Letters to the Editor

Helpful Hacks

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I enjoyed the “Law Hacks” feature, July, and agree wholeheartedly with most of the tips you give, especially using the GTD method. As an attorney, professor and Web developer, the GTD methodology has helped me keep my sanity during my first year outside academia.

I must say, however, that you forgot to mention one thing: Switch to OS X. Moving to a more stable platform lets me spend less time doing routine maintenance and allows me to concentrate on getting work done.

John Benson

Kansas City, Mo.

“Law Hacks” is interesting, but I soon discovered one annoying thing: The author obviously didn’t try out what he was recommending. For instance, the program Remind is only for Unix—yes, a lot of lawyers use that. And the program Quicksilver is only for the Mac OS. You should at least specify these OS limitations.

Charles Beans


I really enjoyed July’s cover story, “Law Hacks.” It is very much in line with what I am trying to do personally and professionally. I am a first-year litigation associate who has billed way too many hours (2,300 in nine-and-a-half months) since joining my firm. This has caused me to search for ways to make myself more efficient. Your article was extremely helpful in that regard.

ID withheld by request

Reconstructing Law school

Re-engineering the J.D.,” July, gives some insight into the significant discontent with legal education today.

Unfortunately, many of the approaches suggested seem to share the view that law school is dull and we should start simulating practice as early in legal education as pos­sible. The only way to get practi­cal legal knowledge, however, is through supervised practical ex­perience with real practitioners. Most law school clinics take time away from instruction in the basic doctrinal subjects that lay the foundation for a comprehensive understanding of the legal system, but do not approximate the atmosphere, pressures and legal mindset of the real legal world. The result is recent law school graduates who have little knowledge of the history and philosophy of law, or even basic jurisprudence in the major areas of the legal practice, and whose exposure to practical skills is largely theoretical.

One way to help law students get the mentoring they need is for law schools to work with the organized bar in creating postgraduate mentorship programs that provide a basic introduction to legal practice under the tutelage of established practitioners, much as medical residents learn practical skills through their hospital experience. Then, perhaps, law school curriculum designers could concentrate on instilling knowledge of basic legal doctrine and the legal system during students’ years in the classroom. Michael E. Malamut

Dedham, Mass.

“Re-Engineering the J.D.” quoted deans or professors from 10 law schools. The gist of their comments seems to be that law schools need to be more practical about turning out lawyers who know how to practice law. I got the impression that this is just recently dawning on legal educators. Not so at my alma mater.

You should have interviewed Baylor Law School dean Brad Toben or the extremely able professors heading up Baylor Law’s intimidating but excellent Practice Court, Gerald Powell and Jim Wren. Baylor lawyers emerge with a J.D. and the know-how to practice law. In fact, Baylor Law has the reputation of having the highest pass rate on the Texas bar exam and producing lawyers who can pull their weight right out of law school. Carroll W. Sturgis Jr.

McAllen, Texas

In Case You Were Misled 

I enjoyed “Stories you won’t Read in Books,” July. The Law Library of Congress is indeed a fine resource, and one I regularly use.

However, the photo of the building that accompanies the article is misleading. The Law Library does not have its own building—instead, it is in the James Madison Building, the newest of the three block-sized buildings occupied by the Library of Congress.

Andy R. Patterson

Washington, D.C.


Philadelphia Fee-dom,” July, should have credited Tancred Schiavoni, a partner in the New York City office of O’Melveny & Myers, for successfully arguing the appellate case In re Congoleum Corp., 426 F.3d 675 (2005). His firm represented Century Indemnity Corp., one of the key parties involved.

The Journal regrets the error.


Editor’s Note

Monthly magazines, because of their long production cycles, are always in danger of being outpaced by events—and never more so than when writing about law and terrorism.

As this special issue was being completed in July, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a “gut feeling” that terrorists may be planning to attack the U.S. this summer. And a National Intelligence Estimate said that since 9/11, al-Qaida has “protected or regenerated key elements” of its capability to attack the U.S. homeland.

The warnings are a reminder that the world can change irrevocably in an instant. We can only speculate whether the legal system’s responses to terrorism since 9/11 are dependent on the relative peace of the last six years or were built to withstand another spectacular attack on the homeland.

Edward A. Adams

Editor and Publisher

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