Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Energy Sector Mediation

Best Mediator?  Best Approach?

Interesting post on the use of mediation in energy-related disputes. Frames the debate about substantive expertise vs. process/people skills and about evaluative mediation that can drift into ethically impermissible legal advice. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

School Issues Follow-up Press Release

Strongly Committed to its Mission

Last night, Jackie Pruitt, Director of Admissions issued the following press release, which elaborates on the changes the law school is experiencing. I've added links to topics I've covered as The Red Velvet Lawyer.

For Immediate Release

Jackie Pruitt
Director of Admissions
276-935-4349, ext. 1245



As the Appalachian School of Law anticipates smaller incoming class sizes in the fall, the Board of Trustees remains committed to offering quality legal education, promoting the school’s nationally recognized educational programs, maintaining a strong community, supporting the school’s alumni, and providing the region with practice-ready lawyers. 

Grundy, Virginia.  March 22, 2014 -  The school’s Director of Admissions, Jackie Pruitt, shed additional light on the subject, saying:

While the smaller overall class size is a reflection of the economy, we see this as an opportunity to refocus, reorganize, and regroup to strengthen our school offerings and serve our students for the long-term.  We do anticipate a smaller class next year, which is in line with the national landscape for law school admissions. 
The current national projections show a 10% decrease in applicants from last year, which was the third consecutive yearly decline.  Appalachian School of Law is institutionally strong and is backed by a committed Board of Trustees. 
Appalachian School of Law’s admissions team is fielding inquiries from qualified regional candidates and will continue to do so over the next six months of the enrollment cycle.  Historically, a large percentage of students are recruited during this period making it difficult to predict accurate final enrollment numbers. 
The Admissions Office and Admissions Committee will continue to be selective as we invite the prospective students whom we feel our school is best equipped to serve and who are most likely to thrive and grow as contributing members of our close-knit community.
Appalachian School of Law will continue to support its current students in fostering a unique and intimate learning environment unmatched by other area law schools.  Small class sizes allow deeper discussion and collegiality, experiential and clinical learning opportunities, as well as increased opportunities for leadership positions with the law reviews, in student government, in other student organizations, and on the moot court, mock trial, and ADR competition teams.    

In planning for the future success of the Appalachian School of Law, the Board, administration, and faculty are building a Natural Resources Law program that will rival any similar program found east of the Mississippi River.  The school is also creating a Public Health Law program.  With the two programs, Appalachian School of Law will graduate students with degrees sought by high-demand industries. 

We are also partnering with a marketing specialist to strengthen the school’s identity, promote its nationally recognized programs, and attract students who will excel at Appalachian School of Law.  Those students are often first generation college graduates, people with professional degrees, and traditional blue-collar workers looking to transition into white-collar positions.  The students Appalachian School of Law serves best are those who value the personal touch of establishing close relationships with professors.  They will also return to their home towns to provide much needed legal services in small firms and will serve as leaders and public servants in their communities.

Appalachian School of Law’s mission is to provide practice-ready lawyers with strong problem-solving skills and a deep sense of professional responsibility.   It assists students in realizing their dreams by providing one-on-one academic support, tutoring, and the preparation needed to successfully pass the bar exam. 

Appalachian School of Law will continue to support its alumni and is proud of the accomplishments and work its alumni are doing to serve their local communities across the region and nationwide.  ASL alumni hold positions as trial judges, state legislators, prosecutors, and public defenders.  They are partners at major area law firms, work in many positions tied to energy production, and provide legal services to underserved populations across all demographic and socio-economic categories, especially in Appalachia.  Access to justice in the region depends on Appalachian School of Law’s continued success, an issue its Board, administration, and faculty take seriously. 

Appalachian School of Law’s faculty, staff, and students have given over 150,000 community service hours to the local community, and the law school is proud to be the recipient of U.S. Presidential Community Service awards.  ASL regularly participates in the service programs of a battered womens’ shelter, FIRST Lego League robotics competitions for grade school students, Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children, free tax preparation for low-income families, and the Wounded Warrior Project.  Students and faculty members have developed area hiking trails, stocked local food pantries, provided Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic support for ill and injured Appalachians, served as volunteer firemen, and helped convert a local animal shelter into a no-kill shelter.  In addition, ASL students tutor local children and support children’s outreach projects.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Moot Court Team Reaches Quarterfinals

Appalachian School of Law Team
Among Top 8 Teams 

Amanda Coop and Amanda Kash entered the quarterfinals today as the #1 seed in the 38th Annual Robert F. Wagner Labor and Employment Law Competition held March 19–23, 2014.

They had to argue off-brief, and so, while they performed extremely well, they did not advance to the semi-finals. 

We are very proud of them.  Out of 46 teams, they made the top 8! 

A special thanks to assistant coaches Nick Kalagian and Jason Morgan who worked hard this weekend keeping the team focused and prepared.

Each spring, the New York Law School Moot Court Association administers the Robert F. Wagner National Labor & Employment Law Moot Court Competition in honor of the late U.S. Senator and distinguished alumnus. The competition is the nation’s largest student-run moot court competition and the premier national competition dedicated exclusively to labor and employment law. For over 30 years, schools from across the country have competed in this prestigious event.

Videos of the final round arguments will appear here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Public Service Jobs Make Happier Lawyers

The Mission of the Appalachian School of Law Sets up Grads for Happier Lives

A new study reported today in the ABA Journal Law News Now reports that money and prestigious jobs obtained after graduating from a higher ranked school do not lead to happier lives as lawyers. 
The survey measured lawyers’ “subjective well-being,” a combination of life satisfaction and mood. More than 7,800 bar members in four states responded to the survey; the study focused on about 6,200 who provided complete data and said they worked as lawyers, judges or in related positions. 
The survey found that lawyers in “prestige” jobs, who had the highest grades and incomes, aren’t as happy as lawyers working in public-service jobs for substantially lower pay. Judges, however, were happiest of all. 
“Prestige” jobs included lawyers working in firms of more than 100 lawyers and those working in areas such as corporate, tax, patent, securities, estate-planning and plaintiff’s tort law. Public-service lawyers included legal-aid lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and in-house lawyers for nonprofits.

The study also found:
  • Married lawyers were happier than others, as were lawyers with children.
  • There was “an almost meaningless correlation” between lawyer well-being and graduating from a higher-tier law school.
  • Those who exercised regularly reported greater well-being than others. Practicing yoga and tai chi, however, was not related to well-being.
The study concludes:
These data consistently indicate that a happy life as a lawyer is much less about grades, affluence, and prestige than about finding work that is interesting, engaging, personally meaningful, and is focused on providing needed help to others. . . . 
The data therefore also indicate that the tendency of law students and young lawyers to place prestige or financial concerns before their desires to "make a difference" or serve the good of others will undermine their ongoing happiness in life.

These findings are very good news for graduates of ASL.  As I have noted in other posts, ASL's mission emphasizes community service, public service, and leadership

As my series on distinguished alumni shows, many of our grads quickly assume public service positions designed to help others and make a difference.   

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Great Gold Mastermind Retreat in Asheville

Big City Food, Big City Shopping, Big City Wine, Big City Colleagues

Just spent two days with the fabulous women (and men) who are growing heart-centered businesses with the help of business coach, Christine Kane

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bridge to Practice Programs at Appalachian School of Law

New Experiential Learning Programs

As part of our practice-ready, experiential curriculum, we are adding two bridge-to-practice components. Here is how Professor Derrick Howard describes them.
Beginning in the summer of 2014, the Appalachian School of Law will unveil its Bridge to Practice Fellowship Program. This Program has two distinct aspects vital to the maturation of future practitioners: mentoring and training. 
The mentoring component links first-year law students with upper classmen to impart a greater understanding of the rigors of law school. ASL alumni are also paired with upper classmen to prepare them for life as attorneys upon graduation.

The second aspect of this Program involves the placement of rising second-year students and recent ASL graduates in internships and fellowships with legal providers whose services complement ASL’s educational concentrations in Natural Resources Law and Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution. 
Approximately 10 fellowships for ASL graduates will be created in the areas of Natural Resources (7), Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution (2) and with the Judiciary (1 with the retired judges in the 28th, 29th, and 30th Judicial Circuits of Virginia encompassing southwest Virginia).

Students who are interested in obtaining a paid internship or fellowship are placed at a site for 8-12 weeks. The Fellows are paid by the site at a rate to be determined at the time of the placement. However, the average pay ranges from $15 to $20 per hour. 
This Program is open to rising second-year law students on a competitive basis and the most recent ASL law students who graduate in good standing with a GPA that places the student in the top 25% of his or her class. Consistent with ABA Standards, academic credit is not available to students or recent graduates who receive monetary compensation in conjunction with this placement.

The Bridge to Practice Fellowship Program provides students who will soon graduate from ASL, as well as recent graduates with career development and financial support while the students continue to build their professional experience and network. The goal is to leverage post-graduate work experience as part of a broad job search to secure full-time employment. 
The Program is effective because Fellows continue to develop subject matter expertise in a targeted field; develop professional relationships and references; and broaden networks for full-time employment. 
The Fellowship is particularly valuable for students who intend to launch full-time careers with employers that prefer or require bar passage and employers that otherwise hire only as positions become available.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Opposite of Success is not Failure

Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets

Today, Tom Asacker provides a nice discussion of why the opposite of success is not failure. Instead, failure leads to success because it gives us lessons, insights, and opportunities to change. With that new information, we are better positioned to succeed.  He suggests that failure leads to success in the same way that exercise leads to fitness.  

A second blogger today discussed the criteria Google uses to hire employees.  It looks for three things: cognitive processing and problem-solving on the fly; emergent leadership; and a sense of responsibility that leads to humility and ownership.  

Both posts reminded me of the book I read last month by Carol S. Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford psychologist, called: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success -- How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential (2007).  

It describes two mindsets -- fixed and growth.

The publisher describes the theme of the book as this:

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem [or] lead to [long-term] accomplishment.  [Instead,]. . .  it may actually jeopardize success. 
With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.
For me, the book helped me understand why some of my students may struggle in law school, or why they did not have the LSAT scores and GPAs they needed to get into a better ranked law school. 

It may also explain why some of our students struggle to pass the bar exam.  I know we give them the substantive knowledge and skills they need to succeed.  But, perhaps even small failures seem devastating to their self-images and self-esteem.  Resiliency may be at the heart of the problem.   

The book also forced me to catch when I am not fully committed to a "growth" mindset -- either for myself or for my students.  It has changed the way I offer praise to others and talk to myself.  

I strongly recommend it -- especially to parents, teachers, and coaches. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Using HARO as a Way to Showcase Your Expertise

Help a Reporter & Voila, Instant Marketing

Dustin Christensen, writing at the blawg called -- the law practices survival guide, describes a relationship -- through Help Out A Reporter (HARO) -- lawyers can establish with reporters to showcase their expertise and, as a by-product, gain some free marketing. For more information, check out this post.

When I viewed the website, it offers paid subscription packages, but also "Basic Free" opportunities delivered to your inbox, three times a day.  I assume Dustin was describing this free relationship.

Be sure to read the comments to the post.  They are interesting, too. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Reading List for Freaks

Entrepreneurs as Freaks?

Chris Brogan, whose blog I follow daily, is promoting his latest book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators. 

He also offered this reading list "for freaks" that looks very interesting. 
Ender’s Game. Forget the movie. This is how to think differently.
Escape from Cubicle Nation. A classic. A must.
Everything I Know – if you know Paul Jarvis, he’s a freak. No really.
Everything that Remains. If you’re not following the Minimalists, you need to rectify that.
Choose Yourself. Not only is James Altucher quoted and interviewed frequently in relationship to this book, he’s one of the most successful freaks I know.
Unlabel. Learn to be a freak from one who has made over a billion dollars from being himself.
I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. Still have to work for the man? Kate White’s brilliant. She’s a ninja of what to know.
The In Between. Not sure anyone’s ever called Jeff Goins a freak. He is. Best of ways.
Die Empty. I told Todd Henry I hated the title to this book. Like a lot of things in life, Todd is right and I’m wrong. I love Todd Henry. I kind of stalk him.

Reinventing the Law and Legal Practice

How Lawyers Can Respond 
to a 
More Demanding, More Competitive Legal Market

Kandy Hopkins, at the Attorney at Work blawg, has nicely pulled together some of the presentations, commentary, and reviews of the conference in New York on the topic of reinventing the practice of law. I've blogged on this topic here, herehere, here, and here.

Kandy's overview says:
The daylong conference in New York City gathered more than 800 attendees who watched nearly 40 speakers, in an event “devoted to law, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the legal services industry.” The word on the web from those who attended? While the conference didn’t answer exactly how or when technology will transform the legal industry, it did offer two things not often seen in the industry: hope and possibilities. Here’s some scoop on more things bloggers and others are sharing about the conference and its innovation theme.
She then organizes links into five categories:

1.  The highlight reel.
2.  Focus on clients. 
3. "Tiny law" gets a spotlight.
4.  Not all was golden (or new).
5. Change is possible.

I'll be spending many hours opening those links and digesting the material.  We are in the midst of a revolution.  Ready or not, here it comes!

March 2, 2014 Update:  And, this infograhic sums up so very much about the revolution.