Showing posts with label legal skills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legal skills. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Skillman offers free intro skills class for law students

All law students are invited to a free presentation, How to Excel in Law School, Professor Nerissa Shklov Skillman, a graduate of Berkeley Law School and the founder of The Skillman Method.

The Zoom presentation on October 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., will cover time management, case reading and briefing, note-taking, outlining, and feeling comfortable learning the law.  The presentation is co-sponsored by the Association of Black Women Attorneys.

I have known Professor Skillman for more than 15 years.  She is an expert on access to legal education.  I have seen her methods work wonders for students struggling to adjust to the competitive environment of American law school, in which many essential skills are injudiciously taken for granted in new students.

The presentation is free, but pre-registration at Eventbrite is required.  The Skillman Method is a for-profit enterprise; The Savory Tort and I offer our endorsement for no compensation.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Sullivan publishes on ethics, criminal appeals, and seeking Supreme Court certiorari

My friend and colleague Professor J. Thomas Sullivan has published, Ethical and Aggressive Appellate Advocacy: The Decision to Petition for Certiorari in Criminal Cases, 51:3 St. Mary's L.J. 585 (2019).  The article is especially salient in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision requiring unanimous juries to convict in criminal trials for serious offenses.  Here is the abstract.
Over the past six decades, United States Supreme Court decisions have dramatically reshaped the criminal justice process to provide significant protections for defendants charged in federal and state proceedings, reflecting a remarkable expansion of due process and specific constitutional guarantees. For criminal defendants seeking relief based on recognition of new rules of constitutional criminal procedure, application of existing rules or precedent to novel factual scenarios, or in some cases, enforcement of existing precedent, obtaining relief requires further action on the Court’s part. In those situations, the Court’s exercise of its certiorari jurisdiction is the exclusive remedy offering an avenue for reversal of conviction or order vacating the sentence. Petitioning for review by writ of certiorari is essential to the defendant’s chances for obtaining relief and is what might be characterized as the “final tool” in the appellate lawyer’s “toolbox.” There are at least five scenarios in which the petition for writ of certiorari is critical, and counsel must be aware of circumstances dictating strategic decisions that need to be made in order to protect the client’s options for relief in the direct appeal and post-conviction processes.
As Sullivan explains in footnote:
This is the third in a series of articles addressing appellate practice from a different perspective than that usually taken by appellate courts with respect to counsel’s duty in representing the client. It differs from Chief Justice Warren Burger’s approach to attorneys serving as an officer of the court, as he expressed while writing for the majority in Jones v. Barnes, 463 U.S. 745 (1983). For the author’s prior articles addressing a more aggressive approach to appellate advocacy than that taken by the Jones majority, see J. Thomas Sullivan, Ethical and Aggressive Appellate Advocacy: Confronting Adverse Precedent, 59 U. Miami L. Rev. 341 (2005), and J. Thomas Sullivan, Ethical and Aggressive Appellate Advocacy: The “Ethical” Issue of Issue Selection, 80 Denv. U. L. Rev. 155 (2002).
See also the multi-talented Professor Sullivan recently playing Taps.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Law profs advise on law jobs

Just out from my friend, colleague, and fellow torts prof Andrew McClurg and co-authors, legal writing prof Christine Coughlin and torts prof Nancy Levit: Law Jobs: The Complete Career Guide.  Here is the publisher's description:

Choosing a legal career that fits a student’s personality, skillset, and aspirations is the most important and difficult decision a law student faces, yet only a small number of law schools incorporate career-planning into their curriculums. Law Jobs: The Complete Guide seeks to fill the gap. Written by three award-winning professors, Law Jobs is a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide to every type of legal career. Packed with authoritative research and featuring comments from more than 150 lawyers who do the jobs, Law Jobs offers in-depth exploration of each career option, including general background, pros and cons, day in the life descriptions, job availability, compensation, prospects for advancement, diversity, and how students can best position themselves for opportunities in the field. Covered jobs include:
  • Large and Medium-Sized Law Firms
  • Small Firms and Solo Practitioners
  • In-House and Other Corporate Counsel
  • Government Agency Lawyers
  • Non-Governmental Public Interest Law
  • Prosecutors and Public Defenders
  • Private Criminal Defense
  • JD Advantage Jobs
  • Contract (Freelance) Lawyering
  • Judges, Mediators, and Arbitrators
  • Judicial Law Clerks
  • Legal Academic Jobs
Other chapters address lawyer happiness, the rapidly changing face of the legal profession due to technology and other forces, the division between litigation and transactional law, and the top-50 legal specialty areas.

Together, the authors have received more than thirty awards for teaching and research, and have written extensively about law students and lawyers in books such as 1L of a Ride (McClurg), A Lawyer Writes (Coughlin), and The Happy Lawyer (Levit).

Saturday, August 10, 2019

State FOIA critical in practice, not so much in law school, law student observes

Connor Gillen, UMass Law '21 and a thriving alum of my 1L Torts class, was featured in the local Cape Cod Times during his summer internship with the general counsel of the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office.  Connor's a good bloke, "now considering working in the public sector after graduation."  I was intrigued to read, amid his report:
While interning at the Sheriff’s Office I also learned about the Massachusetts Public Record Laws and the Massachusetts Statewide Records Retention Schedule. These are areas that I would not have learned about in my law school classes, and the information I was taught will give me an advantage once I graduate and become a practicing attorney.
He's no doubt right about that.  Somebody ought to write a casebook about multistate access norms, maybe teach a seminar.  Probably wouldn't sell well, though.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Remembering 'very unique,' 'extremely historic,' pre- post-literate politics

Comedic media have recently lampooned with delight the President's sing-song description of litigation over the "national emergency" at the border.  (My favorites are Trevor Noah's "Guitar Hero" take and Stephen Colbert's "Torah reading."  Jake Tapper told Colbert aptly that Trump's description might actually prove correct.)  Then Bernie Sanders entered the race and admonished media that if his ideas were once fringe, they are no more.  Access to higher education always has been a key part of his platform.

This confluence of events made me nostalgic for the quixotic character of the savant President Bartlett of The West Wing (1999-2006).  To be clear, this is not a political statement: I'm not condemning Trump, nor endorsing Bernie, nor, least of all, saying anything about the politics of Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, and Allison Janney.  I just wanted for a moment to set politics aside and revel in the appeal of a President who appreciates good writing and the power of language.  So I looked up this video introduction to West Wing season 2, episode 9, "Galileo V," aired November 29, 2000—ten months before September 11.  O simpler times and innocent idealism.


Hat tip to Kayla Venckauskas, UMass Law '19—editor-in-chief of the UMass Law Review, 2018 Rappaport Fellow, ALDF scholarship winner, and survivor extraordinaire of my 1L Torts class—for reminding me of this gem.  (If any of my media law colleagues still want to jump into this year's Law and Media Symposium on March 28, get in touch ASAP, and I'll do my best to hook you up.)