Paul L. Caron
Dean





Thursday, April 18, 2024

Wake Forest Symposium: Leading Change In The Legal Profession

Symposium, Leading Change in the Legal Profession, 58 Wake Forest L. Rev. 806-1015 (2023):

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April 18, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Experiences Of Non-Traditional Law Deans And The Law Schools That Hire Them

Timothy Fisher (Dean, Connecticut (2013-2020); Google Scholar), Lessons Learned: The Experiences of Non-Traditional Law Deans and the Law Schools That Hire Them:, 72 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2024):

Journal of Legal Education (2024)Ten years ago, the United States legal academy confronted a surprising drop in student enrollment and corresponding financial pressures. Over the ensuing years most law schools recovered, albeit with significant trimming, and for the most part rebalanced their faculty and student body in a sustainable fashion. On today’s horizon, however, is a greater and more sustained threat. A shrunken student population pipeline has hit colleges and will soon reach law schools. Inflationary pressures on wages have risen, while students’ and parents’ tolerance for tuition increases may have peaked. These financial pressures will be greatest on “access” law schools – those with the fewest financial resources and whose students are likewise the least well off financially.

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April 17, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, April 12, 2024

Houston Hosts Conference Today On The Future Of Affirmative Action In Legal And Medical Education

Justice and health for allThe University of Houston Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine and the University of Houston Law Center host a conference on Justice and Health for All: The Future of Affirmative Action in Legal and Medical Education today 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM CST (registration): 

The Supreme Court’s decision in SFFA v. Harvard generated substantial concern and uncertainty about the future of affirmative action in professional programs like law and medicine. The University of Houston Law Center and the Fertitta Family College of Medicine are jointly sponsoring an academic conference on these issues, taking a balanced look at whether increasing the diversity of the legal and healthcare professions mitigates legal and healthcare inequities. And, if so, what pathways to diversity remain viable in light of existing law.

Agenda

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April 12, 2024 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

They Managed A Protest: Prohibitory, Ethical, And Prudential Policing Of Academic Speech

David H. Schraub (Lewis & Clark; Google Scholar), They Managed a Protest: Prohibitory, Ethical, and Prudential Policing of Academic Speech, 50 BYU L. Rev. __ (2025):

Byu law reviewUniversities are often a raucous setting for free speech. Tasked with encouraging deliberation and inquiry into the world’s most pressing and contentious topics, academic spaces regularly see conflicts and clashes over speech. Frequently, the university is asked to mediate these conflicts in an institutional capacity—for example, to ensure that a controversial speaker is free to deliver her remarks free from significant disruption, or to encourage university community members to relate to their peers or to a given issue area in a respectful manner.

Campus protests represent a particularly fraught instantiation of this dilemma. Protests are a form of speech, but they also in some circumstances can obstruct speech. “Shout downs”, heckling, ad hominem attacks, or crude signs or questions all have at various points been portrayed both as protected speech and the antithesis of protecting speech. The knife’s edge quality of these disputes—where universities can face censure both for being too solicitous and too censorial towards controversial speech—should ideally counsel humility in how we judge the university actors tasked with policing speech controversies.

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April 10, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

How Institutional Speech Erodes Academic Freedom

Aaron J. Saiger (Fordham), How Institutional Speech Erodes Academic Freedom, in The Free Inquiry Papers (American Enterprise Institute Press, 2024):

AEI (2024)University pronouncements on contentious issues are proclamations of official orthodoxy. Such declarations label adherents as right-thinkers, and place actual and potential dissenters on notice that their opinions are false and wrongheaded. Issuing such statements is inimical to a thriving culture of free inquiry. Academic freedom requires universities not simply to tolerate but affirmatively to welcome dissent.

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April 3, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, April 1, 2024

Perkins Presents The Exigent AI Mandate For All Law Faculty Today At Florida

Rachelle Holmes Perkins (George Mason; Google Scholar) presents The Exigent AI Mandate for All Law Faculty at Florida today as part of its Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Faculty Workshop

Rachelle holmes perkinsLegal scholars have made important explorations into the opportunities and challenges of generative artificial intelligence within legal education and the practice of law, as well as its broader impact on the legal profession. This Article adds to this literature by directly engaging with members of the legal academy. As a collective, law professors, who are responsible for cultivating the knowledge and skills of the next generation of lawyers, are seemingly adopting a laissez faire posture towards the advent of generative artificial intelligence. In stark contrast to law practitioners, law professors generally have displayed a lack of urgency in responding to the repercussions of this emerging technology.

This Article contends that all law professors have an inescapable duty to understand the capabilities and applications of generative artificial intelligence. This obligation stems from the pivotal role faculty play on three distinct but interconnected dimensions: pedagogy, scholarship, and governance. No law faculty are exempt from this mandate because all are entrusted with responsibilities that intersect with at least one, if not all three dimensions, whether they are teaching, research, clinical, or administrative faculty. 

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April 1, 2024 in Colloquia, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink

Friday, March 29, 2024

Affirmative Action And Racial Diversity In U.S. Law Schools, 1980-2021

Richard R. W. Brooks (NYU), Kyle Rozema (Northwestern; Google Scholar) & Sarath Sanga (Yale; Google Scholar), Affirmative Action and Racial Diversity in U.S. Law Schools, 1980-2021:

We use novel data on enrollment in every U.S. law school since 1980 to study trends in racial diversity and the impact of state-level affirmative action bans. Minority law students have been underrepresented in 80 to 90 percent of entering law school classes, but the magnitude of their underrepresentation has decreased substantially. On average, state-level affirmative action bans decrease racial diversity by 10 to 17 percent. Black and Hispanic students account for nearly all this decline.

Diversity Law School Student Bodies

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March 29, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Baude: Teaching Constitutional Law In A Crisis Of Judicial Legitimacy

Following up on my previous post, New York Times, The Crisis In Teaching Constitutional Law: Will Baude (Chicago; Google Scholar), Teaching Constitutional Law in a Crisis of Judicial Legitimacy,  98 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. ___ (2024):

Supreme Court (2024)Recent developments in the Supreme Court have prompted many professors to ask: How can we teach constitutional law in such a crisis of judicial legitimacy? How can we still teach students that courts are a place to seek justice?

These sentiments reflect a real challenge for teaching constitutional law today, and I offer several suggestions for teaching law in light of the current Supreme Court.

But I also fear that these sentiments demonstrate a lack of perspective. The real crisis in teaching constitutional law today is not in the Supreme Court, but in legal academia: the question is whether we can maintain the perspective necessary to teach effectively about the Court and the Constitution.

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March 28, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Incorporating Real-World Legal Practice Into Law School Curricula

John Lande (Missouri; Google Scholar), Incorporating Real-World Legal Practice Into Law School Curricula:

ABA ADRThis annotated bibliography was prepared for the program, “Pracademically Speaking: Incorporating Real-World Legal Practice Into the Curriculum,” at the 2024 Annual Conference of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution. It includes relevant entries from the Real Practice Systems Project Annotated Bibliography.

This includes three sections, identifying: (1) problems with legal education and licensing, (2) resources for law schools and faculty, and (3) resources for law students. It particularly focuses on teaching skills for helping clients, which is critically important because practitioners often fail to recognize and respect clients’ perspectives and interests. Teaching students to work well with clients – and counterparts, among others – can “plant a seed” that may grow when graduates are in practice. This may help them resist some foibles in legal practice.

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March 27, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Putting The C Back In IRAC

Jacob S. Sherkow (Illinois; Google Scholar), Putting the C Back in IRAC, 27 Green Bag 39 (2024): 

Green BagRead a law school exam these days, and you're likely to find one of the IRAC elements given short-shrift: the conclusion, C. That's unfortunate because conclusions in legal writing are important for myriad reasons. A legal system that focuses solely on the R and A of IRAC thinks that all facts are held equal and makes legal decision-making an act of automaton. Bad conclusions make for both bad writing and bad practice, so testing law students in drafting good conclusions is important—and more important than currently considered. Conclusions are important because they demand that most precious skill of lawyers: good judgment, what we expect our students to walk away with, if nothing else. It's time to put the C back in IRAC.

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March 26, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Call For Legal Ed Tech Papers: 2025 AALS Annual Meeting

Call For Papers: 2025 AALS Annual Meeting:

AALS (2024)The AALS Section on Technology, Law and Legal Education will be hosting up to four sessions at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco, January 7 – 11. There will be two programs introducing a variety of issues involving the intersection of technology and law, one program on the pedagogical opportunities to integrate technology into legal education, and one program to offer a works-in-progress experience for individuals to share the development of their works. 

The topics can be far-ranging, including the integration of artificial intelligence into legal practice, the implications of technology on access to justice, the digital divide, privacy and surveillance, national security, antitrust regulation, intellectual property policies, and much more. The suggested program will have programs that feature discussion on the impact of law and technology on society; law and technology on the legal profession; and law and technology with the legal academy.

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March 26, 2024 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Truth And Law: The Role And Mission Of A Christian Law School In Africa

Craig A. Stern (Regent; Google Scholar), Truth and Law: The Role and Mission of a Christian Law School in Africa

Christian Legal Education in AfricaIntegrating biblical truth into teaching the law equips students to practice law as a ministry. It also brings other considerable intellectual and professional benefits. Biblical integration should inform the role and mission of the Christian law school in Africa. ...

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March 24, 2024 in Faith, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Journal Of Legal Education Publishes New Issue

The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 71, No. 4 (Summer 2022):

Journal of legal educationFrom the Editors

Articles

Book Reviews

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March 20, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Oscar Law

Reid K. Weisbord (Rutgers) & Jordan Bondurant (J.D. 2024, Rutgers), Oscar Law, 76 Ala. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Alabama law reviewIn most vocational fields, trade associations promote their industry’s common business interests by performing various community-building functions, including the establishment of awards for outstanding professional accomplishments. In the entertainment industry, however, the elite trade associations (known as academies) are almost exclusively devoted to the presentation and production of achievement awards, a ritual that has evolved into its own cottage industry. By televising the year’s best performances in a stylized media format now firmly etched in the American cultural zeitgeist, entertainment academies promote their membership’s shared economic interests in stimulating consumer demand for their respective performing arts industries.

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March 19, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Ethics 3.0—Attorney Responsibility In The Age Of Generative AI

Jon Garon (Nova; Google Scholar), Ethics 3.0—Attorney Responsibility in the Age of Generative AI, 80 Bus. Law. __ (2024):

A lawyer’s duty to remain competent and diligent in light of technological change begins with the Model Rules but it must extend to the substantive relevant law. This article focuses on the obligations of client confidentiality, the duty to understand cybersecurity, the need to exploit the new technologies of generative AI and the metaverse with caution, and the need to communicate in a permissible manner. These are all key obligations under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct related to the use of technology. The Model Rules provide a normative guideline that goes beyond the technical requirements for minimum competency and may provide standards for professional malpractice liability and other legal standards, but they are only a start. 

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March 14, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Mandatory Anti-Bias CLE: A Serious Problem Deserves A More Meaningful Response

Rima Sirota (Georgetown), Mandatory Anti-Bias CLE: A Serious Problem Deserves a More Meaningful Response, 73 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2024):

Journal of legal educationThis essay addresses the problematic convergence of two recent trends: (1) the expansion of jurisdictions requiring anti-bias training (ABT) as part of mandatory continuing legal education (CLE), and (2) the growing recognition among social scientists that such training, at least as currently practiced, is of limited effectiveness.

Forty-six American states require continuing legal education (CLE), and eleven of these states now require lawyer ABT as one facet of CLE requirements. I have previously criticized the mandatory CLE system because so little evidence supports the conclusion that it results in more competent lawyers. 

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March 6, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Digital Lawyering: Advocacy In The Age Of AI

Patrick Barry (Michigan), Digital Lawyering: Advocacy in the Age of AI, 30 Mich. Tech. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Michigan tech law reviewAll lawyers are now digital lawyers. From Zoom hearings, to e-discovery, to AI-enhanced research and writing, the practice of law increasingly requires the skillful navigation of a wide range of technological tools. It’s no longer enough to be book smart and street smart. More and more, you also have to be byte-smart.

To help future lawyers navigate this transition, I recently created a course at both the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Chicago Law School called “Digital Lawyering: Advocacy in the Age of AI.” The course takes a skill-building approach to artificial intelligence. Which tools are worth using? What questions are worth asking? And how do advocates of all kinds continue to add value to clients—and promote justice—in a world increasingly populated by chatbots, algorithms, and a wide range of other powerful digital products?

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March 6, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Legal Imitation Game: Generative AI's Incompatibility With Clinical Legal Education

Jake Karr (NYU) & Jason Schultz (NYU; Google Scholar), The Legal Imitation Game: Generative AI's Incompatibility with Clinical Legal Education, 92 Fordham L. Rev. __ (2024):

Fordham Law ReviewLegal practitioners are currently in the midst of a technological maelstrom. Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), and specifically Large Language Models (LLMs), are taking the legal world by storm, and GenAI evangelists and skeptics are furiously debating the potential impacts of the technology. Will the introduction of GenAI turn lawyers into “prompt engineers”? Will it entirely eliminate the need for human lawyers, at least for certain repetitive legal tasks and work product? Or are we living through yet another Big Tech hype cycle?

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February 28, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

The Intentional Pursuit Of Purpose: Nurturing Students’ Authentic Motivation For Practicing Law

Katya S. Cronin (George Washington), The Intentional Pursuit of Purpose: Nurturing Students’ Authentic Motivation for Practicing Law, 28 Legal Writing 159 (2024): 

“Why do you want to pursue a career in the law?” Nearly every aspiring attorney answers this question as part of their law school application personal statement. They pour their hopes, dreams, and challenges into the answer to this question—their formative struggles, deeply held values, and resolve to make the world a better place as legal practitioners. Soon after starting law school, however, law students turn their attention from core aspirations to immediate concerns. Forgotten and slowly choked by the thorns of competition, prestige, and external validation, law students’ internal sense of self and purpose begin to wither away until, at the end of three years in law school, they are just a faint shadow of what once was. Unmoored from their personal values and seeing no higher meaning behind their efforts, many law students soon “grow up” to be directionless, helpless, and hopeless lawyers in a profession marked by profound unhappiness.

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February 28, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, February 15, 2024

ABA-Approved Online Law Schools Make Becoming A Lawyer Easier And More Affordable

Ulysses Jaen (Ave Maria; Google Scholar) & Rebekah Miller (Ave Maria), The Future of Legal Education: Game-Changing ABA-Approved Online Law Schools Make Becoming a Lawyer Easier and More Affordable, 20 Ave Maria L. Rev. 66 (2022): 

As the ABA allows law schools to implement a distance education program for legal education, opportunities for potential lawyers will grow due to numerous factors, including lower costs and more versatility of when and how they complete their education. This group of future lawyers will be better able to serve their local communities because they can remain at home rather than moving away for three years to go to law school, which allows them to remain more active in their community and in touch with the legal needs of their neighbors and city.

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February 15, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

George, Gulati & Yoon: The Gender Makeup Of Newsworthy Deal Teams

Tracey E. George (Vanderbilt; Google Scholar), Mitu Gulati (Virginia; Google Scholar) & Albert Yoon (Toronto; Google Scholar), The Power Five: The Making of Newsworthy Deal Teams

The number of law firm partners who identify as women has more than doubled since 1993. Will these gender parity advances regress as employers curb diversity efforts? To answer that question, we look at the organizational dynamics that affect women’s opportunities and outcomes through the lens of newsworthy deal teams. These teams, averaging five lawyers, are at the power center of law firms. Our analysis of over 10,000 deals and more than 50,000 attorneys for the period 2013-2023 reveal evidence that women’s gains may be sustainable without continued DEI interventions.

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February 15, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, February 12, 2024

Awarding Racial Segregation: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit As A New Racially Restrictive Covenant

Jessica Xu (J.D. 2022, UCLA; King & Spalding, Los Angeles), Comment, Awarding Racial Segregation: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit as a New Racially Restrictive Covenant, 70 UCLA L. Rev. 596 (2023): 

Ucla law reviewThe United States has a history of racial segregation in its facilitation of federal housing programs. One such program, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), was intended to respond to the need for affordable housing since its establishment in 1986. Through the LIHTC program, the federal government grants tax credits to investors and developers who rent to low-income tenants. In recent years, the federal government has become increasingly reliant on the program as the most prevalent form of affordable public housing.  

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February 12, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Daily, Tax Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, February 8, 2024

What Law Professors Believe About Law And The Legal Academy

Eric Martínez (Graduate Student, MIT) & Kevin Tobia (Georgetown; Google Scholar), What Do Law Professors Believe about Law and the Legal Academy? An Empirical Inquiry, 112 Geo. L.J. 111 (2023): 

Legal scholarship is replete with debates about competing legal theories: textualism or purposivism; formalism or realism; natural law or positivism; prison reform or abolition; universal or culturally specific human rights? Despite voluminous literature about these debates, great uncertainty remains about which views experts endorse. This Article presents the first dataset of American law professors’ views about legal theory. A study of over six hundred law professors reveals expert consensus and dissensus about dozens of longstanding debates.

Law professors also debate questions about the legal academy. These include descriptive questions: Which subjects (for example, constitutional law) and methods (for example, law and economics) are most central within the legal academy today? They also include prescriptive ones: Should the legal academy prioritize different areas or methods (for example, critical race theory)? There is great interest in these questions but uncertainty about which views experts endorse.

Figure 3

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February 8, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Students' Right To Free Inquiry vs. A.I. Usage Policy At Schools And Universities

Martin Kwan (OBOR Legal Research Centre), Students' Right to Free Inquiry vs. A.I. Usage Policy at Schools and Universities, 6 Notre Dame J. on Emerging Tech. __ (2023):

Journal on emerging technologiesSome schools and universities have restricted the use of artificial intelligence, particularly generative AI, by students and staff to various extents.

This work emphasizes and reminds that students' right to free inquiry has to be taken into account when schools are implementing AI usage policies. The predominant justifications used for limiting students' use — namely to prevent plagiarism and reduced learning — are inadequate and have apparently not been duly balanced against free inquiry.

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January 31, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Reimagining Lawyering: Supporting Well-Being And Liberation

Susan L. Brooks (Drexel), Reimagining Lawyering: Supporting Well-Being and Liberation, 52 Hofstra L. Rev. __ (2024):

Hofstra law reviewGiven the tremendous turmoil we continue to experience throughout the globe, the present moment calls on us as legal educators to reimagine how we teach and practice law to incorporate more heart-centered, purpose-driven, and embodied sources of wisdom. Our approach needs to center relationships and respect for the dignity of all human beings in mindful and wholehearted ways. This call to action brings to mind Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew term meaning “repairing the world,” which is similar to ideas in many cultures that encourage us to embrace the beauty and the brokenness, the light and the shadow in each of us, and devote our lives as much as possible to seeing and lifting up the sparks of light we find in ourselves and others.

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January 25, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Amorality In The Lawyering Skills Classroom

Ezra Ross (UC-Irvine), Amorality in the Lawyering Skills Classroom, 73 J. Legal Educ. __ (2024):

Journal of Legal Education (2024)What we don’t teach can have as much impact as what we do. This Article explores one facet of the “hidden curriculum” in 1L Lawyering Skills courses.

Commentators have long criticized the law school classroom as cultivating an attitude of detached paternalism toward clients and their problems. The Lawyering Skills course, according to some critics, contributes to that unwelcome mindset through its heavy use of canned, “decontextualized” writing assignments.

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January 24, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Pro Bono Supreme Court Amicus Briefs Provide Additional Evidence That BigLaw Skews Liberal

David Lat (Bloomberg Law), Big Law Skews Liberal in Amicus Briefs, New Study Finds:

Bloomberg Law (2021)Does Big Law lean liberal?

Everyone has opinions and anecdotes, but there’s actually empirical research on this question. A 2015 paper by experts from Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago [The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers] analyzed a vast dataset of individual attorneys’ federal campaign contributions and found that lawyers overall are “liberal-leaning.” And they found that lawyers at the 100 largest firms, aka Big Law, are more liberal as a group than lawyers who work at smaller firms.

In a new paper published today in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy [Ideological Leanings in Likely Pro Bono BigLaw Amicus Briefs in the United States Supreme Court], University of Notre Dame law professor Derek Muller takes a new and interesting approach to identifying the ideological leanings of large law firms. He analyzed all the US Supreme Court amicus briefs filed by Am Law 100 firms on behalf of what he deemed “likely pro bono” clients, over a four-year period—from the 2018-2019 term through the 2021-2022 term—to see whether the briefs took a liberal or conservative position. ...

Based on his review of pro bono amicus briefs, Muller learned that of the 851 briefs in total, 64% supported the liberal position, 31% supported the conservative position, and 5% supported neither side.

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January 20, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Next Generation Professional: An Opportunity To Reframe Legal Education To Center Student Wellness

Benjamin Afton Cavanaugh (St. Mary's), The Next Generation Professional: An Opportunity to Reframe Legal Education to Center Student Wellness, 51 Hofstra L. Rev. 775 (2023):

Hofstra law review“A law school shall maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.”

Legal education has a serious design problem. The current rigorous design of legal education breeds depression, imposter syndrome, anxiety, and problems with substance abuse. The outcome of these issues is that too many graduates are not ready “for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession” because their mental well-being is at an all-time low following graduation and preparation for the bar exam. Law schools across the nation need to undertake a self-evaluation of how to marry the rigor needed to prepare their students for law practice with the necessity of ensuring graduates leave the academic world with a strong sense of themselves as legal professionals and in a healthy state of mental wellness. This self-evaluation starts with being honest about how far programs geared at wellness can really go in resolving the impact the design of law school has on students.

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January 18, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Law Clerk Selection And Diversity: Insights From Fifty U.S. Court Of Appeals Judges

Jeremy D. Fogel (Berkeley Judicial Institute), Mary S. Hoopes (Pepperdine) & Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court), Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights from Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals, 137 Harv. L. Rev. 588 (2024):

Harvard Law ReviewJudicial 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.

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January 18, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Civility As Morally Justified Oppression

Rory D. Bahadur (Washburn), Civility as Morally Justified Oppression

The current legal education focus on civility in Professional Identity Formation (“PIF”) perpetuates systemic racism and imbues this perpetuation with moral certainty. But civility and morality are powerful agents of oppression representing behaviors and beliefs that the powerful impose on the powerless to ensure that power hierarchies in society remain intact while distracting us from what is likely the only core truth about human societies: might is right. The current focus on civility in PIF de-emphasizes a lawyer’s obligation to reform society while overemphasizing the lawyer’s obligation to clients and other members of the profession. 

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January 17, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Harvard Law Review: Alienation In Law School

Note, Alienation in Law School, 137 Harv. L. Rev. 958 (2024):

Harvard Law ReviewThere is a lot to admire about lawyers. Many commit their professional lives to the pursuit of a fairer world, and at the same time they uplift the basic principles that underlie our system of social cooperation. They are often smart, principled, and hardworking. Yet despite all that is good about the legal profession, it also has its share of darkness. Information on lawyers’ well-being is limited, but empirical findings demonstrate that lawyers experience high levels of anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder, which may be acute symptoms of a broader sense of unhappiness in the profession. Qualitatively, scholars and practitioners report feelings of malaise and regret that linger around the culture of the bar. Those feelings may begin in law school.

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January 17, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Monday, January 15, 2024

Centering Disability In The Law School Pedagogy: A Way To Include Disabled Law Students

Ella Maiden (PCB Byrne, U.K.), Centering Disability in the Law School Pedagogy: A Way to Include Disabled Law Students, 52 J.L. & Educ. 175 (2023):

Journal of law and educationThis discussion of pedagogical change and increasing access for disabled law students needs to be considered in light of the initial discussion: that there is a high number of disabled people interacting with the legal system as clients, victims, or defendants, and barely any lawyers with disabilities to represent them. As has been noted throughout this paper, changes to the pedagogy are not going to be the only way to resolve this issue—general societal views of disability, pipeline issues, admission requirements and discrimination within the legal profession, all play a part.

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January 15, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, January 12, 2024

The Story Of The Sale Of University Of Puget Sound Law School To Seattle University

Annette E. Clark (Dean Emerita, Seattle), “What’s Past Is Prologue”: The Story of the Sale of the University of Puget Sound School of Law to Seattle University, 46 Seattle U. L. Rev. 773 (2023):

Seattle Logo (2024)When the Seattle University Law Review editorial staff invited me to write an updated history of the Seattle University School of Law in honor of our 50th anniversary, I planned to start the narrative with the year 1989, which was where the prior written history (authored by former Law Library Director Anita Steele and published by the Law Review) had left off. It also happens to be the year when I graduated from this law school and joined the tenure-track faculty, so 1989 seemed like a propitious place to begin. However, as I began to do the research necessary to cover the ensuing 33 years of the school’s history, I was drawn over and over again to one particular part of our story: the announcement in 1993 that the University of Puget Sound had sold its law school to Seattle University. 

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January 12, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Spring 2024 Law Review Article Submission Guide

Nancy Levit (UMKC) & Allen Rostron (UMKC) have updated their incredibly useful document, which contains two charts for the Spring 2024 submission season covering the 196 main journals of each law school.

SubmissionsWe have created hyperlinks for each law review to take you directly to the law review’s submissions page. (Perhaps a quarter of those now link to a Digital Commons page, which doesn’t provide as much information as before about the law review’s submission preferences.) Again the chart includes as much information as possible about what law reviews are not accepting submissions right now and what months they say they’ll resume accepting submissions.  The most common designations of “opening dates” were either February or Spring 2024. (Just FYI, in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring begins on March 19, 2024; but we suspect the law reviews are referring to some unspecified date within the season of Spring.)

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January 10, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Kuehn: Who’s Minding The Clinical Legal Education Store?

TaxProf Blog Op-Ed:  Who’s Minding the Clinical Legal Education Store?, by Robert Kuehn (Washington University; Google Scholar): 

Robert-kuehnOversight of law clinic and field placement programs has changed in significant ways in the over five decades since clinical legal education began taking hold in U.S. law schools. These oversight changes can be seen in the surveys conducted triennially since 2007 by the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education (CSALE)1 and as summarized recently in An Empirical Analysis of Clinical Legal Education at Middle Age.2

In the first CSALE survey in 2007, half of law schools had one person responsible for the oversight of both law clinics and field placement courses, typically referred to as a clinical program director. By 2019, that figure was 58% and in the most recent fall 2022 CSALE survey increased to 62%. Among those with oversight of the entirety of the clinic and field placement courses at their schools, the percentage with “dean” in their title has more than doubled since 2007, increasing from 27% in 2007 to 60% in 2019 and 70% in 2022. 

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January 10, 2024 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Shapiro: Learning From My Lived Experience With Academic Intolerance

Ilya Shapiro (Manhattan Institute), Learning from My Lived Experience with Academic Intolerance, 27 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 743 (2023):

Texas Review of Law & Politics“Shut up.” That’s the response, cleaned up for publication, that I got from students at the University of California Hastings College of Law—since renamed University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, or “UC Law SF”—when I tried to speak there on March 1, 2022. They prevented the event from taking place, chanting and banging as if it were Occupy Wall Street.

It’s the first time I’d ever been protested in more than 1,000 speaking events—and it’s a damning indictment of the state of academia at a time when a toxic cloud has enveloped all of our public discourse.

Although the Federalist Society chapter had booked a room and invited me to discuss a subject on which I’d written a book—the politics of judicial nominations, which became all the more timely when Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement—a heckler’s veto prevailed. Applying a bad-faith lens to a poorly phrased tweet in which I criticized President Biden’s nomination criteria, activists adjudged me a racist misogynist and my expertise illegitimate.

Specifically, back in January 2022, I criticized the president’s decision to limit his candidate pool by race and sex. I argued that the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Sri Srinivasan, was the best choice, meaning that everyone else was less qualified. But given the “latest hierarchy of intersectionality,” if Biden kept his promise, he would pick what, given Twitter’s character limit, I inartfully characterized as a “lesser black woman.” I deleted the tweet and apologized for my poor choice of words, but I maintain that Biden should’ve considered “all possible nominees,” as 76% of Americans agreed in a poll conducted by that semi-fascist, ultra-MAGA media outlet, ABC.

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January 3, 2024 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Free Speech In Academia

Peter W. Wood (President, National Association of Scholars), Free Speech in Academia, 27 Tex. Rev. L. & Pol. 761 (2023):

Texas Review of Law & PoliticsTo win back a place for free speech in higher education, free speech has to be rediscovered as the best and perhaps the only secure path we have to worthy knowledge, no matter whether the endeavor be in the sciences, the humanities, or the arts. That for sure is not an easy path of return, but it may well be the only one.

We do, however, have resources. We should continue to dismantle, defund, and discredit the ideologies that trap today’s students. We should look beyond the legacy institutions of American higher education that have forfeited the esteem in which they were once held. And we should address ourselves to the irrepressible curiosity of students. They are vulnerable to the ideologues because those ideologues promise answers to the hard questions of life.

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December 31, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Friday, December 29, 2023

Weekly Legal Education Roundup And The Best Legal Education Scholarship of 2023

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Following Merger Of William Mitchell And Hamline Law Schools, Faculty And Board Of Trustees Unanimously Adopted New Tenure Policy

David Allen Larson (Mitchell | Hamline Law School) & Linda Hanson (Former President, Hamline University), Crossing the Cultural Chasm and the Power of Listening: How We Wrote a New Tenure Code, 39 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 169 (2023):

Mitchell Hamline (2018)Revising the Tenure Code of an institution of higher learning may be among the most challenging of the processes it undertakes, especially when there is a commitment to shared governance by its Board of Trustees and Faculty. At Mitchell Hamline School of Law, we recently experienced this process — both difficult and ultimately satisfying — following the combination of two law schools.

In 2016, Mitchell Hamline School of Law became an independent institution formed through the combination of independent William Mitchell College of Law and Hamline School of Law, a school of Hamline University, both based in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, implementing the combination agreement consumed trustee and faculty attention, requiring significant work that included integrating faculty from each school, organizing administrative structure, filling staff positions, adding staff where necessary, and creating annual and capital budgets.

Numerous challenges had to be addressed immediately following the combination. A particularly critical one was determining the Tenure Code to be used for the new school. At the time of the combination, each school had its own Tenure Code, but neither one was seen as appropriate for the new law school.

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December 28, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Ballakrishnen: Rethinking Inclusion In The Legal Profession

Swethaa Ballakrishnen (UC-Irvine; Google Scholar), Rethinking Inclusion: Ideal Minorities, Inclusion Cultures, and Identity Capitals in the Legal Profession, 48 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1157 (2023):

Law & Social Inquiry (2023)Using preliminary observations from three parallel projects that employ a range of methods (network and content analysis, surveys, focus groups, and interviews), this article traces the experience of navigating different kinds of identity as useful capital within the legal profession. Identity is not the first kind of non-economic capital to influence professional navigation, but it is distinct in that it is owned and deployed primarily by minority actors. Adding to scholarship that has located the extensions for identity as capital, three interrelated contributions follow from this research.

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December 27, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Teaching To The Tech: Law Schools And The Duty Of Technology Competence

Raymond H. Brescia (Albany), Teaching to the Tech: Law Schools and the Duty of Technology Competence, 62 Washburn L.J. 507 (2023):

As a result of a wide range of emerging technologies, the American legal profession is at a critical inflection point. Some may argue that lawyers face dramatic threats not only to their business models but also to their very usefulness in the face of new technologies that may mean some form of legal guidance will be available to virtually every American with a little bit of computer savvy and access to digital technologies. At the same time, in recent years, the profession has largely imposed upon itself a duty of technology competence, which imposes an array of obligations regarding the use and proliferation of new practice technologies. Since lawyers are obligated to maintain this duty of technology competence, law schools should also have an obligation to teach technology competence as a core professional skill.

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December 21, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink

First-Gen In The Field

Carolyn Young Larmore (Chapman; Google Scholar), First-Gen in the Field, 31 Clinical L. Rev. ___ (2024):

Clinical law reviewFirst-generation law students are often at a disadvantage in law school, having no family experience in higher education and few connections with attorneys or other professionals. These difficulties are only compounded when first-gen students leave the classroom and venture into the real world of legal externships, where professional identity formation may begin to take place, but where the landscape is even more foreign. The expectation that first-gen students should be able to navigate courtrooms and legal offices can be a heavy burden on these students, often leading to added stress and imposter syndrome.

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December 21, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, December 15, 2023

ChatGPT, Professor Of Law

Tammy Pettinato Oltz (North Dakota; Google Scholar), ChatGPT, Professor of Law, 2023 U. Ill. J.L. Tech. & Pol'y 207 (2023):

Illinois journal of law technology and policyAlthough ChatGPT was just released by OpenAI in November 2022, legal scholars have already been delving into the implications of the new tool for legal education and the legal profession. Several scholars have recently written fascinating pieces examining ChatGPT’s ability to pass the bar, write a law review article, create legal documents, or pass a law school exam. In the spirit of those experiments, I decided to see whether ChatGPT had potential for lightening the service and teaching loads of law school professors.

To conduct my experiment, I created an imaginary law school professor with a tough but typical week of teaching- and service- related tasks ahead of her. I chose seven common tasks: creating a practice exam question, designing a hand-out for a class, writing a letter of recommendation, submitting a biography for a speaking engagement, writing opening remarks for a symposium, developing a document for a law school committee, and designing a syllabus for a new course. I then ran prompts for each task through ChatGPT to see how well the system performed the tasks.

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December 15, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Fourth Industrial Revolution And Legal Education

Steven R. Smith (Cal-Western), The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Legal Education, 39 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 337 (2023):

Georgia state law reviewA “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4IR) will dramatically change current law students’ careers. Innovations in technology, business, and social structures will require different and more sophisticated legal services. Law school graduates will be responsible for harnessing, encouraging, and establishing legal controls that offer society the benefits of these new technologies while limiting the undesirable side effects. At the same time, the recurring, repetitive practice of law will begin to disappear as more work is done much cheaper and better by machines.

The 4IR presents extraordinary opportunities for law schools, the legal profession, and graduates, but it also presents significant challenges. To prepare students for professional practice and continuous improvement of the justice system, law schools will have to adjust students’ education and focus the curriculum on ensuring new competencies.

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December 14, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, December 7, 2023

St. Louis Symposium: Teaching Immigration Law

Symposium, Teaching Immigration Law, St. Louis U. L.J. 473- 570 (2023): 

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December 7, 2023 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Howard Law School, Race, And Peer Rankings: The Increasing Correlation Between Racial Salience And Preferential Rankings

Michael Conklin (Angelo State; Google Scholar), Howard Law School, Race, and Peer Rankings: The Increasing Correlation Between Racial Salience and Preferential Rankings, 59 Willamette L. Rev. 189 (2023):

US News (2023)In 2020, novel research was conducted to measure disparities between the U.S. News & World Report overall rankings and the peer rankings of law schools. The research uncovered a stark outlier in Howard University School of Law, whose peer rank was consistently twenty to forty spots higher than its overall rank. This Article updates the research, adding the most recent 2022 and 2023 rankings data. The updated results show that this disparity has not only persisted but has increased in severity. This pronounced result strengthens one of the potential explanations posited in the original research regarding the role of race in the peer rankings, namely, as racial salience increases in society, so does the unique treatment of Howard, the only ranked HBCU law school. This Article analyzes other potential explanations such as an exceptional law review, effective use of promotional materials, law school location, political ideology preference, notable alumni, professor quality, and unwillingness to game the system, which may contribute to the disparity but fall far short of being able to explain its magnitude.

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December 6, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

BLT: Can Large Language Models Handle Basic Legal Text?

Andrew Blair-Stanek (Maryland; Google Scholar), Nils Holzenberger (Institut Polytechnique de Paris) & Benjamin Van Durme (Johns Hopkins; Google Scholar), BLT: Can Large Language Models Handle Basic Legal Text?:

We find that the best publicly available LLMs like GPT-4 and PaLM 2 currently perform poorly at basic text handling required of lawyers or paralegals, such as looking up the text at a line of a witness deposition or at a subsection of a contract. We introduce a benchmark to quantify this poor performance, which casts into doubt LLMs' current reliability as-is for legal practice. Finetuning for these tasks brings an older LLM to near-perfect performance on our test set and also raises performance on a related legal task. This stark result highlights the need for more domain expertise in LLM training.

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December 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Blueprint To Reclaim Legal Education From U.S. News

Scott Rempell (South Texas), A Blueprint to Reclaim Legal Education from U.S. News:

US News (2023)The U.S. News & World Report (“U.S. News”) law school rankings impact the perceptions and behaviors of everyone in the rankings ecosystem, from law school administrators and law professors to prospective students and legal employers. Despite decades of near universal condemnation, these ordinal rankings continue to significantly influence the legal education market, often in highly detrimental ways.

This Article presents a blueprint for how the law school community can reclaim legal education from U.S. News. The blueprint concerns the features of an alternative product that would deliver substantial value in an efficient manner. Regulators like the ABA would have to play a role because they can mandate the types and forms of data that law schools produce. The alternative product should include data categories that consumers would find helpful based on the reasons why various constituencies assess information about law schools to begin with. A comprehensive set of relevant data points is necessary, but not sufficient. The relevant information must be presented through an easy-to-navigate interface that allows consumers to efficiently acquire, arrange, and internalize the data to meet their objectives.

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November 30, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Friday, November 24, 2023

Law Schools: Want To Help Bend The Arc Of The Moral Universe Toward Justice? Hire Law Professors With Public Service Experience.

Rachel Kincaid (Baylor), Law Schools: Want to Help Bend the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Justice? Hire Law Professors with Public Service Experience, 58 U. Rich. L. Rev. __ (2024):

Richmond Law ReviewWe are living in momentous times. Social justice and the legitimacy of our political systems are at the forefront of many people’s minds. Demands for change — sometimes revolutionary change — abound, based on myriad crises: the murders of Tyre Nichols, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor; mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty; the bungled response to COVID-19 and resulting economic precarity of many across the globe; threats to our democratic institutions and educational institutions at home and abroad; the erosion of reproductive rights, the environment, and tribal sovereignty; attacks on LGBTQIA+ people and their rights; and persistent and devastating levels of gun violence, to name a few. During momentous times like these, law schools can and should make a difference. But how we do that is a more complex question. Is it only through career services offices that encourage students to pursue careers fighting for social justice? 

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November 24, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Lawyering In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence

Jonathan H. Choi (USC; Google Scholar), Amy Monahan (Minnesota; Google Scholar) &  Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Lawyering in the Age of Artificial Intelligence:

We conduct the first randomized controlled trial of AI assistance’s effect on human legal analysis. We randomly assigned sixty students at the University of Minnesota Law School each to complete four separate legal tasks (drafting a complaint, a contract, a section of an employee handbook, and a client memo), either with or without the assistance of GPT-4, after receiving training on how to use GPT-4 effectively. We then blind-graded the results and tracked how long the students took on each task. We found that access to GPT-4 slightly and inconsistently improved the quality of participants’ legal analysis but induced large and consistent increases in speed. The benefits of AI assistance were not evenly distributed: in the tasks on which AI was the most useful, it was significantly more useful to lower-skilled participants. On the other hand, AI assistance reduced the amount of time that participants took to complete the tasks roughly uniformly regardless of their baseline speed. In follow up surveys, we found that participants reported increased satisfaction from using AI to complete legal tasks and that they correctly predicted the tasks for which GPT-4 would be most helpful. 

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November 16, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink