Letter to the ABA

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CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:37 pm

Within the past two years, I read an article citing the lack of cadavers as a limiting factor with respect to the number of US medical students. Also, medical schools in the US are expensive whereas US law schools are profit centers.

071816
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby 071816 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:13 am

ShiftyPig wrote:
chimp wrote:
ShiftyPig wrote:Regarding the letter as posted: it would probably be good to make it through the first sentence without a grammatical mistake, but what do I know.


*Fresh Prince gif*


As in that was a dick thing to say or you can't spot the error?


The former.

ShiftyPig
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby ShiftyPig » Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:18 am

chimp wrote:
ShiftyPig wrote:
chimp wrote:
ShiftyPig wrote:Regarding the letter as posted: it would probably be good to make it through the first sentence without a grammatical mistake, but what do I know.


*Fresh Prince gif*


As in that was a dick thing to say or you can't spot the error?


The former.


You're right, I should have pointed out that he misspelled Zack. I was too generous.

He who signs up for a writing-based career should probably have ninth grade grammar nailed. Nitpicking forum posts: pedantic. Nitpicking a letter to the president of the ABA after you misspelled his name: fair game.

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observationalist
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby observationalist » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:00 pm

Probably too late on this, but good luck to the OP in hammering out the final version and sending it off. If the judge can nail down a good discussion on how the administration of justice is being harmed from his perspective on the bench, I think it could carry a lot of weight. Employers who want to hire competent attorneys have a stake in seeing that the costs of earning a JD are reduced, as well as making sure that rules on course instruction (such as credit requirements) are altered to provide for more practical training. The bench is also concerned with making sure more attorneys are coming out of law school with manageable debt loads and the proper training and incentives to work with underrepresented communities. Within the authority of the ABA Section of Legal Education, rules limiting adjunct/PT professors (such as fulltime faculty-student ratio requirements) have raised tuition far beyond the actual value provided, while also reducing the practical utility of a legal education. Unfortunately, we still see groups like the AALS effectively lobbying on behalf of faculty and contrary to the interests of both students and the profession in general. A voice like your boss's can help counter their claims.

In addition to sending the letter to President Zack, please also ask that they address it to the Consultant's office within the Section of Legal Education. The Section of Legal Education operates independently from the rest of the ABA; all Zack can do is forward along the letter to them. He is not accountable if they fail in their duties, so focusing political pressure solely on Zack won't be as effective. On the other hand, calling out the leaders within the Section of Legal Education and telling them not to bend to pressure from the schools is a great way to see some results. And in case anyone who signs the letter is heading to the ABA's annual meeting in Toronto in August, it would be a good time to speak with them directly about any concerns raised in the letter.

g'luck.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:40 pm

As a sidenote to the above post: In visiting several law schools, I was disappointed in the quality of instruction offered by adjunct professors--most notably in trial advocacy training (which, ironically, is an area that most would expect practicing attorneys to excel).
In my opinion, it would be unwise to attempt to take on both the ABA & the AALS.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby observationalist » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:46 am

CanadianWolf wrote:As a sidenote to the above post: In visiting several law schools, I was disappointed in the quality of instruction offered by adjunct professors--most notably in trial advocacy training (which, ironically, is an area that most would expect practicing attorneys to excel).
In my opinion, it would be unwise to attempt to take on both the ABA & the AALS.


I agree with you about the AALS... I don't think the letter should be targeted at them. Rather, writing a letter that prompts further discussion within the Section of Legal Ed about passing reforms which the AALS has opposed might help keep the ABA down the straight and narrow. There is a fairly significant conflict going on right now between the two groups regarding whether the ABA should be setting tenure requirements. Adjuncts are just one way schools can shift to a lower-cost model if the accreditation requirements are relaxed. We've spoken with at least one career services director who was effectively banned from offering a new summer mentorship program because the accreditation site evaluation team noted it was going to be run by a practicing attorney volunteering as an adjunct. (Note: a requirement for running a mentorship program obviously includes being a practicing attorney, preferably someone who serves in a leadership capacity within the local bar association). The school then nixed the program, which would have been free for students, and is now contemplating a new program that would be ABA-compliant but require having a full-time faculty member getting paid to oversee things. The point is that many practice-oriented educators are trying to come up with innovative ways to train and help place their students, and unfortunately the rules haven't caught up. It makes sense that members of the bench and bar who have encountered these absurdities are now interested in getting into the debate.

And I accept that some adjuncts may not be the best teachers, but the same holds true for some academics (particularly those who view their primary role as producing scholarship and secondary role as teaching).

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:00 pm

Don't internship & externship programs/opportunities satisfy the need for practical experience ?

P.S. I suspect that a possible reason for the poor quality of adjunct trial advocacy instruction that I witnessed is that top trial attorneys are too busy for adjunct work & that those with the time may not be the most talented litigators which may be why they have the time to teach part-time.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby observationalist » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:13 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Don't internship & externship programs/opportunities satisfy the need for practical experience ?

P.S. I suspect that a possible reason for the poor quality of adjunct trial advocacy instruction that I witnessed is that top trial attorneys are too busy for adjunct work & that those with the time may not be the most talented litigators which may be why they have the time to teach part-time.


Externships are capped as a percentage of the total credits a school awards. People want more externship allowances to gain more practical experience, partially because employers complain that graduates don't actually know how to practice law. Proponents of reform are saying that the opportunity to do a full-year externship is more valuable than the third year of course instruction, both in terms of gaining practical experience and as a way of apprenticing into a job.

I don't know what the particular judge in this instance has to say about it, but I would guess it has to do with ABA limits on experiential learning opportunities in favor of courses taught by tenured faculty.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:16 pm

And this is precisely why I favor 2 years of law school followed by an apprenticeship.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby observationalist » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:24 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:And this is precisely why I favor 2 years of law school followed by an apprenticeship.


Agreed. I wonder what sort of push it would take to actually have the Section of Legal Education examine the merits of such a model.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:33 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Don't internship & externship programs/opportunities satisfy the need for practical experience ?

P.S. I suspect that a possible reason for the poor quality of adjunct trial advocacy instruction that I witnessed is that top trial attorneys are too busy for adjunct work & that those with the time may not be the most talented litigators which may be why they have the time to teach part-time.


Just my experience, but I've had better experiences with adjuncts than with full profs. All of the ones I've learned from tend to be at the top of their field. If measured by ability to get their students do the teaching for them (socratic method) they are probably worse, but in terms of practical education they are invaluable. They also eschew casebooks, which is a big plus.

And the clinical professor I had beat out every tenured professor by a mile in terms of practical learning and experience as well as caring about my career. Too bad my school caps clinical credits and the clinics are almost impossible to get into in the first place.

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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Tanicius » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:37 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:And this is precisely why I favor 2 years of law school followed by an apprenticeship.


Aren't apprenticeships funded by the employer though? If there isn't enough employment to go around, not everyone would get apprenticeships.


P.S. I suspect that a possible reason for the poor quality of adjunct trial advocacy instruction that I witnessed is that top trial attorneys are too busy for adjunct work & that those with the time may not be the most talented litigators which may be why they have the time to teach part-time.


What makes you think trial advocacy instruction is bad? I can think of two much more plausible explanations for why students are poor at it:

1.) It's not adequately emphasized in law school - not even close.

2.) Most students don't try to learn it in part because of the first factor.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:54 pm

Apprenticeships are no cost or low cost to employers.

I have witnessed trial advocacy programs taught by adjuncts at several law schools. The quality is adequate to poor. No way for you to judge without trial experience, however.

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Tanicius
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Tanicius » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:56 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Apprenticeships are no cost or low cost to employers.


Then who pays for the apprenticeships? The apprentices have to eat somehow.

I have witnessed trial advocacy programs taught by adjuncts at several law schools. The quality is adequate to poor. No way for you to judge without trial experience, however.



What is poor about the instruction you've seen?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:00 pm

Apprenticeships are in lieu of paying third year tuition. How do third year law students afford to eat ? A 6 month minimium wage apprenticeship is far less costly to a law student than a 9 or 10 month tuition, fees & books paying third year of law school. In short, being paid $9,000 is far less costly than paying $45,000 tuition, fees & books. Paying $9 or so an hour for employers is far less expensive than paying $75 or so per hour for young associates or summer associates or even for paralegals.

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Tanicius
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby Tanicius » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:04 pm

Ah, okay, you mean to propose just swapping a third year of school with apprenticeships. That would be cool.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:07 pm

Yes. And the trial advocacy mistakes are too detailed for me to mention at this time.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

firemed
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby firemed » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:39 pm

Tanicius wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:And this is precisely why I favor 2 years of law school followed by an apprenticeship.


Aren't apprenticeships funded by the employer though? If there isn't enough employment to go around, not everyone would get apprenticeships.



Medical residencies are mostly paid for by Medicare. Only a few are paid for by the employer... and many of those are the US Military or VA. I think some teaching hospitals also do... like I think the Mayo Clinic pays for their own.

In any case, I don't see why we couldn't set it up that way, you know? Pay the apprentice 30K a year from either the government or the employer.

I see many benefits for this:

1) it counts as education, just like a residency, so you could work the apprentices even harder than you work a first year associate... only you only have to pay them 30K.

2) if the firm employing you during your apprenticeship likes you they get a fully trained employee that cost them either nothing or next to nothing.

3) even if the firm you apprenticed with didn't like you or simply wasn't hiring at least you are trained and can either find one good reference for another employer or even start your own firm with at least SOME idea of how to practice and not get sued for malpractice.

4) you could tie apprenticeship matches to a national bidding system similar to that of residency matches for physicians. In this system you bid on a number of residencies (you have to have interviewed in advance)... I think maybe you get up to 50 bids... anyway, then the employers rank the people they interviewed. Then they shove it in a computer system and "blammo" out comes a residency both the new physician and the employer must take. This way people from lower ranked schools would have better shots at amazing jobs without significantly decreasing the shots of those at the T14. They would also definitely increase the number of people going to underserved areas to practice, and some of those people might stick around long enough that the areas won't necessarily be underserved anymore.

5) finally, and most importantly I think, you could finally claim that you were attending a real professional program, a program that actually TRAINED YOU to do the actual JOB you were doing. The current system could be compared to sending a future physician to get a Masters degree in biology and then getting them a job treating patients in an emergency room.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:05 pm

Makes sense to me.

firemed
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Re: Letter to the ABA

Postby firemed » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:25 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Makes sense to me.



I want to add this: you could tie apprenticeship match numbers to school accreditation. If you produce too many people who cannot get an apprenticeship you would be put on probation and eventually lose accreditation. Like have the government fund only 30K apprenticeships per year, let any employers who want to fund more do so, and then- within as little as 5 years- a bunch of the T2-4s would either close or merge with each other as the 10K or so people not getting apprenticeships each year would generally come from these schools.




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