Around the Blawgosphere

Schools that are nailing law practice technology; Prof compares SLU to Pakistan; Tumblr drama


Legal services delivery entrepreneur Richard Granat wrote at eLawyering Blog about the efforts of the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force to identify the top law schools currently teaching legal practice technology.

“We include within this category courses that train law students in document automation, legal expert systems, and other course work that has an impact on the nature, productivity and profitability of law firms,” Granat wrote, and then listed 12 law schools (alphabetically) on the task force’s initial list. Another major criteria for a school making the list? The school must have a full-time faculty member dedicated to coordinating and teaching a law practice technology program. Among the 12 schools and their dedicated programs:

• Chicago Kent Law School’s Center for Access to Justice & Technology, led by professor Ronald Staudt.

• Maurer School of Law at Indiana University’s Center on the Global Legal Profession, headed by professor William D. Henderson.

• University of Miami Law School’s LawWithWithoutWalls Project, headed by faculty members Michael Bossone and Michele DeStefano.

• Michigan State Law School’s ReInvent Law, led by professors Daniel Martin Katz and Renee Newman Knake.

Saying ‘no’

St. Louis University law professor Jeff Redding writes at The Faculty Lounge that he sees some similarities between his university and Pakistan. He leads off with the weekend’s announcement that university president Father Lawrence Biondi plans to retire. “Father Biondi’s fate was a central topic of discussion after nearly a year of numerous votes of ‘no confidence’—by both faculty and student governance bodies—against Father Biondi,” Lippman wrote.

Lippman wrote that for a number of reasons, “St. Louis has always reminded me of another place where I have spent much time, namely Islamabad (Pakistan). And SLU’s governance structure, as well as its upheaval this weekend, has reminded me of Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s regime—and its demise—in Pakistan.”

One big reason? “In both instances … an oppressive regime couldn’t figure out how to deal with a lawyer who said, simply, ‘No.’ “

In March 2007, Musharraf asked Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to resign because he was unhappy with recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Chaudhry refused to resign: “He said ‘No’ to Musharraf—and, in a remarkable chain of events, ultimately ended up leading a lawyer’s revolution against Musharraf, who eventually resigned in humiliation 1.5 years later and then left the country.”

At St. Louis University School of Law, it was then-dean Annette Clark who first said “no” to Father Biondi. “This August 8, 2012, ‘No’ was different than Chief Justice Chaudhry’s in Pakistan; Annette Clark’s ‘No’ took the form of resignation, rather than Chaudhry’s staying on (both forms of ‘No’ can be admirable). But, as in Pakistan, a lawyer’s ‘No’ sparked a democratic movement that had long been coming.”

Battle of the animated GIFs?

It’s not really a battle. Back in March, an anonymous “20-something public defender” started the What the Public Defender tumblr, featuring funny animated GIFs that illustrate what she’s thinking and feeling while getting through the day on her job. Prosecutors got wind of the blog, and one individual who has “practiced in multiple jurisdictions as a prosecutor and previously as a public defender” started What the Prosecutors this week, identical to What the Public Defender in look and format but with snark sympathetic to district attorneys.

Both the public defender tumblr and the prosecutor tumblr have fielded complaints about the copycat upstart. But the blogger behind the prosecutor tumblr admits up front that the other tumblr was the inspiration and wrote that “had she mentioned that she felt unflattered and wanted me to take it down—or at least make it more ‘original,’ I certainly would have.”

What the Public Defender linked to the prosecutor tumblr on its first day of posting. Seems like there’s no hard feelings.

License agreement litmus test

How do you know if you should go to law school? A Girl’s Guide to Law School post from 2011 listed some hypothetical scenarios to help someone unsure of whether to apply to law school.

The first one: Someone asks you at a dinner party what you do for a living, and you say that you’re a lawyer: “As you imagine having this conversation, how do you feel?” Alison Monahan writes at the Girl’s Guide. “Are you excited to talk about your career, or do you try to extract yourself as soon as possible from this line of questioning?”

If you think you’d be in a hurry to change the subject to something you find more interesting, consider that the law might not be for you.

But Monahan noted a comment add to the post earlier this week describing a technique to see whether you would be a good fit for corporate law:

The commenter’s take? “Next time you install any software on a computer, actually sit down and read that license agreement everyone always clicks through. Seriously, try to read it and try as best you can to understand it. Even if you don’t go into the business of drafting software licensing agreements, you can expect anything your big law firm to be doing will be comparably complex.” And then picture having to make “slight, subtle, but important changes to it” that must be done perfectly. And then “imagine doing this over and over again, all day with really short deadlines (these contracts are for business people who are in a hurry to get their deal done).”

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