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Showing posts from 2013

On Structure In Writing

When I teach Scholarly Writing, I discuss structure heavily -- much like David Brooks. Brooks says, "I tell college students that by the time they sit down at the keyboard to write their essays, they should be at least 80 percent done. That’s because 'writing' is mostly gathering and structuring ideas."

There are many ways to structure an essay or an article, and no one way is correct, which can be overwhelming for some. However, as an instructor, if you give students a few ideas for structure, they will generally find their way.

For example, here is Brooks's approach:
"For what it’s worth, I structure geographically. I organize my notes into different piles on the rug in my living room. Each pile represents a different paragraph in my column. The piles can stretch on for 10 feet to 16 feet, even for a mere 806-word newspaper piece. When 'writing,' I just pick up a pile, synthesize the notes into a paragraph, set them aside and move on to the next pi…

Law Libraries Are Here To Stay

Thanks to Law Librarians for posting about this recent paper uploaded to SSRN: Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed.

From the abstract: 
The dual crises facing legal education—the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large—have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them. Legal education in the United States is about to undergo a long-term contraction, and law libraries will be among the first to go. A few law schools may abandon the traditional law library completely. Some law schools will see their libraries whittled away bit by bit as they attempt to answer “the Yirka Question” in the face of shrinking resources, reexamined priorities, and university centralization. What choices individual schools make will l…

An Online/Face-to-Face Law School Hybrid

InsideHigherEd reported on a new hybrid program at William Mitchell College of Law. The Law School "has received approval from the American Bar Association to launch a part-time J.D. program that blends face-to-face instruction with online courses. Although the hybrid program marks the first of its kind, experts are split on whether it marks an experiment or a turning point for how legal education is delivered in the U.S."

"The [new] four-year part-time program, meant for students whose location or work commitments prevent them for pursuing a legal education full-time, will mix recorded lectures and quizzes with video conferences and online discussion forums when it launches in January 2015. Students will also be required to complete externships and attend weeklong on-campus simulations at the end of each semester to practice their legal skills."

"Institutions that seek [ABA] accreditation need to tailor their programs to a set of standards that have been in e…

Lawyers Get Better With Age

In my early 20's, my friends and I would ruminate over the things that we had to accomplish by age 26. Why 26? 

At age 20: Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and cofounded Microsoft, and Sir Isaac Newton began developing a new branch of mathematics.
At age 21: Thomas Alva Edison created his first invention, an electric vote recorder, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Inc., and Alfred Tennyson published his first poetry.
At age 22: Inventor Samuel Colt patented the Colt six-shooter revolver, and Cyrus Hall McCormick invented the McCormick reaper, which allowed one man to do the work of five
At age 23: T. S. Eliot wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” John Keats penned “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and Truman Capote published his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.
At age 24: Johannes Kepler defended the Copernican theory and described the structure of the solar system.
At age 25: Orson Welles conscripted, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to f…

NLJ's Notable Supreme Court Books Of 2013

The National Law Journal released a list of notable Supreme Court books of 2013.

A sampling of the books:
Two justices published books in 2013 - Sotomayor’s intimate and inspiring memoir, My Beloved World, and retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s wide-ranging collection of court anecdotes, Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court.

For informed studies of the Roberts Court, try Marcia Coyle’s The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution and Mark Tushnet’s In the Balance: Law and Politics on the Roberts Court.

Two books issued in 2013 take authoritative looks at recent Supreme Court cases. Adam Liptak’s instant e-book To Have and Uphold: The Supreme Court and the Battle for Same-Sex Marriage is excellent, as is Josh Blackman’s Unprecedented: The Constitutional Challenge to Obamacare. Other books about the Affordable Care Act litigation are forthcoming or out, including one by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) titled Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare: A Conserv…

The Problem With Link Rot

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More people are recognizing the issues with link rot that law librarians have known for at least 10 years. The ABA Journal reported on the link rot phenomena and how it is degrading legal research.

As noted, "[t]he World Wide Web is filled with dead ends: hyperlinks that point to webpages that have become permanently unavailable. It’s a phenomenon known as 'link rot.' With the continued growth of the Internet, the amount of such rot has been accelerating, studies have shown, imperiling citation references in academic research and case law. For practicing lawyers, link rot is making it harder to find examples of legal precedent." One judge has gone so far as to say that it is undermining stare decisis.

And this is a continuing problem because "[a]ccording to the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group, a collaborative archiving program, the average life span of a webpage is between 44 and 75 days. The CDPG [also] notes that important legal materials are increasingl…

Decline In Female Associates For Fourth Straight Year

The National Law Journal is reporting on the continued decline of female associates since the recession. "The percentage of women associates at law firms fell for the fourth straight year, even as the percentage of minority associates continued to rise. This year, women accounted for 44.79 percent of associates, down from 45.66 percent at their peak in 2009. By contrast, the percentage of minority associates rose from 8.36 percent in 2009 to 20.93 percent in 2013."

Although the decline may seem slight, the author notes that it is a red flag because the associates will feed the partner pool one day. "While the percentage of women partners, small as it is, has continued to grow each year, sustained incremental growth in the future is at risk if the percentage of women associates continues to inch downwards."

The legal profession needs to figure out why more women are foregoing the associate track. "It could be because some women are deciding not to pursue law fi…

Boolean Still Better Than Natural Language Searching

I love this post by Joshua Auriemma about legal research on the databases (in particular WestlawNext). I first saw the post mentioned on Law Librarians, and it's about a topic that I am rather passionate about, so I thought I would re-post here.

Auriemma discusses the difference in legal research when using boolean searching (terms and connectors) versus natural language in WestlawNext.

"I often wonder whether the Googleification of legal research isn’t a terrible thing for the profession (at least in this stage of the technology’s development). In law school, I was a master of Boolean searching. I thought about my research question, figured out which words probably appeared closest to other words, and crafted a narrow and specific search. Somehow, when I became an appellate attorney and had access to WestlawNext through my firm, all of that training went out the window. I got into the habit of assuming the algorithm was better than I was at crafting a search, but the truth i…

ABA To Mandate More Practical Skills Training?

The National Law Journal is reporting that the ABA is reconsidering its plan to require six credits of real-world training in law school. "Now the council is agreeing to seek public comment on an alternative proposal to bump the requirement to 15 credits of clinics, simulation courses or externships."

"The ABA has been updating its accreditation standards since 2008. The existing standards mandate that students take just one credit of experiential learning. The standards committee initially proposed increasing that to three credits, which CLEA called a 'shockingly insignificant amount of skills training.'"

"The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) has been pushing the 15-credit plan since July. The organization argues that the law lags behind medicine, dentistry and other professions when it come to real-world training.Under CLEA’s proposed 15-hour mandate, students would take at least one class involving a live client. The council’s tentative p…

NLRB v. Noel Canning Gets Help From ConSource's Digital Library

There is a digital library that is making the life of the lawyers in the SCOTUS case, NLRB v. Noel Canning, much easier. "As they prepare briefs in the landmark case, The Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource), along with its pro bono SCOTUSource project at Harvard Law School, is researching and digitizing a range of documents specifically related to Noel Canning.

"The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court argument over the president's power to make recess appointments has sent lawyers and researchers hunting through centuries-old documents for historical evidence to prove just how broad or narrow the power is. As the case nears the argument date of Jan. 13, a main focus of the briefing is the early meaning of the Constitution's recess-appointment clause, which gives the president 'power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate.'"

"We had to do a significant amount of historical research," said Jones Day partner Noel F…

The Death Of The Casebook

The Law Dean's blog recently asked if the casebook is still a necessary tool for law school. With the costs skyrocketing, and each new edition containing only marginal differences, is it really in the students' best interests to continue to require a casebook for class?

From the blog:
"It is 2013, and I (I. Richard Gershon) decided not to use a casebook when I taught Wills and Estates this semester. The casebook I had used for over two decades had come out in yet another new edition, which had a price tag of around $200. The difference between the newest edition and the older editions was pretty marginal.  The authors added some new cases and moved some old materials to different parts of the book. I could have used an older edition, and supplemented my own materials to reduce student costs, but I decided to create and post my own materials on TWEN, instead.


When you consider that a student will take approximately 20 [closer to 30 at my law school!] classes in law school,…

The Print Book Is Still Popular

Contrary to popular belief, the print book is still alive and well and popular with the younger generation. According to the NYTimes Bits Blog, "astudy released this week by Voxburner, a United Kingdom-based research firm that tracks how youth consume media, suggests that most British teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 24-years-old prefer physical books over e-books."

Not only is print still popular among the young, "some recent reports have found that the tactile feeling of paper can also create a much more immersive learning experience for readers. Why? Several scientists believe it is neurological."

And "a research report published earlier this year in the International Journal of Education Research found that students in school who read text on printed paper scored significantly higher in reading comprehension tests than students who read the same text in digital forms."

While many have commented on the end of the print book in favor of digital "…

Law Schools Face 'White Flight'

Am Law Daily (sub req'd) recently ran an article about white flight at the nation's law schools.

"Most of the 8,651-student net decline in law school enrollments between 2010 and 2012 is attributable to white male law students going unreplaced. White women account for another big chunk of the decline. In fact, of the 7,776 fewer 1Ls entering law school over that two-year period, 6,528 (84 percent) fit into the 'White/Caucasian' ethnic category. For a profession sensitive about a dearth of women and minorities, the idea that white men—and, to a lesser degree. white women—are losing interest in law school might be welcomed as a sign that the legal profession is poised to become more ethnically diverse."

But the author points out that it's not necessarily good news because there is a"decline in graduates from elite, 'feeder' universities applying to law school. At the same time, recent law school applicants tend to have lower LSAT scores than th…

Who Wrote The Bluebook?

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NYTimes had an interesting letter to the editor regarding The Bluebook:

To the Editor:

“The Bluebook” is the iconic citation manual that dominates legal writing. Kenji Yoshino reviews Richard A. Posner’s book “Reflections on Judging” (Nov. 10), which notes that the Bluebook was created by the future judge Henry Friendly or the future Harvard dean Erwin Griswold when they were students at Harvard Law School in 1926.

The Yale Law Library, however, has in its rare-book collection a pamphlet titled “Abbreviations and Form of Citation,” issued by The Yale Law Journal in 1921; our copy appears to be the only one in existence. A comparison of the 1921 Yale pamphlet with the 1926 first edition of the Bluebook shows that the Bluebook took most of its content, often word for word, from Yale’s product. Some may say that originating the ­hypercomplicated Bluebook should not be a source of pride, but The Yale Law Journal ur-Bluebook consisted of only 15 tiny pages. The version that has developed u…

Guide To The Essential Thanksgiving

In my last post before the Thanksgiving holiday, I will share the recipes that I would follow if I were making my own feast. Here is the NYTimes Essential Thanksgiving.

And here is a piece on leftovers for breakfast.

For law school staff, rest easy during the holiday break. For those students studying for impending exams, take some time to enjoy your weekend.

Should Law Schools Offer Bar Exam Prep Courses?

There has been a recent call for law schools to add bar prep courses to the curriculum in the third year. Greedy Associates noted that it might help fix the problem with the disparity in minority test taker passage rates.

As the blog noted, this "one significant barrier to diversity, divergent pass rates between minority and nonminority test takers, could be addressed with additional attention to the bar exam during school. This would have the side-benefit of making oft-criticized as superfluous third-year actually useful, rather than another year of casebooks and theoretical jurisprudence."

But this may not be a one-size-fits-all solution as "Elie Mystal, at Above the Law, points out that the proposal: while it may be useful for lower-tier schools, which have trouble producing grads that can pass the bar exam, for schools with high pass rates, the idea provides no value at all to those students, other than saving them from paying for a post-grad bar prep course (a mino…

Print Law Review Subscriptions Continue To Decline

LLB posted about a new law review metrics paper uploaded to SSRN called The Increasingly Lengthy Long Run of the Law Reviews: Law Review Business 2012 -- Circulation and Production.

The paper is the usual metrics paper on the decrease of print law review subscriptions. Interestingly, in the abstract, the authors question law reviews that "report relatively low paid circulation numbers to the U.S. Postal Service (which appear only in tiny-type government forms buried in the rarely read front- or back-matter of the reporting law review), but then tout higher sales numbers in promotional sections of their websites."

It's a trend that calls for more attention. It makes sense that the overall sales of print law reviews are continuing to diminish, especially since law reviews are increasingly making their content available for free online. But I like the idea of open access for law reviews, and the increase of online content is a good thing. And professors are paid a salary to…

Online Companions & Social Media Presence For Law Reviews

@ninarose15 recently tweeted about a blog written by Steve Klepper regarding how Twitter can save law reviews.

According to Steve, here are seven things Penn Law Review is doing right:

1. It has an online companion with online-only articles, which are citable and will appear on Westlaw. If your law review doesn’t have such a companion, it needs one. I’m talking to you, American University Law Review (@AmULRev). (Sorry, Miles! I did have the decency to tell you personally.)

2. It recently ditched the pun-based title, “PENNumbras,” in favor of the descriptive “University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online.” I’m talking to you, Connecticut Law Review (@ConnLRev) CONNtemplations. (Sorry, from someone who grew up in the Hartford suburbs.)

3. It has its own Twitter feed (@PennLawReview) separate from the Law School’s Twitter feed. I’m talking to you, Maryland Law Review. (Sorry for biting a hand that fed me.)

4. It regularly uses that Twitter feed. I’m talking to you, Virginia Law Review (@V…

Attorney, Age 92, Still Practicing After Graduating Law School At 16

In a feel good piece for the day, Jerome Offutt, age 92, graduated law school at age 16 and is still practicing today.
From the ABA Journal:  "When Jerome Offutt graduated from law school in 1937 at the age of 19 he was too young to practice law in his home state of Maryland.
Once a child prodigy, Offutt is still achieving much at an unusual age—he’s 96 and still practicing law.
Tuition was only $200 a year when Offutt began law school at the age of 16. He worked at a Safeway to help pay his way.
Offutt says he worked as an “office boy” in a law office after graduating and began his own law practice at the age of 21. He was elected to Maryland’s House of Delegates at the age of 25 and served for three years. He currently practices law in Frederick County, Md.
Today, Offutt begins his day by lifting weights for 30 minutes and then walking for one or two miles."
At age 30, it might be easy for me to say I want to work forever, but this man is living proof it is possible in thi…

Will Top Universities Close Law Schools?

There was an interesting post on the Law Deans blog yesterday comparing the current law school bubble to the dental school bubble in the 1980's.
From the blog:  "Law schools are not the first profession to suffer declining enrollments, and a changing profession. Dental schools experienced a similar decline over 2 decades ago. As a result of a shrinking job market, dental school applications dropped at an alarming rate. Accordingly, some universities decided to close their dental schools. A 1987 article in the New York Times reported:
Georgetown University's 86-year-old dental school has no first-year students this fall. Over the next three years the Washington school will be gradually shut down, unless students and faculty members win a lawsuit to block the move. Georgetown, formerly the nation's largest private dental school, decided to close after a Price Waterhouse study found that the school would have a $3.6 million deficit by 1992. In Atlanta, Emory University&#…

Will Mobile Be King For Legal Research?

LLB reported on "Raymond Blijd, Project Manager, Online Innovation, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, [who] admits that designing a legal research interface for the small screen remains a challenge but he predicts the era of desktop-based legal research is coming to a close. His prediction is based on desktop usage studies and consumer purchasing trends for IT equipment. Once document creation moves to the small screen, so will legal research according to Blijd in his Intelligent Solutions Blog post The Death of Legal Research on Desktop."

From Blijd's blog:
"While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected t…

Online Legal Research Instruction

Please see the RIPS Law Librarian blog for a post I wrote about online legal research instruction.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, The Google Books Scanning Project Is Deemed Fair Use!

In a victory for librarians everywhere, LLB reports that "Judge Denny Chin ruled today in favor Google in the book scanning case.  The ruling is consistent with the results in the Georgia State electronic reserve case and the HathiTrust case in particular."

According to LLB, Judge Chin used the established fair use factors to make his determination:

Purpose and character of the use (factor one):  Google’s use is “highly” transformative in that the word index helps readers, scholars, researchers, and other to find books.  Moreover, the manipulation of electronic text can help researchers discover historical trends in how words are used.  Google’s for-profit status is of slight concern because of the important educational purpose served by Google Books.  Factor one favors Google. Nature of copyrighted work (factor two):  The majority of books scanned are non-fiction.  Though fiction deserves greater protection, all scanned books were published and available to the public.  In a…

Elitism In Law Faculty Hiring

LLBInsideHigherEd are reporting about a study of law school faculty hiring practices that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Empirical Studies.

"The authors studied hiring practices for the 2007-8 academic year. The pattern of hiring appears that schools from all tiers would rather hire graduates from first tier institutions as faculty than lower ranked schools. In fact, the articles states 'nearly half of the new professors hired by accredited last schools in 2008 graduated from only three law schools, those of Harvard, Stanford and Yale Universities.'"

Wow! That's a lot of professors from only three schools. It reminds me of the representation of law schools by SCOTUS justices.

"The implication InsideHigherEd draws is that these hiring practices belie a movement to teach practical skills in a changing curriculum when new faculty members are drawn from programs that emphasize theory."

That's a good point. Although if the new …

Gender Bias In BigLaw

An ABA Journal article reported on survey results of new partners and noted that "[a] greater percentage of female lawyers had a longer path to partnership than their male counterparts. The American Lawyer survey found that about 80 percent of the male lawyers surveyed made partner within a decade, compared to 66 percent of the women."

Other survey findings:

• Only 78 percent of new female partners said they felt adequately prepared for the job, compared to 90 percent of men.

• Only 83 percent of new female partners said they had been asked to lead a team on a matter, compared to 93 percent of men.

• Thirty percent of new female partners who weren't satisfied with some aspect of partnership cited gender bias as a reason. Twenty-eight percent cited cronyism.

We've come a long way in terms of gender equality in the law, but study after study shows that there is still gender bias in our largest firms. "In the U.S. only 15% of partners in law firms are women, and th…

Library Consortiums - The Wave Of The Future

There was a wonderful article at The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing the use of library consortiums to save money and space.

"Talk of digital revolutions and bookless libraries notwithstanding, academic libraries around the country are feeling the squeeze as legacy collections outgrow shelves, and shelves give way to learning commons and shared study areas. Those twin pressure points—too many print books plus new demands on library real estate—have spurred academic libraries to try a set of state and regional experiments to free up library space to suit modern learning styles and still make sure that somebody, somewhere, hangs onto books that make up part of the intellectual record, even if those books haven't circulated in years."

But how do libraries decide which books to deselect? According to the author of the CHE article, "they should draw on solid data—on persuasive and detailed analyses of what's in a collection and how it's used and whether …

A Reform Idea - Let 3Ls Receive Pay During Externships

An ABA Journal article proposed a program to let 3Ls earn credit while getting paid for their externships and not paying the law school tuition. This sounds like a pretty sound idea.

Currently, under the ABA Standards, law students cannot be financially compensated for earning credits. The thinking being that the law school credit is compensation for the work performed. However, most law schools require their law students to pay tuition for the credits, so the students are paying to essentially work for free. 

This might be okay in better economic times if the students are receiving a true academic experience while on the job. But it's hard to determine the quality of the on-the-job training that many law students receive at their externships. If they are not getting a quality education during their externships but must still pay tuition, then it becomes that the students are paying thousands of dollars to work for free.

An executive at Cisco, Mark Chandler, proposed the following re…

Law Firm Associate Residency Programs

The ABAJournal reported on a new model of associate training that some big name law firms are testing.

"One option being tried by Greenberg Traurig is a new residency program for associates who aren’t recruited in traditional on-campus interviews. The positions last for a year and pay less, but new lawyers in the program can spend up to a third of their billable hours in training. At the end of the trial period, the residency associates may have to leave the firm, may become a regular associate, or may become a 'practice group attorney,' a new position for nonshareholder lawyers."

"Another firm, Duval & Stachenfeld, began its “Opportunity Associate Program” 11 years ago. Associates in this program are paid $70,000 during a nine-month probationary period. If they do well, they become either a 'principal associate' on the partnership track or they join the 'alternative track program.'"

This just might be the way to go. As the old model of …

Librarian As Top Resource Every Graduate Student Should Use

It was refreshing to see GRADHACKER recently list a librarian as the top resource of the 5 campus resources every graduate student should use. As a bonus resource, GRADHACKER also listed the local library as another great resource.

From the blog:

1. Librarian
One of the best pieces of advice I received as a student was "Take your librarian out to coffee at least once a semester." Universities hire full-time librarians assigned to the major subject areas. These librarians are particularly knowledgeable of rare documents, collections, and uncatalogued resources waiting to be processed. Additionally they have the ability to order books, journals, maps, data, and other resources graduate students may need.

2. Writing Center

3. Gym

4. Professional Services: Tax, Legal, and Dental Services

5. Student Government and Graduate Student Union


Bonus: Your Local Library Although not situated on campus, your local library is another important resource that many of us fail to use. While the unive…

Twitter For Legal Research

Law Librarians reported on Patrick M. Ellis, a 3L who is an associate editor of the Michigan State Law Review and is currently working on a paper discussing the viability of Twitter as a legitimate legal research resource.

Law Schools Still Need Law Libraries

There was a recent post on the new Law Dean's Blog discussing the role of the academic law library.

Dean I. Richard Gershon (formerly of Charleston School of Law, currently of the University of Mississippi School of Law) noted that some law schools are resorting to laying off faculty and staff in an effort to control budgets. The gist of his post is that the focus should not be on the faculty and staff but rather the law library (this is part I of a multi-part series on evolving law schools).
According to Gershon, "the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools require that libraries have adequate space and resources," and the standards create a "collection plan [that adds] greatly to the annual expenses of many law school budgets, without truly enhancing the education of the students, or the scholarly productivity of the faculty. In plain terms, [according to Gershon] we buy or subscribe to a whole bunch of stuff that we will never use." Gershon goes on to furt…

July 2013 Michigan Bar Exam Results By School

From the State Bar of Michigan's blog, The Michigan Board of Law examiners released its complete list of pre-appeals statistics for the July 2013 exam, and 60 percent of exam-takers passed. More precisely, 1,007 people took the exam, and 600 passed, while 407 failed.

A breakdown of pass-fail rates by law school was included.

Thomas M. Cooley: 43 percent passed, 57 percent failed. (145 passed)

Michigan State University: 74 percent passed, 26 percent failed. (110 passed)

University of Detroit Mercy: 52 percent passed, 48 percent failed. (67 passed)

University of Michigan: 94 percent passed, 6 percent failed. (31 passed)

Wayne State University: 67 percent passed, 33 percent failed. (99 passed)

University of Toledo: 65 percent passed, 35 percent failed. (11 passed)

Others: 72 percent passed, 28 percent failed.

LSAT Takers Down 45% From 2009

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on the continued decrease in the number of LSAT test takers. "The number of law school admission tests administered in October is down nearly 11% from the previous year, according to new data from the Law School Admission Council."
"It’s the fewest number of October test takers since 1998 and the second-lowest figure going back to the 1980s."
"The number of test takers peaked four years ago and has been on the decline ever since. The total for June and October is down 38% from four years ago. And the October total alone is 45% below the 2009 peak."
So we've seen these numbers before in the late 1980's. The problem is that there has also been a substantial number of law schools opened since that time. The figure reads that 65 new law schools have opened since 1970. I'd say the number is closer to 30 law schools since 1987. 
So the ultimate challenge will be to spread the lower number of applicants acr…

Michigan Bar Exam Passage Rate Up From 2012

Although we are still waiting on the official breakdown of passage rate by school, the State Bar of Michigan Blog reports that five hundred thirty eight certified passers successfully navigated July's bar exam.

That number is up 13.5 percent from last year's certified passer list.

Happy Halloween!

For the man who launched a thousand Halloween costumes, let's pay tribute to David Bowie's reading list.


David Bowie's top 100 must-read books

The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)

State Fines For Texting While Driving

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I'd wager that most people have sent a quick text while driving or have been the remote texter who texts a friend while the friend is driving. While these acts are common, it is obviously risky, and the various states are trying to discourage texting while driving with steep fines.
Lifehacker posted the following map of the states with each state's fine for texting while driving:



"Alaska has the strongest penalty: Up to $10,000 and a year in prison for the first offense. California has the smallest minimium fine—only $20 per offense. Four states: Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and South Carolina, have no bans or penalties for texting while driving whatsoever. The national median is $100, and many states scale the dollar amounts and penalties up from there."
These are fines for driving while texting, and New Jersey recently upped the ante when "a New Jersey appeals court held that a remote texter can be held liable to third parties for injuries caused when the di…

Free Online Training For Librarians

Check out LibraryScienceList! From the website: "LibraryScienceList is a hip library science social community for librarians around the world. We are a truly global site for librarians. Our site is run by data and editorial geeks with a community of diverse librarians. Our aim is to showcase creative editorial around the field of librarianship."

Melissa Steele posted a list of free online training websites for librarians earlier this year. Because, as she noted, "the training never ends. There are always new skills to learn and new abilities to master, and that’s why so many librarians continue to utilize online courses to boost their overall knowledge."

The July 2013 Michigan Bar Exam Results

The Michigan Board of Law Examiners just released the results for the July 2013 Michigan bar exam.

The results can be found at the Michigan Board of Law Examiners website.

A Law Librarian's Degrees

Hiringlibrarians ran a post about an analysis of law librarians who work at top-50 institutions (U.S. News) and the rank of their degree-granting institutions. Here's a citation to the results: Ahlbrand, A. & Johnson, M. (2012).Degree pedigree: Assessing the effect of degree-granting institutions’ ranks on prospective employment at academic law libraries. Law Library Journal, 104(4), 553-68.

The authors compared the ranks of where librarians acquired their library science and law degrees to the rank of the school at which they were employed. The authors used U.S. News and World Report rankings as the measure since those rankings are most prevalent today

The methodology for the study consisted of the authors recording each librarian’s employing law school and its current rank; the attended law school and its current rank; the attended library science program and its current rank; and the years each degree was attained, if available. The initial data analysis was performed on bo…

New England School Of Law Rumored To Cut 14 Faculty

The TaxProfBlog is reporting on a rumored new measure at the New England School of Law to eliminate 14 fulltime faculty positions by August 1, 2014. 

According to information at TaxProfBlog: "Depending on how one counts, this is about 35-40% of the regular faculty. The School's entering class was up in 2012, but was down in 2013 and by some accounts the School has an endowment of $80,000,000. Faculty have been told by Dean John O'Brien that these 14 positions will be eliminated according to the School's needs, regardless of tenure or seniority. An incentive plan has been offered to senior faculty and certain clinical faculty, but those who don't take it have been threatened with termination. Their decisions must be final by the end of the Fall term. Those who still do not comply or were not offered the plan, were told that if they remain, their workload during the next academic year will move from 2 to as much as 4 courses per semester and that they will be require…

Happy Open Access Week!

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Open Access Week runs from October 21 - October 27, 2013. Although we are nearing the end of this "holiday," it is an important event that celebrates the ideals that inform society. 
From the website: "'Open Access' to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole."
In addition, "Open Access (OA) has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students, and members of the general public are supporti…

A Repository Of Law Review Publication Agreements

Here is a great new resource that I first noticed over at Law Librarians -- The PrawfsBlawg has compiled a number of law review publication agreements.You can find the whole spreadsheet of the compiled law review publication agreements here.

As noted, "[i]t might be useful for folks to have access to law reviews' publication agreements, whether to help with negotiations, compare copyright provisions, or whatever. [PrawfsBlawg] has begun a spreadsheet with links to such agreements that are available on the web. If you are aware of other such links, please add them in the comments to the [PrawfsBlawg] post or email [PrawfsBlawg] directly, slawsky *at* law *dot* uci *dot* edu," and the agreements will be added to the spreadsheet.

PrawfsBlawg is interested in links to any law review publication agreements, whether main journal, secondary journal, peer-reviewed, or student reviewed.

I have a forthcoming article coming out titled, How Law Librarians Can Assist with Law Journal…

Law Schools Dabble In Online LL.M. Programs

A National Law Journal article notes that there are three law schools that have taken the plunge into online LL.M. degree programs -- USC Gould School of Law, Florida Coastal School of Law, and Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

"Florida Coastal School of Law was the first to offer an online LL.M. in U.S. law in 2010. Washington University in St. Louis School of Law followed suit in 2012, effective at the start of 2013. Administrators initially expected to enroll about 20 students, but 51 are participating. In a further bid to break out of the pack, USC’s online program will offer students the opportunity to concurrently earn a certificate in entertainment law or business law at no added cost."

This makes sense as online degree programs gain traction and also because "LL.M. tuition has become something of a lifeline for some law schools as J.D. enrollments plummeted during the past three years. [LL.M. programs] face little oversight from the ABA and law s…