October 19, 2007
Should law schools support/cultivate an on-line notes archive?
In this post at the Conglomerate, Lisa Fairfax talks about a company that sells "professional typed notes for daily class lectures" to undergraduates. Lisa (and commentors) explores whether a similar market could develop for law schools student notes.
The post has me thinking about whether law schools ought to formally and officially support and cultivate an on-line notes archive for its students. Such an archive could provide helpful (and needed?) assistance to students who get sick or otherwise end up missing multiple classes. moreover, law schools developing a notes archive could urge students to use the archive as a supplement, rather than a substitute, to robust class participation. And schools could stress that these archives would provide a better study aid than expensive commercial products that cannot be professor-specific.
My sense is that there is always an informal note sharing network that students help create (and regularly tap into) in various ways. But these informal networks cannot provide nearly the assistance or quality control that could exist in an archive formally and officially supported by a law school.
Finally, I think the creation of such an official archive could help justify a professor's decision to ban laptops from the classroom. If students have ready access to an effective notes archive, it seems a lot less problematic to bar students from using a computer to take notes in class.
Posted by DAB
October 18, 2007
Chatting in Class
One way to elicit student participation in class--and to distract students from email, IMs, poker, and Facebook--might be to encourage chatting in the classroom. I don't mean the usual breakout sessions (though that remains an important possibility). Rather, I mean eliciting responses to questions online.
Has anyone experimented (either as a professor or a student) with electronic chats used for in-class discussion?
October 17, 2007
Who's teaching the business of law?
I just hired my first attorney for a family matter, and in the process was embarrassed to realize that I was unclear about what a "retainer" really meant. That question was easy enough to figure out, but I began to wonder how law schools are preparing their students to run their own practices in terms of setting up an office, finding clients, and managing their billing and expenses.
Last year, when I was helping a friend spread the word about Community Lawyers, Inc. -- an initiative to get more private, neighborhood-based attorneys to play a more active role in advancing community interests -- we were getting consistent feedback from practitioners that law schools should be doing more to help students and alumni establish themselves as small businessmen. It would seem to be entirely in the law schools' own financial interests to help graduates be as successful as possible.
Are your law schools offering courses or programs on actually running a law practice, as distinct from knowing the substance of the law? Do your clinical projects provide hands-on experience managing the practice, not just working on client issues? Who are the leaders in this area now?
(I should note, by way of illustrating the importance of clinical experience to successful practice, that the attorney I retained came, indirectly, through a referral from his school's clinical program, where he had been a student.)
October 15, 2007
Who gave the best advice to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky?
Over at TaxProf here, Paul Caron has assembled all forty of the provocative responses he got to this question:
What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine?
I would be interested to hear LSI reader responses to all this unsolicited advice for the new Dean, and I would be especially grateful to hear from anyone who identified any enduring themes in all this advice.
Posted by DAB