Friday, October 26, 2018

Don't be a lawyer

We are big fans of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, especially the music. Tonight, the show takes on law school and practicing law. Enjoy.

Update: Having seen the episode, the main plot development is the lead character deciding she does not want to be a lawyer anymore (although she is shown as being good at it). I must admit to expecting her to decide midway through the episode that she instead would become a law professor.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 26, 2018 at 09:24 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law, Television | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, October 22, 2018

70 Years of the International Law Commission

This Friday and Saturday, FIU Law Review will host 70 Years of the International Law Commission: The Role and Contributions of the ILC to the Development of International Law. It is organuzed by Charles Jalloh, my colleague at FIU and a member of the ILC. The roster includes judges, scholars, and ILC members from around the world. Friday schedule is here, Saturday schedule is here. It will be live-streamed, so plan to check it out.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 22, 2018 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, International Law, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Publishing opportunity--Kentucky Law Journal

Kentucky Law Journal is  looking for one article to round out its volume this year. They are specifically hoping to find a criminal law piece, but will consider other submissions as well. Authors can email submissions to [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 10, 2018 at 06:13 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 08, 2018

Better Call Saul does legal-academic fundraising

In the Better Call Saul season finale, Jimmy donates $23,000 to an area law school to name the library Reading Room after his brother. Just how unrealistic was that? What is the going rate for naming rights for a room in a law school?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 8, 2018 at 11:17 PM in Culture, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Barnette at 75

I am happy to say that FIU Law Review's symposium Barnette at 75: The Past, Present, and Future of the "Fixed Star in Our Constitutional Constellation" was a great success, with three terrific panels and a wonderful keynote speech by John Q. Barrett (St. John's) on Justice Jackson's particular approach towards a series of contemporaneous disputes involving Jehovah's Witnesses.

Video of the entire event can be found here.

One other shout-out: At the same time as our program, Georgia State hosted a conference on Anthony Kennedy's jurisprudence, including one panel on Kennedy's prose. At perhaps the same moment as that panel, several of us were having a conversation, sparked by one speaker noting the unformulaic nature of Jackson's Barnette opinion--was Kennedy, in opinions such as Obergefell, trying to be Justice Jackson?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 7, 2018 at 06:52 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Barnette at 75 (Move to top)

Beginning at 9 a.m. Friday (tomorrow) is the FIU Law Review Symposium, Barnette at 75: The Past, Present, and Future of the "Fixed Star in Our Constitutional Constellation." The link includes the video for the livestream. The livestream and recording also are available here. The issue of the Law Review (which will include published transcripts of the Q&A sessions) will be published later this academic year.

The full schedule is after the jump.

Panel 1: Barnette in Historical Context

 
Chair and Moderator

Dean Joëlle Moreno, FIU College of Law

Comments

Ronald K.L. Collins, Thoughts on Hayden C. Covington and the Paucity of Litigation Scholarship

John Inazu, Barnette and the Four Freedoms

Genevieve Lakier, Barnette, Compelled Speech, and the Regulatory State

Brad Snyder, Frankfurter and the Flag Salute Cases

 

Panel 2: Reading Barnette

Chair and Moderator

Prof. Tawia Ansah, FIU College of Law

Comments

Paul Horwitz, Barnette: A Close Reading (for Vince Blasi)

Aaron Saiger, The pedagogy of Barnette

Steven Smith, “Fixed Star” or Twin Star? The Ambiguity of Barnette

 

Keynote Address

Prof. John Q. Barrett, St. John's University School of Law

 

Panel 3: Barnette in Modern Context

Chair and Moderator

Prof. Howard M. Wasserman, FIU College of Law

Comments

Erica Goldberg, “Good Orthodoxy”and the Legacy of Barnette

Abner S. Greene, Barnette and Masterpiece Cakeshop: Some Unanswered Questions

Leslie Kendrick, A Fixed Star in New Skies: The Evolution of Barnette

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 4, 2018 at 10:47 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Barnette at 75

6ab403bdc2d5f9de3624331c42bd9be9I have mentioned this previously, but FIU Law Review and FIU College of Law will host Barnette at 75: The Past, Present, and Future of the "Fixed Star in Our Constitutional Constellation" next Friday, October 5, at FIU College of Law. We have a great slate of speakers, including our own Paul Horwitz.

The program is open to the public, so please attend if you are in the Miami area.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 26, 2018 at 11:25 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Dean Search, The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law

As the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States, the Catholic University of America is committed to being a comprehensive Catholic and American institution of higher learning, faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on by the Church. Dedicated to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason, the Catholic University of America seeks to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation, and the world.

Established in 1897, the Columbus School of Law is a national leader in preparing students of all faiths for the practice of law. The Law School has outstanding programs, institutes, externships, study-abroad opportunities, and nationally recognized clinics. Located in the nation’s capital, the Law School is housed in a beautiful modern building specifically designed for contemporary legal education, with state-of-the-art technology throughout its classrooms and library. The Law School offers three degrees: the Juris Doctor (J.D.), including a full-time day program and a part-time evening program; the Master of Laws (LL.M.); and the Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.)

The School’s approach to legal education can be summarized with three words: practical, focused, and connected, also referred to as the CUA Law Advantage. The School shines as a gem within legal education in Washington, comprising collegial and compassionate students, a supportive and academically distinguished faculty, and an accomplished and well-connected alumni base that is actively involved in assisting current students to reach their goals.

The Law School seeks a distinguished legal scholar or member of the legal profession to serve as its next Dean. Reporting to the Provost, the Dean is the School of Law’s chief academic, advancement, financial, and administrative officer, with overall responsibility for its academic programs, operating budget, personnel management, strategic planning, public relations, and fundraising. The Dean is also the Law School’s primary representative to the University, alumni, and legal communities.

The next Dean will be presented with the opportunity not only to propel CUA Law to higher levels of prominence and distinction, but also to serve among the senior leaders of an international, Catholic research university.

CUA seeks a Dean who will make a significant contribution to advancing the University’s mission and goals, continue to advance the national academic and professional standing of the Law School, and provide strategic vision at an important time in its history. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership, administrative, and fundraising abilities and offer a long-term vision for the continued growth of CUA Law. Because the Law School seeks a vibrant intellectual leader, all candidates are expected to meet the qualifications for appointment at the rank of full professor with continuous tenure by their scholarly publications and/or distinguished contributions to the profession.

Nominations, inquires, and applications should be sent in confidence to: [email protected]

The Catholic University of America is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 23, 2018 at 03:21 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 17, 2018

FIU COL leads Florida Bar passage . . . again

A bit of shameless school self-promotion. I am happy to say that FIU College of Law again led Florida law schools in bar passage, at 88.1 %. By my count, this is the sixth time in the past seventh Bar administrations that we have led the state (on the seventh, we finished second, missing by one). We remain a well-kept secret in legal ed.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 17, 2018 at 02:51 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 07, 2018

ICYMI: Ten (okay, Nineteen) Tips for New Law Professors

I wrote this a while ago and offer it again in case it may be of use.

1.  Begin a little more strictly than you mean to go on.  If you start out strict and stern, you have room to lighten up. If you start out lax, you will pay a real price if you need to impose order later on.

2.  If you put a policy in the syllabus, stick to it even if you think you might have been wrong.  I learned this the hard way.  The first time I taught Professional Responsibility, I stated in the syllabus and in class that the exam would be a two-hour exam.  After I wrote it, I decided it was a bit too hard and I would be "nice" and give them an extra hour to complete it.  I had a young woman in my office 30 minute before the exam so angry I thought she would spit on me. I told her she was welcome to finish in two hours instead of three, but that didn't placate her. I finally told her she'd have to take it up with the associate dean, and I'll be damned if she didn't march down there and do just that.  Thankfully, he backed me up, but I never again made a major policy shift midstream.  She wasn't the only disgruntled student that day, either.

 3. Put everything you can think of in the syllabus, even things that should go without saying.  For example, if you are teaching a seminar, you should consider a policy stating that plagiarism is a ground for failing the course, and you should have an extended explanation in the syllabus explaining what plagiarism is.  You might think that everyone accepted to law school already knows what plagiarism is, but you would be wrong.  More importantly, by explaining what plagiarism is in the syllabus, you deprive the student of the ARGUMENT that s/he didn't know s/he was committing plagiarism.  Another example of something you might want to put in the syllabus is a statement that it is rude and disruptive to come late to class, to come and go during class, or to leave class early without notifying the professor beforehand.  Frankly, I'm not sure I realized how distracting these habits are before I started teaching, and many of your students won't, either.

 4. "Don't be moody." 

This is a piece of advice I received early on from a relatively new law teacher, and it has always stuck in my head. The person who gave me the advice was male, and he evidently had gotten burned  by violating it.  What the advice boils down to, I think, is that students desparately need you to be predictable. It is comforting to them when they know roughly what to expect each day. 

5. Students decide very, very quickly whether you're on their side or not. If they decide you are, they will forgive a multitude of mistakes. If they decide you're not, nothing you do will be right.  I've been teaching for 19 years, and I only had one class that hated me.  They decided early on that I was mean, and everything I did provided confirmation.  They even hated how I started the class and what I wore. (I'd given birth the month before the class started, and my wardrobe was limited). Frankly, I grew to dislike most of them, too.  However, in telling this story, I'm violating the next tip in my list.

6. Be careful about generalizing how "the class" feels.  A communications researcher would probably insist that, in fact, there is no such thing as a "class." (See Ien Ang).  Instead, a "class" is a collection of individuals with disparate needs and interests and judgments about the classroom experience.  That said, it is easy to assume that outspoken students represent the feelings of the entire group.  It so happens that what I think of as "the class that hated me" (discussed above) included two especially delightful students, who took one of the most fun Media Law classes I ever taught. I still keep in touch with them even though they graduated more than a decade ago.

7. Watch out for group dynamics.  Let's say you have a student who is engaging in disruptive behavior. You may be tempted to call the student out for his or her behavior in front of the whole class, but this is usually a bad idea.  Even if other students started out being annoyed at the disruptive student, they may turn on you if you come down too harshly on the student or make him lose face. What should you do instead? I use what I call "class regulation by raised eyebrow."  For example, if a student is late, I may visibly lose my train of thought and stare at him with a completely blank expression on my face for a few seconds--just long enough to be socially awkward.  That does the trick 99 percent of the time.  If you try informal means of "discipline" and they don't work, however, the next step is to call the student into your office. The student won't lose face, and you won't run the risk of having the entire class turn against you for being "mean."

8. Try not to project insecurity. In other words, fake it until you make it.  Although you may be tempted to reveal to the class that you are brand new or are learning the material for the first time, you certainly don't have to and some would argue you shouldn't.  Remember that the students are lucky to have a teacher who is energetic and curious and enthusiastic and can reach them at their level.  Also remember that as little as you think you know, you still can read a case far better than even your brightest student.  So project confidence, but . . . [see next rule.]

9. When you make mistakes, fix them.  When I first taught Torts, I slept with the Prosser & Keeton hornbook by my bedside.  I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking "what if they ask me X?" I would then flip through Prosser & Keeton, read it, perhaps even take notes, and then go back to sleep.  I realize now that every first-time teacher makes mistakes; it is just a question of how you handle them.  Sometimes you will just have to say, "I don't know. Let me research that and get back to you tomorrow." [But make sure you have the answer when you promised it.]   One classic dodge is to say:  "Hold that question. We'll get to that later in the class (or tomorrow or next week)." [Make sure you research the answer and come back to it when you said you would.]  If you realize you didn't explain something well or your explanation was misleading, one way to handle it is to say at the start of next class:  "I'd like to begin by clarifying X that we were discussing yesterday." [Then give your 5-10 minute summary/totally correct explanation.]  Occasionally, you will realize that you said something completely wrong and you will just have to apologize and fix it. As consolation, remember that you are modelling for them how to handle mistakes, and it may be one of the most valuable lessons you can teach future lawyers.  Law is a complicated business, and we all make mistakes from time to time no matter how hard we try or how smart we are.

10.  Trade-offs are inevitable.  More depth or more coverage? Encourage participation and intellectual curiosity, or hew to an organizational scheme?  Stick to your syllabus, or spend more time on the things the class seems interested in or doesn't understand readily? There are lots of other trade-offs of this sort that you'll have to make and then re-make when you realize you've tilted the balance too far toward one value at the expense of another.

11. Make ideas "sticky." Try to come up with ways to make the material you teach memorable.  Silly is sticky.  Graphics (pictures, drawings on the board) are sticky. Funny is sticky. Music is sticky. My Trusts and Estates professor even danced on the table to reinforce a principle, and I remember it (the dancing) twenty years later.  The principle had something to do with whether separate property acquired after the marriage becomes community property or not.  Okay, so the idea wasn't that sticky, but my point still holds.

12. Use the board more than you think you need to. It helps keep the class structured, and it helps the visual learners in the class.   Conversely, use Power Point less than you think you need to.   Power Point is good for pictures and videos, and it can be used to examine closely the text of a rule or to convey highly detailed and technical material through lecture.  Do NOT put giant blocks of text on Power Point and then simply read to the class from the slides. EVER.   

13. It's not about you; it's about the students. Try to keep their needs foremost, instead of your own desire for ego gratification or anything else.  

14. Keep a degree of formal distance between you and your students.  You can treat them like future colleagues, but you cannot be friends with students until they have left your class.  Your role requires you to sit in judgment of your students when you grade them, and that role can be compromised if you don't maintain formal distance.

15. Never use the same exam twice!!  Violate this rule at your extreme peril.

16. Ask colleagues for advice, but remember you don't have to take all the advice you receive.

17. You will teach a class best the third time you teach it.

18. If you are teaching a large class and don't feel that voice projection is one of your gifts, consider wearing a microphone. This tip was shared by my anonymous source. I've never had this problem, but I've heard plenty of complaints from students about being unable to hear some of my colleagues. It is impossible to be an effective teacher if the students cannot hear you.

19. Consider wearing a suit. Even if you don't plan to wear it forever, it may help as a crutch for faking it until you make it and can help you maintain some formal distance from the students. This tip also came from my anonymous source, but I fully concur. I don't wear a suit every single day now, but I believe in signalling I take the endeavor seriously by dressing professionally.

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on September 7, 2018 at 11:56 AM in Lyrissa Lidsky, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (12)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

What’s the Fuss about Medical Education-Some Preliminary Thoughts

As some of my readers know, my first job in academe was on the full time faculty of a medical school and since then I’ve always had joint appointments.   I’ve done some writing about the differences here and here.  Like law schools, medical schools face the challenge of turning lay people into professionals in a very short period of time.  Over the month, I will highlight some of the things they do that could work for us.  Notice throughout that medical education articles about teaching techniques are almost always accompanied by research about how they worked compared to alternatives.    In later posts, I will suggest how we could (and why we should) test our curricular innovations so that we can make better decisions about what works—and so that we can make it easier to share effective techniques within our own schools and beyond.   For now, though, it’s important to understand that medical school faculty start ahead of us on this because every medical school has its own office of medical education to support the faculty and , as a profession in itself, these educators produce vast amounts of easily available research studies on what works and what doesn’t.    Here are some examples from  Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Brown, and University of Illinois, but every medical school has one.  And if we could be more meta, here’s some research on their effectiveness. How big is this field of medical education- have a look at an overview of the conference schedule.

This focus on testing what works goes beyond medical schools into the other health professions as well.  So, for example, this article is by a professor of veterinary medicine looking at whether students learn neural anatomy better when they use expensive three-dimensional and digital teaching tools in addition to the traditional dissection and learning methods.  In recap, yes, although the students themselves don’t notice the difference.  The article cites about 50 other articles around the world looking at the same question—all very important when making the decision of where to invest limited resources.  Here’s an overview of the concept of evaluating educational effectiveness. 

Finally, for tonight, medical education has approached the challenge of teaching busy practitioners to be educators in ways that respect the time of volunteers yet maximize the learning experience for students. In particular, they’ve spent considerable time finding ways for students in the first year (or days) of medical school to learn in practice based settings.   This is years before they begin the process of clinical rotations or residencies.

 This article runs through four techniques that practitioners can use to turn what are essentially “shadowing” experiences into teaching.  And here’s the evaluation study. .

--to be continued…..

Posted by Jennifer Bard on September 4, 2018 at 12:07 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Kai-zen and Poka-yoke in the Classroom

Even when I'm not doing a whole new prep, in the spirit of kai-zen ("continuous improvement"), I like to tinker with the form and the substance of a class.  Sometimes the tinkering is fairly substantial.  Several years ago, the authors of my contracts casebook decided to produce another edition.  I respectfully declined to adopt it, not believing that there were sufficient advances in the law of contracts to justify having students buy a newly-issued book.  But, upon discovering that there weren't enough copies of the old edition in circulation to be sure students could get them, I decided to scrap the casebook entirely, download and edit the cases myself, post them on Blackboard, and assign the very good Examples & Explanations book as the text.

If you aren't familiar with it, kai-zen is a fundamental aspect of lean manufacturing, something that had its roots in the Toyota Production System in Japan after World War II, and migrated to the United States and elsewhere in the 1980s and 1990s.  In first year contracts, I came up with two improvements yesterday, as usual in the several hours before the first class was to begin.

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 6.23.23 PMThe first was substance.  I record all my classes and post my notes as soon as we are done with a unit.  I decided that I wanted the very first thing that I said on the very first day to be something to which the students could return when, as I put it, later in the semester they got frustrated with the material, me, the book, the cases, or why they made the decision to go to law school in the first place.

The second was form.  As I've mentioned, I don't impose a seating chart, and my cold-calling tends to be half-hearted at best, and tails off over the course of the year.  I do, however, start with "on-call" panels, and I do like to know something about my students.  In past years, I have simply given them blank index cards with the instruction to write their names and other information.  But, regardless of the instructions, students have managed to leave stuff out, write on the back of the cards, fill the cards so that I can't put pictures on them, etc. I have also struggled with how to take that information and use it (a) to organize the panels, and (b) have the information, including their pictures, readily accessible as I have to find them in the classroom (because I don't use seating charts). 

So I called on another lean manufacturing concept - "poka-yoke" or "inadvertent mistake prevention."  The idea on the manufacturing floor is that you set the process so that the operator can't make a mistake without shutting things down.  Instead of having two similar and identical holes for which the inserted piece could get reversed, you make the holes into different shapes and non-symmetrical.  It occurred to me that, if I just did a little poka-yoke on the cards, I would get the information just as I wanted it, and with a space in which to insert a picture.  

Voila!  What you see above, which took about 90 seconds in Word to create, and which could be duplicated on 4 x 6 index cards.  To create the panels, I just shuffle the cards and separate them into groups.  To call on students, I just reach for a card.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 31, 2018 at 08:46 AM in Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT - DIRECTOR OF THE ENTREPRENEURIAL/TRANSACTIONAL LAW CLINIC AND ASSISTANT/ASSOCIATE/PROFESSOR OF LAW

DRAKE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL invites applications for the position of Director of the Entrepreneurial/Transactional Law Clinic. The position will begin in the 2019-2020 school year, and will be a twelve-month position. The directorship could be annual or long-term contract, or tenure-track, depending on the candidate’s qualifications and preferences. Duties will include supervising and assessing Clinic students representing nonprofit organizations and emerging entrepreneurs.   The Clinic primarily focuses on assisting startup businesses and nonprofits in underserved communities in Polk County, Iowa that are not able to afford retained counsel.   In addition, graduate students and other researchers at Iowa State University provide another source of Clinical transactional cases, many of which include advanced issues involving tech transfers, capital structures, and software licensing. The Director will have the opportunity to build on the success of the existing clinic, which serves a vibrant, diverse community of innovators.  In addition, there may be opportunities to teach doctrinal and experiential-learning courses depending on the law school’s curricular needs.

Candidates must possess a J.D. or comparable law degree and be admitted to, or able to satisfy the requirements for admission to the Iowa Bar. A distinguished record of clinical teaching or extensive practice-related experience, with a demonstrated capacity for excellence in teaching, supervision and assessment, scholarship, and service is preferred. At least three years of teaching and/or practice experience is also preferred.

Drake has long excelled in clinical education and is a pioneer in the area. Our six clinics provide students with an outstanding legal experience in Children’s Rights Law, Delinquency Law, Elder Law, General Civil Law, and Criminal Law. Housed in the state-of-the-art Neal and Bea Smith Law Center, the Legal Clinic is an integral part of the Law School Program and is supported by a multi-million dollar endowment. The Law School is located in Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, a thriving metropolitan area of more than 700,000 people. Des Moines is consistently ranked in national surveys as one of the best places to live in the United States. 

Drake University is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks applicants who reflect the diversity of the nation. No applicant shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information or veteran status. Diversity is one of Drake’s core values and applicants need to demonstrate an ability to work with individuals and groups of diverse socioeconomic, cultural, sexual orientation, disability, and/or ethnic backgrounds.

Confidential review of applications will begin in August 2018. Applications (including a letter of interest, a complete CV, teaching evaluations (if available) and the names and addresses of at least three references) should be sent to Professor Ellen Yee, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Drake University Law School, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311 or e-mail: [email protected].

Posted by Administrators on August 30, 2018 at 10:35 AM in Sponsored Announcements, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Law Schools as a Proxy for Class

Above the Law recently published an article by LawProfBlawg—an anonymous professor at a Top 50 law school—called “Classism in Academia.”  The article takes as a jumping off point the characteristics of law professors in the latest citation count rankings, and notes the low numbers of ranked professors “who didn’t go to a top 10 law school (and more likely to be from a lower socio-economic status).”  This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone endorse the idea that the law school a student attends is a good proxy for his or her class.  So I thought I’d spend a few minutes explaining why I’m uncomfortable assuming that a law professor’s attendance at a Top 10 law school (as opposed to a lower ranked school) is a good proxy for class.

But before I get to that explanation, let me say that I think that schools should consider socioeconomic status when it comes to achieving diversity both for faculty and students.  And I also think that it is a good idea for schools to hire from a broad array of different law schools.  I’d be happy to defend either of those positions.  But I don’t think that one has to believe either or both of those things to think that we shouldn’t use attendance at a Top 10 school as a proxy for class.

So what do we know about the socioeconomic status of people who attend top 10 law schools?  I haven’t done independent research on the topic, so I can’t say with any authority.  But what I can say is that the evidence offered in this article doesn’t support the proxy argument.  That is because, to show that a professor’s alma mater is a good proxy for class, you’d have to show not only that folks who attend top 10 schools came from money, but also that those who attended schools ranked 11 or below didn’t.  In addition to that, you’d have to show that there is a significant enough difference between the socioeconomic status of people at the top 10 schools and those at schools 11 or below that we can say school attendance is essentially interchangeable with class.  And, from what I’ve seen, the limited data available doesn’t suggest that either of these things are true.

What appears to be the best data set about socioeconomic status in law schools (a data set that didn’t include family income) supports the idea that people who attend law school tend to have a higher socio-economic status than those who don’t.  And the LawProfBlawg article points to it as support for its claim about law school as a proxy for class.  I’m not in a position to assess the methodology or limitations of that study.  But I can say that the study doesn’t show a significant difference between the top 10 law schools and the top 50 law schools.  According to the table on page 9, 82% of students at top 10 law schools are in the top quartile of socioeconomic class, as compared to 77% at schools ranked 11-20, and 73% at schools ranked 21-50.

That comparison is important because it shows a serious weakness with the class proxy argument.  The weakness is that a person who attended a school in the top 50 (but not top 10) ranked law schools is *very* likely to have come from a high socio-economic class—in fact, they are nearly as a likely as a student at a top-10 school to have come from money.  So if we are going to assume that someone who went to a top-10 ranked school had a high socioeconomic status, why would we not assume that about someone who went to a school ranked 15?  Or 35?  Or 42?

I’ll admit that I feel somewhat defensive about this topic.  But I want to be very clear about *why* I feel defensive.  I feel defensive because the law school that I went to—although it is at the top of the US News rankings—wasn’t just filled with the children of the super-rich.  (And there is a best-selling book out there right now that seems to say it is.)  And there is some limited information out that that suggests my school—Yale Law School—doesn’t deserve the reputation that this proxy argument seems to assume.  The current dean of the law school recently tweeted some statistics about the incoming class, including that 10% of the class are the first in their family to attend college and that more than a quarter are the first in their family to attend professional school.  And another Yale grad helpfully tweeted some information about an older survey of YLS students reporting that the median family income was not significantly higher than the national median.

Not only does my law school not get the credit that it deserves, but the claim that school is a proxy for class also makes those of us who went to these schools but who didn’t have a lot of money feel kind  of crappy.  As this topic was being discussed on Twitter, I had a few friends reach out to me to tell me how upset they’ve been when people assume that, because they went to Harvard or Yale, that they must have grown up with a lot of money.  They are upset because comments like this suggest to them that people assume that they didn’t have to work hard to get that degree.  And it especially stings because they remember having to eat Ramen or turn down fancy unpaid internships because they didn’t have the money to do otherwise.

This defensiveness is much different than what LawProfBlawg mentions in his article.  The article says:

I also find it a bit amusing that some who tout the need for student diversity often become exceptionally defensive when looking at their own privilege and the need for academic diversity. I’m not suggesting that those of you who are at elite law schools or who have elite law review placements don’t deserve kudos. It is simultaneously possible to accept that you have been benefitted by privilege based on your race, class, or gender and also continue to value your own writing and scholarship and continue to have it valued.

The working class kids who went to these schools didn’t have the benefit of class.  And insisting that we should use alma mater as a proxy for class minimizes or even erases whatever hurdles they faced by not coming from money.

The proxy argument also exacerbates something that I’ve always found unsatisfying about the current discussion surrounding privilege—that it sometimes suggests that only some have truly “earned” their current success.  I’m not sure that any of us can say that we didn’t benefit from something that was external to ourselves.  For example, even though I didn’t grow up with money, I was extremely lucky to have two parents who greatly valued education, lucky to have a high school teacher who encouraged me to apply to Ivy League schools, lucky to have college friends who convinced me to apply to law school, lucky to have a first year law professor who encouraged me to transfer to Yale since I wanted to teach, and insanely lucky to have a partner who is more supportive and understanding than any other human being that I know.  And if I constantly focus that the advantages that others have because they are male or because they grew up with money, it is easy for me to lose sight of all of the advantages that I did have.  There are plenty of people who worked just as hard as I did and were just as smart, but who weren’t as lucky.  And I don’t want to lose sight of the luck that I’ve had and start thinking that I have only myself to thank for whatever I've accomplished.

But perhaps that most troubling thing about the law school proxy argument is that it is trying to tap into innate feelings about fairness when what we need is a more careful and nuanced discussion about law school hiring.  There is no dispute that it is easier for a candidate to get a law teaching job if she has gone to Harvard or Yale than if she’s gone to a school outside of the top 30.  But it’s not entirely clear why it is easier.  If we say that the difference between those candidates is about money, then we automatically assume that the system must be flawed.  But if the socioeconomic status of students from a school ranked #1 and a school ranked #30 aren’t actually all that different, then we need to have a more difficult conversation about why that hiring difference is a problem.  Is it because Harvard and Yale have better networks for their grads?  Is it because they do a better job teaching their students about academic writing?  Or is it some form of discrimination?  It’s not enough to shout “hierarchy” or “elitism”—you need to have a more nuanced discussion.

I’m not saying that a nuanced argument against our current system can’t be made.  In fact, I think it can.  And since we are law professors, I think that we have a pretty serious obligation to have the nuanced discussion.  We shouldn’t let our own preconceived notions about they “types” of students who graduate from these schools dominate.

Socioeconomic class is something that law schools should care about.  But let’s please stop saying that only top 10 law schools have diversity problems when it comes to class.  It simply isn’t true.  And it prevents us from having a better discussion about the issue.

Posted by Carissa Byrne Hessick on August 29, 2018 at 10:14 AM in Carissa Byrne Hessick, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (41)

Guest Post: A Law Faculty Candidate and His Judicial Reference (1934)

The following guest post is by John Q. Barrett (St. John's and The Jackson List)

In summer 1934, Harold Roland Shapiro was a young lawyer.  It seems that he had earned his Bachelor of Laws degree eight years earlier at New York Law School, and that he had gone on to work in Washington, D.C., in a government position that had something to do with trade and antitrust law.  [I have not been able to find many sources on Mr. Shapiro’s background—I welcome any pointers.]

It also seems that Shapiro was acquainted with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo.

We know this because Shapiro wrote to Justice Cardozo during the Court’s 1934 summer recess.    Shapiro reported some good personal news:  positive signs that he would be employed by his alma mater to teach Administrative Law.  And Shapiro asked for Cardozo’s help—he requested a letter from the Justice to New York Law School’s dean, recommending Shapiro for the teaching position.

Cardozo declined to send the “Supreme Court justice letter” that surely would have been, if Shapiro had needed it, an employment-clincher.  Instead, Cardozo, summering in Westchester County outside New York City, wrote back to Shapiro, explaining his policy of not volunteering recommendations:

Rye, N.Y.

                        August 12, 1934

Dear Mr. Shapiro,

            I am much gratified

at the word that you are

likely to give instruction in

administrative law at the

New York Law School.  You

have many qualifications

for the work and will

be happy in it.

            As for writing to the

Dean, I have a fixed rule

never to recommend any one

for appointment to a

position of any kind unless

my opinion has been solicited

by the appointing power.

You will agree with me, when

you reflect about the matter,

that this is the only

appropriate attitude for a

judge to take.

            With all good wishes and

kind regards

                        I am faithfully yours

                                    Benjamin N. Cardozo

It’s not clear what happened next.  Maybe Shapiro got the Dean to ask the Justice for his views and Cardozo then endorsed, or maybe Shapiro did not and his application went forward without it.

In any case, Shapiro got the job—he became an Assistant Professor at New York Law School (at least by 1938, which is the earliest press reference I can find, but I assume that it happened in Fall 1934).

This all seems extra-relevant to me because I am, like many law professors, on my school’s Appointments Committee this year and going through candidate resumes.  Many are excellent.  I wish every applicant the luck of Shapiro and each of us who gets to think, teach, and write as a law professor.

And I am reminded, by Justice Cardozo, that when an interesting candidate lists a great Judge as a reference and I might wish to hear his or her views, I should take the initiative to make contact.

And a final point, for history:  For any collector, or any would-be benefactor of an appropriate archive, the Cardozo-to-Shapiro letter is available for purchase—click here if you have $1,500 to spend for it.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 29, 2018 at 09:31 AM in Legal History, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dean Search: University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

The University of Utah invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

The Dean will be a nationally recognized leader with demonstrated administrative skills and a discernible commitment to the values of the College of Law and its mission to educate, to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and to serve the public. As its chief administrative and academic officer, the Dean will foster inclusivity and diversity, promote collegiality and respectful engagement, meaningfully collaborate with others at the University and in the community, and possess an aptitude for development, donor and alumni relations, and the wise stewardship of resources. The Dean also must guide the College of Law in innovating approaches to the present challenges in legal education and in sustaining its reputation for institutional excellence.

The Dean will serve a five-year renewable term, commencing July 1, 2019. The successful candidate must have a J.D. degree. Rank and compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience; a scholarly record that supports an award of tenure and rank of full professor is preferred.

Founded in 1913, the College of Law is the only public law school in the State of Utah. The Dean will lead an exemplary group of 47 full-time faculty members, about 300 students, and a dedicated professional staff, all of whom contribute to the quality and vibrancy of the institution. Our faculty publishes works in leading journals, collaborates on prestigious interdisciplinary projects, writes impactful legal briefs and policy white papers, authors books of national and international interest, hosts cutting-edge conferences, and has a longstanding (and rising) reputation for scholarly excellence, community engagement, and inventive pedagogy. Overall, U.S. News & World Report ranks the College of Law nationally as a top 30 public law schools and a top 10 environmental program. The College of Law supports two centers of research excellence with national impact and significant student involvement. The Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment is dedicated to understanding our critical environmental challenges and promoting public knowledge and dialogue about sustainability. The Center for Law and Biomedical Sciences is committed to improving health law policy in the life sciences, biotechnology, bioethics, and the medical and technologic arts.

The College of Law currently has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6:1, which fosters unparalleled faculty mentoring and support for our students. Employers routinely laud our unique legal reading and writing program, a cornerstone of the first year curriculum. Our upper level courses enable our students to individualize their program to suit their future directions, and we offer six subject matter certificates and joint degree programs to that end. Outside of the classroom, our students experience learning through an extensive nationally recognized clinical program, recently ranked 15th in the country for Practical Training in 2018 by PreLaw magazine. For example, 90% of the class of 2016 participated in 14 clinics, with each student averaging over 300 hours of clinical work for credit. The College of Law also supports a remarkable, one-of-a-kind volunteer program that allows students to provide legal outreach to the local community. In 2016, our students contributed over 4000 volunteer hours and served almost 2000 clients in nine brief advice clinics. After graduation, we are proud to find our alumni pursuing distinguishing roles in every sector, in every area of law, and in every part of the country.

Building on these accomplishments, the College of Law recently opened a 155,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance innovation in legal education, bolster community service, and provide students with new opportunities for skills training. Designated LEED platinum, the new building incorporates award-winning accessibility and sustainability features that embody the College of Law’s deep commitment to the environment and to the community.            

As a flagship research institution in the elite Pac-12 Conference, the University of Utah enrolls approximately 26,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students and ranks among the best global universities. Heralded for its entrepreneurial spirit, Forbes magazine ranked the state of Utah as the 3rd Best State For Business in 2018. Our campus is located in Salt Lake City, a progressive state capital and regional economic epicenter, which serves as a focal point of growth for a diverse metropolitan area of over one million people ranked as the 10th best city in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. The city is home to a wide variety of cultural activities, including the Utah Symphony and Opera, Ballet West, the brand new Eccles Theatre, a vibrant concert scene, and several professional sports teams, and offers unparalleled recreational opportunities, with ten world-class ski resorts and five national parks nearby. More information about the city and the region can be found at https://www.visitsaltlake.com.

Applications, including a curriculum vitae, a letter stating the candidate’s interest and qualifications, and five professional references, should be submitted to https://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/79927. Confidential inquiries should be directed to the search committee co-chairs, Keith Diaz Moore, Professor and Dean of the College of Architecture + Planning, at [email protected], and Amelia Smith Rinehart, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development, at [email protected]. The committee will review applications beginning October 5, 2018, until the position is filled.

More information about the position can be found at https://lawdeansearch.utah.edu. Please visit https://law.utah.edu and https://www.utah.edu to learn more about the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the University of Utah.

The University of Utah is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities to apply. A veterans’ preference will be extended to qualified veterans. Reasonable disability accommodations will be provided with adequate notice. For more information, please refer to the University’s equal opportunity and nondiscriminatory employment policy: https://www.regulations.utah.edu/humanResources/5-106.html. Inquiries about University nondiscrimination and disability accommodation policies may be made to the University’s Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator by mail to Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm. 135, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 or by telephone to (801) 581-8365 (V/TDD).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 28, 2018 at 04:30 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Guide for the Perplexed - Law Professor Careers Edition

220px-Guide_for_the_Perplexed_by_MaimonidesWith sincere apologies to Maimonides, and having been a guest blogger through this year's fall article submission season, it seems like an opportune time for a short update to those classics, Memo to Lawyers: How Not to "Retire and Teach" and "Retire and Teach" Six Years On.  I wrote the former piece after getting a tenure-track law teaching job at the ripe old age of 52, reflecting on the idiosyncrasies of the hiring process, particularly for the superannuated aspirant, after having experienced the real world for most of a career. I wrote the latter piece shortly after I got tenure, reflecting mostly on what it really meant to do scholarship and teaching well.  

I now have the further experience of having participated on various career-related committees and the faculty meetings in which hiring and other career decisions get made.  (Disclaimer:  what follows are my views alone and do not represent views of my employer, any committee on which I sit, or any other member of our faculty.)  So, below the break, and for what it's worth, here are some random and personal thoughts about the role of scholarship in academic law careers and careerism, particularly for pre-tenured folks, from my particular perch at a respectable but certainly not an "elite" school.

  • Why are you writing?  Presumably it's because you like doing it and see it as a way of making a difference in the world.  But from a career advancement standpoint, you do it for one of three reasons:  to get hired, to get tenure, or to move laterally.  What I'm about to say is based on intuitions about data because the data is not readily available.  The first and the last of those career objectives are difficult; the middle one, at all but a handful of institutions, is relatively easy.  My suspicion is that the lateral market is far less important as a factor in career advancement than it might otherwise seem - again the availability heuristic at work.  The AALS reports that there are over 10,000 full-time tenured or tenure-track law professors (makes sense - about 200 schools at an average of 50 faculty members).  Maybe there are 100 lateral moves a year?  A very well-known senior law professor/scholar told me years ago not to expect to move laterally - this person had spent 17 years at a lower top 100 school before making a series of significant jumps up the food chain.  My intuition (which I could test if I didn't think it was undue navel-gazing) is that the farther you go down the rankings, the higher the percentage of faculty that have spent their entire career at the school.
  • CVs provide a gestalt.  My own experience is that I take it in as a whole and don't react to any particular item unless there is something truly exceptional about it.  For my money, the angst and mental energy I see reflected on this blog with respect to article placement is barely worth the effort.  The names of law reviews in which you've published are visceral heuristics that, in my experience, matter only when one is flipping through hundreds of FAR submissions.  Even then, it matters only to an extent and not at the level of granularity that people seem to think makes a difference.  Per the lumping of peer reputation scores I've highlighted before, if you've published in the elites it would cause me to notice, and it would probably cause me to notice if you published nowhere but specialty journals in the unranked USNWR category of law schools, but little else matters viscerally.  I don't keep a US News or Washington & Lee ranking in my head, and couldn't tell you where Tulane ranks in relation to Colorado to Temple.  And even noticing isn't the same thing as making an informed judgment that involves the subject matter of the writing, the apparent sophistication of the work (if one can tell from the title), or its originality, even if I make the judgment quickly.
  • Once you get past the visceral, here's what I think really happens.  As Paul Caron wrote in an article over ten years ago, legal scholarship has an exceedingly long tail.  Paul relied on research done by Tom Smith at San Diego.  The top half percent of articles get 18% of all citations, the top 5.2% get 50% of all citations, and the tail gets truncated quickly as 40% of all articles never get cited.  I'm assuming that there is a relationship between citation and articles even getting read.  The times you can be sure some or all of your work will be read is when you've made it through the callbacks and are into the final several people being considered for the spot, when you are being reviewed for promotion or tenure, and if and when you were ever in the final stages of the lateral process.  Generally speaking, people doing that reading aren't idiots, and know exactly how the system works.  If the piece sucks, but somehow you managed to get it through the editorial board at take-your-pick top 50 flagship, very few people who know the area in which you are writing are going to think to themselves, "Hmm, this person missed the really important work on this subject and skated over the hardest responses to the argument, but my gosh it was placed in the Big Ten Other Than Michigan Law Review, so it must be good."
  • While being perceived as a competent scholar is a but-for in the hiring, tenuring, and lateraling milieus, the make-or-break consideration is being perceived as a productive scholar.  If there is anything I find meaningful in visceral impressions, again it is the gestalt of a CV with a healthy list of publications the dates of which show consistency, all appropriately adjusted for the length of one's career.
  • In creating the gestalt, aim for one traditional law review behemoth a year.  But don’t overlook short pieces - reactions, brief essays, and so on.  The online supplements are nice for this, as are the "essay" sections of traditional law reviews.  You read a piece and have 3,000 to 5,000 words (or fewer) to say about it.  Do it!
  • With the shorter pieces, take a shot at a peer reviewed journal.  I really like the courage it shows. (Most peer reviewed journals have a word limit - usually no more than 10,000.).  It takes longer to place them, but it really is a professional affirmation.  And since it's likely that they don't count as "tenure pieces" under many schools' tenure standards, the wait doesn't matter so much.  Steel yourself, however, for what academics in other disciplines experience:  evil reviewer #2 who hates your piece, your school, and you, "revise and resubmit," and Chicago Manual of Style footnotes. 
  • My thoughts on the substance of what gets written and the relationship of that substance to career advancement - issues of cross-disciplinarity, normativity, conformity, etc. - are at pages 71-80 of Retire and Teach: Six Years On, and I won't repeat them here.
  • Network in your area.  If you read somebody’s article and like it, send the person a note with this in the subject line “Loved your piece....”.  Be a commenter on others’ work.
  • Blog.  PrawfsBlawg was founded as a forum for new (i.e. “raw”) professors.   Again, it’s a two-edged sword.  If your stuff is good, it helps.  If not, it doesn’t.  When I was unsure of a blog post, I would send it to a friend first.
  • Finally, a pet peeve. When you submit, you certainly can play the expedite game, but my personal view is that it’s inappropriate to submit to law reviews for which you would not accept an offer if it were the only one you got.  If somebody at my school were to tell me they were doing that, I would probably raise my eyebrows and look askance.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 26, 2018 at 10:42 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Faculty Hiring: Drake University

DRAKE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL invites applications for a tenured/tenure-track position as Assistant/Associate/Professor of Law in the field of Agricultural Law and Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center beginning in the fall of 2019. Applicants must hold a J.D. degree (or the equivalent) and should have outstanding records of accomplishment in scholarship, teaching, and service as well as substantial practice experience.

The successful candidate will teach agricultural law courses and serve as the Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center. Drake was the first American law school to offer a J.D. specialization in agricultural law, offering courses not only on agricultural and food law but also on agriculture’s effect on social, economic, and political systems.

The student-published Drake Journal of Agricultural Law has been a leading legal journal focused solely on these issues for more than 20 years.

Founded in 1983, the Agricultural Law Center provides opportunities for students to explore how the legal system impacts the global food system and the agricultural sector's ability to produce, market, and use agricultural products. Drake’s location in central Iowa places it at the heart of a state that leads in production of soybeans, corn, eggs, and pork.

Drake University is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks applicants who reflect the nation’s diversity.  No applicant shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information or veteran status.

Confidential review of applications will begin in August 2018. Applications (including a letter of interest, a complete CV, teaching evaluations (if available) and the names and addresses of at least three references) should be sent to Professor Ellen Yee, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Drake University Law School, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311 or e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 25, 2018 at 02:03 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

CFP: National Conference of Constitutional Law Scholars 2019

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 9-10, 2019. Its goal is to create a vibrant and useful forum for constitutional scholars to gather and exchange ideas each year.

David Strauss will deliver a keynote address. Distinguished commentators for 2019 include:
Jessica Bulman-Pozen
John Harrison
Aziz Huq
Gillian Metzger
Victoria Nourse
Bertrall Ross
Stephen Sachs

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 October 1, 2018. All constitutional law topics are welcome, and both emerging and established scholars are strongly encouraged to submit. Selected authors will be notified by November 1, 2018. Selected papers will be presented in small panel sessions, organized by subject, with commentary by a distinguished senior scholar. 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. There is a conference registration fee of $50, which will increase to $75 after February 28, 2019. Registration fees will be waived for conference presenters and for students and faculty at UA Law. In addition, a limited number of scholarships are available to those unable to attend the event otherwise.

Please send all submissions or related questions to Andrew Coan [mailto:[email protected]].
For logistical questions please contact Bernadette Wilkinson [mailto:[email protected]].

CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS
Andrew Coan, Arizona
David Schwartz, Wisconsin
Brad Snyder, Georgetown

REGISTER NOW [https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/regform?llr=y6oeipdab&oeidk=a07efmc40ud6571aaa0&oseq=] [https://bit.ly/conlaw19}

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 22, 2018 at 04:18 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hiring: Florida State University College of Law

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW (FSU) has several openings for full-time tenured or tenure-track positions. Senior faculty candidates may be eligible for a named professorship. We are especially interested in individuals whose scholarship focuses on health care, commercial law, law and economics, and international law but invite applications from scholars in all fields. Candidates must demonstrate distinction or promise in both legal scholarship and law teaching. If interested, please send a Curriculum Vitae to Professor Wayne Logan, Appointments Committee Chair, Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1601 (email:  [email protected]). FSU is an Equal Opportunity/ Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer; FSU's Equal Opportunity Statement can be viewed at:http://www.hr.fsu.edu/PDF/Publications/diversity/EEO_Statement.pdf.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 21, 2018 at 11:00 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 20, 2018

First Mondays on First Year

With SCOTUS quiet, the folks at First Mondays devote an episode to 1L year. Topics include reading cases and prepping for class, study groups, study guides, different approaches to statutory courses, and studying for and taking exams. It is a great discussion and worth sharing with the 1Ls in your life.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 20, 2018 at 04:37 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More Angsting about Angsting

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

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

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

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

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

Anger:  "Ungrateful little shits."

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

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

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 16, 2018 at 10:45 AM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Life of Law Schools, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

An interesting pedagogical observation

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

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 14, 2018 at 10:40 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Boardroom scene in "Succession"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The First Day of Class - A Horse's Perspective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 06, 2018

Two items on teaching law

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Classroom Without Paternalism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alright.  Kevlar khakis are on.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Pragmatism and Compliance

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

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

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

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

Posted by Veronica Root on July 24, 2018 at 10:36 AM in Corporate, Criminal Law, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

University of Illinois-Chicago to acquire John Marshall

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

This could be interesting to watch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Teaching Compliance

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Vaccine Safety Resources for Teaching and Litigation

 

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

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

 

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

Saturday, July 07, 2018

AALS Call for Papers: “New Voices in Legislation”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 02, 2018

Repost--Colorado Law Review Exclusive Submission beginning July 9

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Colorado Law Review-Exclusive Submission

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 01, 2018

Professors and political correctness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 31, 2018

CFP: Chicagoland Junior Scholars Works-in-Progress Conference

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 28, 2018

RBG

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Antony Page appoined dean at FIU

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

The FIU press release is below.

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

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

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

Friday, May 11, 2018

On mixing academic and journalistic writing (Updated)

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Because it's International *Shoe*

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

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

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

I need a vacation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 10, 2018 at 05:46 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

To Dismiss or Transfer a Mockingbird

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

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

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

Teaching in Two-hour Blocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Lewis & Clark faculty statement on free expression

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

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

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