Archive for January, 2020

January 28, 2020

Joseph’s Book Named One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2020

Professor Lawrence Joseph’s forthcoming book, A Certain Clarity: Selected Poems, has been named by Lit Hub as one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2020:

larry joseph photo

In a year full of handy new selections and long overdue returns, the poetic event of 2020 ought to be the publication of Lawrence Joseph’s A Certain Clarity. Raised the son of a Lebanese-American grocer in Detroit, he grew up in that city’s riots, then studied English Literature at Cambridge and law at Michigan. Moved to New York at the height of the 1980s wealth creation. Walking the city’s streets, he has been a Virgil in our psychotically greedy times. He hears and sees New York City with a gumshoe’s love and an outsider’s ear for pain. Reading through these poems, which date back to the 1970s, it’s clear Joseph was a moralist before it was fashionable, deeply tuned to justice because he had lived through its opposite. As an Arab-American, he has watched as one after another U.S. government propped up, patronized, and undercut regimes throughout the Middle East. The range of his voice is simply awesome. He can speak low, and with a painterly attention to light; he sings love songs of marriage and the solitude of two; and when he’s angry, he can weave a seething prosody that’d make Blake wonder if the angels he saw were demons. In our sinister times, nothing coming out this year, from America or elsewhere, will make such good companion reading to those wondering if the world really is on fire. Would that our times were not catching up so bleakly with Joseph’s clear vision.”—John Freeman, Lit Hub Executive Editor 

January 27, 2020

Roberts Appointed Fellow on Criminal Justice Task Force, Presents at Connecticut Faculty Workshop & ABA-AALS Roundtables, and Receives Accolades for Two Articles

Professor Anna Roberts has been appointed as a Fellow for the inaugural year of the Justice Collaborative Institute, a new criminal justice task force.


In addition, Professor Roberts’ article, Arrests as Guilt, was named a “must-read” for courts and practitioners by the Advisory Board of the Getting Scholarship into Court Project. Another article, Convictions as Guilt, was featured in the blog of the John Howard Society of Canada, an organization that aims to “understand and respond to problems of crime and the criminal justice system.”

Finally, Professor Roberts presented a work-in-progress, Victims, Right?, at the University of Connecticut School of Law’s Faculty Workshop and at the ABA-AALS Criminal Justice Section’s Academic Roundtables. Here is the abstract:

In criminal contexts, the predominant legal definition of “victim” is someone who has been harmed by a crime. Yet in many legal contexts the word “victim” appears before the adjudication of whether a crime has occurred. Each U.S. state guarantees “victims’ rights,” including some that apply pre-adjudication; ongoing “Marsy’s Law” efforts seek to expand and constitutionalize them nationwide. In the courtroom, all relevant players—judges, prosecutors, witnesses, defense attorneys—use “victim” in contexts in which the existence or not of crime (and thus of a crime victim) is the very thing to be decided. This usage matters in part because of its possible consequences: like other language uses, it conditions its audience to downplay the adjudicative process. Language reform efforts do not solve the problem, however: the prevalence of this usage, particularly when seen in tandem with usages such as the widespread pre-adjudication use of “offender,” springs from widely-shared impulses that will outlast any language reform. When channeled into a criminal system those impulses will recur as pre-judgments of crime, in ways that threaten defendants’ constitutional protections. But we can frame and channel them in a more hopeful way. Perhaps we turn prematurely to the word “victim” in part because of impulses, upon hearing of harm, rapidly to acknowledge and decry it; perhaps we rush to “offender” because of a concomitant desire for accountability and answers. Abolitionist work suggests that there are ways—better ways­—to meet those impulses beyond our criminal system.

January 24, 2020

Montana’s Article to be Published in the Ohio Northern University Law Review

Professor Patricia Montana’s article, Getting It Right by Writing it Wrong: Embracing Faulty Reasoning as a Teaching Tool, which she co-authored with Elyse Pepper, has been accepted for publication in The Ohio Northern University Law Review.

Patricia Montana

Below is an abstract of the article:

In the early days of legal writing, legal writing professors use exercises that have clear “right” answers. The rules are very simple and their meaning, even without looking at the cases, is usually clear. So, the “right” answer is often obvious. Indeed, it’s intuitive. Though these exercises give students a sense of accomplishment and allow them to track achievement and understand success and failure, in some ways, they reinforce a common problem in first-year law students: their inability to see beyond the surface of a legal rule. Therefore, after the most preliminary assignments, when the meaning of the general rule is not easily discernible and the “right” answer is counter-intuitive, students usually get the answer “wrong” because they neglect all but the most obvious analysis.

This Article describes a non-traditional approach to teaching legal analysis and writing—one that focuses on the process over the conclusion and encourages students to embrace their faulty reasoning as a way to get it “right.” The Article details an exercise that essentially lets the students hold on to the wrong answer when they re-work an assignment, allowing them to discover the right one on their own. It is an exercise that students, unless they go beyond the most glaring analysis, will get wrong. In the end, the process of writing it wrong to get it right is one of the most transformative learning experiences for law students in the first year of legal analysis and writing.

January 23, 2020

Salomone Quoted in University World News

Professor Rosemary Salomone was extensively quoted in an article that appeared on January 13th in University World News.

Rosemary Salomone

The article, “Broader Horizons – Universities Switch to Bachelor Degree,” addresses Morocco’s announcement that it is switching from the Licence, Master, Doctorat (LMD), commonly used in Francophone countries, to the bachelor degree system used in the Anglophone world. Professor Salomone maintains that the shift is not surprising. Morocco has been veering towards English and the Anglophone sphere for decades, despite its French and Arabic ties. In just the past year, the government has taken key steps, including a suggested ten year time frame for introducing English instruction in the schools, and the hiring of a new delegate minister of higher education with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas who formerly headed up the predominantly English Al Akahawyn University in Ifrane. She notes that the wounds of French colonization still run deep among many Moroccans, while English holds high global capital as compared to Arabic. The government, moreover, is looking to position itself within the African continent and in the global economy. The changes could further expand trans-national opportunities for students, faculty, and research. Underneath the plans and expectations, she says, remains the fundamental question of how best to remedy the high rates of university dropouts and youth unemployment.
January 22, 2020

Whetstone and Boyle Present at Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop

On December 13, Professors Kayonia Whetstone and Robin Boyle co-presented at the Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop held at Rutgers Law School Newark.  The theme of the workshop was “The Pros and Cons of New Technology.”

The workshop drew legal writing scholars from around the country and helped to stimulate ideas about the effective use of technology in teaching legal writing. Professor Whetstone gave a multi-media presentation modeling her use of PowerPoint and videos to assist students in crafting, explaining, and applying criminal statutes related to a writing assignment. She also presented on how to effectively use an interactive polling platform to assess students’ learning.

Professor Boyle presented on making photographs and videos impactful. On the theme that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, she showed a photograph of upper-level students at work in our Child Advocacy clinic, previously shared with her 1Ls who were writing memos on a related topic.  Professor Boyle also showed a video clip of a deposition, which she had previously shared with her first-year class, to impress upon first-year students the practice-side of the cases they were reading for their memos. To assist audience members, Prof. Boyle demonstrated time-efficient grading practices. The joint presentation garnered praise from the audience and initiated a fruitful discussion about the effective use of technology in today’s classroom.

January 21, 2020

West Publishes Sovern’s Consumer Law Casebook and More

West Academic Publishing published the fifth edition of the Consumer Law casebook Professor Jeff Sovern co-authors with Professors Dee Pridgen and Christopher L. Peterson.

Jeff Sovern

West also published the 2019 edition of the trio’s Selected Consumer Statutes. West will shortly issue the accompanying Teacher’s Manual.
Sovern also served as co-moderator for the discussion on consumer protection at the Public Citizen/American Constitution Society Convening on Access to Justice Issues on November 1. In addition, Sovern was quoted in an August 10 article in the Wall Street JournalThat Offer to Make You Debt-Free? It Can Make You Worse Off and in an August 27 Bloomberg Law article, Appeals Court Throws Wrench Into CFPB Debt Collection Rewrite.
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