I'm moving blog host, from Typepad to Wordpress. I hadn't expected to go, but Typepad's recent newsletters on their company policies are making me edgy and, having been stung, like many academics, by Ning's recent policy changes (Dropbox seems to be going the same way), I'm moving before I feel unwelcome. I also hadn't expected it to be such a major episode, moving all blogposts and other stuff -- kind of like moving house.* I'm leaving this blog up on the web for the next six months or so, then I'll remove it.
Anyway, you'll find me at my new site, http://paulmaharg.com. Still have to give it a lick of paint, finish off a few pages, but the blog's up & running. Hope to see you there!
*Thanks to Gavin Maxwell for his invaluable assistance as project manager in the move...
Spent two days at the invitation of Alan Paterson (Strathclyde) and Richard Susskind discussing legal practice and legal education at Ross Priory, Strathclyde's retreat house on Loch Lomond, which has one of the best views anywhere in Scotland. Great hospitality, great talk and insight. This year Richard had invited Mari Sako, Professor of Management Studies at the Said Business School, Oxford, who gave us an economist's view of legal practice. Other fascinating presentations included Alan himself, summarizing his recent Hamlyn lectures (out soon, published by Cambridge UP) and Orlando Conetta on his work with TermFrame. From what I saw of it, Orlando's app could also be used to help students learn legal practice logic -- need to think more about that. Also met up with Strath staff, which was great -- Leo Martin, Charles Hennessy, Karen Barton. Lots of publication talk, planning, etc. But as always, the place itself was the star turn, in any weather.
Over the past six months or so, amongst much else I've been involved in putting together a couple of book series. This post is about the first: Emerging Legal Learning (ELL), published by Ashgate Publishing and co-edited with Caroline Maughan, Visiting Fellow, Bristol Law School, and Elizabeth Mertz, Professor, Wisconsin-Madison Law School and the American Bar Foundation. More information in the ELL Flyer, and more below the fold on why the series is needed.
Before the conference started John Garvey took Karen Barton and me to a school in Tribeca where his daughter taught, and to a class where the grade one kids (ages of around 6) were learning about library cards. It was a wonderful class.
Long time no blog! I'm thinking of moving platform, and about to start that soon (the task of shifting old posts is non-trivial, as I've discovered), but meantime there are so many interesting happening. I've been on research leave since February, and the routine has been scribbling scribbling (digitally) in my wee room at home, thinking & reading as well, and visits and talks in the UK and abroad. Last week I gave the keynote at the BILETA conference held at MMU entitled Sea-change. The title and the epigraph was taken from an article I'm finishing up on William Twining, where I analyse and pay homage to his remarkable inaugural lecture at Queens U Belfast in 1967, still prescient, still relevant to what we do and ought to be doing in law school.
Gave a paper yesterday at IALS, U. of London. It was given in a workshop held in honour of William Twining, one of the finest legal educationalists we have in these isles. I first came across his work after my two years of a postgrad LLB degree at Glasgow University, 1990-92.
Elizabeth Chambless's phrase, her ambition for the conference, and it summed it up. So many legal ed conferences end up as gabfests. Part of the intellectual buzz of legal education, for me at any rate, is the practical buzz of doing, planning, executing great ideas that are part of the great tradition of innovation in education. So kudos to Elizabeth and David for pulling it all together so well.
Mitt Regan led the session discussion on technology -- summarised below.
Professional Development Proposals
One size doesn't fit all law schools
There are a different set of competencies that might predict law student abilities
There are different and broader sets of skills that need to be articulated
There is a global context to all we do.
Great to talk, but there should be a way to measure outcomes.
Collect the information about the skills we think are required -- from lawyers, dom & international, alumni, etc To be augmented by views of business and clients
Identify the competences to benchmark the skills
Collect and evaluate the data to measure the outcomes
Just do it: experiment with programmes, capstones, etc.
Technology related Proposals
Put together a technology-enhanced learning (TEL) report, on challenges, info on what's out there, templates & tools, transformative initiatives. Four audiences:
faculty already using technology -- to trade resources, etc
colleagues not currently involved in TEL
regulators -- ABA, eg, to provide a foundation for information about what is being used, to what effect. Also on outcomes, learning theory. Also regulatory bodies internationally.
Law School administrators -- eg roles in reaching alumni, use of gradebook technologies, Library, etc.
The report is in part to provide legitimacy for new initiatives and for DL generally -- changing a mindset. It could also describe how technology can be used to explore not just legal unmet need, but also the legal education unmet need. We're approaching CALI to provide a platform (via Ron Staudt) for the report. Cd be a useful reporting mechanism, possibly an engine for change.
Structural / Regulatory Proposals
There was a mission-definition issue floating around, and the group had interests in defining competencies. Recognition that different stages had different needs. Lots of risks to innovations, and there was a need to legitimate risk-taking in law schools.
Public Sphere Proposals
Discussion focused on clinical legal education. Experiential learning and skills were well represented there, but entrepreneurship models and content was still required. Not enough time on moral imagination and reflection in clinic. Clinic was overwhelmingly focused on domestic models, not interational. Resources were discussed as an issue. Pro bono isn't enough to solve resource constraints -- private sector needs to be involved much more. There isn't a discrete public sector but multi-faceted. Some ideas re April deadline:
a non-profit social entrepreneurship course
Summer theory institute
ALSF (Africa Legal Support ?) -- cd be supported by financial sector
immigration clinic, eg the one in Canadian law school (Western..?)
David Wilkins summarised. The energy levels were incredible he said. Totally agree. Dean Minow said it was an inflection point, nice phrase and she was right. David pointed out how difficult the endeavour was to improve legal education; but that creating the community was key. You cd get more money: time was the really critical element. He thanked all involved in organising. And John Berry thanked Elizabeth Chambless and David Wilkins.
More reflection later, tomorrow, when I've had time to talk to some folk tonight and get some sleep.
Lunch time Laura Taylor, General Counsel, Chlorox. Q & A session with David Wilkins.
David began by asking her what students lacked when they started with her dept. She replied:
International business experience.
David -- global dimension: you must have global competences today if you want to be a leader... What are these, and what advice might we give to students re this?
Laura thought that Harvard's programmes were fantastic, re internationality of students, as well as issues, etc, and the availability of key persons in government and business. Esp on her Harvard LLM.
David observed, and it was a good point, that LLM students really ought to integrate more with undergraduate students in their studies.
DW wanted her to talk about ACC Added Value programme. She was Chair of Corporate Counsel when the publicity about the 1K per hour lawyers hit the fan. And the 160K dollar starting salary for newly-qualifieds first year associate. Something needed to be done. So the programme is in part about aligning cost with value where in-house lawyers can reconnect on how value is determined. Eg the leverage model of law firms -- check out the ACC website.
LCLD -- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity -- the ability to made a difference on diversity is at the top partnership levels. The figures are still dire. She's involved in making that much better. Eg work done on the US News & World Report & the LSAT figures. Mentorship for ethnic diversity. Supporting diverse students when in law school, eg a programme for students to go to a law firms when they're in 1L. Working on measurements of success in organisational studies.
DW observed she was devoting a lot of time to public service. What cd law schools do to expand both public & private sides of the equation?
She pointed out that clinics expansion was great -- they were just starting when she was at law school. Public interest students tend to be fairly monolinear, but there's a need to get a greater pool of students interested in this.
Questions from the audience. Mitt Regan observed there was a pipeline problem with students in public service, but there was also one re financial literacy re the students who go into private firms.
One contributor observed that diversity also goes beyond gender and colour and included disabled diversity. Laura's work with the ACC covered that too.
She was asked about unbundling of services and knowledge management. LS agreed that it was improtant. In-house she segmented work, and used technology to help her get more efficient. Good reply, but the examples weren't too convincing.
One contributor observed there was a significant drop in the number of women entering law school, and women at the point where significant promotion was approaching. LS didn't have answers for that -- fair enough, though she agreed it was a disturbing trend.
Couple more questions along the same lines. Very interesting glimpse into (some of) the activities of a high-profile GC, and she raised real issues to be thought about regarding content and above all method of legal educational courses.