Excellence in Legal Research Summer Classes

Did you know that 35% of what a lawyer does in the first two years of practice is legal research?   Studies also show that the majority of those hiring new attorneys see new associates’ research skills as lacking or severely lacking.

The award winning Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech Law is a great way to strengthen your research skills before you enter the legal profession.  If you are currently a 1L or a 2L, it is still possible to complete the ten courses that will give you a bright spot on your resume and a leg up on those applying for the jobs you want.

This summer, we are offering THREE classes (see below).  Contact Alyson Drake, the Coordinator of the ELR program, at alyson.drake@ttu.edu to sign up for the classes, and keep your eyes open in August for the fall schedule.

ELR Single-Sided Flyer -- Summer 2016

Blue and Green Book Survival Skills on Wednesday, May 25th from 5:30-8:30pm (a great way to get ready to serve on a law journal or to brush up on your skills before your summer job starts)

Texas Statutory Materials on Wednesday, June 8th from 5:30-8:30pm

Federal Legislative History on Friday, July 8th from 2:00-5:00pm

Sign up today!

 

Laptops in the Classroom

The most recent in a string of articles discussing the effects of laptops in the classroom was recently published in the Winter 2016 volume of The National Jurist. The study referenced in the article, entitled “The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of coffee-apple-iphone-laptopLonghand Over Laptop Note Taking,” compared performance between students taking their notes by hand versus those who typed their notes. The study concluded that, while the efficiency of typing appeals to many students, computers are a detriment to student absorption of information.

According to another study by the University of Louisville Law Review, nearly 90 percent of students using laptops during a class are engaging in online activities unrelated to the class at some point during class—whether it be email, instant messaging, shopping, or checking out their fantasy football league standings. But, even when internet is not an option and they are just using their laptops for note taking purposes, their learning may still be impaired because they are not processing the information. By taking handwritten notes, students are forced to listen carefully and analyze what the most important pieces of information are. This process is called “encoding” and is the key to cementing learning—and it doesn’t happen when students are just transcribing what the professor says.

So should we ban all laptops? Not necessarily. Some classes make use of technology during class and many students get nervous trying to take notes without their computers. However, it might be worth informing students that they may be doing a disservice to themselves by choosing to use their computers in the classroom.

Confer With Librarians For Optimal Student Success

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae blog offered advice to faculty about who they should talk to on campus for optimal student success.

The author notes how graduate students are expected to jump into the classroom autonomously once they are hired as faculty. But this autonomy does not mean that faculty should not confer with other professionals on campus to provide a comprehensive educational experience.

The first set of professional listed are the librarians:

If you haven’t spent a good few hours going over your syllabi with a librarian trained in your subject area, you’re shortchanging your course and your students (and yourself). Librarians keep up with the technology in your field. They know the campus holdings and can order better texts for you if they know what you’re teaching.

Librarians can offer even more help if you give them a heads-up about what your assignments are going to be. They can pull relevant texts from the stacks and hold them on reserve for your course. They can come to your classroom and talk about which sources are available and how to judge their quality. They can suggest assignments and let you know about resources you may not have seen yet. And they can be a great help if you have to miss a class–they can work with your students in the library that day or in your classroom to keep them on track with whatever assignment you’ve given while you’re away at that conference.

Librarians live to help. And they’ll be able to help your class do much better work if you’ve taken the time to share your syllabus, your assignments, and your ideas with them.

The author goes on to list academic advisors, student affairs staff, registrar, financial aid, and veterans’ affairs professionals as others for faculty to confer with. As noted, “get out there and talk to people across your campus, in all kinds of jobs. Who knows? You might make a friend. And you’ll definitely make yourself a more effective faculty member.”

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Expand your horizons with educational YouTube channels

Happy Thanksgiving!

For most of my life, educational programming on TV was limited to a few well-tested formats: Documentaries based on a particular format of photos or video with a narrator and talking heads, or children’s programming. Because of the cost of operating a station, educational programming was limited to public broadcasting or the depths of extended cable. Today, once edutainment-driven channels like TLC and the History Channel now feature shows about child beauty pageants, giant families, pawn shops, and fishermen. It’s fortunate, then, that YouTube has risen to more than cover our needs.

Continue reading “Expand your horizons with educational YouTube channels”

Texas Tech Law School Faculty Update and Law Practice Technology CLE, October 22-23

Next Thursday and Friday, the Texas Tech Law School and Law Library will host the 10th Annual Law School Faculty Update and 2nd Annual Law Practice Technology CLE events. Previously, these were separate events, but have been combined this year. The event is free of charge, with an option lunch purchase for Friday.

Thursday afternoon, the Law School Faculty Update will open with a presentation from TTU Law Dean Darby Dickerson on Mobile Devices and Attorney Ethics, followed by talks on Cross-Examination tactics and Legal Ethics from Professors Dustin Benham and Larry Spain, respectively.

On Friday morning, the Law Practice Technology event will begin with a panel on current issues in Law Practice Technology, then move into Librarian Marin Dell’s presentation on Social Media and legal ethics. Professor Donnie Yandell will discuss ways to make your practice more efficient using office technology, then Librarian Joshua Pluta will discuss cryptocurrency and what it means for lawyers. Then, Librarian Jamie Baker will present on email ethics, before lunch and the keynote speaker, Craig Ball, a nationally-known expert on eDiscovery, digital forensics, and electronic evidence.

The Friday afternoon portion of the Faculty Update will complete the event, with Professor Jarrod Gonzalez providing an update to Texas Employment Law and Professor Terri Morgeson providing the Texas Family Law Legislative Update.

Those interested can register online by Friday, October 16. Attendees will not be turned away at the door, but lunch will only be available with preregistration. More information on the CLE event can be found on the event website.

Lawyers Say Legal Research Skills are Very Important

BAR/BRI has released the first of what it intends to be an annual survey on the “State of the Legal Field.” The objective is to “evaluate industry perceptions about the state of the legal field,” establishing benchmarks related to student practice readiness, employment expectations, employment trends, and law degree return on investment. Faculty, law students, and practitioners were surveyed.

As one law library director noted, “[m]ost telling for [law librarians], I think, is “key finding #2.” Key finding number 2 of the report noted that:

“Faculty placed very little importance on research, with just 4 percent citing it as the most important skill for recent law school graduates. In contrast, 18 percent of attorneys named research the most important skill a new lawyer should possess.

This survey conveys similar information as a survey from 2013 that said that:

  • Newer attorneys spend more than 30% of their time doing legal research
  • Approximately 50% of associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum

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