Digital Statutory Supplements for Legal Education


“Digital Statutory Supplements for Legal Education” 


C. STEVEN BRADFORD, University of Nebraska College of Law

MARK HAUTZINGER, affiliation not provided to SSRN

Law students spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on statute books or statutory supplements for their courses. These statutory supplements, notorious for their weight and bulkiness, are compilations of subject-specific statutes and regulations, most of which are publicly available at no charge. This article discusses the advantages of digital statute books, details how the authors created a digital statute book that was used in two securities regulation courses, and evaluates the result of that experiment.


Source:  LSN Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching Vol. 5 No. 12, 06/19/2009

Global Legal Education and Comparative Visa Regulations

Global Legal Education and Comparative Visa Regulations

 Luca C.M. Melchionna, St. John’s School of Law, Columbia Univ. – Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America

available on SSRN:

Legal education is slowly but steadily becoming global. U.S. law schools are adapting to the need to educate jurists who can work on cross border issues. Within the next 100 years, U.S. law schools will face the challenges of educating an increasing number of international students, while dealing with diverse legal systems.

In the next 100 years, U.S. law schools will expand overseas with several branches (at least one in every country or group of countries with legal and economic relevancy) and will embrace corporate form and a business approach. Faculty and administrators should carefully plan today for the future placement (in terms of ranking) and development (in terms of scientific breakthrough) of their academia if they seriously consider obtaining global presence, recognition and intellectual credibility. Those who do not have plans to globalize today will struggle tomorrow locally.

Only those law schools that are investing today in a solid globalization of their curricula and hiring faculty with diverse skills will be the primary actors in the field of global legal education in the 22nd Century.

This article has three main objectives:
(a) To define the issues currently influencing the movement global movement in legal education and their effect on its future development.
(b) To analyze the visa (or entry) regulations of the countries where U..S. students currently have the privilege of travelling for study or research purposes.
(c) To analyze the host regulations that U.S. universities have to face when they plan to offer educational services in a foreign jurisdiction through a physical presence in that jurisdiction.

An analysis and comparison of the entry regulations of 16 jurisdictions will be offered, with special attention to the French, Italian, E.U. and U..S. visa situations. The paper will analyze how E.U. regulations are not completely and uniformly followed by some member states and how U.S. regulations could be improved for at least short term study programs. The legal and economic consequences of these regulations will be addressed as well.

Law Journals and Open Access: A Call to Action

Here’s a little article I just wrote for Speaking of Computers, ”an e-newsletter for the Stanford academic community.”  This has been covered here before, but I think it’s a message worth repeating, especially as we brace for budget cuts and some hard decisions.  And besides, now I have a really nice photo to share!

 Law Journals and Open Access: A Call to Action

In November, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the so-called Gang of 10 law library directors (directors from some of the nation’s top law schools) held at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina. One of the activities of this meeting was the drafting and signing of the “Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship,” which calls for all law schools to stop publishing their law journals in print format and to rely instead upon electronic publication, coupled with a commitment to keep the electronic versions available in stable, open, digital formats.

Why Open Access?
Each of the nation’s 200+ law schools produce at least one student-edited law journal, containing scholarship and important policy pieces from law professors, judges, distinguished practitioners, and students. The bulk of legal scholarship is published in such law journals. Here at Stanford Law School we produce nine such journals. Right now the only way to access all of this significant content electronically is through expensive databases such as HeinOnline, LexisNexis and Westlaw.

It would be a better legal information world if researchers could reliably turn to the host law school for any law journal from that school and find all of its articles, available for free in open and stable electronic formats.

Open Access Leaders
It was especially fitting that this inspirational document was drafted and signed by us while at Duke. Duke is a leader in the open online repository movement, with the Duke Law Faculty Scholarship Repository created in 2005, and all Duke law journals made accessible online since 1997. The Duke Law Faculty Scholarship Repository is a full-text electronic archive of scholarly works written by the Duke Law faculty, as well as other scholarship produced at the law school. A scholarship repository and open access law journals go hand-in-hand.

The chief architect of the Durham Statement was John Palfrey, the new library director at Harvard Law School, who is also a leader and visionary in the open access movement. In May 2008, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free.

What’s Next?
The Durham Statement is our exercise in aspiration, with the hopes of getting more – eventually all – law schools on the open access bandwagon.

There are issues yet to be resolved. For one thing, especially during these difficult economic times, financial analysis is needed. Law schools receive royalties from the online databases that provide law journal access – some schools far more than others – so the cost-savings to the schools from ceasing print and to the schools’ libraries from no longer having to buy, bind and shelve issues needs to be carefully weighed against any potential loss of revenue income. And there are additionally important archival and standards issues to be debated and decided.

The Durham Statement seeks to move the analysis, debate, and discussion forward.

For More Information
Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship

The Duke Law Faculty Scholarship Repository

Harvard Law School open access motion












The authors of the Durham Statement. Top row, left to right: Dick Danner (Duke),
Radu Popa (NYU), John Palfrey (Harvard), Claire Germain (Cornell),
Paul George (University of Pennsylvania), Jim McMasters (Northwestern),
Blair Kauffman (Yale). Bottow row: Paul Lomio (Stanford),
Judith Wright (University of Chicago), Terry Martin (University of Texas).

Law, Journalism Students Team Up to Cover Trial

Law, Journalism Students Team Up to Cover Trial” according to a new posting on LegalBlogWatch:

“Law, meet journalism. Journalism, meet law. The Grace Case Project is an innovative joint undertaking of the schools of law and journalism at the University of Montana. Students from both schools have teamed up to blog and tweet the federal criminal prosecution of W.R. Grace & Companyand five of its executives and managers in U.S. District Court in Missoula.”

The most exciting part about this collaboration: the students will regularly tweet about the trial under the name UMGraceCase.  

And, the question that we all want to know: how to cite to these tweets according to the Bluebook? 

[First tweeted on LegalBlogWatch and Bob Ambrogi]

Researching Across the Curriculum: The Road Must Continue Beyond the First Year

“Researching Across the Curriculum: The Road Must Continue Beyond the First Year”

Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 61, 2009

BROOKE J. BOWMAN, Stetson University College of Law

In the ever growing movement to integrate skills and values across the law school curriculum, research instruction cannot be overlooked or forgotten. Research serves as the fulcrum upon which “skills and values” such as ethics and practical application of doctrinal studies, rests. Therefore, research instruction cannot be limited to what the students learn in their first-year legal research and writing classes. A concentrated effort must be made in all classes to ensure that what the students learn in the first-year research and writing classes will be further developed, refined, revisited and reinforced. This Article, Research Across the Curriculum: The Road Must Continue Beyond the First Year, offers a new paradigm for how research instruction should change in the upper-level classes from requiring all students to take Advanced Legal Research courses, for example, to integrating research instruction into specialized areas such as international law and tax courses.

Source:  LSN Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching Vol. 5 No. 5, 03/06/2009

Why Every Law Student Should Be a Gunner

The latest issue of the Arizona State Law Journal (Volume 40, Issue 4, Winter 2008) just crossed my desk and the Essay by Robert M. Lloyd “Why Every Law Student Should Be a Gunner” caught my eye.  Professor Lloyd lists six reasons why students should speak up in class, and I couldn’t agree with him more.  As someone who, on occasion, has been asked to be a reference for a student seeking a clerkship I can personally attest to his Reason VI.

Here are his six reasons:

I. Reason One: Volunteering in Class Will Make You a Pariah Among Your Classmates (and you should read the article to see why this is a good thing!).

II. Reason Two: You’ll Learn the Material Better

III. Reason Three: You’ll Help Your Classmates Learn

IV. Reason Four: It’s Fun (fun for you, and fun for we who teach!)

V. Reason Five: It’s Good Practice for What You’ll Be Doing as a Lawyer

VI. Reason Six: It Will Get You a Job

IRAC and its variations

One of the fun aspects of having a blog is looking at the logs and seeing what search terms people are using to find their way to the blog.  Many people search “IRAC” so when I received today’s “New on for October 2008,” I saw that there was a new item that might be right up the alley of many people who read Legal Research Plus.

The item is:

The Art of Written Persuasion: From IRAC to FAILSAFE – A Compilation of Legal Problem-Solving Models
By Troy Simpson LLB (Hons), Published on October 11, 2008

and here’s how it begins:


‘A process model . . . of problem-solving provides a useful framework . . . because it offers a systematic, non-random way of tackling problems.’

In my previous article, I outlined some of the problems with the ‘case method’ of teaching law and I outlined some of the advantages of the ‘problem method’. Proponents of the problem method have developed several problem-solving models. I describe some of these models below so that in my next column I may suggest the criteria for evaluating these models.


‘IRAC’ purportedly provides the simplest and commonest ‘problem-solving’ model. Under IRAC, you state the Issue, state the Rule to apply, Apply the rule, and reach a Conclusion.

People call IRAC  a ‘problem-solving’ method; but IRAC really helps only in structuring an analysis, such as summarising a case, rather than solving problems. The IRAC formula resembles less the problem method than the case method, which Christopher Columbus Langdell , Dean of Harvard Law School , introduced in 1870.

For example, one can spot the ‘Issue’ in a case relatively easily; but spotting the issues in an unfocussed problem takes much more work. You must analyse the facts before you can identify the ‘Issue’.

The ‘I’ in ‘IRAC’, when applied to unfocussed problems, presumes the lawyer knows enough of the law to identify issues. Yet ‘the great secret, kept by all lawyers, is that lawyers don’t know the law’ there is too much law for any man to master in his lifetime’.

The ‘R’ in IRAC  considers ‘rules’. But ‘rules’ still leave decision-makers with discretion.  Lawyers win most cases on the facts, not rules. This means IRAC:

‘forces unprepared students to learn the hard way, at the expense of their clients, that practicing law involves understanding facts first, ‘what happened’ and the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the mess that brought the parties to the last resort of dispute resolution.’

When used as a problem-solving method, the ‘A’ in IRAC  tells you to ‘apply the law to the facts’. Yet it does not explain how to apply the law to the facts.  And, as a problem-solving method, the ‘C’ in IRAC too confidently predicts an unqualified ‘conclusion’.

IRAC  may provide a good way to organise an analysis after you have done all the hard work — finding facts, analysing facts, identifying the relevant areas of law, and so on.  But IRAC provides no suitable ‘problem-solving’ model. This explains why IRAC has mutated into countless variations, some of which I outline below.  . . .

The Laptop-Free Zone


“The Laptop-Free Zone”

Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 43, 2009

JANA R. MCCREARY, Florida Coastal School of Law

This new article, “The Laptop-Free Zone,” addresses the hotly debated issue of laptops in law school classroom; those debates are ongoing on countless blogs, on NPR, in national newspapers, and across law school campuses. This article reports and analyzes the data collected through an IRB-approved survey of almost 450 law school students at three different law schools regarding the students’ views of laptops and reported distractions caused by laptops. To provide context, the article also addresses the current arguments against laptops, negating those points as being outweighed by the proper and beneficial use of laptops. Additionally, the article provides information to be considered in teaching adults and to different learning styles, namely, global and analytic learners, and how those concerns are matters to consider in the laptop debate.

According to the survey results, students who do not use a laptop are overwhelmingly more likely to be distracted by others’ laptops than students who are using their own laptops. In other words, yes, laptops cause distractions, but that primarily affects students who are not using a laptop. Accordingly, based on the learning style information and my survey results, I suggest that laptops not be banned from law school classrooms. Instead, I argue that professors must do their best to teach to all students – to those who feel they learn best by using a laptop as an aid and to those who complain of the distractions caused. I do this by implementing a laptop-free zone, restricting the first or first few rows in my classrooms to no laptops. This creates an area where students who are distracted by neighboring screens and nearby typing are free (as possible without an all-out ban) from those distractions. Further, doing so still respects those students who have learned to use a laptop as an educational tool.

As a surprise to me, the survey also showed that many students make the decision to give up their laptop after experiencing attending a class without one, noting they would not have been willing to go through such an experience by their own decision. However, once they experience not using a laptop in the law school classroom environment, they often change their method of taking notes and report improved learning and classroom experiences. Accordingly, I also suggest that instead of banning laptops, we provide beginning students with only a week or two of a laptop ban at some time during the first semester of school. This compromise will serve the interest of the most students most effectively, respecting them as adults while providing supportive guidance to their own decisions about their learning environment.


 Source: LSN Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching Vol. 4 No. 23, 10/24/2008

Macs gaining ground, in Stanford ALR at least

We had our first Advanced Legal Research class on Tuesday.  I was really surprised to see so many Apple computers in the audience.  In one row, of nine students, all but one had a laptop cover with a glowing Apple logo.  And then I read our alum Matt Asay’s post on his Open Source blog, “The Vista from here is terrible as Mac attracts more converts.”  So in Thursday’s class, our next session, I conducted an in-class survey and found that among our 45 students:

     25 have PCs

     20 have Macs

New admissions policy at Osgoode Hall Law School in Canada

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in Canada recently instituted a new admissions policy for 2008-2009. On the Law School Web site, they have posted the Admissions Committee Report from February 2007. The report details the justification for the new admissions policy and reproduces the admissions criteria used by evaluators and admissions officers. The admissions criteria include academic scores, equity considertions and other factors, such as work experience, leadership and contribution to community. The report makes for interesting reading and a revealing insight to legal education in Canada. Here is additional proof that law schools around the world are struggling with ways to expand the admissions process beyond numeric considerations.

Osgoode Hall Law School Admissions Committee Report (Feb. 2007)

Additional information available here