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Archive for June, 2014

A few weeks ago I got an invitation from Brian Rogers, aka The Contracts Guy to participate in a ‘blog hop’.  Regular readers will know that I am a great fan of Brian’s blog as it helps me to connect my students to the real world of transactional law and practice.  Such is my respect for Brian that I readily accepted the invitation… without having the first iota of a clue what a ‘blog hop’ is…

As Brian has kindly encouraged followers of his blog to check me out, I’ll be encouraging you all at the end of this post to ‘hop’ to the blogs & sites of some other great people whose work I follow regularly.  So keep reading.

Before I get to the introductions, the topic of the ‘blog hop’ is ‘why I write’.  I suppose a slightly edgier way to frame the topic is to ask the question: ‘why bother?’  Well here goes.

 

What am I working on?

I am not the most disciplined of bloggers.  There’s a lot of self-help stuff out there from social media savvy types who can help you build your blog traffic.  And most of it says that you should blog little and often. I tend to go in fits and starts depending on my other commitments. But as an educator, I find that blogging is a good way to offer a resource to a student audience that in some ways supplements what I do in the class room and in other ways seeks to go beyond the confines of the subjects I teach (contracts, bankruptcy, business organizations) to touch on topics of general relevance to the law students of today and tomorrow.   So I post about contracts and contracts teaching: see here, here, and here.  But I also post about careers, soft skills, and try to engage 1L law students in particular to start thinking about career development from Day One of law school.  I haven’t ever really sat down and systematically articulated my views on the state of legal education in the US or in my home country (the UK).  But I think my views can easily be discerned: see here and here.  Suffice to say, we live in interesting times.

 

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

First and foremost, I want to connect with students (current and prospective). But at the same time, I want to reach practitioners, like Brian, who enable me to expand my practitioner networks and ensure my knowledge of the law as practiced and of the realities of the legal services market is fully up to speed.  So I aim to be informal while hoping that folks don’t think I’m glib or trying to be ‘hip’. It’s nice to get away from the formal constraints of the other kinds of writing in which I engage (e.g. law review articles).

 

Why do I write what I write?

I am trying to be a ‘bridge’ from the world of higher education to the real world of work – and, in particular, from the law school class room to the practice of law.  See further here  – one of my early posts.  The ‘way’ in ‘Walters Way’ is used in the same sense (a route that links two points) rather than in the Frank Sinatra sense!

 

How does my writing process work?

I have to confess that my writing process is fairly random.  A problem not helped by my tendency to make notes of my best ideas on pieces of scrap paper that I subsequently lose.  I follow other blogs in my areas of particular interest and accumulate links and contacts.  Several of my posts have been shout-outs to great blogs, sites or other resources that I’ve found helpful and think will be helpful to students.

 

And while we are on the subject of shout-outs here are some other people you should check out…

Kevin O’Keefe is the CEO and founder of LexBlog, Inc.  Kevin helps lawyers and law firms build relationships and develop their practices using social media and blogging. He posts consistently excellent content on his “Real Lawyers Have Blogs” site. You can also find him on twitter: @kevinokeefe.

Angela Kopolovich is the Managing Director of Alegna International, an international legal recruitment boutique.  She maintains a blog, “It’s All About Who You Know”. In my job, it is absolutely imperative that I have a good understanding of the rapidly changing legal services market and trends in hiring in order to best advise current and prospective students. Angela is a source of valuable insights.  Her twitter is @Recruiter_Law.

Alison Monahan is the San Francisco based founder of The Girl’s Guide to Law School and Trebuchet.  Readers of this blog will know that I am big fan of The Girl’s Guide and of Alison’s various other related enterprises.  She is my main ‘go to’ source for ideas on how best to support my students with their studies, decision making, and professional development.  Alison keeps it real! Follow her on twitter: @GirlsGuidetoLS.

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Students and practitioners with an interest in bankruptcy law may be interested in the work of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Commission’s study is premised on the concern that Chapter 11, originally enacted in 1978, is now significantly out of date.  One particular concern is that Chapter 11 in the general run of cases has become little more than a glorified nationwide foreclosure process that functions principally for the benefit of secured creditors at the expense of debtors and other stakeholders.

In April, I was lucky to be invited to speak at a symposium jointly organized by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the University of Illinois that addressed the implications of secured creditor capture of Chapter 11.  My main message to reformers in the US, drawing on secured creditors’ responses to legislative erosion of their rights in the United Kingdom, was that lenders will invariably adjust to legislative changes that affect their interests.  Accordingly, the designers of any new bankruptcy law must not lose sight of the tendency of powerful constituencies to undermine reform efforts, whether through the political process, or by other means, such as transactional innovation.

An early draft of my written paper is available here.

And you can watch a recording of my presentation at the symposium and the follow-up commentary provided by Ted Janger of Brooklyn Law School here.

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