More on Law School Restructuring – Competency Models, and Sturm’s Experiential Curriculum

The law school curriculum restructuring discussions continue, as they will for years to come.

First up, an article written by Professor Neil Hamilton, University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota), entitled Law-Firm Competency Models and Student Professional Success: Building on a Foundation of Professional Formation/Professionalism. Click here for the article. At 36 pages, this discussion paper by Professor Hamilton is not a model of brevity. Essentially, Professor Hamilton argues that it has been established that law firms and clients recognize core competencies that they are looking for in new attorney associates, that those competencies have been identified as characteristics that tend to be possessed by successful lawyers, and that law schools should prepare law students to obtain those competencies during their time in law school. The competencies that are listed are somewhat broadly identified; however, in essence they relate to effectively, efficiently and competently taking an interest in and understanding the client’s needs from the client’s viewpoint, representing the client, communicating, and using good/great judgment and project management skills and oversight. What the paper doesn’t discuss is how law schools should go about making sure that their students obtain those competencies during their time in law school. The competencies that Professor Hamilton discusses for the most part are primarily experienced and then learned by actually representing clients in cases while working at a law firm or in a close to law firm like setting, for example with actual case billing, efficiency, communication, project management, evaluation/criticism, and results requirements.

Second, the following is a link to a short article discussing that the University of Denver Sturm College of Law is launching its new Experiential Advantage Curriculum which the article states is designed to provide students with practical lawyer experience during their time in law school. Click here for the article.

All of this is doable of course, but as many law schools are considering whether and how to provide students with more real-life lawyer experience the result could be 50 or so different ways to do so, and of course there is still the task of effectively communicating to lawyer employers the value that those students bring to the table.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

How To Work A Room

Discussions about how to work a room aren’t new but it’s an important skill and art that always needs improving. Worthwhile networking requires personal meeting. The following are links to two useful “working the room” articles that I came across today while doing some morning reading:

1. From Forbes Click Here.

2. From Boston University Click Here (a one-page pdf).

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

Law Student – Lawyer Career Planning and Development Evaluation Tool

Click on the following link for a law student – lawyer career planning and development evaluation tool that I put together to help with discussion and thought process. I hope that you find it helpful. Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco).

Law Student – Lawyer Career Planning and Development Evaluation Tool 05232013

A short paper you must read about board-level corporate risk management – NACD Advisory Council on Risk Oversight

If you are interested in the process of board oversight over corporate risk management, here is a link to a short paper that you must read from the National Association of Corporate Directors, Link for NACD Advisory Council on Risk Oversight, Summary of Second Meeting, Click Here for Paper.

First, let me sincerely compliment the NACD for discussing this topic and making portions of the discussions available for reading and comment.  Whether you agree or disagree with portions of the paper and the discussions therein, making the paper available demonstrates an effort at leadership which I believe is often lacking at professional organizations.

I read the paper, of course.  And I have comments.  Overall, I find it amazing and difficult to comprehend that risk management discussions and process and apparently board oversight of risk or uncertainty management has not progressed more than the paper indicates.

I agree with the NACD’s original position that oversight of risk management (I prefer uncertainty management, but whatever) is the responsibility of the entire board and not of a committee.  That being said, limited delegation to a committee in conjunction with reporting to the entire board and with entire board oversight can be a good way to go.  But why delegate to the audit committee?  Audit and risk are not the same.  And isn’t the audit committee already sufficiently busy?  Of course it isn’t wrong to delegate initial risk and uncertainty oversight to the audit committee which then reports to the board for the entire board’s consideration, but during its meetings does the audit committee wear one hat for audit during part of its meeting and then change to its risk management oversight hat?  Why not appoint a separate risk management committee that is composed of the board members who are best qualified for that task?

If the board members are concerned about their lack of information about risk management and that there are gaps, have the CRO and CAE coordinate their efforts and both report to the board.

The NACD’s paper doesn’t propose best or better practices.  But that isn’t the purpose of paper.  Frankly I am surprised that the NACD would allow such an open discussion paper to go out under its name, but again, I am very complimentary of the NACD for being willing to do so.

I might have additional comments that will follow in other posts.  For example, as I have previously written, I dislike the nature of the current discussions that suggest quantifying acceptable risk appetite and risk tolerance.  And I also disagree with any suggestion that a company adopt only one risk appetite or one risk tolerance - obviously different risks and different projects call for different evaluations.

On a related note, recently additional regulations were proposed or enacted for off shore oil and gas drilling risk management and related oversight – the regulations require employee and contractor training, that a supervisory employee over risk management be designated, that a supervisory employee have authority to immediately take action including shutting a system down in appropriate circumstances, for auditing of the processes, for evaluation of risk management and if necessary reporting 24/7 including by all levels of employees and contractors, and for the option of anonymous reporting.  Sounds like a good development.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

A new reality in the relationships between the nonprofit and for-profit worlds, from Bruce Burtch

Click below for a new discussion from Bruce Burtch.

New Realities Require New Responses:

There is a major sea-change underway in the relationship between the nonprofit and for-profit worlds, and this change requires a serious look at current realities. For-profits are more and more realizing that they deserve to receive mutual value in the nonprofit/for-profit equation.

Click Here For Discussion.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)