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What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success

May 14, 2015 Comments off

What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success
Source: George Washington Law Review

This is the first theory-guided empirical research seeking to identify the correlates and contributors to the well-being and life satisfaction of lawyers. Data from several thousand lawyers in four states provide insights about diverse factors from law school and one’s legal career and personal life. Striking patterns appear repeatedly in the data and raise serious questions about the common priorities on law school campuses and among lawyers. External factors, which are often given the most attention and concern among law students and lawyers (factors oriented towards money and status—such as earnings, partnership in a law firm, law school debt, class rank, law review membership, and U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings), showed nil to small associations with lawyer well-being. Conversely, the kinds of internal and psychological factors shown in previous research to erode in law school appear in these data to be the most important contributors to lawyers’ happiness and satisfaction. These factors constitute the first two of five tiers of well-being factors identified in the data, followed by choices regarding family and personal life. The external money and status factors constitute the fourth tier, and demographic differences were least important.

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In

April 8, 2015 Comments off

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills.

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary

February 4, 2015 Comments off

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary
Source: Harvard University

The American judiciary, like other branches of government, has increasingly come under attack as both ideologically driven and politicized. Using an original dataset that captures the ideological positioning of nearly half a million judges and lawyers who have made campaign contributions, we present empirical evidence showing politicization through various tiers of judicial hierarchy. Specifically, we show that, the higher the court, the more conservative and more polarized it becomes, in contrast with the broader population of attorneys, who tend to be liberal. These findings suggest that political actors not only rely on ideology in the selection of judges onto courts, but that they do so strategically, prioritizing higher courts. As explanation for these findings, we present a model of judicial politicization that formulates the ideological composition of the judiciary as a function of the ideological distributions of attorneys and politicians. To our knowledge, our study is the first to provide a direct ideological comparison across tiers of the judiciary and between judges and lawyers, and also the first to document how — and why — American courts are politicized.

New From the GAO

December 12, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. DOE and NNSA Project Management: Analysis of Alternatives Could Be Improved by Incorporating Best Practices. GAO-15-37, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-37
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667405.pdf

2. Nuclear Weapons: DOD’s Plan for Implementing Nuclear Reductions Generally Addresses Statutory Requirements but Lacks Some Detail. GAO-15-89R, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-89R

3. Small Business Credit Programs: Treasury Continues to Enhance Performance Measurement and Evaluation but Could Better Communicate and Update Results. GAO-15-105, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-105
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667449.pdf

4. Flood Insurance: Forgone Premiums Cannot Be Measured and FEMA Should Validate and Monitor Data System Changes. GAO-15-111, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-111
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667412.pdf

5. DOD Contract Services: Improved Planning and Implementation of Fiscal Controls Needed. GAO-15-115, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-115
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667431.pdf

6. Federal Subcontracting: Linking Small Business Subcontractors to Prime Contracts Is Not Feasible Using Current Systems. GAO-15-116, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-116
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667409.pdf

7. Professional Misconduct: DOJ Could Strengthen Procedures for Disciplining Its Attorneys. GAO-15-156, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-156
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667402.pdf

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans (PDF)
Source: Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Nine out of 10 practicing attorneys surveyed by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA) are willing to take part in a new campaign to address the estimated 20 percent of older America ns who have been the victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation.

In releasing the survey findings, the three groups announced that they are launching the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program Legal. The EIFFE Prevention Program Legal will develop, test, and implement a model national continuing legal education (CLE) program to teach lawyers to: (1) recognize clients’ possible vulnerability to EIFFE due to mild cognitive impairment (MCI); (2) identify EIFFE in their clients; and (3) report suspected instances of EIFFE to appropriate authorities. In June 2010, the Investor Protection Trust released a national survey showing that one out five older Americans are victims of financial swindles.

+ Survey Results (PDF)

Dirty Work: The Effects of Viewing Disturbing Media on Military Attorneys

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Dirty Work: The Effects of Viewing Disturbing Media on Military Attorneys
Source: Minnesota State University-Mankato (Sokol)

This study examines the psychological effects of viewing disturbing media on military attorneys who are part of the JAG Corps. Twenty seven legal professionals who work with cases involving child pornography and sexual violence completed measures of secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD), burnout, perceptions of social stigma, and feelings of protectiveness and distrust towards others. A substantial number of participants reported poor well-being, though exposure to disturbing media was not predictive of these outcomes. However, defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys differed significantly in severity of their perception of social stigma, which was linked to increased negative outcomes. Furthermore, qualitative results added to the growing pool of data related to effective methods of coping with exposure to disturbing media which may have important practical implications for the legal professionals who engage in this work.

CRS — Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Aliens’ Right to Counsel in Removal Proceedings: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The scope of aliens’ right to counsel in removal proceedings is a topic of recurring congressional and public interest. This topic is complicated, in part, because the term right to counsel can refer to either (1) the right to counsel of one’s own choice at one’s own expense, or (2) the right of indigent persons to counsel at the government’s expense. A right to counsel can also arise from multiple sources, including the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), other federal statutes, and federal regulations. Further, in some cases, courts have declined to recognize a “categorical” right to counsel, applicable to all aliens in removal proceedings, but have found that individual aliens could potentially have a right to counsel on a case-by-case basis because of their specific circumstances.

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