May 3, 2012

Database of Law School Employment Statistics

Law School Transparency is a legal education policy organization. Their mission is to improve consumer information concerning the value of legal education and to usher in consumer-oriented reforms to the current law school model.

They have recently released a graphical database of employment statistics for all ABA-accredited schools, including Wisconsin.

July 16, 2010

WI Supreme Court Petition Aims to Extend Diploma Privilege to Out-of-state Grads

From the State Bar of Wisconsin News:

A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the "diploma privilege" to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely. Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law.
Read the full article for more.

The Supreme Court has scheduled a public hearing and open administrative conference on the petition for 9:30 a.m. on September 30, 2010.

Free Amazon Shipping for College Students

Amazon is offering a free one year membership to Amazon Prime for college students ($79 value - must have a valid .edu email address).

Amazon Prime membership gives you free 2-day shipping on millions of items - including textbooks! I just successfully signed up as a a law student - I know where I'll be ordering my books this fall.

For more information, see the Amazon Student help page.

Source: Freebies4Mom

March 24, 2010

Wisconsin Diploma Privilege Challenge Dismissed

From WKOW TV news:

State attorneys have settled a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's policy of allowing in-state law students to practice without passing the bar exam.

The state has agreed to pay Corrine Wiesmueller $7,500 to drop the lawsuit.

Wiesmueller and her husband, Christopher, alleged Wisconsin's so-called diploma privilege violates the federal Commerce Clause by giving Wisconsin law students an unfair advantage over out-of-state students, who need to pass the bar before they can practice in Wisconsin.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed the lawsuit.

See the stipulation and order of dismissal.

October 21, 2009

Attorney General Responds to Partial Summary Judgment Motion in Diploma Privilege Suit

From WisBar InsideTrack:

Reminding the federal district court of the need to develop an evidentiary record in the constitutional challenge to Wisconsin's "diploma privilege," the state attorney general criticized the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment and permanent injunctive relief as premature....

The attorney general criticized the plaintiffs for misunderstanding the rationale of the diploma privilege.

"Plaintiffs' contention that Wisconsin violates the Constitution by testing general legal principles on its bar exam is based on the erroneous presumption that only instruction in Wisconsin law justifies the diploma privilege," the attorney general wrote. "From this premise, plaintiffs ask the Court to reach the erroneous conclusion that the bar exam can only test Wisconsin law."

"The premise and the conclusion are wrong," the attorney general argued. "The diploma privilege is only extended to graduates who have completed a curriculum mandated by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which includes instruction in particular legal subject areas, as well as in Wisconsin law, and whose completion of that curriculum has been certified by the deans of the University of Wisconsin or Marquette University law schools."

Accordingly, the attorney general said, the plaintiffs make a second erroneous assumption that all graduates of ABA-accredited law schools have received an identical education. No out-of-state law school is directed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to certify that all of its graduates have successfully completed the curriculum set forth in the supreme court's rules. The attorney general informed the court of its intention to elaborate further on the curricular differences in the course of developing its evidentiary record....

The attorney general noted that in its remand order, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals remarked that the state prevails if the diploma privilege is found to be "at least minimally reasonable." This is because the state's power to regulate admission to the practice of law is subject only to "narrow" constitutional limitation, the attorney general asserted.

"'Minimally reasonable' is a low hurdle," the attorney general said. "The Justices' greater familiarity with graduates of Wisconsin law schools, their greater familiarity with the deans and faculty at these schools, their practical ability to ensure compliance with SCR 40.03's curriculum requirements at those schools, and their greater involvement in educational activities at those schools are alone sufficient to surmount it."

October 12, 2009

Petition Filed with WI Supreme Court Aims to Extend Diploma Privilege to Out-of-State Law School Grads

From the latest edition of WisBar InsideTrack:

Sept. 29, 2009 - A petition filed on Sept. 25 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court aims to extend the "diploma privilege" to graduates of all ABA-approved law schools or abolish it entirely.

Petitioner Steven Levine, a past State Bar of Wisconsin president, and 70 other State Bar members seek to amend SCR 40.03, which exempts from a bar examination requirement those graduates of an ABA-accredited law school whose curriculum includes the specific study of Wisconsin law. Among those State Bar members is Christopher Wiesmueller, the plaintiffs' counsel in a federal class action lawsuit, Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, 07-C-0211, challenging the constitutionality of the diploma privilege.

Read the full article for more.

September 22, 2009

Plaintiff's Brief Filed in Wisconsin's Diploma Privilege Challenge

Last week, plaintiffs filed a brief in their challenge to Wisconsin's "diploma privilege."

From the State Bar of Wisconsin news:

In the newly filed brief, the plaintiffs ask for summary judgment on the question of whether Wisconsin discriminates against interstate commerce when it requires an examination of graduates from out-of-state law schools in subject areas not particular to Wisconsin law. That is, the plaintiffs contest the rationale for administering only to them the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which tests areas of federal and common law.

Specifically, the plaintiffs ask the court to bar Wisconsin from enforcing SCR 40.04(2) which imposes the MBE and counting the MBE toward the requisite passing score on the bar exam. The plaintiffs also seek an injunction against bar examination fees attributable to the MBE and any examination questions testing federal law, the Uniform Commercial Code, or common law principles.

June 9, 2009

The Next Time You Receive a Corrupted File...

The next time you receive a corrupted file from a student, you may want to think twice. Thanks to one of our faculty members for passing this one on:

From Inside Higher Ed: offers a service -- recently noted by several academic bloggers who have expressed concern -- that sells students (for only $3.95, soon to go up to $5.95) intentionally corrupted files.

Why buy a corrupted file? Here's what the site says: "Step 1: After purchasing a file, rename the file e.g. Mike_Final-Paper. Step 2: E-mail the file to your professor along with your 'here's my assignment' e-mail. Step 3: It will take your professor several hours if not days to notice your file is 'unfortunately' corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!!!"

That is truly diabolical! It ranks right up there with The Excused Absence Network: "For about $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals."

April 7, 2009

Article: Law Firms Slash Summer Associate Programs

"Big firms across the country have dramatically cut the number of associates attending their 2009 summer programs, a sign that firms don't expect to see a talent shortage in fall 2010," reports

Many of California's biggest firms have cut the number of associates in their programs compared to last year, some by 30 percent to 50 percent, according to data collected from the National Association of Law Placement.... The 10 largest firms nationwide also have cut their programs by similar amounts.

Industry observers said it's another sign big firms might be backing away -- at least for now -- from the high-leverage staffing models typical of the boom days. Associate-partner ratios have already taken a dive from layoffs and deferrals.

March 31, 2009

Wisconsin 2009 Law School Applications High

Despite the downturn in the economy, or perhaps because of it, applications at Wisconsin's law schools are high for 2009.

According to WisBar, "applications for the entering class of 2009 are up 5 percent over last year at University of Wisconsin Law School, according to Michael Hall, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid."

At Marquette "applications to date are down about 6 percent versus this time a year ago. However, [Sean] Reilly [assistant dean for admissions at Marquette] noted that the number of applications to Marquette in 2008 represented an extraordinary increase of 21 percent over 2007. According to the school's admissions data, Marquette received 2,222 applications for the class entering in 2008. Reilly said applications this year are running approximately 20 percent ahead of the numbers received by this time in 2007."

This story was of particular interest to me since I am one of those law school applicants. I'm pleased to share that I was accepted to the UW Law School and will begin my part time studies in the fall.

March 4, 2009

Social Media Best Practices for Law Schools

The Social Media Law Student has launched a series called Social Media Best Practices for Law Schools. In part one, the author shares her frustrations about her school's stance on social media:

Like other law students, I was told not to blog about law school and to be careful what I posted on that evil place called Facebook. About a month into law school I started following lawyers on Twitter and reading law blogs (a.k.a blawgs). As anyone reading this already knows, participating in Twitter and commenting on blawgs is a hugely beneficial way to meet people and learn about the field. I got pretty upset with my school, and blogged about it (against their advice, of course). As with many rants, I ended up feeling guilty for whining but not offering up any solutions to the problem. So, I emailed the Assistant Dean of my school and let him know how I felt.

To my surprise, he was really receptive and we're now working together on a Social Media Best Practices Guide.

If you're interested in how law schools and students can use technology (esp. social media), I highly recommend following the Social Media Law Student. The site is well designed and features lot of great content.

January 30, 2009

WI Innocence Project Helps Reverse Wrongful Murder Conviction

From UW Madison News:

Robert Lee Stinson, a Milwaukee man convicted of homicide in 1985, is expected to be released from prison today (Jan. 30, 2009) based on new evidence of his innocence.

Stinson's attorneys with the Wisconsin Innocence Project and Milwaukee County District Attorney Norm Gahn have agreed that the new evidence -- consisting of new forensic analysis of bite mark evidence and new exculpatory DNA evidence -- requires setting aside Stinson's conviction. Pending the expected approval of the court, Stinson will walk out the doors of New Lisbon Correctional Institution after 23 years of wrongful incarceration.

January 7, 2009

Survey Measures Students' Law School Experiences

There is an interesting article in today's Chronicle of Higher Education on the results of the 2008 Law School Survey of Student Engagement. The author particularly discusses one section of the report, Computers in the Law School Classroom.

Law-school professors are fed up with students using laptop computers in class to surf to Facebook, eBay, everything but LexisNexis. And some have even banned the distracting machines. But results from a new survey show that an outright ban might not be such a good idea....

When used wisely, laptops can actually enhance student engagement. The survey found that class-related laptop use correlates highly with reported gains in several areas, including critical and analytical thinking.

Other areas of the report include Ethical and Professional Development in Law School and Developing Legal Skills. The full report is available on the survey's Web site.

Source: LexLibris

November 10, 2008

Legal History, Archives Student Essay Contest

The American Association of Law Libraries announces the first annual Morris L. Cohen Student Essay Contest.

Currently enrolled students attending graduate programs in library science, law, history, or related subjects are eligible to enter the competition. Papers may be on any topic related to legal history, rare law books, or legal archives. Papers must be submitted by April 15, 2009.

November 7, 2008

Are Major Changes in Store for the LSAT?


UC-Berkeley School of Law researchers say they have identified tests that could be used along with it to better predict success in the practice of law. And the law school's dean is trying to round up support from other schools to take the research to a national level.

Roughly 10 years have passed since Berkeley law professor Marjorie Shultz set out to find a more complete way to test students for admission to law school. This fall, she and Berkeley psychology professor Sheldon Zedeck have wrapped up their findings in a 100-page report, now available on the law school's Web site. They say the LSAT, with its focus on cognitive skills, does not measure for skills such as creativity, negotiation, problem-solving or stress management, but that they have found promising new and existing tests from the employment context that do.

Thanks to my colleague, Bev Butula for passing this on.

November 4, 2008

62% of Cambridge Law Students Admit to Plagiarism

The Chronicle of Higher Education blog reports that "Half the students at the University of Cambridge have plagiarized, according to results of a survey by Varsity, a student newspaper at the university.... Law students, the newspaper said, broke the rules most often, with 62 percent admitting that they had plagiarized."

In response to the story, Legal Blog Watch asks

So what's up with law students? Is it the training to rely on precedent -- which encourages us to cut and paste quotes and holding from other cases -- that makes law students more prone to plagiarism? Are law students under more stress, and therefore, more tempted to cut corners or cheat? Or does our profession just encourage dishonest actors?

As one commenter points out, the study was taken by UK students and in the UK the study of law is usually undertaken at a much younger age. So it's unclear how accurate an indicator might it be of law students in the US.

April 11, 2008

Video Contest Wants Law Schools to Tell Their Worries

From Law Librarian Blog:

Student lender Access Group has announced a contest entitled "One Less Worry." The contest will award $10,000 to the most deserving video posted on YouTube describing "what law students worry about."

Access Group will select the ten finalists based on "creativity, humor, quality, realism and overall appeal" and and then open up public voting on July 1. Whoever gets the most votes by July 31 will win a $10,000 scholarship for the 2008-2009 academic year.

June 6, 2007

CALI Survey of Law Student Use of Faculty Podcasts

The results of the 2007 CALI Legal Education Podcast survey are now available. (Well, ok - they've been available for a while now and I'm just getting around to posting about them.)

Between March and May of 2007 CALI surveyed law students who took courses in which faculty had podcast lectures as part of the Legal Education Podcasting Project. Some of the more interesting findings included:

  • Although 1.7% of students surveyed did indicate that they attended class less often, the vast majority, 82.5%, attended class the same amount and 5% even indicated that they attended class more often than they would have without the podcast. I've heard that some faculty fear that if podcasted lectures are available, students would skip class knowing that they could listen later. It would seem that this fear is unfounded.
  • More students used portable MP3 players to listen to podcasts than in last year's survey (24% vs. 17%), but the PC was the primary listening device.
  • 75% of students rated podcasts value as EXCELLENT or ABOVE AVERAGE. This is consistent with last year's findings.

March 29, 2007

Article on the Diploma Privilege Debate

The ABA Journal E-report has an interesting article on the debate surrounding the diploma privilege in Wisconsin.

Would-be lawyers who intend to practice in Wisconsin would be well-advised to attend one of the state's two law schools.

That's because Wisconsin is the only state in the country that still allows graduates of its two law schools to be admitted to practice without having to take the bar exam.

But that won't be the case for long, if State Bar of Wisconsin President Steven Levine has his way.

February 12, 2007

Consortium: The Journal of Legal Nonsense

Consortium is a new law journal that "aims to explore the less-than-scholarly side of the law in an entertaining and hopefully humorous way. You're not going to find long diatribes about the recent disposition of some obscure case in some far-off jurisdiction. Instead, the diatribes focus on the social aspect of the law, law school, and lawyering." Source: LexLibris

November 8, 2006

UW Law's Public Interest Law Foundation Students Reach Out at the Library

Spotted on the Madison Public Library What's New blog:
Law School Students Reach Out to People at the Library

On Saturday, November 11 from 9:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m., law students from the UW Public Interest Law Foundation will be available at the Central Library with information about general legal issues.

The law students can 1) provide basic information about the law (common concerns brought up at these table sessions are landlord/tenant, unemployment and family law) and 2) find a referral for a lawyer or an agency that specializes in the appropriate area. The students can not provide opinions or advice as to what people should do in their situation or provide actual representation in court.

The University of Wisconsin Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) is a student run organization committed to supporting law students who want to work in public interest law.

November 3, 2006

The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law on How to Fail as a New Associate

Highly recommended for law students is The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law. This funny guide is dead-on with its tips for new associates.

From Chapter Two, How to Fail as a New Associate:
Pt 6, Who Needs Books? This Handy Computer Will Give Me a Case On Point

If I ask you to help with legal research, and you return a half hour later insisting that there is no case on point, I will know that you did word searches on Lexis instead of doing true research. I will go to the library, skim a treatise, read the descriptions of cases in the digests, read the relevant cases, and find the precedent that we need. I will also think about having some other lawyer help me with my next case.


The UW Law Library's copy is available at KF300 H47 2006

Source: Law Dawg Blawg

July 28, 2006

Thinking of Podcasting a Course? Find Out What Law Students Think

John Mayer of CALI has posted the end-of-semester survey results for the Legal Education Podcasting Project. The survey is on the perceptions of law students enrolled in courses in which the professor also podcast the lectures.

The results are quite interesting. Here are some of the findings:

  • 38.4% of students listened to most or all of the podcasts
  • The majority of students listened to the podcasts on their PCs or laptops - not on an iPod
  • The students were asked if they skipped any classes because they knew the podcast was available. Over 80% said no. Oddly, some students reported attending the podcasted classes more than other classes.
  • 73.8% rated the podcasts at excellent or above average value.

June 1, 2006

"Facing Life: The Retrial of Evan Zimmerman" Premiers Monday on A&E

"Facing Life: The Retrial of Evan Zimmerman," a new true-crime documentary involving the University of Wisconsin Innocence Project will be broadcast on the A&E cable television network on Monday, June 5 from 8-10 p.m. central time.

From the Innocence Project press release:

"Facing Life" documents Zimmerman's decision to face the possibility of life in prison rather than accept an offer of freedom that would falsely brand him as a murderer.

When Zimmerman's former girlfriend, Kathy Thompson, was strangled on her wedding night in February 2000, her husband had a perfect alibi - one that made Evan Zimmerman the perfect suspect. Although Zimmerman proclaimed his innocence and police had no physical evidence against him, Zimmerman was investigated, arrested, convicted, and sent to prison for life.

Three years later - with help from law students and professors at the University of Wisconsin Innocence Project - Zimmerman won a new trial on appeal, and with it a second chance to clear his name. But before the retrial, the prosecution offered him a deal - plead guilty to a lesser charge and go free.

May 15, 2006

Freed With the Help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Chris Ochoa Earns His Law Degree

UPDATE: ABC News selects Chris Ochoa as "Person of the Week"

JS Online has a nice story about University of Wisconsin law student, Chris Ochoa, who this weekend earned his law degree, becoming only the second man in America to be freed from prison by DNA evidence to do so. He was freed from prison in 2001 with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the UW Law School.

The UW Madison News also had a nice piece which reads:

Keith Findley and John Pray, co-directors of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, says Ochoa's journey through the legal system has been remarkable. Pray was Ochoa's lead lawyer.

"Spending years in prison for a crime you didn't commit is a very damaging experience. That Chris was able to get out of prison, complete his undergraduate degree and then make it through law school speaks volumes about his character," Findley says. "We are so lucky to have had Chris as a client, a student - and soon, a colleague in the profession. He has taught us a lot about the criminal justice system, about what it means to be a lawyer, and about how to handle overwhelming adversity with strength, grace and compassion."

February 6, 2006

Law Libraries According to Law Student Bloggers

"I'm finding it hard to imagine that there's 45 minutes of stuff to see in the library. Unless they're going to have us shelve books, or complete a short research assignment while we're there," wrote one law student blogger of first year library orientations tours.

Understanding law student attitudes and behavior is key to sucessfully marketing the law library. Fortunately, as Rob Hudson of St. Thomas University School of Law writes, "many law students record their feelings as they progress through law school in Blawgs intended to inform their peers, but they also provide a wealth of information and amusement for librarians."

Law Students Write About Law Libraries (or, What Students Really Think: A Survey of Student Blawgs) is the article by Mr. Hudson that appears in the latest version of the ALL-SIS Newsletter. Highly recommended for academic law librarians.