with the subject line "Glad I'm Not a Dean"). Nothing wrong with that policy on the surface--many schools do that to ensure that law students have sufficient study space during the high-stress period. The potential problem is that the policy change was enacted in response to white-supremacist leader Jason Kessler using the library, which triggered a wave of protests, public forums, and demands for the school to take action. So what happens with a content-neutral policy enacted for blatantly viewpoint-discriminatory reasons?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 28, 2018 at 11:03 AM in First Amendment, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Stand in the place where you work

I began using a standing desk about five years ago, when my colleague Eric Carpenter joined the faculty from the military, where he used a standing desk. About 5-10 people now use standing desks, including one who bought herself a treadmill desk. I bought StandStand, a portable standing desk invented and crowd-funded by Luke Leafgren, a professor at Harvard.

This story reports on recent studies suggesting that the cognitive benefits gained from walking (which might explain why I pace when teaching) are gained by standing while at your desk. Maybe while keeping my classroom laptop-free, I should give students the option of standing in class.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 26, 2018 at 04:50 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Navigating accommodations and pedagogy

Like many on Prawfs and elsewhere, I've dabbled with laptop bans in the classroom. (For me, I'm deeply uncertain about what the "right" answer is and won't rehash those discussions here.) But I'm aware of situations where a professor has banned laptops only to receive a word from the accessibility services office that a student (or more than one) requires an accommodation--the ability to use a laptop.

And like many on Prawfs and elsewhere, I've wondered about whether I ought to record classes (e.g., to provide opportunities for students with legitimate reasons for absences to hear the material, and to allow students with long commutes to re-listen to class discussion) or not (e.g., to protect the privacy of students and maximize classroom candor, or to prevent incentivizing classroom absences). But I'm aware of situations where a professor has refused to record lectures only to receive a word from the accessibility services office that a student (or more than one) requires an accommodation--the ability to record lectures.

Gone are the days where accommodations were limited to things like time-and-a-half on the exam. A much deeper understanding of students' needs, coupled with much more sensitive university accessibility offices, has given rise to many more accommodations over those available even a decade ago. Some greater contemporary accommodations, like service animals, don't really have pedagogical impact.

But, at the same time, I can't help but start to wonder how to handle these accommodations in relation to pedagogy. If I allow laptops or record all lectures, then it's a moot point. But what if I want to ban laptops or if I don't want to record classes?

I think some of my concerns have been about how students might react. That is, they don't know which students have extended time or other exam-related accommodations because there's a level of privacy inherent in that process. But a student with a laptop in a class where everyone else can't use them stands out--in part, it may call attention to the student with an accommodation (an undesirable result, to be sure), or, in part, it might be a lack of student sensitivity to accommodations (which, perhaps, I or others could communicate more effectively). And a student who gets access to recordings is in the same boat--I have to tell the class that I'm recording the lectures (even though the students generally don't get access to them), but at least they can't single out the students with the accommodation, but the same lack of sensitivity is an issue. (Or, more crudely, a complaint that the system is "unfair" to them if they want to type or listen to recordings.)

So, my temptation might be to forego any kind of pedagogical decisionmaking and go with the path of least resistance--record, type, whatever you'd like. But that strikes me as suboptimal, especially if I'm convinced (and, I should note, I'm not totally convinced in any of these arenas) that I ought not do it.

Maybe there's a third way--working with the accessibility services offices to develop more nuanced accommodations that avoid these concerns: win-win or something like that. But I'm not sure those kinds of options would be available, and it would involve me second-guessing the decisions of professionals who've weighed student requests carefully.

So... I don't know. It's something I've been grappling with. Have any of you struggled with these issues? If so, have you reached any better resolutions than I have?

Posted by Derek Muller on April 25, 2018 at 12:53 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

What to cover and when

There is a connectedness among the pieces of the law-school curriculum, one that may have increased as we have expanded course offerings, eliminated required courses, decreased hours (at least in 1L), and varied the types of offerings. Sometimes this is personal--I used Fed Courts to cover stuff (such as the Grable line) I cannot get to in Civ Pro and Civil Rights to cover stuff (all of § 1983 and Bivens) I cannot get to in Fed Courts. Other times it is broader, as some courses rely on other courses for foundation and connection--we want students to know crim law and procedure before we send them to work in a prosecutor or PD office.

And sometimes this touches not only on what we teach in doctrinal classes, but the order in which we teach it. There is a never-ending debate in the Civ Pro world about whether to start with pleading and the FRCP or jurisdiction (and then whether subject matter or personal). I am in the former camp, initially because the person I learned Civ Pro from is in that camp and now because I believe it is the best approach, although I see the merits to the alternative. My FIU colleague who teaches the other section of Civ Pro begins with Pennoyer. In Evidence, I begin with Relevancy and do not reach Hearsay until the final month of the semester, again because that is how I learned the material. My FIU colleague who teach the course reaches Hearsay much earlier in the semester.

I was speaking with my colleague who runs our outstanding Academic Excellence Program, working with marginal spring 1L and fall 2L students (this program is a big reason for our Bar-pass success). He links his support class to particular doctrinal classes--Civ Pro for spring 1L and Evidence for fall 2L; the special extra assignments and close support he provides are for writing assignments linked to those classes. And this difference in order of coverage is causing him some headaches. If he assigns a question on Hearsay or P/J or discovery early in the semester, only half the class will know the material from the doctrinal course.

I am not sure how to resolve that problem. I have considered reasons for teaching in the order I do, as do my colleagues, and I doubt either of use will convince the other. Order, it seems to me, affects how I teach the material and changing the order changes how I teach. I can teach Hearsay a certain way because, by the time we get there, my students have a basic understanding of relevancy; I can teach Personal Jurisdiction a certain way because, by the time we get there, my students have a basic understanding of what a civil action and what it looks like. Again, my colleagues would say the same in reverse.

But our choices, however well-founded, have downstream effects.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 25, 2018 at 09:25 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

More on PowerPoint

As one of the "Oh, I never use PowerPoint" people Derek mentions, I wanted to add on to a couple pieces of his post. Derek says he uses PP for three things: 1) The text of a rule or statute; 2) Visualizing a concept such as a flowchart; and 3) Photos and other AV material. And he and I teach some of the same classes.

First, not using PowerPoint is not the same as "simply sp[eaking], lectur[ing], engag[ing] in Socratic dialogue." While I (proudly) never use PP, I fill the dry-erase board with flow charts, key terms or phrases, hypothetical problems, and occasionally statutory text, especially if I want to break the pieces of the statute down. I recall a SEALS panel on using AV in class and one of the speakers presented his slide for the Erie flowchart. It was the same flowchart I use, just with more color and boxes and permanency. But the dry-erase board allows me to interact with the visuals, circling and underling things as we go, something that is impossible on the sterile slide (even with a laser pointer).

Second, the drawback to putting text on a slide is that students stare at the slide instead of the text in their books. I want them to learn to read and highlight or underline or mark-up the text as they go, by having the text right in front of them and being able to work with it. I have been aware this semester of how much students jot down what they hear about a statute in their notes and use the remembered language from their notes, rather than going back to the precise text and textual language. This is important when we are jumping around to multiple rules and they have to figure out how to read the rules together and fit them as parts of a whole. I prefer to read the rule together, with everyone looking in her own book, rather than presenting it in one spot for all.

Third, Derek says he does not churn through and read slide after slide. But the temptation to do so is overwhelming and commonplace, thus becoming expected by students and audience members.

Fourth (and this is going to be a matter of personal style), the question must be whether a visual adds something to the presentation and to the students' learning. When teaching Lujan, does it really add to the students' understanding of the case to flash a picture of the Nile Crocodile? It's nice as trivia or cocktail-party conversation--which certainly is important--but does it help the students understand the material? If my answer is no, it is something I leave out of the classroom, but perhaps present on the course-adjacent blog or web site.

Finally, while I believe I shared this story here years ago, it is worth repeating. It involves an academic talk rather rather than class, but it gets at the same thing. I was presenting my empirical study of the infield-fly rule , which had charts with numbers and pictures of fields showing location of batted balls, and the AV system was not working. The moderator told me to "do the best I can," which would have been "not at all," since the talk would have been incoherent without the audience being able to see what I was talking about. (They fixed the system by the time I got up there, so it worked out). That the moderator could believe the talk could work without the visuals tells me that many people are giving many talks using PP that adds nothing of consequence, probably with visuals that contain the text of what the speaker is saying and that are going to be read, but nothing more. If someone can do the same talk and be as understood without the visuals, the visuals add nothing essential and can be discarded.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 21, 2018 at 05:47 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (9)

Friday, April 20, 2018

It's time to have the talk... about PowerPoint

Few things are more ubiquitous and less discussed in legal education than PowerPoint. It inspires obsessive use and targeted hate.

I use PowerPoint with varying degrees of regularity in the classroom (and while I'll focus on that here, some of the discussion points are fruitful for consideration for academic talks, too). (As an aside, I typically used Prezi, a more dynamic open-canvas environment than PowerPoint, but given the decline of Flash and Prezi's move toward more PowerPoint-like features, I may be abandoning that platform soon.) And I use it for basically three things. (I'll use PowerPoint as a shorthand for basically any audio-visual display in the classroom, but PowerPoint does come with its own stigma and faults.)

First, the text of a rule or a statute. When I teach Civil Procedure or Evidence, I'm displaying the text frequently. It's quite valuable, I've found, when students break into small groups to work on a hypothetical, or when I'm walking them through a hypothetical--the giant actual text of the rule miraculously helps them pay attention to the words. (I'll very rarely use a quotation from a Supreme Court opinion that establishes a common standard.)

Second, a visualization of some concept, like a mind map or a flow chart. It's designed to synthesize dense material into a digestible format.

Third, photographs, audio-video components (more on that below), or other ways of bringing certain concepts to life. (I've even resorted to the occasional meme.)

In all three, I very rarely churn through a series of slides. Most would linger for minutes, if not most of the class.

Now, some might never use PowerPoint--or, at least, while they might occasionally put up a YouTube video, but wouldn't call such an exercise "using PowerPoint." Some might take a more moderate approach to using PowerPoint to outline topics in class or mention case names & titles to anchor discussion.

But then there are the PowerPoint, in my view, over-users. That might include churning through 20 or 30 slides in a single 60- or 90-minute class. There might be large blocks of text, sometimes summarizing a case, sometimes big chunks of law. There's a temptation to read through it, right off the screen. Students may start transcribing the content furiously on their laptops.

And the visuals. Oh, the visuals. Color schemes, clip art, busyness.

I thought I'd share a few things to think about and ways one might improve the use of PowerPoint. There are the great critics like Edward Tufte, and I can hardly add to them. (I confess, I sometimes violate these principles myself, so typing them out is designed to give me some structure.) This also requires knowledge of far more than PowerPoint--you need to be aware of the location where you are presenting as much as, if not more so than, the software itself.

First up: display. High-resolution is essential, and one should be very reluctant to do too much with PowerPoint if your audience is going to be gazing at grainy lower-resolution displays. Smaller fonts or more subtle items will be lost. The same goes true for the size of the display and how high it's mounted from the audience--craning necks looking to a small screen dramatically diminish impact, particularly for those in the back of a large auditorium or up near the front of a high-mounted display. True HD with good sightlines make use of PowerPoint. If you don't know the room? Simpler (or abolition) is better.

Second, aspect ratio. Most tech departments have adjusted displays for a 16:9 (i.e., "widescreen) ratio. But most PowerPoint users still default to 4:3 aspect ratios, leaving you with a box with black bars along the side. That means you're actually shrinking the display size and asking more of your audience. If you know ahead of time the aspect ratio in the room, then you can maximize the real estate available. If not? I would create two separate presentations, one 4:# and one 16:9.

Third, lighting. If you've got a touch-screen HD display, you're probably not as worried. But many projectors have dim bulb. They're placed in rooms with lights that shine right on the display, dimming the look further and washing out or causing glare. So you can black out the room (good luck, notetakers), or try to figure out which light switches will sufficiently illuminate the display. If you don't know the room? Stick with black-and-white as much as you can, or don't use it. (Noticing a theme about familiarity with the room...?)

Fourth, color, hue, and saturation. This can work in conjunction with the brightness of the display. Greens and grays, or low contrast, might get lost if the color profile is poor. Color-on-color may get washed out. Clear black text on a white background (unless you're in a pitch black room, then go for white text on a black background) is ideal, even if boring. Accentuate borders if you'd like--the audience won't need to read your borders, and a little color loss isn't the worst there.

Fifth, typeface, size, and readability. Sans serif fonts are usually best with low resolution displays (it's a reason that Calibri, icky a typeface as it might be, is the default for Word, because it's highly readable on a computer monitor). It means that you may have a more contemporary look, but better to have readable Arial, Helvetica, or Verdana than... well, something not readable. Keep in mind that the size of the room often means you need font sizes larger than you want.

Sixth, audio. Oh, the audio. Rooms are usually not designed with optimal speakers, particularly for bass, so simply be careful about how much audio takes place in your room and what it sounds like. Modest use is best... unless, again, you have deep knowledge of the acoustics and can ensure that the A/V will work well.

These are all the picayune design issues that you may not think about sitting at a computer. But that's because, as a presentation format, the presentation component is too often ignored--I hope these provide a few things to think about for your next presentation.

In terms of substantive use, I won't add to the stuff that Professor Tufte writes about (he's soundly criticized PowerPoint as a reason for the Columbia shuttle disaster). But, at a time when we obsess over pedagogy, learning styles, professionalism in the classroom, and the like, I'm not sure we critically evaluate our use of A/V in the classroom. I try to, as best I can. But a lot of priors make critical insight almost impossible to address--"Oh, I never user PowerPoint," for instance, makes any critical evaluation of someone else's A/V challenging, or often blocks any discussion about how one might meaningfully add technology to the classroom. Or, "I worked really hard on these slides" opens the door that criticism of the slides means devaluing that person's work product.

That's of course not to say that we all have very different teaching styles--I loved some courses with faculty who simply spoke, lectured, engaged in Socratic dialogue without a stitch of A/V; and I loved some courses with faculty who'd flash images of stuff from the cases or anchored discussions in the text of the rule. My own classes can vary widely in how much tech I use. But I hope we can think more about it, and perhaps even improve upon it for our students' sake.

Posted by Derek Muller on April 20, 2018 at 12:53 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Legal Ed's Past

Last week, I suggested that there have been a lot of changes to legal education over the last century (and much of that has been much more recent). I wanted to offer a slightly contrarian perspective to the "Legal Ed's Future" series that Dean Dan Rodriguez so thoughtfully compiled. That is: Legal Ed's Past.

Each change I identified (depending on your math, around 38 of them, of varying degrees of significance, of course) came because of something. Something prompted "legal education," to the extent we can define it, to... well, do something. Respond to a perceived problem. Act.

Before moving too quickly (more on this adverb below) into the future, it might be worthwhile to consider changes from the past, and evaluating whether they are working effectively. While there is often a race to the next big change, there is, in my view, extraordinarily little (or, at least, we might agree, relatively little) critical evaluation of changes in the past. Taking the time to evaluate whether these changes are as effective as we believe them to be, or whether they are achieving our desired goals, is a worthwhile endeavor.

I'll start with a few changes. One concern, at least one I've thought about, is that it may be that we are distracting our students with ever more things. The simplicity of earlier curricula has given way to increasingly-frenzied schedules. (In my location in greater Los Angeles, for instance, it’s not uncommon for my students to commute more than an hour a day for their externships.) Intensive courses, travel to advocacy competitions, periodic interim in-class assessments, meetings with administrators—the list grows seemingly each year. But as bar passage rates decline (not always explainable by declines in credentials), or if student attendance and participation may be suffering, might distraction or being stretched too thin be components in challenges facing law students today?

Or what about the single biggest complaint that I hear from employers time and again when I ask about what we as educators can do to help prepare our students for the profession—writing? Is the labor-intensive work of writing and editing—not to mention the labor-intensive work of teaching and grading those things—given insufficient attention or, worse, being pushed behind other expectations for our students? (Ed.: Rambling blog posts don’t help!) If the big ideas to change legal education aren't addressing the big complaint from employers, then are we missing something? And why is it that our existing changes--including robust legal writing courses and more elective upper-division drafting courses--have not been a sufficient cure?

One more: "practice-ready" graduates. We've saturated the curriculum with, as I mentioned, clinical courses, experiential courses, simulated courses, practicums, externships, and part-time jobs. Aren't these making our students "practice-ready"? If not, why is the answer, more or different? Are some of these working better than others? Do employers think some of these are working better than others? Recent graduates?

My confession is... I'm not confident on how to answer many of these questions. I have some hunches, but they are just that. Which leads me to two things that, I think, law schools should be doing before instituting new changes or anticipating how to develop programs for the future.

First, a very hard internal assessment of existing programs should take place. That includes evaluating what each program is supposed to do and whether it’s achieving what it was designed to do—or, if it’s not doing that, whether it can be improved, altered, or, perhaps, shut down. That probably includes some longitudinal studies of alumni. But these seem to be exceedingly rare. (One rare exception, in my mind: an important survey was a 2011 survey of George Washington University alumni on the most valuable elective courses. Others, like After the JD, have been valuable, but often at a macr0 level.)

Second, schools should reexamination the role of administrators. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in administrators in higher education generally and in law schools (at least when compared to faculty) specifically. Administrators (in my humble opinion) ought to view their objectives as reducing barriers or complications in students’ lives—greasing the skids, if you will, to make the student experience more seamless and providing greater opportunities to engage in the more meaningful activities, from deep thinking to rigorous writing to professional excellence. To the extent that administrators are adding more requirements to students (ed.: or faculty?)—taking precious hours from their days through lunch-hour presentations, reporting requirements, or other compulsory time-consuming activities, for instance—the law school does a disservice to its students. That’s not to say that students might need something new that hasn’t been done. But that should go through rigorous vetting and should only consume student time once the administration has figured out how to minimize the burden on student time.

Now, to "quickly," as in, "Before moving too quickly...." Many from the Legal Ed's Future posts might laugh out loud at this preface. The posts often had an urgency to them, critical of existing legal education perspectives and structures--change is too slow, the market is changing faster than legal education, we risk being left behind, etc.

I confess, I'm more Burkean when it comes to these matters. I think we may (may!) often get more mileage out of doing an existing thing better than chasing a new thing to incorporate into our catalog. I think that many of the changes over the last century reflect an episodic and, accordingly, incomplete view of what legal education ought to be. As each new thing is added or changed, it is usually in pursuit of a particular end that is no longer in sight, or that the means adopted do not meaningfully address that desired end. Legal education now contains vestigial changes of added cost and complexity with dubious value. Before lunging ahead into more such stuff, then, I think a little caution and perspective is in order.

Sure, such words can be the words of the obstructionist who demands "caution" as a means for inaction or to protect the status quo. But, for me, at least, I ask for a little charity. I'm not in a kind of "get off my lawn," "there's only one way to do things, the way we've always done them." I am whole-heartedly willing to embrace changes to legal education when a sufficient case has been made (and it's my instinct, occasionally with a little evidence, that many such changes in the last century have been for the better--for instance, moving away from a mostly-required curriculum where we expect students to memorize most of the existing law gave way once we saw the increasing complexity of law, the variety of ways it might be practiced, and increased specialization--even if I wonder whether our existing curriculum is the right balance of stuff). but I'd also like to look a little more comprehensively and with a greater appreciation of history than, I think, may be occurring in many of our well-intentioned and well-meaning debates.

Posted by Derek Muller on April 16, 2018 at 09:16 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

If everyone is a Nazi . . .

Josh Blackman wrote at length about being the target of protests at CUNY Law when he went to do a Fed Soc lecture on free speech on campus. Josh's post includes photos of the gauntlet of signs he walked in the hallway, as well as events inside the room. After several minutes of organized interruptions (including one law student exclaiming "fuck the law") and a warning from school administrators, Josh was able to engage with some audience members and the protesters left the room, after which Blackman did Q&A with the remaining students for more than an hour.

The underlying premise of many protests and attempts at "no-platforming" begin from the premise that the appropriate First Amendment rule, whatever the First Amendment's scope otherwise, should be "no free speech for Nazis and white supremacists." Putting aside the other problems with such a rule, its core problem is that it seems inevitable that everyone becomes (or at least everyone who disagrees with you) becomes a Nazi and white supremacist who must be shut down. Many of the protest signs reflect this misunderstanding.

Erica Goldberg tries to identify the line between the right to speech and the right to protest speech, drawing the line at "coordinated efforts to silence a speaker." Erica distinguishes "an errant 'hey, you're wrong'" from "an effective, premeditated campaign" to shout down a speaker invited to use a designated forum. She also suggests drawing a line around "[s]ubstantive, informed, respectful discussions" and "civil, open-minded, orderly discourse."

I have been trying to identify the same lines, focusing on location (protesters inside the forum v. protesters outside the forum). Erica suggests that some forms of protest, including some verbal protest, are permissible within the forum, which is broader than I had thought of going. But I question whether coordination or terms such as substantive, civil, and open-minded can do much work. The First Amendment does not trust the government to define these terms (and where they begin or end) anymore than it trusts the government to pay a principled line between unprotected outrageous caricatures and protected sharp political commentary. Or between a protected conservative and an unprotected white supremacist.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 14, 2018 at 04:18 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (16)

Friday, April 13, 2018

The myth of the stagnant law school curriculum

I didn't want to jump too quickly into the legal ed discussion after 60-some posts over 5 weeks here at Prawfs. But Dean Dan Rodriguez highlighted a comment from ABA President Hilarie Bass today, and I thought I'd stew on that for moment (before returning to legal ed next week). The comment: "We are teaching in law schools the same way we have for 100 years."

Even if a paraphrase, it's consistent with several comments to that effect in the early posts of the Future Legal Ed posts. Instead, I confess I find laments among some that we’re living in a Langdellian environment of legal education largely incorrect and want to share a few brief thoughts on what legal education looks like today as opposed to a hundred years ago.

Langdell envisioned a two-year, entirely fixed, classroom-based curriculum without an accrediting body; we now have a three-year, mostly-elective, some field and some classroom curriculum that the ABA at times micromanages. We had an entirely optional system of education that was unnecessary to take the bar exam; now, it's a precondition to the bar in most jurisdictions (indeed, it makes one wonder why the ABA is still accrediting law schools). Faculty spent little time engaging in the scholarly enterprise; today, that is emphatically not the case.

True, most first-year curricula today include substantial common-law courses using the casebook method and a (highly modified) version of the Socratic method so yes, a first-year student in 1918 might have expected a prawf to cold call on him (ed.: not a lot of hers back then) and ask to recite the facts of Hadley v. Baxendale (which isn't a terribly Socratic question, to be honest). But most first-year courses are not year-long courses as they were 100 years ago; we have exams (err, "assessment") at the end of the semester, not the end of the year (think The Paper Chase); legal research and writing has moved from nonexistent to (typically) a 4-unit course in the first year; courses like legislation, now-mandatory ethics, or electives are now a part of many first-year curricula.

We’ve seen a dramatic rise in student assistance related to career development, academic success, bar preparation, and professional formation. Students engage in more clinical courses, experiential courses, simulated courses, practicums, externships, part-time jobs, and study-abroad programs. There are more journals, more advocacy competitions, and more student organizations.

Schools have dramatically altered their curricula over the last couple of decades. Schools have seen a surge in intellectual property, international/comparative law, and alternative dispute resolution courses since 1992. (Note: the ABA also has a 2002-2010 study, but sadly a free PDF is not available.) Schools have, in contrast, cut back on admiralty, products liability, agricultural law, and trusts & estates. They’ve developed increasing specialization or certificate programs. Upper-division drafting courses (such as contract drafting, litigation drafting, and legislative drafting) have exploded in popularity.

Now... to briefly take another example, Westlaw uses the same Keycite system it’s been using for 150 years, but few, I think, consider this a sufficiently-similar touchstone to say that Westlaw is “basically” the same as it was back then. So what is it about legal education that attracts this myth that it looks basically the same?

My sense is that some believe legal education is not changing (or has not changed) quickly enough. But rather than state that we need to do X, Y, and Z (although that inevitably comes), or that we're not doing it quickly enough, a false narrative is projected onto legal education: you haven't changed, you see, so now is the time to start. In reality, I think, we dramatically understate the changes in legal education when we ignore these many, many changes over the last century (indeed, mostly over the last half-century, and some in the last decade). Maybe more is required. But it is assuredly not because a lack of change.

(It’s a slightly different reflection than Professor Harold Krent’s correct and important observation that law school has changed significantly in the recent past, or from Professor Deborah Merritt's that past changes have been welcome, grudguing, slow, and perhaps without the impact we may desire.)

So, what about these changes? Were they good, right, beneficial, useful, valuable? More on that to come....

Posted by Derek Muller on April 13, 2018 at 09:24 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Writing is Architecture First, Interior Design is Secondary: On Trains, Houses & Pyramids

That's a variation on Hemingway, again. I posted a few days ago a fun, though a bit random list of quotes about writing (oh the Internet, where curating quotes has become the soul-less pastime of too many who've never actually read those they quote. May we always quote soulfully is my wish to us prawfs and writers at large...). Hemingway said prose is architecture, not interior design and that the Baroque is over. I think he meant that the substantive of what you want to say needs to guide the writing and that you need to write in a punchy concise way, avoiding fluff for merely decorative purpose. Say what you mean and mean what you say and get rid of all the garnish. I like garnish and I think interior design is important too. I'd even argue for bringing a bit of Baroque back (Bach J), carefully . But I completely agree that the structure is first and foremost in writing a good article or book. The bare bones are the piece of the writing puzzle that needs to be done right.

Today I spoke with my seminar students about their research projects and I thought I'd offer here, as a second installation of posts about writing, the metaphors I use with my students to help us think about structure. One of my favorite teachers in law school, who later became one of my doctoral advisors, was Martha Minow. I remember her telling us in a seminar on law and social justice, similar to the one I teach today, that you can write a house or a train. I think she said houses are what books look like and trains are articles. I don't agree with that division, I think both articles and books can be houses or trains. But the visual I've always found useful in thinking about what I am doing and how to build my project. If you are building a house, you take the reader with you through a pathway into a place where you have a nice entrance, a main hall and some public spaces, and then doors, and windows into rooms, each holding an interesting set of ideas about a related topic. Together the house makes sense but each room also stands on its own. If you are building a train, you think linearly about your project. It could be chronological or it could be a problem in search of a solution and the solution unfolds as your present and analyze layers of evidence, perhaps empirical data, theoretical arguments, policy claims. To the houses and trains I added today in class the visuals of pyramids and reverse pyramids. In every discipline, a good portion of research involves the qualities of lumping or splitting. In legal scholarship, often insights come from taking a broad issue, a broad base of a pyramid, a classifying and regrouping the issues to show how we actually have separate questions emerging from different subcategories and these should be addressed distinctly. We also often have insights when we look sideways, from a reverse pyramid narrow tip into horizontal fields, related topics that offer new insights. Research is often an import-export business.

I don’t know if these visuals are useful only to me or beyond but I’ve found that sketching my next writing project, including actually drawing stuff, not just outlining gets me into better architectural shape and only then can I begin to think about the décor.  

Posted by Orly Lobel on March 19, 2018 at 05:22 PM in Blogging, Legal Theory, Life of Law Schools, Odd World, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Immigration Nexus: Law, Politics, and Constitutional Identity (Updated)

I am in Portland today for the 2018 Spring Symposium of Lewis & Clark Law Review, The Immigration Nexus: Law, Politics, and Constitutional Identity. I will be talking about universal injunctions (and the paper will undergo significant organizational changes in the next draft, as I incorporate helpful reader comments and a different focus that I discovered in preparing my talk) and Amanda Frost will present her paper in support of them (we actually are close on a lot of the underlying issues).

Video of the Event is here.

Spring 2018 Law Review Symposium: The Immigration Nexus: Law, Politics, and Constitutional Identity

Date: 1:00pm - 5:00pm PST March 9 Location: Erskine B. Wood Hall

 

 
 
 

1:00 p.m. PANEL ONE

(Moderator: Associate Dean John Parry)

OPPORTUNITIES & ANXIETIES: A STUDY OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN THE TRUMP ERA

Kit Johnson

THE CONSTITUTION AND THE TRUMP TRAVEL BAN

Earl Maltz

UNIVERSAL NOT NATIONWIDE AND NOT APPROPRIATE: ON THE SCOPE OF INJUNCTIONS IN CONSTITUTIONAL LITIGATION

Howard Wasserman

IN DEFENSE OF UNIVERSAL INJUNCTIONS

Amanda Frost

 

3:15 p.m. PANEL TWO

(Moderator: Professor Juliet Stumpf)

WHO NEEDS DACA OR THE DREAM ACT?

Susan Dussault

THE IMMIGRATION-WELFARE NEXUS IN A NEW ERA?

Andrew Hammond

THE 20-YEAR ATTACK ON ASYLUM SEEKERS

Kari Hong

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 8, 2018 at 11:50 PM in Article Spotlight, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Meta-Ranking of Flagship US Law Reviews

Two years ago, PrawfsGuest Bryce Newell (now at University of Kentucky) created a meta-ranking of the top US law reviews. On his personal blog, Bryce has updated the ranking (in sortable format) for 2018. Worth a look in contemplating where to submit and publish in the new submission cycle.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 22, 2018 at 11:44 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (23)

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Yale Center for Private Law: Fellowship in Private Law

The Yale Law School Center for Private Law is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 Fellow in Private Law. The Fellowship in Private Law is a full-time, one-year residential appointment, with the possibility of reappointment. The Fellowship is designed for graduates of law or related Ph.D. programs who are interested in pursuing an academic career and whose research is related to any of the Center for Private Law's research areas, which include contracts (including commercial law, corporate finance, bankruptcy, and dispute resolution), property (including intellectual property), and torts. More information is available here.

Posted by Administrators on February 8, 2018 at 08:14 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Northwestern University Law Review empirical scholarship issue

The Northwestern University Law Review is pleased to announce its first annual issue dedicated to empirical legal scholarship, to be published in spring 2019. We welcome pieces making use of any and all empirical tools—including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods—to illuminate and engage questions of legal interest.

The exclusive submission window for this issue will run from March 15 - April 15, 2018. All pieces of interest will be anonymously reviewed by members of the Northwestern University Law Review’s Empirical Advisory Board, comprised of faculty from Northwestern and the American Bar Foundation, in advance of publication decisions to be issued by July 31, 2018.

In exchange for this prioritized consideration, participating authors agree to withhold the article submitted through our exclusive submission track from submission to any other publication until receiving a decision back from the Law Review. By submitting an article via the exclusive submission track, the author agrees to accept a binding publication offer, should one be extended. Please note that some pieces may be conditionally accepted upon the advice of advisory board reviewers.

Please contact Northwestern University Law Review Empirical Articles Editor Meredith McBride with questions at [email protected].

Posted by Administrators on February 6, 2018 at 05:06 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 29, 2018

CFP: 4th Annual Civil Procedure Workshop (Nov. 9-10, 2018)

The following announcement comes from Brooke Coleman (Seattle), David Marcus (Arizona), and Liz Porter (Washington), now joined by Norman Spaulding and the Civ Pro people at Stanford.

We are excited to announce the fourth annual Civil Procedure Workshop, to be held Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California on November 9-10, 2018.

The CPW gives both emerging and established civil procedure scholars an opportunity to gather with colleagues and present their work to an expert audience.

Scholars will present their papers in small panel sessions. A senior scholar will moderate each panel and lead the commentary. In addition to paper presentations, we intend to engage members of the judiciary and federal civil rulemaking bodies in discussions about current developments in procedure. Our ongoing goal is for the CPW to strengthen the study of procedure as an academic discipline, and to deepen ties among the academy, rulemakers, and the judiciary.

Confirmed participants for 2018 include the Hon. Diane Wood, Janet Alexander, Elizabeth Burch, Margaret Lemos, David Engstrom, Myriam Gilles, and Deborah Hensler. We welcome all civil procedure scholars to attend. Those wishing to present a paper for discussion should submit a two-page abstract by March 23, 2018. While we welcome papers from both emerging and senior scholars, preference may be given to those who have been teaching for less than ten years.

We will select papers to be presented by May 4, 2018. Please send all submissions or related questions to Norman Spaulding.

The CPW will provide meals for registrants. Participants must cover travel and lodging costs. We will provide information about reasonably priced hotels as the date approaches. Feel free to contact us with questions.


Norman Spaulding (Stanford), [email protected]
Dave Marcus (Arizona), [email protected]
Liz Porter (UW), [email protected]
Brooke Coleman (Seattle U), [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 29, 2018 at 01:41 PM in Civil Procedure, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Call for Submissions: Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

The following is from the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, to be held at Harvard on June 13-14.

Yale, Stanford, and Harvard Law Schools are soliciting submissions for the 19th session of the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, to be held at Harvard Law School on June 13-14, 2018. Twelve to twenty junior scholars (with one to seven years in teaching) will be chosen, through a blind selection process, to present their work at the Forum. One or more senior scholars will comment on each paper. The audience will include the participating junior faculty, faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests. The goal of the Forum is to promote in-depth discussion about particular papers and more general reflections on broader methodological issues, as well as to foster a stronger sense of community among American legal scholars, particularly by strengthening ties between new and veteran professors.

TOPICS: Each year the Forum invites submissions on selected topics in public and private law, legal theory, and law and humanities topics, alternating loosely between public law and humanities subjects in one year, and private law and dispute resolution in the next. For the upcoming 2018 meeting, the topics will cover these areas of the law:


- Administrative Law

- Constitutional Law—theoretical foundations

- Constitutional Law—historical foundations

- Criminal Law

- Critical Legal Studies

- Environmental Law

- Family Law

- Jurisprudence and Philosophy

- Law and Humanities

- Legislation and Statutory Interpretation

- Public International Law

- Race/Gender Studies/Antidiscrimination

- Workplace Law and Social Welfare Policy


A jury of accomplished scholars, not necessarily from Yale, Stanford, or Harvard, will choose the papers to be presented. There is no publication commitment. Yale, Stanford, or Harvard will pay presenters' and commentators' travel expenses, though international flights may be only partially reimbursed.

QUALIFICATIONS: Authors who teach at a U.S. law school in a tenured or tenure-track position and have not have been teaching at either of those ranks for a total of more than seven years are eligible to submit their work. American citizens or permanent residents teaching abroad are also eligible provided that they have held a faculty position or the equivalent, including positions comparable to junior faculty positions in research institutions, for fewer than seven years and that they earned their last degree after 2008. International scholars are not eligible for this forum, but are invited to submit to the Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum. We accept co-authored submissions, but each of the coauthors must be individually eligible to participate in the JFF. Papers that will be published prior to the Forum are not eligible. There is no limit on the number of submissions by any individual author. Junior faculty from Yale, Stanford, and Harvard are not eligible. 


PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE:

Electronic submissions should be sent to Rebecca Tushnet at [email protected], with the subject line “Junior Faculty Forum.” The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2018. Remove all references to the author(s) in the paper. Please include in the text of the email and also as a separate attachment a cover letter listing your name, the title of your paper, your contact email and address through June 2018, and which topic your paper falls under. Each paper may only be considered under one topic. Any questions about the submission procedure should be directed both to Rebecca Tushnet and her assistant, Andrew Matthiesen ([email protected]).

FURTHER INFORMATION: Inquiries concerning the Forum should be sent to Matthew Stephenson ([email protected]) or Rebecca Tushnet ([email protected]) at Harvard Law School, Richard Ford ([email protected]) at Stanford Law School, or Christine Jolls ([email protected]) or Yair Listokin ([email protected]) at Yale Law School.

Richard Ford

Christine Jolls

Yair Listokin

Matthew Stephenson

Rebecca Tushnet

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 17, 2018 at 12:26 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

A competing voice on laptop bans

Ruth Colker (Ohio State) in Cardozo Law Review. Colker comes at the question from the standpoint of working with students with a range of disabilities and learning styles, as well as an impromptu empirical study comparing performance of laptop users and non-laptop users in her Con Law class. She argues that these results may tell us more than the leading empirical studies, which took place in an artificial setting and did not account for real law students reading and preparing in advance or for real law students having a strong motive to prepare and learn, regardless of which group they were in.

Worth a read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 17, 2018 at 10:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 01, 2018

Sokal Hoax at 20

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an oral history of the Sokal Hoax, which is now twenty years old. Some of those interviewed discuss this incident in light of recent attacks on the academy, science, and the idea of "truth." An interesting read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 1, 2018 at 04:12 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sponsored Post: Teaching PR through simulations

The following post is by Alex Long, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Doug Blaze Distinguished Professor of Law at The University of Tennessee College of Law, and is sponsored by West Academic.

When I first started teaching Professional Responsibility many years ago, I had a student make the following suggestion to me after class one day: if a student can pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) without first having taken Professional Responsibility, the student shouldn’t have to take Professional Responsibility in law school. The student suggested that I raise that idea with our dean. At the time I didn’t have tenure, so I forced a polite smile and counted to three and told the student I’d look into it.

I’ve reflected on that event numerous times throughout the years and pondered why this student thought his logic should apply to the MPRE but not necessarily the entire bar exam. Why does anyone need to take any law school course if one can pass a test on the subject matter before taking the course? I think the most obvious reason why the student thought this way about PR is that the student viewed the MPRE merely as a hoop one must jump through that can be navigated simply by choosing “the most ethical” answer choice or excluding answer choices that “don’t pass the smell test.” In contrast, most people realize they can’t pass a multiple-choice test on Civil Procedure without first having taken Civil Procedure. For whatever reason, many students approach PR as a course involving theoretical, but impractical, discussions of intuitive principles (but not real “rules”).

I spend much of my time in PR trying to disabuse students of the notions that “do the right thing” is a reliable maxim for dealing with issues of professional responsibility and that the issues we cover aren’t likely to matter in practice. Over the years, I’ve found that one of the best ways of doing that is to have them work through simulation exercises that force them to approach ethical issues the way a lawyer would and that involve ethical issues with not-so-intuitive controlling rules. To that end, my colleague Paula Schaefer and I started developing some of these simulation exercises and incorporating them into our PR classes. (West Academic Publishing recently published them as part of their Developing Professional Skills series.)

For example, we have an exercise in which students are asked, first, to evaluate whether their firm has a conflict of interest involving a lucrative and longstanding client and, second, to break the bad news to the client by writing a letter if the answer is yes. The “do the right thing” maxim would prove essentially worthless in determining whether a conflict exists, and human nature is to resist any conclusion that might end up costing one’s employer money. One of Paula’s exercises requires students to “bill” the time they spend preparing for classes over a three-day period, thus illustrating how the task of billing time to a client is more complicated than it sounds, how easy it is for clients to get overbilled, and how even a lawyer who wants “to do the right thing” by a client may end up not doing so. I know other folks in the field sometimes use similar exercises.

All of these exercises are just part of the ongoing attempt to help students appreciate the real-world application of the rules they read about in their casebooks. But for whatever reason, PR seems to have lagged behind this trend. That’s unfortunate, because there are actually some issues in PR that are not only highly relevant to real
practice but are actually kind of interesting. I’ve incorporated these sorts of exercises into my Torts class for a few years now. But keeping students’ attention and making them appreciate the value of the material is not the challenge in Torts that it is with PR. I’m sure there are plenty of other courses for which the same could be said. For those who teach courses like PR where student resistance and skepticism are obstacles to overcome, I thoroughly recommend using these kinds of exercises to help students appreciate the hidden beauty of the subject matter.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 21, 2017 at 05:09 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)