Saturday, January 19, 2019

Qatar University College of Law
Wins Prestigious Award for its Legal Skills Program

The Qatar University College of Law won the Law School Award for furthering Global Legal Skills Education at the 13th Global Legal Skills Conference (GLSC) held in Melbourne, Australia, from December 10-12, 2018.

GLSC recognized the law school and its Legal Skills Department for its leading contributions to global legal skills, and in particular, the development of legal skills education in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Dr. Conrad Sturm and Dr. Melissa Deehring accepted the award on the law school’s behalf at the opening plenary of the conference that hosted over 120 participants from law schools around the world. 


Since the inception of its Lawyering Skills Program (LSP) in 2010, the Qatar University College of Law has incorporated legal skills courses and active learning into the curriculum in order to produce more competitive, skillful, and bilingual legal practitioners. 

When it unveiled its current program in 2011, the College established the first comprehensive program in the MENA region in legal writing, research, reasoning, and advocacy as part of its LL.B. degree studies. The program added legal skills courses in English and Arabic to complement the various Arabic-taught courses. 

In February 2018, the LSP program was merged with the Law Clinic and Externship program to become the Legal Skills Department.

Since LSP’s creation, the College of Law has provided extensive support to its faculty and students. It invested heavily in a leading legal skills faculty in the region and has been very supportive of travel for students to moot court and negotiation competitions.

Because of its support, LSP Moot Court students have won thirteen (13) awards since the program’s inception in 2011. Moreover, the College has supported regional and global legal skills gatherings. It has hosted international moot court competitions, such as the Vis Middle East International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot, and in 2013, it created an Arabic Moot Court Competition, now the leading regional moot court competition that rotates among law school hosts.

The skills program also includes Alternative Dispute Resolution courses taught by Dr. Francis Botchway, the Distinguished Sir William Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

In addition, the College recently hosted the International Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting and Conference in November that focused on legal skills this year. 

LSD Department Head, Dr. Mohamed Mattar said: “The award speaks to the dedication that College of Law Dean, Mohammed Al Khulaifi, LSD faculty, and law faculty and administrators have shown to advancing legal skills education at QU and in the region.”

Former director of the LSP program from Aug. 2011 - Feb. 2018, Dr. Conrad Sturm, said: “I believe the law school is most deserving of the award. In the face of many challenges over the years, the College of Law stuck with its vision and maintained its unwavering support for legal skills education in Qatar and the region.”

Friday, January 4, 2019

Three Words for 2019

Goal Setting Words for 2019: 
"Expert" and "Support"

"The process of setting intentions and joyfully reflecting on them is how, over time, we transform extrinsic into intrinsic motivations, and thereby sustain the energy and purpose to live true to our best aspirations." 
Thupten Jinpa, Two Exercises for Turning Intention into Motivation.
Starting in 2014, I began picking three words to remind me of my goals for the year. Chris Brogan gave me the idea. Here are his words for 2019 with some tips on choosing the words.

Here he describes the word-choosing process as part of a broader planning process based on the following steps:

  • The Big Story
  • Vision
  • Goals
  • Plans and Milestones
  • Daily Calendar
Brogan says:
You could argue which goes first, a vision or a big story. I’d accept either. But to me, a vision is a story told in goals, so I put it below the big story. The big story is that which we want to believe about our life and our goals and our plan. The vision is how you lay that out into something you can do. Goals are a way of knowing that you’re headed in the direction of your vision and your story. Plans and milestones are what make up goals, and if this doesn’t land on the calendar, you don’t have anything.
The three words are a shorthand representation of your bigger story. It’s kind of like how an icon isn’t the software program. It’s just a way for you to mentally access all the work you’re doing. Make sense?
To my surprise, I started picking yearly words even before Brogan did. My coach, Christine Kane, had encouraged us to pick one word. Here is her tool for finding the right word.

In 2014, I picked: Robin, launch, and wealth. Click on the link for an explanation of why I chose those words.

In 2015, I picked: Well-being, manifestation, and love.

In 2016, I must have completely forgotten about the goal-setting exercise in the midst of my hectic transition to Qatar.

In 2017, it took me awhile to decide on the words that resonated that year. But, I settled on "not even afraid" after I heard it first in French. It recognized my desire to be politically active in a post-Trump world. Brogan would argue that I wasted one word (even) by picking a phrase.

In 2018, the words were very easy to find: "good to go." Again, Brogun would say I wasted two words. I have a bigger criticism. The words were not ambitious, even if still aspirational. I still had to keep doing what was working.

But, they did not reflect how the year unfolded. So, I recommend a six-month review. You may need to change or update the words.

In 2018, I ended up writing five book chapters that apply dispute resolution theory to the blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. The year-long project was exciting and exhausting. But, in the end, it will help establish me as an English-language expert on the topic.

In 2019, I am expecting to serve as editor for a book on the legal consequences of the blockade. It will give my colleagues a publication opportunity while enhancing my expertise. I can support them in their professional growth. It will be another long, demanding project, in which I will spend over a year herding my colleagues towards a published book.

At the same time, while I stayed in the gym and kept up with my swimming and weight lifting, my fitness level in January 2019 is not what I had expected it would be in January 2018. Too many hours sitting at my desk reading or writing. Accordingly, I recognize I need more support to reach my fitness and health goals.

So, I am picking two words: Expert and Support.

Expert tells me what I believe about my life. It also shows how I expect my work to change or improve the world in the coming year through my leadership. It will be about the books that manifest in 2019 and 2020, along with the related conference presentations and media coverage.

Support will remind me of two things. First, my support for friends, colleagues, and students. But, also the need to find support for my own well-being. I've already started that process when I felt overwhelmed in December. I hired a personal assistant. I also asked my housekeeper to come every week to reset my apartment. And, I once again got weekly massages.

Even so, I need more support from my exercise buddy, my doctors at Al Ahli hospital, and my menopause coach, Dr. Anna Garrett. I also need to think through my evening routine to find ways better ways to spend my evenings. Dinner at the vegetarian restaurant with a friend? Yoga at the nearby center? Walks in the neighborhood while the weather is nice? Grounding in the salt water at the beach?

In June, I will see if these words still work for me.

What words work for you in the coming year?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

My "Absolute Yes" List

Identifying Priorities and 
Giving me Firm Grounds to Say "No"

Several years ago, I read Cheryl Richardson's "Take Time for Your Life."  One big take-a-way was her use of an Absolute Yes list.  She encouraged me to list my top five priorities.  If someone asks me to do something, I will say "no" to the request if it does not relate to my Absolute Yes list.  You can say "no" gently, but you now have a good reason in your own mind for saying "no."  You are standing in your power.

Some of the many blog posts describing the use of this list are here, here, and here.

I recently updated my list.  I have posted it on a whiteboard in my office (not on a 3-by-5 index card as some suggest).

Here it is:

  • Scholarship: 
  • Teaching:
    • Stay open-hearted with my students.
    • Support their professional growth.
  • Community Service:
  • Other:
    • Nurture my expat friendships
    • Blog
    • Fitness and health
      • Swim 500 meters four times a week.
      • Lift weights for 45 to 60 minutes four times a week. 
This ambitious list of things I hope to accomplish over the next year requires time and focus.  I have learned that, especially at QU, faculty members are expected to attend meetings, events, and conferences, often with less than a week's notice.  By having my Absolute Yes list close at hand, I have found it easier to say "no" to these demands on my time.  I want to focus instead on what business coach, Christine Kane, calls my "genius work."

I am also bombarded with requests that I fill out forms, most of which ask for the same information.  I finally hired a personal assistant, at my own expense, to complete these time sinks.  She is also helping me with the book project.  In addition, I asked my housekeeper to come weekly so I feel that my home is "reset" for the coming week.  I also redecorated my office to make it more functional.   All of these changes provided more support for the projects on my list and reduced feelings of being overwhelmed by things I did not want to do.

By adhering to my list and building more support systems, I feel less resentful and more motivated.  It's time to update my goals for the year. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Call for Papers: “The Arab Gulf Conflict: Legal Consequences and Solutions”

Call for Papers

Dear colleagues,

Qatar University Press has asked me to move forward with a proposed book that addresses the legal consequences and solutions arising from the blockade imposed on Qatar by its neighboring countries.  The working title of the book is: “The Arab Gulf Conflict: Legal Consequences and Solutions.”

It is my pleasure to invite you to contribute a chapter to the book.  Please email me at for background information about the blockade.

Topics I expect to discuss in the book include:
  • A Dispute Resolution Analysis of the Causes of the Dispute.
  • Arab Conflict Resolution Strategies.
  • 2103 and 2014 Riyadh Agreements.
  • Thirteen Demands and Six Principles.
  • Do Gulf Countries have the Unilateral Legal Right to Impose Sanctions on Qatar?
  • Legal Concepts of National Sovereignty
  • Laws Governing Military Conflict.
  • Laws Governing Efforts to Force a Change in a Country’s Leadership.
  • Qatar’s Air Transport Rights under International Laws, Treaties, and Agreements.
  • Qatar’s Marine Rights under International Laws, Treaties, and Agreements.
  • Qatar’s Trade and Commercial Rights under International Laws, Treaties, and Agreements.
  • Legal Limitations on Economic Warfare and Sanctions.
  • Laws Protecting Debt Markets and Currency from Manipulation.
  • Legal Protections for the Human Rights of Qatari Citizens, including the right to pursue religious practices, family reunification, movement between countries, education, work, dispose of property, residency, health care, and access to justice and local tribunals
  • Cyberlaws Protecting Qatar and its Government Entities.
  • Legal Rights of Qatari Sports Teams, Athletes, and Broadcasters.
  • Qatari Laws Governing Terrorism Financing and Money Laundering.
  • Law and Tourism.
  • Freedom of Expression and the Press.
  • Criminalizing Expressions of Support for Qatar.
  • Dispute Resolution Capacity of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
  • Dispute Resolution Capacity in the Gulf Region.
  • Does the Research on Arab Conflict Resolution Styles Predict an End to the Blockade through Negotiation or Mediation?
  • Summary and Conclusion.

All submissions must be original and unpublished. The chapters will undergo a rigorous peer-review process.

If you are interested, please send an abstract on one of the listed topics or a related topic to: The abstract deadline is February 1, 2019. The chapter deadline is September 30, 2019.

You are also welcome to forward this invitation to your colleague(s) who may have expertise in one of the listed areas.

I look forward to the possibility of working together.

Yours sincerely, 

Paula Marie Young, J.D., LL.M.
Clinical Professor of Law
College of Law - Qatar University
Phone: +974-4403-7787
Fax: +974-4403-5253
Mobile: +974-3063-5603
P.O. Box: 2713, Doha-Qatar

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The (Muslim) Travel Ban: Trump v. Hawaii

Analyzing the Decision 
Mourning Something Lost in America's Identity and Ideals.

One of my friends, Prof. Richard Reuben -- who serves on the faculty of the University of Missouri School of Law -- has offered these insights. Earlier in his career, Richard was an award-winning journalist who covered the U.S. Supreme Court.

"A few thoughts after having read the travel ban decision, [Trump v. Hawaii, Slip Op. No. 17-965 (June 26, 2018):]

1. It is not surprising to see the Supreme Court back executive power in the context of international affairs, and especially so in the context of national security. I tend to agree with this in principle.

2. Chief Justice Roberts' decision was an embarrassment -- deliberately shallow, both in accepting Trump's results-oriented "policy consideration" and in its paucity of reference to precedent. The reason seems pretty obvious. As been our history until this day, most of that precedent goes against his decision.

3. The lack of rigor is probably the most disturbing part of the opinion. For example, Roberts stressed national security, but there was no evidence, anywhere, of an actual national security risk that was in any way greater than that which we endure every day. The only difference was who sits in the Oval Office.

A stronger opinion reaching the same outcome could have been written, and Roberts' failure to do so constitutes an abdication of the judicial role. A judge not only has the duty to decide, but also to persuade that its decision is correct. A written and reasoned opinion is essential to the legitimacy of the decision. By any measure, the Roberts fails that test.

4. The court's decision to reject the Establishment Clause claim was naked judicial activism because the issue was not decided below. It's decision to reverse Korematsu was even worse because, as Roberts conceded, it wasn't even argued by the parties. Rather, the decision to reverse was occasioned only because the dissent brought the case up. What's next, Plessy v. Ferguson?

5. Justice Kennedy was in the five-justice majority. He has always been bad on race, and this is just another example.

6. The travel ban is now up to Congress. The opinion was almost entirely an interpretation of a statute. Congress can overrule that interpretation. The Republican Congress will not do that, of course.

7. American democracy is now on life support, and this decision removes one of the tubes by abandoning a strong judicial role. If the Republicans keep Congress this fall, and Trump wins another term -- more likely if the Republicans keep Congress -- the American experiment in democracy that began in 1776 will be over."

Copy of the decision here.

For another summary of the ban, see here and here

For a summary of Justice Sotomayor's dissent, see here. Her dissent concludes by saying:
By blindly accepting the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy motivated by animosity toward a disfavored group, all in the name of a superficial claim of national security, the Court redeploys the same dangerous logic underlying Korematsu and merely replaces one “gravely wrong” decision with another.
Effects of travel ban here.

Thoughts coming from the Muslim community, here.

Another point of view here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Robert I. Sutton's Good Boss, Bad Boss

How to be the Best  . . .  
and Learn from the Worst

Doha does not have a deep collection of print books for sale.  I was at Doha Festival City twice last week.  After touring the entire mall, I found a book I did not expect to see in Doha.

It's Robert I Sutton's Good Boss, Bad Boss.  The book builds on his research that supported an earlier book called The No Asshole Rule.  I read the earlier book, several years ago, when I served on a law school's hiring committee.  We tried to use the advice in the book.  Overall, we built a small faculty of dedicated teachers.  Sadly, we did hire a few jerks along the way, and frankly, the institution paid for it.

Amazon describes the new book in this way:  
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can you do about it? Good Boss, Bad Boss is devoted to answering that question. Stanford Professor Robert Sutton weaves together the best psychological and management research with compelling stories and cases to reveal the mindset and moves of the best (and worst) bosses . . . . As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss - which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to "stay in tune" with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.
I would add that good bosses aggressively protect their followers from "red tape, meddlesome executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings, and a host of other insults, intrusions, and time wasters."  Good bosses play this "human shield" role so employees can do the work they need to do and meet goals that move the organization forward. 

In chapter 8, Sutton mentioned his Asshole Rating Self-Exam (or ARSE Test).  Some of the questions are very surprising . . .  and disturbing.  I can't imagine someone answering true to most of them!  Psychopaths for sure.  

The scoring system follows:
0 to 5 “True”: You don’t sound like a certified asshole, unless you are fooling yourself. 
5 to 15 “True”: You sound like a borderline certified asshole, perhaps the time has come to start changing your behavior before it gets worse. 
15 or more: You sound like a full-blown certified asshole to me, get help immediately. But, please, don’t come to me for help, as I would rather not meet you.
(I scored 0 on the exam, but I may be fooling myself.  I attribute that score to the 3,500 hours of dispute resolution training I have gotten over the last twenty years.) 

The book is an easy and helpful read.  I also recommend his blog -- Work Matters, which I have added to my blog roll.