I've been meaning to talk for some months about a monument in Hillsborough, North Carolina. It's a monument mostly to the old state house and I guess Daniel Boone. But an inscription at the bottom is what really caught my attention: "In this tablet is metal recovered from the U.S.S. Maine." Thanks to the magic of the internet I now see that there are a bunch of monuments cast from metal recovered from the Maine. The Central Park Maine Monument in New York contains some. An annual report of the DAR (which was printed as a Senate Document) says 1000 Maine Memorial tablets were cast in New York and distributed by the Navy Department. At least one is in North Carolina and it looks like there's one at Valley Forge -- haven't seen it, but I'll look for it next time I'm there.
Happy Labor Day, everyone. I'm looking forward to an exciting semester!
The Central States Law Schools Association 2014 Scholarship Conference will be held on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11 at the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress.
CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend.
As I'm sitting here editing a chapter on student literary societies and their magazines, I'm happy to report that Rob Luther sent along a most exciting link recently. It's to a story in the Hampden-Sydney alumni magazine called "Digging Up Daguerreotypes." The story has a set of photographs of Hampden-Sydney (though I think before the war there was no hyphen) students from the class of 1851. I wish I had more photographs of colleges, students, faculty, and the people each of those groups owned, from before the War. So I guess I'm all the more grateful for the photographs we do have. I spend so much time trying to get inside the minds of students and faculty it's nice on occasion to look at them face to face, as it were. The image is a dormitory on Hampden-Sydney's campus, which I think was part of the Union Theological Seminary back in the 1850s when it was in Prince Edward County (before its move to Richmond).
There is no position announcement yet, but as soon as it's available I'll post it here. I am expecting (and obviously hoping) that this search will draw the interest of terrific candidates. Carolina Law has an exciting intellectual environment among faculty and terrific students who go on to great careers in the state and nation. The law school is extremely fortunate to be an important part of a great public university. The faculty and students have great interdisciplinary opportunities here. Looking beyond Chapel Hill, the research triangle is home to four law schools (Duke and North Carolina Central in Durham, and Campbell in Raleigh, as well as Carolina Law) and provides a great intellectual environment. Like the other major college towns I've had the pleasure to live or work in over the decades since I graduated from high school, Chapel Hill is wonderful -- there are exciting and smart people who're setting the world on fire (metaphorically of course). And though these days I rarely pursue cultural events, there're far more theater, music, film, and lectures here and in Durhman than anyone could possibly take in.
There's never been in my lifetime a more challenging environment for law schools, but I believe that Carolina Law is positioned well to have an important place in educating the next generation of lawyers for exciting and important careers.
I want to announce the "Call for Participation Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop," which will be held at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV on October 9, 2014. Cribbing now from the call:
LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) are pleased to invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), immediately preceding the SALT Teaching Conference. This annual workshop is designed for critical, progressive, and social justice oriented pre-tenure professors, including clinicians and legal writing professors, as well as those who may be contemplating a teaching career. However, we also encourage more senior members of the profession to attend, share their experience, and serve as resources and mentors.
The FDW is designed to familiarize critical, progressive, and social justice oriented junior faculty with LatCrit and SALT principles and values and support them in the scholarship, teaching, and service aspects of professional success. In addition, the FDW seeks to foster scholarship in progressive, social justice, and critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory, among new and junior faculty, students, and practitioners. Finally, the FDW aims to cultivate a community of scholars interested in the continuation of this and similar projects over the years.
To facilitate community building through shared experiences and the exchange of ideas, we strongly encourage all participants to attend the entire workshop.
We would like to invite you to a working-paper conference that we are planning to hold in the days before the AALS mid-year family law conference in Orlando next summer. Our group, the Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, has been known in the past as the Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference (EFLS). That group held an annual conference for the past eight years, but until now has been limited to junior scholars. This year we are opening the conference to scholars at all levels of seniority, and are hoping that many of you can join us.
The conference will take place on Monday, June 22, 2015, in Orlando, Florida—the day of the AALS workshop’s opening reception. Since our conference will be held earlier that day, these two events will not conflict. We will be hosted for the day by Florida A&M University College of Law, which is just a few minutes’ drive from the Doubletree Hotel that hosts the AALS workshop.
For those of you who are not familiar with the EFLS conference, the main purpose of the meeting is to allow family law scholars to receive detailed, constructive feedback on their work in a supportive, collegial environment. In addition, the meeting is a forum to meet others in the field and talk about teaching, service, developments in the law, and other relevant themes raised by participants. Scholars present their work—either in its very initial form (an incubator session) or in its more developed form (a work-in-progress session)—in intimate groups. We have a very strong norm that participants carefully read drafts of the papers in advance of the sessions, and there are no formal presentations. Many of us feel that this has been a very meaningful conference that significantly contributed to our development as scholars and teachers.
Although we have decided to open up the conference to scholars at all levels, we are still committed to preserving the conference’s intimate and supportive character. Therefore, we can accommodate only 45 participants, selected on a first-come-first-served basis. Additionally, although we will try to fulfill all requests for an incubator or work-in-progress session, if space is limited, we will give some preference to junior scholars. As always, there is no registration fee, and people only need to pay for their meals and accommodation. The Doubletree Hotel will give the discounted rate for rooms a couple of days prior to the conference.
We will open up the registration and submission, via TWEN, in February 2015. For now, if you would like to receive announcements about the conference, please sign in on our TWEN page. To do that, go to “Add Courses” and select “Family Law Scholars and Teachers 2015 Conference.” If you have already selected the course in 2014, we will migrate your e-mail automatically and you do not need to register again. You should expect to receive an e-mail with further information about submissions and registration in February 2015.
There are fewer folks going on the AALS market this year, according to this data over at Prawfs, but there will always be aspiring law professors. And for the sixth straight year, Arizona State is putting on an Aspiring Law Professors Conference. It's September 27 in Tempe, and this year, Paul Caron will deliver the keynote.
Luís Chiesa (SUNY Buffalo) has published a new casebook, Substantive Criminal Law: Cases, Comments and Comparative Materials (Carolina Academic Press 2014). Here is a description from the publisher's website:
The strength of this casebook is the uniformity of each chapter’s structure, which makes it easier to approach the chapter’s topic systematically. Each chapter begins with several sections that discuss the applicable law, followed by a separate section that discusses the Model Penal Code’s approach to the topic. This is then followed by a “Comparative Perspectives” section that encourages students to think about alternative ways of approaching the topic. The richness of the comparative materials used in the casebook is unmatched by its competitors, as many of the materials have been translated by the author. Finally, each chapter ends with a section titled “Scholarly Debates” that introduces the student to some of the philosophical discussions related to the topic.
Professor Chiesa was my colleague at Pace before he moved to SUNY Buffalo, and so I knew of the idea for this book and heard about its progression -- so glad to see it in print!
According to a report on NPR and other media outlets about traffic accidents in the United States, Boston has the riskiest drivers, and Fort Collins, Colorado has the safest. The ranking is based on a study by Allstate Insurance, and while interesting to see such rankings, we should wonder whether the reporting represents another example of the tendency to worry too much about individual fault when mistakes occur and not enough about problems with the system within which people operate.
Maybe there are important differences between drivers in Boston and Fort Collins. More likely, however, is that other factors are more important (e.g., city size). In particular, there is good reason to think that there are important differences in traffic engineering and other measures taken by public officials in Boston and Fort Collins to compensate for the inevitability of human error. As the New York Times reported earlier this year, Sweden is considered to have the world’s safest roads, and it has gotten there because it “assumes human imperfection at every turn, and places the onus of mitigating its effects largely on traffic engineers.” Successful reforms for medical malpractice and other kinds of human error also have relied on engineering changes that limit the harm that a mistake can cause.
Instead of headlines that say Boston has the riskiest drivers, it may be more accurate to say that Boston has the riskiest traffic system.
(Allstate itself sends mixed messages. On one hand, it titles its study as a “Best Drivers Report;” on the other hand, Allstate refers to the ranking as a “Safest Driving City Ranking.”)
As I've previously noted, the ABA has deferred a final call on Concordia Law's provisional accreditation pending a report from a new factfinder. Since the Idaho Supreme Court declined to give Concordia grads special permission to sit for the bar, irrespective of the ABA's decision, current 3L's are at risk of graduating from a school that has never been accredited. Most states allow students to sit for the bar only if they have graduated from a law school that was ABA accredited at some point during the time the student was enrolled. Given that the ABA might not reach a decision this school year, current 3L's are at risk of graduating from a school that was never accredited at any point in their tenure.
Thus the news story: half of all of Concordia Law's 3L's are taking time off this term, hoping that accreditation comes through while they are still students.
The best thing one can say about Rev. Bruce M. Shipman, the Episcopal chaplain at Yale, is that he does not bother to disguise his beliefs. In response to a New York Times article describing the rise of violent anti-Semitism in Europe – including attacks on synagogues and the murder of children at a religious school – Rev. Shipman opined, in a letter to the editor, that the trend is a consequence “of Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza.” Without even a word of condemnation for the treatment of Jews, Shipman argued that the best “antidote to anti-Semitism” would be for “Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.” In other words, the Jews in Europe will not be safe until the Jews in Israel (and their “patrons”) start behaving themselves.
It is hard to say whether Shipman’s tolerance for the current outbreak of anti-Semitism is worse than his ignorance of history, but he ought to know that violence against Jewish individuals and institutions long predates the current fighting in Gaza. Consider, for example, shootings or bombings at synagogues in Paris (1980), Rome (1982), Istanbul (1986 and 2003), and Tunisia (2002) ; a delicatessen in Paris (1982); the Jewish community centers in Buenos Aires (1994), Seattle (2006), and Mumbai (2008); the murder of Leon Klinghoffer for the crime of cruising while Jewish (1985), and enough other incidents to fill this page.
I've summed it all up in my finalized list of last year's law school dean searches here. On the whole, schools were very successful in finding new leadership. This year will be particularly intriguing with three excellent southeastern state university deanships open at North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
Update: A reader points out that Florida's deanship is also open. My oversight! That makes FOUR great southeastern state deanships open right now.
As Al Brophy has often reminded us, slavery was a constant subject of litigation throughout the antebellum period. As a teacher of Trial Advocacy, I have been interested in the approaches that were taken by individual lawyers in cases involving human “property.” Of course, trial strategy was always influenced by client needs. But even so, tactics could vary tremendously from attorney to attorney. In a series of three (or maybe four) short posts, I will describe the role of some lawyers who represented slaves, or slave-rescuers, in the 1850s, with the first example following the break.
In his post about interviewing for the Florida Coastal deanship, and his later post on preparing at-risk students for the bar at Western State, David Frakt has raised interesting and important points worthy of further discussion. In Frakt's (reasonable) view, any student who achieved a 149 or lower on the LSAT is at high risk of failing the bar exam. Obviously, this is going to vary by state, and many students with a 149 might not truly be at risk (just as many students who score a 151 are at risk) - but it's a fair starting assumption.
Jerry Organ noted that, for the entering class of 2013, 32 law schools had a median of below 150. But a notable 68 law schools - basically, a third of all programs - have a 25th percentile LSAT below 150. And for those of you feeling relief about your school's 25% percentile of 150 or 151 - there are 26 more schools in that category - you might want to dig a bit to see how many of that bottom quartile are in fact below 150. It's likely you have a good number of high risk students as well.
The point is that figuring out how to help high risk students pass the bar is an important, and probably urgent issue at over 45% of all law schools. That's bracing. But faculties and administrations must confront the issue.
Everyone understood how much was at stake last year when Senate Democrats eliminated the filibuster for judicial nominations to the federal district courts and courts of appeal. And it didn’t take long for the new “Democratic” majority on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to flex its muscles. In late July, the court reversed course on the balance between the public’s interest in regulation of business practices and the corporate interest in freedom of speech.
In earlier decisions, the court of appeals had struck down graphic warnings for cigarette packs and a requirement that manufacturers disclose whether they produce their goods with minerals mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But the en banc court, in rejecting a challenge to country-of-origin disclosure rules for meat products, concluded that the earlier decisions did not allow sufficient leeway for the government to mandate warnings or other informational disclosures to the public.
Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will restore the D.C. Circuit’s previous balance, but for now, the tide has turned in favor of consumer protection.
In Lawyers’ Poker, I wrote that the best movie ever made about poker was The Hustler, in which there were no card games at all. As fans of Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason will recall, The Hustler was about a pool shark named Fast Eddie Felson. There is a scene in the film – in which Fast Eddie masterfully hustles a hapless bartender – that perfectly captures the essence of poker strategy: show weakness when your cards are strong and strength when your cards are weak, but not always.
Now I am writing to say that this year’s best book about legal practice has no lawyers in it at all. Life Drawing, Robin Black’s terrific new novel tells of the relationship between two artists – a painter and a novelist – and the ways in which they are simultaneously honest and deceptive toward one another. Along the way, Black raises profound issues of causation, culpability, intention, motive, foreseeability, harm, self-appraisal, recollection, and perception. Anyone who has ever examined a witness, or counseled a client, will recognize these matters as deeply relevant to law practice. Black explores them in the setting of a troubled marriage, but nearly all lawsuits, of course, begin with personal interactions of some sort or another. Life Drawing provides us with important insights regarding the ways in which people – and for our purposes, clients and witnesses – recount and explain their experiences, either reliably or otherwise.
Life Drawing is beautifully written and composed. Anyone who teaches Law and Literature (or in my case, Narrative Structures) would do well to add it to their syllabus. Everyone else will enjoy reading it for pleasure and enlightenment.
I just missed this one last month. Professor Tino Cuéllar of Stanford Law School was nominated to serve on the California Supreme Court by Governor Jerry Brown. There he would join fellow academic Goodwin Liu. He needs a statse bar commisision OK after which he will need voter approval this November. It's all in the family. His wife, Lucy Koh, is a on the federal bench in the N.D. California.
Any experts out there on the law governing an airline's responsibility for valuable items stolen from a passenger's checked luggage? A bag, in the custody of American Airlines at JFK, went missing two weeks ago. It materialized today -- with valuable items stolen. If any of you has expertise or experience with this situation, please share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks.