Archive for July, 2011

I’m Back

July 26th, 2011 Comments off

Sorry for the lack of posts for the past 10 days or so. Working on a number of things including moving my household, getting ready for the class I’m teaching starting next week, and some other personal and professional emergencies. Still busy but things are calming down a bit.

Categories: General Observations Tags:

Law School Economics

July 17th, 2011 Comments off

The employment market for lawyers is weak: I read a few months ago that the ABA reported a 7% drop in the number of attorney jobs in the U.S.. Yet enrollment is way up in law schools. The NY Times previously had an article on law students suing the school for misrepresenting the graduates’ employment prospects.

In this lengthy article, the Times focuses on New York Law School as an example of the trent in the business of law schools. It seems to me the NYLS is more of a worst-case situation. Certainly tuition is rising at all schools, but some (like my alma mater) are keeping enrollment in check. In fact, the enrollment at U. of Calif.-Hastings is lower than when I attended.

Law School Economics – Job Market Weakens, Tuition Rises –

Categories: Legal News Tags:

Professor Letchinger

July 14th, 2011 Comments off

I’m preparing to teach an undergraduate class in human resources management in August. The biggest part of it is employment law, so I am well-qualified to handle it. Since this is the general introduction/survey class there are also some general business management issues to be discussed so that will take a little time to study and prepare the material for that section. My instructor’s textbook package should arrive today and I’ll be spending the next three days studying that and preparing my general course outline and grading policies. Then I’ll prepare my 10 lectures (each about 5 hours, so 45 hours total class time) in detail. It will be very exciting to be teaching in the classroom again after a 26 year break!

Categories: General Observations Tags:

Technology Benefits and Frustrations

July 13th, 2011 Comments off

Most people use technology, and especially computer technology, all the time. We use it to communicate, store and retrieve data, create documents and images, entertain, and many other things. It is great when it works, but it is frustrating when it does not do what it is supposed to do.

For example, I took a teacher training class a couple of days ago that is taught over the Internet. It uses a program (written in the programming language Java) that launches from your Web browser. I tested it on my Mac a week earlier and it worked. But it would not work at all when the class was about to start. After trying a number of different things, I finally tried it on my Windows computer and got it to work with just two minutes to spare. I was fortunate to have the other computer or else I would have missed the class entirely. I believe that a recent update to the Java VM (the software used for supporting Java-based programs) for the Mac caused the buggy teaching program to fail.

During the class, many of the participants and the instructor had problems with the audio cutting in and out. Other participants were late to the class because they couldn’t get the program to work. The instructor commented on how many problems they have with this technology and it has been a constant problem for the past few years. Yet, they do all of the training for their new teachers with this system.

Categories: General Observations Tags:

Arbitration versus Court

July 7th, 2011 Comments off

I represented a client in an arbitration on Tuesday. It is amazing how quickly a matter can be resolved by skipping going to court. You get the arbitration date, have your arbitration, and receive the decision shortly thereafter. The good news is that the matter is resolved quickly. The bad news is that if you don’t like the results you have no appeal. An interesting trade-off. It certainly works well for smaller disputes, but for larger matters it may be better to have the option to appeal.

Categories: General Observations Tags:

In The Courtroom

July 5th, 2011 Comments off

I really can’t express an opinion on this Casey Anthony trial about the defendant’s guilt (or lack thereof): I wasn’t in the courtroom to hear the testimony and I didn’t really follow it in the media. In fact, I never heard of the case until someone asked my opinion on it a couple of days ago. Media reports on legal events are usually unreliable: the media report typically jumps to the outcome and doesn’t provide any information on the evidence actually presented.

The New York Times article suggests that the prosecution simply couldn’t muster any evidence linking the mother to the act of murder. Yes, her behavior after the crime was uncharacteristic of a grieving mother, she told silly lies to the police, and the defense theory about the grandfather was just stupid. But here was a case where the defense didn’t need to do anything: the prosecution simply could not meets its burden of proof.

In my experience, the jury doesn’t care about the quality of presentation of the attorneys. They care about the evidence and following the rules as set forth by the judge in the jury instructions. Here the prosecution had suspicions but not enough evidence.

Categories: Legal News Tags:

Is International Shoe Getting the Boot? Ginsburg Dissent Protests Jurisdictional Bar to Tort Suit – News – ABA Journal

July 1st, 2011 Comments off

Court jurisdiction (over the parties and the subject of the case) is a fundamental concept in U.S. civil law. This topic has been an interest of mine since law school, and one of the landmark cases on the subject is International Shoe v. Washington326 U.S. 310, 1945.

In the Nicastro case discussed in this article, we see Justice Kennedy representing the swing vote (as is often the case these days) along with Justice Breyer concurring in the result.

BTW, my civil procedure class bought our teacher a pair of shoes from International Shoe as a present at the end of the year. Apparently they were still in business as of 1987.

Is International Shoe Getting the Boot? Ginsburg Dissent Protests Jurisdictional Bar to Tort Suit – News – ABA Journal.

Categories: Legal News Tags: