Law School


Arizona UA Law School logoYou may have wondered: What are the best reasons for an American university to launch a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree? This week, you got an answer.

I wrote before about the University of Arizona’s decision to be the first in the nation to offer such a degree. Time will tell whether the notion will catch on.

Yesterday, a UA Law professor took to the pages of The Chronicle of Higher Education to offer multiple reasons why the idea is overdue in the United States. In “The Case for Undergraduate Law Degrees,” Professor Brent T. White wrote, “Stepping back from the culturally embedded assumption in America that legal training should be provided in professional schools, the lack of an undergraduate route to legal education is perplexing.”

How perplexing? He suggests that the model has been successfully adopted in many other nations, and there’s no reason it wouldn’t work well here.

And when it comes to our evolving legal profession, “The question is not whether nonlawyers will provide legal services; it’s whether they will be well trained. Undergraduate law degrees offer the most cost-effective and broadly accessible way to offer such training.”

As always when opinionated people are engaged, the comments below the article offer some props to the writer as well as some pointed rejoinders.

Where do you stand on this experiment? Do you see the role of a B.A. in Law? Or do you see pitfalls on the path?

Letterpress BlogToday’s Change of Venue item is aimed at law students (sorry lawyers). But I’d sure appreciate your sharing it with worthy law student friends.

The sum of it is, there’s a blog post contest, and there is cash-money involved. Full stop.

(My blog title may have fanned the flames of your interest by mentioning “fame,” but who’s to say, really?)

The-Expert-Institute-square-logoThe Expert Institute is seeking great law student blog posts and decided a contest may be the best way to locate them (this is their first annual). You can read more details here.

There are a list of rules (it is a legal writing competition, after all), but note that the contest is (1) open to all law students in the United States and Canada and (2) open through December 31, so you have time to provide much valuable content for possible review.

And yes, as you might guess, posts must be related somehow to the use of expert witnesses in litigation.

Turn up, law students! If an Arizona blogger earns a prize in the contest, maybe we at Arizona Attorney Magazine will throw a little fame their way ourselves. (No promises; I’m just thinking out loud. Get writing.)

Have a marvelous—and blog-worthy—weekend.

Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Today’s brief item is custom-made for Change of Venue Friday. That’s when I locate some lighter piece of legal fare, a tasty morsel that has just a hint of the profession.

I point you to a law review article (No! Keep reading!) worth a few minutes of your time.

Before I tell you the article title, I do have to remind that this tends to be an adult-focused blog. OK? Have precocious youngsters been sent packing?

Here’s the title: “FUCK.”

No, I’m not shouting or being unnecessarily brief. The title is one word, and it is all caps.

It was written by Christopher M. Fairman, a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His bio includes some background on this most perfectly named essay:

“The importance of protecting words—even the four-letter ones—is at the heart of Professor Fairman’s most recent scholarly work. Professor Fairman celebrates free speech with the publication of his first book: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting our First Amendment Liberties (Sourcebooks 2009). The book builds on his scholarship in taboo language found in his highly popular article, ‘Fuck,’ 28 Cardozo Law Review 1171 (2007). Professor Fairman is adamant that our government should keep out of the censorship business: ‘Words are ideas. If the government can control the words we say, it can also control what we think.’”

Christopher M Fairman

Christopher M Fairman

Oh, you’d like to read the article itself? It’s right here.

And yes, before you protest, it did indeed come out of a highly regarded law review, the one at Cardozo Law.

How would I come across such a thing? I swear (get it) that I’ve seen it before, but I was happily reminded of the inflammatory piece by (who else) a law student. Thank you to Tim Bourcet for brightening our day!

A line in a Wikipedia entry about the author tells me you may have already read the article: “Fairman’s article quickly became one of the most downloaded scholarly legal articles on the internet.”

Have a great—and colorful—weekend.

Susie Salmon, UA Law School

Susie Salmon, UA Law School

Color me nostalgic, but this week I’m offering a few great pieces of content from the departing issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine—in case you missed it.

Today. I point you to our new-ish column on legal writing. Wisely enough, that column is written by an expert in the subject, a legal writing professor at the UA Law School, Susie Salmon.

I have been impressed by Susie’s work from the first time I spotted it. Concise, witty, salted with just enough pop-culture and other references to keep us coming back for more.

This was not the legal writing approach I got in law school, I can tell you that.

(Ironically, Susie and I attended the same law school. I have never asked her about her experience at UC-Hastings as a writing student. Perhaps it was a stellar one; someone had to get the good section.)

Susie’s column in the current issue is spot-on as usual. She takes something you think you can live without knowing—in the June issue it’s the comma spliceand demonstrates that no, no you cannot.

Like all great writing teachers (and writers), Susie shows; she does not just tell.

And sometimes, she’ll tell off—but with courtesy.

When I received her April column, for example, I laughed out loud. For there, right in her lede (don’t know what that is? She explains it here), Susie gently pointed out a point of disagreement between us. You may chuckle (or chortle, if you’re legal-word pundit Bryan Garner), but debates over the Oxford comma are serious business.

Here is how she handled it. (And a sample of her column lede is below.)

Commas may look innocent, but can they be unnecessary? (Sorry, Oxford.)

Commas may look innocent, but can they be unnecessary? (Sorry, Oxford.)

Well, unlike the musings of my own law school professor, I take to heart Susie’s suggestions. And so I am pleased to tell you that since reading her gentle remonstrance, I have (deep breath) … taken a less hardline view that the Oxford comma is a ridiculous relic of a stodgy past.

Yes, I still strive to follow the AP Stylebook, our particular bible. And yes, my skin does break out in a rash when I see that damned O.C. wheel around the corner of a paragraph, grinning the power-drunk grin of a self-satisfied colonial monoglot.

But now, at least, I do not obliterate it with relish, striking it out with a violent Sharpie slash. Instead, I read the sentence multiple times, slowly, over Port, as I imagine baffled O.C. lovers do, considering every possible way a comma’s omission may lead to confusion or a monarchy’s collapse. And then, every once in a while, I allow the comma to remain.

See. I can learn.

Well, so can you. So enjoy Susie’s column now and in the future. But go easy on adding the commas, would you?

 

 

State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute bannerHere’s where the rubber hits the road: You know an attorney whom you think is going to tear up the profession (in a good way). Or you suspect you’ve got the leadership DNA within yourself. But how to channel it?

An ideal development tool is on offer by the State Bar of Arizona, which is seeking applicants for its 2014-15 Bar Leadership Institute class.

For my money, this has been one of the Bar’s programs that has had the most impact on ensuring the profession’s future.

But get off the stick, leaders: The application deadline is tomorrow, June 20.

No worries: The Bar makes the process pretty easy. Here’s some more background.

As the Bar describes it, the Bar Leadership Institute is an award-winning nine-month professional development program. Since its inception in 2007 the BLI has prepared more than 100 attorneys for leadership positions within the Bar and the community-at-large. Program sessions cover a variety topics ranging from leadership, ethics and career development, to conversations with judges, government attorneys, in-house counsel and executives. Sessions occur monthly starting with a weekend retreat in September.

Attorneys selected to participate receive:

  • Up to two years of CLE credit
  • Leadership and related education and training in an experiential and mentoring learning environment
  • Opportunities to foster relationships with the State Bar of Arizona, partner bar associations, government and community leaders

Applications—available online here—will be accepted through June 20, 2014.

For questions or additional information, contact Elena Nethers, the State Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor: Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org

It’s been my pleasure to work with BLI students and graduates, and I’ve always been impressed. Here’s hoping you offer up a name (maybe yours!) to participate.

Millennial Lawyers article June 2014 by Susan Daicoff

A few months ago, I was in conversation with a law school communications pro. She mentioned that a professor may be able to write an article on millennial lawyers. Would we be interested?

An article about younger lawyers, who are facing a nearly unprecedented bad economy? Who grew up and were schooled in ways distinctly different than their more-senior colleagues? Who will be inheriting and transforming the legal profession?

Hmmm …. Absolutely. Send it over and let’s talk.

She did, and we did. After some back and forth, we had what I suspected would be an extremely a valuable article for readers.

That article is in our June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. You can read it here.

Susan Daicoff

Susan Daicoff

The talented author is Professor Susan Daicoff; read more about her here.

Susan’s story is great reading for a few reasons, but what I especially appreciate are the specific takeaways she offers about a generation of professionals. But she is no cold-eyed anthropologist, examining these folks under a microscope. Instead, she displays her affection for them and her optimism for the profession under their evolving leadership.

Apparently, others see what we saw: We’re now up to two other magazines around the country that asked to reprint Susan’s article. It’s terrific to see good stuff get “out there.”

A realist, I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop—a little one, anyway. What I wonder is this: Are there any millennial attorneys who resist being described and pigeonholed, who feel less identical to their own generation than to another that preceded it?

After all, even among generational waves of lawyers, we’re all individuals. So if your millennial experience varies from Susan’s description, I’d like to know.

Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

James E. Rogers

James E. Rogers

This morning, I share some very sad news from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. The following note by Dean Marc Miller was distributed Sunday evening:

“I am sorry to share the sad news that our friend and namesake Jim Rogers (’62) passed away last night after a long battle with cancer. He was 75.

“All of you who knew Jim realize what a loss this is to the entire University of Arizona community, and we feel this loss especially deeply at the James E. Rogers College of Law.

“Jim’s passion for higher education, and indeed his passion for the role of great educational systems and institutions at all levels, was matched by his generosity towards those who create such institutions. He transformed Arizona Law and afforded all of us—students, faculty, and staff—opportunities that we would not have had without his vision and encouragement. His legacy continues in the programs he helped build, the students of lives he changed, and the many people here who became his friends, and his character and vision will continue to shape the experience and careers of future generations of graduates.”

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