Monday, February 17, 2020

Call for Nominations: Peter Gonville Stein Book Award

Nominations are being sought for the Peter Gonville Stein Book Award from the American Society for Legal History, awarded to the best book in legal history (written in English) outside the field of US legal history, published during the previous calendar year.

Nominations are due by March 16, 2020. Direct inquiries to Matthew C. Mirow ([email protected]).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 17, 2020 at 10:53 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Before Law Schools

It is an important time to think about teaching law. After attending a recent teaching workshop, I noticed that (for whatever reason) I had focused on my experiences teaching doctrinal courses. My primary courses on administrative law and sales/contracts cover essential subjects. These classes span the public-private divide and incorporate my background in telecommunications litigation, as well as my scholarly interest in interpretive questions raised by regulatory statutes and contracts.

But doctrinal classes are only part of the teaching I do at Loyola. I also run a fantastic student fellowship program through Loyola’s Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. In addition to substantive courses on competition policy and consumer protection, our fellowship program facilitates other types of learning. We introduce our fellows to practicing lawyers through mentoring programs and monthly lunches, and fellows also engage in legal writing projects with opportunities for multiple rounds of faculty comments and revisions. These opportunities to connect with practitioners and develop writing skills are also integral to law students’ education.

My initial focus on doctrinal classes tracks a historical distinction between formal legal education and reading the law. Lawyers in the United States did not always enter the profession primarily by attending law school. Reading the law (à la Kim Kardashian) was once the norm. Aspiring lawyers who read the law in the 18th-19th centuries apprenticed in law offices, where they gained valuable exposure to professional traditions and practicing attorneys. Although this system did not do a good job of teaching broader legal principles and sometimes left apprentices alone while their teachers tended to clients, it was how most lawyers were trained. Even many Supreme Court Justices never attended law school. I explored this phenomenon in Schooling the Supreme Court — an empirical analysis of a period when Justices’ educational backgrounds were far more diverse than they are today. (I am indebted to Mike Zimmer for the title of this article, and fear I will never publish another article with a title that I like as well.)

Today law schools offer doctrinal courses, training in legal writing and other critical skills, and experiential learning. Some historical methods of teaching law, such as rambling lectures delivered by a professor sipping whiskey at the long-defunct Litchfield Law School, have gone by the wayside in today’s engaged learning environment. Law schools have also become more attuned to producing practice-ready lawyers.

My research suggests the importance of formal legal education. Historically, Justices who shared the benefit of formal legal education voted independently of the ideologies of their appointing presidents. Votes of Justices without this background were significantly predicted by ideologies of their appointing presidents. Thus, presidents lost political influence when they appointed Justices who had attended law school. Although my statistical analysis provides too blunt a measure to explain exactly why this was the case, the correlation between formal legal education and apolitical voting was significant. It suggests the value of learning about the law as a discipline with the potential to transcend the outcomes of presidential elections.  

My historical research also provides reason to think that the value of legal education extends beyond doctrine and skills taught in the classroom. Law schools currently operate as gatekeepers and control who has the opportunity to enter the legal profession. When entry into the legal profession turned on apprenticeships, these opportunities were most readily available to white men from affluent families. Today’s system of higher and legal education has expanded opportunities for women and minorities, although it still seems to favor privilege and lack optimal diversity. Law schools have made some significant strides in diversity. This year, the editors in chief of law journals at the top 16 U.S. law schools are women. Greater diversity in the legal profession and its leadership is another aspiration that the legal academy is uniquely situated to promote.

Posted by Christine Chabot on February 13, 2020 at 05:09 PM in Legal History, Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Academic Feeder Judges

I have posted to SSRN the pre-submission draft of Academic Feeder Judges--a study of the federal judges (especially from courts of appeals) for whom law professors clerked at the beginning of their careers and who “produce” law professors from the ranks of their former clerks. Coming soon to a law-review mailbox near you.

Update: Karen Sloan at National Law Journal gave the piece a nice little write-up, as did Above the Law.

The abstract is after the jump. Spoiler alert above the jump: The leading academic feeder judge is Guido Calabresi (Second Circuit), followed by Stephen Reinhardt (Ninth Circuit, died in 2018), Stephen Williams (D.C. Circuit), Dorothy Nelson (Ninth Circuit), Richard Posner (Seventh Circuit, resigned in 2018), and Harry Edwards (D.C. Circuit).

PermaPrawfs' former judges are well-represented in the top-101 (arbitrarily set at 8+ academic former clerks)--John Walker of the Second Circuit (Ethan), Patrick Higginbotham of the Fifth Circuit (Rick H.), Joseph Sneed of the Ninth Circuit, died in 2008 (Lyrissa), Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit (Dan), Raymond Randolph of the D.C. Circuit (Carissa), Calabresi (Gerard), and Jane Roth of the Third Circuit (me, as well as current guest Christine Chabot). Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit (Steve), Richard Arnold of the Eighth CIrcuit (Rick G.), and Ed Carnes of the Eleventh Circuit (Paul) just missed the 8-prof line.

I wrote previously about the origins of the paper: Seven or eight years ago while helping with a reunion/portrait unveiling for Judge Roth, I noticed what seemed a lot of .edu addresses on the list of former clerks. I wondered how many of her former clerks went into teaching (13, it turned out, plus several in other disciplines), whether that was a lot or a little, and who among lower-court judges "produced" academics from among their former clerks. I finally got around to doing the study and writing the paper.

Comments welcome.

This paper identifies “academic feeder judges”—the federal judges (especially from courts of appeals) for whom law professors clerked at the beginning of their careers and the judges who “produce” law professors from the ranks of their former clerks. The study is based on a summer 2019 review of publicly available biographies and c.v.’s of full-time faculty at ABA-accredited law schools, identifying more than 3000 “academic former clerks” and the judges for whom each clerked. From this, the paper identifies 1) 101 lower federal judges with the most academic former clerks, 2) 52 federal trial judges, 3) 53 federal judges appointed since 1995, 4) top state-court judges, and 5) SCOTUS justices, current and past. For each judge within each grouping, the study examines appointing presidents, biographical information such as former career, numbers of academic former clerks, rankings of the schools at which former clerks teach, and a projection of how many academics newer judges might produce over a 35-year judicial career. The study closes with some comments and conclusions from the data. (Spoiler alert: The leading academic feeder judge is Guido Calabresi (Second Circuit), followed closely by Stephen Reinhardt (Ninth Circuit, died in 2018), Stephen Williams (D.C. Circuit), and Dorothy Nelson (Ninth Circuit)).

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 30, 2020 at 03:17 PM in Article Spotlight, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Baude and Chilton offer advice to scholars (junior and otherwise)

Great posts by Will Baude and Adam Chilton advising junior scholar--and, really, all scholars. A good way of thinking and talking about the scholarly game and what we do.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 10, 2020 at 12:48 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 06, 2020

A teaching experiment

Our new scheduling guru is trying something new this semester--teaching on consecutive days rather than alternate days. So rather than Civ Pro meeting Monday/Wednesday/Friday, it will meet Wednesday/Thursday/Friday.

I am excited to see how this works. It should be interesting to have students working and focused on just my material (or my material and material in one other class) in a few-day block. And it fits how I structure the class and syllabus by topic rather class session--we work through something in however much time it takes, even if that time cuts across multiple classes. I am anxious to see whether that works better when students return to a case or problem in 24, rather than 48, hours.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 6, 2020 at 10:31 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Dean Search: Roger Williams School of Law

Roger Williams University invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean, School of Law.

Founded in 1919, Roger Williams University is a private institution that places high importance on teaching and scholarship in both the liberal arts and sciences and numerous professional fields of study. With a combined enrollment of more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students, and more than 275 full-time faculty, the School is positioned to become one of the finest comprehensive universities in the country. With campuses on the coast of Bristol and in the heart of Providence, RI, Roger Williams University is committed to strengthening society through engaged teaching and learning so that students graduate with the ability to think critically and to apply the practical skills that today’s employers demand. Roger Williams offers a wide array of academic programs through six schools of study, including the School of Law (RWU Law).

Established in 1993, RWU Law has approximately 450 students (75 percent of whom come from out of state) and 24 full-time faculty. A leader in experiential education, RWU Law delivers an innovative, high-quality legal education that is also affordable and inclusive. As Rhode Island’s only law school, RWU Law has the undivided attention of the state bench and bar, a world-class faculty dedicated to both teaching and research, exceptional clinical and externship programs, and a broad and accomplished alumni base. Last year, RWU Law celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Reporting directly to President Ioannis Miaoulis, PhD, and working closely with the Law School’s Board of Directors, the Dean will inspire a diverse constituency around the School’s vision and mission, which focus on preparing students not only for careers in law but also to become forces for positive change. As the only law dean in Rhode Island, RWU Law’s leader holds elevated prominence within the state’s legal system. The Dean will ensure that RWU Law remains student-centered; promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion; continues the University’s commitment to serving the public interest; and prepares graduates for challenging legal careers. Promoting faculty excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service and supporting students and alumni in their journeys to become capable professionals and engaged citizens, the Dean will continue to prioritize academic rigor and will improve shared governance, transparent leadership, and collaborative decision-making. In addition to being passionate about legal education and its access, the next leader of RWU Law will also demonstrate financial acumen and possess a proven record of fundraising. A J.D. or its equivalent is required.

Please send all nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest in confidence to:

Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Managing Partner Anne E. Koellhoffer, Senior Associate Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, LP [email protected]

For more information, please visit Roger Williams University Law’s homepage at law.rwu.edu.

Roger Williams University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and committed to a diverse workforce. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable state and federal law.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 30, 2019 at 09:31 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Karen Daniel (1957-2019)

At Faculty Lounge, Steve Lubet has stories and remembrances of Karen Daniel, former director of Northwestern's wrongful-convictions clinic, who was struck and killed by a car last week.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 29, 2019 at 11:21 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 27, 2019

AALS Law Prawf Karaoke

The following comes from Franita Tolson (USC) and Anthony Michael Kreis (Chicago-Kent):
 
AALS Law Prawf Karaoke on Saturday night while we're in D.C..
 
Time: 8pm, Saturday, January 4th.
 
Place: Recessions Bar 
1823 L Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20036
 
 
Uber/Lyft/Taxi Meeting Point: For those who want to ride over together, we will meet in the Marriott Wardman Park main lobby at 7:30pm.
 
Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested that I've inadvertently left out. Hope to see y'all there!

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 27, 2019 at 10:23 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

More on the role of academic experts

Andrew Ferguson in The Atlantic offers a new contribution to the debate over academic experts in public debate and public affairs and he pulls no punches in arguing that academic experts have nothing to add to public-policy debates. He aims his current ire at historians in the current impeachment debate, but spares some for nuclear scientists who argued for disarmament in the '80s and doctors arguing for stem-cell research in the '00s. He also questions the motives of the "obscure signatories from backwater colleges scattered between the coasts" who enjoy the ego boost of seeing their names alongside better-known professors. As I said, he pulls no punches.

I do not reject the participation of experts as completely as Ferguson does, because I believe there is a place for that participation. Ferguson's pithy point is "[i]f I want to understand the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, Sean Wilentz [the Princeton history professor] will be my go-to guy, I promise. But Trump’s impeachment, and contemporary politics in general?" The problem is that the Whiskey Rebellion (or some other historical event) might be essential to understanding contemporary politics, making that expertise essential to understanding contemporary politics. The same for nuclear scientists. Ferguson dismisses their actions as assuming that "knowing how to build a bomb was the same as knowing whether it should be used," ignoring that scientists' knowledge of the bomb's effects is relevant, thus helpful, to the political question of whether the bomb should be used. I agree that some of this is argument from authority. But some of this input from experts is necessary, proper, and essential.

Which brings us to Ferguson's insistence that "[t]he whole democratic enchilada rests on the assumption that when it comes to prudential matters of public importance, the view of the stevedore is as valuable as that of the Princeton professor." But I am not sure that is democracy's assumption (putting aside that we are a republic, not a democracy). Democracy assumes that the stevedore and the Princeton professor's votes count equally in selecting representatives and that the stevedore and the Princeton professor have an equal right to speak on matters of public concern. But democracy does not assume the surrender or rejection of any role for experts and expertise. Nor does democracy assume that, on a matter on which the Princeton professor offers an expertise that the stevedore lacks, the stevedore's views should be as influential on policy decisions. Just as I expect the stevedore's views should be more valuable and influential on the question of working conditions on the docks.

Ferguson is on the same page as Paul, Eric, and others who criticize academics for trading on their prestige in opining on matters beyond their expertise; the trick then becomes figuring out when those academics are truly speaking as useful experts and when they are speaking as credentialed citizens (as Brian Kalt put it, "your average lawyer"). But Ferguson goes one step further in rejecting all expertise.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 21, 2019 at 06:12 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (11)

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Proposal for Law Journal Publication Reform

Brian Galle (Georgetown; Chair of AALS Section on Scholarship, Advisory Committee on Law Journal Reform) has shared the working draft of the Section's proposal for reworking the publication system. It makes two proposals. It is worth a read.

The moderate change is Limited Submission with Mandatory Acceptance ("LSMA")--authors submit to a limited number of journals and must accept the first offer. A supplement would impose a "quite period" of four weeks--no journal can make an offer on a piece for four weeks from receipt. The sweeping change is a Matching System, a la medical residency--authors identify the journals they would publish in and journals identify the articles they would publish.

The Section meets on from 3:30-5:15 on January 5 at the AALS Annual Meeting.

Two interesting proposals. I am trying to think about which approach is best specifically for professors at schools outside the top-50 or top-75 schools.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 15, 2019 at 09:20 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 09, 2019

Segall on the role of law professors

Eric Segall has an excellent post at DorfonLaw about the proper role for law professors in controversial legal and political disputes. The obvious trigger was the four prawfs who testified at the impeachment hearings. But Eric expands it to participation in congressional testimony, confirmation hearings, amicus briefs, letters on public matters, etc. And blogs--he questions whether writing publicly, in our professional (and professorial name) about matters beyond our scholarly expertise either trades on the professorial name or dilutes it.

Two thoughts. First, Eric references the letter that 2000 law professors signed arguing that Brett Kavanaugh's demeanor at his hearing was not judicial and should have been disqualifying. I did not sign for the reason Eric offers for not signing--the question of Kavanaugh's demeanor did not call for any scholarly expertise and was really a cover for political opposition to Kavanugh's appointment.* I had a heated debate with my wife and overly engaged daughter, who did not buy the distinction or the idea of trading on my position to suggest expertise on a contentious political matter on which I could speak not as an expert but as a "concerned citizen."

[*] Which I shared. And which I offered in emails to several Republican Senators (not my own, because I chose not to waste my breath), using my name but not my title or position.

Second, a blog, like other social media, strikes me as a different medium of work. I am trading less on my position and expertise and more taking an opportunity to write for a regular audience about things that interest me and about which I know something (even if I do not know as much about these things as I do about universal injunctions). Regular readers of the blog know and expect that some of what I write about is going to be non-expert interests (baseball, Judaism) or personal matters (family, etc.). And you understand that this is part of the forum and what I like to do here. That is different than using my professorial cache (such as it is) to talk about a non-expert matter to a new, unfamiliar audience in a different forum, such as the op-ed page of the The New York Times or an advocacy letter to a congressional committee.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 9, 2019 at 03:11 PM in Blogging, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, December 06, 2019

Students finding interesting issues (Further Updated)

I gave my Evidence exam earlier this week. In the study/review lead-up, several students asked me a similar question (not sure if all were using the same commercial materials or if they all were talking):

A party calls an adverse party and is allowed to ask leading questions on direct under 611(c)(2). Can the party ask that witness about specific instances of untruthful conduct to impeach under 608(b), which is ordinarily allowed only on cross. In other words, when a party is allowed to ask leading questions under 611(c)(2), does that convert direct into cross for all purposes?

I presented the question to the Evidence Prof listserv. No one knew of case law raising the issue or the certain answer. One person said my students deserve a pat on the back for identifying and thinking up this issue.

The prevailing view among professors is that the party can ask about 608(b) specific instances. This derives from three things: 1) 607, which allows a party to impeach its own witnesses, from which it follows that all methods of impeachment are available; 2) 611(c)(2), which contemplates "direct" examination that functions like cross; and 3) because the party could have waited for the other side to call that witness and then cross examined the witness on specific instances, it should be able to do the same thing when it calls that witness itself for strategic reasons.

Thoughts?

Update: A reader emailed me to say that, despite the language of 608(b), courts allow specific-instances evidence on direct. The reasoning is that 607, allowing a party to impeach its own witnesses, trumps the limitation in 608(b)--all methods of impeachment are available to impeach any witness at any time--your own on DEX or the other party's on CREX.

But I wonder if the limitation-to-cross continues to apply in one situation: When Pty II uses its witness to impeach Pty I's witness. So imagine the following:

Tom has testified, called by Pty I. On the plain language of 608, Pty II could impeach Tom on specific instances of conduct in the following ways:
   • On CREX of Tom, ask him about Tom's untruthful acts: 608(b)(1)
   • Call Ira; on direct, ask him about Tom's character for truth under 608(a). But not specific instances of Tom's conduct under the text of 608(b)(2), because this would not be on CREX.
 
But under the approach courts take to reconcile 608(b) and 607), could Pty II ask Ira, on direct, about Tom's specific instances of untruthful conduct under 608(b)(2)? I understand allowing 608(b)(1) evidence on direct if I am forced to impeach my own witness. But the rationale for that extension does not extend to 608(b)(2) evidence in the Tom/Ira situation I describe here.
 
Further Update: My original emailer says the answer is no, Pty II can't ask Ira about Tom's specific instances. That owes to the prohibition on extrinsic evidence in 608(b), not the cross-examination requirement. Ira testifying to Tom's specific instances would be extrinsic evidence. Which makes sense.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 6, 2019 at 11:26 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Another study shows handwriting > computers

New in the Journal of Legal Education, from Colleen Murphy and Christopher Ryan, Jr. of Roger Williams Law and Yajni Warnapala of the Roger Williams Mathematics Department. The study looks at performance in required 2L Con Law and Evidence courses at Roger Williams. It also contains a piece from Murphy's 1L Civ Pro class, showing that students who were given the option of using a laptop but were shown a memo describing the studies comparing handwriting with computer notetaking were more likely to elect not to use computers.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on December 5, 2019 at 06:45 PM in Article Spotlight, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Lawsky Practice Problems - On-Line Tax Teaching and Learning Tool

I've put together an on-line teaching and learning tool for introductory tax courses at

https://www.lawskypracticeproblems.org/

Some questions and answers follow after the break.


Q: What does this website do?
A: It generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems. The problems are a random selection of facts, names, and randomly (but thoughtfully) generated numbers about a range of basic tax topics. You can pick a particular topic, or you can have the website to pick both  a topic and problem at random.

Q: Are the answers also random?
A: No. The multiple-choice answers are based on mistakes that students commonly make.

Q: What happens once the student picks an answer?
A: If the student picks a wrong answer, the website usually provides a substantive hint about what the student did wrong. A right answer usually returns a full explanation. In many of the explanations of answers both right and wrong, there is a link to the relevant code section. (There is usually a single answer that is randomly generated--if a student selects that, the feedback is the crushing, "This number was randomly generated.")

Q: What topics are covered?
A: Among others, restricted property as compensation; options as compensation; the principal residence sale exclusion; depreciation; recapture; like-kind exchanges; installment sales; and more. You can see the full current list, with information about what’s covered within each topic, here.

Q: Do the questions repeat?
A: Eventually--there are not an infinite number of problems--but there are a lot of different problems. Setting aside the numbers' changing, which doesn't necessarily provide conceptually different questions, different types of problems toggle a bunch of different facts and relationships between the numbers, all of which change the problem conceptually. For example, for like-kind exchanges, there are five different facts than can toggle (asset is personal use or business use, whether there is debt relief and whom that debt relief favors (someone who provides boot or not), etc.) and four different questions. For installment sales there are even more toggles; for unrestricted property as compensation, many fewer. Suffice it to say that so much changes that the most efficient way to solve these problems is to learn the law.

Q: What is this for?
A: Whatever you want. A professor can use to generate problems for teaching or you give students direct access to it; students can use it to practice for their tax classes--whatever works for you. The website is free and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, which means, roughly, that you can share this or use it for any purpose, just so long as you give appropriate credit, distribute the material so other people can use it under the same terms, and don't create any additional restrictions.

Q: Is it just problems?
A: No. There is also a page with rate graphs and a rate calculator (and of course some pages that are more on the administrative side—a list of all topics covered, for example).

Q: Does the website take into account inflation adjustments?
A: Yes. Problems, rate graphs, and rate calculations take into account inflation adjustments for 2019 and will, for the foreseeable future, update with the current year’s inflation adjustments.

Q: I found a mistake!
A: Yes! This website is in its early stages, so there are certainly errors. When you find an error, please let me know so I can correct it.

Q: I teach topic X, and I think it would really lend itself to problems like those on the website.
A: Great. Send it my way -- I can't make any guarantees, but I can give it a shot.

Q: This would work for tax classes other than basic tax.
A: Yes indeed! I currently plan to add a page that similarly generates partnership tax problems.

Q: I have another suggestion.
A: Awesome--please send it my way. I very much welcome any suggestions or thoughts.

Posted by Sarah Lawsky on November 26, 2019 at 05:18 PM in Tax, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, November 25, 2019

Organizing Fed Courts

My Fed Courts class ended this week. For the second straight year, I ran out of time and was unable to reach the last section, on  Congressional Control over the Federal Courts; this covers Klein and Plaut, as well as the fun theoretical stuff on jurisdiction-stripping, court-packing, etc.

After the jump is the broad strokes of my syllabus. I would welcome thoughts of what I can or should cut to give me the two days I would need to include this final section. Or, alternatively, is the congressional control stuff the least important and it falling by the wayside, while unfortunate, is less problematic than if I skipped something else.

By way of background, I teach Fed Courts as (in the words of one former student) "the love child of Con Law and Civ Pro." It is a federal-court litigation course, interspersed with some constitutional and judicial theory.

Introduction: Broad strokes of the text of Art. III and the broad structure of the federal judicial and judicial decisionmaking.

SCOTUS Jurisdiction: Original; § 1257; § 1254

Ct App Jurisdiction

District Court Jurisdiction: Federal Question (including Grable); Complete Preemption; ATS

Non-Article III Jurisdiction: Magistrates, Bankruptcy, CAAF

11th Am

Justiciability: Standing/Ripeness/Mootness

Abstention:

I added Non-Article III a few years ago. It takes about 1-1 1/2 days, so it could go and leave most of the additional time I need. But I thought (and think) is is too important, given how much more decisionmaking is done by non-Article III actors. I also used to spend less time on 11th Amendment, which I cover in Civil Rights. But I have no guarantee students will take that course and I believed they needed fuller coverage.

Just to clarify: We get to the basics of congressional control--the difference between the source of SCOTUS power as opposed to lower-court power, for example. We do not get to things like the Hart-Wechsler debate, the stripping debates of the 1980s, court-packing, and the various recent  proposals to change SCOTUS structure--in other words, the fun, theoretical, and not likely to happen stuff.

Thoughts?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 25, 2019 at 11:44 AM in Civil Procedure, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I'm old

I taught Hicks v. Miranda in Civil Rights today. A student was explaining Miranda's close connection to and interest in the state in rem civil forfeiture action as a basis for Younger abstention. The following exchange occurred:

Student: They were his DVDs.

Me: It was 1975.

Student: They were his videotapes.

Me: It was 1975.

[Student stares blankly]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 19, 2019 at 12:37 AM in Culture, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

FIU wins ATL Halloween Costume Contest

The winner of Above the Law's Legally Themed Halloween Costume ContestProf. Tom Baker's Con Law Section at FIU, continuing the since-2012 tradition of dressing like Prof. Baker on or around October 31.

FIU: We pass the bar and we dress well.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 13, 2019 at 09:29 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Two thoughts on the Socratic method (or whatever we call Q&A teaching)

1) My colleague Stanley Fish appeared on FIRE's So to Speak podcast, discussing his new book, his old book that there is no such thing as free speech, and other topics. It is a wide-ranging hour-plus discussion.

At one point in the conversation, Fish explains why he does not want to hear student opinions or what they think/believe about some subject; interviewer Nico Perrino asks if that means Fish does not like the Socratic Method. But is there any connection between the Socratic Method and students offering their opinions and personal views? I believe I would be regarded as a highly and rigourous Socratic professor, in that I ask a lot of directed questions. But I give students no opportunity to espouse their opinions or to tell me what they think; I  use tight, specific questions to draw out specific answers tied to the material. There is little danger of a student going off on an unrelated tangent or saying something offensive. There are some professors who allow and welcome student pontificating through less-directed questions. But that is a matter of professorial style--it is not inherent in being Socratic.

2) Judge Jane Roth (3d Circuit and my former Judge) visited FIU this week as a Jurist-in-Residence and the lead judge for our intramural moot court final. As part of her visit, she spoke with students about oral argument, especially about the centrality of answering questions directly, slowly, and as specifically and precisely as possible. Judge Roth visited some classes and commented on how well the students had handled hard questions in those discussions. That reminded me of something I tell 1Ls on the eve of their first argument in legal writing--the Q&A teaching style imitates oral arguments. You should be prepared in your argument the way you are prepared in class. And if you can handle a Socratic class, you can handle moot court.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 7, 2019 at 07:05 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste

This is making the academic rounds today. I post it without comment.

In honor of International Day of Climate Action (October 24), a group of law professors have announced the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste, which seeks to address the routine and indiscriminate use of paper-based flyers, newsletters, offprints and postcards by law professors and law schools.  Most of this material is discarded without ever being read.  However, law schools continue to produce and distribute these materials in an effort to increase or maintain their national and international rankings.

Continuing this practice is unconscionable in the current era, given the availability of electronic marketing options.  Limiting or eliminating reliance on paper-based materials will not only reduce the destruction of forests, it will also reduce carbon emissions generated as part of the printing and transportation processes.

Given the competitive nature of higher education, it is unlikely that individual law schools will act on their own initiative to stop or significantly curtail paper-based marketing for fear of risking their rankings.  However, positive results may be obtained by coordinating actions across numerous law schools. 

Individual faculty members as well as law schools both inside and outside the United States are therefore invited to join the Pledge to Reduce Academic Marketing Waste by emailing Prof. S.I. Strong ([email protected]) to indicate their support.  The names of individual law professors and institutions who have adopted the Pledge will be published on a webpage housed at Pace University.  That webpage is regularly updated to show increased support for this initiative.

The language of the Pledge is as follows:

We, the undersigned, hereby pledge to reduce academic marketing waste, individually and institutionally, by limiting or eliminating the production and transmission of paper-based marketing materials and/or by encouraging the relevant decision makers at our institutions to adopt actions and polices consistent with that goal.  Reducing academic marketing waste can take a variety of forms, including but not limited to:  (1) reducing the size of paper-based marketing materials (eg, replacing newsletters with postcards); (2) reducing the frequency of paper-based marketing initiatives; (3) adopting an opt-in rather than opt-out approach to paper-based mailing initiatives; (4) replacing some or all paper-based marketing with electronic or other forms of marketing. 

Please feel free to forward this message to anyone at your institution or in your network who you think might be interested in joining the Pledge.  The current signatories can be seen here -

https://law.pace.edu/academics/juris-doctor-program/environmental-law-program/pledge-reduce%C2%A0academic-marketing-waste - although more are being added all the time.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on October 25, 2019 at 02:38 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Bleg: Great Recession and the Legal Academy

Can anyone point me to studies or articles on the slowdown in legal academic hiring during and just after the Great Recession?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 30, 2019 at 07:24 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Research Fellowships at Stanford Constitutional Law Center

For those seeking an academic career. Information here.

Posted by Administrators on September 18, 2019 at 08:59 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 16, 2019

FIU Bar Passage

I do not know if I have ever done this before, but I wanted to highlight that FIU Law grads had a 95.7 % pass rate (111/116) for the July 2019 administration of the Florida Bar. A ton of credit to Louis Schulze, assistant dean for academic support, who does an amazing job working with students on how to learn and study, and Raul Ruiz, who runs our bar-prep program.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 16, 2019 at 10:46 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dorf on the irrepressible myth of the great scholar/bad teacher

My experience, as a student and faculty member, lines up with Mike's: I have had, as teachers and colleagues, many excellent scholars who also were also excellent teachers. And I would add another category: Great scholars who are not great teachers, but want to be  and, even well into their careers, think a lot about teaching and how to improve. The archetype of the "prof who can't be bothered with teaching" is not a thing--or no more of a thing than the insurance salesman who can't be bothered. There are always people who are not good at their jobs.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 12, 2019 at 04:48 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (13)

Friday, September 06, 2019

Penn State Law Review Symposium

The Penn State Law Review is now accepting articles for its annual symposium, which will be hosted in the Spring of 2020. This year, the topic of the Penn State Law Review Symposium will focus on the legal implications of upcoming technological advances, for example, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and big data.

The symposium is intended to increase the breadth of research on such novel topics; stimulate discussion amongst attorneys, students, and academics; and enhance the overall understanding of the legal effects of such rapidly developing technological advancements. 

 

To facilitate the application process as easily as possible, the Law Review requests that all applicants use the attached formhere: https://forms.gle/Lt95Z9zamMLKDAiz7. Please submit all application forms and inquiries no later than October 3, 2019 at 5:00 pm (EST) to Gaela Normile, the Law Review’s Executive Articles Editor, at [email protected]. 

 

Applicants should expect to write and present his or her article at the symposium, which will be either late March or early April. All travel expenses will be reimbursed by the Law Review. In addition, applicants should expect that the Law Review may request further information. The Law Review will notify applicants whether they remain under consideration by October 15, 2019. Thank you.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 6, 2019 at 11:13 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Faculty Hiring: FIU (two tenure/tenure-track positions)

Assistant, Associate, or full Professor of Law (two positions)

Florida International University College of Law, Florida’s public law school located in Miami, invites applicants for two tenured or tenure-track Assistant, Associate, or full Professor of Law positions to begin in the 2020-21 academic year. Our primary curricular interests are Cyber Law (focusing on cybercrime/forensics, interconnected cities, infrastructure security, and general cybersecurity training and education), Environmental Law, Wills & Trusts, and Torts. The Cyber Law position may be a joint appointment with another FIU School or College.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree or its equivalent (or a Ph.D. for the Cyber Law position) and a strong academic record. In addition, applicants should demonstrate a track record or promise of outstanding scholarly achievement and effective teaching. Successful candidates will be expected to engage in scholarship, teaching and service. Rank as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor will be determined based on qualifications and experience.

FIU Law is the only public law school in South Florida, established in 2001 on the idea that a high-quality legal education should be affordable and accessible to a broad, diverse community. In 6 of the past 8 administrations of the Florida bar exam, FIU Law has ranked first in bar passage among the 11 law schools in the State. In 2018, 84% of graduates secured full-time, long-term bar passage required and J.D. advantage jobs. FIU Law ranks as the most diverse law school in Florida, and the third most diverse nationally.

FIU is Miami’s public research university and in less than five decades has become a top 100 public university, according to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. The university is focused on student success and research excellence, with nearly $200 million in annual research expenditures. FIU is in the Carnegie R1 category (“highest research activity”), and was recently designated by the Board of Governors as an emerging preeminent university in the State’s public university system. FIU has 16 colleges and schools that offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, and medicine. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply to Job Opening ID 519267 at https://facultycareers.fiu.edu and attach a cover letter and curriculum vitae in a single PDF file.

Prior to a campus interview, applicants will also be required to submit a list of references. For any questions related to the position, please contact Appointments Committee co-chairs Jan Osei-Tutu ([email protected]) or Scott Norberg ([email protected]). To receive full consideration, applications and required materials should be received by September 30. Review will continue until the 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, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 29, 2019 at 10:01 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Faculty Hiring: FIU

Lecturer in Legal Skills and Values

Florida International University College of Law, Florida’s public law school located in Miami, seeks applicants for entry-level or lateral appointments for the position of Lecturer in Legal Skills and Values. The start date for the position is August 2020.

The College of Law’s Legal Skills and Values program consists of two required courses in the first year of law school and an additional required course by the end of a student’s fourth semester. We are seeking dedicated legal writing and skills teachers to teach legal research, analysis, and written and oral communication skills, all with a heavy emphasis on professionalism.

Lateral candidates should show a demonstrated record of teaching excellence. Entry-level candidates should show commitment to excellence in teaching and significant potential as law teachers. Experience in legal practice and/or judicial clerkships is preferred. JD required. This is a full-time faculty appointment, with an initial one-year term, with the possibility of successive three-year or five-year terms.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply to Job Opening ID 519269 at https://facultycareers.fiu.edu and attach a cover letter and curriculum vitae in a single PDF file.

Prior to a campus interview, applicants will also be required to submit a list of references. The Appointments Committee may request additional material such as teaching evaluations, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. To receive full consideration, applications and required materials should be received by September 30. Review will continue until position is filled.

Questions about the position can be directed to search committee co-Chairs, Scott Norberg ([email protected]) and Jan OseiTutu ([email protected]).

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, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 29, 2019 at 09:31 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Legal Methods Hiring at Utah

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law invites applications for one or more career-line faculty positions, on a presumptively renewable five-year contract basis, at the rank of assistant or associate professor beginning academic year 2020-2021.

The successful candidate(s) will teach one section of our year-long (6-credit) first-year legal methods course in addition to other teaching and program supervision responsibilities. Qualifications for the position include a record of excellence in legal practice, with a focus on strong writing and analytical skills, and successful teaching experience or potential as a teacher. Interest in scholarship will be considered but is not essential for this position. Interested persons should submit an application to the University of Utah Human Resources website: http://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/91875.

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

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 28, 2019 at 10:35 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Using Reddit for Law School seminar?

A question for the Prawfs hive-mind:  Could it work well, for a seminar-style course, to create a (private, I assume) subreddit for class-related links, posts, discussion, etc.?  Or, are there excessive risks of distraction (or worse) from some of Reddit's more . . . colorful content?  Does anyone have any experience with this kind of discussion-mechanism?  (I am, I admit, trying to avoid having to learn how to use TWEN or Sakai for this kind of thing.)

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 21, 2019 at 08:53 AM in Rick Garnett, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

What about a tablet?

A question for those who do not allow laptops and do not allow students to type notes in class:

What about taking notes using a stylus and tablet (iPad, Surface, etc.)? On one hand, this is writing rather than typing, so the ability/temptation to stenography is absent; it is the same means of notetaking, with fewer dead trees. On the other, I presume the benefit is that the tablet program converts the handwritten notes into typeset notes, which can be cut-and-pasted into a study outline; this eliminates the need or use for retyping of notes, which is an important point at which learning and understanding occurs.

Thoughts? Does anyone familiar with the literature know of any studies comparing writing-on-tablet with writing-on-paper or typing?

(Note: I know many readers believe that my position on laptops is wrong. That is beside the point here, so please do not bother with comments to that effect. My question begins from the premise that laptops and typing for notes are out. Now what?)

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 15, 2019 at 05:51 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Welcome back 1Ls

We see similar things every year around this time. This is from Lawprofblawg, an anonymous prawf writing at Above the Law. It is good advice.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 13, 2019 at 10:18 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

"The Grievance Studies Affair," purpose, and result

FIRE's So to Speak podcast interviewed the three authors (Jim Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian, the latter of whom is on the faculty at Portland State) behind the "Grievance Studies Affair." The three wrote and submitted a series of papers designed to show that certain humanities disciplines, which they call "grievance studies," lack scholarly rigor and feature a broken peer-review process. Seven papers were accepted, four were published, and seven were still in play when everything was exposed last fall. Boghossian was sanctioned by his university (subscription required) for failing to obtain IRB approval for a study on human subjects (the editors and reviewers who read the papers).

Critics of the the authors and their hoax accused them of  trying to get people fired and departments shut down, comparing them with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's efforts to ban gender studies at Hungarian universities. The authors reject this criticism; they insist they respect academic freedom and did not want to see anyone fired or any departments closed. Instead, they hoped universities would use the information they exposed to recognize the defects in these fields and thus discount scholarship in these fields and these journals when making tenure and hiring decisions.

But what is the difference between people being fired and people being denied tenure or not hired? The result is the same--scholars who publish this stuff in these journals should not be working as professors in these universities. And if these departments cannot (or should not) hire these scholars, the departments will close. The difference is motive. Orban want to control what academics write and wants to close gender studies because of political and ideological objections to the field; Lindsay, Puckrose, and Boghossian want these journals to do better in their peer-review and publication decisions and want these scholars to do better in their research and writing. One opposes academic freedom; the other protects academic freedom by ensuring that a university is place of intellectual rigor and serious truth-seeking--that academic freedom serves its purpose.

So Lindsay, Puckrose, and Boghossian would like certain people not to have jobs in academia--those who write what they believe (and what they believe they have proven to be) poor scholarship undeserving of publication and tenure. They claim to have a good reason for that goal and we can debate the means and ends (I am largely agnostic over the whole thing). But it is disingenuous to suggest that lost jobs and empty departments are not the logical conclusion of what they believe they have shown and what should happen.

For what it is worth, I am somewhat surprised that FIRE cared about this case, except perhaps for the sanctions imposed on Boghossian, which are somewhat specious. And I am surprised FIRE approached the hoax and this interview as the typical culture-war/tyranny-of-the-left/silence-the-right campus-speech issue. The authors wrote papers reaching (sometimes silly) left-leaning conclusions, which fits the ideology of the journals and the fields. But FIRE usually does not care if lefties say or write silly things and it generally does not care about the vigor of  discourse in scholarly journals. FIRE cares about viewpoint discrimination, when one position is allowed and the other shut down or when one position is foisted on unwilling listeners. But the hoax did not show such discrimination--that otherwise similarly rigorous scholarship reaching a right-wing conclusion was not published. One of the authors described this as his one regret in the project--they never wrote a paper reaching that reverse ideological result to see if it would be published. Had they done so and the piece been rejected, they would arguably have shown the sort of political biases about which FIRE cares. Without that, this really looks like a take-down of silly lefties and silly academics--fun for many, but not FIRE's typical bailiwick.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 10, 2019 at 02:17 PM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 09, 2019

MAGA student speaks (with minor edits)

So now we know. The MAGA-hat-sporting student that Gonzaga Prawfs Jeffrey Omari described is Austin Phelps, a rising 3L who has taken to the pages of the same ABA Journal to give his side of the story.

Phelps' version differs from Omari's in two important respects. Phelps makes it sound as if the MAGA hat was not a late-semester sartorial one-off; it sounds as if he had worn the hat and a Trump-Pence 2020 shirt at various points in the semester and that his laptop was festooned with similar stickers.* He also says Omari did not call on him "with the frequency that left-leaning students enjoyed." Omari described a conservative student who participated in class (enough to make his views known) but how had to that point "not  . . . donned any political paraphernalia in the classroom."

[*] Yet another reason to ban laptops.

He also complains about called out for wearing a build-the-wall t-shirt to his "university-affiliated internship," which he attributes to Omari's op-ed. The internship enforced a neutral (although never-before-enforced) rule banning t-shirts with slogans while at work.

The rest of the piece combines a defense of free speech, with an explanation for his support for the President (including filling two SCOTUS seats "with conservative posteriors," so glad he writes like a serious future lawyer). All of which reflects "my struggle" as a conservative law student--which might not have been the best choice of phrase, considering the context.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2019 at 06:23 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (6)

Hiring: The Ohio State University College of Law

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is conducting four separate faculty-line searches this year. Here are the details:

Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law seeks an established teacher and scholar to serve as the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Candidates should be tenured professors with a demonstrated record of excellence in scholarship and teaching. The research of the Williams Chair should focus on civil rights and civil liberties, which may include race law, critical race theory, gender and the law, sexual orientation and gender identity law, constitutional rights, or other related areas, including First Amendment freedoms, human rights, disability law, poverty, or economic or criminal inequality. The position will begin in the 2020-21 academic year. A J.D. or the equivalent is required. The successful candidate must satisfy Moritz’s requirements for tenure and promotion to full professor.

 

Entry-Level or Junior Lateral Tenure-Track Position with Drug Enforcement and Policy Center

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law seeks an entry-level or junior lateral tenure-track faculty member in the criminal justice field who will be part of its Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC). The faculty member will be expected to help advance the Center’s mission. Criminal law and procedure are closely intertwined with drug enforcement and policy; from police stops and searches and seizures, to sentencing and post-conviction forfeitures and disabilities, to concerns about disparate impact, the law of criminal justice and drug enforcement and policy mesh. The new faculty member will work with the Executive Director and other associated faculty to advance the Center’s mission. The position will begin in the 2020-21 academic year. A J.D. or the equivalent is required.

 

Entry-Level or Junior Lateral Tenure-Track Position

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law seeks entry-level or junior lateral candidates for at least one tenure-track position. Our primary areas of need are Dispute Resolution, Business Law, and Race and Law. Secondary areas of need include Antitrust, Banking/Insurance, Civil Procedure/Complex Litigation, Commercial Law, Evidence, Immigration, Intellectual Property/Law and Technology, Natural Resources/Energy Law, Poverty/Social Welfare Law, Property/Real Estate, and Wills & Trusts. The position will begin in the 2020-21 academic year. A J.D. or the equivalent is required.

 

Entry-Level Legal Writing Position

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law seeks entry-level candidates for a clinical-track faculty position teaching legal writing. The faculty member will be part of Moritz’s nationally recognized legal writing program. Candidates should have relevant occupational experience and strong potential in all relevant areas of performance, including classroom teaching, feedback on student work, public service, and maintaining knowledge in the field. The faculty member will be hired for a 3-5 year probationary period, then eligible for promotion to a long-term renewable contract that permits removal only for cause or financial exigency. The faculty member will be eligible for a summer research grant and a research budget. The position will begin in the 2020-21 academic year. A J.D. or the equivalent is required.

*          *          *

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive community to reflect human diversity and improve opportunities for all. Diversity, inclusion, and equity are essential to the excellence of our community, culture, and curriculum, and the pursuit of this excellence is critical to our educational mission. We value diversity in all of its dimensions, including gender, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, physical and learning abilities, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and viewpoint. We seek to reflect multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and interests in all facets of our community. The Ohio State University is committed to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate on any basis prohibited by law in its activities, programs, admission, and employment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to a protected status.

Candidates should send a cover letter and C.V. to Daniel Tokaji, Associate Dean for Faculty, [email protected], stating that they are applying for this position. Applicants are encouraged to submit the Equal Employment Identification Form.  

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 9, 2019 at 12:27 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Hiring Announcement: Suffolk University Law School Transactional Clinic Director

My school is undertaking a search for an entry level assistant clinical professor to launch and direct a Transactional Law Clinic.  From the job description: 

We seek candidates with strong academic records and a commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship. Prior experience in clinical education is preferred, and at least three years of transactional law experience is required. Applicants must be admitted or eligible for admission to the Massachusetts bar.
The Transactional Law Clinic will provide students with the hands-on, practical experience they need to navigate the rapidly evolving field of transactional law. At a minimum, the Clinic will provide free legal services to underserved clients on transactional issues and collaborate with several existing clinics at the Law School on transaction-related issues.
The ideal candidate will be a self-motivated individual who can launch and grow the Clinic by developing relationships within the greater Boston community, the University community, and the academy and Bar.
In addition to directing the Clinic, the faculty member will be expected to teach one non-clinical course in a related field, contribute to the Law School and community, and produce scholarship.
The Transactional Law Clinic, once launched, will be one of Suffolk’s 12 in-house clinics, adding depth and breadth to Suffolk Law’s nationally regarded Clinical Programs. Suffolk Law’s Clinics have been ranked among the top 20 such programs in U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade. The Clinic also will be a part of Suffolk Law’s successful Business and Financial Services concentration.
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, a list of references, and a cover letter addressed to Professor Sarah Boonin, Co-Chair of the Clinical Committee, Suffolk University Law School.

I can add that we have a "unified" tenure track that includes clinical and legal practice skills professors.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 6, 2019 at 03:10 PM in Getting a Job on the Law Teaching Market, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 05, 2019

DeStefano on "the Adjacent Possible"

Michele-DeStefano_cropLast week, one of the SSRN journal emails included a new piece by an old friend, Michele DeStefano (Miami, left) - Innovation: A New Key Discipline for Lawyers and Legal Education. From the abstract:

It begins by demonstrating that clients' call for innovation is really a call for transformation in service from their lawyers. It then explores why answering this call can be problematic for lawyers. It seeks to show that lawyers' professional identity, training, and temperament (along with extrinsic and intrinsic motivation) make it difficult for lawyers to adopt the collaborative, creative mindset and skillset of innovators. This chapter recommends that innovation be incorporated as a new key discipline at both the law school and executive education (continuing education) level because in the process of learning how to innovate, lawyers hone the mindset, skillset, and behaviors that clients desire. In support of this contention, it reveals that, as an added benefit, by honing the innovator's DNA, lawyers also grow into inclusive leaders our society needs us to be. The chapter concludes with some suggestions for lawyers to help them better collaborate towards innovation along with a pie-in-the-sky call to the legal universe to make innovation the new key discipline for practicing and aspiring lawyers.

This is music to my ears - because it's about the self-imposed limitations, for better or worse, that can be the result of the frames or presuppositions from which many lawyers (and law professors) see and make sense of the world (e.g., deliberately, logically, algorithmically, dispassionately, syllogistically). Michele's point here (and in her book Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law) is that kind of square-cornered thinking is just the beginning; clients will demand as well a collaborative and creative mindset in order to craft solutions to problems.

What was particularly delightful was finding Michele's incorporation of a coinage from Stuart Kauffman, M.D., theoretical biologist, and complexity researcher (University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Santa Fe Institute, among other affiliations), about the "adjacent possible." I also recently came across Kauffman's work, and I've used it in the piece (title has changed but that's another blog post to come) from which I've been out-taking this month. The "adjacents possible" are the possible next states from the one in which we are in or which we are observing. Kauffman's point was to distinguish the adjacent possible in physics (or cybernetics) from that in a complex biological or economic system.  In a physics or computational system, all of the adjacents possible in either direction, all state changes, are predictable. But not so in biology (and I would add, in human thought). There, the move to the adjacent possible (the set of all possible next states), while not random, is not predictable. (I like this particular observation: the universe has constructed every possible stable atom, but not every possible protein.)

The connection to human creativity and innovation should be obvious.

More to come later.

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw on August 5, 2019 at 09:37 AM in Article Spotlight, Lipshaw, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 04, 2019

More on Malcolm Gladwell

Mike Dorf critiques the fourth season of Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History, which contains several episodes relevant to law and legal education. In particular, the first two episodes criticize the LSATs as the gateway into legal education. The basic argument is that the test's tight time constraints favor "hares" who think and react quickly over "tortoises" who take longer to think and analyze a problem, while the practice of law is more for tortoises.

But at least the first two episodes (I am midway through Ep. 3) are worse than Dorf suggests. The problem is that Gladwell tends to pick a thesis, find evidence that undermines one variable in furtherance of that thesis, then conclude (or assume) that his thesis has been proven, without exploring the other variables or other obvious explanations for the result. Dorf describes this as Gladwell "overclaim[ing]." Three glaring examples in these episodes.

The first is the story of Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton. Sutton attended The Ohio State University for law school because he did not get into Michigan, because it is assumed (without stating) his LSAT scores were not high enough. From this, Gladwell assumes that Sutton is a tortoise. And Sutton might have been overlooked for a clerkship by Justices such as Scalia (to whom Sutton was assigned as a clerk for the retired Powell) who hire based on law school (which is based on hare-favoring LSAT), which rewards hares over tortoises. This despite the fact that Scalia praises the tortoise Sutton as one of his best clerks because clerking and judging are jobs that favor tortoises. So the LSAT--and thus law schools, judges, and law firms--fails to identify, benefit, and reward brilliant tortoises such as Sutton.

There are many gaps in this logical progression. First, poor LSAT performance does not necessarily mean Sutton is a tortoise; it may mean he is a hare who had a bad day (the episode does not say how many times Sutton took the test). Second, we do not know that his LSAT scores kept him out of Michigan, as opposed to his undergrad grades or quality of his essay (Gladwell relies on the strong inference from LSAT being such a significant part of the admission calculus). Third, Sutton has some hare-like qualities--he did extraordinarily well in law school, which (Gladwell argues in Ep. 1) is framed to favor hares by using time in-class exams (this was even more true when Sutton was in law school in the late-'80s, where it was one end-of-semester in-class exam).*

[*] The reliance on timed exams in the first year is why the LSAT predicts 1L performance--both rely on time constraints in testing.

The second is a story told by Bill Henderson (Indiana-Maurer-Bloomington) about a 3L who booked his class, which relied on a take-home exam (I think it was 8 hours); this was that student's highest grade in law. The horror, Gladwell says. The school had labeled this person as an average student  by giving hare-like exams, when he was just a tortoise who, given the chance to take his time, could write a beautiful, well-organized essay.

Again, however, note the gaps and assumptions. I agree with the basic idea that ideal grading combines times and untimed assessments and I try to give both kinds within any class. But I have not not noticed a massive divergence in performance on the two types--good students do within a small range of well on both, weaker students do within a range of less well on both. And the testing format does not necessarily alone explain this one performance. Maybe the student related to that course's material (Gladwell does not identify the course, although Henderson teaches corporations and bus-org classes). Maybe the student responded well to Henderson's teaching style and learned well from him, which might produce stronger exam performance. We do not know how other IU professors assess--whether Henderson was the only prof giving take-home exams--and we do not know how this student performed in any other classes that used something other than in-class exams.

The third story discusses law practice. Gladwell describes a study showing that success in big-firm practice (especially rainmaking) is not correlated to the law school attended--the most successful attorneys attended night law school and schools the person never heard of. But big law firms continue to hire based on law-school prestige to bring in people who "look like them" (what Gladwell's subject called "mirrorocracy"). But that assumes that the people doing the hiring at big firms are the t-14-grad partners rather than the most successful attorneys at those firms--the hiring partners are t-14 grads looking for more t-14 grads, while ignoring the success of their partners who are non-t-14 grads but do the best work. But why aren't those non-t-14-grads who are the best lawyers also doing the hiring? Gladwell does not say.

Finally, not a criticism but a question: Gladwell describes the high enrollments of the three most prestigious schools in Canada--Toronto has 70k undergrads, British Columbia has 50K+, and McGill (the small, intimate school) has 25k. How do they avoid the problems that plague similarly large U.S. pubic schools--not enough teachers, over-reliance on adjuncts, massive classes, limited writing assignments that do not prepare students for the next level, etc.?

At some level, criticizing a podcast for not following and tying down every argument is similar to doing that to a blog post or twitter thread (although not fully--the first two episodes ran 79 minutes, time enough to tie-up obvious loose ends). But Gladwell purports to uncover the real story and offer real understandings, theories, and solutions to problems. It seems fair to hold him to the obvious flaws or incompletions in his arguments.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 4, 2019 at 01:48 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (11)

Friday, August 02, 2019

Free speech on campus

A random assortment of free-speech controversies on campus. Some were discussed in programs at SEALS.

• Complaints about MAGA hats (and other clothing) in the classroom are becoming a somewhat common thing for deans to deal with, complaints coming more from students than faculty. For the moment, everyone seems to conclude that the clothing is permitted as protected speech that, while offensive and derogatory to many, is tied to the sitting President and within the bounds of allowable public discourse. Although one colleague wondered about a time we could have said the same about a swastika, when that changed for the swastika, and when that might change for MAGA. The only true solution is a school or classroom dress code, which nobody seems to want.

• What is worse--the epithet or the offensive idea behind the epithet? Should it be impermissible for someone to use a derogatory word--even when that word is contained in course materials being discussed--but permissible for someone to use the precise language describing an idea we now regard as offensive? Is it possible to distinguish them?

For example, what is the difference between quoting from cases the derogatory words for African-Americans, people with mental disabilities, or undocumented immigrants, and quoting  the derogatory ideas about women in Justice Bradley's concurring opinion in Bradwell v. Illinois. For another example, what is the difference between one student calling another student a derogatory name and one student spouting, approvingly, derogatory ideas as part of the class discussion (e.g., minority populations causing more crime); the former should be sanctioned because students should not attack one another, but what about the latter?

On one hand, it seems odd that the word is worse than the idea. On the other, if you treat them the same and sanction (as opposed to challenging and exposing) the expression of "wrong" ideas in a class discussion, it really does interfere with the supposed academic mission of exploring ideas and seeking truth. And you can respond to, challenge, and demonstrate the wrong-headedness of an idea; you cannot do that with an epithet (this is the justification for the fighting-words doctrine).

• I learned about an ongoing controversy at the University of Tennessee. The state and the university have been trying to defund the student group Sexual Empowerment and Awareness at Tennessee (SEAT) and its signature event, "Sex Week." The legislature passed a law prohibiting state funds from being used for Sex Week. This was not a huge deal, because most of SEAT's non-private funds came from the student-activities fees program. Under Rosenberger, the university could not deny funds to SEAT because of disagreement with its sex-positive (and sex-provocative) viewpoint.*

[*] Rosenberger remains my favorite unintended-consequences case, in which a victory for one political position has been used as precedent to provide victories for the opposite political position. Religious conservatives cheered the decision, which held that the state could not deny activities funds to religious organizations. But the case's staunch prohibition on viewpoint discrimination has been used to stop university efforts to defund all manner of liberal student groups. I think this may make an interesting article, especially in showing the difference between judgment and opinion/precedent.

The university's solution, imposed after SEAT refused to "compromise with university administrators who have asked it annually to 'tone it down' and consider the impact of its language choices"** was to eliminate the student-activities fee pool, replacing it with a system in which the university approves and funds all speakers and programs. The university hopes this converts all student programs into the university's speech, allowing the university to pick and choose based on viewpoint or any other considerations. The new program has not been implemented, so it remains to be seen how it plays out.

I think it is a matter of allies. Right now, most student groups oppose the program; College Democrats and College Republicans both hate it. If many student groups do not get money under the new scheme, SEAT will continue to have many allies in the fight. If everyone gets money except SEAT (which is what the university and state hope will happen), SEAT may find itself alone in the fight.

[**] In other words, compromise by changing your speech to make it more palatable to the government.

• Last spring, three white University of Mississippi students posed holding weapons in front of an Emmett Till memorial the was riddled with bullet holes; the photo was taken by a fourth, unknown person, and posted on the private social-media page of one of the students. The identified students were suspended by their fraternity. The university referred the matter to the FBI, but did not continue its investigation because, it claims, it was unaware that the FBI had completed its investigation (the FBI concluded that the photograph was not a specific threat). News stories question how the university responded to that initial bias report in March, particularly whether the university knew the identities of the students at that time (they are Ben LeClere, John Lowe and Howell Logan). The university says it will resume its student-conduct investigation, although it initially said the photo did not violate the code of conduct because it happened off-campus in a non-school setting. And the story seems to be wrapped in broader discussions of removing Confederate monuments on campus.

Is there any doubt that the photo and posing in front of the monument are protected by the First Amendment? This is not an unprotected "true threat" because it is not targeted at "a particular individual or group of individuals." It occurred off campus and was posted to a private social-media page; so even if we allow a university greater leeway to regulate racist speech on the quad or in the dorm, it does not extend to these actions. The photo is racist and offensive and I am glad their fraternity expelled them. I would like to see the university take more seriously, in word and deed, its obligation to engage in counter-speech. And perhaps the three will crawl back into hiding. But a public university's speech code is limited by the First Amendment, which prohibits government from sanctioning someone for engaging in protected speech, no matter how much we hate what they say.

Update: An Ole Miss faculty member pointed to this 2016 story of two students who pleaded guilty to civil rights violations for hanging a noose and a Confederate flag around the campus statute of James Meredith. Other than one happening on campus and one off (which is irrelevant to the criminal charges), it is hard to see a meaningful distinction between this and the current case--they are equally threatening or equally non-directed.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 2, 2019 at 10:25 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, July 29, 2019

Organizing a panel

As we enjoy SEALS at Boca Resort, some wise words for all academics from Yascha Mounk.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 29, 2019 at 10:29 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Random snippets of law

Each too short for a stand-alone post. Maybe this is why we have Twitter.

Here is everyone's Evidence question for the coming semester: The government in the Roger Stone prosecution has moved in limine to admit the clip from Godfather Part II in which Frank Pantangeli recants his prior statement implicating Michael Corleone. The government argues this is relevant to explaining Stone's repeated references in his communications with Jerome Corsi and shows that Stone was urging Corsi to lie to Congress.

• This point is moot with the announcement by the House Judiciary Committee that it is investigating "possible impeachment." But following Robert Mueller's testimony on Wednesday, Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi stated that their preferred next step was to complete litigation over various subpoenas; if the President disobeyed an Article-III-final court order, that would be the last straw prompting a move to formal impeachment.

I did not understand why that is or should be the relevant line. Some have flagged this as the line that Nixon would not cross, so crossing it would make Trump worse than Nixon. But it is hardly the worst or most wrongful thing a President could do. And it is not obviously worse or more impeachable than the misconduct--some criminal, some representing abuses of office or prospective office--described in Mueller's report and testimony.

I would guess that Pelosi and Schiff believed that Mueller had not described, in sufficiently dramatic terms, a single flashing-red-light act that would rally the public. Or they bought the media spin that Mueller's testimony was too dull to do that. So the strategy became to wait for the next single flashing-red-light act. Or the one after that. Or . . .

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 27, 2019 at 09:02 AM in Civil Procedure, Constitutional thoughts, Howard Wasserman, Law and Politics, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 26, 2019

"Amadeus" and the academy

Keith Humphrey (Stanford Medicine) discusses how the movie Amadeus reflects life in the academy--specifically, how fortunate one is to be Salieri even if he cannot be Mozart.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 26, 2019 at 10:03 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Meta Rankings of Law Reviews

Former guest Prawf Bryce Newell has updated his Law Journal Meta Rankings for 2019. This ranks mainline journals by combining US News ranking for the school, US News peer ranking for the school, Google Scholar rankings for the review, and W&L rankings for the review. It makes some of my recent or forthcoming pubs look better, others worse.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 24, 2019 at 09:53 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Classroom dress code?

In my post on the MAGA hat incident at Gonzaga, several commenters asked why the student was wearing a hat in the classroom. At some level, this is besides the point because the supposed problem is displaying offensive or provocative messages in class at a professor or colleague, not the medium. We would be having the same conversation over a MAGA t-shirt or whatever.

So the question is should we impose dress codes in the classroom (which would be dress codes in the building, since students are not going to change clothes all day)? As my daughter argued, we expect students to treat the classroom as a courtroom and to be prepared to engage at that level. If so, why allow them to dress in a way they would not be allowed in court. And if we do not go all the way to suits and dresses, at least "business casual."

I would not support such a move. They still are students and should be able to enjoy those comforts, even if we expect professionalism in other respects. But it is an interesting question, especially as politics get more divisive and people become more likely to be offended by the messages on someone's clothing. [Update: I should add that I wear shorts and a polo shirt on my non-teaching days, so I am not living what this would require of students]

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 24, 2019 at 09:33 AM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The rise and fall of laptops in the classroom

A discussion on the Civ Pro ListServ on how attorneys take notes (by hand or computer) morphed into another discussion of laptops in the classroom. Based on people who posted, it was something like 6:2 in favor of the ban. I record classes and make the audio available for those who want to relive the class verbatim and a couple people do the same. Reviewing previous discussions of laptop bans among Perma-prawfs and guests, the results are more mixed.

The pervasiveness of laptop bans caused me to think about the rise and fall of laptops, which tracks with my life in legal education:

• I started law school in fall 1994. One student in my 100-person section used a computer to take notes and I recall one professor stopping mid-lecture to stare at the screen in wonder. I think the number was about to about 5 by the end of the year. Most students did not even have laptops for writing projects.

• I started teaching as a VAP in 2001 and probably 80-90% of students used computers to take notes. When I started at FIU in 2003, that number was probably at 100 %.

• In fall 2007, I “recommended” that students not use laptops and urged them to try to go the first month of class without them. No one in two Civ Pro sections took me up on the offer. Several students complained about my attempt in the end-of-semester evals.

• Around 2008, some law professors began writing about how much they disliked the prevalence of laptops in the classroom--citing concerns for students surfing, distraction of others, and ineffective note-taking. I recall a piece in the Washington Post by David Cole (Georgetown) as one of the first public arguments. Others quickly jumped on board.
• In Winter 2009, I prohibited them in all classes. (This was my first semester after my faculty tenure vote--I regret that I did not do it pre-tenure for fear of student blowback). There were slight murmurings, but nothing major. I was one of about five FIU profs who did this around that time, albeit without coordination. So I think the students had become used to it.
• Studies purporting to show that handwritten notes are better began cropping up around 2013-or-so. The big Oppenheimer/Mueller study appeared in early 2014. The studies over the past 5 years are mixed.
• I continue to ban them from my classroom and have no intention of changing. I believe, based on talk in the hallway, that about 1/3-1/2 my faculty bans them, including many professors teaching doctrinal courses in the first year. More generally, profs are all over the map; I cannot tell--either anecdotally or empirically--whether we have reached the point that a majority of profs ban them.
• None of my students complains or even questions it anymore.
• I allow laptops for students given that accommodation by our disability resource office (obviously). I have seen a slight uptick in students given laptop use as an accommodation--1-2 students a year in the past 2-3 years. I suspect the increase in professors banning laptops has triggered that increase in accommodation.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 23, 2019 at 08:53 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Faculty Hiring: Wayne State University

WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL is seeking to fill up to three tenure-track or tenured faculty positions. One position is for a tax scholar.  For the others, we will consider outstanding candidates in any field, but we are especially interested in scholars working in corporations (and related business subjects), civil rights and social justice, criminal law and procedure, and property.  We warmly welcome applications from women, members of minority groups, and others who will contribute to the diversity of the faculty.  Wayne Law is a vibrant intellectual community in the heart of Detroit.  Candidates not listed in the FAR and those with particular interest in Wayne Law should send a cover letter, CV, and any other materials they wish the committee to consider to Professor Christopher C. Lund, Faculty Appointments Committee Chair, at [email protected].  The law school will be participating in the AALS Recruitment Conference in Washington, D.C., but we will consider applicants outside the FAR process.

 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2019 at 03:53 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Faculty Hiring: Wash U.

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-level or junior lateral candidates for tenure-track positions, to begin in the fall of 2020. We are particularly interested in corporate & securities law and constitutional law.

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. Diversity and inclusion are core values at Washington University, and strong candidates 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 willing to consider materials outside of the FAR process.

Although we have no deadline, applications will have the best chance of full consideration if we receive them by August 19, 2019. Application materials should include a cover letter, a resume which includes at least three references, a list of publications, and up to three pieces of scholarly work. Please submit materials to Professor Susan Appleton, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, Washington University School of Law, by emailing them to [email protected]

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity and especially encourages applications by those underrepresented in their academic fields. 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 July 20, 2019 at 11:57 AM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 19, 2019

PrawfHacks: Top 10 mobile productivity apps and tools for law professors

The following guest-post is from Matthew B. Lawrence (Penn State-Dickinson)

Out of necessity (I have a long commute) I have found a number of incredibly helpful tools for staying productive and organized in teaching, service, and especially scholarship on the “go.”  I often find myself explaining them to colleagues at conferences and the like, and just as often find myself getting great new ideas to improve my workflow from colleagues.  So I thought I would write up my favorites for the prawfsblawg audience and invite suggestions for other great tools I might have missed.
 
Here are my top ten #PrawfHacks:
  1. “Voice Dream Reader.”  This app, available for android and ios smart phones, reads .doc or .pdf files to you in a computer voice at any speed you wish.  It is invaluable!  I find that because of my legal training, if I am sitting in front of a book/case/law review article, I dissect it.  That’s good and important, but sometimes I don’t have that kind of time and just want to “read” legal scholarship or a case, to get a sense of it or to hear all its thoughts.  This is especially true of colleagues’ drafts, job talk papers, and when learning a new field or area.  Voice Dream Reader is great for those purposes.  One caveat: You’ll want .doc files, not .pdf, in most cases; otherwise it will read the footnotes.  You can get .doc versions of law review articles on Westlaw.
  2. Digital voice recorder.  See #3.
  3. Dragon Naturally Speaking.  This software has a “transcription” mode that will convert to text voice recordings you take on your voice recorder.  You can use this to record talks you give/classes, then transcribe them for later reference.  I find that to be super helpful if giving the same talk 6 months apart.  You can also use this to write—indeed transcription is how lawyers used to write!  I find I write differently when speaking, but not in a bad way; I’m more conceptual and free with ideas, less structured.  So it is perfect when developing a topic or flushing out the arguments.
  4. Wireless headphones/airpods.  Airpods are really, really useful for calls on the go or listening to podcasts and law review articles.
  5. “Bear.”  This is an app for writing on your phone or recording notes.  With Alexa on android or Siri on iphone, you can also use it to record notes on the go—“Hey Siri take a note in bear.”  You can also add hashtags to organize ideas.  Anecdote: I was waiting for security at BWI airport recently listening to a law review article on “voice dream reader,” and had an idea for a potential future paper.  So I just double tapped my airpods (they are useful!), said “add a note in bear,” and then “[insert the idea I thought was brilliant at the time here], #topics.”  It was thereby magically added to my “topics” category in Bear, which I consult whenever I’m thinking about/weaving together a project.
  6. Podcasts.  I got the idea for my most recently published article listening to an episode of “The Week In Health Law” while still in practice.  Ipse Dixit is also terrific.  Finally, many (but not enough!!!) schools post audio or video of events and workshops they hold that can make for great listening.  Chicago is particularly good at this.
  7. Ipad with Apple Pencil (or other tablet with stylus) and a cloud service (onedrive, box, or dropx box).  We have not even gotten to the Ipad yet!  This is a key tool because it unlocks the next several…
  8. iAnnotate PDF.  This is the pdf reader I have used for years.  When I’m not listening to law review articles, I’m reading them in iAnnotate.  It is searchable.  You can highlight or add comments or markup.  You can export ONLY your highlights and/or comments for future references.  You can have 12 tabs open at once.  It is great.  I also grade papers and mark up drafts, etc., with this.  There are times when the printed page is better, but the convenience of not having to print or lug around the things you printed, and being able to find them a year later (because saved to the cloud) is transformative.
  9. Good Notes.  I could go on, but I love to write notes in meetings, etc., by hand.  I can do this in good notes on ipad with an apple pencil.  It feels like I’m carrying around 12 notebooks at all times that I can quickly switch between.  One on the adjunct faculty committee, one on my current work in progress, and so on.  This app is also a great sandbox to draw diagrams, charts, sketches, etc., for inclusion in powerpoints or classroom use.  They might be really rough but they can get the point across!
  10. Office suite.  Microsoft office, excel, and powerpoint all have really good apps that works across phone, tablet, and pc or macbook.  They have come a long way and can now even handle track changes (though not macros).  I’m not proud: I have reviewed a law review’s (late round) edits on a draft article on my iphone while standing in the lobby waiting for my daughter’s ballet practice to finish.

That’s my list, but I’d love to hear others’ ideas for #prawfhacks!

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 19, 2019 at 12:20 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Remembering John Gardner

The following guest post is by Eric Miller (Loyola-LA)
 
Many of you will have heard the sad news that John Gardner died on July 11, 2019. John was the Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and former Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, one of the major positions in legal philosophy in the Anglophone world. He was a kind, generous, brilliant, fun person, and influenced, directly and through his writings, a generation of legal scholars.
John and I lived on the same street in Glasgow, and went to the same school (Glasgow Academy), and he was my thesis supervisor when I went to Oxford. He stood on the side of social justice in ways big and small, and strove to include and support the people in his orbit. For example, I got the impression during our time together at Brasenose that he was was working behind the scenes to transform the college's deserved reputation as a bit of an upper-class sporty frat house into a place where students of all backgrounds could flourish. He taught a wonderful jurisprudence seminar with Anthony Honoré, and the two of them together produced an amazingly kind and supportive intellectual environment for those lucky enough to attend. His work ranged from the most general of analytic jurisprudence into the specific duties of police officers, and he covered topics in tort law, criminal, criminal procedure, constitutional law, discrimination law, and beyond. 
 
We didn't see much of each other after I left Oxford except for a brief sabbatical of mine in 2012. I am sure there are many others on this listserve who were closer to him academically and personally. But I have continued to be greatly indebted to his work and his example as a person and a professor, as I am sure have many others, and I wanted to make sure that his many friends and admirers had a chance to celebrate his life. 

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 18, 2019 at 06:23 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

CFP: The Resiliance of International Law

EMERGING VOICES PANEL - CALL FOR PROPOSALS

International Law Weekend 2019: The Resilience of International Law

DEADLINE: JULY 29, 2019

International Law Weekend 2019 (ILW 2019) calls on scholars and practitioners to address the resilience of international law. The conference will explore international law’s capacity to preserve the rule of law, promote both peace and justice, and maintain stability in the face of growing fault lines. The world is changing. ILW 2019 seeks to answer whether its theme—The Resilience of International Law—is a question or an affirmation.

The ILW Organizing Committee invites the submission of abstracts relating to “The Resilience of International Law.” We will select several abstracts for presentation at ILW 2019 as part of a panel of new professionals. The abstracts may be based upon ongoing work. While all submissions are welcome, preference will be given to papers not already published. Eligibility is restricted to applicants working in the field of international law for five years or less. Applicants should be ABILA members at the time of their presentation. (To join ABILA, please visit: https://www.ila-americanbranch.org/accounts/reg_plans/.)

Applicants must submit the following in a single PDF document:
(1) a 500 word abstract of their paper;
(2) a cover letter describing their professional development and a statement explaining how their submission fits with the conference theme; and
(3) a curriculum vitae.

The submission deadline is July 29, 2019. Submissions should be sent to [email protected] with the subject line “Emerging Voices - ILW 2019.”

Questions may also be submitted to: [email protected]

Submissions will be competitively selected in a peer review process. Applicants will be notified by August 30, 2019.

ILW 2019 is scheduled for October 10-12, 2019 in New York City and will be held at Fordham Law School. Accepted applicants will be invited to present their papers at the Emerging Voices panel, which will be chaired by a senior scholar or practitioner. Accepted applicants will be required to pay for their own travel and lodging. A panel member who is only attending their individual panel is not required to register for the conference or pay the registration fee. If they plan to attend other panels, we do ask that they register for the conference and pay the fee.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 17, 2019 at 06:23 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Sponsored Post: Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories

The following guest post is by Melissa Murray (NYU School of Law), Katherine Shaw (Cardozo), and Reva B. Siegel (Yale) and is sponsored by West Academic.

Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories (Foundation Press® 2019) examines the field of reproductive rights and justice, with attention to the dynamics of legal change inside and outside of courts.

Where reproductive rights are often defined as negative liberties that protect individuals against government coercion, reproductive justice thinks holistically about the conditions in which individuals make decisions about having and not having children. The field examines how relations of race, class, language, citizenship, sexuality, and gender shape decisions about reproduction and intimate life, inside and outside of law—in the organization of communities, markets, health care, religion, and other structures of social life. Pursuit of reproductive justice is not limited to greater access to contraception and abortion, but instead includes conflicts over sterilization, pregnancy, and assisted reproductive technologies. Critically, reproductive justice cannot be attained in courts alone, but instead requires action across many bodies of law, and in many social domains, to redress inequalities in intimate life.

The stories collected in this book present legal change broadly to capture the multiple social contexts in which these conflicts occur. This method for understanding constitutional change—what one of us has termed “democratic constitutionalism”—recognizes that debate over constitutional meaning unfolds inside and outside of courts and inside and outside of the state. Obviously, courts matter. But so do other actors and institutions—from grassroots organizations, NGOs, and political parties to state and federal legislatures to administrative agencies and bureaucrats to interested individuals.

Many chapters shed new light on cases that are very much part of the constitutional law canon—Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Geduldig v. Aiello. Others introduce the reader to less well-known cases from state and lower federal courts that illuminate paths not taken in constitutional law. All of the chapters contain lessons for contemporary controversies. (Indeed, a recent symposium, hosted by the Take Care blog, featured a number of response essays tying the chapters to developments in the law and politics of reproductive rights and justice.).

Contributing authors include: Melissa Murray, Neil Siegel, Linda Greenhouse, Reva Siegel, Deborah Dinner, Maya Manian, Khiara Bridges, Serena Mayeri, Priscilla Ocen, Sam Bagenstos, Kate Shaw, Cary Franklin, and Doug NeJaime.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 16, 2019 at 05:21 PM in Sponsored Announcements, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 12, 2019

MAGA in the classroom (edited)

This complaint from Jeffey Omari (Gonazaga) about a student wearing a MAGA hat in his classroom is absurd, as Jonathan Turley (GW) shows. I will leave aside whether "MAGA is an undeniable symbol of white supremacy and hatred toward certain nonwhite groups" or what this says about anti-conservative discrimination in legal education.*

[*] Although I cannot let this pass: Omari writes "Being a law professor, I understand the complexities of academic freedom and free speech. I respect students’ rights to freely express their political beliefs and values within the framework of the law. Yet, at the same time . . . " You could see that "yet" coming from a mile away.

I want to focus on classroom management, after the jump.

Omari writes:

law schools are inherently institutions of professional training. Just as faculty and staff are required to maintain professional formalities to aid the training and matriculation of their students, it seems only logical that students, too, should maintain similar businesslike etiquette. . . .  But when students fail to live up to such professional expectations, what are the professors’ options? . . . Surely, there must be protocol when African-American professors—whose presence is scarce in most law schools—find their authority defiantly undermined by an insensitive student.

In what way did this student fail to maintain businesslike etiquette or to meet professional expectations? A professor or school could prohibit baseball hats in the classroom (one of my colleagues does this), but neither Omari or Gonzaga has  done this. A professor or school could require students to dress in a professional or business-casual fashion in the classroom (i.e., no baseball hats or t-shirts with writing), but neither Gonzaga nor Omari requires this. I suppose a private school or professor at a private school could ban clothing with political messages or even conservative political messages in the classroom, although that would raise some concerns for academic freedom and basic common sense; but neither Gonzaga nor Omari has done this in any event.  So if, under the rules of the school and the professor, student can wear a baseball hat with any political message in this classroom, in what way did this student fail to meet his "professional expectations"? Other than by wearing a hat with a message the prof does not like.

As Omari describes his behavior, the student does not appear disruptive, disrespectful, unprofessional, or undermining. The student raised his hand to participate in class discussions, so he seems to be an engaged student who adheres to the rules of the classroom. Omari does not say the student's comments were unprofessional, provocative, or poorly thought out or expressed, or that the comments in any way interfered with the conversation or with the professor's authority. Since I expect Omari would have said so to support his case against the student, I infer from silence that the student's contributions were good, relevant, and well-stated remarks that furthered the classroom dynamic. Omari also says he "knew this student’s political leanings from our various class discussions throughout the course of the semester," without saying that this was revealed through prior irrelevant, disrespectful, or disruptive comments; again, his silence suggests an engaged student participating in the learning experience throughout the semester within the rules of the forum and not acting in an inappropriate or unprofessional way. Arguably, in fact, Omari, not the student, disrupted the class when he took the time from the substantive discussion to comment on the student's sartorial choices.*

[*] Turley makes a good point on this: The prof tells the student he likes the hat and the student smiles and says thank you. But the prof --who was untruthful in saying he liked the hat, describes the student as being the one using a mocking tone.

According to Omari, this incident occurred with three weeks left in the semester. He draws a lot from the fact that the student had not worn this hat or anything political to that point. But so what? No one wears the same hat or clothing every day. Moreover, I doubt Omari would be in less high dudgeon had the student done this on the first day rather than 75 % through the course. Which raises a more telling point. This was not the first encounter between professor and student, where this hat provided the professor's first impression of the student. This student had been in this class for most of the semester, participating  frequently enough that Omari knew his political leanings (which he obviously does not share) but without (apparent) incident. But none of that context comes through or affects Omari's telling. Regardless of anything that happened the previous weeks of the class, regardless of the student's overall performance and behavior, donning that hat, without more, rendered this person an "insensitive student" who "defiantly undermined" this professor.

Gonzaga dean Jacob Rooksby issued the following word salad: "The School of Law diligently works to provide a respectful and inclusive environment that welcomes all students, faculty, and staff. We respect the points of view of all members of our community. This situation presents an opportunity for our community to listen to and learn from each other." Frankly, I think the dean, who presumably knows something about law, has a bigger problem: One of his faculty members took to a national publication and called a student--unnamed but readily identifiable within a small institution (Gonzaga has about 350 students)--unprofessional, insensitive, disrespectful, and racist. For engaging in constitutionally protected speech supporting the sitting President.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 12, 2019 at 11:54 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (46)