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 and the AV system was not working, which had charts with numbers and pictures of fields showing location of batted balls. 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 (1)

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 2018 Symposium: Future of Legal Ed, 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 meredithmcbride2019@nlaw.northwestern.edu.

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), nspaulding@law.stanford.edu
Dave Marcus (Arizona), dmarcus@email.arizona.edu
Liz Porter (UW), egporter@uw.edu
Brooke Coleman (Seattle U), colemanb@seattleu.edu

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 rtushnet@law.harvard.edu, 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 (amatthiessen@law.harvard.edu).

FURTHER INFORMATION: Inquiries concerning the Forum should be sent to Matthew Stephenson (mstephen@law.harvard.edu) or Rebecca Tushnet (rtushnet@law.harvard.edu) at Harvard Law School, Richard Ford (rford@stanford.edu) at Stanford Law School, or Christine Jolls (christine.jolls@yale.edu) or Yair Listokin (yair.listokin@yale.edu) 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)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dean Search: FIU College of Law

After the jump is the ad for the Dean position at FIU College of Law. I am a member of the search committee. And while I am biased, I think this is a good job at a rising school with a lot of upside--public-school tuition, small student-body, great bar-passage and employment numbers, good entering-student numbers, and a productive faculty.

Dean, College of Law

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Florida International University seeks an energetic, practical, and visionary leader with a commitment to scholarly excellence and diversity to serve as Dean of the College of Law.  Candidates with exceptional academic, public sector, or private sector experience as successful legal practitioners within complex organizational settings that involve multiple stakeholders are invited to apply.  FIU is a vibrant comprehensive university offering 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in 12 colleges and schools.  FIU is Carnegie-designated as both a research university with highest research activity and a community-engaged university.  Located in the heart of the multicultural South Florida urban region, FIU’s multiple campuses serve over 54,000 students, placing FIU among the ten largest universities in the nation.  Annual research expenditures in excess of $132 million and a deep commitment to engagement have made FIU the go-to solutions center for local to global issues alike.  FIU leads the nation in awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees, including in the STEM fields, to minority students.  FIU’s students reflect Miami’s diverse population, earning FIU the designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution. 

The College of Law (FIU Law) is the only public law school in South Florida, founded on the idea that a high-quality legal education should be affordable and accessible to a broad, diverse community with a commitment to public service.  FIU Law’s mission is to offer a high-quality legal education attuned to the challenges of globalization and devoted to serving the local, national, and international communities.  FIU Law prides itself on graduating professional, globalized, and culturally savvy future lawyers committed to public service.  FIU Law offers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree, a Masters of Law for Foreign Lawyers (LL.M.), a Juris Master (JM) degree for non-lawyers, and a variety of joint masters’ programs.  In fall 2017, the JD program enrolled 457 students and the LL.M. program enrolled 31 students from 12 countries.  These students are taught by a diverse faculty of 31 full-time and 46 part-time teachers.  FIU Law is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is an accredited member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).   FIU Law ranks as the most diverse law school in Florida and graduates the highest percentage of Hispanic attorneys of any law school in the nation.  FIU Law ranked number one in the state in the last four July examinations administered by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. 

Reporting to the Provost, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, the Dean is the chief executive and administrative officer of FIU Law.  The Dean provides active leadership in the promotion, direction, support, and growth of the educational, research, and fundraising activities of FIU Law, maintenance of a high level of morale among the faculty, and encouragement of the spirit of learning among students.  The Dean represents FIU Law in the community and identifies and hosts relevant community leaders and activities on campus.  As chief executive, the Dean is responsible for the management and allocation of the budget, market-rate programs, and philanthropy, as well as compliance with accreditation standards, community outreach, marketing and enrollment, interdisciplinary initiatives, global outreach, and the effective management of FIU Law’s administrative and financial affairs.  The Dean consults with the faculty in designing the FIU Law strategic plan and sets the tone for FIU Law in encouraging excellence, recognizing achievement, and supporting appointments and promotions based on merit.  The Dean is responsible for increasing academic excellence, creating opportunities for students, and fostering a collaborative spirit in FIU Law and with other colleges.

For this exceptional opportunity, the University seeks an innovative leader and strategic thinker with a broad understanding of the challenges facing legal education, and the ability to articulate a vision that positions FIU Law as a successful enterprise within a complex and growing public research university. The successful candidate will have the reputation, stature, skills, and credibility to attract strong faculty and students, to foster a scholarly community, and to obtain financial and other resources to strengthen FIU Law.  S/he will possess a record of intellectual or professional accomplishments, also warranting appointment to the rank of tenured full professor; demonstrated ability in financial and human resources management, collaboration, and fundraising; a spirit of innovation; a strong external focus; and the ability to work within a diverse and multicultural environment. The successful candidate will have a record of fostering excellence in instruction, research, and service; a commitment to strengthening and supporting scholarship; and dedication to promoting faculty and student success.  A JD or equivalent degree is required.  

Screening will begin in mid-January and continue until an appointment is made.  Nominations, inquiries, and applications (including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names of five references) should be directed electronically to FIU_LawDean@Divsearch.com.

Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D., Senior Managing Director or John Mestepey, Managing Director

Nancy Helfman, Vice President and Senior Associate

Diversified Search

2005 Market Street, Suite 3300, Philadelphia, PA  19103

215-656-3579

 

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

For more information, visit www.fiu.edu  

Posted by Administrators on December 10, 2017 at 06:26 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Accepting GRE

With BYU, eleven schools will accept the GRE rather than the LSAT from prospective students. I would like to hear, especially from anyone teaching at or affiliated with those eleven schools, about the pros and cons of this move. And since we have permanent bloggers and past guests at both schools, I hope for some input.

The LSAT is not so tied to what we do in law school that it is an obviously superior predictor of success. Both include logic games (how to seat five people in one car when everyone hates everyone else). One pro is that law schools can better compete for the college senior who is torn between grad school and law school--a law school can recruit her without making her prepare for and take another test. I cannot think of any disadvantages, frankly. What are the two sides?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 5, 2017 at 05:07 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Another voice on banning laptops

This time it is Susan Dynarski (Economics at Michigan). Nothing new in the piece, since the studies she cites (UCLA/Princeton and West Point) are a few years old at this point. She does close by arguing that the same conclusion should apply to middle and high schools and to business meetings.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 24, 2017 at 03:55 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fed Courts by treatise--the results

I wrote at the beginning of the semester about my plan to teach Fed Courts without a casebook or cases, but relying largely on the Chemerinsky and Pfander treatises (supplemented by a few cases, statutes, rules, etc.). We have two classes remaining in the semester, but today I administered a survey on the materials and this teaching approach.

Overall, I was happy with how things went this way. Students were generally very well-prepared and ready to answer almost anything I threw at them. The occasional lapse came where the questions went to something that was not covered in the treatise discussion (often about factual or procedural backgrounds). I perhaps lectured on preliminary information a bit more in spots, where the treatises focused on different pieces of a case than the casebook I previously used (Low, Jeffries, and Bradley). One obvious place was in the discussion of Atlantic Coast Line v. Brotherhood of Engineers, where the treatises paid less attention than the casebook to the effect of on-point SCOTUS precedent on the § 2283 analysis. But this was the exception rather than the rule--between them, the two books gave the students everything they needed to participate in the discussion I was trying to lead. I also was pleased (if surprised) that some students read the highlighted cases in addition to the treatises. I taught the same basic class I have been teaching for several years, but got much further than I have in recent years--this is the first time in four years that I have reached the material on jurisdiction-stripping and congressional control over court structure.

The survey results and comments suggest the students liked the approach. Of the 12 responses (out of 13 in the class), 7 "strongly agreed" this was an effective way to learn the material and prepare for class, 8 "strongly agreed" it was more enjoyable than working from a casebook or cases, and 9 "strongly agreed" that I should teach from these materials in the future. The comments suggested a general view that this method of prep was helpful to seeing the big picture at which we engaged with the material in class. And the general level of engagement throughout the semester shows that the students were doing the reading and preparing well for class.

So, all-in-all, it worked well. The students and I were happy and it allowed me to cover all the material I wanted to in the way I wanted to. I think I have found my way going forward in this class. And I will follow the same approach for Civil Rights in the spring, working from my treatise* that is basically my class in book form, along with puzzles for class discussion.

[*] Second Edition coming to supermarket checkout lines near you in 2018.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 20, 2017 at 08:26 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

Equality Law Scholars’ Forum

Friday, November 17 – Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Forum is designed to provide junior scholars with commentary and critique by their more senior colleagues in the legal academy and, more broadly, to foster development and understanding of new scholarly currents across equality law. 


The Forum will feature five presenters (chosen from over 50 submissions):

Age, Law, and Egalitarianism

Alexander Boni-Saenz,Assistant Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent Law

 

Color-Blind But Not Color-Deaf: Accent Discrimination in Jury Selection

Jasmine Rose Gonzales, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh Law

 

Colorable Claims of Discrimination

Vinay Harpalani, Associate Professor of Law, Savannah Law School

 

Scapegoating Abortion Rights: The Conservative Revolution and the Economic Decline of the Working Class
Yvonne Lindgren, Visiting Professor of Law, University of San Francisco

 

Public Labor Unions as Democracy Facilitators for the Working Class

Courtlyn Roser-Jones, Hastie Fellow, University of Wisconsin Law School

 

The event is co-organized by Tristin Green, USF Law, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, UC Berkeley Law, and Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis Law. 

Financial support is provided by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, the UC Davis School of Law, and the UC Irvine School of Law.

 

Comment and critique will be provided by the following scholars:

Khiara Bridges, Boston University Law

Catherine Fisk, Berkeley Law

Jonathan Glater, UC Irvine Law

Tristin Green, University of San Francisco Law

Ariela Gross, USC Law

Trina Jones, Duke Law

Osagie Obasogie, Berkeley Public Health

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Berkeley Law

Leticia Saucedo, UC Davis Law

Michael Waterstone, Loyola-Los Angeles Law                       

 

We will also hold a panel discussion on Producing Scholarship in Equality Law with the following panelists participating:

Kathy Abrams, Berkeley Law

Catherine Albiston, Berkeley Law

Camille Gear Rich, USC Law

Vicky Plaut, Berkeley Law

Russell Robinson, Berkeley Law

Bertrall Ross, Berkeley Law

Jonathan Simon, Berkeley Law

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 11, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 02, 2017

CFP: SEALS Works-in-Progress

Announcement Here. Lou Virelli (Stetson) organizes these and they are great mini (3-4 people) workshops.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 2, 2017 at 10:20 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Supreme Court Fellows Program – Call for Applications

The Supreme Court Fellows Commission is accepting applications through November 3, 2017, for one-year fellowships to begin in August or September 2018.  The Commission will select four talented individuals to engage in the work of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Federal Judicial Center, or the United States Sentencing Commission.  Fellows gain practical exposure to judicial administration, policy development, and education.  In each of the four placements, the Fellow will be expected to produce a publishable paper and will have unique access to federal judges, and to officers and staff of the federal judiciary, in connection with the research project. 

The Commission is especially seeking applicants who are completing or have recently completed a judicial clerkship, and are interested in pursuing an academic career or a career in public service.  Fellows will receive compensation equivalent to the GS-13/1 grade and step of the government pay scale (currently $94,796) and will be eligible for health insurance and other benefits offered to employees of the federal judiciary.  Appointments are full-time and based in Washington, D.C.  A small group of finalists will be invited to interview with the Commission at the Supreme Court in February 2018, and finalists will be contacted on selection decisions within one to two weeks after interviews.

Further information and the online application are available on the Supreme Court’s website.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 20, 2017 at 05:34 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Student Guide to Judicial Clerkships

Around this time of the semester I meet with a lot of students who are interested in post-graduation judicial clerkships. UK Law does quite well at placing our students in federal clerkships, so I am happy that there is a buzz among our students about this career path. 

Because my individual meetings with students tend to be quite similar, in that they often have very similar questions, I prepared a guide for them to read before they come to meet with me. It answers some of the most frequent questions I receive. Because I bet that others could also benefit from this guide, I am reproducing it below.

A few caveats: first, some of the advice is specific to Kentucky. Second, these are just my views, so as the kids say, YMMV. Third, I frequently update this guide, so what is below is simply the current version.

With that said, feel free to share with those who may be interested.

Professor Douglas’s Handy-Dandy Guide to Federal Judicial Clerkships

            I am so glad you are considering applying for a federal judicial clerkship! Post-graduation clerkships are amazing jobs. They offer an inside look at judicial decision making, which will help your career no matter what you decide to do. You’ll work side-by-side with a judge who will serve as your guide and mentor. Your writing will improve dramatically. Some people say that a clerkship was the best job they ever had. All in all, if you have the opportunity for a judicial clerkship, then you should go for it!

            Many students ask to meet with me to discuss clerking. I am more than happy to meet, but I ask you read this guide first, as it will likely answer many of your questions. This guide should not serve as a substitute for a meeting; I definitely want to meet with you! But it will hopefully answer some of your initial questions so that we can focus on your specific situation when we meet.

What follows is simply my advice, based on my own clerkship experience and several years of advising students. Others may have different views, and I encourage you to talk to other professors and the Career Development Office for their perspective.

  1. Why should I clerk?

            See above. Clerking is an incredible experience. I use what I learned during my clerkship (for a 5th Circuit judge in Texas) almost every day. And I talk to my judge at least once a month. By clerking you become part of a “clerk family” (notice how I wrote “my judge”). Your co-clerks will become lifelong friends. Clerking can help no matter your ultimate career goals. It will open doors. It will improve your writing. It gives you an instant credibility boost in the eyes of employers. And it will stick with you for your entire career. Notice how every time someone is nominated to the Supreme Court, the media mentions where the person clerked. From a long-range perspective, clerking is an excellent way to begin your career. I have never talked to someone who regretted clerking before starting at a law firm, public interest organization, or other legal employer.

  1. What should I do if I already have an offer at a law firm or other organization?

            Speak with them about your desire to clerk. Most law firms highly value the experience and will hold your spot, at least for a year or two. If you explain your long-term dedication to the firm, they will not think poorly of you for at least exploring the opportunity to clerk. And some firms (though typically not the ones in Kentucky) will even pay a clerkship bonus.

            In addition, more opportunities are likely to arise because you have a clerkship on your resume. A clerkship, then, can improve your future employment prospects.

            That said, the salary of a judicial clerk is nowhere near as high as that of an associate at a law firm, and financial issues are important to consider. Just remember that there’s a long-term payoff, in terms of your overall career, to foregoing the law firm salary for a year if you are able to do so.

  1. Where should I clerk?

            My advice is to apply as broad geographically as you are willing to go for a year or two. If you don’t apply, then there’s a zero percent chance of landing the position (that’s just math!). When I went through the process I applied to about 200 judges all across the country. I really wanted a federal appellate clerkship, so I took a list of all federal appellate judges and deleted those in places where I could not see myself ever moving, even for a year or two. I then added some district court judges in certain geographic locations.

            I would start by thinking about where you have a geographic connection. Did you go to school in another state? Does your best friend live in Wyoming? Do you have a long-lost cousin in South Carolina? Any of these geographic connections can give you a leg up when you are applying. Of course, if you want to stay in Kentucky, then by all means focus on the Kentucky judges. But don’t discount going out of state for a year or two, especially if you can create a geographic connection to the area.

            Another question you may have is what level of judge to target. Generally speaking, federal circuit court clerkships are harder to obtain than federal district court clerkships, which are slightly harder than magistrate and bankruptcy court clerkships. All offer great experiences. Circuit court clerkships tend to be a little more isolated, where you will spend most of your time in chambers, but you can sometimes travel to cool cities for oral argument. These clerkships allow you to dive deeply into tough legal issues. District court and magistrate clerkships tend to have more interaction with lawyers and more time in court, and you’ll learn all about managing a docket. Any of these clerkships will provide tons of interaction with your judge. Come chat with me if you want to discuss this more.

  1. When should I apply?

            Many (but not all) Kentucky federal judges want to see at least three semesters’ worth of grades, which means they will start taking applications after the first semester of your second year. But many out-of-state judges hire even earlier! The best time to begin thinking about clerkships is during the first semester of your second year. You may want to send out some applications in October or November if judges you are targeting are open, while you can send the bulk of the applications after your 2L first semester grades are in.

            Look on Oscar to see which judges are accepting applications now. It’s also ok to call the chambers of a particular judge to see when that judge will start reviewing applications. You’ll most likely speak with the judicial assistant, who is used to receiving these calls.

            It is fine to apply early and then update your application with new information, such as grades, a new writing sample, etc. It is best to have your materials into the chambers as soon as the judge plans to consider applications.

            By the way, state court clerkships are also really great positions. State judges tend to hire later in the process, however, so it is generally ok to apply to federal judges first, and if it does not work out, you can then use your same materials (after updating them) to apply to state court judges.

  1. What should go in my application?
  • A cover letter (letter of transmittal)
  • Resume (one page, unless there are extraordinary circumstances for why you should go onto a second page)
  • Grade sheet (unofficial transcript)
  • Writing sample (your best possible writing)
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  1. What do you mean by “letter of transmittal”?

            Your cover letter should generally do nothing beyond introducing yourself and saying that your application materials are attached. This is not the place to make a case for yourself, explain that you are a strong writer, etc. Almost everyone applying has those same attributes. Ask me sometime to tell you about the ridiculous “Campbell’s Soup” cover letter I once saw. You don’t want to have that letter!

            The one exception here is that your cover letter should explain any geographic connection (or other connection) you may have with that judge. Essentially, you can use 1-3 sentences to explain why specifically you are applying to that judge. If you don’t have a particular reason for targeting that judge, then you do not need to add anything else.

  1. What should I use as a writing sample?

            Your writing sample should be your absolute best writing. What it is is far less important that how good it is. Many judges prefer a student Note, so if that’s ready, you can use it. But you may want to send some applications before it is done. That’s fine. You can use your appellate brief from 1L year, something you wrote over the summer (if your employer gives you permission), etc. The key here is that the writing sample should be flawless – especially on the first few pages and the last page (often judges won’t read beyond that). In terms of length, 10-15 pages is about right, so if your writing sample is longer it is ok to provide an excerpt with a cover letter explaining what it is and saying that the full version is available upon request.

  1. Who should write my letters of recommendation?

            You need at least three letters of recommendation. At least two should be from law professors who had you in class. The third also can be from a law professor (and in most cases that is best), but it is ok to ask someone else if that person is going to write you a glowing letter.

            Generally, you want someone who will write at least two pages about how great of a student you are and how you will be an amazing law clerk. Think about who knows you well, both inside and outside of the classroom. A letter that discusses various aspects of your performance, while also diving into strong personal attributes, is much better than a letter that simply says “this person was in my class and did really well.”

            I ask students who want me to write them a letter to prepare a 1-2 page memo telling me about them: Why did you go to law school? Why do you want to clerk? What are your ultimate career goals? What are your interests? What are some meaningful interactions we have had?

            Professor Chris Walker at Ohio State tweeted some advice for students seeking letters of recommendation. I wholeheartedly agree with his thoughts, which I reproduce in full here:

(1) When reaching out, please include resume, transcript, and talking points.

(2) Talking points should tell me what you want me to cover substantively and bonus points if in a format I could cut and paste into letter.

(3) Talking points are even better if they situate my letter within the context of any other letters, personal statement, etc.

(4) Talking points should include as much detail of our substantive interactions as possible, as that detail really makes the letter.

(5) Don’t assume I'll remember the highlights of our interactions. Remind me. Even when I do remember, your framing is often much better.

(6) Make very clear the deadline, and don’t hesitate to remind me as the date approaches.

(7) Also, if possible, give me the email and phone number of the Judge/partner/etc., so that it makes it easier for me to put in a good word.

(8) Once app submitted, keep your whole team posted on any developments.

(9) If you get an interview or make it to next round, email me again and include email/phone of employer to make it easy to reach out.

(10) Send thank you note once application is submitted. It means a lot for us old fashioned folks, esp hard copy under door makes my day.

(11) Finally, add your references to your holiday card list and let them know of any big life events or achievements over the years. I still let my college and grad school mentors know of life events, and they keep helping me advance in my career. /end

  1. Should I use Oscar or send paper applications?

            Oscar makes it really easy to submit applications to many judges at once. But is also allows judges, on their end, to filter out applications so they see only applicants from certain schools, of a certain GPA, etc. My advice, then, is to send paper applications if the judge accepts both Oscar and paper applications. That way you know that someone in the chambers will actually look at your application.

            That said, paper applications take time and money. You have to compile all of your materials, stuff envelopes, and mail them out. You can assume that you’ll need to spend $2-3 per application, and that can add up! You’ll therefore need to use your judgment on which ones to submit via mail and when to use Oscar.

            As for your recommendations, your professors will receive an email notice for Oscar applications, and we can take care of it from there. You should send us a spreadsheet with judges and addresses for any paper applications. If the letters are ready in time, we can seal them in envelopes and give them to you to put into the packet to mail out. But don’t wait for recommendations if the rest of your application is ready to go; we can send them separately.

  1. What’s next?

            You first task should be to identify who you want to ask for letters of recommendation and contact those people. That’s the only part of the application that you cannot control yourself. It’s ok to give your professors a deadline for the recommendation letter, so long as it is reasonable (a few weeks is about right).

            Your second task should be to decide what you will use as a writing sample and to clean it up to make it as perfect as possible.

            Your third task is to start creating a judge list.

            By this point you’ll be well on your way to applying for clerkships!

            Please come see me if this guide did not answer your question, if you have additional questions, or if you just want to chat about the process.

            Then, please let me know once you’ve applied to judges. And once you receive interview requests, come see me and we can chat about the interview process.

            Good luck!

Posted by Josh Douglas on October 18, 2017 at 10:49 AM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Laptops are loud

I banned laptops from my classroom beginning in January 2009 (the first semester following the faculty vote on my tenure) and my only regret was that I did not do so sooner. This was the early days of the anti-laptop push-back. A few professors (including David Cole of Georgetown) had begun identifying and arguing the negative effects, although we did yet have the empirical studies as support. In any event, it ha been about 20 semesters of teaching with no computers in the room.

In the past week, I have visited classrooms of three colleagues (as part of P&T review) who allow laptops. And boy do they make a lot of noise when 20+ students are all typing away at once. I noticed the quiet of no laptops almost immediately in January 2009. I forgot the loudness until this week.

 I know the students in the classes I observed either have in this semester and/or had in past semesters) professors who banned laptops. I remain struck and confused by how little voluntary change there has been. I keep expecting the no-laptop benefits to become so clear that students would recognize and never go back. But it has not happpened. Despite being prohibited from using laptops in Class A, more than half the students in both classes have gone back to using them when allowed to do so in Class B.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (37)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dean Search, Washburn University School of Law

Washburn University invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Washburn University School of Law. The Law School is recognized for its outstanding teaching and faculty scholarship and its commitment to public service. It has a highly favorable student/faculty ratio, with an excellent student body drawn from a national pool.

One of only two law schools in the state of Kansas, Washburn University School of Law is located in Topeka, the state capital. It was established in 1903 and has built a long tradition and legacy of providing an outstanding legal education. Washburn Law offers a broad-based curriculum in national and international law to students enrolled in the J.D., LL.M., and M.S.L. programs. It features six centers for excellence, nine certificate programs, and four dual degree programs. The thirty-two full-time faculty members, along with a strong cohort of adjunct professors, teach and conduct scholarship across a wide array of legal specializations. The Law School enjoys a dedicated staff and strong support from the community.

For more than a century, Washburn Law has demonstrated its commitment to academic excellence, innovation, and diversity. Students choose from nearly 150 courses, including a variety of seminars and clinical offerings. From the first year through graduation, the comprehensive curriculum and innovative programs prepare students for success in the legal profession. For over forty years, Washburn’s Law Clinic has functioned as an in-house general practice law firm, providing students the opportunity to represent actual clients in eight practice areas.

Washburn University School of Law has excelled in the categories most important to our students and alumni: a high-quality curriculum; an exceptional faculty; outstanding library resources; favorable graduation statistics, bar passage rates, and employment outcomes; and affordability. Among other accolades, Washburn University School of Law is ranked #2 in the nation for Government Law and is one of twenty law schools recognized by National Jurist as "Top Law Schools for Government Jobs." Washburn Law is also among the top seventeen law schools in the country for Business and Corporate Law programs. Washburn Law’s Trial Advocacy program is ranked in the top sixteen programs this year.

Washburn Law’s six signature programs – the Center for Law and Government, the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Children and Family Law Center, the Oil and Gas Law Center, and the International and Comparative Law Center establish an extensive learning network for law students and experienced professionals.

Our Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing program is consistently recognized as a top program by U.S. News & World Report, ranked 15th in the nation in the current edition. We are one of only a few law schools in the country with full-time, tenured and tenure-track legal writing professors who are involved in service and scholarship in the national legal writing community.

WashLaw, initiated in 1991 by the Washburn Law Library, is a legal research portal that provides users with links to significant sites of law-related materials on the Internet. It is one of the premier legal internet research services available to a worldwide audience of practicing and academic legal experts. WashLaw also hosts a large number of law-related discussion groups.

Washburn University seeks an exceptional candidate who has the vision, strategic acumen, entrepreneurial spirit, character, and presence to enhance the school’s existing strengths while moving the School of Law forward to a higher level of distinction. The Dean serves as the academic, fiscal, and administrative leader for the School of Law.

The School of Law is seeking a Dean who will work with the School of Law community to articulate a strategic vision to enhance its reputation, strengthen its fiscal position, and lead its efforts to meet the challenges of the changing landscape for legal education. The successful applicant must have a J.D. degree and demonstrate critical thinking and an ability to adapt to the changing market while moving the School of Law forward successfully.

The successful candidate will have a record of experience commensurate with appointment as a Professor of Law; a passion for academic excellence and intellectual inquiry; a recognized dedication to teaching excellence; a demonstrated commitment to institutional and community service; a thorough and current understanding of the legal environment; effective interpersonal and communication skills; and the ability to develop strong relationships with all of the law school’s constituencies thereby growing private financial support for the School of Law. Candidates must possess a collaborative work style, well-developed organizational skills, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. A record of progressively responsible leadership experience in administration is required.

To be considered, submit electronically in pdf format a cover letter, resume, and at least three references to Joan Bayens at joan.bayens@washburn.edu. A search committee will begin to review candidate materials by October 27, 2017, and will continue until interviews are scheduled. Employment at Washburn University will be conditioned upon satisfactory completion of a background check. The successful candidate will submit official transcripts prior to hire. Washburn University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. To enrich education through diversity, candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 20, 2017 at 06:32 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Hiring Announcement: Loyola-Chicago

Loyola University Chicago School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track position beginning in the fall of 2018, pending final approval of funding.  We welcome applicants whose primary area of expertise is Environmental Law with a willingness to teach either Civil Procedure or Property.  We are particularly interested in candidates whose scholarship aligns with Loyola’s mission of social justice, as well as candidates who are members of communities traditionally under-represented in the legal profession.  We seek applicants whose research and teaching will contribute to Loyola University’s commitment to solving societal and environmental problems, and advance Loyola's position as a national university leader on environmental research, policy and justice.  Appointment rank will be determined commensurate with the candidate’s qualifications and experience. 

Qualifications:  Applicants for this position should hold a J.D. or LL.B. degree from an accredited law school and have distinguished academic credentials.  Candidates for the position must clearly demonstrate the potential for excellence in research and teaching and have a record of (or clear potential for) distinguished scholarship.   

Special Instructions to Applicants:  Questions about the position can be directed to the Chair of the Committee.  Applicants should submit a current Curriculum Vitae, a teaching statement and research agenda, sample publications, and a letter of interest to http://www.careers.luc.edu/postings/5520.  Please also provide the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to your professional qualifications for this position.  Please note: these references will not be contacted immediately, but may be contacted at an appropriate later point in the review process.  Additional materials related to teaching excellence and samples of scholarly publications may be submitted electronically at the above website, or emailed or mailed to:

Sacha M. Coupet

Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

25 East Pearson Street

Chicago, IL 60611

scoupet@luc.edu

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty.  As a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will contribute to our strategic plan to deliver a Transformative Education in the Jesuit tradition.  To learn more about LUC’s mission, candidates should consult our website at www.luc.edu/mission/.   Applications from women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are especially encouraged.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 6, 2017 at 06:03 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Article Submissions: W&L Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

The Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (JCRSJ) is conducting a direct article review for submissions to our Fall 2017 Book, Volume 23, Issue 1. Any article submitted to the journal by Sunday, August 27 at 10:00 p.m. will be reviewed and evaluated before September 4.  If you have submitted an article to JCRSJ previously, please resubmit your article for consideration in this direct review.

By submitting your article, you agree to accept a publication offer, if extended by the journal.  Any articles accepted will be published in Volume 23, Issue 1, scheduled for publication in December 2017.

If you wish to submit an article, please e-mail an attached copy of the article, along with your CV, to JCRSJ@law.wlu.edu.  Please include “2017 Direct Article Review” in the subject line. Thank you so much and we look forward to reviewing a number of articles.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 13, 2017 at 01:52 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Teaching via treatise

Classes begin at FIU on Monday.*

[*] Although I must confess to wishing we had another two weeks of summer this year. This is unusual for me--I enjoy the semesters more than summers, because I like the rhythm and routine of teaching. But I am in the midst of three projects and believe I could finish all with an extra two weeks before having to balance teaching time. 

I am trying something different in Federal Courts this semester. I am not using a casebook, but instead am working primarily from two treatises (Erwin Chemerinsky's comprehensive Fed Courts treatise and Jim Pfander's Principles treatise), along with the Constitution, statutes, a handful (maybe 10) of recent cases, and some problems. I have been toying with this for a couple years and finally decided to pull the trigger this year. A few thoughts went into this. I sensed that in upper-level classes, many students used the treatises to prep rather than reading the cases.  My class discussion is organized in a treatise format--we do not work through individual cases, but discuss the doctrine at a macro-level whole, so it may be better to have them read and prepare in a similar format. And the author of one of the books convinced me that my spoon-feeding concerns ("the students are not having to figure out the rules of standing for themselves, Chemerinsky and Pfander are telling them the rules") were overstated and that the class discussion can be as rigorous. Plus, as I will remind the students on Monday, they will have more total pages of reading this way, and while it may take less time or require less re-reading, they still must read with care and preparation to engage in the discussion.

If I like how it works, I plan to follow the same format in Civil Rights in the spring, using my treatise (new edition forthcoming).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 11, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (21)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

SEALS faculty recruitment

SEALS is considering whether to establish a faculty recruitment conference for member and affiliated schools.* Details--whether it should be for laterals, entry-levels, or both; whether it should be in conjunction with the August annual meeting--are yet to be hashed out. The organization will appoint a committee to study the question.

[*] Motto: "Every school is southeast of somewhere."

Faculty at member and affiliated schools who are interested in serving on the committee can contact Russ Weaver at Louisville. If you have thoughts on the idea and how to implement it, leave them in the comments.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 8, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

CFP: Petrie-Flom Center: BEYOND DISADVANTAGE: DISABILITY, LAW, AND BIOETHICS

Beyond Disadvantage: Disability, Law, and Bioethics
JUNE 1, 2018

“Congress acknowledged that society’s accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.”

                                        Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., School Bd. of Nassau, Fl. v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273 (1973).

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is pleased to announce plans for our 2018 annual conference, entitled: “Beyond Disadvantage: Disability, Law, and Bioethics.” This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

Conference Description

Historically and across societies people with disabilities have been stigmatized and excluded from social opportunities on a variety of culturally specific grounds. These justifications include assertions that people with disabilities are biologically defective, less than capable, costly, suffering, or fundamentally inappropriate for social inclusion. Rethinking the idea of disability so as to detach being disabled from inescapable disadvantage has been considered a key to twenty-first century reconstruction of how disablement is best understood.
Such ‘destigmatizing’ has prompted hot contestation about disability. Bioethicists in the ‘destigmatizing’ camp have lined up to present non-normative accounts, ranging from modest to audacious, that characterize disablement as “mere difference” or in other neutral terms. The arguments for their approach range from applications of standards for epistemic justice to insights provided by evolutionary biology. Conversely, other bioethicists vehemently reject such non-normative or “mere difference” accounts, arguing instead for a “bad difference” stance. “Bad difference” proponents contend that our strongest intuitions make us weigh disability negatively. Furthermore, they warn, destigmatizing disability could be dangerous because social support for medical programs that prevent or cure disability is predicated on disability’s being a condition that it is rational to avoid. Construing disability as normatively neutral thus could undermine the premises for resource support, access priorities, and cultural mores on which the practice of medicine depends.
The “mere difference” vs. “bad difference” debate can have serious implications for legal and policy treatment of disability, and shape strategies for allocating and accessing health care. For example, the framing of disability impacts the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, and other legal tools designed to address discrimination. The characterization of disability also has health care allocation and accessibility ramifications, such as the treatment of preexisting condition preclusions in health insurance. The aim of the conference is to construct a twenty-first century conception of disablement that resolves the tension about whether being disabled is merely neutral or must be bad, examines and articulates the clinical, philosophical, and practical implications of that determination, and attempts to integrate these conclusions into medical and legal practices.

Call for Abstracts

We seek proposals that offer innovative conceptualizations and advance inventive approaches. Proposals should focus on the fresh contributions the presentation will make, including sketches of the supporting arguments. The abstract should include (but not be limited to) a paragraph summarizing the issue that will be addressed and any currently contending views about its resolution. Successful abstracts will explicitly address how the proposed presentation will address the challenges of integrating legal and medical understandings of disablement.

We welcome submissions on both broad conceptual questions and more specific policy issues related to the “mere difference” vs. “bad difference” debate. Potential topics include:
• Can disability be considered definitively bad, without defining living with a disability as inescapably disadvantageous?
• Can we ameliorate mismatches between the capabilities of people living with disabilities and the socially constructed environment without seeming to privilege them?
• Do the kinds of human diversity that disablement represents threaten the species or harm society? Can they improve the human species or benefit society?
• (How) are bioethicists obligated to represent or at least respect the standpoints of people with disabilities?
• Does the U.S. Supreme Court characterize and categorize disability correctly in the seminal equal protection case, Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center? How can we reconcile making special or individualized arrangements to avoid excluding individuals based on disability with equal opportunity and equal protection?
• Do different agencies’ and programs’ diverse definitions of disability—for example, that for some programs medical diagnoses suffice for disability status while others demand demonstrations of severe dysfunction—undercut efforts to address disability discrimination?
• What is the standard for people with disabilities having meaningful access to health care? What is the minimum standard for people with disabilities’ access to health care below which denial of care equates to disability discrimination?
• How may protections against disability discrimination—especially claims to civil rights or human rights—most effectively be made operative in the medical clinic?
• Can the processes for accommodating disabilities be secured against fraud?
• How should the impact of differences due to disability affect the way the competence of people with disabilities for accepting or rejecting treatment is assessed? How might new technologies affect courts’ determinations in this regard?
• What progress has been made in increasing the proportion of medical professionals with disabilities and what steps are needed to speed this effort?
• (How) should people with disabilities’ inability to achieve normal functioning affect their priority for scarce or expensive health care?
• Given the current state of data about their risks of morbidity, should lifesaving interventions for extremely preterm infants be harder to obtain than for other babies?
• Can Disability Pride be as effective for “destigmatizing” as earlier expressions of pride made by social movements such as those advanced by the LGBTQi, Women’s, or other groups?

Please note that this list is not meant to be exhaustive; we hope to receive abstracts related to the conference’s central question even if the particular topic was not specifically listed here. Proposals should demonstrate a clear linkage to all three aspects of the conference—disability, bioethics, and law. Papers that focus on ethics should include substantial discussion of policy implications. Relatedly, law will be treated broadly to include governmental policy decisions more generally. Successful abstracts will propose or outline an argument/position, rather than merely stating a topic.

In an effort to encourage interdisciplinary and international dialogue, we welcome submissions from legal scholars and lawyers, bioethicists, philosophers, clinicians, medical researchers, disability rights advocates, public health practitioners, behavioral economists, government officials and staff, and others who have a meaningful contribution to make on this topic. We welcome philosophical and legal reflections from contributors across the world, but these submissions should be general or United States- focused rather than comparative in nature. We welcome submissions from advocacy organizations, think tanks, and others outside academia, but emphasize that this is a scholarly conference, and abstracts/papers will be held to academic standards of argumentation and support.

How to Participate

If you are interested in participating, please send a 1-page abstract of the paper you would plan to present to petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu as soon as possible, but not later than October 15, 2017. If your abstract is selected, your final paper will be due on April 1, 2018, and you will be assigned a presentation slot for the conference. Please note that all presenters must provide a full final draft in order to participate and that presenters are expected to attend the conference for its full duration. We will accept conference papers of all lengths and styles (e.g., law review, medical, philosophy, or policy journal, etc.), but presentations will be limited to 15 minutes. The conference will be held on Friday, June 1, 2018. We will pay travel expenses for presenters who must travel to Cambridge; co-authored papers must name a single presenter.

In the past, we have successfully turned several of our conferences into edited volumes (e.g., with Cambridge, MIT, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia University presses). It is possible, although not guaranteed, that conference presenters will publish their papers with us in an edited volume whose chapters will be limited to 5,000 words, including references. Previous conference participants have been able to publish their submissions in different formats in multiple venues, for example both as a short book chapter and a longer law review article. However, the version that will be used for an edited volume should not have been published previously or be planned to publish separately.

How to Register

Registration information is available here. Attendance is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Stay tuned for the conference agenda, which will be posted to our website once abstracts have been selected.

Questions
Please contact the Petrie-Flom Center with any questions: petrie-flom@law.harvard.edu, 617-496-4662.

Sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. This year’s conference is organized in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 2, 2017 at 08:21 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Rotations

Welcome to August and to our returning guests--Shima Baughman (Utah), David Fontana (GW), and Rhett Larson (ASU).

Remember that Redyip will be seen in a couple of weeks.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 1, 2017 at 08:01 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (6)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

CFP: National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars

The Rehnquist Center is pleased to announce the inaugural National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars. The conference will be held at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, Arizona, on March 16-17, 2018. Its goal is to create a vibrant and useful forum for constitutional scholars to gather and exchange ideas each year.

Adrian Vermeule will deliver a keynote address. Distinguished commentators for 2018 include:

  • Jamal Greene
  • Aziz Huq
  • Pamela Karlan
  • Frank Michelman
  • Cristina Rodriguez
  • Reva Siegel
  • Robin West

All constitutional law scholars are invited to attend. Those wishing to present a paper for discussion should submit a 1- to 2-page abstract by September 15, 2017. All constitutional law topics are welcome, and both emerging and established scholars are strongly encouraged to submit. Selected authors will be notified by October 15, 2017. Selected papers will be presented in small panel sessions, organized by subject, with commentary by a distinguished senior scholar.

Please send all submissions or related questions to Andrew Coan (acoan@email.arizona.edu). For logistical questions or to register for the conference, please contact Bernadette Wilkinson (bwilkins@email.arizona.edu). The Rehnquist Center will provide meals for all registered conference participants. Participants must cover travel and lodging costs. Hotel information will be provided as the date approaches.

Register here.

Conference Organizers

Andrew Coan, Arizona

David Schwartz, Wisconsin

Brad Snyder, Georgetown

The Rehnquist Center

The William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government was established in 2006 at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The non-partisan center honors the legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist by encouraging public understanding of the structural constitutional themes that were integral to his jurisprudence: the separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government, the balance of powers between the federal and state governments, and among sovereigns more generally, and judicial independence.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2017 at 11:19 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The lawyer, the addict, and the law professors

What did people think about The Lawyer, the Addict in last weekend's New York Times? The piece was written by the ex-wife of a lawyer who died of an overdose; in investigating her husband's drug use and death, the author found a legal profession with high rates of substance abuse.

For now, I want to focus on one small section of the piece, sub-titled "The Law School Effect," which suggests that law school is part of the problem. Prior to law school, future law students are healthier than the general population--they drink less, use less drugs, have less depression, and are less hostile; they also begin with a stronger sense of self and values. Then it all changes in law school, which "twists people’s psyches and they come out of law school significantly impaired, with depression, anxiety and hostility." Following the start of law school, students show "a marked increase in depression, negative mood and physical symptoms, with corresponding decreases in positive affect and life satisfaction."

The piece points to a few factors. One is the way law school encourages students to remove emotions from their decisions. Another is the focus, and the shift in student focus, to status, comparative worth and competition, looking at things such as grades, honors, and potential career income, and away from the idealism that had motivated them to come to law school. The result is that young lawyers succumb to substance abuse when "the reality of working as a lawyer does not match what they had pictured while in law school."

I focus on this because it is the one part of this I might affect in my professional life. But I wonder what we as law professors can or should do about this. Start with the three big things mentioned in the article:

   • I am not sure law school encourages students to remove emotion from their decisions as much as to learn that emotion cannot be the basis for the decision. I like when students feel passionately about something. The problem--and the thing law school must teach--is that the whole of the analysis cannot be emotion and emotion cannot get in the way of everything else; they must move past emotion and go where the law does, can, or should lead, which is what I think law school tries to do. I also believe many professors and courses try to get students to think not only descriptively but also prescriptively about what the law should be or about how they would counsel a client to behave. But if it is all emotion--this is how I feel it should be--we are doing cable news or Twitter, not law.

   • Is law school more focused on grades, honors, and career income than other professional schools? Also, is this focus coming from law schools or from the profession? And, in any event, what can we do about it? Students go to law school to get jobs as lawyers--a central criticism of legal education is that we are producing too many lawyers who will not get jobs (or at least not good jobs) as lawyers. So career focus seems seems built into the education process. As to grades and honors, those are the signals that the job market uses in giving out jobs as lawyers. I suppose it would be nice not to give grades (grading is every prof's least-favorite part of the job), but that obviously is not happening. Students are aware of the import of grades and honors because they know they are the keys to getting jobs. At least within the curriculum, most professors are focused on students learning the subject rather than getting good grades, although the two ideally run together.

   • Loss of idealism is inevitable and, by definition, unrealistic. This is not unique to law or law school. (The author's ex-husband worked  as a chemist before law school, but found the work tedious--I imagine it departed from what he expected when he went to grad school for chemistry). Loss of idealism seems akin to the removal of emotion--idealism should not be eliminated, but it cannot control the game. We live, and will practice law in, the real world.

Another obvious factor, not mentioned in the article, is that law school is a lot of work--a lot of reading, a lot of preparation, and a lot of assignments going on at once. And it is not structured passively, with students sitting and listening to us lecture, so it is difficult to just skate by (at least in first year). Again, however, so is legal practice. Even if one wants to argue that the traditional law school classroom is ineffective and should be replaced by other methods, those other methods still require to read and be prepared for class, so the amount of work and preparation does not change. And, again, is law school more work than med school, engineering school, etc.?

So what can law schools and legal education do to not be a gateway that, by its nature and structure, starts students into this potential danger (according to the article)? (In answering, we must assume no changes to the legal profession or what life is like for practicing lawyers--law schools cannot make unilateral changes that would create more of a disconnect between education and the profession).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (33)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Bleg: Course/Credit Releases

I am reposting an earlier request:

I am looking for information on how other law schools handle periodic/sporadic/special release from the regular number of courses and credits (whether from 4 to 3 or 3 to 2). I am looking for information about one-year/one-time reduction--how often they happen, who decides, what criteria are applied, etc.? Is it a one-time special release, to be requested and approved when big projects arise? Do you use an hour-banking system, with a release every third or fourth year? Something else entirely?

You can comment below or email me at howard.wasserman@fiu.edu.

 

 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 7, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How other law schools do things

Looking for some ideas on how law schools handle some faculty matters.

1) Course/credit releases. How do you handle periodic/special releases from the regular number of courses and credits (whether from 4 to 3 or 3 to 2). Not thinking about faculty buying out, but rather  one-year reductions because of big scholarly projects, etc. How often can faculty do this? Who decides--the dean, faculty, or some combination? Is there written criteria as to what justifies it or is left to decanal discretion? Do the credits get made up in a subsequent year? Is it a banking system?

2) Co-authored articles for P&T. How are P&T committees handling co-authored works in evaluating a colleague's productivity and in deciding what to send for outside review? Are such works being discounted? Do you ask the candidate for a breakdown of who did what or how the writing process worked on the project?

Please respond in comments.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 18, 2017 at 03:48 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The 2017 Texas Regional Legal Scholars Workshop

The following is from Dave Fagundes of University of Houston Law Center, on behalf of that school and Southern Methodist University Law School, on the 2017 Texas Regional Legal Scholars Workshop.

Would you like early-stage feedback on a research idea? Or late-stage feedback on an article ready for submission? Or something in between? Your colleagues at UH Law Center and SMU Law School invite you to join us for the third annual Texas Regional Legal Scholars Workshop, to be held on August 25-26, 2017, at the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, Texas. The Texas Regional Legal Scholars Workshop—which for the first time will also include scholars from law schools in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico—provides an intimate setting for early-career scholars (those with less than 10 years in a full-time faculty position) to receive feedback on an idea, work-in-progress, or a polished draft. We welcome legal scholars from all disciplines.

The workshop will give participants the chance to meet other early-career scholars in Texas and surrounding states, share feedback on research, and enjoy a few social events. There is no registration fee. Attendees are responsible for their own hotel and travel expenses, but UHLC will pay for meals, including a hosted dinner at a restaurant on Friday night.

Who: Scholars with less than 10 years in a full-time law faculty position (including tenure-track, non-tenure-track, clinical, and legal writing positions) at any law school located in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Please note due to space limitations, only scholars from schools in those five states are eligible to attend.

When: The workshop will be on Friday August 25th & Saturday August 26th, 2017. The Friday session will run from approximately 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, and the Saturday session will run from approximately 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. (These times may be adjusted slightly depending upon the number of attendees.) The deadline for registering is Monday, June 1st. Please register online. When registering, please provide a title for your paper and specify the topic from the pull-down menu. If you have a paper to upload, please do so (we understand that participants may not be able to upload a draft at the time of registration). Updated drafts may be posted at the same web address as your paper progresses.

Each attendee is also expected to serve as the primary commenter on at least one paper. We will assign attendees to papers once we have a final list of participants and topics. For this reason, we ask that you submit an entry only if you are confident about being able to attend; late withdrawals may leave other participants without a commenter for their paper.

Where: University of Houston Law Center, 4604 Calhoun Rd., Houston, TX 77204.

Format: The author will present a 5-10 minute synopsis of his or her paper, identifying specific areas for feedback. Then, a primary commenter will speak for around 10 minutes. After that, other attendees may take turns commenting. Each session will last no more than 60 minutes.

Hotel: We have reserved a block of rooms at the UH Hilton, located on the University of Houston campus a short walk from the Law Center. Rooms in the block are available for the nights of August 25 and 26, and cost $119 per night. The block will be available until July 26 or until it fills up, whichever comes first. Please make reservations in the UH Hilton room block online.

Questions: Dave Fagundes (dfagunde@central.uh.edu) or Nathan Cortez (ncortez@smu.edu).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 9, 2017 at 08:12 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northwestern Law Review exclusive summer submissions

From July 1-July 21. Details here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 9, 2017 at 11:50 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Announcement: Prospective Law Teachers Workshop at SEALS

Each year, SEALS hosts a Prospective Law Teachers Workshop, which provides opportunities for aspiring law teachers to network and participate in mock interviews and mock job talks — prior to the actual teaching market. The Committee also schedules 1-on-1 sessions for candidates to receive faculty feedback on their CVs. This year’s Prospective Law Teacher’s Workshop will be held at The Boca Resort in Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday, August 2 and Thursday, August 3. On Wednesday, there will be mock interviews between 8 and 10 AM with CV review sessions at 1:00. On Thursday, mock job talks will take place from 8 to 10 AM. And at 3:00 on Thursday, we will have a panel entitled “Navigating the Hiring Process” which will feature recent tenure track hires who will give advice about getting hired in this “new" market. There are also many excellent panels on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday that are targeted to newer law professors, which prospective law professors will also find helpful. See http://sealslawschools.org/submissions/program/programwp.asp.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s workshop, please send your CV to professor Brad Areheart (Tennessee) at brad.areheart@tennessee.edu, who co-chairs the committee along with Leah Grinvald (Suffolk). Applications are due by May 15, 2017. Many of the past workshop participants have gone on to obtain tenure-track positions in legal academia and now teach at a wide variety of schools, including Tulane, South Carolina, UNC, Cal Western, Oklahoma, Boston U, Idaho, Colorado, Louisville, and others.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 6, 2017 at 04:35 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Call for Exclusive Submissions: Penn State Law Review

The following is from Penn State Law Review:

The Penn State Law Review is conducting a direct article review to fill positions in Volume 122: Issue 1 and 2. Any article submitted to this review between now and May 12th will be considered and evaluated by May 17th. If you have submitted an article to the Penn State Law Review previously, you must resubmit your article for consideration in this direct review. 

By submitting your article, you agree to accept an offer for publication, should one be extended. Any articles accepted will be published in Volume 122: Issue 1 or Issue 2 of this review. Issue 1 is currently scheduled for publication in September 2017. 

If you have an article that you would like to submit, please e-mail an attached copy of the article, along with your CV, to SBL5219@psu.edu. Please include “2017 Direct Article Review” in the subject line.

Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Sarah Loy, Editor-in Chief of the Penn State Law Review
sbl5219@psu.edu

 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 4, 2017 at 01:57 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting Civ Pro mileage out of Trump

For my in-semester essays in Civ Pro, I got a lot of mileage out of Zervos v. Trump, the defamation lawsuit filed by the former Apprentice contestant who alleges Trump sexually assaulted her (the allegation is that when Zervos went public with her allegations and Trump denied them, he called Zervos a liar, constituting defamation per se).

I got four essays out of the basic lawsuit, with only a little bit of elaboration beyond the Complaint itself and only a few made-up or altered facts, as necessary: 1) Whether another of Trump's sexual-assault accusers (I used Natasha Stoynoff, the People Magazine journalist) could join as a plaintiff; 2) How Trump could raise a defense of presidential immunity (that is, the difference between 12(b)(6) and 12(c) for affirmative defenses--I moved the case to federal court); 3) Whether Trump could remove to federal court in New York (a test of the Forum Defendant Rule--I tweaked the facts and had the lawsuit filed on January 23); and 4) Whether Zervos could have filed the lawsuit in her home state of California rather than New York (a test of the Effects Test for personal jurisdiction, with some internet thrown in).

All-in-all, a helpful teaching case, in a framework that students would be interested in and with which they would be somewhat familiar. And, at least so far, no complaints from students about asking them to write about Donald Trump and his misdeeds, even having to answer one question as Trump's counsel.

I will leave with a question for the Civ Pro types: What would your conclusion be on the P/J-in-California question? Based on the allegations in the Complaint, Zervos is from California and one of the sexual assaults that Trump denies occurred there (the other occurred in New York). But Trump's denials of the assault accusations (i.e., the defamatory statements) were made either via Twitter directed at the world or at campaign rallies in states other than California, with no indication the statements made it into California through his efforts. And what makes Trump's denials defamatory is that he is denying Zervos' statements about the assaults, which were not made in California, not the California-based assault itself. My initial thought was that there would be no jurisdiction in California. But when I sat down to write the sample answer reaching that conclusion, I moved in the other direction (I ended up writing two sample answers, one going each way). Thoughts?

If my initial conclusion was wrong and California would have jurisdiction over Trump, it raises some interesting questions and ties personal jurisdiction to other, strategic issues for the plaintiff. If there is jurisdiction in California, why did the plaintiff go to New York, especially New York state court? Trump is certainly no less popular in New York City than in California (although perhaps not Orange County, where Zervos lives). One answer may be that she wanted to keep the case in state court--because of the Forum Defendant Rule, Trump (almost certainly a New Yorker) could not remove to federal court in New York, although he could remove to federal court in California. But to the extent any temporal presidential immunity exists, it would be in state court (an issue the Court in Clinton v. Jones left open), while it is clear that no such immunity exists in federal court. That being so, why would Zervos pick state court over federal court?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 25, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

AJIL Unbound

A new online supplement to the American Journal of International Law:

AJIL Unbound is published on behalf of the American Society of International Law. AJIL Unbound supplements the American Journal of International Law (AJIL) by publishing short, original essays addressing developments in public international law and private international law. Featuring timely essays written in a readable style accessible to international law policymakers, practitioners, and students, AJIL Unbound seeks to broaden and diversify the scholarly exchanges on international law begun in the pages of AJIL and to introduce new ones online. 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 5, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Welcome to Max Stearns and "Blindspot"

Max Stearns (Maryland) has joined the law professor blogosphere with Blindspot, which he describes here. Posts so far have covered the Gorsuch hearings, coffee, the TV show "Rectify" (whose final season I need to watch), and ideological blindspots of both political parties.

Definitely worth adding to your regular blog stops.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 26, 2017 at 10:50 AM in Blogging, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Journalism, law, and asking questions

This piece, arguing that reporters undermine their checking function by asking complex, multi-part questions or burying a single question in a long lead-up, is spot-on. And the comparison to what we try to do in law school and law is apt. Effective cross-examination involves single, pointed questions. The same for effective questioning during oral argument--part of why Justice Breyer's questions are so incomprehensible and impossible to wade through is all the crap surrounding the question--which is usually just "respond to what I just rambled about for 3 transcript pages." It also what effective classroom teachers do, guiding the discussion with singular pointed and precise questions.

The result in journalism and law is the same: If the question is memorable because so beautifully and intricately phrased, the answer will not be memorable--because it will not have gotten a meaningful answer or even any answer, at the least not the one the questioner was hoping for.

Update: Needless to say, this also would make confirmation hearings far more bearable.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 21, 2017 at 04:14 PM in Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

PrawfsFest! 2017

The following is posted on behalf of Jake Linford at FSU (jlinford@law.fsu.edu), who is hosting the first PrawfsFest! since Dan's death.

I am among the many beneficiaries of that most Markelian (Markelish?) of workshops, the Prawfsfest! It has been too long since the last Prawfsfest, and so I will be hosting a new session at Florida State University College of Law in Funky Tallahassee. The plan is to gather on April 27-28, during FSU’s exam period, but before the weather turns too hot.

The point of the gathering is to be an incubator for half-baked scholarship and early works-in-progress (pre-submission, pre-SSRN).  Each participant is expected to produce of a draft of no more than 10,000 words.  The author does not present the paper, but instead we spend an hour on constructive criticism of each paper, which everyone will have read.

I have 6 available slots, open to any former or current PrawfsBlawgger, which will be distributed first come, first served. Each participant must cover their own travel expenses and hotel accommodations, but FSU will pick up meals. Historically, the conversation and feedback have justified the cost. I'm hoping to finalize the list of attendees as soon as possible, so please let me know (jlinford@law.fsu.edu) if you plan to attend by March 15, 2017.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 1, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Blogging, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Acosta nominated as Secretary of Labor

Alexander Acosta, my dean at FIU College of Law since 2009, has been nominated (and will almost certainly be confirmed, possibly overwhelmingly) as Secretary of Labor. When we hired Alex, I predicted out loud that we would have him until a Republican was next in the White House. Turns out, I was right. I predicted/hoped that it would be 2021 rather than 2017. And I predicted/expected we would lose him to DOJ as Attorney General or to the federal bench; Labor never crossed my mind, despite his time at the NLRB.

Alex had what I believe should be regarded as a very successful deanship. The quality and success of our students has improved dramatically; we are ranked in the mid-50s on US News (yeah, I know) for student quality and job placement and we have topped Florida in bar passage the past three cycles. (Scholarly reputation is nearly immovable, although he supported programs to help on that front). He managed us through the financial and application drop--our applications have been up or down less than national averages most years. The only thing I predicted back in 2009 that he might do, but has not, was find a naming-rights donor. But those do not grow on trees.

I was skeptical of hiring a non-academic dean at the beginning. It turned out we were on the leading edge of a trend that numerous similar schools followed. He brought a unique skill set (notably the ability to recruit and support students) that is not easy to find or replicate and it did wonders for the school.

He will be missed, but I wish him all the best.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 16, 2017 at 03:57 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, February 13, 2017

CFP: 2d Annual Ad Law New Scholarship Roundtable

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is pleased to host the Second Annual Administrative Law New Scholarship Roundtable on June 27-28, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Roundtable is the creation of four schools—Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and University of Wisconsin—each of which has committed to hosting the Roundtable during one of the first four years of the Roundtable.

The Roundtable will bring together a mix of emerging and established scholars to present new work on Administrative Law. Participants will present their papers in small panel sessions designed to foster rich discussions with experts in the field and contribute to a vibrant Administrative Law community. Each panel will be led by a distinguished scholar who will facilitate the discussion. Confirmed commentators currently include Emily Hammond (George Washington), Lisa Heinzerling (Georgetown), Jon Michaels (UCLA), Nick Parrillo (Yale), Peter Shane (Ohio State), Cathy Sharkey (NYU), and Glen Staszewski (Michigan State). In addition to the paper panels, a lunch program will address current issues in Administrative Law and institutional resources for empirical research projects.

Scholars wishing to participate in the Roundtable and present a paper must submit a one-to-two-page abstract by Friday, March 17, 2017. Applicants should include their title, institutional affiliation, and number of years teaching in the academy. Preference will be given to those who have been teaching nine years or less in a tenure-track position. Abstracts should be sent to Chris Walker at walker.1432@osu.edu. You may also contact Chris Walker or Peter Shane with any questions you may have about the Roundtable.

The Roundtable will provide meals for all participants. Participants must cover their own travel and lodging costs. We will reserve a block of reasonably priced rooms at a local hotel in advance of the Roundtable.


Administrative Law New Scholarship Roundtable Host Committee

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 13, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Article Spotlight, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Random thoughts on a Sunday

1) Judge Donnelly's temporary stay of removal of those at U.S. ports of entry who are legally authorized to enter the United States raises, from the other political side, the issue of nationwide injunctions against enforcement of U.S.policy. Darweesh purported to be suing on behalf of others similarly situated, although Judge Donnelly did not perform any part of the FRCP 23 analysis. But at the stage of a temporary emergency stay or temporary restraining order, this is less problematic than on a preliminary or permanent injunction entered after full briefing by the parties.

But here I want to distinguish between "nationwide" and "universal" injunctions (thanks to Tobias Wolfe of Penn for the distinction); the latter term better captures the remedial problems. An injunction is, and should be, "nationwide" with respect to the named plaintiffs--the United States should be enforced against them anywhere in the country. And the "parties" in a class action properly covers everyone in the class. A universal injunction, by contrast, bars action by the defendant with respect to anyone, including non-parties. This is remedially problematic. The DACA injunction was universal--although only Texas and about 25 other states were parties, the injunction barred the United States from enforcing DACA in, and with respect to, non-party states, even those who would not oppose the benefits granted to undocumented persons within its borders.

Now it remains to be seen whether this case is properly brought as a class action (reports are there are about 100-200 people with the status of the plaintiffs in Darweesh. I expect the class question will await fuller litigation, assuming the relevant agencies do not release the people affected. The point is that the "nationwide" label thrown around in the press is too imprecise.

And, for what its worth, TRO's are issuing in other courts (including the District of the District of Columbia, Western District of Washington, and District of Massachusetts), suggesting that Judge Donnelly's temporary stay is not doing as much nationwide work as it might.

2) Josh Blackman has his usual thorough analysis of the procedural aspects. I do not think I agree that Judge Donnelly's order is ultra vires for not having performed the FRCP 23 analysis. In that short time, I am not sure the court could do more than acknowledge the class allegations in the motion and save them for fuller briefing. But to not allow the fullest TRO* would love potential class members subject to removal.

[*] Although not styled a TRO, this seem to me the functional equivalent--staying enforcement of the law for a finite number of days pending fuller briefing.

3) There are some interesting enforcement issues, as reports come that officials at airports are refusing to abide by the orders. Judge Donnelly included a paragraph order the Marshals to take all steps necessary to notify agents on the ground about the order. But that takes time.

4) As I wrote last weekend, I have no idea when public protest will be permitted and when law enforcement will crack down. The New York Times described the genesis and evolution of Saturday's protests at Kennedy Airport (which, famously, is a nonpublic forum), including crowds making sidewalks outside the terminal unpassable. And all without permits, pre-event negotiations, and explicit or implicit understandings. And yet there were no arrests and no efforts to disperse or remove the protesters. Same in the parking garages. At one point, Port Authority police blocked protesters from boarding the train linking the subway to the terminals, until Gov. Cuomo ordered them to stand down, which they did  only after a 15-minute delay.

5) There is a teaching moment here, apart from the substantive and procedural details of the controversy and the "this is why we need lawyers" narrative (since most of our students are never going to be on either side of such controversies). Reports are that this order was not vetted by the lawyers and policy experts at various agencies, including in the Office of Legal Counsel, but was thrown together by non-lawyer policy makers and some lawyers guiding them within the White House. So the teaching point is that lawyering matters and lawyering means care and precision and avoiding ambiguity and the chaos that ambiguity brings. And that is true not only as to major government orders that affect the entire world, but wills that affect an elderly widow.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 29, 2017 at 12:31 PM in Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sponsore Post: West Study Aids

The following post is by Anna Lawless-Collins, Associate Director for Systems and Collection Services at Boston University Law School, and is sponsored by West Academic.

The Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries at Boston University added the West Academic Study Aids Subscription in April 2016, just in time to help with end-of-year exams, and it was an immediate hit with our students. We went on a marketing blitz (aided by materials sent by West Academic) and set out table tents, posted flyers, added slides to the law school's slide show, blogged about it, and handed out materials at the circulation desk. We even wore buttons encouraging students to ask us about using the materials. Students told our library director, Ron Wheeler, that they find the online versions infinitely better than the print reserve materials - not least because they can use them anytime and anywhere. They don't have to worry about other students returning the materials late or the print versions going missing.

From the implementation end, we worked with the West Academic team to set up school branding on the page. Now, when students visit the page, it's clear that the library is providing access to the study aids. It also includes a "Most Popular at Your School" module that pulls real-time usage reports from our school. That, plus the "Recent Releases" module, shows students new and important content their peers are accessing. We are also using the free MARC record collection from OCLC to ensure discoverability in our catalog. We have had to do some tweaking to the records to make sure they are complete and to get the records to FRBRize with our print holdings, but that work is minimal when compared to the number of records we are adding with the monthly updates.

The platform initially was only accessible from the Westlaw home page, but recently moved to an independent platform with IP access. This allows students to browse the titles as a guest, but they still have the option to create their own account and sign in to their own account within the platform. If they do that, they can take notes, highlight passages, and keep track of important information in their own accounts. Students have told our Head of Access Services that this platform is the easiest to use of all our eBook platforms. The usability, good content, and new features being added (like audio lectures) has led to high usage. For Fall 2016, we saw our usage rise steadily over the semester, reaching a high of well over two thousand document views for the exam period in December.

The statistics themselves are very useful. We can see breakdowns by month, guest users by IP authentication, and unique visitors by month. We also get breakdowns showing which series are being used and how frequently, number of global searches, the top search terms, searches within books, and the top ten books searched. This gives us a good idea of what our students are looking for help with and we can use that to help guide our collections decisions in other areas.

The Study Aids Subscription from West Academic has been a great investment for us. It's helped our students access materials more easily during stressful times, it's eased the burden on our print reserves collection, and it's created an enormous amount of goodwill for the library.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 16, 2017 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Sponsored Announcements, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Silence in the classroom

As we all start spring classes, I want to share an observation about the value of silence in the classroom. I am interactive with my students, even in my large class (Business Entities). One of the most fruitful questions I ask myself as I do my class prep is, "What questions would make a bright student who has done the reading think a bit before replying?" Those questions add particular value to the class experience because they're not something the students will get just by a careful reading of the assignment. They actually have to go to class to get that value. In turn, I feel an obligation to make the class time valuable to the students by asking questions that do more than reinforce a basic understanding of the reading.

But a necessary consequence of asking questions of that kind is that students pause before replying. Frequently they start a sentence then stop. All of that involves what can seem like considerable silence in the classroom. While the students are wrestling with a question, they are also dealing with the dynamic of silence.

I am explicit with the students about this, telling them on the first day, and usually giving them a reminder later in the semester, that silence is a good thing in this context. That, in fact, it's a way to know whether I'm doing the job I'm supposed to be doing (i.e., doing more than just assigning pages and explaining what they've already read). Still, the silence itself has a tendency to unsettle some students.

If you're looking for a new technique for class or for class prep, I recommend finding questions that are just one step past what the students would think of on their own. The silence really is golden, but be aware that you may want to be open with your students about the value of silence.

Posted by Eric Chiappinelli on January 10, 2017 at 10:43 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

MarkelFest! at AALS on Wednesday (Moved to Top)

We will continue a PrawfsBlawg tradition with another MarkelFest! Happy Hour at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco. It will be at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4, at Romper Room, 25 Maiden Lane in Union Square; go to the private room upstairs, called the Leopard Lounge (buy drinks at the bar downstairs). The bar is about a 10-minute walk from the Hilton (walk up O'Farrell, left on Grant, right on Maiden Lane).

Please spread the word. And come join us for drinks and conversation. See you all there.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 3, 2017 at 03:01 PM in Blogging, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)