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July 14, 2009

PLI becomes first (but surely not the last) to put its law books on the Kindle

As detailed in some of the posts linked below, various folks have chatted for years in this forum about the Kindle and other e-readers as a possible platform for legal materials.  This press release spotlights the first major legal publishing entrant:

Practising Law Institute (PLI), the nation's leading provider of continuing legal education, announces that it is now releasing its wide-ranging line of authoritative legal practice books on Amazon Kindle store, becoming the first professional publisher to take advantage of this breakthrough wireless reading format....

There are currently 67 PLI titles available on Kindle, covering such areas as business, corporate and securities law, banking and commercial law, intellectual property law, estate and tax planning law, real estate law, insurance law, elder law, and litigation.

By year-end, the line will expand to over 100 titles, including new titles addressing the global economic crisis from a variety of legal perspectives important to today's attorneys - the growing number of government investigations and lawsuits, ensuring compliance with existing corporate and securities regulations, and preparing for the increased regulation to come....

"We're very excited about our new collaboration with Amazon to bring our titles to the Kindle store," said William C. Cubberley, PLI's Publisher. "We're already on the cutting edge when it comes to meeting attorneys' growing information needs through the presentation of practical legal programs designed for various electronic technologies. So it makes perfect sense that we take this next big step and now make our many books as easy to access as our institutes and seminars."

Related prior posts:

July 14, 2009 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Law school pays students to stay away"

The title of this post is the headline of this recent piece from the National Law Journal.  Here are excerpts from an effective piece:

The unstable economy created a tricky situation for law school admissions offices this year. Would the downturn prompt more applicants to accept offers of admission? Would the prospect of thousands of dollars of law school debt dissuade accepted applicants from enrolling at the last minute?

Admissions officials didn't know whether they could rely upon the formulas they traditionally have used to determine how many admissions offers to extend to reach their desired incoming class size. For at least one school, experience was little help.

The University of Miami School of Law saw a significant increase in its so-called yield rate — the percentage of accepted students who enroll — and has offered incentives for students to defer their starts until the fall of 2010....

The law school was aiming for an incoming class of 400 to 420 students, said university spokeswoman Karla V. Hernandez.  She would not disclose how many students the law school accepted for next fall, but said that the yield rate increased from 28% last year to 36% this year.

Those who opt to delay for a year will receive a $5,000 scholarship when they complete 120 hours of public service and will have a better chance at receiving a $75,000 scholarship, among other incentives.

Officials at the Law School Admissions Council declined to comment on Miami's situation, but a spokeswoman said it's not unheard of for schools to grapple with an undesirably large incoming class. "When some schools find themselves with more depositors than they expected, it's common to invite students to defer," said counsel spokeswoman Wendy Margolis.  However, it is unusual for a law school to offer deferral incentives to its entire incoming class, according to Sarah Zearfoss, assistant dean and director of admissions at the University of Michigan Law School....

Law school applications were up overall this year, but they didn't surge the way many had predicted. Conventional wisdom holds that more people seek out graduate programs during bad economic times to avoid a tough job market. According to the admissions council, law school applications increased nationally by 4.3%.

I would be eager to hear more about Miami's experience here and also about any other schools being as innovative as Miami in dealing with this new numbers problem.  I suspect that this story is just one of many potential examples of how necessity becomes the mother of law school innovation.

Posted by DAB

July 14, 2009 in Admissions to law school | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2009

What is the latest state of multiple-choice testing in law school?

I am trying to catch up on some law school readings this summer, and I noticed this interesting-looking piece on SSRN.  The piece by Janet Fisher is titled "Multiple-Choice: Choosing the Best Options for More Effective and Less Frustrating Law School Testing," and here is the abstract:

Multiple-choice testing presents challenges and frustrations not only for the students who take the tests, but also for the doctrinal faculty who prepare and score the tests and for the academic support faculty who work with students having difficulty with multiple-choice tests. This article discusses means by which the multiple-choice testing experience in law school could be improved for both students and faculty.  After a brief overview of the history of multiple-choice testing, the article describes problems that arise in connection with multiple-choice testing and the possible effects of flawed multiple-choice questions.  The article then reviews basic multiple-choice item-writing guidelines and some general principles of test validity.  For this, the article draws upon the work of law professor Michael Josephson and testing authority Thomas Haladyna. Finally, the article evaluates appeal and answer-justification procedures that could be used to enhance multiple-choice testing.

In addition to being eager to engender a debate over the use of multiple-choice testing in law school, I am curious to know if anyone has tried to quantify how many settings in which law schools are using multiple-choice testing is utilized.

July 13, 2009 in Grading systems | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack