Note-taking advice for law students

It's that time of late summer when law-school boot camps and pre-orientation prep sessions start happening. I'll be speaking about legal writing next week and note-taking skills the week after that. For the note-taking session, I put out a call for help and got some really good responses. Here's the call for help: Hey I'm … Continue reading Note-taking advice for law students

Law-school learning outcomes for communication

It’s that time of year when elementary and secondary students’ standardized test scores arrive in the mail. The scores should, ideally, correlate to the school’s stated learning outcomes. Elementary and secondary schools are veterans of the push for learning outcomes, and law schools are now required to determine their learning outcomes as well. Specifically, the … Continue reading Law-school learning outcomes for communication

The Wisdom of Judge Smith

Try to listen twice as much as you speak, because when you are new you don’t have a clue. Listen to what people say and notice what they don’t say. Often their body language will verify or betray their words. Ask questions to clarify, distinguish, expose and summarize. Judge J. Layne Smith of Leon County, … Continue reading The Wisdom of Judge Smith

A digression: re-learning to swim

While attempting—as an adult—to learn how to swim properly, the experience gave me a whole new appreciation for what 1L legal writing students go through. The idea of adults trying new things in middle age is a whole genre, found in a variety of essays and books, e.g. What I learned as the worst student … Continue reading A digression: re-learning to swim

“May it please the Court…”

It’s that time of year when 1Ls start preparing for their first oral argument. In a class on how to prepare, I’ll be sure to share this tweet from experienced SCOTUS advocate Bob Loeb of Orrick: The card given to you by the Supreme Court Clerk before argument has last minute advice. pic.twitter.com/j6l63f9ZLa — Bob … Continue reading “May it please the Court…”

The hothouse of law school

The great law professor Larry Ribstein used to say that legal education has grown within a hothouse. Flora and fauna grow in different ways in a hothouse than in a natural environment. -William D. Henderson, quoted in Katrina Lee, The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice (2017) For sixteen years I’ve been teaching … Continue reading The hothouse of law school

Civil disagreement

In a recent Time editorial, Yale Law Dean Heather Gerken lionized the law school as a bastion of civil disagreement. She cited the uninterrupted speech of Charles Murray at Yale as an example of civility: Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. That's why lawyers know how to go to … Continue reading Civil disagreement

Listening Skills in the Law School Classroom

This post is for law professors, educators, and anyone interested in listening-related skills training... Listening contributes to law students’ success in many ways. From participating in class discussion to doing good work in clinics to writing an exam that reflects what was discussed in class, students who listen effectively are in a better position to … Continue reading Listening Skills in the Law School Classroom

Mindfulness without meditation

They had me at “hello.” Actually they had me with the title of the handout: “Mindfulness without Meditation.” Last week I attended the 2017 meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, a.k.a. SEALS, in beautiful Boca Raton. The SEALS meeting lasted all week but included a two-day Conference on Mindfulness in Law co-sponsored by … Continue reading Mindfulness without meditation