John Osborn

* Chief Justice John Roberts might “enjoy that he’s being criticized,” but that’s probably because he’ll get the chance to show his true conservative colors this fall when issues like affirmative action and same-sex marriage are before SCOTUS. [Reuters]

* Dewey know why this failed firm thinks a bankruptcy judge is going to allow it to hand out $700K in “morale” bonuses? You better believe that Judge Martin Glenn is going to tell D&L where it can (indicate). [Bankruptcy Beat / Wall Street Journal]

* It seems like attorneys at Freshfields may actually need to get some sleep, because it was the sole Magic Circle firm to report a decline in in revenue and profitability in its latest financial disclosure statements. [Financial Times (reg. req.)]

* Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. didn’t do George Zimmerman any favors when he set his bond at $1M. Watch how quickly the defense fund Zimmerman concealed from the court disappears as he struggles to post bail. [CNN]

* Whatever it takes (to count you as employed): 76% of law schools report that they’ve now changed their curriculum to include more practical skills courses in light of the dismal job market. [National Law Journal]

* Texas Christian University is expanding its graduate programs, but a law school isn’t necessarily in the works, because TCU is only interested in “programs that promote employability.” Well, sh*t, y’all. [TCU 360]

John Osborn John Jay Osborn John Osborne Paper Chase Above the Law.jpgLast week we wrote about how John Jay Osborn, a law professor and author of The Paper Chase, sniffily dismissed One L, by Scott Turow. “One L is competent,” he said. “But it doesn’t have a HEART.”
Now a prominent blogger has come to Turow’s defense. In this Times Select column, grande blogress diva Ann Althouse defends Turow — and, in the words of a tipster, “cattily trashes John Jay Osborn, author of the Paper Chase, for his suggestion that law profs not teach via the Socratic method in order to make students ‘happier.'”
Money quote, comparing Osborn’s “The Paper Chase” to Turow’s “One L”:

I preferred the memoir [of One L], the account of an ordinary man as he encounters some interesting, fallible human beings who did the work that both Osborn and I do now.

Though none of the law professors I know are much at all like Kingsfield, Osborn chided us law professors for making our students so unhappy: stop calling on them; listen only to volunteers; don’t dictate how they should think; let them tell their own stories.

Law should connect to the real world. But that doesn’t mean we ought to devote our classes to the personal expression of law students. The cases we read for class are always based on factual disputes that arose in real life….

So law is not abstract unless one makes the mistake of turning it into an abstraction. We law professors tend to worry about seeming like Professor Kingsfield. But we ought to worry less about that prospect and more about preserving and respecting our own tradition of teaching from the cases.

The students who come into our law schools are adults who have decided that they are ready to spend a tremendous amount of time and money preparing to enter a profession. We show the greatest respect for their individual autonomy if we deny ourselves the comfort of trying to make them happy and teach them what they came to learn: how to think like lawyers.

Ann Althouse David Lat David B Lat Professor Ann Althouse Above the Law.JPGGood stuff (even it it’s not as catty as we had hoped). It’s worth noting that Professor Althouse, whose own excellent blog is less academic than many other law professor blogs, is not opposed to “personal expression.” It’s just that she believes, and rightly so, that there’s a time and place for everything.
P.S. Random aside: Professor Osborn’s daughter, Meredith, is a Harvard Law grad now clerking on the Ninth Circuit.
P.P.S. We had the pleasure of meeting Professor Althouse at the NYLS conference last week (see photo at right).
More photographs from the conference, of superior quality, are available at Althouse and Soloway.
‘A Skull Full of Mush’ [Times Select]
At the “Writing About the Law” conference [Althouse]
Ripped From the Headlines [Soloway]
Earlier: John Osborn to Scott Turow: “Game On, Bitch”

John Osborn John Jay Osborn John Osborne Paper Chase Above the Law.jpgWe just got back from a most engaging luncheon talk at the NYLS legal writing conference by John Jay Osborn, a law professor at the University of San Francisco and author of the 1973 novel, The Paper Chase (which led to a movie and television series).
Here’s the Westlaw headnotes version of John Osborn’s talk:

Law students, you need to rediscover and take back your narratives. Law school is all about forcing you to give up your narrative and play by someone else’s rules. Don’t let them do that to you.

Osborn covered a number of topics during the course of his remarks — legal education, law and literature (especially Bleak House), the trajectory of legal careers, the genesis and evolution of The Paper Chase. Great stuff.
Here are a few money quotes. On Scott Turow’s One L, which someone raised in Q-and-A:

“One L is competent,” he sniffed. “But it doesn’t have a HEART.”

Osborn, a former associate at Patterson Belknap, left the legal world for a year to write. He encourages lawyers not to be afraid of trying new things or stepping off the treadmill:

“The nice thing about the law is you can go away and come back… Don’t be afraid to go off and do different things. They’ll ALWAYS take you back. They ALWAYS need associates.”

Finally, Osborn shared with us a great quote from John Houseman, the actor and producer who won an Oscar for his work in The Paper Chase.
Some folks wanted Houseman to perform a scene in The Paper Chase that he didn’t like. He refused, declaring: “I’m too old and too rich to put up with this bulls**t.”
Author of The Paper Chase Joins USF School of Law [USF School of Law]