January 26, 2012

CALI Offering Free Open Online Course on Digital Law Practice

The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) is once again pushing the envelope in legal education by offering law faculty, law students, and lawyers an opportunity to participate in a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled Topics in Digital Law Practice. This free, online, 9 week course is open to all with live sessions held on Friday afternoons beginning Friday, February 10, 2012 at 2 PM ET. 

From the course website:

This course is designed to provide an overview of the changes that are occurring in the practice of law today, especially with respect to technology. It will introduce law students for real-world situations that they will encounter in the job market and point law professors to new avenues to cover in their courses.

The course will run for one hour a week for nine weeks and will feature a different guest speaker each week. Each class will be delivered via webcast and will have a 30 minute lecture presentation followed by a question & answer period and an online, interactive homework assignment for all course students to complete. There will be no formal assessment like midterms or a final exam.

The audience for this seminar is primarily law students and law faculty who will be given priority. Anyone else can join the course for one or all of the sessions. The presentations will be recorded and posted to the course blog.

Registration for this course is required.


-- Elmer R. Masters
Full disclosure: I am CALI's Director of Internet Development

January 26, 2012 in Announcements, Electronic Education, Technology -- in general, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 13, 2011

The importance of appreciating (and teaching) iPad realities for lawyers and law students

I am at a great session (on a Sunday morning!) of the Appellate Judges Education Institute concerning modern brief writing and reading in our digital age.  The biggest take-away is that the iPad has become a "game-changer" in part because already perhaps as many as half of all appellate judges nationwide are at least sometimes reading briefs on an iPad and because it seems likely that soon all judges will read most briefs on screens.  

This sessions is reinforcing my belief that law schools should be looking for ways to intergrate iPads and/or other e-readers into their skills curriculum.  Notably, a Ninth Circuit judge on reported that his circuit is providing all its judges with iPads, and I strongly believe it should be only a matter of time before some clever law schools (and/or law publishers) figure out the opportunities and advantages that might flow from giving groups of students pre-programmed e-readers with specialized applications and/or content.

Some related prior posts:

 Posted by DAB

November 13, 2011 in Electronic Education, Teaching -- pedagogy, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 06, 2011

Law School Innovation Thanks Master Innovator, Steve Jobs


The visionary who made the computer more personal (in President Obama's elegant words) contributed to educational innovation by making technology seem less the realm of computer scientists, and more the realm of a broader community of creative persons.  I received my first Macintosh in 1984, and have owned Apple computers ever since, going through every generation in turn. 

Apple long cultivated a close link to educators and students, even when Microsoft sought to make itself indispensable to business.  While I am critical of Apple's proprietary approach and its overly aggressive patent claims, I appreciate Steve Jobs' love of design and his belief in the beauty of technology.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.    

-- Anupam Chander


Let me join in with the expression of thanks for Jobs' legacy (even though I suspect through the years I have enjoyed his Pixar contributions more than his Apple products).   Let me also wonder aloud why the law school arena (as well as the law services industry) has not seen an innovative figure like Jobs in its recent history.  

I suspect that, despite all the purportedly progressive individuals involved in the law school universe, the reality of the social environment and the economic marketplace of law schools tend to be quite conservative and pretty reactionary when it comes to innovative ideas and models.  But these realities will not stop us here at LSI from continuing to talk about new ideas and models.

Posted by DAB

October 6, 2011 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 02, 2011

What technologies (other than e-casebooks) can or will transform legal education?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this notable commentary discussing some new tech ideas in the field of K-12 education.  The piece by Jonathan Alter is headlined "Robo-Truant Tech And Other Apps To Fix Education," and here is a snippet:

The education reform movement is at an important juncture. It will either peter out in platitudes or advance based on a new consensus.  At this week's Education Nation conference in New York City, I came away with some hope for the latter. My cautious optimism is rooted in two Ts -- technology and transparency....

Even if they cordially despise each other, reformers and traditionalists will now have to work together to implement the new accountability laws enacted in the past few years in about a dozen states. One way to do so is by embracing smart new technology.

For years, faddish tech fixes like computers in the classroom have yielded few results. But that could be changing.  One of the most intriguing parts of Education Nation was the Innovation Challenge, a contest with shades of Donald Trump's show, "The Apprentice." Three young innovators presented their ideas on stage to a panel of judges moderated by Tom Brokaw:

Classdojo.com uses a competitive point system (always popular with students) to enable teachers to better handle the behavioral problems that so often impede learning.  The idea is to build character by rewarding teams of students who work together to stay on task and avoid disruptions.  Technology can't substitute for a teacher's class-management skills. But with as much as half of class time consumed by dealing with disruptive kids, it can help....

Classdojo won the $75,000 prize.  Even if this and other 2011 innovations flop, we're edging closer to the era when technology finally changes what is essentially a 19th-century system of education.  In science, paradigm shifts follow technological breakthroughs. Education won't be any different. 

Regular readers know I have been saying for quite some time that e-readers will eventually transform the traditional casebook model for legal education, and the popularity of the iPad and the forthcoming Kindle Fire reinforce my views on this front.  But I am wondering, and truly hoping, that there will be other technological innovation and/or breakthroughs that further revamp legal education for the 21st century.  Anyone bold enough to make predictions about what those innovations might be?

Some related prior posts:

 Posted by DAB

October 2, 2011 in Electronic Education, Teaching Resources, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 12, 2011

Should law schools teach how the best lawyers and law firms use the internet?

Debates about adequate skills instruction have raged for decades within and outside law school.  Less debated, though no less important, is whether law schools are teaching their students the right kinds of lawyering skills.  My own experience as both a law student and a law professor leads me to believe and fear that law schools too often focus on teaching the next generation of lawyers the most critical skills of the last generation of lawyers.

Those who went to law school around the time I was a student (1990 to 1993) likely recall the debate over whether and how students should be allowed access to computer research sources like Westlaw and Lexis or instead needed to be taught how to "only use the books."  Savvy students (but very few faculty) at the time appreciated that computer-based research skills we ultimately likely to be much more important to our future than book-based skills.  Nevertheless, back then (and still it seems two decades later), commercial providers like West and Lexis supplied much more (and much more effective) training in computer research than did my law school.

This recent article by Robert Algeri in the The National Law Journal, which is headlined "The future of the law firm website: Your website will become bigger, more important — and more focused on the needs of individual attorneys," has me thinking about these realities and prompted the question in the title of this post. Here is how the piece starts:

After a half-century of remarkable stability and steady growth, the legal industry got hit by a ton of bricks called the Great Recession. Several years after the initial shock, it is clear that this downturn wasn't just a momentary blip, but a rather sizable shift in the business landscape. As a result, law firms are being forced to reconsider many aspects of how they do business.

What does all this mean for legal marketing? Lots.      During the past two years, my colleagues and I have studied the Great Recession's effects on legal marketing and law firm Web sites.  Our conclusion is that the law firm Web site is about to undergo a revolution. Specifically, we expect law firm Web sites to:

• Become more valuable....

• Become bigger....

• Focus more on attorneys....

Web sites already play a vital role in law firm business development. Numerous studies show this.  However, I strongly believe that they will become even more important--nearly as important as face-to-face meetings.  Why?  Because face-to-face meetings will happen less and less.

The legal business has traditionally been locally focused, with clients and the firm often located within 25 miles of one another.  That's changing. The Internet and related technologies have made it much more practical to work long distance.  But that's the least of it: Our culture is also changing. 

I could say a lot about the long-standing failure of law schools to help students better understand the business of law and the provision of legal services.  Those broader concerns aside, given the tight legal marketplace and changing legal and technological environments, are law schools uniquely deficient for not helping students better appreciate when and how modern lawyers use the internet?

Posted by DAB

September 12, 2011 in Legal profession realities and developments, Serving students, Teaching -- curriculum, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 05, 2011

"In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores"

Because of my enduring interest in the relationship between technology and education, I found notable this recent article from the New York Times (with the same headline as this post).  Here is a snippet that follows a discussion of a tech-heavy seventh-grade classroom experience:

[S]chools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.  This conundrum calls into question one of the most significant contemporary educational movements. Advocates for giving schools a major technological upgrade — which include powerful educators, Silicon Valley titans and White House appointees — say digital devices let students learn at their own pace, teach skills needed in a modern economy and hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets.

Some backers of this idea say standardized tests, the most widely used measure of student performance, don’t capture the breadth of skills that computers can help develop. But they also concede that for now there is no better way to gauge the educational value of expensive technology investments.

“The data is pretty weak. It’s very difficult when we’re pressed to come up with convincing data,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. When it comes to showing results, he said, “We better put up or shut up.”

And yet, in virtually the same breath, he said change of a historic magnitude is inevitably coming to classrooms this decade: “It’s one of the three or four biggest things happening in the world today.”

Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals.  They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.

Regular readers know I have been asserting for some time that greater use of technology in law school instruction is inevitable; I have also been troubled by what I see as the "Luddite instincts" of some professors who are quick and eager to ban laptops in the classroom.  Perhaps usefully, this article reminds me that nearly every time I see something new about technology and education, I become less sure of their proper relationship.  

Posted by DAB

September 5, 2011 in Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2011

“I think [the iPad] could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector.”

The title of this post is a quote from this recent New York Times article, which is headlined "Math That Moves: Schools Embrace the iPad." Here is some of the discussion surrounding this quote:

The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios. “It allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,” said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn who now posts all his course materials online.

Technological fads have come and gone in schools, and other experiments meant to rev up the educational experience for children raised on video games and YouTube have had mixed results. Educators, for instance, are still divided over whether initiatives to give every student a laptop have made a difference academically....

But school leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications, including thousands with educational uses....

Educators also laud the iPad’s physical attributes, including its large touch screen (about 9.7 inches) and flat design, which allows students to maintain eye contact with their teachers. And students like its light weight, which offers a relief from the heavy books that weigh down their backpacks.

Roslyn administrators also said their adoption of the iPad, for which the district paid $56,250 for the initial 75 (32-gigabyte, with case and stylus), was advancing its effort to go paperless and cut spending. In Millburn, N.J., students at South Mountain Elementary School have used two iPads purchased by the parent-teacher organization to play math games, study world maps and read “Winnie the Pooh.” Scott Wolfe, the principal, said he hoped to secure 20 more iPads next school year to run apps that, for instance, simulate a piano keyboard on the screen or display constellations based on a viewer’s location. “I think this could very well be the biggest thing to hit school technology since the overhead projector,” Mr. Wolfe said.

The New York City public schools have ordered more than 2,000 iPads, for $1.3 million; 300 went to Kingsbridge International High School in the Bronx, or enough for all 23 teachers and half of the students to use at the same time.

More than 200 Chicago public schools applied for 23 district-financed iPad grants totaling $450,000. The Virginia Department of Education is overseeing a $150,000 iPad initiative that has replaced history and Advanced Placement biology textbooks at 11 schools. And six middle schools in four California cities (San Francisco, Long Beach, Fresno and Riverside) are teaching the first iPad-only algebra course, developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Even kindergartners are getting their hands on iPads. Pinnacle Peak School in Scottsdale, Ariz., converted an empty classroom into a lab with 36 iPads — named the iMaginarium — that has become the centerpiece of the school because, as the principal put it, “of all the devices out there, the iPad has the most star power with kids.”

In this blog space a mere 10 months ago, before anyone even got a chance to get their hands on the iPad, I opined here on "How an iPad (or an even better e-tablet) could transform legal education." I continue to be intrigued (but not surprised) that law schools and legal publishers are already behind the curve on this tech front, but this story confirms my sense that the law students of the future will not merely expect an digital-friendly educational environment, they will demand it. As I put the matter in my prior post, "the iPad may not prove to be the casebook tipping-point technology, but it seems to me to be only a question of when, not whether, the traditional casebook will go the way of vinyl records and VCR tapes."

Some recent related iPad posts:


Posted by DAB

January 11, 2011 in Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 13, 2010

Supreme Court Justices are now doing work on iPads and Kindles, when will law students?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new video from a portion of a C-SPAN interview with new Justice Elena Kagan. The video is titled "Justice Kagan on Using a Kindle to Read Briefs," and in the segment Justice Kagan reports on how she uses the Kindle to read all the SCOTUS briefs, and also discusses that Justice Scalia has his briefs on an iPad. (Hat tip: How Appealing.)

In a series of prior posts about technology and legal education, I have suggested that the advancement of new reading technologies will at some point transform legal education. I articulated the point this way in this post after first seeing the iPad in action earlier this year:

[A] casebook-friendly e-tablet is only the tip of the new media iceberg that could be facilitated by an iPad or some other tablet that becomes to casebooks what the iPod became to vinyl records.  Of course, just as record companies (and some artists) resisted music being packaged and distributed via new media, casebook publishers (and some authors) may resist legal materials being packaged distributed via new media.  But, as the iPod and the DVR and other digital innovations have demonstrated, a better means to distribute content digitally will eventually prevail over analog precursors.  The iPad may not prove to be the casebook tipping-point technology, but it seems to me to be only a question of when, not whether, the traditional casebook will go the way of vinyl records and VCR tapes.

When traveling to speak at various conferences, I have noticed more and more lawyers with iPads and other e-readers. I expect that buzz about the Justices reading briefs on e-readers might add even more juice to the on-going digital revolution in the collection and distribution of legal materials.  And if law schools do not get with the program soon, I fear we will be doing even worse than usual in training the next generation of lawyers.

Posted by DAB

December 13, 2010 in Electronic Education, Legal profession realities and developments, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 25, 2010

Official law school resources or unofficial law student help: is there an app for that?

I know that there are a fair number of interesting "apps" for a fair number of legal resources.  (Many of these apps can be located via The Law Pod, which "specializes in legal reference software for smartphones and web devices.")  In addition, via the terrific blog iPhone J.D., I have seen reviews of various traditional law-school commercial services turned into apps (such as BARBRI and Law in a Flash).

But I have yet to see any law school develop its own official app for its students (and prospective students), nor have I seen any truly creative apps developed by entrepunrial lawyers or law students for the law student marketplace.  Just as all law schools (and many law students) now have intricate (and sophisticated?) websites on which law school resources and promotional materials often reside, I suspect it may be only a matter of time before apps become a more common part of law school life. 

I wonder if any law school is thinking about trying to raise its profile through the development of an app for its students or as a distinctive means to promote its faculty and programs.  Gosh knows that the development of a clever law-school app seems like it would be a much better use of promotional resources than producing and distributing all the hard-copy law porn I find in my faculty mailbox (which gets quickly relocated to my faculty trash can, often within a matter of seconds).

Posted by DAB

October 25, 2010 in Electronic Education, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 25, 2010

"Monterey College of Law -- First Law School in US to go iPad"

The title of this post is the headline of this new press release, are here are excerpts:

Monterey College of Law, a California accredited law school located in Seaside, California is the first law school in the US to adopt the iPad as an integral part of the law school curriculum. Law students at Monterey College of Law returned from summer break to the exciting news that they are part of a unique pilot program that will provide iPads to each law student at the school. Through an innovative program developed by the law school with BAR BRI, the country’s largest bar exam review company, each MCL law student receives an iPad when they enroll in the BAR BRI supplemental curriculum program that the students use while attending school and in preparation for the California Bar Exam.

“Law schools are rarely found close to the leading edge of technology,” said Mitchel Winick, President and Dean of the law school. “However, it is clear to me that combining this technology with interactive, portable, timely content and harnessing the energy of on-line social networking provides a number of immediate educational opportunities.” This is particularly true for an evening law school like MCL that has a traditional classroom-based legal education program in which many students are balancing a full work and family schedule while attending law school....

Chris Marohn, a third-year MCL law student who is the immediate-past President of the Student Bar Association noted that “excited Facebook posts about the iPad program were circulating through the rest of the student body before the Dean finished announcing the new program to the first-year class. There was a lot of excitement among my classmates, particularly once Dean Winick started handing out iPads," said Marohn. Winick noted that 100% of the entering first-year students and approximately 70% of the upper level students enrolled in the new program by the end of the first week of law school. He expects that most of the remaining students will enroll over the next few weeks as students begin experimenting with new ways to study using the iPads. It is only a matter of time before virtual study groups are formed to support each of the core law school classes....

The second step of the program is to provide access to iPads for MCL law faculty members who are interested in integrating the iPad into their regular course materials and classroom presentations. “Historically, law faculty members are known to be very traditional in their approach to teaching. In some law schools, classes have been taught the same way, with very few changes, for more than 100 years” said Winick. “The objective of the MCL faculty pilot program will be to develop examples of using iPad technology to enhance and expand traditional legal education without diminishing any of the core academic values,” said Stephen Wagner, law professor and President of the faculty senate. The law school will pilot-test the faculty program during the current academic year and anticipates expanding the program to include all interested faculty members next year.

I figured it would only be a matter of time before the iPad and/or other like tablets became a regular part of the law school experience.  But I am still pleased and impressed that this innovation has taken hold so quickly in at least one law school setting.  Will others follow?

Some recent related iPad posts:

Posted by DAB

August 25, 2010 in Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2010

"'MacLitigator' Uses iPad Successfully in Jury Trial"

The title of this post is the headline of this recent posting at Legal Blog Watch via law.com.  Here are the basics:

Who better to be the first reported lawyer to use an iPad to help win a jury trial than someone who calls himself MacLitigator? ...

Writing in the rarely used "third-person blog nickname" voice, Summerill posted here over the weekend that "Maclitigator just completed a four day jury trial ... using the iPad as the primary means of getting information in front of the jury."

Two of the most effective uses to which MacLitigator put his iPad during trial were the presentation of documents and cross-examination of witnesses. MacLitigator says he loaded all documents to be admitted at trial on to the iPad as slides. His examination outlines cross-referenced the appropriate slide. Photos were then grouped as a single exhibit (e.g. Exhibit 5 was a series of 5 photos, or 5 slides in Keynote).

He also loaded deposition transcripts, and reports that "because the iPad can switch so quickly between presentations, flipping from the Trial Slides to the deposition transcript slides during a cross examination is an effortless process."

A story like this one confirms my view that the iPad (or a similar user-friendly tablet) could become a transformative piece of technology for lawyers (and also law students).  It also confirms my strong belief that law schools are disserving our students when we prevent them from having laptops in the classroom and thereby push them away from developing more tech lawyering skills. 

Some recent related iPad posts:

Posted by DAB

May 3, 2010 in Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 19, 2010

How could/should Apple (or other tech companies) partner with a law school to foster e-casebooks?

I explained in this post last month why I believe that the iPad --- or any other new affordable e-tablet with a great e-reader and media functionality --- could and should help speed the demise of the living dinosaur that is the traditional law school casebook.  I now have an iPad, and both the significant potential for, and the significant challenges of, an e-reader replacing the traditional casebook has become even more clear.

First, though the iPad is not (yet?) a perfect product, it is an extraordinary "consumption" device.  Accessing information in e-books and through websites is easy and beautiful, and the iPad is convenient and portable and conversation-friendly in ways that cannot be readily described.  Moreover, I sense that the iPad could (perhaps with a well-designed app) facilitate the kind of effective multi-tasking consumption that lawyers and law students might especially appreciate --- e.g., having a SCOTUS case and an outline or law review article or draft brief pulled up for reading side-by-side.

Second, the iPad does not (yet?) feel like an effective "production" device.  Though perhaps others will get in the habit of composing memos and briefs on the iPad, the traditional keyboard and screen-size of a desktop or laptop are likely to remain my chosen tool for composing documents and blog posts and even longer e-mails.

In light of these realities, and the fact that traditional law school casebooks (and also the traditional hornbook and comercial outline and law review) are merely static (and costly) consupmtion devices, I still think the iPad or another new affordable e-tablet could become a serious playing in the law school educational marketplace.  But I do not think it is (yet?) a replacement for a laptop, and I also think it will be essential in the short-term for both tech producers and legal consumers to forge an effective partnership to facilititate making the iPad or another new affordable e-tablet something of value in the law school arena.

Ellen's post yesterday noting that some universities already stuggling with iPad-friendliness not only prompted my post, but it especially inspired the question in the heading to this post.  I am wondering what a tech company might do (or what a law school might ask a tech company to do) in order to help make the iPad or another new affordable e-tablet the must-have new tech item for the next generation of law students.

April 19, 2010 in Electronic Education, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2010

Incorporating Technology & University Responses

I have to agree with my co-blogger (here) that we need to start recognizing that innovative devices may provide a new method for casebook materials.  But I have yet to see the device that really provides what is needed.  The Kindle and iPad, offer steps in the direction of providing devices that allow paperless products to be disseminated quickly and in a pleasuring manner (note - I have not bought an iPad yet). But each seems to also have its drawbacks (see Anupam Chander's comments here). The device uniquely designed for law schools has not surfaced....yet.

But what is particularly interesting here is that many universities are not ready when a new device reaches the market. When places like George Washington, Princeton, and Cornell (see Melissa Korn, Dow Jones, Apple's IPad Gets Rejected From Some Colleges, For Now) are unable to allow new devices because of security concerns or bandwidth overload, one has to wonder if universities are ready to meet advances of this new generation. It will also be important that universities prepare for ADA accommodations should new technology be incorporated as part of a classroom experience (see here).

 - ellen s. podgor  

April 18, 2010 in Teaching Resources, Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2010

An iPad in a Law School Class--A Skeptical View

CC Culture
 My blog colleague (and former JON law clerk colleague!) Doug Berman wonders if an iPad (or similar Tablet computers from a plethora of other makers) could transform law school.    

Imagine three possible constituencies:

1. Students. Students use laptops both to take notes (alas, sometimes verging on stenography) and to read material (alas, sometimes including Facebook). Most reports suggest that inputting text is slower on a touchscreen than via a keyboard. Indeed, reports suggest that typing is faster than writing in cursive for many people. 

It's unlikely that we'll see folks using Dragon Dictation or IBM Voice in class to do dictation (unless engineers come up with noise canceling systems that prevent your noise from leaking out, rather than other people's noise from leaking in.

Also, where would a student put the iPad in a classroom--on her lap, or on the desk?  Steve Jobs showed off the device in a nice overstuffed chair, but unfortunately we do not provide those in our classes.

2 Faculty.  Faculty spend much of their time writing--mostly emails, it increasingly seems.  Again, it seems difficult to imagine writing a 50 page law review article with 400 footnotes, or a 300 page book on a touchscreen device. Faculty members might however employ dictation software--typically in the privacy of their office. 

3. Staff. Staff are constantly organizing and writing, again making it difficult to rely upon a touchscreen device. 

It may be that writing on touchscreens has improved far more than I recognize, or that it is about to do so. I find writing on my iPhone to be a huge nuisance, and I limit myself to short Twitter like bursts--but others find it less debilitating than I.

Now consider a fourth constituency:

4. Libraries and Other Information Services.  Given that we aren't typically allowed to write in a library book and simply receive the information provided therein, a Tablet might well prove useful.  However, libraries may be quite concerned about (1) breakage on devices that might roam (a fear that might be lessened if ; (2) theft; and (3) battery life. Apple's requirement that you send in your iPad to them to have a battery changed seems less than ideal. 

The times may overtake me; five years from now, perhaps I will be writing this blog entry on a tablet. But for the next couple years, at least, I think I can comfortably predict that I will be loyal to my laptop.

(photo by Dawn Endico.)  

Anupam Chander 

March 19, 2010 in Technology -- in general, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 27, 2010

Could the iPad help transform law school and even lawyering?

Jobsx-wide-community It has taken me only a few minutes to decide that I now want and need an iPad, though I am fearful (or perhaps hopeful) that the new Apple gizmo will be much better for reading blogs than for writing them.

Also, I am also already thinking about whether an iPad and other forthcoming similar e-tablet technologies might alter the resource and technology universe for lawyers, law professors and law students. 

I have never tried to do any kind of legal research or legal writing on my Droid smartphone, and I suspect that there are relatively few smartphone apps that are truly helpful to the average lawyer or law student.  In addition, I have been disappointed by the potential for my first-generation Kindle to be a means or medium for me to do professional reading of cases and other legal materials.  The Apple folks are touting the iPad as having some of the best aspects of modern e-readers and modern netbooks.  If this is true, I can readily imagine the possibility of an iPad with applications that are especially lawyer-friendly and lawyer-useful.

Thoughts, dear readers?  Is anyone (other than me) eager to read this blog on an iPad?

(Cross-posted at SL&P)

January 27, 2010 in Blogging by lawyers and law professors, Electronic Education, Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 13, 2010

DOJ Reaches Settlements Regarding Use of Electronic Book Readers

A DOJ Press Release reports on the Justice Department reaching "separate agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University in New York City and Reed College in Portland, Ore., regarding the use in a classroom setting of the electronic book reader, the Kindle DX, a hand-held technological device that simulates the experience of reading a book."  The release states: 

"Under the agreements reached today, the universities generally will not purchase, recommend or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other dedicated electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to students who are blind and have low vision. The universities agree that if they use dedicated electronic book readers, they will ensure that students with vision disabilities are able to access and acquire the same materials and information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students with substantially equivalent ease of use. The agreements that the Justice Department reached with these universities extend beyond the Kindle DX to any dedicated electronic reading device."

This serves as a reminder that accommodations need to be considered and made if using an electronic reading device in classes.

ellen s. podgor

January 13, 2010 in Books, Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 21, 2009

Google Fast Flip

Google FastFlip may offer a new way to quickly read news stories. It certainly looks like one can flip through headlines and first paragraphs faster than previously. For a preview see here.

News stories on google fastflip can be found here and here.

ellen s. podgor

September 21, 2009 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

April 03, 2009

Are law schools playing along as "technology transforms the litigation game"?

This article from the Legal Tech Newsletter, which is headlined "Technology Transforms the Litigation Game," has me wondering and worrying yet again about how well law schools are preparing modern student for modern law practice. Here is how the piece starts:

There's no mistaking that new technologies are transforming the practice of litigation.  Today's litigators take depositions via videoconferencing, scour social networking Web sites for dirt on the opposition and communicate at all hours of the day and night with opposing counsel via BlackBerry.  Technology can overlook the time-tested interpersonal styles that facilitate skills development, but it can also offer a leg up when it comes to seamless client service and flexible schedules, a trademark that is here to stay as more Gen Ys enter the workforce with an innate expectation of using these tools.  The successful litigator must temper the tension between the obvious personal and professional benefits of taking full advantage of new technology and the corresponding loss of face-to-face interaction.

I am inclined to think (and fear) that there is not a single law school (nor perhaps even a single law school class) that has a curriculum specifically designed to help modern law students learn about and reflect on the pros and cons of depositions via videoconferencing, using social networking Web sites, and communicate with clients and opposing counsel via BlackBerry. 

But perhaps I am too quick to assume that law schools are already way behind the modern technology curve.  I would be grateful to hear reports from student or faculty about effective technology programming already appearing in the formal law school curriculum.

Posted by DAB

April 3, 2009 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 09, 2009

New Kindle Being Unveiled Today

Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe, How Amazon's Kindle reader might be improved; LA Times, Amazon's new Kindle 2, please read me a story

ellen s podgor

February 9, 2009 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack