Wednesday, January 25, 2023
||Washington & Lee
||Danielle Keats Citron
||J. Mark Ramseyer
January 25, 2023 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Following up on this morning's post, ChatGPT Gets B|B- Grade On Wharton MBA Exam: Jonathan Choi (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Kristin Hickman (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Amy Monahan (Minnesota) & Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), ChatGPT Goes to Law School:
How well can AI models write law school exams without human assistance? To find out, we used the widely publicized AI model ChatGPT to generate answers on four real exams at the University of Minnesota Law School. We then blindly graded these exams as part of our regular grading processes for each class. Over 95 multiple choice questions and 12 essay questions, ChatGPT performed on average at the level of a C+ student, achieving a low but passing grade in all four courses. After detailing these results, we discuss their implications for legal education and lawyering. We also provide example prompts and advice on how ChatGPT can assist with legal writing.
January 24, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink
Sunday, January 22, 2023
David Grenardo (St. Thomas-Minnesota), How A Person of Faith Can Address Imposter Syndrome in Law School, 37 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y ___ (2023):
Imposter syndrome makes people feel as if they are frauds and others will soon find out that they do not belong. Imposter syndrome typically affects high achievers, which includes law students and lawyers. Law schools can provide resources and tools for law students to address imposter syndrome, but a person of faith can approach imposter syndrome in unique ways. This Article sets forth the various ways a law student of faith can confront and overcome imposter syndrome.
January 22, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
1. Bryce Clayton Newell (Oregon), 2022 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews:
This is an updated ranking of the top flagship law reviews at US law schools. ...
The MetaRank was computed by averaging ranks (using a 25% weighting from each) of the following rankings:
prRank = US News Peer Reputation score ranking (averaged over 10 years);
usnRank = overall US News school ranking (averaged over 10 years);
wluRank = Washington & Lee Law Journal Ranking;
gRank = Google Scholar Metrics ranking (note: “1000” means journal was not indexed).
2. Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC), Information for Submitting Articles to Law Reviews & Journals (Revised Jan. 13, 2022):
This document contains information about submitting articles to law reviews and journals, including the methods for submitting an article, any special formatting requirements, how to contact them to request an expedited review, and how to contact them to withdraw an article from consideration. It covers 195 law reviews.
January 17, 2023 in Law Review Rankings, Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Friday, January 13, 2023
Mary Christie Institute, The Mental Health and Well Being of Young Professionals:
The prevalence of mental health issues among college students is well documented (Auerbach et al, 2018, National College Health Assessment, American College Health Association, 2021), yet less is known about this same population group as they graduate and begin their careers. The Mary Christie Institute, in partnership with the Healthy Minds Network, the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a survey of graduates between the ages of 22 and 28 seeking to better understand the mental and emotional health of early career professionals. We believe understanding more about the emotional and mental wellbeing of the “Gen Z” workforce can serve to create a bridge between higher education and industry in this regard and may help to address the mental health problems that are defining this generation.
January 13, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, January 12, 2023
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Symposium, Lawyers, Leadership, and Change: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities in Unprecedented Times, 62 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1-244 (2022):
- Donald J. Polden (Dean Emeritus, Santa Clara), Introduction, 62 Santa Clara L. Rev. i (2022)
- Lindsey P. Gustafson (Arkansas-Little Rock), Aric K. Short (Texas A&M; Google Scholar) & Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas-MN; Google Scholar), Teaching and Assessing Active Listening as a Foundational Skill for Lawyers as Leaders, Counselors, Negotiators, and Advocates, 62 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1 (2022)
- Joan MacLeod Heminway (Tennessee; Google Scholar), Change Leadership and the Law School Curriculum, 62 Santa Clara L. Rev. 43 (2022)
January 10, 2023 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Laura Padilla (California Western; Google Scholar), The Black–White Paradigm’s Continuing Erasure of Latinas: See Women Law Deans of Color, 99 Denver L. Rev. 683 (2022):
This Essay describes the Black–White paradigm and how it erases communities of color that do not fit within it, thus further marginalizing already sidelined communities. The Essay focuses on Latinas, elaborating on how the Black–White binary places them in an impossible position, making it difficult to discuss race beyond Black and White and to consider and resolve other communities’ discrete, race related issues.
It illustrates the Black–White paradigm erasure point about Latinas with a story about women law deans of color. The seventy-five serving as law deans at this moment represent the largest number to date, and the majority are white (43.5). Among the 31.5 women of color, 25.5 are Black, and the remaining are Latina (4), Asian (2), and Indigenous (1).
January 10, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Saturday, January 7, 2023
Goldburn Maynard Jr. (Indiana-Kelley Business School; Google Scholar), Killing the Motivation of the Minority Professor, 107 Minn. L. Rev. 245 (2022):
This Essay hypothesizes that a significant number of junior scholars with radical or non-normative ideas forego those ideas or mute them in order to fit their work within the dominant paradigm of legal scholarship. Even those who move forward and publish their radical or non-normative proposals spend significant time attempting to overcome internal and external resistance, negotiating with mentors, and finding ways to make the radical seem palatable. This disproportionately harms the productivity of minority law professors not only through inefficiency but also through the long-term destruction of intrinsic motivation that is vital and overlaps with successful, fulfilling, and productive careers. To counteract some of these stifling effects, the Essay proposes several ways universities and the legal academy can support radical and non-normative scholarship.
January 7, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Friday, January 6, 2023
Jessica Findley, Adriana Cimetta, Heidi Burross, Katherine Cheng, Matt Charles, Cayley Balser, Ran Li & Christopher T. Robertson (Arizona), JD-Next: A Valid and Reliable Tool to Predict Diverse Students’ Success in Law School, 20 J. Empirical Legal Stud. __ (2023):
Admissions tests have increasingly come under attack by those seeking to broaden access and reduce disparities in higher education. Meanwhile, in other sectors there is a movement towards “work-sample” or “proximal” testing. Especially for underrepresented students, the goal is to measure not just the accumulated knowledge and skills that they would bring to a new academic program, but also their ability to grow and learn through the program.
The JD-Next is a fully-online, non-credit, 7-10 week course to train potential JD students in case reading and analysis skills, prior to their first year of law school. This study tests the validity and reliability of the JD-Next exam as a potential admissions tool for juris doctor programs of education. (In a companion article, we report on the efficacy of the course for preparing students for law school.)
January 6, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Alexa Chew (North Carolina; Google Scholar) & Rachel Gurvich (North Carolina), Saying the Quiet Parts Out Loud: Teaching Students How Law School Works, 100 Neb. L. Rev. 887 (2022):
Like the law we teach our students, legal education itself isn’t neutral. It is the product of both structural forces and individual decisions. Hierarchy and structural inequality permeate our society, so of course they permeate the institutions within our society, including law schools. But law schools are not only passive recipients of these permeating atoms of injustice. They have some agency in determining which inequities to nurture (or not) in the learning environment. As it stands, though, the environment in which students learn the law can be an incubator of inequality.”
January 6, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, January 5, 2023
Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar) & Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Law, Legal Socializations, and Epistemic Injustice, 47 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1026 (2022) (reviewing Meera E. Deo (Southwestern), Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia (Stanford University Press 2019); and Deborah Tuerkheimer (Northwestern), Credible: Why We Doubt Accusers and Protect Abusers (HarperCollins 2021):
This review essay looks at the relationship between Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Credible (2021) and Meera Deo’s Unequal Profession (2019) in order to make a substantive point about inequality in legal institutions and the methods that are employed in dissecting them. At first glance, the connections between these projects might not seem apparent, although each deals with the inequalities in which its actors in focus are embedded. But both projects go deeper by unveiling institutional inequities that are often in plain sight when we investigate the background frameworks implicated in their production, and they reveal the problematic relationship between everyday discrimination and the systemic biases that justify them.
January 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Josh Blackman (South Texas; Google Scholar), Can GPT Pass the Multistate Bar Exam?:
My frequent co-authors, Mike Bommarito and Dan Katz utilized a different software tool from OpenAI, known as GPT-3.5, to answer the multiple choice questions on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE). If there are four choices, the "baseline guessing rate" would be 25%. With no specific training, GPT scored an overall accuracy rate of 50.3%. That's better than what many law school graduates can achieve. And in particular, GPT reached the average passing rate for two topics: Evidence and Torts. (I'll let Evidence or Torts scholars speculate about why those topics may be easier for AI.) Here is a summary of the results from their paper:
The table and figure clearly show that GPT-3.5 is not yet passing the overall multiple choice exam. However, GPT-3.5 is significantly exceeding the baseline random chance rate of 25%. Furthermore, GPT-3.5 has reached the average passing rate for at least two categories, Evidence and Torts.
On average across all categories, GPT-3.5 is trailing human test-takers by approximately 17%. In the case of Evidence, Torts, and Civil Procedure, this gap is negligible or in the single digits; at 1.5 times the standard error of the mean across our test runs, GPT-3.5 is already at parity with humans for Evidence questions. However, for the remaining categories of Constitutional Law, Real Property, Contracts, and Criminal Law, the gap is much more material, rising as high as 36% in the case of Criminal Law. ...
January 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Eugene Volokh (UCLA; Google Scholar), Free Speech Rules, Free Speech Culture, and Legal Education (Hofstra Law Review Symposium, Freedom of Expression at American Law Schools (Feb. 10, 2023)):
The lawyer's job is to persuade people, including people who may disagree with the lawyer. To do this, lawyers must be able to connect with people whose views may be very different from their own.
And this is so even if the lawyer's views are held by the majority: Sometimes, for instance, the lawyer must persuade all members of a jury. Even in a solid blue state, the lawyer may need to persuade some red jurors, and vice versa. Even in a jurisdiction where most judges are liberals, the lawyer may draw a conservative judge, or a majority-conservative panel. A lawyer will also often need to persuade opposing counsel; to build trust with a reluctant witness; and of course to interact productively with the lawyer's own client. All of them may sharply disagree with the lawyer on important matters.
One critical function of law schools is to help students learn the skills that they can use to persuade people with whom they disagree. As importantly, law schools must help students learn the habits and attitudes required for that—and to unlearn the habits and attitudes, which are so much a part of human nature, that tend to undermine such connections.
December 28, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Patricia E. Salkin (Touro), May It Please the Campus: Lawyers Leading Higher Education (Touro University Press 2022):
This is a groundbreaking study on the important and little known role that lawyers have played as leaders in higher education.
The book traces the history of lawyer campus presidents from the 1700s to present, exploring dozens of topics such as: where lawyer presidents went to law school; the percentage of lawyer presidents serving at public, private, community, HBCUs, and religiously affiliated institutions; geographic concentrations of campuses led by lawyers, women lawyer presidents, pathways to the presidency for lawyers, commonalities in backgrounds, and more. The author explores reasons for an exponential increase in lawyers serving as campus leaders examining the growth of legal education and myriad legal and regulatory issues confronting higher education.
Dr. Salkin’s important book is original, engaging, provocative, comprehensive, and data driven. It’s a must read for anyone who cares about academic leadership and the future of higher education at a time when the only constants are accelerating change, daunting (often unexpected) crises, and proliferating regulation and legal challenges. Dr. Salkin provides us an invaluable resource for finding the right kind of lawyers who have the ‘Swiss-army-knife’-type professional tool kit and temperament to handle the myriad demands of academic administrative jobs.
December 14, 2022 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Elizabeth Emens (Columbia), Law’s Contributions to the Mindfulness Revolution, 2022 Utah L. Rev. 573 (2022):
These are phenomenally challenging times. Mindfulness is a tool that can help lawyers support themselves, each other, their clients, and their collaborators in the hard work needed to build community and take action. For these and other reasons, mindfulness has made major inroads into law and legal institutions. Law firms, law schools, and courthouses offer training in mindfulness meditation to support the cognitive clarity and emotional self-regulation necessary for the demanding work of analyzing problems, resolving conflicts, overcoming bias, and doing justice. A growing literature, from empirical social science to legal scholarship, catalogs these and other benefits of mindfulness for lawyers, judges, and law students.
December 13, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Sarah B. Lawsky (Northwestern; Google Scholar), Coding the Code: Catala and Computationally Accessible Tax Law, 75 S.M.U. L. Rev. 535 (2022):
This Article describes a new programming language, Catala, created by a team of computer scientists and lawyers. Catala provides a tractable and functional approach to coding U.S. tax law that offers a more transparent formalization and could potentially hold the government more accountable than the current patchwork of forms, worksheets, and secret programs.
While this Article describes a particular programming language, key characteristics of this particular language could generalize to other programming languages that formalize the law.
December 13, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink
Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn) & Catherine Bramble (BYU), Actively Achieving Greater Racial Equity in the Law School Classroom, 70 Clev. St. L. Rev. 709 (2022):
2020 illustrated the ongoing pervasiveness of implicit and explicit racism in our society. Less well-acknowledged and recognized is the extent to which Socratic pedagogy also reflects those pervasive racist realities while simultaneously resulting in inferior learning based on a teaching method invented 150+ years ago. Despite this racist and outdated reality, the legal academy has been reluctant to alter the traditional method of teaching. Tangible, empirical evidence obtained from data-driven cognitive learning science research demonstrates that active learning not only improves learning outcomes for all students, but also mitigates the structural effects of racism in the classroom thereby increasing racial equity. Most law professors do not fully understand what active learning entails and underestimate how different an active learning classroom looks from a traditional Socratic class. Once educators explore the evidence in this Article supporting active learning as a pedagogical method for increasing greater racial equity in the classroom, understand why most of the rationales frequently cited in support of Socratic teaching are unsupported, and implement the tangible and feasible techniques discussed to facilitate the transition away from Socratic towards active learning, the inertial resistance to the change will be overcome. In so doing, law professors can embrace best teaching practices, achieve maximum learning gains for their students, and create classrooms where every student is engaged, included, and supported in a truly equitable learning environment.
December 13, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Andrew M. Perlman (Dean, Suffolk; Google Scholar) & Open AI's Assistant, The Implications of OpenAI’s Assistant for Legal Services and Society:
On November 30, 2022, OpenAI released a chatbot called ChatGPT. To demonstrate the chatbot’s remarkable sophistication and its potential implications, both for legal services and society more generally, a human author generated this paper in about an hour through prompts within ChatGPT. Only this abstract, the outline headers, and the prompts were written by a person. ChatGPT generated the rest of the text with no human editing.
December 7, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Jeremy Fogel (Berkeley Judicial Institute), Mary Hoopes (Pepperdine) & Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court), Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights From Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals (more here):
Judicial clerkships are key positions of responsibility and coveted opportunities for career advancement. Commentators have noted that the demographics of law clerks do not align with the student population by law school, socioeconomic background, gender, race, or ethnicity, and that ideological matching is prevalent between judges and their clerks. But extant studies draw on limited data and offer little visibility into how judges actually select clerks. For this study, we conducted in-depth individual interviews with fifty active judges of the federal courts of appeals to learn how they approach law clerk selection and diversity. Our sample, though not fully representative of the judiciary, includes judges from all circuits, appointed by Presidents of both parties, with average tenure of fourteen years. The confidential interviews, which drew in part upon the peer relationship that two of us have with fellow judges, yielded rich and candid insights not captured by prior surveys.
December 7, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Christopher L. Mathis (Iowa; Google Scholar), An Access and Equity Ranking of Public Law Schools, 74 Rutgers U.L. Rev. 677 (2022):
Over the past few decades, several comprehensive ranking systems, including the influential U.S. News and World Report’s Best Law Schools rankings, have emerged to provide useful information to prospective law students seeking to enroll in law school. These ranking systems have defined what is measured as “quality” and what outcomes law schools focus on to gain a better position in the ranking. These rankings fail to measure what many law schools claim to be one of their longstanding goals— diversity, access, and equity.
One of the problematic and shocking reasons U.S. News cites for not including diversity measures in the ranking is that law schools themselves have no consensus on diversity. I counter this argument, asserting that while there may not be widespread consensus—for certain people—on diversity, there is substantial academic scholarship and agreement on the tenets of diversity that ranking enthusiasts can use to design an effective diversity measure. I maintain that any ranking that does not include diversity, access, and equity measures often leave communities of color and their interests in the margins. Therefore, this Article seeks to center the needs of Black and Latinx prospective law students through a new ranking system
Given that public law schools aim to increase racial/ethnic diversity—that is, the number of racial/ethnic minoritized students—because of their institutional missions, the Article provides the first ranking of public law schools on “Access and Equity” measures. It describes ranking law schools based on measurable outcomes related to diversity, access, and equity. This ranking uses twelve access and equity measures that are significant to Black and Latinx law school fit. This “Access and Equity Ranking” is the only ranking to date that will help Black and Latinx students identify which public law schools centers their needs.
The Top 25 law schools under this measure are:
December 1, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Diane Kemker (Southern), “Cracking Open” the Tax Casebook: Genre, Ideological Closure, and the Earned Income Tax Credit:
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a large federal grant program that operates as a “negative income tax” for America’s poorest working taxpayers. It also attracts a grossly disproportionate share of IRS enforcement attention, under audit policies that disparately impact poor Black families and communities. One might think that a topic like this, a credit claimed by tens of millions of American taxpayers every year and resulting in hundreds of thousands of audits, would receive robust coverage in the casebooks from which basic federal income tax courses are typically taught in law school. But in three leading casebooks, including one that is over 1000 pages in length and another that expressly states an intention to address race and gender issues in tax law, the entire treatment of the EITC takes up no more than a page or two.
December 1, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 70, No. 2 & 3 (Winter and Spring 2021):
From the Editors
- Cass R. Sunstein (Harvard; Google Scholar), Self-Silencing and Online Learning, 70 J. Legal Educ. 205 (2021)
- Danielle M. Conway (Penn State-Dickinson), Embracing and Making Change in Legal Education: Serving the Law Students of Today and Tomorrow, 70 J. Legal Educ. 215 (2021)
- Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty, 70 J. Legal Educ. 230 (2021)
- Yvonne M. Dutton (Indiana-McKinney) & Margaret Ryznar (Brooklyn), Law School Pedagogy Post-Pandemic: Harnessing the Benefits of Online Teaching, 70 J. Legal Educ. 252 (2021)
- Audrey Fried (Osgoode Hall), Using a Community of Inquiry Framework to Make the Transition to Teaching Law Online, 70 J. Legal Educ. 274 (2021)
- William S. Blatt (Miami), The Power of Presence in Socratic Teaching: The Effect of Substituting Videoconferencing for In-Person Classes, 70 J. Legal Educ. 284 (2021)
- Andrele Brutus St. Val (Pittsburgh), Survey Says—How to Engage Law Students in the Online Learning Environment, 70 J. Legal Educ. 297 (2021)
- Sarah Fishel (Ithaca), David DeMatteo (Drexel; Google Scholar) & Kellie Wiltsie (J.D./Ph.D. Candidate, Drexel), Certainly Uncertain: Facilitating Law Student Professional Growth and Well-Being Through Supervision in Light of COVID-19, 70 J. Legal Educ. 331 (2021)
- A. Michael Froomkin (Miami; Google Scholar), The Virtual Law School, 2.0, 70 J. Legal Educ. 348 (2021)
- Christian Powell Sundquist (Pittsburgh; Google Scholar), Technology and the (Re)Construction of Law, 70 J. Legal Educ. 402 (2021)
- Richard K. Neumann Jr. (Hofstra), Violations During the Pandemic of Law School Faculties’ Authority to Decide Methods of Instruction, 70 J. Legal Educ. 413 (2021)
- Michael A. Mogill (Penn State-Dickinson), We Are...Community!, 70 J. Legal Educ. 459 (2021)
At the Lectern
November 29, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Monday, November 21, 2022
Daniel A. Crane (Michigan), Antitrust Concerns on Firing U.S. News & World Report:
My view on the merits is that the USNWR rankings scheme is bad for legal education, for many of the reasons articulated by Deans Gerken, Manning, and Chemerinksy. It’s not that rankings are necessarily bad—giving students, employers, and others information on law schools is important. The problem is that USNWR places weight on arbitrary and manipulable factors, which in turn pressure schools to allocate resources in ways that are detrimental to legal education, equity, and ultimately society at large. So sign me up for the project of breaking USNWR’s spell.
Ever since yesterday’s announcements, folks have been asking me whether there is a potential antitrust problem with any of this. ...
November 21, 2022 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Deborah N. Pearlstein (Cardozo), What War Did to the Academy, What the Academy Did to War: A 20-Year Retrospective on the Effects of the Post-9/11 Wars, 54 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 171 (2022):
The history of the legal academy’s impact on the way states fight wars is hardly one of unmixed glory. It was a law professor moonlighting for President Lincoln who authored “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field” during the Civil War, a code still recognized worldwide today for having laid critical groundwork for the modern law of war. It was likewise a law professor whose work came to serve as both theoretical and practical justification for the sweeping powers of the Nazi state. So it should perhaps be unsurprising that, two decades of engagement with the post-9/11 wars, academics’ influence on U.S. legal policy reveals an equally mixed picture. Many law professors labored to challenge government policies in defense of human rights and the rule of law, representing clients inside government and out. Others played critical roles in justifying or legitimating legally and morally suspect state behavior. But what is perhaps most striking about this record, on which this Symposium invites us to reflect, is the extent to which scholars today continue to debate which effect was which. Among the more challenging critiques levied against those who advocated government compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law has been the worry that such efforts, however well intentioned, in fact functioned to legitimate many of the most problematic U.S. policies of the era.
November 17, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tom Sharbaugh (Penn State), Is It Possible to Find Meaning in BigLaw?:
After reading the recently published Servants to the Damned (2022) by investigative reporter David Enrich, which chronicles the role of large law firms in today’s political polarization and wealth disparities, I revisited some earlier psychology materials to consider whether a lawyer could find meaning while pursuing a career in Big Law.
Servants offered two questions in the context of trying to understand a Big Law team’s sanctions-worthy, abusive discovery maneuvers on behalf of its Big Pharma client in a product liability case filed by the parents of a brain-damaged child: “Am I proud of the work I’m doing?” and “Am I the person I want to be?” ...
In my own experience, both within a large law firm and talking to partners at other large firms, participation in pro bono projects is very popular among the lawyers in Big Law. With a depressing eye on “what do I get for this?”, the associates in most firms have successfully lobbied to have their pro bono hours count towards their annual billable hour targets. (As you would expect, firms had to limit how many pro bono hours would count as “billable” after a few associates decided to work 2,200 billable hours (and claim an extra bonus) based almost solely on their pro bono activities.) ...
November 17, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Harmony Decosimo (Suffolk; Google Scholar), Taxonomizing Professional Identity Formation: The Soul of Legal Education, 67 St. Louis U. L.J. __ (2023):
Following the ABA’s recent mandate requiring law schools to provide students with opportunities for “professional identity formation,” this is the first article to taxonomize the field of professional identity formation advanced or employed in U.S. law schools. By organizing this muddled field into three dominant approaches and examining the primary and sometimes unspoken goals of each, this article unveils the potential pitfalls in this project, including the possibility of coercion, indoctrination, impotence, or waste. Ultimately, this article paves the way for more honest, open, and fruitful dialogue and debate as law schools strategically plan how best to engage in the professional identity formation of future lawyers.
November 17, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Katie Pryal (North Carolina; Google Scholar), Front-Line Faculty and Systemic Burnout: Why More Faculty Should Attend to Law Students' Mental Health and the Inequities Caused by Faculty Who Opt Out, 27 Legal Writing ___ (2023):
Law schools are facing a population shock event, which is a far-reaching traumatic event that has affected a large group of people—in our case, the pandemic. And although law students have long struggled with their mental health, depression and anxiety among law students have become a crisis, with more than eight out of ten law students having been depressed and/or anxious during the pandemic. A consequence of the pandemic population shock event is that law students are experiencing "systemic burnout," which is difficult to perceive and treat because of its prevalence in the population. This large-scale the mental health problem requires a large-scale solution: at the institutional level, law schools must address the systemic burnout our students face—and the depression and anxiety that almost inevitably follow.
November 15, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Monday, November 14, 2022
Michigan Law School has issued a Call for Papers for its 9th Annual Junior Scholars' Conference:
The University of Michigan Law School is pleased to invite junior scholars to attend the 9th Annual Junior Scholars Conference, which will take place in person on April 21-22, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Conference provides junior scholars with a platform to present and discuss their work with peers and receive feedback from prominent members of the Michigan Law faculty. The Conference aims to promote fruitful collaboration between participants and to encourage their integration into a community of legal scholars. The Junior Scholars Conference is intended for academics in both law and related disciplines. Applications from graduate students, SJD/PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers, lecturers, teaching fellows, and assistant professors (pre-tenure), who have not held an academic position for more than four years, are welcome.
Submission: To apply to the Conference, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words reflecting the unpublished work that you wish to present and a copy of your CV through the online submission form by January 9, 2023.
November 14, 2022 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Friday, November 11, 2022
Scott Devito (Ave Maria; Google Scholar), Kelsey Hample (Furman; Google Scholar) & Erin Lain (Drake; Google Scholar), Examining the Bar Exam: An Empirical Analysis of Racial Bias in the Uniform Bar Examination, 55 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 597 (2022):
The legal profession is one of the least diverse in the United States. Given continuing issues of racism in our society, the central position the justice system occupies in our society, and the vital role lawyers play in that system, it is incumbent upon those in the profession to identify and remedy the causes of this lack of diversity. This Article seeks to understand how the bar examination, the final hurdle to entry into the profession, contributes to this lack of diversity. Using publicly available data, we analyze whether the ethnic makeup of a law school’s entering class correlates to the school’s first-time bar pass rates on the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE). We find that the higher the proportion of Black and Hispanic students in a law school’s entering class, the lower the first-time bar passage rate for that school, in its UBE jurisdictions, three years later.
November 11, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
David L. Hudson, Jr. (Belmont) & Andrea Gemignani (Belmont), The Other Bar Hurdle: An Examination of the Character and Fitness Requirement for Bar Admission, 48 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 500 (2022):
Character screening is an endemic part of the lawyer licensing process, as it has been for a long time. Some form of screening is necessary, as lawyers are officers of the court and fiduciaries with whom people repose a great deal of trust with their most intractable and important problems. But the process should be revamped to ensure it is fair and equitable. Any remaining vestiges of discrimination, whether against racial minorities or individuals with disabilities, must be eliminated. State bars and courts should continue to move toward awareness of social science research to determine appropriate evidence and factors for consideration in evaluating current moral character. Alternatives, such as an expansion of conditional admission or law student residency programs that focus on current fitness rather than past conduct, should be considered.
November 2, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Emily Grant (Washburn; Google Scholar) & Elisabeth Wilder (Washburn), I Quit: Lessons for Educators from The Great Resignation, 85 U. Pitt. L. Rev. ___ (2023):
The Great Resignation is the story of millions of Americans who have quit their jobs in search of something different and represents a cultural shift in how people think about work. The demands of the Great Resignation—meaning, better working conditions, and work-life balance—will continue to be present in the foreseeable future. As such, educators must begin to incorporate these cultural shifts into their professional development curriculum and career services.
As educators, we spend so much time trying to help our students find and keep jobs that we often neglect the importance of teaching students how to change jobs. Many of our institutions are not preparing students for the reality that they will likely quit and switch jobs multiple times throughout their careers, especially within the first five years of their career.
November 2, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Paula A. Monopoli (Maryland), Feminist Legal History and Legal Pedagogy, 108 Va. L. Rev. Online 91 (2022):
Women are mere trace elements in the traditional law school curriculum. They exist only on the margins of the canonical cases. Built on masculine norms, traditional modes of legal pedagogy involve appellate cases that overwhelmingly involve men as judges and advocates. The resulting silence signals that women are not makers of law—especially constitutional law. Teaching students critical modes of analysis like feminist legal theory and critical race feminism matters. But unmoored from feminist legal history, such critical theory is incomplete and far less persuasive. This Essay focuses on feminist legal history as foundational if students are to understand the implications of feminist legal theory. It offers several examples to illustrate how centering women and correcting their erasure from our constitutional memory is essential to educating future judges and advocates.
November 2, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Gail S. Stephenson (Southern; Google Scholar), The Unsung Heroes of the Desegregation of American Law Schools, 51 J. of L. & Educ. 118 (2022):
In 1940 seventeen American states prohibited interracial education by force of law. In 1945 the south offered white students sixteen law schools, but African-American students were limited to one segregated law school. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP developed a strategy to desegregate American education by first attacking the inequities in graduate and professional education in the courts. Law schools were the first targets as Marshall hoped to develop a cadre of civil rights advocates who could carry on his work.
These lawsuits required courageous individuals to step forward to serve as test plaintiffs. These individuals were vilified, intimidated, and threatened. Ultimately only two actually graduated from the schools they sued to attend and practiced law, although some graduated from other law schools and went on to highly successful careers.
November 1, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Joan W. Howarth (UNLV; Dean Emerita, Michigan State; Google Scholar), The Professional Responsibility Case for Valid and Nondiscriminatory Bar Exams, 33 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 931 (2020):
Title VII protects against workplace discrimination in part through the scrutiny of employment tests whose results differ based on race, gender, or ethnicity. Such tests are said to have a disparate impact, and their use is illegal unless their validity can be established. Validity means that the test is job-related and measures what it purports to measure. Further, under Title VII, even a valid employment test with a disparate impact could be struck down if less discriminatory alternatives exist.
Licensing tests, including bar exams, have been found to be outside these Title VII protections. But the nondiscrimination values that animate Title VII disparate impact analysis for employers apply just as fundamentally to attorney licensing through principles of professional responsibility and legal ethics.
October 29, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Kris Franklin (New York Law School), Meditations on Teaching What Isn't, 66 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 47 (2022):
Lawyers reason from facts, but we also reason from absence.
The lack of something we might logically expect to be found, but has not been, may be highly and suggestively meaningful. In a culture infused with matters of race and not-infrequently affected by racism, what "is not there" will often be things that especially intersect with the lives of people of color.
This essay explores the teaching of absence as a form of logical thinking. In so doing, it surveys a wide array of examples in various core legal subjects that may point to the omission of diverse perspectives. The article provides law faculty and students with samples of ways to make more visible that which is currently not seen.
October 27, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Vitor M. Dias (Indiana-Bloomington), Black Lawyers Matter: Enduring Racism in American Law Firms, 55 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 99 (2021):
Scholars and practitioners have extensively examined patterns of racial inequality in U.S. corporate law firms. In the corporate bar, pull factors that have long shaped legal professionals’ careers include promotions, outside job offers, and family priorities that may lead to leaving the labor force altogether. Push factors, such as discrimination, problems with management, and work-life conflict, also precipitate work transitions. Beyond corporate firms, however, an urgent question remains open to empirical scrutiny: How does race affect career moves in the contemporary American legal profession?
In this Article, I address this question drawing upon data from the first nationally representative, longitudinal survey of U.S. lawyers. This study is one of few that uses event history analysis as a statistical technique to examine legal careers.
October 26, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Saturday, October 22, 2022
James C. Ho (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit), Agreeing to Disagree: Restoring America by Resisting Cancel Culture, 27 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 1 (2022):
The purpose of these remarks is to protect students. But it's also to protect the rest of us. Because the spillover effects—on the legal profession, on corporate America, and on any number of other leading American institutions—are very real and very harmful. When we teach students to cancel others in the classroom, they take those lessons and use them on their employers, co-workers, and fellow citizens across the country. What happens on campus doesn't stay on campus.
The objective here is not to advance a particular viewpoint, but to ensure that students are exposed to all viewpoints. The goal is not to hamper anyone's career, but to protect everyone's careers. Cancel culture is a cancer on our culture. And we need a cure now, before it's too late.
We've reached the point where powerful law firm leaders and distinguished legal academics confess that they're "afraid" of their own associates and "terrified" of their own law students. Let that marinate for a moment. Why are they so afraid? These are not foolish people. What is it they fear that cancel culture can do to their lives, their careers, and their families? And what does that say about the state of the world we're living in today?
October 22, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Sonia Gipson Rankin (New Mexico; Google Scholar), What’s (Race in) the Law Got to Do With It: Incorporating Race in Legal Curriculum, 54 Conn. L. Rev. 923 (2022):
Gen Z is defined as including persons born after 1996 and, in 2018, the first Gen Z would have been twenty-two years old, the historically traditional age that many complete undergraduate studies and enter law school. With Gen Z entering law schools, the legal academy has been wholeheartedly preparing for the arrival of the first truly digital native generation in a myriad of ways. However, law training has been slow to progress in addressing the unspoken complexities of context and unconscious bias in the classroom with this population. Today’s Gen Z students were predominately raised in de facto segregated schools and communities reminiscent of the Silent Generation of those born between 1920s and 1940s. The legal academy now has a critical opportunity to educate future attorneys, legal scholars, executives, judges, and legislators through guided classroom discussions on systemic racism and unconscious bias beginning in their first year of law school. By embedding these conversations in legal education, students can shape their understanding of the cases they study and learn additional nuances to address in the law.
October 20, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Laura Norris (Santa Clara) & Eric Goldman (Santa Clara; Google Scholar), How Santa Clara Law's 'Tech Edge JD' Program Improves the School's Admissions Yield, Diversity, & Employment Outcomes, 26 Marq. Intell. Prop. L. Rev. __ (2022):
In 2018, Santa Clara Law launched an innovative new certificate, called the “Tech Edge JD” (TEJD), for JD students who know when they apply to law school that they want to pursue technology law. TEJD students acquire valuable professional skills by completing milestones, not just specific courses, with support from a faculty/staff advisor and two practitioner mentors. This paper describes how the certificate works and highlights some program outcomes, including the program’s success at simultaneously improving the law school’s admissions statistics and yield, diversity, and employment outcomes.
October 19, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Isaac Mamaysky (Albany), Happiness and the Law: Lifelong Learning as a Path to Meaning and Purpose, 62 Santa Clara L. Rev. __ (2022):
We begin with the premise that the happiest and most fulfilled attorneys are those who live a life of meaning and purpose. While many in the legal profession have achieved this goal, many others are unsatisfied with their career trajectories but feel, for a variety of reasons, that they aren’t empowered to make a change. The article argues that it’s not just possible—but, for many attorneys, should be the goal—to merge personal and professional interests to achieve a career filled with meaning and purpose.
The article goes on to argue that lifelong learning is the path to getting there. As every practitioner knows, law school taught us an analytical framework—how to "think like a lawyer"—which is reinforced in all aspects of legal practice. Relying on those analytical skills, it's entirely possible to learn new practice areas, write on new topics, and continually evolve one's legal career to align with personal goals.
The concept of a continuous evolution is important because meaning and purpose change over time, so even the most fulfilled attorneys need to make adjustments throughout their career to hit this mark. While these types of career adjustments certainly may entail significant transitions, they more commonly entail micro-adjustments to one's trajectory and current role that are minor in the moment but can have a significant impact over time.
October 18, 2022 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Sunday, October 16, 2022
Kathleen Brady (Emory), Independent and Overlapping: Institutional Religious Freedom and Religious Providers of Social Services, 54 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. __ (2022):
Roughly two decades ago, scholarly interest in the limits of government involvement in religious institutions exploded. Scholars explored distinctions between the spiritual and temporal dimensions of human activity and identified numerous individual, social, spiritual and civic goods associated with independent religious groups, and from these foundations, they defined and refined areas of protection and immunity from government intervention. A shared premise of much of this work was that religious matters belong to religious believers and their institutions and that the internal governance and operations of these institutions must be kept from state interference. In 2012 this scholarship bore fruit when the Supreme Court recognized a “ministerial exception” from employment discrimination laws and again in 2020 when the Court construed this exception expansively and grounded it in a “broad” and “general principle of church autonomy.”
In recent years, however, the rapid acceleration of culture war battles over family, sexuality and reproductive choice has been pushing a new set of issues before courts and scholars, and these issues have involved aspects of institutional governance that are at once internal and outward-facing. The most vexing conflicts, and those that are the focus of this paper, arise where religious and government entities are working together to advance the public good through programs that are funded by the government or through highly regulated areas of joint activity like health care and child welfare. In these shared areas of activity, both religious groups and governments have important interests as stake, and the values of religious independence and inclusion must also be preserved.
October 16, 2022 in Faith, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, October 13, 2022
Kathryn Hobbis (J.D. 2022, Georgetown), Note, Zoom School of Law?, 34 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1025 (2021):
The Coronavirus pandemic has exposed the inconsistencies in the ABA standards for law school accreditation. Currently J.D. students are not able to earn their degree through fully virtual classes. Students can earn some credits through distance education, but not enough to complete their degree. There has been a push to reopen primary and secondary schools closed due to the pandemic because of the benefits in person schooling provides to those students. Those benefits do not translate to the law school context because the services do not exist for law students. Engagement and attendance gaps and the digital divide are creating a situation where not all virtual primary and secondary schools are the same. High income students are receiving a better education and low-income students are falling even further behind. These concerns do not translate well to law schools because students are choosing to attend law school and would be engaged and could use student loans to bridge the digital divide. The current ABA policy is in direct conflict with other ABA standards that allow for virtual education for LL.M students and Continuing Legal Education credits. Due to the pandemic, law schools have been to grant more credits for distance education credits suggesting that the ABA believes that they are a viable way for students to learn. This double standard should be changed to create uniformity among ABA guidelines.
October 13, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Janet Thompson Jackson (Washburn), Wellness and Law: Reforming Legal Education to Support Student Wellness, 65 How. L. J. 45 (2021):
No one goes to law school with the expectation that their mental health and overall well-being will be significantly compromised during those three years. But, for a substantial number of law students, it is. It does not have to be this way.
This is not a typical law review article. It cannot afford to be. Most law students begin law school as reasonably happy and well-adjusted people. We must ask, what is it about law school that contributes to the disproportionate decline in student wellness? The answer to that question is complex because many of the very factors that make good lawyers also contribute to their mental health challenges.
This paper contains a blueprint, borne out of experience, of how to reimagine legal education with a focus on wellness. This goes beyond a general call to action, but rather presents concrete actions that faculty, law administrators, and students themselves can take to effectively manage the stresses inherent in law school and the legal profession. These changes will be long-term and will profoundly impact the well-being of not only legal practitioners, but the very practice of law itself. There will be resistance, but making this transition is crucial. We know that when law students first enter law school their psychological profile is similar to that of the general public, but their depression rates increase drastically across three years of legal education. Lawyers have the dubious distinction of being the most frequently depressed professionals in the U.S., and the legal profession ranks among the highest in incidence of suicide by occupation.
October 12, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Karen J. Sneddon (Mercer), Square Pegs and Round Holes: Differentiated Instruction and the Law School Classroom, 48 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 1095 (2022):
Adapting to the needs of student learners while adequately preparing them for the challenges of the bar exam, and the demands of practice, may seem impossible. This Article shares a theoretical framework built from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and educational theories that legal educators can use. That theoretical framework, commonly referred to as an instructional strategy, is differentiated instruction. This Article first describes differentiated instruction, which originated in K-12 education and has now been translated into higher education. Second, this Article explores the value that differentiated instruction would add to the law school classroom. Third, this Article situates differentiated instruction within the context of popular teaching and learning theories to share how differentiated instruction is compatible with what law professors do now and how some modifications in current methods can amplify the learning process.
October 11, 2022 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink