Boston Marathon Bomber Trial and Allocation of Decision-making issues

This blog post from the “Best Practices for Legal Education” blog and the accompanying comments do a nice job of framing an “allocation of decision-making” issue:

OTHERWISE: Judge Rakoff Speaks Out at Harvard Conference: Full Speech | Big Law Business

by Jed Rakoff, D.J. (SDNY)
“…Of course, even lawyers devoted to the Fourth Principle may have different views as to what societal issues are of such central concern that lawyers should feel a professional responsibility to speak out about them. Nevertheless, I want to suggest one such issue, and I submit that it is one that is so deeply connected to the administration of law that even a Whitney North Seymour would have no difficulty seeing it as an appropriate subject for bar association resolutions and the like: and that is the issue of mass incarceration in our country today.

via OTHERWISE: Judge Rakoff Speaks Out at Harvard Conference: Full Speech | Big Law Business.

Discussion of California proposed ethics opinion on e-discovery and the duty of competence

by Prof. Alberto Bernabe
As you know by now, I am sure, the comment to Model Rule 1.1 on competence has been amended to state that the duty of competence includes the duty to be knowledgeable about “technology.”   And that probably includes “e-discovery.”Enter California’s Proposed Formal Opinion 11-0004, a proposed opinion, not yet adopted by the rules committee, that discusses the issues that arise when an attorney who doesn’t know anything about e-discovery suddenly finds himself facing e-discovery problems that have crept into his case. It suggests that litigators should have minimal competence in e-discovery and may be violating their duty of competence if they do not either become competent or bring in someone who is competent.  Go here for a discussion of this important Opinion.

via OTHERWISE: Professional Responsibility Blog: Discussion of California proposed ethics opinion on e-discovery and the duty of competence.

PR Last Day of Class Review – Group Exercise

My PR class @ Wake Forest this semester was front-loaded, ending before the MPRE. For our final class review, I tried a new group activity that worked very well.  (We do lots of group work and projects in my flipped class.)

First, I prepared four sets of high-level review questions, with a focus not on the ticky-tacky details of the Rules, but on reviewing/connecting broader topics and issues.  Each set had six questions.  During our in-person, face-to-face class, I divided our class of about 50 students into 8 groups, with 6-7 people per group.  I named the groups Team A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, C-1, C-2, D-1, and D-2.

Teams A-1 and A-2 received the same set of questions, as did B-1 and B-2, C-1 and C-2, and D-1 and D-2.  I then asked the Teams to select the one question that the Team could agree was the hardest.  Team A-1 then gave Team A-2 their question to answer, and vice versa.

As always, I circulated the class while the Teams were working and answered questions, engaged the students, and raised issues.  We then reviewed as a class those questions that were selected.  I was very interested to discover that no teams selected the same question as the “hardest.”

The students’ feedback after class indicated that this was a very helpful exercise for several reasons: (1) giving them a sense of “bigger picture” ideas before the exam (and MPRE); (2) making connections they had not previously recognized; (3) building confidence in the areas in which they felt proficient at the time; and (4) providing a set of questions for review and thought before the exam.  I plan to use this exercise again.

I’m happy to share the question sets to any who are interested; feel free to email me: