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Blogger shares skills future solos need | Legal-eyed TV recaps | ‘Are word limits for suckers?’
By Sarah Mui
Oct 18, 2013, 07:30 am CST
Washington, D.C., solo Carolyn Elefant notes that she wasn't asked for a quote by the New Republic on how to improve law school. But prepping students to work for BigLaw is not the way of the future, she writes at My Shingle.
"Hate to break it to you, law schools, but you’re stuck with employers like me: solo and small firms who are the face of today’s legal employers," Elefant writes. "Maybe we don’t have the resources to hire your students long-term or for much pay, but at the very least, we’re a safe harbor where they can gain valuable experience before they move on to a more permanent and stable position."
Elefant says she needs young lawyers who can keep a pulse on the industry. "I want new lawyers to challenge me every single day, not to sit like potted plants waiting for the next assignment. And most importantly, lawyers who work with me have got to have basic 21st technology skills."
Elefant lists six skills in detail. Among them:
• Blogging. "The discipline of writing regularly combined with the urgency of getting timely posts to press—has improved my legal writing immensely," Elefant writes. And it would be "moronically easy" for professors to assign students to do a certain amount of blogging. "Blogging would also get students comfortable with blogging software, which is another key skill since they could offer to blog for practicing lawyers and help build up content."
• Video and Visuals. "Video production capabilities are almost as important as word processing skills in today’s law office—so students should start mastering them," Elefant writes. "Likewise, visuals—the ability to reduce complex ideas to visuals are gaining popularity. This is an area that law schools are starting to focus on, though I wish they’d help redesign the boring, work-a-day stuff like lawyer representation agreements instead of putting together games and fun charts that granted, are more interesting but not as useful to practitioners."
Public service announcement
We're a month into fall. In much of the country, there's suddenly less to do outside and much more to watch on TV. So we're taking note of some legal blogs that tune in and take the time to apply legal realities to TV plotlines.
The Legal Geeks doesn't appear to be doing week-by-week recaps of the legal issues presented by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but bloggers Josh Gilliland and Jessica Mederson have taken a shine to the show, and done two posts and a vlog about it so far.
Then there's EntertainHR from Ford Harrison, the firm that brought you the blog that's what she said back when The Office was on the air. Like their Office blog, there's a focus on workplace no-nos as seen on TV–a post from this week noted Brooklyn Nine-Nine–but also employment law issues in films (not necessarily recent) and real-life litigation behind the scenes of TV shows.
UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge wrote a 39,000-word law review article this fall. But he wondered at ProfessorBainbridge.com if he should cut it. Why? A joint statement (PDF) from 2005 from 11 leading law reviews indicated that they wanted to start running shorter articles based on responses to a survey that reflected "one particularly unambiguous view shared by faculty and law review editors alike: The length of articles has become excessive."
Bainbridge says that 25,000 words equals around 50 pages. But looking at the seven most recent issues of the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Review, he saw that zero of Yale's article were under 50 pages, and that zero of Harvard's were under 60 pages. "I don't know if there are other journals out there enforcing the rules more strictly," Bainbridge wrote. "At the very least, however, it seems that Harvard and Yale are just joshing us. So my advice is: Write the article to the length you need and ignore the word limits."
Respondents to another recent survey expressed that they felt that law review articles were too long and that articles were selected based more on the pedigree of the author than the content of the article.