Faculty Share Best Practices
On November 3, 2010, the topic of the weekly lunchtime Faculty
Teaching/Scholarship workshop at Albany Law School was "Technology" and,
specifically, how TWEN can add a new dimension to law school
learning. Instead of providing a "how-to" workshop by Darlene Cardillo,
the Instructional Technologist, we decided that it would be more useful
for the faculty to hear from their peers.
Six professors presented their use of TWEN in the classroom. None of
the presenters discussed static items like posting a syllabus.
Instead, they discussed using wikis, polling and forums.
Much more information is available at the Best Practices for Legal Education blog.
"Re-vision Quest: A Law School Guide to Designing Experiential Courses Involving Real Lawyering"
Professor Phyllis Goldfarb, Jacob Burns Foundation Professor of
Clinical Law and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at The George
Washington University Law School, was a recent presenter at Albany Law
School discussing her paper "Re-vision Quest: A Law School Guide to
Designing Experiential Courses Involving Real Lawyering". The
presentation was part of the Faculty Workshop and CELT series at Albany
"Re-vision Quest: A Law School Guide to Designing Experiential
Courses Involving Real Lawyering" is an article arguing that the current
divide between in-house clinics and externships is an inadequate scheme
in the new era of curricular reform. It "suggest[s] that legal
educators expand their thinking about curricular options for
experiential learning and develop a broader conceptual framework for
articulating these options."
For the presentation, Professor Goldfarb was joined by Professor Mary
Lynch of Albany Law School, a co-author of the article. They fielded
questions from the Albany Law faculty on the key issues in the article
and the curricular reform debate.
Click here for the PowerPoint accompanying the presentation.
Sophie Sparrow's Workshop on "Harnessing the Power of Small Group Learning"
Sophie Sparrow, Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire author of Teaching Law by Design: Engaging Students from Syllabus to Final Exam
(2009), presented a workshop at Albany Law School entitled "Harnessing
the Power of Small Group Learning". The presentation was part of the
Faculty Workshop Series sponsored by CELT and the Dean of Scholarship,
Professor Sparrow engaged a group of twenty-five law professors on
the benefits and proper use of small groups in law school classes. She
provided instruction on how small group dynamics operate and how to best
develop a class to utilize the idiosyncrasies of group learning. Group
learning has always been a challenge in law schools because students
are hesitant to rely on others for their grade. However, Professor
Sparrow's system has the added benefit of developing interpersonal
skills by requiring feedback from other students in the group. The
result is a learning experience for all group members, not only in legal
principles, but in real world interaction as well.
Click here to view the Powerpoint presentation.
Click here to download Professor Sparrow's Peer Feedback form.
Dean Tom Guernsey Presents on Law School Accreditation
On September 15th, Dean Tom Guernsey presented at an Albany Law
School workshop on law school accreditation as part of the Faculty
Workshop and CELT series. The purpose of the workshop was to inform
Albany Law School faculty about accreditation standards and their impact
on law school curriculum. The Dean discussed the hierarchy of the
American Bar Association and its impact on accreditation, the role of
the New York Court of Appeals, and provided a Dean's perspective on
changes being made to standards on outcomes, tenure and other matters
affecting law schools.
To view the PowerPoint presentation, click here.
ABA's Changes to Academic Freedom Standards
The proposed revisions to "Security of Position, Academic Freedom,
and Attract and Retain Faculty" dated July 15, 2010, was posted on the web site of the Standards Review Committee
on July 20, only three days in advance of the Committee's meeting this
weekend at which the SRC is slated to discuss the issues it raises.
This "Draft" proposes the elimination of the longstanding provisions in
Standard 405 addressing tenure and other forms of security of position
for law faculty.
Bob Kuehn, President of the CLEA, has written a response to these changes in a letter to the ABA. Click here to read the letter.
Leadership, Ethics and Democracy Building Initiative (LEAD)
The Leadership, Ethics and Democracy Building Initiative (LEAD) at
the University of Maryland School of Law hosted a symposium to discuss
changes in law practice and how law schools should respond to those
changes. The symposium brought together leading scholars, law
professors and legal educators, as well as practicing lawyers and judges
to discuss the most significant changes in the legal profession in
recent years and how law schools should respond to better prepare their
graduates for practice.
The first session focused on large law firms, specifically their
growth and development into their modern structure, their hiring
practices, and the kinds of skills law schools should be teaching
students interested in corporate law practice.
In the second session, panelists discussed changes in how small firm
and solo practitioners are connecting with clients and what law schools
need to be teaching students about these changes.
The final session of the day focused entirely on how legal educators
and law schools should respond to changes in legal practice. All
participants thought the division between skills and theory needs to be
bridged with different teaching methodologies and that the third year of
law school needs more focus and structure.
Click here to read a summary of the symposium.
Click here to read a full recap of the symposium.
Watch the symposium:
Harvard Law School's Problem Solving Workshop
Harvard Law School has begun teaching a course on practical skills,
creative thinking and excercising judgment for their 1L students called
The Problem Solving Workshop. The course is designed to take students
through an entire case, from the first time the client walks into the
office, to the resolution.
The program has received a high level of interest, not only from law
schools, but also from firms who donated attorney time to help instruct
From the Harvard Law Bulletin
Read more about changes in law school curriculum at the Best Practices blog.
Albany Law Professor and Alumnus Lead Change in Law Student Training
Professor Mary Lynch, Albany Law School, was recently selected to
chair a subcommittee for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) on
training and promoting new lawyers. The subcommittee is part of NYSBA's
newly formed Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession, led by
Stephen Younger, the association's new president and Albany Law
The subcommittee will explore better ways to train new lawyers to
meet client demands, as well as examine different methods to promote and
compensate associates to improve quality of life factors.
"A law school can't provide - in three years - everything a student
needs for a life-long career as a lawyer," she said. "But law school
educators across the country agree that we can and should equip students
with the knowledge and skills they need for early success, as well as
the reflective and theoretical tools to learn from experience."
Professor Lynch has recently made presentations on legal education
reform to faculty at several law schools. She participated in a panel on
"Using Critical Perspectives to Inform Change" at the American
Association of Law Schools national Conference on Clinical Legal
Education in May, and she delivered a presentation to Indiana University
Maurer School of Law in June.
As a long-standing proponent for legal education reform, Professor Lynch is also the editor and a frequent contributor to the Best Practices for Legal Education blog.
Her goals for this blog are to create a place where those interested in
the future of legal education can freely exchange ideas, concerns and
Read more at the NYSBA.
ABA Last Minute Draft Proposal on Tenure
The ABA is currently undergoing the process of reviewing the
Standards for Accreditation of Law Schools, which is headed by the
Standards Review Committee. Just three days before the anticipated
meeting on July 24th, a draft proposal of standards revisions which
sugggests alternaties to tenure was posted on the ABA Standards Review
wepage. CLEA President Bob Kuehn on July 22nd wrote to the SRC author
of the draft objecting to the process.
To learn more about the proposed changes to the Accreditation Standards and Student Learning Outcomes, click here.
Commencement Keynote Address from The Honorable Richard Wesley, Judge for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
The Honorable Richard Wesley, Judge of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit, delivered the keynote address at the
159th Commencement Ceremony for Albany Law School.
Judge Wesley was appointed to the federal court in 2003 after serving
as an Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, New York's
highest court, since 1997.
He offered some words of advice for aspiring lawyers on professional identification.
Listen to the Keynote Address.
Albany Law's First Online Course
Overview of Albany Law School's first completely online course.
For more information, click here.
Proposed Changes to Student Learning OutcomesDate: 4/26/2010
To: Standards Review CommitteeFrom: Steve Bahls, Chair of the Student Learning Outcomes CommitteeDate: April 17, 2010RE: Summary of Changes in the Proposed Student Learning Outcomes StandardsSince
the January 2010 Committee meeting in New Orleans, the Student Learning
Outcomes Subcommittee has made several important changes in the
proposed student learning outcomes standards. These changes were based
on comments on the earlier proposed standards, which are posted to the
Committee website, as well as further committee deliberation:
Standards 301-305: Student Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes Key Issues
Vanderbilt Dean Calls For Merging Scholarship, Teaching at Albany LawDate: 04/19/2010
the John Wade-Kent Syverud Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law
School, told a room of Albany Law faculty that scholarship and teaching
together are larger than the sum of their parts.
Coordinated by CELT, on April 19, 2010, during a faculty development
luncheon, Rubin described the teaching strategies he promoted while the
dean of Vanderbilt Law, and how scholarship and teaching can complement
each other. The presentation was based on Should Law Schools Support Faculty Research?, Rubin's article on scholarship, curriculum and pedagogy, 17 Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues 139-169 (2008).
Rubin's ideas center on the concept of cross-subsidies in
education. He has found that by changing the third year of law school to
an in-depth analysis of specific legal areas, law schools can engage
students actively in the research arena. As a result the students'
tuition dollars, which were used to fund scholarship rather than fund
student education, can now be performing both functions.
Professors at Vanderbilt work in teams to develop an in-depth
educational experience for groups of students. Now, these students have
something more than a concentration in a legal field, but a tangible
experience to draw from as they move into their careers.
Click Here To Watch the Presentation
Prof. Rubin's SSRN page
Law Clinic Receives Prestigious N.Y. Bar AwardDate: 04/14/2010
The Albany Law School Clinic and Justice Center was recently honored with the New York State Bar Association's
2010 Angelo T. Cometa Award for its significant community outreach
efforts and legal services in the areas of civil rights, health law,
unemployment litigation and family violence prevention. In 2009, the Law
Clinic and Justice Center handled 621 different cases on behalf of 523
The award, sponsored by the Committee on Lawyer Referral Service,
annually recognizes individuals or groups in New York that demonstrate
an extraordinary commitment toward advancing the goals of the State
Bar's Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS), which is a program
that helps coordinate a lawyer referral and information system, as well
as provides the public with information about available legal services.
Named after past Bar Association President Angelo T. Cometa, the award
was presented on April 9 at the State Bar's House of Delegates Dinner.
The committee recognized the Law Clinic and Justice Center for its
significant community outreach and the legal advice it provides through
six in-house clinics: Civil Rights and Disability Law, Health Law,
Securities Law, Unemployment Litigation, Low Income Taxpayer Law and
Family Violence Litigation and its collaborative Family Violence
Prosecution Clinic. The Law Clinic and Justice Center also offers a
field placement program that has placed law students at more than 200
different government offices.
Among its most significant programs was a day-long special education
conference, "Beyond the Box, Exploring the Possibilities," for parents
and other individuals concerned about the rights of individuals with
developmental disabilities; helping clients with cancer challenge
insurance company decisions to receive due treatment; and representing
survivors of domestic violence in matters related to safety, financial
support and custody of children.
Past winners of the Cometa Award include: the Capital District
Women's Bar Association Legal Project, Inc.; Allen J. Charne of New York
(New York City Bar); and past State Bar President Angelo T. Cometa of
New York. Cometa chaired the Committee on Lawyer Referral Services
during the first year of LRIS operation. As committee chair, he was
instrumental in establishing the LRIS and increasing public access to
attorneys. The award was created in 2007 in recognition of his
extraordinary service efforts.