Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Affordable Content In Legal Education

Connie Lenz (Minnesota), Affordable Content in Legal Education, 112 Law Library J. ___ (2020):

Law schools can assist their students by adopting more affordable content in courses while continuing to meet pedagogical goals. Part II of this article provides a summary of the affordable content movement that is taking place at colleges and universities across the country. Given that many options for affordable content rely on digital resources, Part III provides a brief summary of recent research on the impact of material format — print vs. digital — on student performance and learning. Recognizing that law school learning outcomes are heavily dependent upon critical legal reading skills, Part IV explores the distinctive nature of law school reading and the complex critical reading skills required for success in legal education. Part V discusses affordable content options for law schools, and Part VI addresses ways in which law librarians can promote and support the implementation of these options.

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July 21, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2020

2020 Meta-Ranking Of Flagship U.S. Law Reviews

Bryce Clayton Newell (Oregon), 2020 Meta-Ranking of Flagship US Law Reviews:

This is an updated ranking of the top flagship law reviews at US law schools (updated as of July 15, 2020). ... The ranking table below includes 191 flagship law reviews from ABA accredited law schools. Even if you ignore the “MetaRank,” the table provides access to the updated rankings from US News (peer reputation and overall rankings, averaged over the 10-year period from 2012 through the 2021 edition) and the current W&L (2015-2019; released on June 1, 2020) and Google Scholar (July 2020) rankings.. ...

prRank = Average 10-year US News Peer Reputation score ranking;
usnRank = Average 10-year overall US News school ranking; 
wluRank = Washington & Lee Law Journal Ranking; 
gRank = Google Scholar Metrics ranking; 
wlu(IF)Rank = Washington & Lee Law Journal Impact Factor Ranking (NOT included in meta-rank).

Journal MetaRank prRank usnRank wluRank gRank wlu(IF)Rank
Yale Law Journal 1 2 1 1 1 2
Harvard Law Review 2 1 3 2 2 20
Stanford Law Review 3 3 2 3 3 1
Columbia Law Review 4 4 5 4 4 19
University of Chicago Law Review 5 5 4 9 6 15
Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Rev. 6 9 7 5 7 4
California Law Review 7 7 9 7 10 6
New York University Law Review 8 6 6 10 12 14
Georgetown Law Journal 9 14 14 6 5 10
Virginia Law Review 10 9 8 16 12 17
Michigan Law Review 11 8 9 15 16 8
Texas Law Review 12 15 15 14 8 20
UCLA Law Review 13 16 16 12 9 3
Duke Law Journal 13 11 11 17 14 5
Vanderbilt Law Review 15 17 17 19 15 13
Notre Dame Law Review 16 24 21 8 16 6
Cornell Law Review 17 12 13 23 22 12
Minnesota Law Review 18 20 20 13 18 15
Iowa Law Review 19 28 25 11 10 23
Northwestern Univ. Law Review 20 13 12 24 26 27
Washington Univ. Law Review 21 18 18 26 28 18
Boston University Law Review 22 25 24 22 20 22
Southern California Law Review 23 19 19 27 30 11
George Washington Law Review 24 23 22 29 22 42
Emory Law Journal 24 21 23 30 22 29
Boston College Law Review 26 29 30 21 19 27
William & Mary Law Review 27 33 35 18 21 8
UC Davis Law Review 28 26 36 28 22 26
Fordham Law Review 29 34 38 20 27 46
Indiana Law Journal 30 32 29 35 34 33
Washington Law Review 30 35 31 34 30 32
Wisconsin Law Review 32 26 34 39 37 38
Ohio State Law Journal 33 31 37 33 36 25
Univ. of Illinois Law Review 34 36 41 32 29 39
North Carolina Law Review 35 22 39 36 45 37
Florida Law Review 36 38 44 31 30 34
Washington & Lee Law Review 37 39 33 43 40 43
Alabama Law Review 38 40 27 40 52 35
Arizona Law Review 39 43 43 42 34 36
Hastings Law Journal 40 41 53 37 37 40
Arizona State Law Journal 41 44 28 55 42 61
UC Irvine Law Review 42 30 26 66 51 58
Cardozo Law Review 43 53 59 25 37 24
Wake Forest Law Review 44 45 40 47 47 49
Maryland Law Review 45 47 48 44 42 43
American Univ. Law Review 46 49 71 38 30 40
Colorado Law Review 47 42 45 50 55 52
Georgia Law Review 48 37 32 58 66 52
BYU Law Review 49 50 42 60 49 66
Utah Law Review 50 51 47 53 52 54
Houston Law Review 51 64 56 46 48 43
Connecticut Law Review 52 52 57 41 66 29
George Mason Law Review 53 56 46 49 66 51
Case Western Reserve Law Rev. 54 63 64 52 42 66
Univ. of Richmond Law Review 55 73 55 54 52 49
Tulane Law Review 56 46 51 69 85 83
Univ. of Miami Law Review 57 54 67 68 63 62
Temple Law Review 57 58 54 61 79 47
Brooklyn Law Review 59 70 82 48 58 66
SMU Law Review 59 66 49 64 79 77
Pepperdine Law Review 61 67 58 71 63 66
Lewis & Clark Law Review 61 81 87 51 40 56
Florida State Univ. Law Review 63 48 50 89 75 74
Seton Hall Law Review 64 85 62 62 55 58
Missouri Law Review 64 68 73 65 58 65
Nevada Law Journal 66 84 68 45 75 48
Chicago-Kent Law Review 67 72 80 63 58 74
San Diego Law Review 68 58 77 80 61 72
Michigan State Law Review 69 95 90 59 45 63
Univ. of Kansas Law Review 70 62 74 85 70 88
Nebraska Law Review 71 80 70 83 61 80
Loyola Univ. Chicago Law Journal 72 75 76 72 72 66
Oklahoma Law Review 73 78 69 76 75 87
Denver University Law Review 74 57 72 88 85 88
Penn State Law Review 75 93 66 57 90 31
Tennessee Law Review 76 61 61 96 94 110
Seattle University Law Review 77 91 108 56 63 71
Indiana Law Review 78 76 98 77 79 83
Georgia State Univ. Law Review 78 69 60 109 92 147
Univ. of Cincinnati Law Review 80 83 75 82 96 81
Villanova Law Review 80 86 85 86 79 88
South Carolina Law Review 82 89 95 87 70 83
DePaul Law Review 83 98 112 67 66 56
Kentucky Law Journal 84 71 63 108 107 125
Hofstra Law Review 85 99 109 74 72 81
West Virginia Law Review 86 109 99 70 79 58
Buffalo Law Review 87 100 96 84 79 74
Saint Louis Univ. Law Journal 88 97 92 102 72 114
Marquette Law Review 89 92 100 78 94 79
Rutgers Univ. Law Review 90 74 83 123 85 142
Baylor Law Review 90 87 52 113 1000 103
Albany Law Review 92 127 119 73 49 83
Arkansas Law Review 93 96 84 105 85 129
Santa Clara Law Review 94 77 106 99 96 77
UMKC Law Review 95 106 118 81 75 108
Louisiana Law Review 96 102 89 98 96 125
St. John’s Law Review 97 104 86 112 99 136
Howard Law Journal 98 90 116 100 99 103
Catholic Univ. Law Review 99 101 100 107 102 114
Loyola of L.A. Law Review 100 64 65 150 133 150
Oregon Law Review 101 55 88 136 1000 142
Texas A&M Law Review 101 123 115 75 102 63
Syracuse Law Review 103 94 96 101 126 99
Drake Law Review 103 132 110 90 85 91
Idaho Law Review 105 117 129 119 55 106
Univ. of Pittsburgh Law Review 106 60 81 141 112 136
New Mexico Law Review 107 88 79 131 1000 119
Chapman Law Review 108 141 131 79 1000 54
Texas Tech Law Review 109 135 113 91 92 99
Mississippi Law Journal 110 103 107 110 119 114
Cleveland State Law Review 111 140 117 94 90 91
Vermont Law Review 112 112 133 95 102 103
Univ. of Louisville Law Review 113 108 93 122 1000 97
Univ. of San Francisco Law Rev. 114 119 142 93 1000 73
Washburn Law Journal 115 136 128 97 1000 96
Northeastern Univ. Law Journal 116 82 77 150 1000 150
Maine Law Review 117 105 124 130 102 110
Mercer Law Review 118 121 121 111 115 136
Akron Law Review 119 144 135 92 102 91
Univ. of Hawai'i Law Review 119 79 94 150 1000 150
CUNY Law Review 121 114 120 121 1000 112
Tulsa Law Review 122 125 91 150 112 150
Montana Law Review 122 120 126 116 1000 95
Creighton Law Review 124 134 122 106 119 119
Stetson Law Review 125 110 104 134 1000 149
Quinnipiac Law Review 126 131 130 114 1000 99
Wayne Law Review 127 116 100 150 131 150
Univ. of Memphis Law Review 128 143 147 103 107 133
Univ. of St. Thomas Law Journal 129 139 125 139 99 125
Pace Law Review 130 132 136 128 109 136
Wyoming Law Review 131 118 126 132 1000 122
Duquesne Law Review 132 148 134 115 1000 99
Drexel Law Review 132 115 111 143 1000 130
Univ. of Baltimore Law Review 134 122 123 134 1000 112
Loyola Law Review 135 113 140 137 126 128
Suffolk Univ. Law Review 135 130 151 120 115 136
FIU Law Review 137 147 105 146 119 136
Gonzaga Law Review 138 111 114 147 1000 148
New York Law School Law Rev. 139 129 132 142 119 130
Southwestern Law Review 140 138 150 129 109 114
Univ. of Toledo Law Review 141 142 141 125 119 142
Univ. of Arkansas LR Law Rev. 142 107 137 150 134 150
Univ. of the Pacific Law Review 143 128 139 150 112 150
Univ. of New Hampshire Law Rev. 143 126 103 150 1000 150
Ohio Northern Univ. Law Review 145 169 153 104 1000 122
St. Mary's Law Journal 146 157 158 117 119 119
Mitchell Hamline Law Review 147 145 144 150 115 150
South Dakota Law Review 147 146 147 133 128 133
Capital University Law Review 149 170 161 117 109 107
Willamette Law Review 150 124 138 150 1000 150
Touro Law Review 151 167 161 127 115 130
Northern Kentucky Law Review 152 162 161 124 1000 91
Campbell Law Review 153 170 146 140 119 122
John Marshall Law Review 154 149 152 149 131 145
North Dakota Law Review 155 137 149 150 1000 150
Univ. of Detroit Mercy Law Rev. 155 173 161 126 1000 97
South Texas Law Review 157 157 156 148 128 145
Roger Williams Univ. Law Rev. 158 155 161 150 128 150
Southern Illinois Univ. L.J. 159 154 156 150 135 150
Cumberland Law Review 160 153 145 150 1000 150
Widener Law Review 161 150 161 144 1000 114
Univ. of Dayton Law Review 162 151 154 150 1000 150
Northern Illinois Univ. Law Rev. 163 156 155 150 1000 150
Widener Commonwealth Law Rev. 163 152 159 150 1000 150
New England Law Review 165 168 161 145 1000 133
Nova Law Review 166 159 161 150 1000 150
Regent Univ. Law Review 167 184 161 138 1000 108
Elon Law Review 167 160 161 150 1000 150
Golden Gate Univ. Law Review 169 161 161 150 1000 150
California Western Law Review 170 163 161 150 1000 150
Belmont Law Review 170 181 143 150 1000 150
Oklahoma City Univ. Law Review 170 165 159 150 1000 150
Mississippi College Law Review 173 164 161 150 1000 150
University of Mass. Law Review 174 166 161 150 1000 150
N. Carolina Central Law Review 175 172 161 150 1000 150
Univ. of the D.C. Law Review 176 174 161 150 1000 150
Florida A&M Univ. Law Review 177 175 161 150 1000 150
W. New England Law Review 178 176 161 150 1000 150
St. Thomas Law Review 179 177 161 150 1000 150
Thurgood Marshall Law Review 179 177 161 150 1000 150
John Marshall Law Journal 181 179 161 150 1000 150
Southern Univ. Law Review 182 180 161 150 1000 150
Charleston Law Review 183 182 161 150 1000 150
Faulkner Law Review 184 183 161 150 1000 150
Florida Coastal Law Review 185 184 161 150 1000 150
Appalachian Journal of Law 186 186 161 150 1000 150
Liberty University Law Review 187 187 161 150 1000 150
Barry Law Review 188 188 161 150 1000 150
Western State Univ. Law Review 189 189 161 150 1000 150
Thomas M. Cooley Law Review 189 189 161 150 1000 150
Ave Maria Law Review 191 191 161 150 1000 150

July 20, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Really Basic Rules For Writing Good Papers In Law School

Allison Christians (McGill), Really Basic Rules for Writing Good Papers in Law School, 23 Green Bag 2d 181 (2020):

Green BagThis extremely brief guide is intended to help students write good papers in law school. It covers paper structure, substance, and style.

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July 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Unsafe At Any Campus: Don’t Let Colleges Become The Next Cruise Ships, Nursing Homes, And Food Processing Plants

Peter H. Huang (Colorado) & Debra S. Austin (Denver), Unsafe at Any Campus: Don’t Let Colleges Become the Next Cruise Ships, Nursing Homes, and Food Processing Plants:, 95 Ind. L..J. Supp. ___ (2020):

The decision to educate our students via in-person or online learning environments while COVID-19 is unrestrained is a false choice, when the clear path to achieve our chief objective safely, the education of our students, can be done online. Our decision-making should be guided by the overriding principle that people matter more than money. We recognize that lost tuition revenue if students delay or defer education is an institutional concern, but we posit that many students and parents would prefer a safer online alternative to riskier in-person options, especially as we get closer to fall, and American death tolls rise. This Essay argues the extra stress of trying to maintain safety from infection with a return to campus will make teaching and learning less effective. While high density classrooms promote virus transmission and potentially super-spreader events, we can take the lessons we learned during the spring, and provide courses without the stressors of spreading the virus. We argue the socially responsible decision is to deliver compassionate, healthy, and first-rate online pedagogy, and we offer a vision of how to move forward into this brave new world. ...

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July 14, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Gatekeeping The Profession

Christopher Williams (Chicago), Gatekeeping The Profession, 26 Cardozo J. Equal Rts. 171 (2020):

This article critically examines the structure of U.S. legal education and reveals how the structure of U.S. legal education serves as a racial gatekeeper that prevents black students from entering the legal profession in the United States. In addition, this article also reveals how the exportation of U.S. legal education to India resulted in a similar process, one in which legal education serves as a caste based gatekeeper that prevents dalit students from entering the legal profession in India. This connection is made by introducing and characterizing the model of U.S. legal education as an adaptive prejudice model whereby the model adapts and reproduces the prejudices of the society in which it is situated in. This article is consistent with scholarship that critiques prejudice inherent in U.S. legal education and legal education in India but adds to this body by situating black and dalit students experiences together instead of in isolation.

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July 14, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Journal Of Legal Education Publishes New Issue

Journal of Legal Education (2018)The Journal of Legal Education has published Vol. 68, No. 3 (Spring 2019):

From The Editors

  • Jeremy Paul (Northeastern), Margaret Y.K. Woo (Northeastern) & Hemanth Gundavaram (Northeastern), From the Editors, 68 J. Legal Educ. 505 (2019)


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July 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (10)

Rozema: Does The Bar Exam Protect The Public?

Kyle Rozema (Washington University), Does the Bar Exam Protect the Public?:

I study the effects of requiring lawyers to pass the bar exam on whether they are later publicly disciplined for misconduct. In the 1980s, four states began to require graduates from all law schools to pass the bar exam by abolishing what is known as a diploma privilege. My research design exploits these events to estimate the effect of the diploma privilege on the share of lawyers who receive public sanctions by state discipline bodies. Lawyers admitted on diploma privilege receive public sanctions at similar rates to lawyers admitted after passing a bar exam for the first decade of their careers, but small differences begin to emerge after a decade, and larger differences emerge after two decades. The estimates suggest that the diploma privilege increased the share of lawyers who received a public sanction within 25 years after bar admission from 4.5 percent to between 4.6 and 6.5 percent.

Rozema 1

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July 8, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 6, 2020

Cultivating Grit In Law Students

Denitsa Mavrova Heinrich (North Dakota), Cultivating Grit in Law Students: Grit, Deliberate Practice, and the First-Year Law School Curriculum, 47 Cap. U. L. Rev. 341 (2019):

GritWhat characteristics reliably predict success? Why is it that some individuals accomplish more than others of equal intelligence? Why do some make the most of their abilities while others barely tap into their potential? In examining these questions, psychologist Angela Duckworth discovered that grit was the one characteristic all highly successful individuals had in common.

Grit, defined as “passion and perseverance for the long-term goal,” has proven to reliably predict success in a variety of domains. In the educational setting, specifically, grit has emerged as a strong predictor for student success at both the secondary and undergraduate levels. Yet, despite the research showing a positive relationship between grit and academic achievement, grit remains virtually unexamined in the context of legal education.

This Article illustrates why grit is a concept worth examining in legal education. In particular, the Article argues that cultivating grit in law students is a pedagogical goal worth pursuing in legal education in order to improve student learning and promote student success.

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July 6, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Women Law Professors: The First Century (1896-1996)

Catherine J. Lanctot (Villanova), Women Law Professors: The First Century, 65 Vill L. Rev. ___ (2020):

This article addresses the history of women as law professors from 1896 to 1996. It discusses the discrimination faced by women in legal academia over time, and also illustrates the contributions women have made to legal education.

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June 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawyer Health And Adverse Childhood Experiences

Karen Oehme (Florida State) & Nat Stern (Florida State), Improving Lawyers' Health By Addressing the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, 53 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1311 (2019):

The legal community has recently acknowledged that many in the profession suffer from the effects of poor mental health and has called for steps to improve lawyers’ well-being. Though well intentioned, this movement has largely ignored what the Centers for Disease Control calls a “basis for much of adult physical and emotional health problems”: adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Research by neuroscientists and others has concluded that much of adult physical and mental illness has its roots in the unresolved trauma of childhood adversity. At the same time, research also indicates that understanding the impact of these early experiences can alleviate such illness and its attendant maladaptive coping behaviors. Thus, efforts to help lawyers improve their mental health without addressing adverse childhood experiences will inevitably fall short. This Article recommends that bar associations and law schools take measures to educate attorneys and future attorneys about the potentially far-reaching consequences of these experiences and means to overcome them.

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June 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Power Of A Positive Tweet By A Dean

Patricia Grande Montana (St. John's), The Power of a Positive Tweet, 24 J. Legal Writing 77 (2020):

This essay explores how a simple act, such as positive tweet by a law school dean about the value of legal writing scholarship, can increase legal writing professors' growing visibility and reputation in the law school community. These types of acts are a positive development toward legal writing faculty achieving not only the status but respect they have earned and deserve within that community.

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June 18, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Integrated Learning, Integrated Faculty

Rachel S. Arnow-Richman (Florida), Integrated Learning, Integrated Faculty, 92 Temple L. Rev. ___ (2020):

A fundamental obstacle to the success of legal education’s practice readiness movement is the “bifurcated faculty.” Most law schools continue to operate a two tiered system in which a group of elite credentialed “doctrinal” faculty enjoy the generous compensation, security, and privileges associated with tenure, while an underclass of contract faculty teach work intensive “skills” courses for lower pay and lesser status. This Essay analyzes the bifurcated faculty as a personnel practice, leveraging insights from management theory and employment discrimination scholarship to evaluate law schools as employers. It considers, first, the rise of new economy management practices that eschew static job classifications in favor of greater flexibility and integration and, second, the role of structural discrimination in stymying institutional efforts to eliminate workplace disparities tied to race, gender, and other protected characteristics. These bodies of research suggest that law schools aspiring to graduate practice ready lawyers must not only integrate their curricula but also their faculty. Doing so means eliminating structural obstacles that isolate skills faculty from doctrinal faculty and dislodging embedded assumptions about their relative worth.

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June 17, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Organ: What The Revealed-Preferences Ranking Fails to Reveal

Jerome M. Organ (St. Thomas), What the Revealed-Preferences Ranking Fails to Reveal, 7 Belmont L. Rev. 114 (2019) (reviewing CJ Ryan (Roger Williams) & Brian L. Frye (Kentucky), The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, 7 Belmont L. Rev. 86 (2019)):

The Revealed-Preferences Ranking methodology developed by Professors Christopher J. Ryan, Jr. and Brian L. Frye purports to be an “objective ranking” because it identifies the claimed preferences of first-year law students by looking at and comparing the “quality” of the first-year students who chose to attend each law school based on the LSAT and UGPA indicators for the entering class at each law school. For The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools, the authors incorporate the preferences of those who chose to transfer out from a given law school as a further indication of how the preferences of transfer students inform the “quality” of a given law school.

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June 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Resisting The Detrimental Effects Of Grade Inflation On Faculty And Students

David Kahl, Jr. (Penn State), Resisting the Detrimental Effects of Grade Inflation on University Faculty and Students through Critical Communication Pedagogy:

Despite university faculty’s efforts to maintain rigor and high expectations in their classrooms, grade inflation continues to rise. While numerous factors exist to explain this problem, the primary contributor is the ubiquitous pressure of neoliberal forces on the university. Neoliberalism has inculcated society, namely undergraduate students, to resist the belief that the university is a place in which they collectively gather to learn, think, be challenged, grow through failure, and build character. Rather, students now largely believe that they university is merely a business from which they purchase a product—a degree. This producer-consumer mindset has created a deleterious situation for both students and faculty. Students believe that they are merely purchasing a degree; and, they demand that high grades accompany that degree. To them, high grades, coupled with their degree, are the currency with which they purchase a career. Because of this prevalent ideology, faculty are placed in a perilous position because they feel internal and external pressure to reduce the rigor of their courses and/or artificially inflate the grades that students earn. Although all faculty feel the pressure to conform to this neoliberally driven practice, it is especially troublesome for tenure-track, non-tenure track, and other contingent faculty because their continued employment is, often to a large extent, dependent of student ratings of teaching effectiveness.

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June 11, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Gap Between The Foundational Competencies Clients And Legal Employers Need And The Learning Outcomes Law Schools Are Adopting

Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), The Gap Between the Foundational Competencies Clients and Legal Employers Need and the Learning Outcomes Law Schools Are Adopting, 89 UMKC L. Rev. ___  (2020):

This article is the first to answer the question whether law schools are including the foundational competencies needed to represent clients in their learning outcomes. While all law schools are adopting learning outcomes on the technical skills needed to practice law (knowledge of doctrinal law, legal analysis, legal writing and research, and legal judgment), this article identifies a substantial gap between the learning outcomes being adopted and the other foundational competencies needed to represent clients. The most serious gap is that while clients and legal employers want law graduates to demonstrate a strong client service orientation, almost no law schools are adopting a client service orientation learning outcome.

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June 10, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Temple Symposium: Disrupting Hierarchies In Legal Education

Efficient And Meaningful Outcomes Assessment For Busy Law Schools

Melissa N. Henke (Kentucky), When Your Plate is Already Full: Efficient and Meaningful Outcomes Assessment for Busy Law Schools, 71 Mercer L. Rev. 529 (2020):

The American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards involving outcome-based assessment are a game changer for legal education. The standards reaffirm the importance of providing students with formative feedback throughout their course of study to assess and improve student learning. The standards also require law schools to evaluate their effectiveness, and to do so from the perspective of student performance within the institution’s program of study. The relevant question is no longer what are law schools teaching their students, but instead, what are students learning from law schools in terms of the knowledge, skills, and values that are essential for those entering the legal profession. In other words, law schools must shift their assessment focus from one centered around inputs to one based on student outputs.

Compliance with the ABA’s assessment mandate comes at a time when law school resources are spread thinner than ever. Indeed, faculty already work with plates that are full with students, scholarship, and service. Thus, while not all in the legal academy are on board with the ABA’s approach to outcomes assessment or to outcomes assessment generally, as busy educators, we should all at least agree that the requisite response should be efficient, given that resources are limited, and meaningful, such that the work done can benefit our learners. To do so, law schools should begin at their own tables set with full plates, so to speak, taking stock of what institutions and their faculty are already doing in terms of assessment. And it is important to think broadly here, as faculty may be surprised to learn how many of their colleagues are already doing relevant work.

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June 9, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 8, 2020

Over 40% Of Colleges Project A 10% Or More Decline In Fundraising Due To COVID-19 (20% Project A 20% Or More Decline)

Inside Higher Ed, Survey Warns of ‘Dramatic Decline’ in Fundraising:

College fundraising revenue will likely drop over the next two years as donors close their wallets to wait out the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, according to a new survey released today.

The survey by EAB, a higher education technology and consulting firm, queried 110 university fundraising professionals about current revenue projections [Advancement Forum COVID-19 Survey Report]. It found that more than 40 percent of colleges are projecting a 10 percent or larger decline in fundraising revenue for fiscal year 2020, which concludes for most institutions at the end of this month. More than one in five institutions expect fundraising revenue to fall by at least 20 percent, the survey showed.

In fiscal 2021, the declines are projected to be even steeper. Nearly 45 percent of institutions project double-digit declines in fundraising revenue, and a growing number of colleges project a decline of 30 percent or more compared to 2019 totals. ...


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June 8, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Reflections On Class Of 2019 Employment Outcomes

With the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar's release of its spreadsheet of employment outcomes for the Class of 2019, I am writing to look at trends over the last several years for a couple of different categories of employment outcomes while also offering a brief thought on the possible irrelevance of these data in light of the economic disruption resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Total Number of Graduates in Full-time, Long-term Bar Passage Required or JD Advantage Positions Increased almost 4.5%

With respect to full-time, long-term, Bar Passage Required (BPR) and JD Advantage (JDA) positions, the Class of 2019 offers some good news, with an increase in the total number of these positions from 26,632 to 27,352 (an increase of more than 700 and slightly less than 3%).   This is the largest number of these positions since 2015 (28,078).






% of Grads in FTLTBPR/JDA





































This is the third-year in a row in which full-time, long-term BPR positions increased — from 23,424 for the Class of 2018 to 24,472 – an increase of 1,048.  This is the first time since the Class of 2014, with 24,978 graduates in full-time, long-term BPR positions, that this number has been above 24,000.   This year also saw a continuation of the decline in the number of full-time, long-term JDA jobs that had paused briefly with the Class of 2018.  Full-time, long-term JDA jobs dropped from 3,209 for the Class of 2018 to 2,880 for the Class of 2019.  This is down nearly 40% from the 4,762 full-time, long-term JDA positions for the Class of 2014.  Indeed, the percentage of graduates in full-time, long-term JDA positions has fallen from 11% for the Class of 2014 to 8.5% for the Class of 2019.

Because the number of graduates has fallen from 43,132 for the Class of 2014 to 33,954 for the Class of 2019 (down over 21%), the percentage of graduates in full-time, long-term BPR or JDA positions has climbed for the fifth consecutive year, reaching 80.55%, up from 77.68% for the Class of 2018 (and up from 68.95% for the Class of 2014).

FTLTBPR as a Percentage of July First-Time Bar Passers from ABA-Accredited Law Schools nears 100%

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June 2, 2020 in Jerry Organ, Law School, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, June 1, 2020

Call For Papers: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Legal Education

Journal Of Legal Education Call For Papers: The Impact Of COVID-19 On Legal Education And The Legal Profession:

Journal of Legal Education (2020)The momentous happenings of our lifetime become tomorrow’s history. The coronavirus pandemic ranks atop our era’s list of transformational events as an unprecedented global emergency. Economies plummeting; jobs lost; families separated; our physical, mental, and social health threatened: how have those of us in legal education responded? We know that this Spring many campuses were shuttered and classes went on-line in a matter of days. Determining when we return to “normal”—or even what “normal” will mean—may now seem beyond comprehension. But difficult as it may be, analysis of what the pandemic has meant and will mean to legal education is critically important to future success.

The Journal of Legal Education is proud to partner with the AALS Section on Teaching Methods and the University of Miami School of Law in organizing a symposium issue devoted to COVID-19’s impact on legal education and the legal profession and the dramatic and immediate changes the pandemic has engendered. One particular topic of intense interest is the multiple experiences with on-line teaching in many forms now taking place around the country and the world. The symposium will feature articles on such pedagogy and its relevance to the broader trend in higher education toward on-line formats. At the same time, we seek to view the current moment through a broader lens that explores reactions to the current crisis in all aspects of legal education and the profession, not simply those stemming from the shift to the electronic classroom. Discussions of historical parallels to earlier disruptions are also encouraged.

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June 1, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Use Of Google Scholar And Hein Author Profiles Boosts Citations

Caroline Osborne (West Virginia) & Stephanie Miller (West Virginia), The Scholarly Impact Matrix: An Empirical Study of How Multiple Metrics Create an Informed Story of a Scholar's Work:

Google HeinonlineThis article analyzes data collected in an empirical study of citation metrics. Between February 1, 2019 and April 30, 2019, the authors collected citation data from Google Scholar, HeinOnline, Westlaw, Lexis, SSRN, and Digital Commons repositories on randomly selected faculty members at U.S. law schools for the purpose of answering questions regarding fit and utility of citation metrics. Analysis of the citation data examines the impact of adoption of scholarly profiles, gender, and stage in the profession, and discipline, on exposure on citation with the conclusion that exposure results in increased citations.

This examination of metrics measuring exposure and citation demonstrates that greater exposure leads to greater citations. This suggests that robust promotion and scholarly communication efforts that lead to downloads have cascading effects that lead to increased citation. Scholars with Google Scholar profiles enjoy a greater likelihood of citation and exposure across all platforms in the study with the exception of HeinOnline. This suggests scholars should adopt Google Scholar profiles. In contrast, the Hein Author profile while having no apparent benefit for exposure does positively impact citation. This finding suggests scholars should adopt the Hein Author profile. ORCiD has no measurable impact on either exposure or citation but may have other benefits not explored in the underlying study or this paper.

Gender impacts citation with men more likely to be frequently cited or significantly cited when compared to women. ...

The results centered on the scholar’s state of career are as anticipated. The mature scholar, one with twenty plus years in the profession, enjoys a greater likelihood of being significantly cited than those with less years in the profession. This reflects the long tail of scholarship. In contrast, scholars, with between eight and nineteen years in the profession, receive the benefit of exposure being more likely to be in the significantly downloaded interval than either those with greater or fewer years in the profession. Analysis from this study supports a generational difference and the development of institutional use of IR’s and SSRN.

Institution rank produces a benefit at the frequently cited interval for those at a T-14 institution, but rank is irreverent at the significantly cited level, except on HeinOnline where scholars at T-50 schools are more likely to be significantly cited than scholars at a T-14 institution. Scholars at T14 institutions enjoy a benefit at the frequently cited level.


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May 28, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

International JD Students In U.S. Law Schools

Swethaa Ballakrishnen (UC-Irvine) & Carole Silver (Northwestern), Language, Culture, and the Culture of Language: International JD Students in U.S. Law Schools, in Power, Legal Education, and Law School Cultures (Meera Deo (Thomas Jefferson), Mindie Lazarus-Black (Temple) & Elizabeth Mertz (Wisconsin), eds. 2020):

PowerAlthough international students have been routinely admitted to U.S. law schools over the last few decades, there is little known about this demographic outside of specific programs aimed to admit these students like the LLM or the SJD. This Chapter extends this literature to focus on a rising trend of students within more the “mainstream” law school program, the JD. Our past research shows that the proportion of JDs who are international students has increased over the last decade, with the increase being most notable at elite law schools. Still, little is known about the experience of these students. In this Chapter, drawing from interview data with approximately 50 international students, as well as supplemental data from law school faculty and administrators, we suggest, in line with other research, that language is crucial to framing these students’ experiences. However, we do not limit our analysis to direct language proficiency. Instead, we argue that beyond technical language markers like vocablary and syntax, it is the culture of language that determines the quality of students’ interactions and their institutional choices. International students, like all students, are constantly engaging in interactions that determine their perceived “fit” within sites in which they are embedded (e.g. classrooms, student groups, study groups, etc.) and across these contexts, expectations and presumptions of their abilities and identities shape the ways in which they are treated and allowed to assimilate.

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May 28, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Race, Gender, And Sexual Orientation In The Legal Workplace

Robert Nelson (Northwestern), Ioana Sendroiu (Toronto), Ronit Dinovitzer (Toronto) & Meghan Dawe (Toronto), Perceiving Discrimination: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in the Legal Workplace, 44 Law & Soc. Inquiry 1051 (2019):

Using quantitative and qualitative data from a large national sample of lawyers, we examine self-reports of perceived discrimination in the legal workplace. Across three waves of surveys, we find that persons of color, white women, and LGBTQ attorneys are far more likely to perceive they have been a target of discrimination than white men. These differences hold in multivariate models that control for social background, status in the profession and the work organization, and characteristics of the work organization. Qualitative comments describing these experiences reveal that lawyers of different races, genders, and sexual orientations are exposed to distinctive types of bias, that supervisors and clients are the most frequent sources of discriminatory treatment, and the often-overt character of perceived discrimination. These self-reports suggest that bias in the legal workplace is widespread and rooted in the same hierarchies of race, gender, and sexual orientation that pervade society.

May 27, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Why Won’t Universities Spend Their Money During The Pandemic? Endowment Hoarding By Presidents.

Following up on my previous post, University President Explains Why Faculty/Staff Pay Freezes And Layoffs Are Preferable To Dipping Into Endowment During COVID-19:  Brian Galle (Georgetown), If Not Now, When: Why Won’t Universities Spend Their Money?:

CoronavirusThese are tough times for higher education. Even name-brand institutions are announcing hiring freezes and salary cuts, among other austerity policies. ... [W]hat on earth explains why Stanford and Harvard are taking similar measures? These are institutions with tens of billions of dollars in endowment savings. Harvard, as I have pointed out elsewhere, could cease operations tomorrow and still cover its bills for twelve years. Equally insane, these are schools with guaranteed donative revenues that are sure to exceed their annual endowment payouts by several multiples. That is, Harvard brings in more money in donations every year than it spends out of its endowment. Any first-year finance student would tell Harvard to borrow against its future inflows by spending out of the existing endowment.

So put another way, the present moment should end forever the argument that university endowments are rainy day funds. If institutions aren’t drawing on their supposed reserves now, when will they ever? ...

One possible explanation for why universities act so irrationally is because the law forces them to. ... [T]he legal argument is nonsense. ...

[A] team of finance professors has what I think is a more persuasive answer [How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications, 104 Am. Econ. Rev. 931 (2014)] ... Their answer is agency costs. Basically, university administrators use endowment as a measure of their own success. As fairly compelling evidence, the profs show that universities do sometimes dip into endowment spending, but almost never to the point where the endowment would fall below what it was worth when the current president took office. Presidents protect their endowment “legacy,” at the cost of their real legacy. (Wharton legal studies prof Peter Conti-Brown also argued this point, albeit with less empirical basis, in his student note [Scarcity Amidst Wealth: The Law, Finance, and Culture of Elite University Endowments in Financial Crisis, 63 Stan. L. Rev. 699 (2011)]; see also this nice paper  [The Coming Showdown Over University Endowments: Enlisting the Donors, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 1795 (2009)]). ...

[A]dministrators who are not constrained by ego should be aggressively drawing down endowment spending right now. ... [T]he marginal returns to present spending are very high, and they have lasting benefits. Many cut-backs are hard to reverse and have long-lasting sting (once you sell off your engineering school, it doesn’t come back). Students and support staff are in need. Opportunities to hire or poach faculty away from shorter-sighted schools are highly available.

Inside Higher Ed, Will Colleges Tap Large Endowments During Pandemic?:

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May 27, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

COVID-19 And Law Teaching: Developing Asynchronous Online Courses For Law Students

Yvonne Dutton (Indiana-Indianapolis) & Seema Mohapatra (Indiana-Indianapolis), COVID-19 and Law Teaching: Guidance on Developing an Asynchronous Online Course for Law Students, 65 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2020):

CoronavirusMost law schools suspended their live classroom teaching in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly transitioned to online programming. Although professors can be commended for rapidly adapting to an emergency situation, some commentators have nevertheless suggested that the emergency online product delivered to students was substandard. Based on our own experiences in designing and delivering online courses, we caution against embracing a broad-reaching, negative conclusion about the efficacy of online education. Indeed, much of this emergency online programming would be more properly defined as “emergency remote teaching,” as opposed to “online education.” Delivering online education to students involves more than giving the same classroom lecture on Zoom. Online education requires professors to design their courses to be delivered at a distance, with the goal being to create a course driven by pedagogy using technological tools to inform and enhance the learning experience. COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and because some schools might be unable to bring all of their students back into the classroom in the fall, we urge faculty to prepare to deliver their courses online. Law schools and faculty should not wait for another emergency and should prepare to deliver at least some of their courses online in the fall. To aid with this transition, this Article offers some guidance on how to develop and implement an effective asynchronous distance-learning course for law students.

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May 26, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Flaws Of Implicit Bias — And the Need For Empirical Research In Legal Scholarship And In Legal Education

Adam Lamparello (Former Associate Dean of Experiential Learning, Indiana Tech), The Flaws of Implicit Bias — And the Need for Empirical Research in Legal Scholarship and in Legal Education:

Nowhere is the necessity of using empirical research methods and statistics in formulating legal arguments more obvious than in recent legal scholarship concerning implicit bias.

By way of background, the concept of implicit, or unconscious, bias has recently enjoyed its ‘fifteen minutes of fame,’ garnering substantial support from many scholars, including some law professors, who contend that implicit biases cause discriminatory behavior, including behaviors that disparately impact traditionally marginalized groups. Indeed, scholars have advocated for programs and policies that instruct incoming law students and faculty regarding the existence of its implicit bias and its alleged role in perpetuating overt and subtle racism.

But there is a problem — a very big problem — that plagues legal scholarship in this area and that casts doubt on these policies.

Specifically, recent empirical studies by social psychologists strongly suggest that implicit bias is not predictive of biased behavior. In fact, the science regarding implicit bias’s connection to biased behavior is so flawed that social psychologists doubt its validity and question the utility of policies that attempt to link implicit bias to biased behavior.

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May 19, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What Works In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), What Works in Online Teaching, 64 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

T Zoom Meetinghis Article offers lessons from an empirical study of an Online Trusts & Estates course. More than 280 law students were surveyed over three semesters on what works well for them and what does not in this online course. Their top three answers in each category serve as guidance for faculty creating online courses. Specifically, students found that flexibility, course powerpoints, and video lectures worked well for them. Meanwhile, they wanted open modules and more assessments. These lessons informed future versions of this online course and aim to help other faculty creating online courses.

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May 13, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Impacting Research By Women Faculty

The Lily, Women Academics Seem to be Submitting Fewer Papers During Coronavirus. ‘Never Seen Anything Like It,’ Says One Editor:

CoronavirusMen are submitting up to 50 percent more than they usually would.

Six weeks into widespread self-quarantine, editors of academic journals have started noticing a trend: Women — who inevitably shoulder a greater share of family responsibilities — seem to be submitting fewer papers. This threatens to derail the careers of women in academia, says Leslie Gonzales, a professor of education administration at Michigan State University, who focuses on strategies for diversifying the academic field: When institutions are deciding who to grant tenure to, how will they evaluate a candidate’s accomplishments during coronavirus?

“We don’t want a committee to look at the outlier productivity of, say, a white hetero man with a spouse at home and say, ‘Well, this person managed it,’” says Gonzales. “We don’t want to make that our benchmark.” ...

[T]the anecdotes are consistent with broader patterns in academia, says Gonzales: If men and women are at home, men “find a way” to do more academic work.

When men take advantage of “stop the clock” policies, taking a year off the tenure-track after having a baby, studies show they’ll accomplish far more professionally than their female colleagues, who tend to spend that time focused primarily or solely on child care. Some of the responsibilities are determined by biology: If a woman chooses to breast-feed, that takes up hours every day. Women also face a physical recovery from giving birth.

Inside Higher Ed, Early Journal Submission Data Suggest Covid-19 Tanking Womens Research Productivity:

It was easy to foresee: within academe, female professors would bear the professional brunt of social distancing during COVID-19, in the form of decreased research productivity.

Now the evidence is starting to emerge. Editors of two journals say that they’re observing unusual, gendered patterns in submissions. In each case, women are losing out.

Editors of a third journal have said that overall submissions by women are up right now, but that solo-authored articles by women are down substantially.

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May 7, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

U.S. News Law School Academic Reputation Scores, 1998-2020

Robert L. Jones (Northern Illinois), Academic Reputation Scores for Law Schools Rise Significantly in 2020:

This Article summarizes the results of the U.S. News & World Report rankings published in 2020 with respect to the academic reputation scores of law schools. In addition to analyzing the most recent results for the U.S. News rankings, the Article supplements the more extensive longitudinal study published by this author in 2013. The Article also includes updated appendices from the prior study that catalog the U.S. News academic reputation scores for every law school between 1998 and 2020.

Jones 1

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May 5, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, May 1, 2020

The 250 Most-Cited Legal Scholars

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Top 100 Law Schools, Based On 5-, 10-, And 15-Year Rolling Average U.S. News Rankings

U.S. News Law (2019)Bradley A. Areheart (Tennessee), The Top 100 Law Reviews: A Reference Guide Based on Historical USNWR Data:

The best proxy for how other law professors react and respond to publishing in main, or flagship, law reviews is the US News and World Report (USNWR) rankings. This paper utilizes historical USNWR data to rank the top 100 law reviews. The USNWR rankings are important in shaping many – if not most – law professors’ perceptions about the relative strength of a law school (and derivatively, the home law review). This document contains a chart that is sorted by the 10-year rolling average for each school, but it also contains the 5-year and 15-year rolling averages. This paper also describes my methodology and responds to a series of frequently asked questions. [Were there any ties? If two law school’s 10-year rolling averages were within 2/10 of a point, I tied them and then attempted to break those ties based on the current year’s peer reputation scores. You’ll see that where there was a tie, I have included the peer rep scores in parentheses for those schools. If the peer rep scores were the same, I allowed the tie to remain.] The document was updated in April 2020.

Here are the Top 75 law schools based on their 10-year rolling average overall U.S. News ranking:

Rank School 10-Year Rank
1 Yale 1.0
2 Stanford 2.3
3 Harvard 2.5
4 Columbia (4.7) 4.3
5 Chicago (4.6) 4.2
6 NYU 6.0
7 Pennsylvania 7.0
8 Virginia 8.0
9 UC-Berkeley (4.5) 8.9
10 Michigan (4.4) 8.9
11 Duke 10.5
12 Northwestern 11.2
13 Cornell 13.1
14 Georgetown 13.9
15 Texas 15.1
16 UCLA 15.8
17 Vanderbilt 16.6
18 Washington Univ. (3.7) 18.5
19 USC (3.6) 18.4
20 Minnesota 20.4
21 Notre Dame 22.5
22 George Washington 22.7
23 Emory 23.1
24 Boston University 23.8
25 Iowa 25.2
26 UC-Irvine 26.2
27 Alabama 26.7
28 Arizona State 28.0
29 Indiana (Maurer) 29.5
30 Boston College 29.8
31 Washington 31.1
32 Georgia 31.5
33 Washington & Lee 32.4
34 Wisconsin 32.7
35 William & Mary 32.9
36 UC-Davis 33.2
37 Ohio State 33.9
38 Fordham 34.3
39 North Carolina 34.7
40 Wake Forest 37.0
41 Illinois 37.7
42 BYU 39.6
43 Arizona 42.0
44 Florida (3.3) 42.2
45 George Mason (2.7) 42.2
46 Colorado 43.1
47 Utah 45.6
48 Maryland 45.9
49 Florida State (3.1) 48.7
50 SMU (2.7) 48.6
51 Tulane 49.6
52 Baylor 52.2
53 UC-Hastings 53.0
54 Temple 54.2
55 Richmond 54.9
56 Houston 55.3
57 Pepperdine 56.1
58 Connecticut 56.4
59 Cardozo 60.3
60 Georgia State 62.3
61 Tennessee (2.7) 62.6
62 Seton Hall (2.5) 62.7
63 Kentucky 63.5
64 Case Western 65.0
65 Loyola-L.A. 65.4
66 Penn State (Dickinson) 66.5
67 Miami 68.2
68 UNLV 68.4
69 Oklahoma (2.5) 68.8
69 Penn State (Univ. Park) (2.5) 68.8
71 Nebraska 69.1
72 American 69.5
73 Denver 69.7
74 Missouri 70.8
75 Kansas 73.0

April 30, 2020 in Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Using Hamilton’s 'Farmer Refuted' To Teach Oral Argument

Heather Baxter (Nova), Using Hamilton’s “Farmer Refuted” to Teach Oral Argument:

Hamilton (2018)You don’t have to be a regular in the New York theater scene to have heard of the Broadway musical Hamilton. Arguably one of the most popular Broadway shows of all time, especially among younger generations, Hamilton has captivated audiences around the country. Broadway veteran Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the lyrics and music and starred in the original production of this show that chronicles the life of our first Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. The production won 11 Tony Awards in 2016 and has launched several regional productions and tours, bringing the show to millions around the world.

Although I have been a fan of the musical almost since its inception, I first saw the show in 2017—and, yes, it was worth all the hype. But my pedagogical interest in Hamilton began soon after I was first introduced to the original cast recording. One day, while walking the dog and listening to the music, I realized that the sixth song in the production, entitled “Farmer Refuted,” was a virtual blueprint on how to conduct an effective oral argument. So, as I listened to it “nonstop,” a plan began to form about how I could use that song to teach oral argument to my first-year legal writing students. ...

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April 28, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Study: 1L Grades, Upper Level Bar Courses Better Predictors Of Bar Passage Than LSAT, UGPA

Amy Farley, Christopher Swoboda, Joel Chanvisanuruk, Keanen McKinley & Alicia Boards (Cincinnati), A Deeper Look At Bar Success: The Relationship Between Law Student Success, Academic Performance, and Student Characteristics, 16 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 605 (2019):

In recent years, law schools have experienced a decline in enrollment and bar passage,and legal education has been challenged to understand this new phenomenon and con-duct research that can inform practices and policies regarding law student success. This article presents findings from research conducted at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, a large, midwestern public university, which aimed to investigate which factors and student characteristics contribute to bar passage within the home jurisdiction (Ohio). Results suggest bar passage can be predicted by a wide battery of variables, most notably student performance during the law school course of study.

Despite some prior literature that suggests otherwise, however, LSAT and undergraduate GPA were only weakly predictive of first-time bar passage among admitted students: the best prelaw model based on student admissions and demographic data identified just over one-third of the students who ultimately failed the bar on the first attempt. Information from the first year of law school—even just performance in one first semester course—explained significantly more variation in bar passage. Furthermore, data from beyond the first year of legal study,including upper-level course taking in bar-tested subjects, enriched the predictive power of the model, enabling us to predict 78 percent of students who failed the bar compared to just 58 percent after the first year. These preliminary results provide important insights into bar passage, particularly given the increased public scrutiny around incoming student credentials, bar success, and law school performance and accreditation.

CIncinnati 1

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April 23, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law In The Time Of COVID-19

Katharina Pistor (Columbia), Law in the Time of COVID-19:

Law CovidThe COVID-19 crisis has ended and upended lives around the globe. In addition to killing over 160,000 people, more than 35,000 in the United States alone, its secondary effects have been as devastating. These secondary effects pose fundamental challenges to the rules that govern our social, political, and economic lives. These rules are the domain of lawyers. Law in the Time of COVID-19 is the product of a joint effort by members of the faculty of Columbia Law School and several law professors from other schools.

This volume offers guidance for thinking about some the most pressing legal issues the pandemic has raised, especially (though not exclusively) for law in the United States: from the rights of prison inmates who live under conditions that make them exceptionally vulnerable to the highly contagious virus to the options for contracting parties who now face circumstances that make it impossible for them to live up to their past commitments. The book does not give legal advice. Instead, it identifies critical legal issues that affect many peoples’ lives, offers fresh perspectives for thinking about those issues, and provides guidance to legislatures and policy makers about the legal challenges ahead.

Gillian Lester (Dean, Columbia), Foreward:

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April 23, 2020 in Book Club, Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Trends In Law School Enrollment Since The Great Recession

Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court), Miranda Li (J.D. 2019, Yale) & Phillip Yao (J.D. 2019, Yale), Who's Going to Law School? Trends in Law School Enrollment Since the Great Recession, 54 U.C. Davis L. Rev. ___ (2020):

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of recent U.S. law school enrollment trends. With two sets of JD enrollment data from 1999 to 2019, we discuss how the demographic composition of law students has changed since the Great Recession. We examine enrollment data by gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality, with particular attention to Asian Americans, who too often remain an invisible minority in contemporary discourse on diversity. We also undertake a novel analysis of enrollment demographics by law school ranking. Our findings include the following:

  • Total enrollment has declined almost 25% since the recession and, despite a recent increase, seems unlikely to rebound to pre-recession levels.
  • Women have outnumbered men in law school since 2016; the recent uptick in total enrollment is entirely attributable to more women pursuing law.
  • Since the recession, Asian Americans and Whites have comprised a smaller share of enrollment; African Americans and Hispanics have comprised a larger share.

Liu 1

  • Women, African American students, and Hispanic students are disproportionately enrolled in lower-ranked schools with lower rates of bar passage and post-graduation employment. It is thus unclear to what extent the changing diversity of law students will translate into greater diversity in the legal profession.

Liu 2

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April 22, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Parent Trap: Equality, Sex, And Partnership In The Modern Law Firm

Miranda McGowan (San Diego), The Parent Trap: Equality, Sex, and Partnership in the Modern Law Firm, 102 Marq. L. Rev. 1195 (2019):

The fight for women’s equality in law has achieved a lot. Women have made up nearly half of law students and law firm associates for the last two decades. Despite this progress, the partnership ranks of law firms are profoundly and intolerably sex segregated and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Our profession, which has fought for and helped to achieve legal equality on behalf of so many, is itself dogged by intractable inequality. A standard set of solutions, which address structural barriers within law firms and the effects of cognitive biases, have been urged for decades and yet have failed to deliver any significant improvement.

A persistent feedback loop lies at the heart of this intractable gender inequality in law firm leadership and impedes women’s progress to partnership. Gender stereotypical expectations and senses of obligation lead to differences between men and women with respect to their work experience and income, which, in turn, lead to couples making rational, income maximizing (and gender stereotyped) decisions about parenting and managing the home, which reinforce gender stereotypes. Both men and women are caught in this feedback loop. Continuing to focus on fixing law firms so that they are more equal for women cannot disrupt this feedback loop because it ignores the other half of the population—men—who are stuck in the loop.

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April 16, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Licensing Lawyers In A Pandemic: Proving Competence

Following up on my previous post, The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action:  Claudia Angelos (NYU), Mary Lu Bilek (CUNY), Carol Chomsky (Minnesota), Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State), Marsha Griggs (Washburn), Joan Howarth (UNLV; Michigan State), Eileen Kaufman (Touro), Deborah Merritt (Ohio State), Patricia Salkin (Touro) & Judith Wegner (North Carolina), Licensing Lawyers in a Pandemic: Proving Competence, Harv. L. Rev. Blog (Apr. 7, 2020):

CoronavirusCOVID-19 has temporarily halted administration of the legal profession’s high-stakes test to predict competence. Several states are now considering an option that would allow law graduates to practice under a licensed lawyer’s supervision while they wait for testing to resume. This supervised practice would give graduates a welcome chance to gain interim employment, but so far courts have not suggested that supervised practice would excuse graduates from taking a bar exam. No matter how many months of supervised practice they complete, or the number of clients they competently serve, graduates will still have to take that high-stakes exam. Why?

Admitting graduates directly into practice, without an intervening test, may make some uneasy—although Wisconsin has done this for decades. Courts may not trust law professors to candidly assess their own students; we might give some students a pass when they should have failed. Courts might also distrust supervisors’ honesty, some of whom might offer a glowing review when it’s not merited. But do we distrust both systems working together? Put it this way: Suppose you retain a small law firm to handle your contested divorce. You can’t afford the senior partner’s hourly rate so the partner offers you a choice of two junior associates: The first graduated from an accredited law school, passed the two-day written bar exam, and just started at the firm. The second graduated from an accredited law school, was excused from taking the bar exam, and has spent three months at the firm, competently drafting documents, counseling clients, and appearing in court. Which junior lawyer would you choose?

Perhaps your faith in high-stakes exams is so deep that you would choose the first lawyer. But if you have any experience in law practice, you will choose the one who has proved their competence on the job – the one who has used their knowledge, skills, and judgment to solve client problems directly. The combined wisdom of professional education with on-the-job experience is much deeper than any written exam can test. Most lawyers recognize this truth early in their careers, after discovering how little the current bar exam corresponds to their practice.

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April 12, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Facilitating Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools (Part 2)

Following up on my previous post, Facilitating Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools:  Patrick H. Gaughan (Akron) & Samantha J. Prince (Penn State), Facilitating Distinctive and Meaningful Change Within U.S. Law Schools (Part 2): Pursuing Successful Plan Implementation Through Better Resource Management, 18 U.N.H. L. Rev. 173 (2020):

In Part 1 of this series, one of the current authors used institutional theory, behavioral economics, and psychology to explain why U.S. law schools have had difficulty evolving faster and better. The author then used institutional entrepreneurship to propose a seven-step, faculty-led, operational change process designed to overcome institutional isomorphism and to enable each law school to formulate a distinctive, meaningful, strategic plan.

Process for Meaningful Change

In Part 2, the current article addresses the typical implementation challenges to be expected within the context of existing law school governance.

The article begins by discussing the Resource Based View of the firm and the role of resource management in achieving competitive advantages. These considerations lay the foundation for the critical role of faculty engagement and law school leadership in successful strategic plan implementation. Next, within this context, the article discusses four questions whose answers may foreshadow implementation problems. Lastly, the article discusses the results of several Monte Carlo Simulations. The simulations provide insight into the likely performance problems caused by faculty misaligned with, or disengaged from, their law school’s strategic goals. The results suggest that even minimal faculty misalignment can have a significant deleterious effect on the ability of a given law school to achieve any distinctive position.

All told, the article concludes that U.S. law schools can successfully implement distinctive and meaningful strategic plans within existing shared governance structures. However, success will be difficult to achieve. It requires the full engagement and leadership by both the faculty and the Dean, sustained operational support for strategic change, and the active management of law school resources.

April 8, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Call For Papers: St. Louis Law Journal Symposium On Teaching Law Online

The Saint Louis University Law Journal is proud to announce the twenty-second installment of the Journal’s Teaching series, Teaching Law Online.

St. Louis (2016)The Journal created the Teaching series in 2000 as a forum for scholars, judges, and practitioners to discuss key topics and methods of teaching legal subjects.  Since then, the Journal has published a teaching issue annually, such as Teaching Civil Procedure (47:1), Teaching Constitutional Law (49:3), Teaching Federal Courts (53:3), and our forthcoming issue, Teaching Property (64:3). 

Our Teaching Law Online issue, in line with our past issues, will include articles by prominent scholars and practitioners, sharing their thoughts on teaching legal subjects remotely, a topic that is especially relevant in the rapid transition to remote learning that has occurred this semester in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope to represent teachers with all levels of experience teaching legal subjects online, and we welcome submissions on any subject matter within the context of remote and online learning.

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April 7, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How Faculty Can Cure Law Student And Lawyer Distress

Susan Wawrose (Dayton), A More Human Place: Using Core Counseling Skills to Transform Law School Relationships, 55 Willamette L. Rev. 133 (2018):

The problem of law student and lawyer distress is longstanding, severe, and remarkably resilient in the face of efforts to address it.

In this article, I propose increased attention by law faculty to relationship building during law school as a way to begin to reverse the downward spiral that draws in so many of our students and holds them captive, sometimes until long after they graduate from law school. Research shows that supportive social connections are the single most important factor in protecting against stress, increasing resilience, and contributing to greater feelings of happiness. Moreover, if the goal of improving student wellbeing is not, in itself, sufficient motivation for addressing law student distress, there is the strong likelihood that taking steps to improve students’ wellbeing will also improve their academic performance. Numerous studies show that happier people are more successful and resilient than their distressed and unhappy counterparts.


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April 1, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Brooks Presents Redesigning Education Finance: How Student Loans Outgrew the 'Debt' Paradigm Online Today At Georgetown

John Brooks (Georgetown) presents Redesigning Education Finance: How Student Loans Outgrew the "Debt" Paradigm, 109 Geo. L.J. ___ (2019) (with Adam J. Levitin (Georgetown)), online at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series:

Brooks (John)Federal student loans are fundamentally different from any other type of credit product: they do not require the full repayment of all principal and accrued interest. Instead, borrowers have the contractual right to satisfy their obligations by paying only a percentage of their income for a fixed period of time. In other words, debt forgiveness is contractually baked into the student loan product.

This and other unusual features of federal student loans reveal that the economic structure of student loans has evolved to resemble a federal grant program coupled with a progressive income-based tax on recipients, rather than a true debt product. The education finance system, however, still relies on the legal, financial, and institutional apparatus of “debt” that developed under the pre-2010 structure of the education finance system, which was based on private loans backed by federal government guarantees, rather than today’s direct federal lending program. These legal, financial, and institutional structures are a mismatch with the current program’s economic realities and policy goals.

This Article argues that nearly all of the problems in education finance, including high levels of default, abusive servicing, and even the very idea of a student debt crisis arise from the frictions between the legal and institutional apparatus of “debt” and the economic reality of subsidized finance and progressive, income-based repayment and debt forgiveness.

Accordingly, this Article argues for calling federal student loans what they really are—a tuition grant plus an income surtax on students.

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March 24, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Bar Exam And The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need For Immediate Action

Claudia Angelos (NYU), Sara Berman (AccessLex), Mary Lu Bilek (CUNY), Carol Chomsky (Minnesota), Andrea Anne Curcio (Georgia State), Marsha Griggs (Washburn), Joan Howarth (UNLV; Michigan State), Eileen Kaufman (Touro), Deborah Merritt (Ohio State), Patricia Salkin (Touro) & Judith Wegner (North Carolina), The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action:

CoronavirusThe novel coronavirus COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted life in the United States. Among other challenges, jurisdictions are unlikely to be able to administer the July 2020 bar exam in the usual manner. It is essential, however, to continue licensing new lawyers. Those lawyers are necessary to meet current needs in the legal system. Equally important, the demand for legal services will skyrocket during and after this pandemic. We cannot close doors to the profession at a time when client demand will reach an all-time high.

In this brief policy paper, we outline six licensing options for jurisdictions to consider for the Class of 2020. Circumstances will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but we hope that these options will help courts and regulators make this complex decision. These are unprecedented times: We must work together to ensure we do not leave the talented members of Class of 2020 on the sidelines when we need every qualified professional on the field to keep our justice system moving.

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March 24, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 16, 2020

NCBE: Testing Task Force Phase 2 Report (2019 Practice Analysis)

National Conference of Bar Examiners, Testing Task Force Phase 2 Report: 2019 Practice Analysis (March 2020):

NCBEIn 2018, the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) created a Testing Task Force (TTF) to undertake a comprehensive three-year study to ensure that the bar examination continues to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for competent entry-level legal practice in a changing profession. The TTF’s study consists of three phases. Phase 1 was a series of listening sessions with stakeholders to solicit their impressions about the current bar examination and ideas for the next generation of the bar examination. Phase 2 consisted of a national practice analysis to provide empirical data on the job activities of newly licensed lawyers (NLLs), which are defined in the practice analysis survey as lawyers who have been licensed for three years or less. Phase 3, which will be completed in 2020, will translate the results from Phase 1 and Phase 2 into a recommended test blueprint and design for the next generation of the bar examination. This Executive Summary provides a high-level synthesis of the 2019 Practice Analysis Report.

Knowledge Areas
The 77 knowledge areas were rated in terms of their importance to the practice of all NLLs. The overall means for all knowledge areas as rated by NLLs and non-NLLs were nearly identical, and the correlation between the two sets of ratings was very high; thus, data for the two groups were combined for the analyses in this report.

The knowledge areas with the highest mean importance ratings included the following: Rules of Professional Responsibility and Ethical Obligations, Civil Procedure, Contract Law, Rules of Evidence, and Legal Research Methodology. Among the lowest-rated knowledge areas were topics such as Transportation Law, Bioethics, Public Utility Law, Sports and Entertainment Law, and Admiralty Law.

NCBE Chart

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March 16, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Schwartz: Towards A Modality-Less Model For Excellence In Law School Teaching

Michael Hunter Schwartz (Dean, McGeorge), Towards a Modality-Less Model for Excellence in Law School Teaching:

Online legal education is really in its infancy. Even as undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs increasingly innovate and enjoy success with online teaching that rivals and even exceeds brick and mortar results, legal education remains stuck in an outdated image of online teaching while continuing to champion a rose-colored image of what happens when students and their professors are in the same rooms.

Our image of online teaching is pretty grim. We tend to imagine online professors recording lengthy, mind-numbingly unstimulating lectures via video or voice over slides with instructional goals no more ambitious than the hope that the lectures magically pour knowledge into the brains of students. We imagine the students isolated in their homes, dressed in their pajamas, lacking connection or inspiration. And we assume that hordes of online students are hiring experts to take their exams for them.

Likewise, we continue to elevate in-person teaching as if the elegantly constructed, carefully sequenced, engaging, crystal clear Socratic questioning, characteristic of each of our best law professors (as we remember them), is the overwhelming majority rule. We envision each student deeply prepared for class, actively engaged during class, and, by the end of the class, joyfully inspired to study more so they can better understand. And we assume they come to the final exam feeling well prepared for a great intellectual challenge.

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March 16, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Law Teaching In The Age Of Coronavirus

CoronavirusSeth Oranburg (Duquesne), Josh Blackman (South Texas), Howard Wasserman (Florida International), and Diane Klein (La Verne) offer their thoughts on online law school teaching:

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), Distance Education in the Time of Coronavirus: Quick and Easy Strategies for Professors:

A worldwide pandemic is forcing schools to close their doors. Yet the need to teach students remains. How can faculty — especially those who are not trained in technology-mediated teaching — maintain educational continuity? This Essay provides some suggestions and relatively quick and easy strategies for distance education in this time of coronavirus. While it is written from the perspective of teaching law school, it can be applied to teaching other humanities such as philosophy, literature, religion, political theory, and other subjects that do not easily lend themselves to charts, graphs, figures, and diagrams. This Essay includes an introductory technology section for those techno-phobic faculty who are now being required to teach online, and it concludes with five straightforward steps to start teaching online quickly.

Table of Contents
I.   Introduction ........................................................ 3
II.  Prepping: Tools for Distance Educators ............. 5
     A. Computer ....................................................... 5
     B. Microphone..................................................... 7
     C. Webcam ........................................................ 8
     D. Software......................................................... 9
         1. Widows....................................................... 9
         2. MacOS ....................................................... 9
         3. Other Software...........................................10
III. Creating Audio-Video Content .......................... 11
     A. Creating a Voice-Over-PowerPoint Video..... 12
          1. Creating the Slides....................................14
          2. Scripting the Voice Over............................14
          3. Recording/Exporting the Presentation.......14
     B. Creating a “Talking Head” Video................... 16
     C. Repurposing Existing Video ......................... 18
     D. Synchronous “Zoom” Meetings..................... 19
IV. Deploying Online Content ................................. 20
     A. Organizing Content........................................ 20
     B. Uploading versus Linking Videos .................. 21
     C. Juxtaposing Learning Activities ..................... 22
         1. Tests ...........................................................22
         2. Essays.........................................................23
         3. Journal Entries ............................................23
         4. Discussion Boards.......................................25
V. Conclusions: 5 Steps to Online Teaching ........... 26

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), More on Online Teaching:

Law school is going online, suddenly and quickly. Are you ready? Most of us are not – but here are some suggestions that will make teaching online simpler.

First you need to understand your options. There are two main ways to go online: synchronously and asynchronously. What’s the difference and which should you pick? ...

What Is It ...
Pro ...
Con ...
Tips and Tricks ...
Bottom Line ...
Whether you go with a synchronous or an asynchronous format depends in large part on your goals: are you trying to get by in a crisis, or is this an opportunity to step up your teaching skills and create valuable new content for the future?

In general, the synchronous approach is lower risk and lower reward. It’s essentially an inferior substitute for meeting in person, but it will get the job done, and it’s not that hard to do well enough. If your goal is to get through this coronavirus kerfuffle, you should probably just set up a virtual classroom and keep going through the term’s material.

The asynchronous approach, on the other hand, is a chance to turn lemons into lemonade, in the sense that the really good online learning environment can substantially improve student learning. If you want to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to step up your teaching skills, go for it! Be cautioned, however, that it’s a lot of work to do it right, and distance education is ineffective when done wrong.

I hope this short post helps you decide how to move forward with distance education in this time of coronavirus. If you would like to take a deeper dive into these concepts, please check out my article on SSRN.

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Thoughts and Tips on Teaching with Zoom:

Wednesday evening, the South Texas College of Law Houston announced that it would immediately halt all in-person classes. We had less than 24-hours to prepare for distance learning. This afternoon, I taught my first class using Zoom. This post will offer some thoughts and tips on the process.

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March 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

#TwitterLaw Symposium

#TwitterLaw Symposium, 55 Idaho L. Rev. 195-261 (2019):

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March 11, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Legal Writing Is 'Doctrinal' And Profound

Harold Anthony Lloyd (Wake Forest), Why Legal Writing is 'Doctrinal' and More Importantly Profound, 19 Nev. L.J. 729 (2019):

So long as we must use the questionable term “doctrinal” when referring to law school courses, this article challenges everyone (including law professors who teach legal writing) to stop directly and indirectly referring to legal writing as a “non-doctrinal” course. Use of “non-doctrinal” can be code for “lesser” thereby suggesting that legal writing has lesser import than other law school courses. Erroneously so marking legal writing as “lesser” damages legal education across the board. It damages students and law professors not teaching legal writing by suggesting that legal writing and the theory, skills and insights taught by legal writing merit less of their time which in turn increases the odds that both students and other faculty will remain ignorant of the critical knowledge and skills that legal writing teaches. It also damages law professors teaching legal writing because it invites disparate treatment such as lack of tenure, lower pay, lack of equal voting rights, and lack of equal respect. As a result, law professors teaching legal writing encounter greater difficulties in publishing scholarship, difficulties which deprive us all of the scholarship so silenced or deterred.

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March 11, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

An Analysis Of The Efficacy Of The Bar Passage Program At Florida International

Following up on my previous posts:

Raul Ruiz (Florida International), Leveraging Noncognitive Skills to Foster Bar Exam Success: An Analysis of the Efficacy of the Bar Passage Program at FIU Law:

With falling bar exam passage rates, many law schools have implemented bar exam preparation programs but are still struggling to improve bar exam passage rates. The increase in law school matriculants with LSAT scores below 150 had a statistically significant negative correlation with national mean MBE scores, and with the new ABA standard 316 mandating a 75% bar passage rate, law schools are facing mounting pressure to ensure that their graduates are ready and able to pass their bar examination expeditiously or risk losing ABA accreditation.

Law schools have been frustrated by the lack of results with their internal bar exam preparation programs. They often struggle to identify why their students continue to fail the bar exam. Not much has been written about the theory, design, implementation, and evaluation of an effective law school bar exam preparation program. This paper will discuss each of those areas with the goal of helping law schools achieve an important milestone: increasing bar passage rates for their students and maintaining ABA accreditation.

This paper will discuss what has caused a decrease in bar exam scores nationwide and how the bar preparation program at the FIU College of Law has counteracted declining pass rates. The focus of the bar prep program at FIU will be discussed in detail, so other law schools may utilize those same concepts.

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March 10, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A 'Game-Changer' New Study: Even ‘Valid’ Student Evaluations Are ‘Unfair’

Justin Esarey (Wake Forest) & Natalie Valdes (Wake Forest), Unbiased, Reliable, and Valid Student Evaluations Can Still Be Unfair:

Scholarly debate about student evaluations of teaching (SETs) often focuses on whether SETs are valid, reliable and unbiased. In this article, we assume the most optimistic conditions for SETs that are supported by the empirical literature. Specifically, we assume that SETs are moderately correlated with teaching quality (student learning and instructional best practices), highly reliable, and do not systematically discriminate on any instructionally irrelevant basis. We use computational simulation to show that, under ideal circumstances, even careful and judicious use of SETs to assess faculty can produce an unacceptably high error rate: (a) a large difference in SET scores fails to reliably identify the best teacher in a pairwise comparison, and (b) more than a quarter of faculty with evaluations at or below the 20th percentile are above the median in instructional quality. These problems are attributable to imprecision in the relationship between SETs and instructor quality that exists even when they are moderately correlated. Our simulation indicates that evaluating instruction using multiple imperfect measures, including but not limited to SETs, can produce a fairer and more useful result compared to using SETs alone.

Inside Higher Ed, Even ‘Valid’ Student Evaluations Are ‘Unfair':

Student evaluations of teaching reflect students’ biases and are otherwise unreliable. So goes much of criticism of these evaluations, or SETs. Increasingly, research backs up both of those concerns.

On the other side of the debate, SET proponents acknowledge that these evaluations are imperfect indicators of teaching quality. Still, proponents argue that well-designed SETs inevitably tell us something valuable about students’ learning experiences with a given professor.

A new study — which one expert called a possible “game-changer” — seeks to cut through the noise by assuming the best of SETs — at least, that which is supported by the existing literature. Its analysis assumes that the scores students give instructors are moderately correlated with student learning and the use of pedagogical best practices. It assumes that SETs are highly reliable, or that professors consistently get the same ratings. And it assumes that SETs do not systematically discriminate against instructors on the basis of irrelevant criteria such as their gender, class size and type of course being taught.

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March 4, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Guthrie: U.S. News Should Replace Its Current Law School Rankings With A Mission-Driven Ranking

Chris Guthrie (Vanderbilt), Toward A Mission-Based Ranking?, 60 Jurimetrics J. 75 (2019):

2020 US News Law SchoolLaw schools exist to generate knowledge about law and the legal system and to prepare students for entry into the profession. Law school rankings, in turn, should evaluate schools on their success in carrying out this two-part mission. ... I propose that U.S. News replace its current ranking with a mission-based ranking. U.S. News could do this in any number of ways, but I propose below three steps U.S. News could take toward that end: 

  1. Replace Subjective Surveys with Objective Measures of Scholarly Impact ...
  2. Retain, But Tweak, the “Placement” Category ...
  3. Eliminate Remaining Criteria as Irrelevant or Harmful ...

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March 3, 2020 in Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)