National Law Journal, As Law Prof, Gorsuch Banned Laptops, Garnered Respect:
While pundits across the country parse Neil Gorsuch's record of jurisprudence from his decade on the federal bench, professors and students at the University of Colorado Law School are praising the man they say is decent, fair and highly intelligent — even if they don't agree with his political viewpoints.
Gorsuch, nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, has taught as a visiting professor at the Boulder, Colorado, law school since 2008, two years after he was named to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Denver. (He lives just outside of Boulder — for now). He has taught legal ethics and professionalism, antitrust law and federal courts, typically handling one course a semester.
"Judge Gorsuch was, and is, extremely well-regarded by our students," said Colorado law professor Frederic Bloom. "He taught challenging classes in an unapologetically demanding way — and students liked it. His smarts, his talent, his affability, and his analytical rigor always shined through."
What also stood out was his ban of laptops in the classroom. He forbade students in his legal ethics class from using computers — an unusual move within law schools, where laptops are ubiquitous.
The computer exile was intended to eliminate distractions, boost engagement, and prompt students to listen carefully to each other, according to Jordan Henry, a second-year Colorado law student who took Gorsuch's course last semester. And it was so effective that Henry voluntarily stopped using her laptop on several other classes. "When you close the computers and get rid of distractions in class, you respond to each other and bring up counterpoints," she said. "It makes for a true discussion and a much more engaged class — and frankly a more interesting class." ...
He was paid $26,000 by the law school in 2015, according to his financial disclosure from that year, which listed upward of $3 million in assets.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Paul Caron (Pepperdine) & Rafael Gely (Missouri), Taking Back the Law School Classroom: Using Technology to Foster Active Student Learning, 54 J. Legal Educ. 551 (2004)
- Paul Caron (Pepperdine), The Path to Victory in the Classroom Laptop War? (Jan. 10, 2009)
- Kristen Murray (Temple), Debunking Myths About Laptops in the Law School Classroom (Mar. 4, 2011)
- Jeff Sovern (St. John's), Student Laptop Use During Law School Classes (Sept. 4, 2013)
- Clay Shirky (NYU), Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away (Oct. 25, 2014)
- L.A. Times, Classroom Technology Bans Improve Student Performance (Mar. 6, 2015)
- Princeton/UCLA Study, It Is Time To Ban Laptops In Law School Classrooms (Nov. 10, 2015)
- WSJ, Students Who Handwrite Notes Get Better Grades Than Students Who Type Notes On Laptops (Apr. 14, 2016)
- Stuart Green (Rutgers), After 20 Years Of Teaching, I Am Banning Laptops In My Law School Classroom (July 11, 2016)
- NY Times, Let's Resolve This New Years To Finally Ban Laptops In The Law School Classroom (Jan. 2, 2017)