Archives for the month of: January, 2014

Inside Higher Ed today featured a very funny trend on Twitter. It’s entitled; “#SixWordPeerReview” and the posts are hilarious. Enjoy.

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I received notice of writing competition today and want to share it with you.

National Association of Women Lawyers® 2014 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition

 

The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)® is a national voluntary legal professional organization whose mission is the advancement of women in the legal profession and women’s rights. Since 1899, NAWL has served as an educational forum and active voice for the concerns of women lawyers in this country and abroad. NAWL continues to support and advance the interests of women in and under the law, and in so doing, supports and advances the social, political, and professional empowerment of women. Through its programs and networks, NAWL provides the tools for women in the profession to advance, prosper and enrich the profession. NAWL has established the annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law. The rules for the competition can be found here.

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Thanks to my friend Troy Price for this lovely surprise.

Recently CNN ran a story entitled, “Why are lawyers killing themselves?” The story really struck a nerve and was posted and shared by colleagues and friends on social media and by email. Fortunately, the story also generated a good deal of discussion and interaction. As a follow up to those conversations, I’d like share some of the resources specifically targeted towards, and available for lawyers, judges and their families.

At the national level:

“The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs has the mandate to educate the legal profession concerning alcoholism, chemical dependencies, stress, depression and other emotional health issues, and assist and support all bar associations and lawyer assistance programs in developing and maintaining methods of providing effective solutions for recovery.”

The Commission, referred to as COLAP, serves as a resource for the bench and bar, providing training, research and referrals to the various state entities (In 2007, the Arkansas JLAP program hosted the national COLAP conference).

The Arkansas Supreme Court established the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program in December, 2000:

“There is hereby established a state-wide lawyer assistance program to be known as Arkansas Lawyer Assistance Program (or “ALAP”) which shall provide immediate and continuing help to lawyers and judges (hereinafter “members of the legal profession”) who suffer from physical or mental disabilities that result from disease, substance abuse, disorder, trauma, or age and that impair their ability to practice or serve.

“B. Purpose. ALAP has three purposes:

(1) to protect the interests of clients, litigants, and the general public from harm caused by impaired lawyers or judges;

(2) to assist impaired members of the legal profession to begin and continue recovery; and

(3) to educate the bench and bar to the causes of and remedies for impairments affecting members of the legal profession.”

Participation in the JLAP program is confidential per Rule 10, and the program is available to Arkansas’ judges, lawyers, and their family members. In addition, the Arkansas Supreme Court extended the scope of the program to permanently include law students within the coverage of the program. Of particular relevance to the above cited CNN story, Arkansas JLAP has been conducting volunteer trainings this year on the specific topic of suicide awareness and prevention. Washington County colleagues, there will be a JLAP presentation on March 4th at the Washington County Bar meeting. I hope to see you there. For more information on the JLAP program or trainings in your area, please contact Arkansas JLAP at: 501.907.2529 or Confidential@arjlap.org.

Recently, the Arkansas Bar Association sent out an email highlighting an important request from the Arkansas Supreme Court. Because of the significance of this issue, I am sharing the full text of the email immediately below:

 

Per the Arkansas Bar Association Legislative Update:

 

The debate in the Spring 2013 session of the Arkansas General Assembly over the rule making authority for the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and recent cases involving issues of damages and liability in civil litigation gave rise to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s creation of the Special Task Force on Practice and Procedure in Civil Cases to review and/or revise the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure. 

 

The Task Force was appointed on August 2, 2013 in a per curiam cited as 2013 Ark 303.The Task Force issued its final report by December 31st, 2014 and the Supreme Court has issued a per curiam opinion, In Re Special Task Force on Practice and Procedure in Civil Cases.

One issue remains and will be addressed by the Task Force in a supplemental report: “The issue is whether to include in Ark. R. Evid. 702 a ‘same specialty’ requirement for experts in actions for medical injury.”

A 60-day public comment period began January 14, 2014. The proposed changes are in the following rules:

ARK. R. CIV. P. 3. Commencement of Action: “Clerk” Defined; Separate Actions and Filing Fees; Notice of Medical Injury.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 9. Pleading Special Matters.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 11. Signing of Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Sanctions.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 11.1. Actions for Medical Injury; Certificate of Expert Consultation.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 42. Consolidation; Separate Trials.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 49. Verdicts and Interrogatories.

ARK. R. CIV. P. 52. Findings by the Court.

Ark. R. App. P.-Civ. 8. Stay Pending Appeal.

 

You may send comments to the Clerk of Courts via mail to:

Attn: Clerk of the Courts

625 Marshall Street

Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

 

Or via email to Les Steen or Stephanie Harris.

 

Each attorney is encouraged to take this opportunity to participate.

The ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has issued a draft of a protocol for reviewing graduate employment data reported by ABA-approved law schools. It is available here. The draft was prepared in collaboration with Duff & Phelps, an advisory firm employed by the Section and paid from funds collected by the Section from schools that have been sanctioned for operating in violation of ABA data reporting requirements. The Council of the Section has previously approved the employment of Duff & Phelps and development of the protocol.

The draft was previously made available to a group of law school career services officers and members of the Section’s Data Policy and Collection Committee (DPCC). Based on comments from these reviewers, the draft has been revised.

The Section solicits and encourages written comments on the proposed changes by e-mail to leap-dpcc@americanbar.org.

Mom & me

Today as I prepare for the first day of the spring semester and my Torts class I am struck by the dissonance of life’s recent events. On the one hand, my students are embarking upon a new path, encompassing the study of law and all the possibilities a J.D. will open for them. On the other hand, I watch the slow progression of my Mother’s dementia, and process the fact that for the first time since she was diagnosed, she raised her fist to me. It’s rather startling and unsettling to experience what feels like such a major turning point. I’m not sure life really prepares one to reach this point. Conversations with friends who’ve walked this path provided great advice, but the experience is singular and not easily intellectualized, though I know her behavior is attributable to the dementia. After I helped the nurses ensure her comfort, I left feeling a loss of the familiarity with, and comfort of, a Mom in whose mind I was the protector and comforter.

After a healthy cry in the parking lot, I headed home. It’s a beautiful day today. It’s in the 60’s and sunny, after weeks of grey skies and winter weather. This would have been a great day to take Bea (the blessed Harley) out, but barring that I could at least give her a start and let her run for a while. So that’s what I did. While she idled, I took advantage of the mild day to clean the crud from between planks on the deck. It wasn’t long before I discovered a major source of the problem. Damn nails

Between cussing and fussing and cleaning, the intensity of the visit with Mom diminished, and I began to turn my thoughts again to my students and what a gift it is to have the honor of equipping them for the future.

I am also thankful for the time spent today at lunch with nephew & niece, Kendall and Kendra and their two little ones, Xavier and Roman. Kendall came to live with me when he was 15 (his version here: Fayette Chill-1), and it’s still a bit amazing to realize he now has his own family. Kendall & RomanListening to their plans and watching the two young ones is yet another reminder of the cycle of life, and the importance of being as engaged with, and supportive of, them on their journey as I am with Mom on hers. Kendra & Xavier

In the same way, my adoption by Miss Daisy, the rescue kitty found wandering the streets of Springdale, is reflective of life’s seasons. This sweet 9 month old, joins the family even as I feel the loss of my beloved 17 year old Pearl, the indefatigable head of this household whose body gave out on her the day after Christmas.

pearl  Daisy

Well, though I will likely continue to work through all this for some time, I must leave you dear reader, for now. The law of assault and battery, and a class of first year students await me.