Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Kentucky Law Journal: Exclusive Submissions

The Kentucky Law Journal is opening an exclusive submission track for Fall 2021, with an expedited review process. We are accepting manuscripts from all areas of law, though we are particularly interested in scholarship focused on tort lawAuthors who submit to our exclusive submission track agree to accept a binding publication offer, should one be extended. The accepted Article will be published in Volume 110 of the Kentucky Law Journal, with final publication around April 2022. The KLJ will provide a publication decision within 7 days of submission. The final manuscript will be due shortly after we accept the article for publication. 

 

Authors interested in submitting to the exclusive submission track for Fall 2021 should email their CV and manuscript to Editor-in-Chief Kelly Daniel at [email protected], and Managing Articles Editor Samuel Weaver at [email protected] with the subject line "Exclusive Article Submission."

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 14, 2021 at 04:33 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chronicle of Higher Ed reveals its biases

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on the rankings obsession among colleges. They begin the story with three examples--University of Houston, Washington State, and us. The top of the piece contains a photo with an array of pull-quotes from strategic plans--we are the only school mentioned by name. Also garnering mention in the story are Clemson, Oklahoma State,  and Oregon State. Apparently the only schools obsessing about rankings are non-flagship public universities, two of which are urban and some of which serve significant numbers of non-white students. My colleague Louis Schulze has some thoughts about the biases reflected in the editorial framing choice.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 14, 2021 at 01:25 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 13, 2021

THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW Faculty Positions

The George Washington University Law School invites applications for up to five tenure-track or tenured faculty appointments. The appointments will be made at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor and will begin as early as Fall 2022. The school may hire faculty in any subject area or category based on a candidate’s overall strength. Areas of particular interest include all large 1L classes (torts, contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, property, legislation & regulation, and constitutional law), professional responsibility, family law, health law, intellectual property, government procurement, international law, environmental law, and civil rights law. The University and Law School have a strong commitment to achieving diversity among faculty and staff.  We are particularly interested in receiving applications from members of underrepresented groups and strongly encourage women, persons of color, and LGBTQ candidates to apply for these positions.

Minimum Job Qualifications:

Applicants must possess a J.D. degree or an advanced degree in a relevant field and have relevant experience such as teaching, legal practice, or judicial clerkship. Applicants must also show scholarly promise, evidenced by publications in scholarly journals or scholarly works in progress.

Application Procedure:

For Lateral Applicants: Complete an online faculty application at https://www.gwu.jobs/postings/83843 and upload a cover letter indicating the area of interest and a current c.v., including a list of references.

For Entry Level Applicants: Please apply through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register at https://www.aals.org/services/recruitment/ or complete an online faculty application at https://www.gwu.jobs/postings/83843.  

Please email questions to [email protected]—Review of applications will begin August 26, 2021 and will continue until the positions are filled. Only complete applications submitted either through AALS or GW’s online system will be considered.

Employment offers are contingent on the satisfactory outcome of a standard background screening.

The university is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  See https://compliance.gwu.edu/equal-opportunity-nondiscrimination-anti-harassment-and-non-retaliation

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 13, 2021 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 10, 2021

CFP: The Future of Food

The Business, Entrepreneurship, and Tax Law Review Symposium at the University of Missouri School of Law: The Future of Food.

Details here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 10, 2021 at 10:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Dean Search: Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Full ad here.

Loyola University Chicago, a private, coeducational, Catholic, Jesuit university, seeks a Dean of the School of Law with intellectual vision, energy, ambition, and the ability to lead the School of Law community to even greater distinction. Inspired by the Jesuit traditions of academic excellence, intellectual openness, social justice, and service to others, the School of Law is revered for its student-centered approach and dedication to educating lawyers, scholars, and leaders for an increasingly complex and diverse world. The School of Law recently adopted a new and powerful mission statement that gives meaning and currency to its Jesuit social justice tradition and reinforces a commitment to equity, justice, and anti-racism. Building upon the school’s strengths and potential, the incoming Dean will have a profound influence on the future of a school where faculty, staff, and students are mutually and deeply committed to creating an impact on Chicago, the legal community, and the world. 

Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of 27 Jesuit universities and one of the largest Catholic universities in the United States. The School of Law has been educating aspiring attorneys in the theory, practice, and ethics of lawyering for more than 100 years. The School of Law boasts a number of world-renowned scholars capable of guiding students to the frontier of legal knowledge in pursuit of a greater social justice. While the School of Law trains excellent lawyers in all practice areas, many students take advantage of the highly regarded program in healthcare law, which is ranked #3 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. With a variety of different degree and programmatic offerings, as well as opportunities for students to gain practical experience, the School of Law is a place for all students to learn together in the pursuit of a more inclusive and just world. 

In 2019, as part of its Mission Priority Examen, Loyola completed a self-study of how the University advances its Jesuit educational mission. The study served as part of the foundation for the new strategic plan. Building on that work, in the Summer of 2020, the Loyola University Chicago School of Law community, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni, came together to examine the mission statement and ensure that it was clearly aligned with the goals of the institution and the aspirations of the community. The new mission statement, adopted in July of 2020, declares:  

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others. Our mission is: 

  • to educate students to be responsible and compassionate lawyers, judges, and law-related leaders in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world;
  • to prepare graduates who will be ethical advocates for justice and equity, who will lead efforts to dismantle the legal, economic, political, and social structures that generate and sustain racism and all forms of oppression, and who will advance a rule of law that promotes social justice; and
  • to contribute to a deeper understanding of law, legal institutions, and systems of oppression through a commitment to transformation, intersectionality, and anti-subordination in our teaching, research, scholarship, and public service.

In accordance with this revised mission statement, School of Law stakeholders identified 8 key strategic goals with relevant objectives to guide the future direction of the school. For more information about these strategic goals, visit https://www.luc.edu/law/about/mission/index.cfm.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly collaborative, forward-looking, enthusiastic leader to inspire a diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Dean will join Loyola as the university embarks on a new strategic plan, We Are Called to the Next 150 Years, that focuses on finding transdisciplinary approaches to complex and urgent social problems. Thus, the Dean will guide the School of Law as it continues to seek excellence as a premier law school with a focus on educating lawyers prepared to enter an increasingly diverse, complex, and dynamic legal landscape and as it helps the university achieve the goals of the strategic plan.  The Dean will help define the next era of the School of Law and addressing a number of key strategic and operational priorities. To be successful in this role, the Dean will:

  • Actualize the ambitious and compelling mission of the School of Law
  • Increase visibility by building upon existing strengths and embracing innovation and scholarship
  • Continue to develop a dynamic and diverse faculty and staff
  • Nurture philanthropy in pursuit of academic excellence
  • Advocate for the School of Law and collaborate with partners across the University
  • Strengthen ties with the city of Chicago and beyond

Loyola University Chicago will prioritize candidates who demonstrate a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Loyola University Chicago has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. For more details, including the full position profile and to submit inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications, please see the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: www.imsearch.com/7959. Electronic submission of materials is required.

Julie Filizetti, Tim McFeeley, Oren Griffin, and Jaime Morgen 

Isaacson, Miller

1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300

San Francisco, CA  94111

Phone: 415.655.4900

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty and staff. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion (except where religion is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job), national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status or any other factor protected by law.  

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 1, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 20, 2021

It's good, even if not ideal, to be back

FIU began classes on Monday, so I taught my first in-person classes since March 2020. As a Florida institution, we cannot require vaccinations, masking, or contact tracing, although we can encourage it. I am masked and there is a big plastic shield in front of the podium (although old habits dying hard, I am still walking the front of the room). All but one or two students are masked, at least in the classroom, so most people are doing what is necessary to keep this going. One colleague put it to students in self-interested terms: The best approach for personal and public health is to continue remote learning, but in-person provides a better education. The implication is that masks are a low cost for a high educational benefit.

I  am not saying anything earth-shattering, but I had forgotten how much fun in-person teaching is. There is an energy level that comes with real human interaction of a classroom. The exchanges with and among students are sharper because in realer time; the conversation moves because people need not pause to unmute; and student reactions, such as laughter, are more immediate. Online provides a rough simulacrum, but does not come close to duplicating the experience. I did not appreciate how wide the gap is until I was able to experience a live class again.

Hopefully it will last.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 20, 2021 at 10:59 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Hiring; University of Tennessee College of Law

THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications from both entry-level and lateral candidates for two full-time, tenure-track or tenured faculty positions to commence in the Fall Semester 2022.  The College is looking for candidates who will fill a range of curricular needs.  We are particularly interested in the subject area of business law, including business associations and contracts.  Other areas of interest include corporate and regulatory compliance, education law, environmental law, estate planning, health law, immigration law, legal writing, and property.  We also seek candidates who integrate cutting-edge legal issues into their courses or are interested in helping us expand our offerings in areas like technology, cybersecurity, e-discovery, and data privacy.  We welcome applications from candidates who incorporate practical lawyering skills into their courses.

A J.D. or equivalent law degree is required.  Successful applicants must have a strong academic background.  Significant professional experience is desirable.  Candidates also must have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

In furtherance of the University’s and the College’s fundamental commitment to diversity among our faculty, student body, and staff, we strongly encourage applications from those who would bring increased diversity to our faculty, curriculum, and programs.

The committee will review applications submitted through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register (FAR) and will also consider applications submitted outside of the FAR process.  Candidates who are not applying through the FAR may submit their application materials directly to Michelle Kwon, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, by emailing them to [email protected].  Please include a letter of interest, including the subjects the candidate is interested in teaching, and a CV with the names and contact information of three references. Applications from candidates not participating in the FAR will have the best chance of full consideration if they are received by September 1, 2021.

The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 16, 2021 at 03:57 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hiring Announcement: Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America

The Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America (“Catholic Law”) seeks to fill three tenure-track faculty positions and one tenured (lateral) position to begin in Spring 2022 or Fall 2022.

One of the positions is for an entry-level candidate to serve as a member of the law school’s faculty while also contributing to the University’s Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies (the “Institute”), described at https://ilais.catholic.edu/en/ilais-mission

We seek candidates who can teach, in addition to any natural areas of fit with the Institute (such as International Law or Immigration Law), the following subjects: Property, Family Law, and Trusts and Estates; Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence; Corporate and Securities Law; and Contracts and Commercial Law.

Two of the tenure-track faculty positions and the tenured (lateral) position are for qualified candidates interested in participating in the school’s new Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, more fully described at https://communications.catholic.edu/news/2021/04/law-originalism-gift.html

We seek candidates who can teach, in addition to the natural areas of fit with the Project (such as Constitutional and Administrative Law), the following subjects:  Property, Family Law, and Trusts and Estates; Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence; Corporate and Securities Law; and Contracts and Commercial Law.

For more information and details on how to apply, please review the full opportunity description at https://provost.catholic.edu/_media/faculty-position-ads/law-tt-pco-and-cit,-2021,-rev.pdf.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 16, 2021 at 08:03 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2021

ABA Administrative Law Fellowship for Prospective Law Teachers

The American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice (the Section) is pleased to announce the establishment of the ABA Administrative Law Fellowship. The fellowship aims to diversify the cohort of legal academics in administrative law and regulatory practice by positioning lawyers currently in practice to be successful job candidates in the academic market. The fellowship is a two-year program that pairs fellows with mentors in the legal academy and provides other support for entry into legal teaching.

Fellowship Details. The core of the two-year fellowship program is matching each fellow with one primary mentor and two secondary mentors in the legal academy. The goal of the mentoring match is to assist fellows with developing a research agenda, job-talk paper, and other application materials for the legal academic job market (doctrinal and clinical). The program will also provide some general training on research methods and strategy. The program seeks to affiliate fellows with a law school to provide access to online research and publication resources. Fellows will have the opportunity to present their work in connection with the Section’s annual Fall Conference. The fellowship will provide up to $1,500 a year to defer the costs of travel and accommodations for participation in the Section’s Fall Conference and hiring conferences, as well as membership in the ABA and the Section.

Application Information. The Selection Committee is charged with identifying “lawyers with scholarly promise and a strong interest in teaching who would contribute to the diversity of the legal academy in the fields of administrative law and/or regulatory practice.” Fellows are expected to be employed full-time in legal practice. Application materials should include:

  1. a cover letter that explains the candidate’s interest in the fellowship and how the candidate fits the fellowship criteria, including a diversity statement, and addresses why the candidate believes this fellowship opportunity is better suited to their circumstances than a full-time law school-run fellowship or Visiting Assistant Professor position, and identifies at least two references;
  2. a resume; and
  3. a writing sample, which may be material produced for legal practice, a blog, an article, a report, or other written work.

Applications are due on or before September 15, 2021, and should be sent via e-mail with attachments in pdf format to [email protected] The Selection Committee aims to select four fellows for the inaugural class of the fellowship.

Questions. If you have questions about the fellowship or the application, please direct them to Professor Kevin Stack, Chair of the ABA’s Program for Prospective Administrative Law Scholars, at [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 15, 2021 at 08:58 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Frank H. Marks Intellectual Property Fellowship at GW Law

The Marks Fellowship is designed to assist attorneys who are interested in pursuing a full-time legal academic career in some area of intellectual property law. In the past, Marks Fellows have joined GW Law from judicial clerkships as well as from private practice and other legal positions.

The successful candidate will also serve as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at GW Law from September 2021 through September 2023. During that time, the Marks Fellow will teach one course per academic year, will assist with the administration of the GW Law's renowned Intellectual Property Program, and will have the opportunity to pursue scholarly projects, typically resulting in articles for publication in law reviews. Marks Fellows normally apply for full-time legal academic positions during the fall semester of the second year of the Fellowship. Most previous Marks Fellows have gone on to hold tenure-track or tenured positions at law schools--for more information, see https://www.law.gwu.edu/frank-h-marks-intellectual-property-fellowship.

Electronic applications can be sent to [email protected], and should include:

  • a resume;
  • a list of references, including academic references;
  • a law school transcript;
  • a copy of (or link to) a sample of a published work or other writing in law or a related field; and
  • a proposal describing the candidate's scholarly interests, including the specific project or projects he or she aims to complete while in residence at the law school.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2021 at 10:01 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

CFP: Inaugural West Coast Bankruptcy Roundtable

USC Gould School of Law and Lewis & Clark Law School present the inaugural West Coast Bankruptcy Roundtable to be held February 3-4, 2022 in Los Angeles.  Spearheaded by Robert Rasmussen, Michael Simkovic, and Samir Parikh, the Roundtable seeks to bring together experienced and junior scholars to discuss particularly noteworthy scholarship involving financial restructuring and business law.  We seek scholars exploring diverse topics and will be interested in interdisciplinary perspectives.

The Roundtable invites the submission of papers.  Selected participants will receive a $1,000 stipend and have the opportunity to workshop their papers in an intimate, collegial setting.  Current attendees include Barry Adler (NYU), Ken Ayotte (Berkeley), Douglas Baird (Chicago), Bruce Bennett (Jones Day), Mitu Gulati (UVA), Yair Listokin (Yale), Bruce Markell (Northwestern), Ed Morrison (Columbia), Alan Schwartz (Yale), Jamie Sprayregen (Kirkland & Ellis), David Skeel (Penn), and Fred Tung (BU).  

Papers will be selected through a blind review process.  Scholars are invited to submit a 3 – 5 page overview of a proposed paper.  Submissions may be an introduction, excerpt from a longer paper, or extended abstract.  The submission should be anonymized, and – aside from general citations to the author’s previous articles – all references to the author should be removed. 

Please submit proposals by September 7, 2021.  Invitations will be issued via email by October 8th.  Working drafts of papers must be available for circulation to participants by January 11, 2022.   

Proposals – as well as questions and concerns – should be directed to Samir Parikh at [email protected]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2021 at 12:01 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 09, 2021

Hiring: Texas A&M University School of Law

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to advance its academic programs and commitment to scholarly inquiry by recruiting multiple faculty candidates for full time, tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track positions for August 2022.   Since integrating with Texas A&M in 2013, the law school (located in Dallas/Fort Worth) has sustained a remarkable institutional trajectory, as evidenced by significant growth in the size, diversity, and scholarly impact of our faculty; dramatic gains in the academic profile of our incoming students; and resulting advances in the school’s rank and reputation.   We are particularly interested in recruiting outstanding scholars—of any research methodology and in any subject area—who are excited by the opportunity to engage in scholarship, teaching, and policy work at the highest level, at one of the nation’s largest public universities.

Qualifications: Candidates must have a J.D. or equivalent.

Application Instructions: Applicants may submit a résumé and cover letter at https://apply.interfolio.com/91052 (for tenure and tenure-track positions) or https://apply.interfolio.com/91057 (for other positions).

Questions: Questions should be sent to Professor Brendan Maher, Appointments Committee Chair, at [email protected].

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement: Texas A&M University is committed to enriching the learning and working environment for all visitors, students, faculty, and staff by promoting a culture that embraces inclusion, diversity, equity, and accountability. Diverse perspectives, talents, and identities are vital to accomplishing our mission and living our core values.  Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer committed to diversity.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2021 at 06:34 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hiring Announcement: FIU College of Law (multiple positions)

South Florida’s public law school in Miami, Florida International University College of Law, invites applicants for multiple tenure, tenure track, and contract positions to begin no later than the 2022-2023 academic year.  In particular, we seek candidates to teach environmental law and courses in other priority areas, such as cyberlaw, torts, wills & trusts, health law, family law, and administrative law. A typical package might include two environmental law courses and at least one (preferably two) in our identified priorities. International experience, academic entrepeneurship, and acumen in grants and external funding are welcome but not required.  Given our growing focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, some of these positions may involve joint appointments with other academic units at FIU.

In partnership with the administration, the FIU faculty have created a welcoming and intellectually vibrant community that celebrates lifelong scholarly engagement, nurturing students, public service, academic freedom, and transformational teaching.  Faculty relationships are based on mutual regard, respect and appreciation for differences, academic rigor, and a shared commitment to our rising national profile.  Our faculty are professional leaders in their fields locally, nationally, and internationally.  The faculty’s substantial scholarly output includes law review articles, academic monographs, collaborative work with colleagues from other disciplines, edited anthologies, peer-reviewed work, and op-eds.  The College supports the faculty with research assistance, summer stipends, travel funds, and performance awards.

The Florida Legislature established FIU Law in 2001 to deliver an affordable and excellent legal education that provides inspired teaching, training for a globalized marketplace, support for community service, and the highest standards of professionalism.  FIU Law ranks as the third most diverse law school nationally, and the first in the country among public law schools for Hispanic enrollment.  A majority of our students are the first in their family to attend college. To us, student success means demonstrable professional outcomes.  FIU Law graduates have ranked first among the 11 law schools in the state on the last 6 mid-year administrations of the Florida bar exam.  In 2020, 92% of our graduates secured full time, long term bar passage required, J.D. advantage, or professional positions.  Our state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert Stern.  For more information about FIU Law, visit https://law.fiu.edu.

FIU is Miami’s public urban research university, offering more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, and medicine.  It is a top 100 public university ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. With nearly $200 million in annual research expenditures, the University has a Carnegie R1 rating (“highest research activity”).  A leader in securing performance-based funding for its operational achievements, the University was recently designated by the Florida Board of Governors as an emerging preeminent university.  For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree (or its equivalent), a strong academic record, a track record (or the promise) of scholarly achievement, and zest for effective teaching.  Rank will be determined based on qualifications and experience.  Competitive benefits include excellent insurance options, a defined-benefit plan, defined-contribution plans, and a deferred compensation plan.

Applicants should send a CV, a cover letter outlining curricular strengths and scholarly interests, and a list of references to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor José Gabilondo ([email protected]), to whom questions about these positions can be directed.  Applicants can also apply through facultycareers.fiu.edu referencing job opening ID 524569 or by using the following link FIU Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Law. Review will begin August 23, 2021 and continue until these positions are filled.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Dean Search: University of Tennessee

Information here.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 7, 2021 at 05:12 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 30, 2021

Hiring Announcement: FIU College of Law (multiple positions)

South Florida’s public law school in Miami, Florida International University College of Law, invites applicants for multiple tenure, tenure track, and contract positions to begin no later than the 2022-2023 academic year.  In particular, we seek candidates to teach environmental law and courses in other priority areas, such as cyberlaw, torts, wills & trusts, health law, family law, and administrative law. A typical package might include two environmental law courses and at least one (preferably two) in our identified priorities. International experience, academic entrepeneurship, and acumen in grants and external funding are welcome but not required.  Given our growing focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, some of these positions may involve joint appointments with other academic units at FIU.

In partnership with the administration, the FIU faculty have created a welcoming and intellectually vibrant community that celebrates lifelong scholarly engagement, nurturing students, public service, academic freedom, and transformational teaching.  Faculty relationships are based on mutual regard, respect and appreciation for differences, academic rigor, and a shared commitment to our rising national profile.  Our faculty are professional leaders in their fields locally, nationally, and internationally.  The faculty’s substantial scholarly output includes law review articles, academic monographs, collaborative work with colleagues from other disciplines, edited anthologies, peer-reviewed work, and op-eds.  The College supports the faculty with research assistance, summer stipends, travel funds, and performance awards.

The Florida Legislature established FIU Law in 2001 to deliver an affordable and excellent legal education that provides inspired teaching, training for a globalized marketplace, support for community service, and the highest standards of professionalism.  FIU Law ranks as the third most diverse law school nationally, and the first in the country among public law schools for Hispanic enrollment.  A majority of our students are the first in their family to attend college. To us, student success means demonstrable professional outcomes.  FIU Law graduates have ranked first among the 11 law schools in the state on the last 6 mid-year administrations of the Florida bar exam.  In 2020, 92% of our graduates secured full time, long term bar passage required, J.D. advantage, or professional positions.  Our state-of-the-art building was designed by Robert Stern.  For more information about FIU Law, visit https://law.fiu.edu.

FIU is Miami’s public urban research university, offering more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, and medicine.  It is a top 100 public university ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. With nearly $200 million in annual research expenditures, the University has a Carnegie R1 rating (“highest research activity”).  A leader in securing performance-based funding for its operational achievements, the University was recently designated by the Florida Board of Governors as an emerging preeminent university.  For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree (or its equivalent), a strong academic record, a track record (or the promise) of scholarly achievement, and zest for effective teaching.  Rank will be determined based on qualifications and experience.  Competitive benefits include excellent insurance options, a defined-benefit plan, defined-contribution plans, and a deferred compensation plan.

Applicants should send a CV, a cover letter outlining curricular strengths and scholarly interests, and a list of references to the chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor José Gabilondo ([email protected]), to whom questions about these positions can be directed.  Applicants can also apply through facultycareers.fiu.edu referencing job opening ID 524569 or by using the following link FIU Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of Law. Review will begin August 23, 2021 and continue until these positions are filled.

FIU is a member of the State University System of Florida and an Equal Opportunity, Equal Access Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 30, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Marquette Law Review Expedited Submission Period

The Marquette University Law Review seeks additional articles for its Winter issue. We will consider submissions beginning immediately and will conclude the process on August 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM CT. For any article submitted by August 20, 2021 in accordance with the instructions outlined below, the Marquette University Law Review guarantees a final publication decision within 48 hours of submission. As a condition of submission, authors agree to accept a binding publication offer, should one be extended. The editing process for the Winter issue will commence on September 4. Interested authors may submit articles via email to [email protected] to be considered in this expedited submission process. Authors should also submit (1) their name, article title, word count, phone number, and email address in the body of the email and (2) a CV or résumé. Please use “Expedited Submission Process” in the email subject line. We will also be reviewing submissions for later issues through the usual process. Questions may be directed to Jennifer Knackert, editor-in-chief, at [email protected].

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 28, 2021 at 01:32 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Hiring Announcement: Loyola University-Chicago-Lateral Candidates

Loyola University Chicago School of Law invites applications for full-time, tenured or tenure-track, lateral faculty positions to commence Fall 2022.

We are especially interested in scholars engaged in teaching and scholarship in any area that addresses anti-racism, racial justice, health equity, and structural disparities impacting Black, LatinX, indigenous, and other persons of color. Both the University and the law school will prioritize candidates who demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are dedicated as a faculty to contribute to a deeper understanding of law, legal institutions, and systems of oppression through a commitment to transformation, intersectionality, and anti-subordination in our teaching, research, scholarship, and public service. Ability and interest to teach in the hybrid format in our part-time/weekend JD division will also be considered.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: Faculty candidates will be expected to teach in our 1L curriculum; our present curricular needs include civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, torts, and criminal law. Faculty responsibilities will include teaching one to two courses per semester; mentoring and advising students; successful completion of research and scholarship in particular areas of academic interest; service to the law school, University, and community; active involvement in faculty governance through committee work; and representation at local, regional, and national conferences and events.

JOB QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must have strong academic credentials, a J.D. degree from an accredited institution, evidence of impactful scholarship, and a dedication to teaching. We are especially interested in candidates who will enhance the diversity of our faculty and broader University community. We welcome candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups with perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that will enrich the diversity of our institution.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit a cover letter, a statement of interest, a current Curriculum Vitae, a teaching statement/research agenda, two to three representative publications, and the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to your professional qualifications for this position to www.careers.luc.edu. All applicants should also specifically address in their statement of interest how they will contribute to the law school’s mission statement, available at https://www.luc.edu/law/about/mission/index.cfm

Application materials may also be emailed directly to Professor Jordan Paradise at [email protected] However, all applicants selected for interviews will need to submit materials to the Loyola website above for university processing.

Jordan Paradise, J.D.
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
Georgia Reithal Professor of Law
Co-Director, Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy Loyola University Chicago School of Law
25 East Pearson, Suite 722
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 915-7372

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

ABOUT LOYOLA:

Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others. For more information on the law school and our mission, please visit: https://www.luc.edu

Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty. The University seeks to increase the diversity of its faculty, staff and student populations because broad diversity contributes to a robust academic environment and is critical to meeting the University’s commitment to excellence in education, research, educational access and services in an increasingly diverse society. As a Jesuit Catholic institution of higher education, we seek candidates who will contribute to our strategic plan to deliver a transformative education in the Jesuit tradition. Candidates should consult our website at https://www.luc.edu/mission/index.shtml to gain a clearer understanding of LUC’s mission. For information about the university’s focus on transformative education, please consult our website at http://www.luc.edu/transformativeed. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability status, or veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 24, 2021 at 10:16 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

What you call us, what we call you

Daniel Drezner explains why he has students call him "Professor" rather than by his first name and why he recommends that students default to calling professors by the title unless the prof tells them otherwise. He justifies this, in part, because hierarchy and power imbalances are inherent to academia, since the professor's job is to educate, mentor, and evaluate students. Pretending the hierarchy does not exist or obscuring it by "keeping it casual" does not eliminate it.

I have used my title with students since I began teaching, whereas Drezner explains how he has evolved on the issue. But Drezner's explanation for what I do anyway resonates.

Within law school, there is an additional question--what professors should call students in class. I use first names, partly because I believe it puts students more at ease when being called on, partly because I believe I am less likely to botch a first name than a last name. Others favor using last names in the name of parity and mutual respect--if students express respect by calling the professor by title and last name, the professor should do the same. And to the extent a typical law school classroom functions something like an argument colloquy, everyone in court is using titles and last names, even if an obvious hierarchy remains.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 21, 2021 at 07:55 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hiring Announcement: Washington University School of Law

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-level or junior lateral candidates for tenure-track positions, to begin in the fall of 2022. We will consider candidates in all subject areas, but we are particularly interested in private law, including property, torts, and contracts, as well as evidence, civil procedure, and other areas of teaching need.

We are also searching for candidates at all levels whose scholarly agendas sit at the intersection of race, law, and social inequality, and who would be hired in connection with Washington University’s Race and Ethnicity Cluster Hire Initiative. More information about this initiative is available at https://provost.wustl.edu/programs-initiatives/faculty-diversity/race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hire-initiative/ and at https://source.wustl.edu/2021/06/first-race-and-ethnicity-cluster-hires-arrive-at-washington-university/.

Candidates must have at a minimum a JD, a PhD, or the equivalent in a related field. In addition, candidates should have strong scholarly potential and a commitment to excellence in teaching. Duties will include teaching assigned courses, researching and publishing scholarly work, advising students, and participating in law school and university service. The strong candidate will demonstrate the ability to create inclusive classrooms and environments in which all students can learn and thrive. The committee will be reviewing applications submitted through the AALS Faculty Appointments Register but we are also willing to consider materials submitted outside of the FAR process.

Candidates who are not applying through the FAR process may submit applications directly to Professor Daniel Epps, Chair of the Appointments Committee, Washington University School of Law, by emailing them to [email protected]. Although there is no deadline, applications from candidates not participating in the FAR process will have the best chance of full consideration if they are received by August 18, 2021. Application materials should include a cover letter, a resume which includes at least three references, and a job-talk paper if available.

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. It is the University’s policy to recruit, hire, train, and promote without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, protected veteran status, disability, or genetic information.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 30, 2021 at 12:12 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

CFP: AALS Sections on Remedies (with Fed Courts): Nominal Damages

The AALS Section on Remedies invites paper submissions for a panel on nominal damages at the January 5-9, 2022 Annual Meeting to be held virtually. This panel will be cosponsored by the AALS Section on Federal Courts. This call for papers is open to all full-time faculty members at AALS member or affiliate schools. Pre-tenured professors and junior scholars are strongly encouraged to submit papers. To be considered, please submit a title and abstract, and if available an introduction, to Samuel Bray ([email protected]) by July 15, 2021.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 23, 2021 at 09:07 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Webinar: Teaching Tips for New Law Professors

Teaching Tips for New Law Professors Webinar

 

Join West Academic casebook authors for the upcoming Teaching Tips for New Law Professors panel on Thursday, June 24th from 2pm to 3:30pm CDT. The discussion will be centered around pedagogy across subject areas, course creation, promoting student engagement, traps to avoid, and more. The panel of award-winning law faculty will offer advice on building and teaching a law school course. There will be time at the end for participants to ask questions.

 

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Time: 2:00pm CDT

 

Moderator: Steve I. Friedland, Elon University School of Law

 

Panel:

Miriam A. Cherry, Saint Louis University School of Law

Martha M. Ertman, University of Maryland School of Law

Noah R. Feldman, Harvard University Law School

Deborah S. Gordon, Drexel University School of Law

Deborah Jones Merritt, Ohio State University College of Law

A. Benjamin Spencer, William and Mary Law School

 

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CBIc8juETTGVYW-RZ_XMnA

Posted by Howard Wasserman on June 22, 2021 at 03:10 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Anti-Vaxxers on Facebook and Nazis in Skokie

Yale law professor (and Tiger Dad) Jed Rubenfeld has signed on as counsel for Children's Health Defense, a non-profit anti-vaxx organization founded by Robert Kennedy, Jr., in a lawsuit alleging Facebook and Politifact violated the First Amendment in labeling certain content as false and in preventing people from donating to CHD through the site. CHD argues that Facebook acted under color because the CDC gave Facebook the standards and guidelines it used in its labeling, creating a close nexus through government coercion or encouragement of private constitutionally violative conduct. The more obnoxious coverage emphasizes that Rubenfeld undertook this representation during a two-year suspension at Yale, creating complementary memes of "disgraced law prof further disgraces himself" and "this is what happens when law professors try to practice law."

But I cannot see a meaningful difference between Rubenfeld pursuing free-speech claims for anti-vaxxers on Facebook and the ACLU pursuing free-speech claims for Nazis in Skokie. I (and most of the people using the case as a chance to zing Rubenfeld) agree with the legal arguments in the latter and disagree with the legal arguments in the former. But that cannot be the difference in evaluating the professional, ethical, or moral propriety of the decision to serve as counsel and to pursue this litigation.

Nor is the answer that the ACLU raised obviously and indisputably valid arguments about core free speech principles while "everything about [CHD's] case is dumb, and the fact that the disgraced and suspended Rubenfeld is using it to further his nutty legal theories is just the icing on the nonsense cake." Skokie was not the simple case in 1977 that it appears in 2021. Under the law at the time, fighting words had not been narrowed to face-to-face encounters, a state could punish group libel, and police could arrest outrageous speakers to prevent a hostile audience from engaging in violence. Newer case law (e.g., Brandenburg and Sullivan) called those cases into question, but the landscape was more open than it is today. Someone certainly labeled the ACLU's case on behalf of the Nazis "dumb." Similarly, arguments can be made that "Facebook is a private actor and so can control what gets said and how" is not the sole plausible conclusion. No precedent controls the situation in any direction. And while I believe best application of existing state-action doctrine leads to the conclusion that Facebook is not a state actor and I expect courts to agree, it is not so obvious.

This story implicates a broader controversy over how vigorous attorneys should be in pursuing civil litigation on behalf of plaintiffs. At what point can/should/must an attorney decline to take on a case or to make arguments in support of the client's position and how does the attorney identify that line? The general view is that a criminal defense lawyer is sui generis; the imperative to do whatever it takes is greater when defending an individual against the overweaning power of the carceral state, even when a "bad person" benefits. Even if not the same, however, Skokie has been celebrated as the principled lawyer using civil litigation to pursue general ideals for all, albeit for the immediate benefit of the ultimate bad or unappealing person. This was obviously and especially true of the First Amendment, but it was not so limited; RBG established principles of gender equality by vindicating the rights of men. Moreover, the analogy between civil and criminal works when both are about protecting rights against the power of the state. The state seeking to incarcerate is different in degree but not kind of the state prohibiting rights-holders from exercising their rights.

What has changed, such that Rubenfeld is the target of criticism and mockery? Or put differently, would we see the same criticism and mockery if Rubenfeld had joined the Skokie case. One possibility is that some might be be less accepting of the Skokie narrative, less accepting of lawyers using general principles used on behalf of bad people. Otherwise, are anti-vaxxers "worse" than Nazis? Some segment believes the ACLU was wrong to represent the Nazis in Skokie, so Rubenfeld is equally wrong to represent anti-vaxxers. A version of this positionarose during the post-election litigation, where firms and lawyers (including some large firms with reputations at stake) were criticized for pushing legally and factually absurd cases on behalf of plaintiffs wronged by state governments (and Dominion, of course), distinguishing those doing whatever is necessary on behalf of criminal defendants.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 12, 2021 at 09:31 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hiring: Lewis & Clark Law School

LEWIS & CLARK LAW SCHOOL in Portland, Oregon invites applications from entry level candidates for three positions to begin in the 2022-23 academic year. These positions will remain open until filled.

We seek candidates to teach (1) criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and related courses, (2) property, wills & trusts, and related courses, and (3) lawyering, legal writing, and related courses.

We will employ an accelerated timeline this year. We hope to identify an initial group of prospective candidates no later than August and to begin screening interviews shortly thereafter. Campus callbacks will begin in September. Applicants who receive an offer likely will have two weeks to consider the offer. In some cases, an applicant may need to make a decision before other law schools have begun screening interviews or callbacks. Therefore, applicants should have serious interest in Lewis & Clark Law School and living in the Pacific Northwest. 

Interested persons should send a resume or c.v., references, a writing sample, and an indication of specific teaching interests to Kerry Rowand, Executive Assistant, at [email protected].

Lewis & Clark is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage applications from candidates who would enhance the diversity of our community. For questions about these positions, contact John Parry, Associate Dean of Faculty, at [email protected]. Information about Lewis & Clark Law School is available at https://law.lclark.edu/.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 11, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Oral arguments

With the exams about over, I come to my favorite days of the semester today and tomorrow: Oral Arguments in my Fed Courts and Civil Rights classes. Each student argues one case before SCOTUS and serves as Justice on one case as a final project; the cases are recent decisions from lower courts. Ordinarily, the class spends the day in the courtroom watching one another and we bring in lunch and coffee; this semester will be via Zoom, hopefully for the last time.

This is a fun exercise. It gives students another chance to do oral advocacy, which many do not do after 1L legal writing. It allows me to engage the students to see how well they can talk about material, outside the formalities of a paper. The list of this year's cases is after the jump (case numbers are made up, usually representing key dates in my family).

Federal Courts:

New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, No. 21-0526

      Motion for Leave to File Bill of Complaint on Original Jurisdiction

      Issue Presented: Whether this Court must and should exercise original jurisdiction over an action by one state challenging another state’s collection of income tax from non-residents.

 Shands Teaching Hosp. & Clinic v. Morgan, No. 21-0520

      Issues Presented: Whether a federal district court has subject matter jurisdiction over action for a declaratory judgment that plaintiff has no obligation to comply with state law to disclose medical records because state law is preempted by federal law.

Waterfront Comm’n of New York Harbor v. Murphy, No. 21-1028

      Issue Presented: Whether an interstate compact agency can sue a state official under the doctrine of Ex Parte Young to prevent that official from implementing a state law that would be preempted by the terms of a congressionally approved interstate compact.

Nike, Inc. v. Fleet Feet, Inc., No. 21-1227

      Issues Presented:

      (1) Whether appeal of preliminary injunction becomes moot where the injunction restrains defendant from designating “confusingly similar” marks, where the time period in which the defendant wanted to use the challenged mark has passed.

      (2) Whether, if the appeal is moot, vacatur of a preliminary injunction is proper under United States v. Munsingwear, Inc.

 

Civil Rights:

Campbell v. Reisch, No. 21-0526

      Issue Presented: Whether an elected state representative acts under color of law in blocking an individual from accessing the social-media account she uses to publicize performance and accomplishments as a state representative.

Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 21-1028 (Diamond v. Pennsylvania State Education Ass’n, No. 21-1227 (Consolidated))

      Issues Presented:

        Whether public-employee labor unions acted under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state law mandating such fees, so as to be subject to suit for damages under § 1983 for violating the First Amendment.

        Whether § 1983 recognizes a good-faith immunity allowing public-employee labor unions that act under color of state law in collecting fair-share fees from non-union members pursuant to state laws mandating such fees to avoid liability for damages for violating the First Amendment.

Fowler v. Irish, No. 21-0520 (Robinson v. Webster County, No. 21-0303 (Consolidated))

      Issue Presented: Whether state officials can be liable under substantive due process for injuries caused by non-governmental third persons, contrary to this Court’s decision in DeShaney, under a “state-created danger” theory.

Nance v. Commissioner, No. 21-0423

      Issue Presented: Whether death-row inmate’s claim that state’s lethal-injection protocol would cause undue suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment and seeking to require the state to employ an alternative method of execution is cognizable under § 1983.

Polk County v. J.K.J. No. 21-0515

      Issue Presented: Whether a municipality can be liable under Monell for sexual assaults of detainees committed by a corrections officer, where county policy prohibited sexual contact between guards and inmates and the county knew of sexual assaults by other officers but not the officer involved.

Mack v. Yost, No. 21-1216

      Issue Presented: Whether federal inmate can seek damages for First Amendment retaliation under Bivens against prison officials who fired him from his paid prison job for complaining about anti-Muslim harassment by correctional officers.

Thomas v. Freed, No. 21-0428

      Issue Presented: Whether § 1983 action challenging state’s failure to return excess proceeds from foreclosure sale of real property is barred by the Tax Injunction Act, § 1341.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 6, 2021 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

SEALS Prospective Law Teachers Workshop

Each year, SEALS hosts a Prospective Law Teachers Workshop (PLTW), which provides intensive opportunities for VAPs, fellows, and practitioners to network and participate in mock interviews and mock job talks—prior to the actual teaching market. The Workshop also includes a luncheon (separate ticket purchase is required) and 1-on-1 sessions for candidates to receive faculty feedback on their CVs and FAR forms. This year’s Prospective Law Teachers Workshop will be held at The Omni in Amelia Island, Florida on Monday, July 26 through Wednesday, July 28, 2021. If you are interested in participating specifically in the Prospective Law Teachers Workshop, please send your CV, and a brief statement explaining your interest, to Professor Leah Chan Grinvald [email protected]. Please also confirm that you are planning on entering the teaching market in August 2021. Applications are due by May 31, 2021, with decisions made no later than June 11. Past PLTW participants have secured tenure-track appointments at an impressive array of law schools.

Independently from the PLTW, SEALS also offers a workshop that is broader programming for anyone considering academia—even if one is earlier in the process. Anyone may simply attend the Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop. The programming includes a demonstration of faculty-candidate interviews and sessions on designing your teaching package, navigating the market as a nontraditional candidate, mapping academic opportunities, what’s in a job talk, crafting scholarship goals, the art of self-promotion, as well as a luncheon (separate ticket purchase required when registering for SEALS). The Aspiring Workshop occurs between Monday, July 26–Thursday, July 29. Search “aspiring” at the following link: http://sealslawschools.org/submissions/program/programwp.asp.

The goal of these two workshops is, in tandem, to provide robust opportunities for those who hope to one day enter legal academia.

Frequently Asked Questions:

They both sound great. What exactly is the difference?

The Prospective Workshop is designed for those who are going on the market this fall (and will be submitting their FAR form), in 2021, and desiring a chance to moot job talks and interviews in advance of that time. The Aspiring Workshop is designed for anyone considering academia, including those who may not yet be ready to moot a job talk in the summer. Participation in the Prospective Workshop is by acceptance-only while the Aspiring Workshop is open to everyone.

Can I attend both workshops?

Possibly. Some of the times conflict, but the Aspiring Law Teachers Workshop will be generally open to anyone wishing to attend. Attendance in the Prospective Workshop is in contrast only by acceptance through our competitive selection process.

Is this the new faculty recruitment initiative that I heard SEALS has put together?

No, this is not the new hiring initiative that SEALS is conducting. That process is entirely separate. Information about SEALS’ new faculty recruitment initiative can be found at the following link: https://www.sealslawschools.org/recruitment/applicants/

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 27, 2021 at 12:05 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 26, 2021

CFP: Civ Pro Workshop Summer Works-in-Progress Series

The following is posted at request of Brooke Coleman (Seattle) and David Marcus (UCLA).

The organizers of the Civil Procedure Workshop (“CPW”), an annual gathering of civil procedure scholars, look forward to an in-person gathering at Northwestern University in May 2022.  In the meanwhile, we invite all interested in civil procedure scholarship to participate in an online works-in-progress series the CPW has scheduled for July 15, 2021, and August 12, 2021.  Both sessions will proceed from 1:00-3:00 pm east coast.  Anyone who wishes to present a paper on a topic related to civil procedure is welcome and encouraged to do so.  We will organize participants into small discussion groups, to enable all authors to present their work and receive feedback from colleagues.

Authors are encouraged to present their work in whatever form it takes.  Full drafts are welcome, but so too are shorter summaries or partially completed papers. 

Those who do not wish to present their work are also encouraged to attend.  We hope that these sessions will give colleagues a chance to a gather, if only online, and continue to support our national community of procedure scholars that many of us enjoy so much.  

Please register for the works-in-progress series here.

You are encouraged to attend both sessions and are welcome to present at one, both, or neither.  If you plan to present your work, we ask that you submit your paper to the organizers by July 1, 2021, for the July 15 session, and by July 29, 2021, for the August 12 session, to give organizers a chance to assemble groups and distribute papers to participants.  If you are presenting a full draft, we ask that you also submit a ten-page excerpt that readers can particularly focus on in advance of the discussions.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 26, 2021 at 04:02 PM in Civil Procedure, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Academic Feeder Judges

Academic Feeder Judges, my study of where legal academics clerked, has been published at Judicature.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on April 19, 2021 at 03:57 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Civ Pro: No Coke, Pepsi

Two fun things in recent Civ Pro classes.

First, I taught Scott v. Harris today. For the first time, not one student took the position that the video might support the plaintiff and show that the use of force was unreasonable. Maybe everyone who took that position had her camera and did not feel like doing hand-raise. But I was surprised.

Second,we Discovery last week, with a group argument over Coca-Bottling v. Coca-Cola, a dispute over discoverability of the formula for Coca Cola (what is now Classic) and the discovery and sanctions order coming from that dispute. But then, because I could not resist and believe I should impose my pop-culture preferences on them as much as the other way around:



Posted by Howard Wasserman on March 18, 2021 at 01:48 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

R.I.P, Peter Gerhart

Peter Gerhart, professor and former dean at Case Western, died on February 7, at age 75. Information on condolences is in the link. A Zoom celebration is scheduled for later in the semester. Condolences to his family and to the Case Western community.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 9, 2021 at 09:18 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Call for papers:  Antitrust Law Journal symposium

            The Antitrust Law Journal seeks article proposals for a symposium on U.S. antitrust institutions.

            The symposium will focus on government enforcement of federal and state antitrust laws in the United States.  It will analyze whether the current lineup of government enforcers, with overlapping responsibilities, is well suited to meet the demands of modern antitrust enforcement.  The symposium will focus not on antitrust doctrine, but on U.S. enforcement institutions themselves.

            The editors seek articles that address one or more of the following topics:

  1. If one takes the current lineup and responsibilities of government antitrust enforcers as a given, what can be done to improve the collective performance of those enforcers?
  2. How could one change the lineup and responsibilities of government antitrust enforcers to optimize the system for modern antitrust enforcement?
  3. In cases brought by government antitrust enforcers, how could one improve the adjudicative process, including enforcement decisions, how cases are litigated, and the performance of the courts and other tribunals?

            The editors actively seek diverse viewpoints and diverse scholarly approaches.  Submissions for this symposium will be peer-reviewed and selected with these goals in mind.  Although the symposium is not a historical or comparative project, the editors welcome articles with historical or comparative features.

            Editorial-board chair Matt Sawchak, executive editor Tina Miller, and Professor Bill Kovacic are leading this symposium.  They are heading a working group with a wide range of academic and professional experience and a wide range of views on antitrust policy.

            To be considered for this symposium, please email a 300-word or longer abstract of your proposed article to Tina Miller at [email protected] by 3 pm U.S. Eastern time on Friday, February 12, 2021. 

      We also welcome complete drafts of articles, as long as those drafts include an abstract.  Articles for this symposium can range from essays to articles of up to 15,000 words (including words in footnotes).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 22, 2021 at 02:42 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 15, 2021

Facts, epithets, exams, and anti-racism (Amended)

Above the Law reported about a brewing controversy at UIC-John Marshall involving Prof. Jason Kilborn and his Civ Pro exam.

Kilborn included the following short-answer question on his exam:

After she was fired from her job, Plaintiff sued Employer under federal civil rights law, claiming employment discrimination on the basis of her race and gender. [discussion of other evidence omitted]  Employer also revealed that one of Plaintiff’s former managers might have damaging information about the case, but no one at Employer knew where that former manager was, since she had abruptly quit her job at Employer several months ago and had not been heard from since.  With nothing to go on but the manager’s name, Employer’s lawyer pieced together several scraps of information and concluded that this former manager must be located in a remote area of northern Wisconsin.  Employer’s lawyer spent $25,000 to hire a private investigator, who successfully located the former manager in northern Wisconsin.  Employer’s lawyer traveled to meet the manager, who stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a “n____” and “b____” (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.

                Later, Plaintiff’s lawyer served [another discovery demand, omitted, and] an interrogatory demanding the identity and location of any person with any information related to the termination of Plaintiff’s employment at Employer or potential discrimination against Plaintiff by Employer or any agent of Employer.

The question asked whether the employer could refuse to disclose the witness's location (while disclosing her name) on grounds of work-product privilege.

The school's BLSA chapter responded with a petition. It calls for, among other things, multiple sections of all mandatory classes (so students can avoid professors such as Kilborn with a "history of bias"), Kilborn's resignation from the academic affairs committee, and an "open dialogue event" with Kilborn. The ATL piece is somewhat sympathetic to Kilborn, surprising, given that site's general rage against professors who use racist language and epithets in class.

Amendment: Kilborn was subject to university sanction--the school placed him on administrative leave, cancelled his new-semester classes and committee assignments, and barred him from campus. There is some uncertainty over the grounds for the university sanction or the process followed; I have deleted comments or speculation from the original post about that process. Regardless, the exam question sparked controversy and triggered a student petition within the school; that raises teaching issues worth thinking about. The post focuses on those.

Please note that I have never met Jason in-person. I know of him from posts to the Civ Pro profs listserv, where he has discussed infusing anti-racism and racial-justice issues into the Civ Pro curriculum. So this is not defending a friend. But I am genuinely curious as to what was wrong with the question. What are the rules, so professors can avoid creating "momentous distraction and cause[ing] unnecessary distress and anxiety" or demonstrating "lack of respect, decency, and civility?"

    • The question did not use explicit and complete epithets, which had been the flashpoint for past controversies over what professors said in class or wrote in materials. ATL has covered those controversies at length, sharply criticizing faculty for mentioning the word. Eugene Volokh and Randall Kennedy present the contrary view, relying on the "use-mention" distinction.

    • Is the rule that bowdlerized reference to epithets is not OK? What if the test had the witness say "n-word," as in "she stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a n-word and c-word"? Are all references to epithets off-limits?

    • Is it only racist epithets, given the focus on "centering race" in the academic discussion? What if the question used a misogynist epithet or anything other than a racist one? What if this question only had the employer calling the plaintiff a "c____" or a "b____"?

    • If bowdlerized use of the word is not OK, is all reference to racist epithets not ok? What if that last sentence of the facts had the witness state "she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, and referred to her with profane expressions for African Americans and women"? Does the reference to the epithet, even this obliquely, cause the same distress and anxiety? Students will be as aware of the "profane expression for African Americans" being referenced as by saying it with ____ or *** or "n-word."

    • If any reference or hint at epithets is not ok, then does it follow that exam questions touching on racist discrimination are off-limits? What if that last sentence of the exam had said the witness "stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, and talked about how much they hated having to employ African-Americans"? The question reveals discriminatory animus without using the word. Of course, the legal issues might come out differently in that case than in an epithet case. If this is problematic, then it seems to eliminate one major litigation area, or at least certain types of cases in that litigation area, as a testing subject; I discussed this issue several years ago.

    • How much does subject matter? The question tested work-product privilege, so the petition argued that the hint at the epithet served no educational purpose. Would the reaction have been different had the question been asked in, say, Employment Discrimination? For what it is worth, a friend who teaches that subject often tests with a fictional religion with fictional stereotypes and fictional epithets. But does that capture the same idea, given the effects of history? It has been decided that this word is the worst in the English language, so bad it cannot be written or spoken or even mentioned. It follows that its use may affect the outcome of a case in a unique way not captured by a fact patter in which someone calls a member of the Church of the Shiny Rock (my friend's actual example) a "Rockette" (I made that one up).

    • This may create unique problems for Civ Pro (and Fed Courts, Evidence, and Civil Rights--basically my entire teaching package). The course material itself is not "sensitive," compared with Con Law or Immigration or Employment Discrimination. But teaching and testing Civ Pro requires that we adopt and use the substantive issues that reach court and must be litigated under the rules we are teaching and testing on. One could argue that there is always another way to test on work-product privilege--use a slip-and-fall tort claim that will not affect anyone's feelings. But one could respond that discrimination claims comprise a substantial piece of the federal docket and it makes no sense to ignore such common claims. Kilborn told ATL that the class casebook uses a lot of employment cases, so that context pervaded the course and made sense as a testing vehicle. And, as I wrote several years ago, the full range of litigation subjects and issues should be fair game.

    • Kilborn also told ATL that the question was designed to illustrate how civil litigation can be used to help women of color overcome the burdens they face in the workplace. And the egregious nature of what the witness reports the employer saying may be relevant to why the employer was so determined not to reveal the witness and why the plaintiff would have a "substantial need" for the information. In other words, just as the precise nature of discriminatory conduct is important "context" in a substantive E/D class, it may provide essential "context" for procedural questions. Given Kilborn's intent, there is great irony that this question has led to these consequences.

Closer to home, I have been watching the litigation in Stallworth v. Nike, a lawsuit by an African American couple alleging that they were subjected to "shopping while Black" in a Santa Monica Nike store and that the SMPD had an agreement with the area stores to arrest or detain anyone on the word of the stores. The complaint runs 50 pages and 200 paragraphs, although without detailed allegations of how Nike and SMPD worked together to create action. The complaint contains pages and paragraphs about the plaintiffs' personal and professional histories, Nike's role in social justice, and last summer's protests; they want to frame the case--likely for consumption by the public rather than the Court--within the broader anti-racism movement. I considered assigning this as one of my in-class pleadings, as an opportunity to discuss the propriety and effectiveness of pleading-as-press release and to analyze the sufficiency of the state-action allegations. I decided against it--partly because it is a long pleading (the other complaints I use are <20 pages) and partly because I could not predict student reactions. There are no racial epithets, but the case touches a raw topic.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 15, 2021 at 05:25 PM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (23)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Today in cancel culture

One cheer only for President Trump's recorded statement on Wednesday urging his supporters to refrain from violence.

He loses one cheer because he never mentioned Biden or that the election has  been resolved and produced a legitimate result. Trump's calls for non-violence--that violence is inconsistent with the "movement" (a word he repeated)--ring hollow when he simultaneously continues to convince people that the election was illegal, fraudulent, and stolen, the greatest political crime in history. Some of these people believe it is 1776 because Trump has told them it is; to continue to say "it's 1776 but do not be violent" is incoherent.

He loses a second cheer for his final-minute detour into the First Amendment and the problem of "canceling." His obvious targets were Twitter/Amazon, corporations and other donors withholding money from GOP officeholders, and other businesses and institutions working to distance themselves (in sensible and silly ways) from him, his family, those who aided and abetted Trump through his presidency, and those who created the conditions in which the assault on the Capitol occurred. But he (and others) continue to ignore the way in which these actions are themselves an exercise of First Amendment rights to express, through disassociation and non-support, opprobrium. If donating and spending money to support an official or candidate is protected expression, then so must withholding that money. When Twitter and Amazon should be treated as unique actors, under current law they are not, so banning speakers or speech communities from their spaces is an act of expression. If a private sports organization such as the NFL can and should fire the sons of bitches who do something as offensive as kneeling during the national anthem, then a private sports organization such as the PGA can fire the business owned by a person who incited an assault on the legislative branch.

Sorry, this still is not the speech in which "Trump became President." He has 114 hours and 14 minutes as I draft this for that to happen.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 14, 2021 at 05:46 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10)

Friday, January 08, 2021

Lawyering and Responsibility

Somehow I have managed to retain my back door into Prawfs, and with Howard's permission, I am sharing what follows.  It is my note today to my Contracts students who just finished their first two credit hours segment and will return for the remaining three credit hours in the spring semester.  I thought it might be of some interest to other law professors.

 Lawyering and Responsibility

I know that you will be consumed over the next hours and days with exams and grades, but I decided I wanted to pass along some thoughts about current events and their relationship to what we do together.  Somebody who hasn’t endured the first two credits of my Contract Law course might not understand the connection between the substance of the class and the political and social events of the last several months. 

My students, past and present, know that contract law is a logical model used to translate real-world narratives of desired outcomes into legal binding commitments.  Before the fact of disputes, lawyers use contracts to model, in fewer bits and bytes of information, an underlying analog reality, and do so in a way that permits parties to act together in the face of risk and uncertainty.  After the fact of disputes, lawyering is weaponized reason, sublimating (to repeat a reprehensible bit of recent incitement) trial by combat into an intellectual and non-violent game of winners and losers.  The rule of law is a cultural norm that says the loser of that game accepts the loss without resort to trial by combat.

I have spent my academic career trying to articulate the difference between the nature and logic of legal systems, on one hand, and moral imperatives, on the other, in situations far more mundane than we have been witnessing.  It began with the observation, in the wake of the Enron-WorldCom corporate scandals of the early 2000s, that there were significant limitations to the legislation of “good governance.” Courage, independence, integrity, humility, all essential characteristics of good CEOs, board members, Presidents, and Senators, resist being captured in the language of a statute or a contract.  Statutes and contracts embody fundamental characteristic of positive law: if antecedent conditions exist, rules of law establish inferences that particular legal consequences must ensue.  Both the thrill and the dark side of lawyering arise from the complexity of the real world narrative – we don’t always agree that the antecedent conditions exist, and even if they do, we don’t always agree on the particular rules that get triggered. 

Many business decisions (like many family or personal decisions) are not easy – closing an unprofitable plant, for example, creates distress but is necessary if the business as a whole is to survive.  Personally, I don’t love every professional decision I’ve ever made. Nor can I be sure my belief that I was appropriately reflective was not a rationalization.  But if I can’t recognize the clear cases of the clash between logic and moral imperatives, then the nuanced cases are hopeless. 

In the days since we last were together as a class, I have thought about saying something about lawyering that has gone beyond the pale, specifically the specious litigation undertaken by Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and other lawyers around the country.  Several weeks ago, I signed the Lawyers Defending Democracy letter calling for bar associations to pursue sanctions against those lawyers.  The license to employ the logical model to translate narratives into legal consequences is not a license to write fiction or spew fantasy.  The result of the litigation demonstrates that it was fiction and fantasy.  And the spewing of fantasy by lawyers who should know better – incompetents like Powell and accomplished lawyers like Cruz and Hawley – contributed to the violence.

You will get licensed as a lawyer for the same reason you get licensed to drive a car or carry a firearm.  You will have been entrusted with the weapon that I have now spent two credit hours teaching you to use.  How you use the weapon, if at all, is ultimately not a matter of legality (except in the most egregious cases), but one of conscience.  As we have seen in class, the challenge usually won’t be to differentiate between clear cases of good and evil – but rather to decide in close cases of the Venn diagram overlap how, if at all, to employ the intellectual gifts you brought to class and the professional tools that have been entrusted to you. 

I will never be able to give you a transcript grade on this particular lesson.  But it’s what I hope you remember long after you have forgotten the two old drunks who contracted on a napkin to sell the Ferguson farm for $50,000, title satisfactory to buyer.

I look forward to seeing you (via Zoom) on January 25.

Best,

JML

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on January 8, 2021 at 04:57 PM in Current Affairs, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Identify yourself as an academic

The New York Times questions Jenna Ellis' credentials as a lawyer (I am shocked, shocked to find they are not what she plays them to be), including how she came to call herself a "constitutional law attorney" and a "professor of constitutional law." Colorado Christian University, where she taught in an undergraduate legal-studies program as an adjunct and as full-time professor, says she never held the latter title.

But that got me wondering: How many of you use the subjects in which you write/teach in your title for purposes of self-identification, web sites, media, etc.? And how common is it for academics to do that? I identify myself as a professor of law, not a professor of civil procedure. Frankly, I become suspicious when I see "professor of [subject]" in a person's title on a web site or LinkedIn page, a sign that the person is trying too hard.

Am I being too harsh?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 3, 2020 at 05:37 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (11)

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Northwestern Pritzker Seeks Director of SCOTUS and Appellate Advocacy Clinic

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for a clinical faculty position to serve as the Director of its Appellate Advocacy Center, a Center in the Bluhm Legal Clinic, which includes the Federal Appellate Clinic and the Supreme Court Clinic.

The Center represents clients appealing their cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court, and, using the tools of non-directive clinical pedagogy, provides students with opportunities to participate in appeals. In the Federal Appellate Clinic, faculty and students represent indigent criminal defendants before the Seventh Circuit; in the Supreme Court Clinic faculty and students collaborate as part of a Supreme Court litigation team in partnership with attorneys at Sidley Austin LLP.  

Candidates will be considered for appointment to the faculty of the Bluhm Legal Clinic of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law at a rank commensurate with experience and qualifications. We seek applicants for this position with distinguished academic records and/or a demonstrated track record of directing, developing, and teaching appellate advocacy or training courses.

Applications accepted here: Apply for Job

Please contact Elizabeth Fritz ([email protected]), Associate Director of Faculty Affairs, with any questions. 

Qualifications: The person selected for this position must have a JD; at least three years of experience in directly relevant practice areas; excellent written and oral communication skills; experience supervising law students, law student interns, or junior lawyers in clinical legal education or professional settings; experience supervising student mock trial teams; and enthusiasm for collaborating in departmental and law school committee work. 

Requisite attributes include: demonstrated abilities to inspire others and to work collaboratively, creatively, and constructively with others.  The candidate must have strong organizational skills and be recognized as a respected member of the clinical community or relevant professional community.  This person should have a passion for teaching and learning as well as for the development of students and academic programs. The candidate must have the ability to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process. The candidate must also have the ability to successfully interact with students, other educators and educational institution representatives, and the general public in a professional manner.
The Bluhm Legal Clinic is currently made up of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Children and Family Justice Center, Center on International Human Rights, Entrepreneurship Law Center, Environmental Law Center, Appellate Advocacy Center, Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, Civil Litigation Center and other clinical programs that involve civil litigation and criminal defense.

Candidates are highly encouraged to apply by December 11, 2020. Please contact Elizabeth Fritz ([email protected]), Associate Director of Faculty Affairs, with any questions. 

Northwestern accepts applications through our Faculty Recruiting System. Please read ALL instructions and make preparations before proceeding to the application page:

  • Please prepare all documents in advance as Adobe PDF files, and please be sure all information is entered correctly and accurately (especially names and email addresses), as there will be no opportunity for online revision after your application has been submitted. Required application materials include a CV and cover letter.
  • All required fields in the application form are marked with an asterisk and must be filled before clicking the “Submit” button.
  • Be aware that incomplete applications cannot be saved.
  • Applications will only be accepted via online submission (see link below).

Applications accepted here: Apply for Job

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 2, 2020 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Job Posting -- Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is hiring in the business law and ethics department.  They have one tenure-track position and one non-tenure-track position.  Full postings after the jump.

Tenure-Track Posting:

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University seeks applications for a tenured/tenure-track position in the Department of Business Law and Ethics, effective fall 2021. The candidate selected will join a well-established department of 26 full-time faculty members who teach a variety of courses on legal topics, business ethics, and critical thinking at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is anticipated that the position will be at the assistant professor rank, though appointment at a higher rank could occur if a selected candidate’s record so warrants.

To be qualified, a candidate must have a J.D. degree (or equivalent terminal law degree) with an excellent academic record and must demonstrate the potential for outstanding teaching and research in law and/or ethics.

We seek applicants with research and teaching interests across a broad and diverse range of law and ethics issues in business. We would be particularly pleased to receive applications from scholars whose research or teaching interests intersect with issues of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity and equity in corporate and work environments (including but not limited to corporate board diversity, civil rights, employment anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, public accommodation, family leave, business and human rights, feminist and/or critical race theory and law/ethics, etc.).

Candidates with appropriate subject-matter expertise and interest would have the opportunity to be involved on the leading edge of a developing collaboration between the Kelley School of Business and the Kinsey Institute, the premier research institute on human sexuality and relationships and a trusted source for evidence-based information on critical issues in sexuality, gender, and reproduction. Such expertise, however, is not required to be qualified and considered for the position.

Interested candidates should review the application requirements and submit their application at http://indiana.peopleadmin.com/postings/10110. Candidates may direct questions to: Professor Josh Perry, Department Chair ([email protected]), or Professor Angie Raymond, Search Committee Chair ([email protected]), both at Department of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, 1309 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405.

Application materials received by December 13, 2020 will receive full consideration. However, the search will continue until the position(s) is/are filled.

Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.

 

Non-Tenure-Track Posting:

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University seeks applications for a full-time, non-tenure-track lecturer position in the Department of Business Law and Ethics, effective fall 2021. The candidate selected will join a well-established department of 26 full-time faculty members who teach a variety of residential and online courses on legal topics, business ethics, and critical thinking at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Lecturers have teaching and service responsibilities, but are not expected to engage in research activities.

To be qualified, a lecturer candidate must have a J.D. degree (or equivalent terminal law degree) with an excellent academic record and must demonstrate the potential to be an outstanding teacher. We value applicants who have a broad and diverse range of interests and experience and a commitment to teaching classes in both the legal environment of business and practical/applied business ethics. We would be especially pleased to hear from applicants whose interests or experience intersect with issues of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity and equity in corporate and work environments (including but not limited to corporate board diversity, civil rights, employment anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, public accommodation, family leave, business and human rights, feminist and/or critical race theory and law/ethics, etc.).

Candidates with appropriate expertise would have the opportunity to be involved on the leading edge of a developing collaboration between the Kelley School of Business and the Kinsey Institute. The Kinsey Institute is the premier research institute on human sexuality and relationships and a trusted source for evidence-based information on critical issues in sexuality, gender, and reproduction. Such expertise, however, is not required to be qualified and considered for this position

Interested candidates should review the application requirements and submit their application at http://indiana.peopleadmin.com/postings/10109. Candidates may direct questions to: Professor Josh Perry, Department Chair ([email protected]) or Professor Arthur Andrew Lopez, Search Committee Chair ([email protected]), all at Department of Business Law and Ethics, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, 1309 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405.

Application materials received by December 13, 2020, will receive full consideration. However, the search will continue until the position(s) is/are filled.

Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.

Posted by Carissa Byrne Hessick on November 11, 2020 at 03:39 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Panel: The Jurisprudence and Legacy of Justice Ginsburg

FIU College of Law will host a panel, The Jurisprudence and Legacy of Justice Ginsburg, at 12:30 p.m., Friday, October 30. Register here. The event is open to the public.

A panel discussion of the life, jurisprudence, and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Legal scholars will consider her work on gender equality, reproductive freedom, election law, constitutional law, comparative law, and procedure, and the effects of her death on the Court and the judicial-appointments process.

Moderator: Michele Anglade (FIU College of Law)

Introduction: Leonard Strickman (Founding Dean Emeritus, FIU College of Law)

Panelists:

            Richard Albert (University of Texas)

            Deborah Dinner (Emory University)

            Scott Dodson (UC-Hastings)

            Atiba Ellis (Marquette University)

            Daniel Epps (Washington University-St. Louis)

            Abbe Gluck (Yale University)

            B. Jessie Hill (Case-Western Reserve University)

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 20, 2020 at 11:09 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Guest Post:Could Pipeline and Non-Residential Fellowships Increase the Diversity of the Academy?

The following is by Matthew B. Lawrence (Emory) and Bijal Shah (Arizona State).

As one of us has noted, our shared field of “administrative law, both in academia and practice, suffers from a lack of representative diversity.”  But this problem is bigger than administrative law, and recent tenure-track hiring trends may be complicating things.  In this short post, we seek to spur conversation about how to improve the diversity of the legal academy, and encourage possibilities that offer a chance to gain some traction.

 Entry-level hiring data (collected here and compiled by Sarah Lawsky) indicates that a fellowship has become a “de facto requirement for entering the profession these days” (to quote Jessica Erickson’s series on fellowships and VAPs here).  83% of tenure-track hires in the report this past year had a fellowship.  Several of the guests on Orin Kerr’s terrific podcast on legal academia see this as a problem.  Chief among concerns about the fellowship-as-prerequisite model is the possibility that it excludes many great candidates, including people of color and women, as well as those who are unable to leave a good, stable job for a lower-paid position with an expiration date (and no guarantee of a permanent job) because of family obligations, income constraints, or other barriers. 

We want to call greater attention to a partial solution that some of us on the administrative law professors list serv have been discussing.  Why not invest in practice-to-professorship pipelines?  One option is pipelines that focus on nurturing candidates of color and women in particular areas of the legal academy with poor representation.  Another is a non-residential program that replicates the benefits of a traditional fellowship without requiring fellows to quit their day jobs.  The two could very well overlap.  Meera Deo suggests schools hoping to promote diversity think “outside the box,” and illustrates her point with the story of one associate dean who found and nurtured a fantastic professor through a bar association.  Legal academia could systematize this approach by building out institutionally-supported practice-to-professorship pipelines, including non-residential fellowships.    

  • The problem: There are many institutional challenges for people of color and women who seek to become professors. One obstacle that the fellowship model exacerbates is the fact that many potential candidates are not in a position to risk their and perhaps their family’s financial security by quitting their jobs for a full-time but temporary fellowship, especially when the academic job market is so unpredictable. 
  • Some solutions: To support potential academics for whom quitting their day jobs is untenable, scholarly fields (like administrative law or health law) should stand up their own pipelines focused on lifting the gate to academics who would increase the diversity of the profession. These could be established independently, by law schools or other institutions, and spearheaded by senior faculty in the field.  They could also be created and implemented by umbrella organizations like the American Bar Association or the Association of American Law Schools sections.  In addition, schools that operate their own, often terrific visiting assistant professorships (VAPs) or fellowships could opt to build a non-residential option into their programs so as to be inclusive of those unable to take on a full-time role.  Including a non-residential, part-time option in an existing, prestigious VAP or fellowship would bring instant cache, and would be particular beneficial if schools were careful not to foster hierarchies between full-time and part-time fellows.  If any schools or institutions are running part-time programs, or interested in doing so, we would love to hear about and publicize them.   
  • Specifics: Both pipeline programs and part-time fellowships could include significant mentoring, include on the particular problems faced by diverse candidates; the opportunity to attend faculty workshops (in person or online); exposure; the signal that goes along with selection by a competitive program; the opportunity to gain teaching experience (in evenings as an adjunct, or in a winter term, or online); and research support (including Scholastica and ExpressO coaching and support).
  • Diversity goals: We focus for purposes of this blog post on people of color and women more generally, building on Meera Deo’s study of women of color law professors. We believe that any institution or group building a pipeline would need to have an honest and difficult conversation about the target field or fields’ challenges and the program’s goals, which might well lead to a different emphasis. For example, it may be appropriate to adopt a different emphasis that explicitly includes academics who are LGBTQUIA, or an emphasis targeted at increasing the representation of academics who are Black in the academy. 
  • “If you build it, would they come?” There are a number of potential obstacles to these approaches. One is that pipeline programs for diverse candidates might run the risk of being under-resourced and marginalized, especially as compared to more generalized programs. Significant institutional and senior scholar level support would combat this tendency. As for a non-residential fellowship, a stumbling block might be that practitioners would not be able to afford to moonlight for multiple years in a fellowship program before going on the market. We do think any program would need to be cognizant of the fact that inequity also distorts who is able to moonlight, and tailor its design and selection to account for that.

With the goals of improving diversity and representation in mind, we would love to hear comments, concerns, stories, or ideas!    

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 8, 2020 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (9)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Race, Racism, & Business Law Courses

The past several months have caused many of us to reflect on how we can better incorporate issues of race and racism into our courses.  I wanted to highlight two new links regarding race, racism, and business law courses.  First, Carliss Chatman, Cathy Hwang, and Ben Edwards put together a statement on race/racism in business law that they are inviting all law professors to sign. The statement states in full:

“We are law professors, and many of us write and teach about business law.

We think race and racism are important to the study of business law, just as they are important to the study of any area of law. From slavery and redlining to lack of opportunity in the workplace and limited access to capital, race and racism have always been part of business and business law.

To our colleagues and our students: we welcome the opportunity to engage in these discussions and commit to thinking hard about how to incorporate them into our research and our teaching.”

They will share and update a list of signatories on the Business Law Prof Blog here, and you do not need to teach business law to sign it.  I personally think these issues are incredibly important, and I welcomed the opportunity to sign the statement – thanks to Carliss, Cathy, and Ben for putting it together!

Second, there was a recent discussion on the AALS Business Associations listserv in which many professors shared resources related to race, racism, and business law.  I put the resources into a shared document that anyone can access, and I will continue to update it.  If you have any additions to this document, please send them my way at [email protected]. 

Like many other areas of law, I think the business law community has real work to do in this area.  I look forward to continued dialogue and action on these issues. 

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 31, 2020 at 07:11 PM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Designing an Inclusive & Supportive Classroom Environment -- Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post focuses on the final step – supporting the students in our fall courses.

This is the last post in my series on preparing for our fall courses.   This post focuses on the final step in my approach to redesigning our courses to be physically distanced, hybrid, or remote -- planning for an inclusive and supportive classroom environment.  This step is easy to overlook as we try to learn all of the new technologies and techniques for fall teaching, but it is essential.  We all try to support our students and create an inclusive classroom, but it will be harder this fall.  Take our efforts to help students who don't understand the material in a given unit.  Normally, we can observe students in class and notice if they look confused or a little lost.   We can catch up with them in the hall, and they can also casually stop by our office if they have a question.  We don’t catch all issues this way, but we catch a fair amount.  When we all start wearing masks in the classroom and leaving the building (or logging off Zoom) as soon as class is over, we lose these informal ways of checking in with our students.

At the same time, our students may be struggling more.   They are dealing with additional anxiety and trauma related to the past several months.  Classes will be more challenging, both because our pedagogical techniques in these new environments will be less familiar to them and because being in a physically distanced or remote classroom feels more alienating.   And students may be struggling with the logistics of these new learning environments -- they may not have the right technology or a quiet work space.  In short, they may struggle more this semester, but we may notice it less.

Importantly, these burdens are not distributed equally through our society or our classrooms.  Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as well as the racial violence and protests this summer.  Students with children may be struggling to find childcare this fall.  Students with spouses or roommates may have to share limited Internet connections, and students living in remote areas may not have any reliable Internet. 

In addition, we are changing many aspects of our courses, from assessments to learning activities and community building exercises.  When we redesign this many things at once, we can easily miss things.  We can craft assignments that don’t fully reflect our commitment to diversity, plan learning activities that don’t fully include all students, and miss ways that our policies and practices burden students unnecessarily.  This isn’t necessarily about bad faith on our part.  We are trying to do a lot right now, and things will fall through the cracks if we aren’t careful to think about our new course design through an lens of inclusivity and equity.  

Finally, students with disabilities may be particularly vulnerable.  Higher ed’s disability services are never perfect, but they will have additional hurdles this fall.  Students who have not been formally diagnosed with a disability may discover additional learning challenges in this new environment.  Students who do have a documented disability may have figured out accommodations that work for them in a traditional classroom, but these accommodations may be less effective in physically distanced or remote courses.  And universities have not developed clear guidelines on how to help students in these new environments, so they will be trying new approaches, some of which may need adjustment or may not work.  

If you want to understand the challenges that some students may face in the fall, check out this website.  It is styled as a “choose-your-own-adventure” narrative through the eyes of a student with disabilities. Someone could probably create a similar one about trying to navigate remote courses this fall as well.  The pandemic has created new and very real challenges for our students regardless of the learning environment.

It sounds daunting to build an inclusive and supportive classroom environment under these circumstances, but here are some concrete tips you can implement fairly easily.

Look at New Content and Assessments Through an Inclusivity Lens.  Ideally, you’ve been thinking about inclusive pedagogy all through your course redesign, and my advice throughout this series has tried to reflect inclusive pedagogy principles.  But it’s important to do a final hard look at your course design as you put the pieces together.  Which issues and voices do you prioritize in your selection of readings?  Do your fact patterns include a diverse group of people and fact patterns?  Experts in inclusive pedagogy talk about using curriculum choices as a window and mirror.  As a window, curricular choices should help students see into other people’s lives and lived experiences.  As a mirror, students should have the opportunity to see their reality reflected in the chosen examples.  Use this redesign as an opportunity to look critically at your pedagogical choices through this lens.

Look at New Policies and Practices Through an Inclusivity Lens.  You can do the same thing for any new policies and practices you have built into your course.  Most of us have many new policies in our syllabi this year.  With each rule, ask yourself, who is included and who is left out?  In other words, who will find it easy to comply with the rule, and who will find it more difficult?  Are these difficulties necessary to achieve your pedagogical goal or is there another approach that might accomplish the same goal without imposing new challenges on some students. 

For example, there’s been a robust debate this summer about whether to require students to turn on their cameras.  There’s no easy answer.  Seeing everyone’s faces helps foster the virtual classroom environment, and it allows professors to see whether students look engaged or confused.  On the other hand, students may have privacy concerns about showing their personal space to classmates and professors.  I saw this language recommended somewhere, and I like it, but my point isn’t that you should adopt any one specific policy.  Instead you should think intentionally about the different interests in play and give considerable weight to the interests of students who may want to keep their environment private.  Give your other new policies and practices – from your attendance policy to rules about private chats on Zoom—the same scrutiny.

Use Universal Design Principles.  Faculty should strive for universal design of their courses, which means designing a course to work for everyone.  For physically distanced classrooms, this means wearing a mic even if we are fairly confident that most students can hear us from behind a mask.  In all classes, it means captioning our videos, using high-contrast color combinations in our slides, and providing concise text descriptions of content presented within image. 

Clear structure and communication is also a key part of universal design.  For students who struggle with attention and processing challenges, having a well-designed course in which the professor clearly lays out the requirements and how the different pieces of the course fit together is essential.  My last post addressed ways to build this structure into your course. 

Be Flexible on Accommodations.  Although online education has been around for a long time, we are still in unchartered territory in many ways.  Many law schools did not offer online courses before this past spring, so they may not have established accommodations policies for remote learning.  Zoom is a relatively new platform for online education, so its features raise new issues as well.  Physically distanced teaching is also entirely new for most educational institutions, so few have road-tested policies on helping students learn in an environment where the professor is teaching in a mask, behind Plexiglass barriers, with students spread out throughout a classroom. 

Students may also discover that they have new challenges or that existing challenges are magnified in these learning environments.  Some students, for example, have learned that spending a lot of time on Zoom triggers migraines or that the challenges from ADHD are magnified in remote courses.  We should let students know that they should talk to use or our dean of students’ office about any new challenges they face, and we also need to be flexible as our schools use a bit of trial and error to find the right accommodations for students.  The AALS had a great webinar called “Meeting the Needs of All Students Online” that addressed this issue. 

Check In Often, Esp. with Remote Students:  In traditional classrooms, you can often tell if students are struggling or just seem off.  In physically distanced or remote classes, though, it may be more difficult to read these informal signs.  Consider planning monthly individual check-ins with students or find other ways to check in regularly.  If you are primarily teaching in-person, but you have some students who regularly participate remotely, check in with your remote students even more.   

Nudge Struggling Students:  Create enough low-stakes assessments (graded or not) in the first few weeks of class that you have a pretty good sense of who is falling behind early on.  Reach out to them with a personalized but supportive email telling them you have noticed that they are having difficulty in the course and asking if you can help in any way.  You might say something like, “Hi ___, I was looking at the scores for the midterm and saw that you didn’t do as well as you might have expected.  It’s still early in the semester, so I would love to talk about how you might be able to improve your performance on the final exam.”

Build in breaks.  In a long in-person class, we often build in breaks.  Consider doing the same in synchronous Zoom classes as well.  You may even need more frequent breaks.  Best practices suggest a ten minute break for every fifty minutes of class in online classes.  You might also encourage a 1-minute stretch and/or breathing break after every 15 minutes of lecture or as a transition from lecture to an activity.

That’s a wrap on this series!  I may be back with a post or two in the fall, but for now I’ll end with a note about the importance of supporting yourself and your colleagues this semester, in addition to your students.  The summer is normally a time for rejuvenation when we can focus on other aspects of our jobs, but this summer looked really different.  Not only are we still in a pandemic, but we also had to overhaul all of our classes, often with a great deal of uncertainty about exactly how we will be teaching this fall.  It’s important to remember that your courses weren’t perfect the first time you taught them, and they won’t be perfect this semester.  That’s ok.  We’re all making the best of a truly challenging situation.  Be easy on yourself, and be there for your colleagues where you can be.  Good luck to all of us!

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 21, 2020 at 09:42 AM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Building Communication and Structure Into Our Courses -- Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post focuses on the fourth step – developing a communication plan to introduce more structure and rhythm into your courses.

With classes just around the corner, most of us have likely figured out the key aspects of our course plan.  We’ve determined how to adapt our assessment and learning activities for these new learning environments.  We’ve come up with a strategy to connect with our students and help them connect with each other.  We’ve even practiced with the technology that will allow us to teach in a hybrid or remote way.  And we may feel like we are ready.  In my last two posts, however, I want to discuss how to put the finishing touches on our fall courses by (i) building additional communication and structure into our courses, and (ii) creating a plan to identify and support struggling students.  This post will focus on the first topic, and my final post later in the week will address the second.

Thinking about communication and structure certainly isn't new.  Most of us already think about how we will communicate with our students and how we can build structure into our classes.  This semester, however, when we are all teaching in distanced classrooms in the midst of a global pandemic, we need to think even more deliberately about these topics.  So here are a few suggestions:

Decide on a Consistent Communications Strategy (Ideally with Your Colleagues):  Back in mid-March, when the world suddenly shut down, how did you communicate the changes to your courses to your students?  Did you send them an email (or multiple emails)?  Did you put the new plan in your learning management system?  Did you create a Google Doc that you kept updated?  Most faculty I know used one of these strategies, and they felt pretty good about it.  Yes, our plans changed, but we made sure our students knew about all of the changes. 

From the student perspective, however, it often felt overwhelming because they were receiving communications from multiple professors and we all used our own preferred form of communication.  Imagine that you’re a student trying to keep track of five sets of Zoom links.  Some of your professors used a recurring calendar invite; others included the links in an email that got lost somewhere in your email folder; still others put the links on Blackboard, Canvas, or TWEN.  And maybe their approach changed from week to week.  Before every class, you have to remember where the particular professor put this particular piece of information.  And it’s the middle of a global pandemic, so you are already stressed and distracted.  I felt this dichotomy myself.  As a professor, I was sure I was being clear.  As a parent of three kids in the K-12 system, with multiple teachers who likely all thought they were being clear, I had no idea what was going on.  My kids missed several classes, assignments, etc. in the spring because we couldn’t keep track of all of the information coming our way through a million different channels.

My suggestion is that you decide now how you will communicate any changes to your course plan and then stick to it.  If you are teaching face-to-face, start using the system now, so your students will be used to it if and when the class has to transition to fully online. 

Ideally, your colleagues will all agree on a single consistent communication plan as well.  Yes, professors are all free agents, but this is a time to come together to reduce the mental load for our students.  Here at Richmond Law, we have encouraged professors to send out a single announcement through our learning management system each week with the reading, assignments, and Zoom links for the following week’s classes.  If a student can’t remember what they need to do for that week, they know exactly where to go.  It may be hard to pull off a school-wide plan at this point, but if you are teaching 1Ls, you might try to coordinate with the other 1L professors in your section.  If you are teaching a large upper-level course, try to coordinate with the professors teaching the other courses your students are likely taking.  And don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good here.  A consistent strategy across the school is far better than fifty perfect – but different – strategies. 

Build More Structure into Your Courses.  Most professors have thought deeply about the structure of their courses.  We know how the different doctrinal pieces fit together, and we’ve come up with assessments and other activities to help students learn this doctrine.  If you could see inside my brain, you would see a giant interconnected web of law, diagrams, hypos, and assignments for each of my courses that I have carefully constructed over the last 15 years.  The challenge though is that, even if these connections are clear to us, they may not be nearly as clear to our students. 

Good course design always includes thinking through how to make these connections visible, but this step is especially important this semester.    We are still figuring out how to teach in these new environments, so things that may have been clear to our students in the past may be muddier this fall.  Our students are also learning in new ways, and they may be juggling personal challenges and the stresses of the world in ways that make seeing these connections more challenging.  And many of the normal opportunities to clarify the content with our students – such as conversations before or after class or informal conversations in the hallways – may not happen now.  So it’s worth taking a few minutes to think through how you can make the underlying structure of your course even more visible to your students.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Build structure into your syllabus. This is not the semester for a barebones syllabus with a short list of reading assignments.  Instead, format your syllabus so students can easily tell the major units and sub-units of your course and then include the assignments within this structure.  In my syllabus, for example, the assignments section is in table form with a column that lists each day’s topic and another column listing the specific assignment for that topic.  Each unit in the course has its own table, so students can easily tell the major units in the course and where we are within each unit.
  • Build structure into your class sessions. We all know that attention wanders on Zoom, so keep students oriented by creating a clear structure for the class session and communicating that structure.  I include a slide at the start of every class with the main topics of the day, and I come back to that slide every time we move to the next topic during the class session.  If you don’t use PowerPoint, you can do the same thing by writing the topics on the board and referring back to them when you switch topics. 
  • Highlight the underlying structure of the doctrine. It’s easy for students to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to complicated legal doctrine.  They may focus on the particularities of Pennoyer or International Shoe, for example, without stepping back and understanding how these cases fit into the broader legal landscape.  Most of us have developed ways to  highlight the underlying structure.  For example, when I teach fiduciary duties in Business Associations, I have a single slide laying out how the big pieces fit together that I come back to between every case.  We need to make sure that this part of our teaching doesn’t get lost in the chaos of the fall.  Confirm that these techniques still work if you are teaching remotely and think through new approaches if necessary. 

I am planning one more post for later in the week on how to support struggling students during this semester.  In the meantime, good luck to everyone who started teaching this week!

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 18, 2020 at 02:33 PM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Stanford Con Law Fellowship

After the jump, an announcement about an entry-level fellowship at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. The recent fellow, James Phillips, guested here in June and started on the faculty at Chapman.
The Stanford Constitutional Law Center fellowship is intended for individuals who are seeking an academic career working on constitutional law. Affiliates of the Center have gone on to obtain desirable academic positions at numerous law schools including Georgetown, the University of Chicago, the University of Texas, George Washington, Penn State, UCLA, Notre Dame, Hastings, Penn State, Georgia, Richmond, and Chapman, among others.
 
The fellowship is a residential fellowship that provides an opportunity to conduct research in the dynamic environment of Stanford Law School. The fellowship is for one year with the possibility of extending to a second year. The fellowship is designed to allow participants to complete a significant body of independent scholarship. We expect fellows to dedicate most of their time to pursuing their proposed research projects, while dedicating a small amount of their time to attend Center activities, including our annual conference, our monthly speaker series, and paper workshops. Fellows may also occasionally be called on to help coordinate Center activities in cooperation with the Center’s executive director.
 
Fellows are encouraged to become part of a lively law-school-wide community of individuals with an interest in legal academia by attending weekly faculty lunch seminars and participating in activities with the other fellows at Stanford Law School. For the 2019-2020 fellowship, we will provide fellows with work space, a competitive salary, and a generous benefits package. Fellows will report to the executive director of the Constitutional Law Center.

Applicants should have a JD or doctoral level degree (PhD) in a relevant area. Successful applicants typically also have experience in a federal appellate clerkship, and a demonstrated aptitude for original research in constitutional law, typically in the form of past publications or student notes.
 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 18, 2020 at 11:55 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

ICYMI: Ten (No, Make that Nineteen) Tips for New Law Professors

I wrote these tips a few years ago and reviewed them before reposting for anyone who is interested.

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 desperately need you to be predictable. It is comforting to them when they know roughly what to expect each day. I think of this advice a lot as dean, too. The Dean's "mood" affects the whole institution, and it is important to remain predictably but not Pollyanna-ishly optimistic no matter what comes along. As an aside, I think this is important as a parent, too. My motto: We'll deal!

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 25 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. Videos can be sticky. My Trusts and Estates professor even danced on the table to reinforce a principle, and I remember it (the dancing) 28 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.  [I used the whiteboard feature in zoom this summer as a replacement for the board. It worked better than powerpoint in prompting interaction.]

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. This is probably the most important piece of advice on this list. It happens to be good advice for deans, too!

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 when you're new. 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 (I do as dean!), but I believe in signalling I take the endeavor seriously by dressing professionally.

Finally, if you're new and you'd like to talk about any of the subjects I teach (mostly Torts, Media Law, Advanced Torts, First Amendment Law), I'd be happy to share any materials I have.

Posted by Lyrissa Lidsky on August 11, 2020 at 05:08 PM in Lyrissa Lidsky, Teaching Law, Things You Oughta Know if You Teach X | Permalink | Comments (13)

Building Connections Among Your Students -- Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post and other recent posts focus on the third step—building connections and community in our physically distanced, remote, or hybrid courses.

In a prior post, I discussed this importance of building connections and community in our courses this fall.  According to the community of inquiry model, if we want to design an effective learning environment, we should consider three types of interaction—(1) how students interact with the material, (2) how they interact with us, and (3) how they interact with each other.  My last post focused on how students can connect with us in these new learning elements, while this post will focus on how we can provide opportunities for students to interact with each other. 

Prioritize Group Assessments & Activities.  We are all rethinking how we will assess and engage students this semester, and with all of the challenges, it can be tempting to simplify and do more lecturing or individual assessments, especially if you are teaching in a physically distanced classroom where group work is far more difficult.  But the cost of choosing more individual assessments is that students will feel even more disconnected from each other.  We need to figure out how to get students talking to each other, even in physically distanced classrooms.  As I’ve talked about previously, it should still work to have students work in groups of two or three even in a physically distanced classroom, and it’s worth the effort even if it feels complicated to get students to work together while in masks.  You might even hold events outside of class that are more informal, like discussions of current events related to the class or a movie watching party.

Create group camaraderie.  Stealing an idea from Harry Potter, consider putting the students into groups and give them opportunities to earn points for their group.  The groups can compete against each other to gain the most points.  The two groups in my class will be the “Pennoyers” and the “International Shoes” (try to guess what class I am teaching…).  If I were teaching Business Associations, I’d break them into houses named after Delaware Court of Chancery judges.  Clearly, my motto is “if you’re going to geek out, geek all the way out.”  I may hold trivia contests or Jeopardy contests related to the course material as a review or just for fun, with the winning house getting points. 

The groups could also serve as a support system for the members.  For example, you could encourage them to share phone numbers, so they can reach out to each other if they are having tech issues.  If you are teaching a hybrid class with only some students in-person each class, you might assign them to the same in-class days, so they get to know each other in-person as well. 

Assign students to study groups.  In a regular semester, study groups can develop naturally.  It is harder for students to connect with each other remotely or in a physically distanced classroom, so you might create study groups early on.  You can give the groups a few assignments that they turn in for a completion grade to create incentives for them to meet as a group.  Not all of the groups will work well together, and I certainly wouldn’t force them to stay together beyond these early assignments, but it could help some students form connections.

Use fun icebreakers.  Consider icebreakers throughout the semester.  We typically use icebreakers on the first day of class and then assume the students will get to know each other organically throughout the rest of the semester.  In physically distanced or remote courses, however, we may have to work harder to introduce (and re-introduce!) the students to each other.  You might pick a theme each week, asking students to send you pictures or tidbits about themselves that relate to the theme. 

Here's what I’m planning.  I’m doing one “just for fun” prompt a week – they’ll be totally optional, but I plan to hype them up so students hopefully put in the few minutes it will take to do them.  I’ll also share my own answers with them so they get to know me a bit better.  If they choose to respond, they will put their responses in their pre-class Google Docs or Flipgrid video assignments, which I talked about here.  (As an aside, if you want sample instructions for either of these technologies, just email me!).  I’ll let the students know that I plan to share a few each class, so they can learn more about each other. 

Here are some sample prompts from my syllabus:

  • At the start of many movies, there is a song that plays when the hero makes their first appearance. This song (often called a “walkout song”) symbolizes the hero’s journey and what is to come.  You have just made your first appearance in law school.  What is your walkout song?  You can include the song title in your Google Doc if you would like.  And if you can’t think of a song that fits, you can include a meme or gif instead.  I stole this prompt from Professor Molly Brady at Harvard, and I love the idea.
  • Do you have a pet? If so, I’d love to see a picture! 
  • Share one thing that has surprised you about law school so far.
  • What TV series have you watched over the last six months that you have really liked?
  • Share your cutest or craziest baby pictures!
  • What’s your favorite board game or card game? What do you love about it?
  • If you could design your perfect career, what would it be?
  • What’s your favorite place to go in [the town where your law school is located]?
  • What’s your favorite holiday and what do you love about it?
  • What has been your favorite part of law school so far? What’s one thing about law school you wish you could change? 
  • If you could go anywhere in the world during winter break, where would you go? Since this is your fantasy, it can be any season you’d like as well. 

Simulate Unstructured Classroom Time. In an in-person class, students will often arrive a bit early and chat with their classmates, or they will stay after class to ask you a question.  You can provide similar opportunities in an online class.  Let the students know that you will open up the Zoom class ten minutes early, but will mute your own mic and speakers, so they can talk to each other.  You can also tell them that you will stay after class for 10 minutes for their questions.

Build fun moments into class.  If you are teaching remotely, you might screenshare word searches or crossword puzzles before class or during the break.  Students can work on them together using the annotation tool in Zoom. I bought an account to wordmint, which allows you to create all kinds of customized games and puzzles.  The account was cheap, and now I can create personalized puzzles for my students.  I might create one for personal jurisdiction, for example, that includes all the new terminology they have learned, from “long-arm statute” to “minimum contacts.” 

Combine fun and attendance:  My colleague Kristen Osenga has a good idea for using our polling software – PollEverywhere -- to take attendance in a fun way.  She asks a question in the first 2 minutes of class like “What’s your favorite decade?,”  “What’s your favorite type of candy?,” and “What are your plans for spring break?”.   The options will usually be multiple choice, and she’ll share her own thoughts as well.  She says that it gets the class talking from the beginning about something not class related, and gives the students a chance to know each other and her.

 Collaborative Start-Stop-Continue: In a start-stop-continue exercise, students work in pairs or small groups to provide their thoughts about what they’d like their instructor to start doing, stop doing, and keep doing in class. The groups can submit their responses to you using a Google Form email, or a free online bulletin board (e.g., Padlet, Lino). You can follow up by summarizing the results and discussing you will or won’t change and why.  This can be a good way for students to collaborate in a low-stakes way and learn how they are each experiencing the class. 

Allow Extra Credit Group Projects.  Consider giving students the option to form groups and do a fun extra credit project.  You might let them research the background of a case, come up with a video explaining a rule to a non-lawyer, or even make a fun hand washing poster that goes with the class:

Handwashing(Full disclosure -- I would love to give credit to whoever created it, but I don't know who that is!  If you know, email me and I'll edit this post.)

I’d love any other tips you have in the comments, or you can join the conversation on Twitter here.

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 11, 2020 at 03:14 PM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Friday, August 07, 2020

Building a Rapport With Your Students -- Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post and other recent posts focus on the third step—building connections and community in our physically distanced, remote, or hybrid courses.

 In my last post, I discussed this importance of building connections and community in our courses this fall.  According to the community of inquiry model, if we want to design an effective learning environment, we should consider three types of interaction—(1) how students interact with the material, (2) how they interact with us, and (3) how they interact with each other.  This post will focus on second element, or how students interact with us.  It will be an adjustment for sure, but even if our students are behind masks or a video screen, there are a number of things we can try to build meaningful connections with them. 

Welcome Videos:  Record a short video of yourself to introduce yourself to your students.  Make it fun.  Show your kids, your pets, whatever!  Let them see you as a person rather than just the teacher behind the mask at the front of the room.  You might also talk about what makes the course important/relevant/fun and how they can succeed in it.  Here’s a good example of a script for this sort of video.  You might also have students record short videos of themselves in the first week of class.  You can use your learning management system or a tool like Flipgrid to do this.  You might ask them to give their name, their hometown, and a fun fact about themselves.  Or you can tie it into the course content.  If you teach Civil Procedure, for example, you might style the welcome video as a chance for them explain their citizenship for subject-matter jurisdiction purposes.  You learn a lot about someone by hearing about where they intend to remain indefinitely and why!  Encourage the students to have fun with the videos and then make them all accessible to the whole class, so they can get to know each other a bit better.  

Learn their names quickly.  Try to learn every student’s name, ideally in the first week of class.  Your learning management system may have photographs of the students in your classes.  Our tech team here has used these photographs to create a matching game that professors can use to quiz themselves on your students’ names, but you can just study the photographs as well.  In larger in-person classes, consider having them use name tents for a few weeks.

Get to know them personally.  It will be harder to get to know students when they are behind a mask or screen, so you will have to be more deliberate about making these personal connections.  Consider setting up Zoom coffee dates with individual students in the first few weeks of the semester or with small groups of students if you are teaching larger classes.  You can also ask students to fill out a Google Form at the start of the semester that asks a whole host of information about their background, why they came to law school, and their broader interests.  In your later communications with them, try to refer back to things you know about them from these more personal meetings.  

Use Video Assignments Where Possible.  I’ve talked before about the pre-class assignments my Civil Procedure students do in Google Docs.  This semester, I’m going to make some of these assignments video assignments instead so I can see students without masks on and get to know their personalities a bit better.  My learning management system allows video assignments, but I think I’m going to use Flipgrid this fall­­—its interface is more personal and frankly fun, and it seems like a better platform if your goal is to build connections.  In these videos, you might ask them to summarize a key point of law from the assigned reading or give a hypothetical client advice based on the reading.  You might also ask for their personal views on the reading—i.e., do they think the court got it right?  why or why not?

Record periodic videos yourself.  If you get a few questions from students on the same point, you might record a brief video clarifying the point and send it out to your students.  Especially if you are teaching in a physically distanced classroom this fall, these videos could be a good opportunity for your students to see you without your mask on.  Make these videos a little more personal and engaging than you might in a normal semester. 

Make office hours more inviting.  I don’t know about you, but my office hours aren’t typically the most popular events.  I’ll sit in my office for a few hours, and maybe one or two students will stop by, at least until we get a few weeks out from exams.  This semester, I am going to work harder to get students to attend.  I’m renaming them “student hours” based on recommendations suggesting that some students (especially first-generation students) may not know the purpose of office hours, and I plan to regularly encourage students in my classes to attend.  When students do attend, I will make a special effort to get to know them personally.  Logistically, office hours are pretty easy to hold in Zoom—just enable your personal waiting room, and admit students one-by-one in the order in which they arrived in the room.  I may also hold some communal office hour sessions that function more like review sessions at the end of different units, so students can have more opportunities to interact with each other.      

Hold optional events outside of class.  A few times during the semester, you might hold an optional event related to the course.  For example, you can invite them to read a few chapters of a book related to the course or send out a shorter article or video, and then meet one evening on Zoom (or even physically distanced in your backyard or on campus) to discuss.  You might also hold an optional session to talk about course content in the news.  If you teach a business related course, you might talk about what the heck happened at WeWork.  If you teach Civil Procedure, you might talk about the oral argument in the Ford personal jurisdiction case that will be argued in October.  The goal here would be to bring together a smaller group in a less formal setting.  If you are teaching in a physically distanced class where everyone is wearing masks, you might hold these smaller sessions over Zoom so people can see each other without masks on.

Notice positive contributions.  Send students a personal email when they have a good contribution in class, a discussion board, or an assignment.  Keep track of who has received emails, and see if you can send at least one or two emails to every student during the semester. 

Humanize your tech.  We will likely be using technology a lot more this semester, but the default interfaces can feel really impersonal.  I’m going to make my Blackboard course page and my slides more human and interesting this semester.  In your learning management system, consider adding your own profile picture and/or adding images in your posts (here are directions -- go down to “add images in the editor”).  In PowerPoint, trade the black-on-white slides for slide templates that are a bit more engaging.  You might also add pictures, videos, etc. to text-filled slides.  It’s a little thing, but the world already feels impersonal enough right now without our tech choices adding to it.

Embrace imperfections.  New online teachers often have a desire to make their class sessions perfect. I was definitely guilty of this in the spring.  When I recorded asynchronous videos, for example, I would keep re-recording them until I could get a take without any stumbles or other issues.  But experts in online pedagogy say that stumbles help personalize online courses.  Students don’t necessarily want the Coursera version of a law school course.  They want to see their professor as a real person and that means seeing the version of the video where your kid interrupted your recording or where you momentarily  forgot what you were going to say.   This spring, my students had many laughs at the “cloffice” (i.e., closet/office) where I hid from my kids during our class sessions, and I think it helped bring humor to the class in a way that a perfect Zoom background would not have. 

I’d love your suggestions as well – feel free to post other ideas in the comments.  In my next post, I’ll talk about ways to connect students with each other this fall. 

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 7, 2020 at 06:45 AM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Importance of Building Connections and Community -- Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here

My posts so far in this series have focused on the first two steps of my five step approach to redesigning your courses to be physically distanced or remote— (1) identifying your learning objectives and (2) deciding on your assessment and engagement techniques.  This post will introduce the third step, which focuses on building connections and community in these new learning environments.  

We may think of connections and community as things that are nice to have, but they are actually essential to student learning.  Research shows that a sense of community at school is associated with increased motivation, greater enjoyment of their classes, and more effective learning.  The research also suggests that building this sense of community is much harder in online or hybrid courses.  Students in online environments struggle with feeling isolated (as do many professors!).

Most of the empirical data on this topic comes from undergraduates, but data from the Law Student Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) shows that a sense of belonging matters to law students as well.  LSSSE data has been used to examine both the inputs and outputs of law students’ sense of belonging.  In other words, using the LSSSE data, we can gain insight into what causes law students to feel a sense of belonging (the inputs) and the impact that a sense of belonging has on law students’ performance in law school and their career more generally (the outputs).

Starting with the inputs, LSSSE’s 2018 report Relationships Matter surveyed more than 18,000 students at 72 different law schools.  They conclude:  “Relationships with faculty, administrators, and peers are among the most influential aspects of the law student experience. These connections deepen students’ sense of belonging and enhance their understanding of class work and the profession.”  Connections, in other words, are key when it comes to fostering law students’ sense of belonging.  That’s not surprising.  Think back to your most meaningful learning experiences in law school.  They probably didn’t happen when you were passively listening in class.  For me at least, they came through study groups and conversations with faculty—i.e., those times in law school when my learning combined with meaningful relationships.

When it comes to the outputs, we can look at research summarized here by Professor Victor D. Quintanilla, who was one of the researchers who conducted a key study using LSSSE data.  They found that a sense of belonging significantly predicted three key outputs – (1) students’ overall experience in law school, (2) whether they would choose to go to law school again, and (3) their academic success (i.e., law school GPA).  Moreover, not only does a student’s sense of belonging help predict their academic performance, but the impact was even greater than other commonly used predictors such as undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores.  This means that, even if students come to law school with different academic backgrounds, we can help close this gap by fostering our students’ sense of belonging. 

Professor Quintanilla depicts the inputs and outputs of law students’ sense of belonging as follows:

Inputs
The takeaways from this research are clear.  We cannot just focus on the content of our courses.  If we want our students to succeed, we also need to help foster key connections between our students and between our students, faculty, and staff.  In traditional classes, these connections develop fairly naturally.  Students talk casually with the professor and each other before and after class, and they bolster these connections through interactions outside of class—stopping by a professor’s office, running into their classmates in the hallways or the library, etc.  There are also personal bonds that develop in class when we can see people’s faces and expressions.  These connections will be much harder in physically distanced or remote classrooms, so this fall we will have to be much more intentional about developing a sense of connection and community among our students.

So how do we do it?  The theory on building community in online courses is built around the community of inquiry model.  The model has been represented as follows:

Framework

Social presence refers to the development of an online environment in which participants feel socially and emotionally connected with each other.  Cognitive presence describes the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse.  Teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the realization of meaningful learning.

This can feel a little abstract, but the main idea is that you need to think intentionally about how students will interact with the content, how they will interact with you, and how they will interact with each other.  I’ve talked about how students interact with the content in my prior posts on assessment and engagement techniques.  In my next two posts, I’ll discuss the other components, starting with how to foster connections between you and your students.  

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 5, 2020 at 06:49 AM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 03, 2020

Metacognition and Learning How to Learn Online – Preparing for Fall Teaching in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, or Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post and other recent posts focus on the second step, which is designing assessment & engagement techniques for these new learning environments. 

So far I’ve talked about a variety of techniques to assess and engage students from comprehension checks to group work, discussions, and community-based learning.  In my last post on the topic of assessment & engagement, I want to talk about techniques that help students reflect on their learning.  Even in non-COVID times, we could all probably do a better job teaching students how to succeed in law school courses, but this instruction is especially important as we ask students to suddenly transition to an entirely new way of learning.  This transition also comes at a time when their personal lives and professional goals may in flux.  Simply dumping students into remote or physically distanced courses without some guidance on how to succeed in these courses seems like a failure in our job as educators.

So how can we help students learn effectively in their fall courses?  First, we need to offer them guidance on what we know about successful learning in these new environments.  There are a lot of resources out there on how students can prepare to learn online.  Here’s a great list compiled by Professor Cat Moon at Vanderbilt Law School.  As professors, it’s worth becoming familiar with these resources ourselves and talking with our students and advisees about how they can thrive in their remote courses.

A lot of this advice is common sense--i.e., create a dedicated work space, minimize distractions, and create a regular work schedule.  That said, students will still benefit from clear guidance on these topics as well as conversations about how to implement this guidance in their own lives.   For example, I often recommend that students try the Freedom app, which blocks specific website so you don’t find yourself mindlessly spending hours on social media or ranting at the news sites (not that I’ve ever done that…).  It’s also worth reminding students that everything they’ve learned about growth mindsets applies here too.  I’ve heard lots of students say that they “just don’t learn well online.”  That may well be true, but they are also probably pretty new at it.  Like anything, it may take practice and some trial and error before they find out what works for them.  As an aside, the same is probably true for all of the faculty who say that their teaching style just doesn’t work online.

Even if we think we have all of the answers, we know we shouldn’t just stand at the front of our physically distanced classrooms or on Zoom and lecture at students on how to learn effectively in these spaces.  Going back to basic pedagogy concepts, we need active learning to help these concepts sink in.  And of course, we don’t have all of the answers.  Our students are in very different situations, especially now, so they need to figure out what works best for them given their own course loads, living situations, and other challenges.

I’ve decided that I am going to build short opportunities for reflection at least every other week into my fall courses.  Some of these opportunities will be through pre-class assignments (I’ve talked here about the Google Doc assignments my students complete before class), and others will be during class or at the end of class. 

Here I need to give credit where credit is most definitely due.  I watched a webinar this summer where Professor April Dawson at North Carolina Central University School of Law highlighted a reflection exercise she does at the end of her classes that asks students to provide 1-2 takeaways from the class session and provides a space for their questions that she can then answer during the next class period.  She recommends using a QR code that students can open with their phone that links to a short form.  She uses airtable (here’s a short video she created to show how to set up a similar form yourself), but you could do the same thing through Google Forms.  I love this idea, and it would also work for professors who are trying to figure out how to take attendance in these new spaces. 

Here’s a form that I created based on her template.  Just open the camera on your phone, aim it at the QR code, and then click on the link that comes up.  If students do not have a cell phone, you can provide them with the web link.

QR code
Here are some specific metacognition prompts that you can also use, either through polling software or reflection that students do on their own:

  • What helped you learn in the spring when classes went online?  What practices or strategies do wish you had adopted?
  • If you were to do [name specific assignment] again, what would you do differently?  What would you do in the same way?
  • Think about today’s class.  What strategies did you use to prepare?  How do you think they worked?  What other strategies would you like to try?
  • What does fully preparing for class include for you?  Create a list of the things you want to do on your own to understand the material before coming to class. 
  • If you were to spend 30 minutes after class reflecting on what we learned today, what specific things would you do during this time? 
  • What are your goals for this course in light of your larger motivation in coming to law school?  What have you done so far this semester that has helped you to achieve these goals?  What specific strategies could you try to help you achieve these goals?

I’ll end by acknowledging that students won’t necessarily want to reflect on these questions.  Students often want us to focus on the black letter law and other information they will need for the exam.  Fair enough, but their overall success as lawyers depends on them learning this broader set of skills.  Just as education is changing, the practice of law is changing as well, and our students will have to bring these same metacognition skills to their practice.  So as you’re overhauling your courses this summer, consider building in a few metacognition exercises and explaining to students why it’s important to stop and reflect every once in a while.

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 3, 2020 at 08:58 AM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 31, 2020

Preparing for Fall Teaching – Community-Based Learning in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, and Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  This post and other recent posts focus on the second step, which is designing assessment & engagement techniques for these new learning environments. 

One of the best parts of teaching in a law school is creating opportunities for students to take their learning out into the world.  We can bring speakers into our class, we can take students to visit a court or administrative agency to see the law in practice, and we can have our students meet up with real clients who may need their help. I even have a colleague who has her Criminal Procedure students do a ride along with the local police department.  Yet none of this will be possible this fall, at least not the way we’ve done it in the past—we certainly can’t put students on a bus and drive up to the Supreme Court, for example.  We could just scrap community-based learning entirely, but I’d love to explore ways to bring the community to our students, even if they are on Zoom.

Bring in speakers remotely.  This option is obvious, but I want to encourage professors to dream big on the speakers they invite into their remote courses.  Pre-COVID, it was hard to get big name speakers into our courses – virtual presentations were rare, and people often didn’t want to travel to talk to a handful of law students.  Now that we all work over Zoom, it’s so much easier to get someone to participate in a 30 minute virtual visit with a class.  So make a list of your dream speakers and invite them to your class.

Record a brief interview with a practicing lawyer about the material.  As asynchronous videos become more common, we might explore using them to introduce practicing lawyers’ views about the material we cover in class.  I’ll give one example here.  As any business law professor knows, the law on corporate boards’ oversight liability is in flux right now.  Rather than just letting my students hear from me on how the law is changing, I’m considering calling up 2-3 lawyers and asking them to record a brief interview with me on the impact of recent cases on traditional doctrine. These interviews will give my students a broader perspective on the law, while also letting them know that the cases they are reading in class actually matter to lawyers out in the world.

Ask lawyers to record their thoughts on assigned problems.  Like many professors, I often assign problem sets at the end of course units, and we go over the problems in class.  This year, I’m contemplating a new approach.  We’ll still talk about the problems as a class, but then I’ll show a video of a practicing lawyers working through the same problem.  I’ve never tried this approach, but my guess is that the lawyer will have a broader perspective on the problems than our in-class discussion, looking beyond the formal rules to the practicalities of pursuing various claims. 

Show law working remotely.  The legal profession has experienced tremendous upheaval over the last few months as hearings, trials, and mediations have all moved online.  It’s worth exploring whether our students can witness this upheaval for themselves.  If you’ve previously required students to visit your local court and attend a hearing, maybe they can attend a virtual hearing this semester.  The great thing about this option is that you don’t need to limit your class to local hearings.  Even if the courts around you are operating in-person, you may be able to find a locality somewhere in the country where courts are still virtual.

Use podcasts to provide broader context.  I’ve oriented my entire Business Associations course around podcasts.  At the start of each unit, I require students to listen to a podcast describing a business.  I then feature this business in all of the hypotheticals for this business, and then we end each unit with a lengthier case study relating to that business.  If you want my podcast list, just email me!  Sometimes I even reach out to the business to ask the founders for their thoughts on what they wanted from their lawyers in starting the business.  This approach helps students see the human side of business law, but a similar approach could work in other classes as well.  I won’t pretend that I know the podcasts options in all of the different areas of law, but there are enough out there that I’m sure we can all find some interesting options.    

Try a Community Interest Journal.  This idea comes from the Cross Academy, and they have more information about it here.  The basic idea is simple.  You have students create a journal or even just a single essay in which they connect real-world events to material from class.  I could imagine asking students to find an example of fiduciary duties in the news for my Business Associations course or class actions in the news for my Civil Procedure class.  I like the idea because it gives students some choice in how they engage with the material, which we know is important in fostering motivation.

My plan is to have one more post on assessment & engagement, focusing on metacognition strategies in the new learning environments.  I’ll then turn to ideas for building community and connection in our courses.

 

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 31, 2020 at 10:55 AM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Preparing for Fall Teaching – Group Work in Physically Distanced, Hybrid, and Remote Courses

This post is part of a series on preparing to teach in the fall.  For the other posts in the series, see here and for the  five step approach that I am using, see here.  Recent posts have focused on the second step, which is designing assessment & engagement techniques for these new learning environments. 

One of the biggest challenges in law school classrooms this fall will be figuring out how to have our students do collaborative work in class.  No matter what your teaching situation is, it will be difficult.  If you are teaching in a physically distanced classroom with students in masks and 6 feet away from each other, you will need to figure out how to get students to work together without shouting from across the room.  If you are teaching remotely, you need to figure out how to use breakout groups effectively.  These are very different challenges, but I know they are on people’s minds these days.  Here are some tips for doing group work in these two classroom settings.

Group Work in a Physically Distanced Classroom

Group work will definitely be challenging in physically distanced classes.  There aren’t any easy ways to allow five students to work together in class when they can’t get within six feet of each other.  Yet, it would be a shame if we abandoned group work entirely this fall.  With all of the new health requirements, we already feel more distant from each other, so we need to find ways to connect in our classes, and group work is a good way to do that.

So how do we do it?  I’ve been in a fair number of physically distanced classrooms lately (one of the “perks” of being an associate dean…), and I think think-pair-share will still work.  Even at six feet apart, students can still talk to the person next to them fairly easily and then share their thoughts with the whole class.  If the groups get bigger than two students though, it gets harder, especially as everyone raises their voices to be heard across the six foot distances.  So we can do group work in class as long as we limit the groups to two or perhaps three people. 

Alternatively, we can try group annotation.  I was skeptical of this option at first – I’ve seen too many online learning books that suggest having students “talk” to each other in a chat box or google doc, which just seems weird, at least if the expectation is that they will engage in complex work through these techniques.  But I think it feels less forced if students are working collaboratively to edit or comment on a single document.  So, for example, you might give groups of three or four students a copy of an operating agreement or complaint and let them edit it together, through comment boxes or redlining.  I wouldn’t overuse this technique, but I could see it being helpful for a 10-15 minute exercise. 

Finally, we can move the group work outside of class.  This approach is admittedly contrary to the idea of in-person classes, but it also reflects the reality that physically distanced classrooms are just different from traditional classrooms and we need to adapt to that.  Perhaps you lecture a bit more in class and then move the group exercise to a set time out of class.  Or you put students in assigned groups and let them come up with their own time to meet.  If you do that, you need to adjust the other work they are supposed to do outside of class so you’re not overwhelming them, but it could work for those group exercises where you really want them to talk with each other.

Now what may not work -- I don’t think we can do Zoom breakout groups while everyone is in the same physical classroom.  I originally thought this was the perfect solution.  Just have everyone log into Zoom while in class (perhaps wearing headphones) and then you can send them all into breakout groups to talk to each before resuming an in-person discussion with the full class.  But we tried it in our classrooms here, and the feedback from all of the mics on all of the computers was loud and drowned out everything else.  That said, I’ve heard from professors at other schools who have been told by their tech team that this option can work.  If you’ve tried it successfully, let me know your secret -- I'd love to try it in my classes!  Either way, though, if this is your plan, you definitely want to test it ahead of time.

Group Work in Remote Courses

This is one area where remote courses are definitely superior to physically distanced ones.  Group work is just a lot easier on Zoom or a similar platform where you can send the students into breakout rooms.  But as many of us learned this year, it is hard to keep students on task in breakout rooms.  It’s easy for them to start talking about their weekend rather than the assignment.  So how can we design breakout groups to enhance student learning? 

Discuss shared norms.  Breakout rooms are new for all of us, so students may not know how to work in them productively.  It’s worth having a discussion about the group’s shared norms at the start of the semester.  Discuss ways that groups can get off track and how to address them.

Clear deliverables.  This one is key.  Don’t send students into breakout groups to “discuss” a topic.  Instead give them an assignment with a clear deliverable that they have to turn in at the end.  For example, you might have a specific question they need to answer when they return to the full discussion.  Or you can have ask them for their top three thoughts on a given topic.  I have used Google Forms in the past where students need to fill in their takeaways and then submit it in the assigned time. 

Assign students different roles.  Another way to add structure to the breakout groups is to assign students to play specific roles in the breakout groups.  One student is the moderator who is tasked with getting the discussion going and keeping it on task.  Another student is the reporter who will have to share the group’s output with the rest of the class.  I also assign students to be the devil’s advocate to ask hard questions and push the discussion deeper. 

Make the prompts visible.  I’ve been in too many breakout groups where the first five minutes are consumed with questions about what exactly we are supposed to be doing.  Make the task clear, and give them a written summary that they can refer back to when they are in the breakout rooms.  The easiest way to do this is to cut and paste the prompt into the chat.  I’ll often have a word document ready to go with the specific text I plan to paste into the chat.  Alternatively, if you want them to refer to slides in their groups, you can have an email to the class set to go with just the relevant slides or you can post them in your learning management system perhaps in a section called “Materials for Today’s Class.”  Either way, remember that any slides you have screenshared before sending students into breakout groups won’t be visible in the groups, so you can’t just rely on screen sharing to share the prompt.

Monitor group progress.  Zoom allows you to visit breakout groups, but I personally think it is disruptive when the professor suddenly appears in the room.  A different approach is to have students document their work in a Google Doc that they share with you.  You might send them a link to a single google doc in the chat that includes links to other google docs named for each group (i.e., “click here to go to group 1’s workspace.”).  That’s a bit tricky to set up logistically, but once you get into a rhythm, I don’t think it will be that hard, and you can then monitor the group’s work in real time. 

Name the Groups.  Consider naming the breakout groups, as laid out here.  This name will show up in the left hand corner of the groups’ screen, so they can easily see it.  Naming the groups has a few clear benefits.  First, if the groups have different tasks, it will let them know which tasks they are responsible for, preventing a “wait, are we the plaintiffs or the defendants in this exercise?” moment.  Second, if you are using google docs to direct them to a group workspace as explained above, it will tell them which workspace is theirs.  Third, it will allow you to direct questions to specific groups when the class gets back together again. 

Pre-Assign Groups.  Zoom lets you assign students to groups manually or randomly.  I used random assignment in the spring, but this fall, I plan to put students into assigned groups that they stick with for a few class sessions, mostly to let them get to know each other a bit better.  Rather than assigning groups on the fly during class, which always feels stressful, I will use the pre-assign feature in Zoom.  Full disclosure – I’ve been using this feature this summer, and it’s really glitchy, bringing maybe 50 percent of the students into the assigned rooms – but it’s still easier to start with pre-named rooms and some of the students already assigned than to do everything during class while the students are waiting. 

Use a Timer:  Zoom has the option to set a timer for the breakout rooms that shows students how much time is left in the groups.  It is easy to enable, and it helps focus the conversation as time is running out. 

In my next post, I will talk about how to incorporate community-based learning into physically distanced, hybrid, and remote courses.

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 29, 2020 at 12:32 PM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Will My Law School Perish?

Higher education is facing an economically challenging time due to lost revenues brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic. And as we saw with the closure of Concordia Law School this summer, law schools are no exception. NYU advertising professor Scott Galloway has crunched the numbers for “the immunities and comorbidities of 436 universities included in US News and World Report’s Top National College Rankings.” And he predicts about 20% of these institutions entered the pandemic on such shaky ground that COVID-19 will be the death blow to them. In short, one in five of these universities or colleges will perish.

To calculate this, he looked at a series of variables to create the following scores:

  • Credential score (US News ranking, undergrad admit rate, average monthly Google search volume)
  • Experience score (student life grade and score)
  • Education score (various return on investment measures)
  • Average undergrad tuition & fees score
  • Value-to-cost ratio
  • Vulnerability score (endowment per full time student and percentage of international students)

From these he created two main measures: Value and Vulnerability. And based on whether one was high or low on these measures, he created four quadrants of schools: Thrive, Survive, Struggle, or Perish. Thus, a university with low value and high vulnerability falls into the perish quadrant, whereas a university with high value and low vulnerability falls in the thrive quadrant. The data can be found here.

I took these institutional assessments and matched them up with the U.S. News Law School Rankings (see below). Based on Professor Galloway’s predictions, 18 law schools will perish in the near future (because their university will perish). That is 1 school in the top 50, 5 in the 51-100, 5 in the 101-147, and 7 in the unranked law schools. I have listed them below in order of ranking:

27

Fordham

53

Cardozo (Yeshiva)

62

Seton Hall

70

Loyola (Chicago)

83

Chicago-Kent

93

Drexel

102

Hofstra

111

Chapman

118

DePaul

136

Pace

141

Willamette

148-194

Campbell

148-194

Elon

148-194

New England

148-194

Nova Southeastern

148-194

Detroit Mercy

148-194

Massachusetts-Dartmouth

148-194

Pacific

Another 28 schools are predicted to struggle:

50

Baylor

93

Lewis & Clark

105

Drake

111

Catholic

111

Tulsa

118

U. St. Thomas (MN)

122

Quinnipiac

122

Maine

122

Montana

126

Loyola-New Orleans

126

Mercer

129

Belmont

129

Seattle

141

Dayton

Now, before too much panic sets in, Professor Galloway doesn’t think this is all set in stone. Things can be done to save these universities.

What is more, as the old saying goes, all models are wrong, some are useful. Just how wrong is his model? From anecdotal evidence, quite wrong at times it would seem. Take my institution, for example. Chapman is designated to perish under Prof. Galloway’s calculations. Yet Chapman is doing quite well right now--so well, that not only has it not had to lay off faculty, it hasn’t even had to cut their pay. Hardly the stuff of an institution that is about to perish. Chapman isn't even struggling, so it seems it would be better to put it in at least the Survive, if not the Thrive category. That shows how far off Galloway's model is, at least in that once instance. And there are a host of questions regarding whether these are the correct measures to include in the model, whether they have been given the right weight, and whether anything important is missing? So these predictions must be taken with a gallon of salt. Further, just because a university perishes doesn't necessarily mean that its law school will.

Still, there is no doubt the pandemic may thin the herd, so to speak, of American law schools. Just how much thinning, and which schools, remains to be seen.

US News Ranking

Law School

Galloway Categorization

1

Yale

Thrive

2

Stanford

Thrive

3

Harvard

Thrive

4

Columbia

Survive

4

Chicago

Survive

6

NYU

Survive

7

U. Penn.

Thrive

8

Virginia

Thrive

9

Northwestern

Thrive

9

UC-Berkeley

Survive

9

Michigan

Thrive

12

Duke

Thrive

13

Cornell

Thrive

14

Georgetown

Survive

15

UCLA

Survive

16

UT-Austin

Thrive

17

Wash. U.

Thrive

18

USC

Survive

18

Vanderbilt

Survive

20

Boston University

Survive

21

Minnesota

Survive

22

Notre Dame

Thrive

23

George Washington

Survive

24

Arizona State

Survive

24

Emory

Survive

24

Florida

Survive

27

Fordham

Perish

27

UC-Irvine

Survive

27

Iowa

Survive

27

North Carolina

Thrive

31

Boston College

Thrive

31

Alabama

Survive

31

Georiga

Thrive

31

Illinois

Survive

31

Washington & Lee

Thrive

31

William & Mary

Survive

37

BYU

Thrive

38

Indiana

Survive

38

Ohio State

Survive

38

UC-Davis

Survive

38

Wisconsin

Survive

42

George Mason

Survive

42

U. Washington

Survive

42

Wake Forest

Survive

45

Utah

Survive

46

Colorado

Survive

47

Pepperdine

Survive

47

Arizona 

Survive

47

Maryland

Survive

50

Baylor

Struggle

50

Florida State

Survive

50

Connecticut

Survive

53

Cardozo (Yeshiva)

Perish

54

Tulane

Thrive

54

Richmond

Thrive

56

Southern Methodist

Thrive

56

Temple

Survive

56

Houston

Survive

59

UC-Hastings

n/a

60

Penn State-University Park

Survive

60

Texas A&M

Thrive

62

Loyola Marymount

Survive

62

Penn State-Carlisle

n/a

62

Seton Hall

Perish

62

UNLV

n/a

62

Villanova

Thrive

67

Northeastern

Survive

67

Miami

Survive

67

Missouri (Columbia)

Thrive

70

Loyola (Chicago)

Perish

70

Kansas

Thrive

70

Kentucky

Thrive

70

Tennessee

n/a

74

St. Johns

n/a

74

Denver

Survive

76

American

Thrive

76

Case Western

Survive

76

Georgia State

Survive

76

Rutgers

Survive

76

Nebraska

Survive

76

Oklahoma

Survive

76

Pittsburgh

Thrive

83

Brooklyn

n/a

83

Chicago-Kent

Perish

83

Cincinnati

Thrive

83

San Diego

Thrive

83

Wayne State

Thrive

88

New Hampshire

Thrive

88

Oregon

Survive

90

Florida International

Survive

90

St. Louis

Thrive

90

Arkansas-Fayetteville

Thrive

93

Drexel

Perish

93

Lewis & Clark

Struggle

93

Michigan State

Survive

96

LSU-Baton Rouge

Thrive

96

Hawaii

Survive

96

South Carolina

Thrive

99

Buffalo-SUNY

Survive

99

Louisville

Thrive

99

New Mexico

Survive

102

Cleveland State

n/a

102

Hofstra

Perish

102

Marquette

Thrive

105

Drake

Struggle

105

Stetson

n/a

107

CUNY

Survive

107

Howard

Thrive

107

Santa Clara

Survive

107

Washburn

n/a

111

Chapman

Perish

111

Syracuse

Survive

111

Texas Tech

Survive

111

Catholic

Struggle

111

Mississippi

Thrive

111

Tulsa

Struggle

111

West Virginia

Survive

118

Albany

Survive

118

DePaul

Perish

118

Gonzaga

Survive

118

U. St. Thomas (MN)

Struggle

122

Indiana-Indianapolis

Thrive

122

Quinnipiac

Struggle

122

Maine

Struggle

122

Montana

Struggle

126

Loyola-New Orleans

Struggle

126

Mercer

Struggle

126

Baltimore

n/a

129

Belmont

Struggle

129

Duquesne

Thrive

129

New York Law School

n/a

129

Seattle

Struggle

133

Creighton

Thrive

133

Missouri-Kansas City

Survive

133

Wyoming

Thrive

136

Pace

Perish

136

Suffolk

n/a

136

Idaho

Thrive

136

Toledo

n/a

140

Illinois-Chicago

Survive

141

Mitchell Hamline

n/a

141

Akron

n/a

141

Dayton

Struggle

141

Memphis

Survive

141

South Dakota

Thrive

141

Vermont

Thrive

141

Willamette

Perish

148-194

Appalachian

n/a

148-194

Atlanta's John Marshall

n/a

148-194

Ave Maria

n/a

148-194

Barry

n/a

148-194

California Western

n/a

148-194

Campbell

Perish

148-194

Capital

n/a

148-194

Charleston

n/a

148-194

Elon

Perish

148-194

Faulkner

n/a

148-194

Florida A&M

n/a

148-194

Florida Coastal

n/a

148-194

Golden Gate

n/a

148-194

Liberty

n/a

148-194

Lincoln Memorial

Struggle

148-194

Mississippi College

n/a

148-194

New England

Perish

148-194

North Carolina Central

n/a

148-194

Northern Kentucky

n/a

148-194

Nova Southeastern

Perish

148-194

Ohio Northern

n/a

148-194

Oklahoma City

Struggle

148-194

Regent

Struggle

148-194

Roger Williams

n/a

148-194

Samford

Struggle

148-194

Southern Illinois

Struggle

148-194

Southern University

n/a

148-194

South Texas

n/a

148-194

Southwestern

Struggle

148-194

St. Mary's

n/a

148-194

St. Thomas (FL)

n/a

148-194

Texas Southern

n/a

148-194

Touro College

n/a

148-194

Arkansas-Little Rock

n/a

148-194

Detroit Mercy

Perish

148-194

Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Perish

148-194

North Dakota

Survive

148-194

San Francisco

Survive

148-194

University of DC

n/a

148-194

Pacific

Perish

148-194

Western Michigan

Survive

148-194

Western New England

Struggle

148-194

Western State

n/a

148-194

Widener-Delaware

Struggle

148-194

Widener-Pennsylvania

Struggle

148-194

Inter-American

n/a

148-194

Pontifical Catholic

n/a

148-194

North Texas-Dallas

Survive

148-194

Puerto Rico

n/a

Posted by James Phillips on July 28, 2020 at 04:59 PM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (10)