June 9, 2007
The emotional state of law students-- not so greatThis new study somewhat ominously begins by noting previous reports that the emotional state of law students, defined mostly in terms of stress, is worse than that of medical students and approaches that of psychiatric patients. The researchers studied two law schools (which were not identified by name), one of which had a significant evening program in a major city and the other of which was a full-time institution in a smaller city. The article, "Understanding the Negative Effects of Legal Education on Law Students: A Longitudinal Test of Self-Determination Theory" by Kennon M. Sheldon and Lawrence S. Krieger, raises many of the issues which have been previously discussed here. They specifically suggest that one key to improving the student experience may be enhancing the autonomy of our students.
-- Mark Osler
June 8, 2007
Cases in audio/visual format
Several of you may have heard of AudioCaseFiles, a company started by a law student at William & Mary who realized how convenient it would be to listen to cases in audio format while, for example, running on the treadmill. So far, these audio cases have really taken off -- particularly the audiobook versions of hornbooks.
A few months ago Charlie Nesson here at Harvard came up with the idea of producing video reenactments and other multimedia supplements to casebook materials. To carry out this idea, Charlie worked with me, a machinima producer, and the AudioCaseFiles team to create a dramatic reenactment of the Dred Scott case: the Second Life of Dred Scott.
What do you think of this kind of resource? In what ways could something like this enhance your teaching or learning? (I'm thinking in particular about the recent push towards casebooks that tell the full, complex stories behind the cases). Is it a distraction? What would make it more useful to you?
Full disclosure: I've done some consulting work for AudioCaseFiles.
-- Gene Koo
June 6, 2007
Important data and ideas for would-be innovators
Richard Sander is guest blogging over at Empirical Legal Studies, and his first two posts, which both discuss parts of his empirical research on large law-firm hiring and attrition rates provide much food-for-thought for would-be law school innovators. Consider:
- Some Good News About Women in Law, which says, inter alia, that in "the course of a generation, it seems, gender segregation in the law shifted from being very high to being relatively low."
- New Evidence on GPA and Success In Law Firms, which says, inter alia, that "data shows clearly that GPA matters a lot to one's success and longevity in the world of big firms."
I am not entire sure what the take-away should be for law schools in light of Sander's various findings. But I am sure that Sander is continuing to do very important work that all persons thinking about law school reforms ought to contemplate.