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November 30, 2007

"Appalling" perks?

While some call the proliferation of perks that firms are offering associates "appalling," a lot of it sounds just silly.  Pet insurance?  Massage at the desk?  "Happiness Committees" offering candied apples?  Crikeys.  (I have to admit that this last one seems to have been developed expressly to serve as a metaphor).

Working with students every day, I find it hard to believe that any of this would distract them from a proper analysis of the pros and cons of work at a large firm.  If they do sway decisions, then perhaps we are not doing our job of teaching critical thinking.

-- Mark Osler


November 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 28, 2007

Thinking about Brains

Over at Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug recently described a fascinating development at the Baylor College of Medicine-- they have started an Initiative on Law, Brains, and Behavior, with the goal of hosting a major conference in the Fall of 2008. The official web site reveals that the point of this initiative is to address "how new discoveries in neuroscience should navigate the way we make laws, punish criminals, and develop rehabilitation. The project brings together a unique collaboration of neurobiologists, legal scholars, ethicists, medical humanists, and policy makers, with the goal of running experiments that will result in modern, evidence-based policy....Emerging questions at the interface of law and neuroscience include: Is it a legitimate defense to claim that a brain tumor ‘made you do it’? Do the brains of minors have the same decision-making and impulse control as adult brains – and how does that change punishment? Can novel technologies such as brain imaging be leveraged for rehabilitation? How should juries assess responsibility, given that most behaviors are driven by systems of the brain that we cannot control?"

These are fascinating issues, and this is exactly the type of interdisciplinary collaboration a field like criminal law needs. Practitioners like myself talk about (for example) how a juvenile evaluates risk differently than an adult would, but we don't really know in a medical sense how that works, or if our assumptions stand up to what science has found. 

-- Mark Osler

November 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2007

Kindle-ing Legal Publishers

OSU law professor, blogger, and friend Douglas Berman writes:

After learning about Kindle and other e-books in production, I really think the question is not whether, but rather when and how, the traditional casebook will go digital.

Not just casebooks, Doug. Today's law students want the option to buy digital versions of all titles sold by Thomson-West, LexisNexis, Aspen, etc. Some legal publishers, well at least one that I know of, is bundling selected eBooks into proprietary study aid applications. See the very interesting AspenLaw Studydesk which I believe will morph into a sister app for studying for the bar. The legal publishing industry needs to start offering eBooks to law students for all titles in their sales catalog. Kinde-ing their titles is not the way to go but it most definitely is time to light a fire under the major players in the law book publishing industry.

My experience indicates that most recent law book titles are available from our publishers in PDF so it is about time to include a web catalog link to "buy the digital version" now!

Source: Beyond the Kindle Hype. - Joe Hodnicki

November 26, 2007 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack