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May 14, 2016


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Al Brophy

Get a really good casebook and use a lot of problems. The three hour format is a real challenge -- and problems will help students stay engaged in the material.


Doesn't this post tell you that so many of the issues that have been discussed (and decried) for so long on this site - and by the bar associations, and by the bar itself, and even by some law profs - remain unchanged in the slightest way?

Howard Katz

Echoing what Al said, try to plan out material so the final hour of each class is a problem, group work, or something to break things up. You can always do a review or application problem out of sequence (not on the same day as the when the material was originally covered) - in fact it is good practice to come back to material covered earlier.
Also, read a quick overview of the course at the beginning of your prep (Nutshell or similar). It will help you see possible connections of later material to earlier, opportunities to condense certain material and go in more depth on other topics, etc.


Anon @ 1:29pm, can you please elaborate? It's not at all clear what you're referring to.


anon | May 15, 2016 at 10:09 PM

"I've never taught the class before, nor did I ever take it or any related courses (environmental law, natural resources law, oil and gas law, or public utilities law) while in law school. ... [H]ad I created a syllabus based solely on what I had done billable work in, my students would have learned everything there is to know about state energy brokering regulations, a fair amount about vegetation management standards ... and nothing at all about the Federal Power Act. ... [please check online resources to determine when and for how long this billable work was done] . . . . In any event, teaching in a new area is an experience all new professors go through, and most of us will go through repeatedly as our careers progress."

Any questions?

Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King

Joseph Hazelwood needs a defense too.


Anon@1:29, maybe I'm still not getting your point. Given the choice between taking an energy law course from a professor who practiced energy law but didn't take an energy law course in law school, or a professor who never practiced energy law but whose "expertise" is based on having taken an energy law course in law school, I would choose the former.



Fallacy of the false alternative.

See, Lubet.


BTW, the answer to BeachCruiser's question may also depend on how one defines the term "practiced." Check it out and get back to us on that.

'nother anon

Energy law was his primary practice area. What am I missing?


'nother anon

What do you mean? What are you missing? What is the meaning of "am"? Does "missing" mean "missing"? I don't understand. What are you saying? Should one keep asking rhetorical questions or actually think a bit? Different pseudonyms but same questions.

Please. For one, I would consider, when someone claims to have "practiced" in a "primary practice area" - for how long did this person "practice"; at what level of the firm; what actual breadth and depth did this "practice" entail, how much client contact, how many appearances in court or before administrative agencies, how much actual lawyering? We need not focus solely on one person. These are generic questions that should ALWAYS be asked.

If the person asking these "why" "why" "why" questions is truly unfamiliar with the many threads on this blog regarding the issues that this post, and the comments above, implicate, and has made no independent effort to try to answer these endless "what do you mean" questions, there is nothing that will break thru the endless "what do you mean?" stance.

If you truly want to know more, do a little bit to find out. There is nothing more to say.

just a suggestion

you could send out a survey monkey to lawyers in that field, asking them what they would have found useful in a course on Energy Law, then show the results to enrollees and survey them what they are seeking from the course. your private practice experience in energy law from 2013-14 will no doubt be quite useful to them, but perhaps crowd sourcing the question to lawyers currently practicing in that field and with a longer experience base will provide some useful guidance as well.


just a suggestion

Hmmmm .... 2013-2014, that sounds like a brief period. Was the "practice" to which you refer at a senior level, or limited to an entry level BigLaw gig?

If representing to students that one has "practiced" in a "primary practice area" and suggesting that one can speak from a position of knowledge, experience and authority about "practice" in "energy law" as a result, one would counsel caution about making too much of the latter, if that is the case.

Larry Rosenthal

Since you have practiced in this area, I think you are much better positioned to develop a curriculum than most. My advice is that you identify the core knowledge, skills, and abilities required of entry-level lawyers in this area, and then develop a curriculum and assessment methods directed toward developing those KSAs. I don't know much about energy law, but I'm guessing that being able to work with statutes, regulations, and administrative rulings is much more important than parsing appellate opinions. For similar reasons, my guess is that problem-solving exercises would be much better than using the traditional case method. A fair amount of writing of the type expected of entry-level lawyers would probably be useful as well. A traditional closed-book, time-limited final examination -- not so much.

Larry Rosenthal
Chapman University Fowler School of Law

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