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Blawg Review #72

By August 27, 2006law practice

Welcome to the seventy-second edition of the Blawg Review.  Apropos of the Katrina anniversary this week’s Blawg Review is brought to you from New Orleans, a city that care will rebuild. If you aren’t familiar with what Blawg Review is click here.  Now, as Jackie Gleason used to say, ‘and away we go…’

Fundamentals: Writing, Learning & Teaching Law

  • New law students are the most vulnerable to the tendency to adopt ‘legalese’ because they are exposed to it in toxic doses as they read old cases filled with stuffy jargon.  My advice to law students?  Don’t succumb.  And speaking of giving advice to new law students, Paul Caron has a cornucopia of links that 1Ls will find helpful.  Peter Lattman, who writes the Wall St. Journal’s Law Blog has a short list of helpful links too.  Divine Angst has a good blurb on back to law school stuff.  And, of course, Jeremy Blachman, of Anonymous Lawyer fame, just graduated from Harvard and has great empathy for the plight of law students.  Last piece of advice from me on how to read the cases in your textbooks. Read the dissenting opinion first (if there is one), and then read the majority opinion.  Trust me: it’s a more efficient way of working through the case and law professors love the dissenting opinions (there’s a reason why the textbook editors included them).
  • The demographics of new law students is something that the professors always find interesting, and Paul Caron has a roundup of the entering law school class of 2009 at Cincinnati.  Obviously this is a small sample, not a macro view.  Frankly, I’m more interested in the use of eInstruction handhelds that he briefly mentions.  Why not explore new ways of getting students to participate in class and to discuss the material? 
  • The Socratic method is great if it’s done well, but it’s not a tool that works well in every situation and, of course, not every professor  is adept at using the Socratic method.  I remember one time in a Constitutional law class the professor wanted the class to identify a key point of discussion in an important case.  Finally, out of frustration she called on someone she knew was very bright (but who, unbeknownst to her, was also very stoned).  The professor assumed an air of complete confidence as she addressed the foggy mind in the back row: "three little words, Mr. xxxxxx.  The Supreme Court’s opinion offered three words that were very important.  What were they?"  Mr. xxxxx roused slowly from his stupor and, realizing that he had been called on, replied "I love you?"

Practice, Practice, Practice

  • In the beginning there was ‘the agreement,’ that pact by which two people decided to formalize a future relationship.  Today we lawyers call these ‘contracts’ and we think of the fictional Professor Kingsfield when we do.  If you want to know how to draft better contracts then click on over to AdamsDrafting and read the post Issues in Drafting Commercial Agreements—The “Box”.
  • We the People informs us that IBM, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard are collaborating in program that seeks to use a wiki-like tool in the patent approval process. The idea apparently came from New York Law School professor Beth Noveck’s blog.  Another feather in the cap of the Blawgosphere.

Theory & Miscellaneous ephemera

  • Tom Collins has a blurb about what technology law firms are planning on implementing in the next year.  High on the list: disaster recovery tools.  Not on the list: wireless technology (why? because it is pervasive if you aren’t using it then you have a lot in common with planet Pluto}.

Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues. Here are the next 4 episodes of Blawg Review for those of you who want to keep your calendar updated:

Sep 4 Workplace Prof Blog
Sep 11  Global Security Law
Sep 18 Concurring Opinions
Sep 25  David Maister’s Blog

P.S. If you're a practicing lawyer, check out this Law Practice Assessment . After answering a few questions, you'll get detailed recommendations for improving five key areas of your practice.

One Comment

  • jenniegee says:

    Attended a course on asset protection by Steven Sears Attorney. Also attending Mike Sears. Next class at Sears Law Building 18 truman. law is so complex the educational courses help inform the lay person. Personal contact is still better than email.

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