Thursday, November 30, 2023
Scott Rempell (South Texas), A Blueprint to Reclaim Legal Education from U.S. News:
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.
November 30, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Friday, November 24, 2023
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):
We 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?
November 24, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, November 16, 2023
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.
November 16, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law hosts a symposium today on Free Speech And Civility in American Law Schools (register):
8:40 A.M. EST: Welcome
- A.G. Harmon (Catholic University)
- Stephen Payne (Dean, Catholic University)
8:45 A.M. EST: Causes
- Greg Lukianoff (FIRE), Cultural Changes in Society
- Jonathan Zimmerman (Penn), Institutional Changes in Society and Universities
10:00 A.M. EST: Effects
- Jennifer Lichter (Catholic University) (moderator)
- Elizabeth Bartholet (Harvard), Feminism and Free Speech
- Randall Kennedy (Harvard), Free Speech and Race
- Keith Whittington (Princeton; Google Scholar), Academic Freedom and Free Speech
11:30 A.M. EST: Civility and Law Schools and the Effect on the Legal Profession
November 15, 2023 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Eric J. Boos (Idaho), Moral Imperative—Legal Requirement: Why Law Schools Should Require Poverty Law and International Human Rights, 19 U. St. Thomas L.J. 63 (2023):
This paper argues that the growing undercurrent of discontent in this nation, which has manifested in increasing levels of civil unrest, violence, crime, mass shootings, and political chaos, is symptomatic of the ever-increasing disparity in wealth that political philosophers, sociologists, economists such as Alan Greenspan, and politicians such as Bernie Sanders, have warned against. This paper further argues that this disparity is, in large measure, facilitated by the legal establishment.
November 14, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, November 9, 2023
T. Markus Funk (Perkins Coie; Google Scholar), Andrew S. Boutros (Dechert) & Eugene Volokh (UCLA; Google Scholar), The Hidden Life of Law School Adjuncts: Teaching Temps, Indispensable Instructors, Underappreciated Cash Cows, or Something Else?, 102 Tex. L. Rev. Online 44 (2023):
Adjunct professors are fixtures in law schools around the country. Yet they are among the least examined, least understood stakeholders in today’s legal education industry. For example, few know that most law schools turn to adjuncts to teach more than 40% of their elective courses yet give them little to no institutional voice; that adjuncts effectively pay for the privilege of teaching; that most law schools enjoy an approximately 21X return on investment for each dollar paid to an adjunct for teaching; and that a typical full-time professor makes roughly seven times more than an adjunct for teaching the very same course (while also costing the institution considerably more in overhead).
This thought piece, written by two long-term adjuncts and a tenured professor, conducts the first deeper-dive examination of the adjuncts’ role in today’s law schools. The article examines why adjuncts take on the responsibility of returning to school to teach; how law schools, professors, and students benefit from adjunct instructors; the professional and reputational risks facing today’s adjuncts; and why—despite these challenges—adjunct teaching positions continue to be highly sought after.
November 9, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Paula A. Franzese (Seton Hall), Eugene D. Mazo (Seton Hall), & Lawrence Spinelli (Drew University), The Lawyer-Hero: Lessons in Leadership for Lawyers from Watergate to the Present Day, 54 U. Tol. L. Rev. 359 (2023):
In recent years, a growing body of literature has turned to examine the critical role played by lawyers in the tasks of civic reinvention and restoring public trust in the United States. Some of this literature focuses on the importance of developing leadership skills in law students and young lawyers. Other literature looks to recognize the relevance of historical exemplars in helping lawyers to meet the tests of contemporary practice and engagement. Whether serving as public officials, politicians, general counsel, law enforcement agents, or members of law firms or public interest organizations, there is no question that lawyers today are asked to display leadership skills amidst increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Rising tides of public distrust, cynicism, and weariness compound the challenges that contemporary lawyers face.
November 9, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt; Google Scholar), Gender, Race, and Job Satisfaction of Law Graduates: Intersectional Evidence from the National Survey of College Graduates, 20 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 339 (2023):
Studies typically find that lawyers have high job satisfaction and that women are not less satisfied than are men. But racial differences as well as gender differences by race or ethnicity in satisfaction may be masked because most lawyers identify as racially White. To examine whether job satisfaction differs by race and whether gender and race/ethnicity have an intersectional relation to job satisfaction, I use data on nearly 13,000 law graduates drawn from six waves of the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) conducted between 2003 and 2019. The NSCG uniquely provides a large enough sample to examine intersectionality in job satisfaction of law graduates as well as to compare satisfaction of lawyers to those employed in other occupations. Job satisfaction is strikingly low among Black women and Asian women law graduates. Asian women lawyers have satisfaction similar to White men lawyers but substantially lower satisfaction if not employed as a lawyer. Black women have substantially lower satisfaction in either employment situation.
November 8, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 71, No. 3 (Spring 2022):
From the Editors
- Jonathan H. Choi (USC; Google Scholar), Kristin E. Hickman (Minnesota; Google Scholar), Amy B. Monahan (Minnesota; Google Scholar) & Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), ChatGPT Goes to Law School, 71 J. Legal Educ. 387 (2022)
- Bridgette Carr (Michigan), Vivek Sankaran (Michigan; Google Scholar) & Taylor J. Wilson (J.D. 2023, Michigan), Designing a Fulfilling Life in the Law, 71 J. Legal Educ. 401 (2022)
- Marni Goldstein Caputo (Boston University) & Kathleen Luz (Boston University), Creating Tomorrow’s Change-makers: Using Alternative Media in the 1L Skills Classroom to Connect Students with Real Practice and Enhance Established Methods for Teaching Appellate Advocacy, 71 J. Legal Educ. 420 (2022)
- W. David Ball (Santa Clara; Google Scholar) & Michelle Oberman (Santa Clara; Google Scholar), The Case Against Commercial Casebooks, 71 J. Legal Educ. 452 (2022)
- Paul Figueroa (New Mexico), If You Draw It, Students Learn It: An Approach to Teaching Contracts and Other Doctrinal Courses, 71 J. Legal Educ. 468 (2022)
- Martha Minow (Harvard) & Susannah Barton Tobin (Harvard), Archetypal Legal Scholarship: A Field Guide, 2d. Edition, 71 J. Legal Educ. 494 (2022)
November 7, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Olivia Schlinck (Cardozo; Google Scholar), Ok, Zoomer: Teaching Legal Research to Gen Z, 115 Law Libr. J. 269 (2023):
Generation Z has entered law school. With each new generation comes new education preferences. While research on Gen Z in the legal academy has grown over the past few years, to date none deal explicitly with teaching legal research to Gen Z. This article connects Gen Z’s childhood and resulting peer personality to 10 tangible pedagogical changes for teaching legal research to Gen Z.
When Millennials matriculated, legal educators jumped through hoops to make law school more appealing to the digitally connected, collaboration-obsessed generation. After six years of Gen Z law students roaming the halls, it is past time we do the same to better educate the new generation of future attorneys. The 10 suggestions above are intended as starting points for engaging Gen Z in the legal research classroom as well as in law school instruction more broadly
November 7, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Thursday, November 2, 2023
Michigan Law School has issued a Call for Papers for its 10th Annual Junior Scholars' Conference on Reimagining the Public-Private Divide:
The University of Michigan Law School is pleased to invite junior scholars to attend the 10th Annual Junior Scholars Conference, which will take place in-person on April 12-13, 2024, 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 invites papers in response to the 2024 theme or under the general call for papers in law and related disciplines. We welcome 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. We particularly invite submissions from scholars working on or located in the Global South and scholars from groups traditionally under-represented in academia.
November 2, 2023 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Robert Morse (Chief Data Strategist. U.S. News), Corrections to the 2024 Best Colleges Rankings:
U.S. News has recalculated the numerical ranks of 213 schools due to a code anomaly.
After publication of the 2024 Best Colleges, an anomaly in the code used to output those rankings was discovered. As a result of correcting the anomaly, the rankings of 213 schools have changed from what was published on September 18, 2023. We therefore published updated rankings for those schools on October 27, 2023.
Below is a listing of each school impacted by the anomaly in the code and a notice of what that school’s rank was upon publication and what its rank is after the correction. The schools are sorted by their category and then by their corrected rank. Note that some schools in this list whose individual ranks changed continue to only have their ranking ranges display on usnews.com, which is the practice followed for schools placing in the bottom 10% of the rankings. ...
November 1, 2023 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Jack Thorlin (Georgetown), Racial Diversity and Law Firm Economics, 76 Ark. L. Rev. 131 (2023):
Why racial diversity in law firms lags behind similar professions (and even other parts of the legal profession) calls for explanation. Often, explanations for lack of racial diversity in a specific field fall into one of two camps. One explanation is individual bias, the conscious or subconscious tendency to discriminate against people of color. Subconscious bias is very well studied and has indeed been proven to exist in many different contexts. But unless a particular industry triggers some specific stereotype or prejudice, bias does not explain why some industries do better than others at promoting racial diversity. Another explanation is the broad socioeconomic inequalities facing minorities long before they go to work at law firms. Again, there is undeniable truth in this explanation, but it is not industry-specific. If anything, lawyers are probably more aware of the history of discrimination than other professionals for the simple reason that it is impossible to understand constitutional law without it.
October 25, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Michael L. Smith (St. Mary's), Language Models, Plagiarism, and Legal Writing, 22 U.N.H. L. Rev. __ (2024):
Language models like ChatGPT are the talk of the town in legal circles. Despite some high-profile stories of fake ChatGPT-generated citations, many practitioners argue that language models are the way of the future. These models, they argue, promise an efficient source of first drafts and stock language. Similar discussions are occurring regarding legal writing education, with a number of professors urging the acknowledgment of language models, and others going further and arguing that students ought to learn to use these models to improve their writing and prepare for practice.
October 19, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Symposium, The Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Conference, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1027-1167 (2023):
- Samuel J. Levine (Touro; Google Scholar), The Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools Foreword, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1027 (2023)
- Randy Lee (Widener), Can a Christian be a Lawyer or Can Both God and Jackson Browne be Right, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1029 (2023)
- Randy Lee (Widener), Reflections on the Creation of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1049 (2023)
- Judith A. McMorrow (Boston College), Reaching Out Through the Universal: The Powerful and Positive Role of a Jesuit Catholic Law School on the Secular Line, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1057 (2023)
- Joel A. Nichols (St. Thomas-MN), Faith and Faithfulness: Vocation as Self, Others, and a Third Thing, 38 Touro L. Rev. 1073 (2023)
October 15, 2023 in Faith, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, October 12, 2023
Harmony Decosimo (Suffolk; Google Scholar), A Taxonomy of Professional Identity Formation, 67 St. Louis U. L.J. 1 (2022):
Following the ABA’s mandate requiring law schools provide students with opportunities for “professional identity formation,” this article seeks to clarify and loosely taxonomize the field of professional identity formation as it is being advanced by scholars and employed in U.S. law schools. By organizing this varied and somewhat muddled field into three dominant types or approaches and examining the primary and sometimes hidden goals of each, this article raises for review the potential pitfalls in this project, including the possibility of coercion, impotence, or waste.
October 12, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Byron G. Stier (Southwestern), Applying Steve Jobs's Insights on Innovation, Leadership, and Technology Toward an Apple-Inspired Law School, 38 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y __ (2024):
Perhaps the most successful technology entrepreneur, Steve Jobs developed numerous innovations that transformed personal computing, computer-animated film, mobile phones, and music distribution. Over several decades, his efforts turned Apple Computer from a start-up in his parents’ garage to the world’s largest company by market capitalization and produced Pixar, the world’s leading company in computer-animated film. Jobs, along with other technology entrepreneurs, affixed Silicon Valley as the world’s leading center for innovation in technology.
October 12, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, October 11, 2023
W. Bradley Wendel (Cornell; Google Scholar), Rumors of the Death of BigLaw Are Greatly Exaggerated (reviewing Mitt Regan (Georgetown) & Lisa H. Rohrer (Boston University), BigLaw: Money and Meaning in the Modern Law Firm (University of Chicago Press 2021)):
Many legal profession scholars have predicted the decline, or even demise, of large law firms. But not only are they still with us, they are flourishing. Drawing from hundreds of interviews with firm partners, Mitt Regan and Lisa Rohrer offer a sophisticated explanation of the resilience of this form of organizing the delivery of legal services. Regan and Rohrer see firm managers as trying to solve a Prisoner’s Dilemma and Assurance Game in light of the risk that partners with a substantial book of business may exit the firm and take their clients to another firm. Financial and non-financial rewards, many of which are within the control of firm management, provide firm-specific capital that keep partners committed to their existing firms and prevent their defection on the lateral market. Regan and Rohrer argue that they have identified a distinctive ethical conception of lawyering associated with BigLaw that combines business logic and the logic of professionalism. This Review considers the relationship between large firm structure and compensation practices and some competing conceptions of ethical lawyering.
BigLaw is not for everyone. Regan and Rohrer do not say much about the perennial problem of work-life balance, but a few reported comments by lawyers show that families, relationships, hobbies, and even getting enough sleep are interests that must be subordinated to the firm and its clients:
October 11, 2023 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Michael D. Murray (Kentucky), Artificial Intelligence for Academic Support in Law Schools and Universities:
The current models of verbal generative artificial intelligence (AI)—Bing Chat, GPT-4 and Chat GPT, Bard, Claude, and others, and the current models of visual generative AI—DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and others—can play a significant role in academic support in law schools and universities. Generative AI can help a student learn and understand material better, more deeply, and notably faster than traditional means of reading, rereading, notetaking, and outlining. AI can explain, elaborate on, and summarize course material. It can write and administer formative assessments, and, if desired, it can write self-guided summative evaluations and grade them. AI can translate material into and from foreign languages with a fidelity to context, usage, and nuances of meaning not previously seen in machine learning or neural network translation services. AI also can visualize material using the tools of visual generative AI that literally paint pictures of the subjects and situations in the material that can overcome students’ literacy issues both in the native language of the communication and in the students’ own native languages.
October 11, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Stephanie Hunter McMahon (Cincinnati) delivered a keynote address on What Law Schools Must Change to Train Transactional Lawyers, 43 Pace L. Rev. 106 (2022), at Emory last Saturday at the 8th Biennial Conference on the Teaching of Transactional Skills:
Not all lawyers litigate, but you would not know that from the first-year curriculum at most law schools. Despite 50% of lawyers working in transactional practices, schools do not incorporate its legal doctrines or skills in the foundational first year. That the Progressives pushed through antitrust laws and the New Dealers founded the modern administrative state reframed how people use the law, particularly in transactional practices, and should be given equal weight as the appellate-based common law in any legal introduction. Nevertheless, the law school model created by Christopher Columbus Langdell in the 1870s remains dominant. As this review of fifty-four law schools’ required curricula shows, law schools have largely retained Langdell’s curriculum. This negatively affects young transactional lawyers because their critical first year does not show them the law as a preventative, problem-solving practice.
October 10, 2023 in Conferences, Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Benjamin H. Barton (Tennessee), The Case For (and Against) ABA Regulation of Non-J.D. Programs, 85 U. Pitt. L. Rev. __ (2024):
American law schools have pulled out of what looked like a death spiral. From 2008-18 job placement and bar passage cratered and applications and JD enrolment followed. Some law schools found themselves trapped between Scylla and Charybdis — if they did not loosen admissions, they would not have the funds to keep the doors open. But if they loosened admissions too much bar passage and placement suffered, prompting a possible closure via disaccreditation by the ABA (or the DOE).
There are (broadly speaking) two models of profitable higher education in the United States. The first is the old school, classic model of providing value for tuition in terms of improved job and life prospects. Most American law schools have always operated in this fashion. The other is the student loan “scam” model, where students who have little chance of getting good value for their tuition are confused into borrowing a massive amount of non-dischargeable federal loans that are paid directly to the school. The worst American law schools definitely ran on this model from 2008-18.
October 10, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Saturday, October 7, 2023
James G. Leipold (Senior Advisor, Law School Admission Council), There Are No Shortcuts, But the Road Is Getting Shorter (reviewing Neil Hamilton (St. Thomas-MN; Google Scholar), Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Meaningful Employment (ABA Books 3d ed. 2023)):
Neil Hamilton continues to distill his roadmap for law students into ever more streamlined guidance on how to transform themselves from law students to fully fledged lawyers.
Hamilton’s third edition of his Roadmap: The Law Student’s Guide to Meaningful Employment (ABA Books, summer 2023), is a complete revision of the second edition, wherein he has wisely condensed the work from 224 pages to fewer than 50 pages to make it even more accessible to busy law students.
This new work is more akin to a workbook, with short sections of text followed by templates that law students can readily use and adapt for their own purposes, and frankly, templates that law school career services professionals can readily use and adapt for their own purposes.
The central mission of the workbook is to guide students through four essential developmental practices that are indispensable steps on the successful journey from student to professional. ...
Roadmap is a generous contribution to both law students and the law student professional identity formation movement. Hamilton and his colleagues at the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minnesota, namely Jerry Organ and Louis Bilionis, have been generous in sharing their important work with the legal education community.
October 7, 2023 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, October 5, 2023
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, 27 Marq. Intell. Prop. & Innovation L. Rev. 21 (2023):
In 2018, Santa Clara Law (“SCL”) launched an innovative new certificate, “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, racial diversity, and employment outcomes.
October 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
David E Bernstein (George Mason; Google Scholar), Students for Fair Admissions and the End of Racial Classification as We Know It, 2022-23 Cato Sup. Ct. Rev. 143 (2023):
The Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (SFFA) likely marks the beginning of the end of the overt use of race in university admissions. The Court’s decision, however, has much broader implications.
Harvard University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) classified applicants based on racial and ethnic categories adopted by the federal government in the 1970s. SFFA concluded that these classifications were so arbitrary as to be unconstitutional. SFFA therefore offers a broad new avenue of attack for litigants challenging racial preferences and other race-based policies based on these ubiquitous classifications. Any entity that is sued for engaging in discriminatory preferences or for otherwise allocating goods or services by race will need to explain why the racial classifications they rely upon don’t fail the arbitrariness test.
October 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Brian M. McCall (Oklahoma), Beyond the Narrow Harvard Model of Legal Education: Restoring Legal Education According to the Proposals of Valentine Tomberg, 48 U. Dayton L. Rev. 1 (2022):
Professor Mark Jones has argued that legal education needs to be “reliberalized” by returning to a state in which “all law students receive a basic minimum exposure to the general subject areas of legal history, jurisprudence, and comparative law, as well as to the general subject areas of international/trans-national/global legal studies . . . .” Jones’s call to restore the cultural dimensions has recently received an additional source of strength. The recent publication of an English translation of Dr. Valentin Tomberg’s doctoral dissertation for the first time, under the title The Art of the Good: The Regeneration of Fallen Jurisprudence, provides additional arguments for what is needed to restore legal education. At the conclusion of a thorough yet concise assessment of jurisprudence (its history and decline as well as Tomberg’s plan for restoring it), he outlines a plan for the reform of legal education that would be necessary to restore jurisprudence. This plan coincides in many aspects with what Jones defines as the cultural dimensions of law. Tomberg brought a unique and interesting perspective to the topic. He lived under Czarist Russia, the Communist Union of Socialist Republics, and Nazi Germany. When he speaks of the degeneration of law, he speaks from the experience of one having seen it first-hand in communist and fascist totalitarian regimes. He witnessed lawyers, who had been prepared for the profession without the type of education he advocates, become instruments of totalitarian power and oppression. His insights provide a fresh perspective on the shortcomings of legal education today and a clear plan to restore it that coincides with both the long history of legal education and Professor Jones’s recent call to “reliberalize” legal education.
October 4, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Saturday, September 30, 2023
James Fallows Tierney (Chicago-Kent; Google Scholar), Grade Insurance:
The conventional structure of law school assessments, particularly the pressure of end-of-term exams, tends to create a stressful environment for students. This article introduces an alternative form of assessment, drawing on “specifications” or competency-based grading in other fields. Under what’s known as “grade insurance,” students have the option of doing nightly homework, graded on a pass/fail basis, throughout the semester. If they consistently pass, they lock in a minimum grade for the course—perhaps up to a B+—and can opt to do better on the final exam or even skip it if they prefer. This approach not only alleviates student anxiety but aligns with contemporary learning theories, which advocate for more regular, low-stakes evaluations.
September 30, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Justine Rogers (New South Wales), Legal Ethics Education: Seeking--and Creating--a Stronger Community of Practice, 36 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 61 (2023):
This Article uses Community of Practice (“CoP”) frameworks and insights to examine legal ethics, a vital but challenging part of legal education and practice. CoP is a template to explain how the knowledge we learn is inseparable from the social situations in which it is “practiced” and how the processes through which we learn can be understood as a trajectory toward becoming competent knowers within a community. Increasingly, CoP also captures how communities might be initiated and sustained to advance that practice or expert domain. CoP theory illuminates the difficult conflicts both in teaching and in learning legal ethics, conflicts driven by the clash between “ethics-as-rules” and “ethics-as-judgment.”
September 28, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Debra Moss Vollweiler (Nova), Return of the Sage (on the Stage)?, 53 Sw. L. Rev. __ (2023):
The Covid Care Crisis had an enormous impact on the legal academy, and specifically on the way that law professors conducted their classrooms. It is unquestionable that the March 2020 nationwide emergency conversion to remote teaching, followed by the commonly experienced year or more of hybrid teaching changed the way faculty structured their law classrooms. These changes led to some rocky teaching seas for many, as faculty adjusted to the need to find new ways to interact with students and ensuring learning, even while physically separated.
September 28, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Rimsha Syeda (Sidley Austin, Washington, D.C.), Note, An Intelligent Path for Improving Diversity at Law Firms (Un)Artificially, 29 Mich. Tech. L. Rev. 307 (2023):
Most law firms are struggling when it comes to diversity and inclusion. There are fewer women in law firms compared to men. The majority of lawyers—81%—are White, despite White people making up only about 65% of the law school population. Lawyers of color remain underrepresented with the historic high being only 28.32%. By comparison, 13.4% of the United States population is Black and 5.9% is Asian. The biases that perpetuate this lack of diversity in law firms begin during the hiring process and extend to associate retainment.
September 27, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Friday, September 15, 2023
Steven A. Boutcher (Law and Society Association; Google Scholar), Jason N. Houle (Dartmouth; Google Scholar), Anna Raup-Kounovksy (Penn State-University Park) & Carroll Seron (UC-Irvine), A Faustian Bargain? Rethinking the Role of Debt in Law Students' Career Choices, 20 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 166 (2023):
Despite the absence of strong empirical evidence to support the relationship, legal scholars have long argued that a model of financing legal education through student debt makes it difficult, if not impossible, for most students to take seriously a career path in government and public interest (GPI) law, where salaries are generally lower than private, corporate practice. Drawing from a multiwave, panel survey of law students, we take advantage of a unique tuition remission intervention that occurred at the founding of University of California Irvine (UCI) Law, resulting in a natural, quasi-experiment. Using ordinary least squares regression and an instrumental variables approach, we ask whether law student debt influences the likelihood that students will (1) launch their careers in the GPI and (2) aspire to the GPI sector 5 years after graduation. We find little to no evidence that student debt is a barrier to a graduate's decision to take a position in the GPI sector at career launch or that debt is a factor in a graduate's career aspirations at UCI law school during the study period.
September 15, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Diana Simon (Arizona; Google Scholar), Legal Education and Trigger Warnings: More Harm Than Good?:
Should legal educators give trigger warnings and, in our zeal to protect students from potentially triggering content, are we doing them more harm than good? First, the author addresses the motivation for writing the article—to ensure that in making decisions relating to trigger warnings, instructors not only look to what educators have to say about trigger warnings but also look to what other disciplines have to say as well, including psychologists. Second, the term “trigger warning,” on the one hand, and the term “content warning,” on the other hand, will be addressed.
September 14, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Marsha Griggs (St. Louis; Google Scholar), Outsourcing Self-Regulation, 80 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. __ (2024):
Answerable only to the courts that have the sole authority to grant or withhold the right to practice law, lawyers operate under a system of self-regulation. The self-regulated legal profession staunchly resists external interference from the legislative and administrative branches of government. Yet, with the same fervor that the legal profession defies non-judicial oversight, it has subordinated itself to the controlling influence of a private corporate interest. By outsourcing the mechanisms that control admission to the bar, the legal profession has all but surrendered the most crucial component of its gatekeeping function to an industry that profits at the expense of those seeking entry.
September 13, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Meghan Dawe (Harvard Center On The Legal Profession), The Black-White Student Debt Gap Among Law School Graduates:
My research draws on a rich and novel data set on law school graduates from the first ever national study of lawyers’ careers. After the JD (AJD) employs a rigorous and sophisticated multimethod research design to track the first 20 years of lawyers’ careers, collecting data on a broad array of topics including social and educational background; legal education financing; earnings and hours worked; job mobility; fields of practice and legal specialties; career and job satisfaction; family formation; mentorship and professional networks; gender-, race-, and class-based inequality; and experiences of workplace discrimination. ...
Among law school graduates who participated in the AJD study, Black respondents are 13.7 percent more likely than White students to graduate from law school with student debt (see Figure 1), and Black borrowers graduate from law school with 7.8 percent more student debt than White borrowers (see Figure 2). By midcareer, these differences are even starker: Black borrowers are 26.6 percent more likely than White borrowers to have student debt remaining, and, among midcareer debtors, Black borrowers owe 38.7 percent more than their White counterparts. Black women are the most likely to graduate with student debt (95.9 percent), followed closely by Black men (94.6 percent), and Black women graduate with the highest average debt among student loan borrowers ($78,500). By midcareer, Black women and men who graduated with student debt are about equally likely to remain indebted (73.1 percent vs. 73.9 percent), and indebted Black men owe the most ($79,583), suggesting they encounter greater difficulty than Black women in repaying their loans.
September 12, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink
Chloe Sovinee-Dyroff (J.D. 2022, Colorado), Introverted Lawyers: Agents of Change in the Legal Profession, 36 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 111 (2023):
From law school admission to legal practice, students and practitioners are inundated with messages about who is, and who is not, fit to be a lawyer. The stereotypical lawyer is a fast-talking, podium-pounding extrovert who is unafraid to take aggressive stances, whether in the courtroom or at the negotiation table. The quiet observers, deep thinkers, and insightful writers, meanwhile, are pushed to the sidelines. Their authentic voices are stifled, and their natural skills underutilized. But the legal profession undervalues introverted traits to its detriment. Introverts—like all those who do not fit within the lawyer typecast— are compelled to conform to the image of what a lawyer is “supposed” to look and act like. The resulting homogeneity has engendered a profession-wide crisis that can no longer be ignored.
September 12, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Friday, September 8, 2023
Ezra Ross (UC-Irvine), Legal Writing and Faculty Pro Bono, 28 Legal Writing __ (2024):
Legal writing teachers today face an array of questions about what they value and how to spend their professional time. Although scholarship has addressed facets of this exploration, one question that hasn’t been deeply probed is what role pro bono should play in the legal writing community. But faculty pro bono in many ways aligns with existing strengths and values in the legal writing community. The legal writing community cares deeply about spearheading best practices in legal education, modeling professional values for students, crafting true-to-practice assignments for students, publishing scholarship informed by the realities of the legal system, and pursuing equity for colleagues and others.
September 8, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Rita A. Sethi (Hofstra), Reflective Journal: Curricular Deficits, Pedagogical Challenges and Constructing Community in a Non- Traditional Law School Class, 27 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 57 (2022):
In adherence to honest praxis, this essay is a reflective journal about the experience of teaching a law school class consisting of predominantly students of color, as a woman of color and second-generation immigrant, about subjects that interact with identity. Looking back at the class’s powerful alchemy through this reflection, I will highlight the fertile and susceptible openings in the curriculum where adaptation, including more targeted exploration and expansion, would have enriched our discussions of client-centeredness and cultural humility; assess my pedagogical tools for facilitating painful conversations and incorporating anti-racist teaching; and consider the liberatory potential inherent in these spaces.
September 5, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Monday, September 4, 2023
Nicola A. Boothe (Dean, Illinois-Chicago), Black and BarRed: The Bar Examination's History of Exclusivity and the Threat of Further Exclusion Posed by ABA Standard 316, 74 S.C. L. Rev. 179 (2022):
Amid all the dismay, hardship, and loss caused by the pandemic and the social reckoning in this country, the legal profession is uniquely poised to address the disparate impact caused by the bar exam and its encapsulation in Standard 316. In light of a new forthcoming bar exam format, as a start, the ABA should consider implementing the previous version of Standard 316 which utilized multiple methods of compliance, took into account the variations in law schools, and gave strong consideration to schools’ missions, particularly those schools of access and opportunity.
September 4, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Statistically, students with higher undergraduate grade point averages (UGPA) and LSAT scores are more likely to pass the bar exam than students with lower UGPAs and LSAT scores. As a result, a predicted bar passage rate may be calculated for each law school based upon its UGPA and LSAT scores. Once a predicted bar passage rate is calculated, it is possible to determine which law schools are overperforming or underperforming in terms of preparing their students to pass the bar exam. In other words, it is possible to show which law schools are adding the most bar passage value to their students. Three articles (two of which are discussed in the next section) have identified the law schools that add the most value to first-time bar passage rates. This is the first article to identify the law schools that add the most value to ultimate bar passage rates. As explained in Section II.B, the five law schools that added the most value to ultimate bar passage during the period of 2017–2019 are as follows:
August 31, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Jonathan H. Choi (USC; Google Scholar) & Daniel Schwarcz (Minnesota; Google Scholar), AI Assistance in Legal Analysis: An Empirical Study:
Can artificial intelligence (AI) augment human legal reasoning? To find out, we designed a novel experiment administering law school exams to students with and without access to GPT-4, the best-performing AI model currently available. We found that assistance from GPT-4 significantly enhanced performance on simple multiple-choice questions but not on complex essay questions. We also found that GPT-4’s impact depended heavily on the student’s starting skill level; students at the bottom of the class saw huge performance gains with AI assistance, while students at the top of the class saw performance declines. This suggests that AI may have an equalizing effect on the legal profession, mitigating inequalities between elite and nonelite lawyers. In addition, we graded exams written by GPT-4 alone to compare it with humans alone and AI-assisted humans.
August 23, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink
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. 134 (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.)
August 23, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Friday, August 18, 2023
Harold Anthony Lloyd (Wake Forest; Google Scholar), Langdell and the Eclipse of Character, 85 Pitt. L. Rev. __ (2023):
Christopher Columbus Langdell has not only damaged the study of law with his three follies: his legal formalism, his redacted appellate case method, and his notion that legal practice taints the professor of law. His three follies have also impaired character development critical for legal actors. This Article focuses on four such critical character traits and virtues impaired by Langdell: (i) imagination, (ii) empathy, (ii) balance, and (iv) integrity. Readers wishing to explore virtues beyond those addressed in this Article might note my earlier examination of the role of virtue in good legal analysis found here.
August 18, 2023 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Rachel Stabler (Arizona State), All Rise: Pursuing Equity in Oral Argument Evaluation, 101 Neb. L. Rev. 438 (2023):
Oral argument is often described as a “rite of passage” for law students. As challenging and nerve-wracking as it may be for law students, it is also uniquely challenging for the person who evaluates it—usually a moot court judge or law professor. Oral argument is one of the few evaluations done in law school without the benefit of anonymity. Without anonymity, an evaluator can be subject to a number of biases. Some biases arise from the cognitive processes common to all evaluators. Other harmful biases arise from stereotypes based on the student’s identity, like race or gender. And these biases operate against students who already face additional burdens from the norms for presentation style that are rooted in classical tradition. When combined with the much-diagnosed problem of inconsistent judging, it is no wonder that evaluating oral argument is so difficult.
August 17, 2023 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink
Abdi Aidid (Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law; Specialist, Legal Innovation, Blue J Legal) & Benjamin Alarie (Osler Chair in Business Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law; CEO, Blue J Legal), The Legal Singularity: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Law Radically Better (University of Toronto Press 2023):
Law today is incomplete, inaccessible, unclear, underdeveloped, and often perplexing to those whom it affects. In The Legal Singularity, Abdi Aidid and Benjamin Alarie argue that the proliferation of artificial intelligence–enabled technology — and specifically the advent of legal prediction — is on the verge of radically reconfiguring the law, our institutions, and our society for the better.
Revealing the ways in which our legal institutions underperform and are expensive to administer, the book highlights the negative social consequences associated with our legal status quo. Given the infirmities of the current state of the law and our legal institutions, the silver lining is that there is ample room for improvement. With concerted action, technology can help us to ameliorate the problems of the law and improve our legal institutions. Inspired in part by the concept of the "technological singularity," The Legal Singularity presents a future state in which technology facilitates the functional "completeness" of law, where the law is at once extraordinarily more complex in its specification than it is today, and yet operationally, the law is vastly more knowable, fairer, and clearer for its subjects. Aidid and Alarie describe the changes that will culminate in the legal singularity and explore the implications for the law and its institutions.
August 17, 2023 in Book Club, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Ed Tech, Legal Education | Permalink