Sunday, December 28, 2014

Shale Gas Fracking: Protecting the Interests of Landowners




Teaching Students to Serve Future Clients

This week, I've been designing my class that will be a part of ASL's Introduction to Natural Resources Law course.  We are offering the course as a one-week intensive before regular classes start in January. Through it, we hope to encourage students to earn our Natural Resources Law certificate.  

My day-long class will focus on shale gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays located in mostly Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York.  The class will include an overview, presentations by a couple of guest speakers, and then a simulated negotiation of a mineral lease.  I am expecting it to provide good coverage of the topic and a fairly interesting way to spend an 8-hour day of class. I am trying to frame perspectives from the industry, the environmental protection community, and health officials.  

My slide show is almost done.  I've really enjoyed the required research and my discussions with experts in the field.  I still need to read a 185-page report recently issued by the New York State Department of Health in support of a ban of shale play production in the state.  

All this research is getting me back to my law practice roots.

When I graduated from law school in 1982, I practiced energy law in my first and second jobs. I first joined the energy practice group of the largest law firm in Oklahoma, a firm now called Hall Estill.  I practiced in the natural gas group and focused on intra-state gas production and transmission. The industry, however, was going through a sea change triggered by deregulation of interstate pricing by Congress in 1978.  That regulatory change, in turn, generated a production bubble as interstate natural gas prices rose. That bubble burst several years later.  Thus, I had the unusual opportunity to see a full market cycle unfold. 

I next moved to the energy department of what was then the third largest firm in the world -- Skadden Arps.  I practiced before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), although I also attended many Congressional committee hearings during this transition in the industry. Among other duties, I wrote a weekly update for a client about what was happening in the energy market. I remember the day when oil prices exceeded $60 per barrel. This was a huge event.  Until the late 1970s, oil had never exceeded $30 a barrel.

Of course, now the talk is about dropping oil prices -- with the cost moving below $60 for the first time since mid-2009.   I've included graphs showing these trends in my class slides, but can't share them here because I don't have a license to produce them.

As I write this post, another image popped into my head. During my college years, I worked as a gas station attendant in a rural town in Iowa.  I worked during the Arab oil embargo in 1973 and the later U. S. oil price controls.  I helped implement gas rationing.  I watched my boss wipe tears from his cheeks the day that he had to replace the meters in his gas pumps.  They did not go above 50 cents a gallon.  He was dumbfounded.  They had never needed to go higher for as long as he had owned the station.  In 1972, when I graduated from high school, gas sold for 36 cents a gallon ($1.36 in today's currency). 

Of course, this experience sparked my interest in energy.  I first approached it through the science by taking a number of geology classes while at Wash U.  In law school, I took courses in oil and gas law and regulated industries.  My law journal note covered a public utility issue.  Then, after law school, I practiced energy law for five years.  Later still, I was drawn to ASL because of the region's tie to coal production. 

I've still got a lot to learn in this new energy market, but I am thankful for my background in the field that kept me paying attention even when clients did not rely on my advice.

Finally, I have added to my blog role several blogs relating to shale play production, including one specifically designed to help mineral rights owners negotiate good deals.  That blog's administrator, Ronald B Stamets, will be one of my guest speakers for class. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from the Red Velvet Lawyer









Happy Holidays 
to my 
Friends, Colleagues, and Students

Hope you are enjoying the day with your families.

P.S.  This modern interpretation of the three wise men comes from the photos I took in Dubai earlier this month.  I snapped it in the lobby of the Burj Al Arab, a six-star hotel on the Gulf that overlooks the man-made Palm and World Islands. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Gratitude Journal








Happier for Having Kept It




For over three years, I have kept a gratitude journal at the suggestion of my business coach, Christine Kane.  Several researchers have found profound affect on emotional, psychological, and physical well-being associated with being grateful for all the wonderful things that come into our lives -- big and small. It enhances our social networks, personal relationships, and our careers. It enhances happiness overall.  I've noticed it helps me shift from being self-oriented to other-orientated,  

The Harvard Medical School's Health Publications blog defines gratitude and then suggests ways we can cultivate it.  Note that the author suggests keeping a gratitude journal.
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice. 
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis. 
Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself. 
Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual. 
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day. 
Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

I live in a part of the world in which life focuses on the Christine religion and church families.  One person I know always responds "blessed" when I ask her how she is doing.  Each time I get that response, I know she is a person living a life of gratitude.  

My journal has two other components.  I also capture any "gains" I have made for the day.  Today, for instance, I might record that I finished my post-trip laundry, blogged again, cleaned up several rooms in the house, and created a project list I want to conquer over the next three weeks.  I also finished reading a chapter in a book on hydrofracking for a course I am teaching in January. 

Finally, I record any gifts I've given that day. Again, the happiness research shows that gift-giving enhances our sense of well-being.  I try to give a gift a day.  For that practice, the book -- 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker -- inspired me.     

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Be the Best at Getting Better





Successful Growth Requires that You "Outlearn" Your Peers

I've spent the last few days catching up on blog posts, my favorite shows on Hulu, and the New York Times, all of which I missed while spending a week in Dubai on vacation.

One blog post really stuck with me as I was working on my goals for next year.  In a post called, In 2015, Be the Best at Getting Better, author Dharmesh Shah talked about the simple commitment of being the best at getting better.  He explains:
[C]ommitting to a one-time goal like learning to code or dropping 10 pounds can get lost amid the rush, assigned a lower priority, or just become uninteresting after a time. 
A commitment to becoming the best at getting better requires only a fundamental admission that you’re not perfect and a desire to outlearn your peers on a daily basis.
I love that!  I can handle that sort of personal and organizational commitment for 2015.  I can apply it to all my goals -- whether well-being, manifestation, or love.

Brian Balfour, VP of growth at HubSpot, first talked about the concept in terms of growth in his blog posting here.   He writes:
With any company or product you can set all sorts of goals and dreams. But at the end of the day there are thousands of variables that you can’t control. 
Specifically in growth:

1. Customer acquisition channels are always changing.

2. Competitors are always are always entering the market.

3. The needs and desires of your target audience are always evolving.

What you can control is yourself and your team. You control how effective your team is, how well you know your channels and customer, and the rate at which you are improving. Focus on what you can control, being the best at getting better.
He also has good advice on reflecting back on any effort to grow -- whether successful or not.  The process leads to more learning that you can implement in the next experiment. 

He also lists a number of strategies that help employees at HubSpot grow.  The company clearly invests in its people as a competitive strategy.

My law school can commit to the concept of being the best at getting better.  So, can my faculty colleagues.  And, just as importantly, so can our students. 

How can you be the best at getting better? 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Goal Reminding Words for 2015






Live with Heart




Last Year’s Words

A year ago, I shared the three words I wanted to represent my goals for 2014. They were: Robin, Launch, and Wealth. 

So, how did I do? Robin was a bit of a miss. I had wanted it to remind me to work towards greater fitness. But, year-long problems with my orthotic shoes, which compensate for a fused ankle and heel, made regular exercise difficult without access to an indoor swimming pool.

Yes, I launched my web-based mediation training program – Mediation with Heart -- and got terrific feedback from enrolled students. Now, I need to implement my marketing program in connection with it.

Yes, I generated more wealth and cash flow. I also shared more of that wealth with others throughout the year.

Words for 2015

It’s time to select three words for 2015. Surprisingly, this process has not come easily this year. 

Well-being came early to mind – both emotional and physical. I recently completed a book recommended by my massage therapist, Debbie Jackson at Serenity Now, called The HeartMath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin. The authors make a compelling case for enhancing emotional well-being as a way to protect heart health and our happiness. They encourage us to listen to the wisdom of our heart because it “links us to higher intelligence through an intuitive domain where spirit and humanness merge.” 

So how do I want to implement my heart’s wisdom? I’d like to solve my shoe problem, get back into a regular fitness program, continue my meditation and yoga practice, and practice regularly the techniques of Freeze-Frame, Cut-Through, and Heart Lock-In that the authors describe in The HeartMath Solution.  I've noticed that when I practice these techniques, I shift from fear-based focus on my own needs to a loved-based focus on the needs of others, especially my students.

Manifestation also resonates with me this year. After completing the Gold Mastermind coaching program with Christine Kane this past summer, I became more mindful of the need to complete several pending projects and obligations. I tend to abandon projects if I become bored with them. But, my path of growth requires me to recognize when I avoid wrapping up projects and, instead, finish them strongly. 


I want to complete several law review articles (including one on bat deaths at Appalachian wind farms), two more tax returns, and a bunch of sewing projects. I want to organize and further implement my business coaching materials. I’d like to design a new website for my training program.

And yes, love also resonates. This semester, I very consciously decided to teach “the shit” out of my students. How I interact with them is one thing I can control at a time when my little law school struggles with a changing market for law graduates and, thus, the market for law students. But, the students now attending ASL – no matter how small the class is at this time -- want to be there, and I need to provide the best service possible to all of them. 

That service also comes from the heart. I love our students. They work hard to create a better life for themselves and their families. I also want to extend love and support to my very hard-working faculty colleagues, to our supportive and dedicated staff, and to our beleaguered Administrators and members of the Board. I hope they find a safe path for the law school so it continues to serve its mission, the SW Virginia community, our students, and our alumni. 

Some folks, including Christine Kane, suggest picking one word for the year. In that case, “heart” seems to be the word for 2015.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peacemaking in Ferguson -- My Heart Goes to all St. Louisians





My Home Town's Journey




This recent communication from my mediation community touched me deeply.

From: Sandy Heierbacher [mailto:sandy@NCDD.ORG]
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 8:11 AM
To: NCDD-UPDATES@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG
Subject: [NCDD-UPDATES] What can the dialogue & deliberation community do after Ferguson?

Message to the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation community, from NCDD’s Director...

Hi, everyone. Many of us are reeling from the events in Ferguson. Some of you may be involved in protests in your own cities right now.

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation after it was announced that Darren Wilson would not be indicted. In his remarks, I couldn’t help but think he was talking about the work that many of you do. The juxtaposition on the split screen of Obama encouraging protestors to stay peaceful on one side, and tear gas canisters being thrown by police in riot fear [sic?] on the other side was bizarre. But what Obama talked about was not.

He talked about America’s long-standing struggle with race relations and racial inequity, and how despite considerable progress being made over the years, much more work [needs] to be done. He emphasized the need for criminal justice reform and for stronger police-community relations. He mentioned that there are communities that have been able to deal with this in an effective way.

Here is a quote that I’d like to draw your attention to:
But what we want to do is to make sure that we’re also focusing on those who can offer the kind of real progress that we know is possible, that the vast majority of people in Ferguson, the St. Louis region, in Missouri and around the country are looking for. And I want to be partner with those folks, and we need to lift up that kind of constructive dialogue that’s taking place.
We know one of his strategies is to work with the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (CRS), which has offices in 15 locations across the country. CRS provides mediation, dialogue, and reconciliation services for communities in crisis, and is interested in finding ways to partner with NCDD members who can potentially increase their effectiveness and reach.

NCDD has actually been working with the Community Relations Service to plan meetings in late January between NCDD members and CRS staff in as many of their offices as possible. If you are interested in participating, read the post at http://ncdd.org/16724 and then send an email to joy@ncdd.org and sandy@ncdd.org letting us know you’d like to join in. This opportunity is limited to supporting members of NCDD, so you may need to join or get your dues caught up. We’d also love your ideas about what you’d like to see happen at those meetings.

But there are things you can do immediately as well.

We’ve blogged about some of our members’ top resources for addressing racial conflict and inequity through dialogue and action at http://ncdd.org/15953. Please share this post widely so people will understand what Obama meant when he said “we need to lift up that kind of constructive dialogue that’s taking place.”

And please put these resources to use! If your community needs to have a conversation NOW, and you’re concerned that you don’t have enough time at this point to organize a dialogue-to-action project or a national issues forum quickly and effectively, I’d suggest you start by holding one or more Conversation Cafes.

Conversation Cafes are super-simple 90-minute dialogues that anyone can host. They are great tools to use for rapid response, and in organizing a Conversation Cafe you may very well be able to find more people interested in working with you to organize a more in-depth dialogue process that can lead to collaborative action.

Everything you need to host a Conversation Cafe can be found at http://ncdd.org/rc/item/92 or at www.conversationcafe.org.

Please share this message with others if you find it helpful. And good luck with all the important work you are doing! You all are so needed in this world.

Sandy Heierbacher

Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

sandy@ncdd.orgwww.ncdd.org • @ncdd & @heierbacher

The 2014 NCDD conference has been storified! Check it out at www.storify.com/ncdd/ncdd-2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Debate Begins on Reason for Drop in National Bar Passage Rates









Graduate Competence or 
Design and Scoring Problems?


On Monday, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported the onset of a debate about the surprising drop in bar passage rates on a national basis.  It said: 
A steep decline in bar exam scores on the most recent test has led to an outbreak of finger-pointing over who’s to blame for the downward swing. 
In a sharply worded letter, the dean of Brooklyn Law School on Monday reproached the head of a national bar exam group for suggesting to law school leaders that their graduates who took the July exam were less prepared than students who sat for the test in previous years. 
The dean’s letter came in response to an October memo by Erica Moeser, the president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, addressed to law school deans across the country in which she defended the integrity of the group’s exam and raised concerns about the ability of the would-be lawyers who took it.
... 
She continued: “While we always take quality control of MBE scoring very seriously, we redoubled our efforts to satisfy ourselves that no error occurred in scoring the examination or in equating the test with its predecessors. The results are correct. . . All point to the fact that the group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013.” 
Brooklyn Law School Dean Nicholas W. Allard fired back on Monday with a letter to Ms. Moeser. He said he found her assertions unconvincing and demanded a “thorough investigation of the administration and scoring” of the July 2014 exam. 
“We don’t know what evidence you have to support this surprising (and surprisingly disparaging) claim, but we do have evidence about our own 2014 graduates, and it tells us precisely the opposite: their credentials were every bit as good as our 2013 graduates, if not even better,” he wrote. 
Ms. Moeser couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday. 
Ms. Moeser’s letter didn’t cite specific scoring data for the exam given in July. But it gels with figures released by states showing significant declines in the passage rates for many of them. 
The overall passage rate for the Texas exam given in July, for example, was 11 percentage points lower than last year’s results. Idaho, Iowa, Oregon and Washington were among other states reporting sharp drops. 
The passage rate for Brooklyn Law School graduates who took the bar for the first time in July was nearly 10 percentage points lower than last year’s rate, Mr. Allard told Law Blog. He said the median LSAT score for the 2013 and 2014 cohorts was 163 in both cases. A private institution in downtown Brooklyn, Mr. Allard’s law school enrolls about 1,000 full-time students.

“What is her basis for saying the students are less able? I think that’s offensive. I don’t believe it,” Mr. Allard, who is also a senior partner at Squire Patton Boggs, told Law Blog on Monday.

November 16, 2014 Update: Another point of view.  And, another.

November 20, 2014 Update:  Story about dip in bar pass rates at all Texas law schools. Chart in linked story. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Filling the Needs of Rural Clients



Another Gap 
Created by 
Retiring Baby Boomer Lawyers


Over the last several years, several state and local bar associations have focused on under-served clients living in rural areas.  Twenty percent of the U.S. population resides in rural counties, but only two percent of law practices locate there.  

The October 2014 issue of the ABA Journal re-visits the topic again, profiling a number of lawyers practicing in rural North Dakota and South Dakota.  The article, Too Many Lawyers? Not Here. In Rural America, Lawyers are Few and Far Between by Lorelei Laird, gives a general overview of the situation, identifies a number of resources, and suggests the adaptations to rural practice required of young lawyers. An associated podcast is here.


Additional states -- including Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana, New Hampshire, and Maine -- have started various types of programs designed to encourage younger lawyers to practice in rural areas.  

Other resources on this topic include:

January 12, 2015 Update: More on this story here.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

ASL Lion's Club Shrimp Boil and Corn Hole Tournement










A Touch of New Orleans 
and 
the Kentucky Derby Melded for a Charitable Cause

Several years ago, our Dean, Lucy McGough, joined us after having lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana most of her academic career.  Soon, events linked to that history came to campus. First, came the sale of home-made gumbo to raise funds for a local charity.  Then, ASL had its first shrimp boil.  


Last month, the local chapter of the Lion's Club sponsored  the second shrimp boil on campus along with a corn hole tournament designed to raise money for its many worthwhile projects.  The local organization especially focuses on the needs of the low-income residents of Buchanan County who need eye exams and eyeglasses.  


I profiled the Lion's Club as a student organization here.


Students and faculty at ASL enjoyed a meal of spicy shrimp, sausages, corn, and potatoes. Many of the students participated in the corn hole tournament.  Josh Kinzer, the President of the Grundy Chapter of the Lions Clubs International, explained that the event raised awareness about Lion's Club projects. 

Micah Bailey, an ASL 3L student, brought his lovely wife and son. He said: "It was a great opportunity to meet other students and mingle with the faculty members.  The turnout was amazing, and we could not be more pleased with the student body participation." 



In a small town like Grundy, students quickly learn how they can create their own fun while serving the community through many community service projects. I blogged about ASL's award-winning community service program here.

















Love you all so much!  You are lovely and big-hearted.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Update On the Aging of Lawyers in Private Practice







What Happens When 
Baby Boomers Retire?


In April 2013, I wrote about the possible opportunities for new lawyers created by the increasing age of lawyers -- who will eventually retire. 









Bill Henderson, of The Legal Whiteboard blog, provides a very interesting analysis of his data on this topic here.  One of his findings:
The big surprise here is that the proportion of young lawyers (under age 35) has been declining for several decades. And not by a little, but by a lot. During this period, the median age went from 39 in 1980, to 41 in 1991, to 45 in 2000, to 49 in 2005.
Some of his conclusions:
The analysis above suggests that the JD Advantage / JD Preferred employment market started to take shape several decades ago, long before these terms were put in place by the ABA and NALP. Yet, we really don't know about these careers. To construct a more useful, informative narrative, we'd have to systematically study the career paths of our alumni. That task is long overdue.
I blogged on the JD Advantage market here and here.

More of Henderson's conclusions:  
My own conclusion is that neither the organized bar nor the legal academy has a firm grip on the changes that are occurring in the legal marketplace. This uncertainty and confusion is understandable in light of the magnitude of the shift. 
Nonetheless, these market shifts create special urgency for legal educators because we can't teach what we don't understand. The thesis of the Young Lawyers Board is surely right -- if unchanged, legal education will remain a business in decline. Much of legal education today is premised on a 20th century professional archetype--an archetype that is, based on the data, becoming less and less relevant with each passing day. Thus, we are under-serving our students. And frankly, they are figuring that out.

Change is hard for people and organizations they work in. And law professors and law schools are no different. The retooling of legal education will likely be a slow, painful process that will take the better part of a full generation to complete. I am trying to do my part. 
Yet, the brunt of the demographic shift falls on the licensed bar, which is getting older and thus weaker with each passing year. This is a problem that belongs to the ABA, the state bars, and the state supreme courts, not the legal academy.

Nov. 18, 2014 Update:  For a graphic and more cynical look at this topic, see here

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Experience with "Flipping" the Classroom




Feeling Like a 
Master of the Universe!

As many of you know, I spent the last year in a mastermind business coaching program that has made me comfortable with web-based platforms designed to build communities, deliver content, and market services.  

I have proved that old dogs can learn new tricks.  In fact, this old dog is teaching the new tricks to folks much younger than myself. 

My latest focus is on the "flipped" or "blended" classroom. These classes use the best of on-line education married with more traditional classroom approaches.  

The Instructional Technology blog from Albany Law School provides a number of links to information about the "flipped" classroom.  

Other resources include the following:

  • Sean F. Nolan, Using Distance Learning to Teach Environmental Problem-Solving Skills and Theory, 28 J. Envt'l Law & Litigation 211 (2013).
  • Gerald F. Hess, Blended Courses in Law School: The Best of Online and Face-to-Face Learning, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 51 (2013).
  • Steven C. Bennett, Distance Learning in Law, 38 Seton Hall Legis. J. 1 (2013).
  • Dale Dewhurst, The Case Method, Law School Learning Objectives and Distance Education, 6 Can. Legal Educ. Ann. Rev. 59 (2012).

My Experience with Web-Based Learning 

In May, I launched the first, or one of the first, web-based training courses for mediators.  I called it: Mediation with Heart, Web-Based Training for Change Agents.  

It blends recorded video lectures, with slides; weekly discussions, roleplays, or exercises hosted in a Google Hangout; and several binders of written materials.  Students also read two text books, one of which has additional video resources demonstrating difference aspects of mediation.  Students in that course will complete it by the end of this month.  

While I do not yet have their evaluations of the course, based on their on-going comments, they feel they have gotten a high quality training that prepares them well for mediation practice.  Several have said that the coverage exceeds what they could have gotten in a traditional 40-hour course, squeezed into a week of live training. I agree.   

For one thing, each student received at least three hours of role-play coaching by me.  They will do a final, in-person, mediation that will involve over five hours of observation, coaching, and feedback from me. The live courses cannot provide that type of individualized attention.  Frankly, if I scale the course, I may price those opportunities separately because they are time consuming and do add significant value to the training. 

For a sample of one of my webinars, follow this link.  It discusses confidentiality in mediation.

Flipped Law School Classes

This past semester, I introduced my law students in two skills courses to the video webinar lectures that I created for my summer training course.  I used two of them as make-up classes. After watching them, students completed a quiz or exercise to prove they had absorbed and could apply the lecture material.  They were all especially thankful that we did not need to schedule a make-up class during the busiest part of the semester.  

In my Certified Civil Mediation course, the webinars give me flexibility to focus on skill-building exercises in class. Students can watch the recorded webinars before or after class.  In addition, they have access to content that might be more pertinent once they enter the field -- like skillful ways to provide mediator evaluations.  

Moreover, I am providing links to all the content as added value for those students. Long after students graduate, they will still have access to this recorded content.  They can access it when they face difficult issues as mediators.  

In addition, students who did not take my 2L Dispute Resolution course can access content I discussed in that course after I reintroduce it in the 3L mediation course. Even students who took my 2L course can review that material.  

Other Opportunities for Learning

I've recorded an interview with Bob Creo about "Master Moves" to break impasse in mediation.  I blogged about that webinar here.   I would like to record more interviews with leaders in the field, especially those ADR professionals practicing in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast states.  They are often neglected when others describe the work of mediators.  

I also plan using the video webinars to support the educational program of the Virginia Mediation Network.  Its Board is planning regional educational opportunities in lieu of its traditional spring conference.  

Master of the Universe

When I bought the webinar platform I am using, I felt so empowered!  I could now teach a variety of topics to anyone, any where, at any time.   This is the future, and students want it.  Yes, we need to ensure excellent course design, but clearly the web-based technologies offer opportunities that do not exist in the typical classroom.   

October 19, 2014 Update:  Resource that might be very helpful as I continue to grow this platform. 
For those who need help with video/ audio production for training, there is a free course on Udemy . . . . Videos are short and to the point.
November 2, 2014 Update:  More on the topic here and here

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Memory of Mom


Remembering 
How I Became 
a Teacher

My mom, Jo Ann Drinkwater Young, died of colon cancer this month seventeen years ago.  She was only 61.

Her death caused me to live life with more urgency, intention, and love.

Last week, a family friend sent some photos of her as a teenager that I had not seen before.  She is posing with her best friend, Leotta, shortly before Leotta's wedding.  Mom was seventeen or eighteen years old. 

Even dolled up as the bridesmaid (blue dress on right), she still looks so very young.


She married at eighteen, had four kids by the time she was 24 years old, was always a loving and supportive spouse, and gave me a very happy childhood. Despite her youthful commitment to family, she had an old soul, even as a young mother.

To say I miss her is an understatement.  To say that her death released an energy in me to live the life I wanted would be deeply true.  

As many of you know, I am celebrating my silver jubilee birthday (60th) celebration this year. I am mindful that at the same age, my mom already carried the cancer that would kill her.

Friday, October 10, 2014

60,000 Page Views for The Red Velvet Lawyer






60,000 Page Views

Friends, family, and colleagues:

Another milestone reached! 60,000 page views!

My blogging experience started in March 2013. Like everything, success relates directly to the attention and energy invested in the project.

As I blogged more frequently, built my relationship with other bloggers, got more posts shared by my FB friends, and continued to create content I hoped you would like, page views grew exponentially.

Here is a summary of my experience:

5,000 page views on August 2013.
10,000 page views on November 7, 2013.
15,000 page views on November 27, 2013.
20,000 page views on December 9, 2013.
25,000 page views on January 1, 2014.
50,000 page views on July 17, 2014.
60,000 page views on Oct. 10, 2014.