Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers

Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers
The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) at the University of Denver.
http://educatingtomorrowslawyers.du.edu/

The site includes examples of innovative courses and and a respurces page with strategic plans, teaching strategies, and surveys.

From the description and press release:

“Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers” provides a platform to encourage law schools in the U.S. to showcase innovative teaching to produce more practice-ready lawyers who can better meet the needs of an evolving profession.

Rebecca Love Kourlis is the Executive Director of IAALS and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice.

“Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers leverages the Carnegie Model of learning,” Kourlis says. “Our project provides support for shared learning, innovation, ongoing measurement and collective implementation. We are very excited to launch this project to encourage new ways to train law students and to measure innovation in the years to come.”

William M. Sullivan is the Director of “Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers.” He also is the lead author of the 2007 Carnegie Foundation report, Educating Lawyers.

“Our goal is to encourage law schools that are already committed to innovation to share what they know in a structured, collaborative place so that other law professors may discuss and develop new teaching techniques,” Sullivan says.

IAALS will manage this initiative, the first of its kind in the country. The initiative is partnering with a growing number of law schools (including Stanford Law School) in a consortium committed to innovative teaching The initiative is fully funded by IAALS, the consortium, and the University of Denver.

Martin J. Katz, Dean of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver serves with Kourlis and Sullivan on the initiative’s Executive Committee.

“We want to help law schools integrate three sets of values or what the Carnegie Foundation calls ‘apprenticeships,'” Katz says. “They are knowledge, practice, and professionalism. We believe this initiative can change how law professors and deans, students, and ultimately the legal profession respond to our changing world.”

The Eggplant That Ate the Spokane County Law Library

 

You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
For he may eat your city soon.
You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,
If he’s still hungry, the whole country’s doomed.

 

The 3 Geeks and a Law Blog pointed me to a story in the Spokane, Washington newspaper Spokesman-Review.  I won’t rehash what he 3 Geeks blog item “Spokane County Law Library Needs Bailout for Westlaw Bills” opines, but the Spokesman-Review story by reporter John Craig, “Spokane County law library falls behind on bills,”  is disturbing to me on several levels.

The story quotes the librarian as saying that her Westlaw fees “are three times as much as the company was charging Pierce County . . . for the ‘exact same’ service.”  I do not know the details, but I can see how a reader might be led to believe that this poor county law library is being gouged by a huge monopolistic corporation. 

What is also disturbing to me is the report that the library is averaging $ 12,000 a month for Westlaw service, while its annual budget is only $ 220,000.  The library’s total labor costs are reported to be $ 78,236, which means that the county is paying Westlaw roughly twice what it’s paying its staff.   At the Stanford Law Library the total we spend for our staff is roughly twice what we spend for all materials (online and print), and that seems right to me — it’s the staff that is our most valuable resource.

The third disturbing element to the story is the suggestion that perhaps the county law library is a “relic” and should be shuttered for more “cost effective approaches” such as having public libraries (and not specialized law libraries) serve the legal information needs of the public.  To me this is short-sighted on so many levels that I could go on and on for pages about why this is a bad direction.

If this story does not help build a case for Law.gov, I don’t know what would.

Many states have discontinued publishing official state reports and rely upon West instead.  Appendix D of Fundamentals of Legal Research, 9th Edition, by Steven M. Barkan, Roy M. Mersky and Donald J. Dunn, includes a table “States That Have Discontinued Publishing Official State Reports” (excerpted below) showing what states have adopted West’s National Reporter System as the official publisher.

Washington is not one of these states.   It appears that Washington is one of the more progressive states in providing decisional law to the public for free.  The Washington State Court website contains free opinions from the last 90 days, and then links to www.legalWA.org ; the LegalWA site links directly to the Municipal Research Services Center of Washington, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free legal resources for Washington where case law from 1854 forward can be found.

There is definitely a place for expensive LexisNexis and Westlaw bills — in the high stakes world of Biglaw litigation (with clients to bill back) for certain, but in a county public law library?  There has got to be a better way.

Here’s an excerpt from that table I mentioned above:

B. STATES THAT HAVE DISCONTINUED PUBLISHING OFFICIAL STATE REPORTS.

Except for Louisiana, all states have discontinued their official reports have adopted West’s National Reporter System, or an offprint of the National Reporter System, as official.  Alaska has used the Pacific Reporter as its official reporter since it became a state.

[Copied below are the states listed in this table, next to the “Year of Last Case”]

Alabama                            1976

Ala. App.                           1976

Colorado                           1980

Colo. App.                        1980

Delaware                           1966

Florida                               1948

Indiana                              1981

Ind. App.                          1979

Iowa                                   1968

Kentucky                         1951

Louisiana                        1972

Maine                               1965

Minnesota                      1977

Mississippi                    1966

Missouri                        1956

Mo. App.                       1952

North Dakota              1953

Oklahoma                    1953

Okla. Crim.                  1953

Rhode Island             1980

South Dakota             1976

Tennessee                   1971

Tenn. App.                  1972

Tenn. Crim. App.      1970

Texas                            1962

Tex. Crim. App.       1963

Utah 2d                        1974

Wyoming                    1959

2009 Directory of Indian Law Firms

The India Business Law Journal has posted a profile of over 30 Indian law firms. The Directory also includes a brief article on the state of the legal profession in India.

2009 Directory of Indian Law Firms 

http://www.indilaw.com/pdfs/2009%20Directory%20of%20Indian%20Law%20Firms.pdf

The Lawyer as Information Manager

“The Lawyer as Information Manager,” by Steven C. Bennett, 37 Capital University Law Review 729 (2009).

“Many lawyers recognize and appreciate technology’s influence in their everyday work.  Many others, however, have yet to grasp that an entire paradigm for the legal profession has been altered and remains in motion.  This article looks at the rapidly evolving technological environment and its effects on the practice of law, and also outlines a lawyer’s responsibilities in acting capably as an information manager in the years ahead.”

Lawsuit alleges Chadbourne overcharged for computerized legal research

Everything is negotiable.  Most law firms have flat rate contracts with LexisNexis and/or Westlaw.  The databases also have transactional or hourly (more accurately:  minutely) charging.  For example, according to the March 2006 Westlaw Plan 1 Price Guide, to search the ALLSTATES database costs $ 13.86 a minute.  Some firms charge their clients these per minute rates, even if they are paying for the service under a flat rate contract.  If this is not done with the client’s knowledge, it can lead to a dispute, as this story in the National Law Journal reports:

Lawsuit alleges Chadbourne overcharged for computerized legal research

Tresa Baldas

 

. . .

Consumer protection attorney Patricia Meyer filed a suit against New York’s Chadbourne & Parke on March 2 for allegedly overcharging J. Virgil Waggoner, a Texas businessman, by several thousands of dollars for computerized legal research. His bill was roughly $20,000 for the research, she said, but it should have been closer to $5,000. Waggoner v. Chadbourne & Parke, No. BC408693 (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.).Meyer of San Diego’s Patricia Meyer & Associates said that many similar lawsuits are in the pipeline, noting that she has amassed evidence that shows at least a dozen other law firms are overcharging clients for legal research, but not telling them.

. . .

“This appears to be more widespread than you would think,” Meyer said. “Basically what we’re finding is that certain law firms are using Westlaw and Lexis as profit centers, as compared to simply passing along their actual costs to their client….Quite candidly, what we’re finding is the clients really have no idea that this is going on.”

Azerbaijani Legal Portal – Dejure.az

Dejure.az is a new Web portal for Azerbaijani lawyers. Many of the documents are in the vernacular, but navigation is in English. Contents of the site include Azerbaijan legal news, legal research texts, and new legal texts.  Links are also available to Azerbaijani law schools, law firms, government ministries, NGOs and subscription based legal databases.  

Dejure Portal for Lawyers

http://dejure.az/

Bar People – Getting a shake and a bump?

Yesterday’s earthquake in Los Angeles happened on the first day of the state bar exam.  According to a National Law Journal story, “Earthquake doesn’t faze law firms, or first day of bar exam,” by Amanda Bronstad:

. . .

“Any interruption weighs heavily upon the takers,” [ Robert Hawley, deputy executive director of the State Bar of California] said. As a result, the State Bar is gathering data on the disruption that, along with reports from experts in psychometrics, will be presented to the committee of bar examiners in order to measure the earthquake’s possible impact on test scores.

. . .

Reports on Asian Legal Markets from ALB Legal News

ALB Legal News magazine has generously posted free reports on the legal market in individual Asian countries. The reports cover the outlook for the legal profession in each country, as well as specific legal sectors. In 2008, they have published reports on China, Singapore, Korea, India, Vietnam and the Philippnes.

ALB Legal News Reports http://asia.legalbusinessonline.com/reports/232/list.aspx

The Globalisation of Legal Education & making friends around the world

I like to follow bicycle racing.  We’re about half-way through Le Tour de France.  One of my favorite teams is team CSC (now CSC-Saxo Bank) and its rider Frank Schleck is just 1 second behind the overall leader at the moment.  Schleck is from Luxembourg and he rides on a Canadian bicycle for the Danish team CSC, which is sponsored by an American computer company.

What made me think of this is an article being written by Simon Chesterman, “. . . an Australian educated in Europe working for an American law school based in Asia, . . . ”

Chesterman directs the NYU School of Law and National University of Singapore Dual Degree Programme, known informally as NYU@NUS.

In his paper, The Globalisation of Legal Education”  (Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming), Chesterman explains how “law has moved from internationalisation to transnationalisation, and then to globalisation in the space of about a generation each.”

Due to these changes, “. . . faculties will seek ways to ensure that their graduates are both intellectually and culturally flexible, capable of adapting not merely to new laws but to new jurisdictions.  Comparative and international subjects will receive greater emphasis, with comparative and international perspectives also being introduced to a wider range of subjects.”

Chesterman counsels that “at least some international experience will increasingly be seen as essential to the practice of law at the upper echelons . . . ”

His abstract:

This article examines the evolution of legal education as it has moved through international, transnational, and now global paradigms. It explores these paradigms by reference to practice, pedagogy, and research. Internationalisation saw the world as an archipelago of jurisdictions, with a small number of lawyers involved in mediating disputes between jurisdictions or determining which jurisdiction applied; transnationalisation saw the world as a patchwork, with greater need for familiarity across jurisdictions and hence a growth in exchanges and collaborations; globalisation is now seeing the world as a web in more ways than one, with lawyers needing to be comfortable in multiple jurisdictions.

Source:  LSN Legal Education Vol. 5 No. 26,  07/16/2008

Which brings me back to bicycling.  Our alumnus and former international student Markus Wagner is currently on a bicycling odyssey, pedaling from the Black Forest of Germany to the Yellow Sea of China, and spending time with several law school classmates who are sprinkled through the region he is covering.

Virtual law firm – has coach, but no librarian

Our alumnus Craig Johnson has formed Virtual Law Partners, as noted in the San Francisco Recorder story “VLG Co-Founder Starts Virtual Law Firm,”  by Zusha Elinson, San Francisco Recorder, July 16, 2008.

Lawyer-entrepreneur Craig Johnson is back, this time with Virtual Law Partners. No associates, no offices. No, really.

I took a look at the “office” staff list and note the following are apparently needed to run a virtual law office:

Chief Financial Officer

Director of Training

Vice President of Network Operations

Chief Cultural Officer (the “coach”)

Special Projects Coordinator

Director of Communications

Director of Administration

Chief Technology Architect

Controller

 

But no librarian