Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future: The Project Continues

“The Futures of Legal Education: A Virtual Symposium” is the title of the program convened by Dean Dan Rodriguez at Prawfsblawg for the month of March 2018, eliciting critiques of and extensions of the ideas organized in the provocations posted in December 2017 as “An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future.” [Part I, here] [Part II, here] [Part III, here] [Part IV, here] [Part V, here] [And the piece in full, as a single document, from SSRN]

The symposium is organized under the “2018 Symposium: Future of Legal Ed” tag. I will collect highlights from all of the posts here and in later posts.

So far: Continue reading

Geeking Out on Post-Industrial Renewal: Back to Pittsburgh

What does it mean for any city or region to transform from a “post-industrial city into an innovation powerhouse”? That phrase is the tagline on a series of stories being developed and posted this month (end of January through February 2018) by Geekwire, which has parachuted from Seattle into Pittsburgh, piggybacking on the media circus surrounding the Amazon competition for its second headquarters, the so-called HQ2. Pittsburgh has submitted a bid; it’s made Amazon’s first cut; the nominal buzz is that Pittsburgh’s post-industrial, CMU-led robotics-and-tech credibility makes it both a plausible Amazon player and a fair stand-in for post-industrial renewal generally. After steel, le déluge, so to speak. In this case, that’s a good thing. Take that, Madame de Pompadeur!

So far, Geekwire hasn’t impressed; the Pittsburgh exotic rather than the Pittsburgh ordinaire has dominated its coverage (“What is this Pittsburgh-ese that they seem to speak?“). But these are early signs. Let us hope that there is better reporting – deeper, more engaged critically – to come. Pittsburgh is no “innovation powerhouse” today – not yet at any rate. The top-down tone of both public and private sectors is too pronounced and too assertive when it comes to Pittsburgh’s hits and misses; C-suites and their agents try to lead the news and are doing their best, I know, to guide what Geekwire sees. The innovation-and-entrepreneurship culture doesn’t yet have the organic inertia of, say, Denver, or Austin, or even Nashville. (Did I hear someone say a thriving city has a vibrant, public, bottom-up arts culture to complement a vibrant, public, bottom-up business culture? Hmmm.) Some readers here may remember that this theme – “what does it take to re-establish a region’s confidence in itself?” – was my topic at an earlier blog, Pittsblog, for nearly 10 years (2003-2011). In the spirit of helping along both Geekwire and observers of a similar cast of mind (“what’s strong and weak about the state of Pittsburgh today?”), both local and national, I’m going to re-post a few of Pittsblog’s proverbial greatest hits.  Right or wrong, I’m mostly sticking by my guns.

The following, for example, is from an April 2011 post titled “Removing Barriers: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Pittsburgh.” I’ve edited it here and there to remove out-of-date references. In spirit and substance, however, I’m confident that it’s just as true today as it was in 2011. Is that a good thing? Continue reading

For a New Year: An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future, Part V

This is the last in a five-post series about how to advance a large-scale, integrated conversation about the future of legal education, as a foundational project that links up with equivalent questions about law and the legal profession. [Part I, here] [Part II, here] [Part III, here] [Part IV, here]

The previous posts have raised questions about the urgency of the project, about the identities of potential participants, and about the character of the topics to include. This post concludes the series. Continue reading

For a New Year: An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future, Part IV

This series of posts concerns the future of law, the legal profession, and legal education. [Part I, here] [Part II, here] [Part III, here] It emphasizes the relevance and significance of independent conversations on the topic among legal educators; the need comprehensively to integrate several siloed conversations; and the role of individual law faculty and others in this project, in addition to the usual list of deans and other professional leaders.

The intuition driving the posts is this. If done well, imaginatively and carefully, then extending, distilling, and combining conversations in each of those five domains described in the last post should lead not only to conceptual frameworks for action but also to actionable guidance itself, drawn from multiple perspectives and looking to multiple audiences. A new constitution for legal education should be more than values and aspirations. It should be something closer to a strategic plan for future strategic planning at the local level. What do institutions and strategies and practices – plural, not singular — actually look like, and to whom? Continue reading

For a New Year: An Invitation Regarding Law, Legal Education, and Imagining the Future, Part III

Consider a possible constitutional (small c) convention about the future of law and the legal profession, and legal education in particular. The first two posts have described the case for such a conversation. [Part I, here] [Part II, here] This post concerns the subject matter. A later post will consider the coalition of potentially interested participants. Continue reading