...Electronic Lawyering and the Academy
........William R. Slomanson, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
................48 Journal of Legal Education 216 (June, 1998)
..................© Association of American Law Schools 1998
.................This electronic version is authorized by the AALS JLE.

LawResearch NewsLetter Article of the Month (Vol. 3, No.5, May, 1999)
SSRN's Top Ten Download List, SSRN Electronic Library (Mar. 23, 2000)
Reprinted in the following journals/electronic resources with permission of the Association of American Law Schools Journal of Legal Education:
Les Lloyd (ed.), Teaching with Technology: Rethinking Tradition
.......Ch. 18 (Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2000)
Journal of Information Law & Technology (Univ. Warwick, UK: June, 2000)
........British & Irish Legal Education Technology Association International
........Conference on World Wide Law, April, 2000
21st Century Teachers Network (Washington DC)
.......LIBRARY: Education Technology/Technology Integration link (click here)
Social Science Research Network (SSRN Electronic Library) (click here)

 This article is offered to enrich the dialog about preparing law students for the technical realities of law practice. Some law teachers contend that we have been sluggish about responding to technological needs: "Law schools have been much slower than other professional and graduate schools to adopt computer-augmented teaching methods, perhaps because little evidence has ever been presented to law teachers that the necessary expense and effort can be justified by an improvement in student learning."1 Until recently I assumed that the technical aspects of the teaching profession were someone else's responsibility. I was sheltered by the hallowed halls of academia, although the students I served were about to enter a world of client e-mail, law firm websites, and electronic filings.2

But my assumptions were challenged. I now believe that integrating teaching and technology is my responsibility and may be yours as well. If we can teach students to think like lawyers, we can help students to perform like lawyers. That means helping them make the transition into today's professional world, which already depends on tomorrow's technology.3

Why Me?

At an AALS Annual Meeting, Bob Berring of Boalt Hall advised his audience that "this" would one day be a relic of the past. "This" was the casebook he clutched in his hand, waving it to make his point.4 I noted that the book he was waving was the very casebook that I have used for nearly two decades. My reaction was predictable: what he was saying had no application to a seasoned legal educator like me. After all, you can be a good teacher whether or not you employ technology in (or out) of the classroom—right? I was not ready to accept the prospect that the attractive volumes we carry to class each day might become tomorrow's dust collectors.

I experienced a remarkable attitude adjustment. I began to question whether I had spent my professional time wisely. I had published articles and books; earned my share of teaching awards; done my share of service to my school (lucky me—tenure chair for these last three years); crusaded for practice-oriented curriculum changes in the aftermath of the MacCrate Report.5 I could smugly pat myself on the back at midcareer. But I had a nagging sense that I was overlooking something, and that I had much more to do if I intended to prepare my students for contemporary law practice. Seven days after the AALS conference, I established my first electronic classroom extension—an e-mail discussion group. Seven months later, I constructed my own academic website to launch a paperless law class. Only then did I appreciate the role that technology could play in augmenting the traditional classroom experience.

Another beam of insight radiated from that AALS Techie Day: I might one day transcend the limitations of the print world if I seriously explored the seemingly boundless possibilities of electronic education and publication. I thought about how I might incorporate the World Wide Web into my classroom teaching (as well as future publications), so that my classroom materials might be as current as the date.

Several innovators have lauded the virtues of integrating technology and teaching, a conspiracy which I am obviously on record as supporting.6 But others have cautioned that technology has its limits and even its dangers. The computer may fail where the book succeeds.7 Peril accompanies promise when training legal writers in the new electronic era.8 And the e-age has to some degree alienated attorney and client—a "disease . . . contracted in law school."9 Perhaps most important, one should make careful choices about how to allocate one's time. Being on the cutting edge takes time and effort. A reasonable alternative is to wait until the technology is nicely packaged for the less adept. As Northwestern's Dean David Van Zandt has noted,

A great deal of time can be spent on technological presentations that is probably better spent by our tenure-track faculty on scholarship. This is not to say that technology is not important. It is very important in the modern world. It is just that we have limited resources and must use them most effectively.10

Despite those words of caution, it is my hope that you will at least peruse the following summary of what others are doing to incorporate electronics into their law school teaching.

The Academy in Cyberspace

Other than attending conferences, the most informative sources for quickly surveying the terrain of educational cyberspace are—first—Bernard Hibbitts's JURIST website, which collates the worldwide teaching resources that were previously adrift on the Internet, and—second—the sparse but proliferating law review literature on computers and legal education.

..The Website Network

In 1996 Bernard Hibbitts of the University of Pittsburgh made two significant contributions to the legal academy. One was a provocative article questioning the continued vitality of print and electronic law reviews.11 The second was his website, JURIST: Law Professors on the Web (now JURIST: The Law Professors' Network).12 Jurist provides instantaneous access to the educational web pages of law teachers all over the world. We can now compare notes internationally on using the web for classroom teaching.

There are a number of useful pages on the Jurist website. Those most relevant to this article are Course Pages, Resource Pages, and Home Pages. Course Pages has HTML links to various websites, alphabetized by general academic topic and course. Although many of these course websites are exhaustive, others are less ambitious. Most open with introductory remarks about course content, then direct you to other pages within the particular website containing material for that teacher's course. Resource Pages is a useful research tool; it collates websites containing online resources from other sites that the teacher wishes to associate with his or her course. Home Pages is an alphabetical listing of everyone who has a web page on Jurist.

Law Review Literature

During the first generation of law school computing, we generally sat before our machines to produce scholarship or to retype our scribbled class notes. In this second generation, a growing number of teachers are using the computer for classes that are no longer isolated by physical boundaries or even confined to a classroom. Some are augmenting the traditional classroom experience with an e-mail discussion group. Some schools have laptop sections (or entire entering classes) that integrate the physical classroom with the virtual reality of the Internet.13 And some classes are available in different law school locations via the distance learning made possible by video technology.14

There is an emerging body of literature about who is doing what to promote e-lawyering; it can help us learn more about using technology in the educational environment.15 We can better serve our clients (students and the public at large) through teaching and library development.16

Finally, one does not have to be a computer guru to incorporate the World Wide Web into legal education. An informative article by Michael A. Geist traces the evolution of electronic legal education from computer-assisted legal education to the Internet. Geist confirms that "the Internet enables legal educators with little or no computer training to experiment with innovative teaching methodologies and, in the process, to combine the best of CALR [computer-assisted legal research], CAI [computer-aided instruction], and electronic casebooks and to excite law students uninspired by traditional law teaching techniques."17 The dubious wager of another era—would the result be worth the effort?—is no longer a long shot. You can enrich your courses with technology if you are willing to invest some R&D time.

The New Frontier

My students prepare motions in state civil procedure. This began as an optional third unit in my California Civil Procedure class. Ultimately it may increase in unit value and be offered as a completely unattached course. For the moment, I am somewhat fearful that the lack of any on-campus attendance requirement might raise accreditation concerns. While no one that I know of has posed the issue, it seems prudent to require students to take the on-campus (two-unit) course along with the optional (one-unit) cyber-space course.

Students access the essentials from my website. It contains a client interview and some pleadings. They then submit three distinct motions during the semester, which I grade. No paper copy is permitted. All communications are by e-mail (submissions preferably by attachment). Students may ask no questions in person, because I characterize such potential inquiries as ex parte communications with the judge. They may post to the group, to each other, or to me if they feel that a clarification is needed—which I make and then post to the entire e-class. Put another way, they have to do their own work—as in practice. I am available, however, to help with the technical or procedural problems that may arise.

My students, especially those who travel some distance to get to school, are ecstatic for two reasons: I am available at all hours of every day, and they can do virtually everything they have to do—including submitting their e-bluebooks—in their bathrobes. As this new frontier evolves, you may need to explain patiently to your dean that you can provide valuable service while you are not on campus. If access to the instructor is of value to students, electronic availability sometimes makes more sense than being in your office (perhaps with a horde of students at your door competing for attention). Many a student/teacher conference can be conducted by e-mail, without disrupting either participant's schedule.

E-Mail Component

Among the first questions to consider—regardless of your subject area—is whether to establish an e-mail discussion group for your course. You might at least conduct a bulletin-board-style question-and-answer forum. That is a minimal investment with a big return: all students benefit, both active participants and parasitic lurkers. You don't need technological support to do this; anyone who has sent only one e-message can set up an e-mail discussion group for every section of every class without any assistance from a commercial vendor. A more ambitious step, like incorporating the Internet into your class(es), may necessitate a weighing process. Will your institution look kindly on your venture into the e-world, or will you be frowned upon for turning your attention away from scholarship, service, and the other traditional time commitments? Obviously any nontenured teacher must consider such questions, and even a senior tenured professor should probably not ignore them. But adding an e-mail component to your course is no radical venture. It would be a useful starting point for the faint-hearted.

An e-mail discussion group can advance pedagogical objectives before, during, and after class.18 Before class, you can post questions to provide some basic guidance about the key issues that you will cover. During class, you and your students will be on the same page from the outset. After class, you can be available via e-mail for electronic conferences. Thanks to e-mail, you can continue interesting discussions for which there was insufficient time in class, post hypos for student discussion or review, and answer the typically short questions that students may raise after you have left the classroom.

This method of extending the confines of the physical classroom received a great deal of attention because of West's fall 1997 release of its TWEN project, which allows a teacher to conduct e-mail discussions and place web content on a page provided for $20 per student. (TWEN stands for The West Educational Network.) Message threading in your school's e-mail system may not be as slick as it is in TWEN.19 So if you feel technologically challenged, you should consult your school's TWEN representative—or whoever is tasked with providing TWEN training at your school.

The Lexis alternative to TWEN is WCB (Web Course in a Box). Unlike TWEN, this system has no costs, and no contracts requiring the law school to indemnify the vendor for actionable student messages. In creating WCB, Lexis drew from a preexisting university web template, modifying it to provide similar e-mail and web posting services for law teachers.20

There may be downsides to TWEN or WCB.21 Some of us may be concerned about inducing student reliance on a particular commercial vendor. One can accomplish roughly the same objective without TWEN or WCB, with little technical expertise beyond what it takes to send an e-mail message. The Address Book function of the garden-variety e-mail system conveniently permits a teacher (and students) to create and participate in many different e-lists, not just the one established by the teacher. You can dispatch messages to all list members with only one address in the Mail To line of the e-mail message. The teacher who wishes to generate a message to even the largest of classes can send bcc copies to all list members. My students and I address discussion group e-mails to LIST, with the name of the particular class (e.g., FEDCIVPRO, CALCIVPRO, or INTLAW) at the beginning of the Subject line. Students who see from the Subject line that this message is of no interest to them need only hit the delete key. Careful instructions about the Subject line can accomplish a degree of threading which is less glitzy than TWEN's or WCB's but perfectly useful.

Regardless of which e-mail system you and your students have already selected, you should personally survey the extraordinary e-mail programs, easy to use and install, that simultaneously operate with any e-mail system from an Internet Service Provider (much as the Windows enhancement operates with DOS). If you would not return to DOS-based computing, after operating in a Windows environment, you should evaluate one of these e-mail enhancement programs. They are more attractive and more functional than the generic low-grade e-mail system. You can access multiple windows at once, automate routine tasks, and improve the likelihood of successfully sending and receiving attachments.

Website Construction Options

There are four choices for those who wish to construct an academic website:
the .edu option—the simplest alternative, because you merely add course content to your individual faculty page on your school's existing website:

the TWEN/WCB option described above—to add textual content to your individualized
.....West.TWEN or Lexis WCB page
the .com option—large ISPs offer free websites as a strategy for encouraging more costly ....upgrades22
the do-it-yourself option—arguably the most complex website construction option, with the ....compensating advantages of not having to rely on someone else's priorities to get new material ....posted promptly (.edu option) or inducing student reliance on a commercial vendor ....(TWEN/WCB options).

These options are more fully analyzed in the initial Lessons from the Web feature on JURIST: The Law Professors' Network.23

Course Content

Planning a web component for your course requires the early resolution of some pedagogical issues. In this section I raise what I consider critical questions, with suggested answers and alternatives.

Should you get into e-teaching, just to add a technological component to your course? Although my own attitude toward teaching technology is bubbly and effervescent, I cannot naively anticipate that all readers of this article will be equally enthusiastic or will wax technological for the same reasons. A sense of balance compels me to offer the following advice: First, Do No Harm! One must be exceedingly cautious about jumping onto a technological bandwagon with no clear sense of direction. The teacher should carefully weigh the course content to be sure that any infusion of technology will really serve a useful purpose.24

What is your primary pedagogical objective in bringing technology into your course? There are many alternatives and no clear favorite. You may wish to do one or more of the following: augment your classroom experience (with an e-mail discussion group), webify the in-class experience (with web presentations or laptop-based course material), or avoid the physical confines of the traditional law school class (with distance learning or a paperless e-class).

For example, the main objective in my e-class is to make the students more proficient in state motion practice via technology they will use as lawyers.25 I want to improve their general technical knowhow so that they can send me an e-mail attachment containing the bread-and-butter motions they will encounter early in practice. It is only a matter of time before all pleadings and motions will be submitted to the courts and exchanged between the parties via e-mail attachment.

What are your related objectives for incorporating technology into your course? My complementary objectives evolved on two levels. On the surface, I wanted students to take another skills course while in law school, and leave with unique writing samples for their résumés. At a deeper level, however, I envisioned practical exercises in solving problems—both problems of substance and problems of technological mechanics. I wanted students to apply reasoning in a skills course context; and I hoped for more interaction with my students than is possible in the classroom. Regardless of your subject, you can formulate a variety of supporting objectives to fit any course or pedagogical approach.

What course content should you put on your website? This option separates an e-mail discussion group from an e-class. The e-class page on my website contains a short factual scenario in which law students contract food poisoning from eating Edible Widgets at a deli near the university. This web page links to a separate web page containing the hypothetical which spawns all semester assignments. Students then click on Problem One, Two, or Three, which whisks them to the various problems/motions that they will prepare. The students submit their graded motions to me via e-mail in the fifth, tenth, and fourteenth weeks of a fifteen-week semester.26

A word of advice about what you ask your students to do electronically: never require them to do anything that you have not already done yourself. For example, I made the submission of motions on 28-line pleading paper a requirement for my first e-class. I quickly learned that this should have been optional. I knew that it could be done, but I didn't know how. When I was asked, I had to confess ignorance. At that point a technologically gifted student figured out how to do it and e-mailed detailed instructions to me and to the rest of the class. Should you prefer to save your confessions for your place of worship, then privately seek advice from students or staffers before you require task X to be performed. You can then put how-to-do-it advice on your website (e.g., by creating a separate FAQ web page for frequently asked questions).

What administrative information should you include on your website? This option is limited only by one's experience and imagination. For my e-class, I set forth the honor code requirements, the grading system, withdrawal options, a description of the instructor's role, various e-mail addresses for submitting questions about the course, and my netiquette requirements. For my other courses, I constructed a course page where students can find an array of information. From each course page, they can link to current reading assignments, prior exams, assigned problems not in the casebook, and other websites providing useful resources in that field. From my International Law course page, for example, they can link to my A-to-Z listing of international websites for students and lawyers. From my Fed Civ Pro course page, they can link to the web page where I post new cases previously posted to interested graduates.

Should you grade on a nonanonymous basis and/or employ a staff assistant? Anonymity is best, of course, but it can present a host of problems in an electronic environment. Because my course is paperless, it will remain "experimental" for some time. There will be a batch of new recruits in every e-class for the next few years, with varying levels of technological sophistication. I will have to be flexible in my expectations. Undergraduate experience provides ample computer knowledge for general purposes, but it doesn't give students the specific tools they need for legal education.

More specifically, students must have an Internet Service Provider to register for my course. Then they must get a second e-mail account (student identity unknown to the instructor). They use the second account for submitting their assigned problems.27 This system allows anonymous grading, but it's not foolproof. Murphy's Law also applies to ISPs.28 The second e-mail account may not be available to the student at the last moment before the deadline for submission. Students then have the option of submitting the assignments via their known e-mail addresses, which we use for class administration and communication during the semester.

You might wonder whether students could submit their assignments to a third party (a staff assistant), who would strip their e-mail addresses before sending the assignments to the instructor. That might seem simpler than requiring a second e-mail account, but submitting assignments to someone other than the instructor totes several risks. One is that you can't really know whether the paper was submitted on time. I require (what appear to be) inflexible deadlines to maintain an aura of reality approximating actual law practice. But many e-mail systems do not give you real-time posts based on your time zone. For my very first e-class motion, which was due at midnight on the fifth Saturday of the semester, I checked mail at that precise moment. I had received one submission that showed a sending time of 5 a.m. the following day. Because there are few countries with five time zones, I suddenly recognized the dangers of asking another person to monitor the mailbox. One could always choose a submission date and time which coincides with the supposed presence of the staff assistant, but what are the odds that the assistant will monitor submissions as closely as the instructor (particularly if that staff person must juggle many priorities, not just yours)?

A staff member does assist me in a more limited way. She links the students' anonymous e-mail addresses with their real identities after they have submitted a motion and I have graded it. Thus she has the pleasure of dealing with those students who fail to follow requirements like using the same e-mail address to submit all of their course problems. That recurring nightmare produces more e-mail bluebook addresses than the number of students registered.

Should you archive your e-messages and/or e-class submissions? Your first thought may be that retaining an archive will dampen students' willingness to post to the list: the only thing worse than posting e-mail for all to see is knowing that all will see it for time immemorial—or however long the instructor chooses to archive messages. One response to this concern is that archiving makes a student think twice about sending rude or vulgar messages. Archiving also allows the Johnny-come-lately to catch up; he can access all the e-mails posted during the first few weeks while he was course-shopping.

At this stage in the evolution of my paperless e-class, I have not posted student answers on the course web page. There are two reasons. First, my students appear to be a bit nervous about worldwide access to their ungraded motions or to the version that includes my sometimes unflattering commentaries. Second, I prefer to operate my experiment a little while longer before I consider compromising the work product that I generate. Put another way, when I have no more revisions to make to my e-class problems, then that might be the time to place student answers on the web.

Another reason for archiving is to create a safety net. I administer my e-class from home. My students submit their messages and motions to both my home address and my office address. On the day that the students' first motion was due in my first e-class, my home system suddenly crashed (the cyberspace version of Murphy's Law). I had received only about a third of the electronic bluebooks when this occurred, but I was able to go to school and retrieve the archived copy of the remaining e-bluebooks. Without an archived copy, I could not have determined whether those other students had filed their motions by the deadline. And I would have had to delay grading until they resubmitted their motions—not exactly state-of-the-art procedure.

The final advantage to archiving is that I can conveniently forward my archived e-bluebooks for institutional storage to the staff member who retains copies of all print—and now, electronic—bluebooks. Perhaps one day all bluebooks will be electronic and we will no longer have the hassle of storing and retrieving reams of paper.

Can students take the class if they aren't wired? You should consider having a computer available in the library, or elsewhere in your building, for sending and receiving e-mail messages and class assignments. In effect, I have two on-campus archives: one in my office, and one in the library. Students may use the library's computers to send and receive messages (and anonymous e-bluebooks). That serves two purposes. One, it allows access to my course for those vanishing diehards who don't own a computer. Two, students can use the library computers when they are facing a deadline and their e-mail system suddenly fails.29

What web pages might you create, even if you don't launch an e-mail discussion group or a paperless e-class? When I began to consider using the web for teaching, I constantly thought of new uses for my website. For example, I created a page listing my publications. This has saved me a lot of paper and time when I'm asked to provide that list.

Essentially, I began by constructing teaching-related pages: Purpose, TechInfo, FAQ, Courses, Reading, Exams, Problems, and NewCase. These pages serve assorted teaching objectives. The Purpose page gives a short explanation of each page on my website; it is a convenient navigational tool that helps readers decide which pages are relevant for their needs. The TechInfo and FAQ pages help the students in my e-class overcome common technological hurdles. The Courses, Reading, Exams, and Problems pages all help me avoid the drudgery of providing the same information to students over, and over, and over again. NewCase is where I place new cases of value to my various civil procedure courses. It is also a convenient place to gather candidates for subsequent editions of my classroom texts in California civil procedure and international law.

Should you install a security system that requires a password from anyone seeking to access your website? If you have chosen either your school's .edu website or the do-it-yourself website that I recommend, you might consider whether you need a so-called firewall to keep out students, or others, who might inject flames or viruses. I don't intend to do this until delusions of grandeur suggest that my technological universe is a smidgeon larger than its current magnitude.

Can you use your website for publication purposes too? There are at least three arguments against e-casebooks and e-articles. One is the obsession with leather-bound work products to display on the mantle, not to mention the stunning university seal on law review reprints. Another is the institutional resistance to self-publication, which lacks the imprimatur of a recognized commercial vendor or law review. Finally, there is that ego-driven insistence on keeping track of citations to one's work. Of course having a web counter on your website, or asking your research assistant to look up web citations to your work, will yield results similar to those you routinely get through traditional channels.

As we continue to explore this new technology, however, more of us will discover the value of an e-book or online article, as opposed to traditional print material.30 Obsolescence will itself become obsolete. You will make changes instantaneously, rather than waiting for the next edition or the annual supplement. You will also be able to link to legal resources elsewhere on the Internet. This can bring your course book to life, in ways never dreamed of in the traditional world of print publishing.

...* * * * *

A web-based class will be, initially, more work for the teacher than a traditional class with comparable unit value. This conclusion may be verified when you suddenly find yourself treading water with those students who are less apt to take to the technological waters than the others. The offsetting advantage is that you can benefit both the student and your career development. You can first augment a traditional law school class with an e-mail discussion group; later devise a paperless e-class to integrate e-mail, the web, or other computer technology; and ultimately explore the advantages of publishing the first (or next) edition of your own textbook on CD-ROM or your website.

If you believe that we have a professional obligation to prepare our graduates for the practice of law, then the innovative opportunities offered by technology are irresistible. Having been schooled in a generation of passive learning, I had previously experimented with the usual ways of altering that classroom dynamic: I had tried in-class moots, for example, and I had incorporated the problem method into my courses. But nothing has presented more satisfying results than my web-based teaching experiment.

I will conclude by identifying two core values which are my rationale for taking this stimulating plunge. First, a class with an electronic component offers a new beginning. It presents exciting interactive opportunities for supplementing the traditional classroom experience. It can provide a refreshing perspective on the virtually unlimited resources available on the Internet. I am not sure that I agree with my distance-learning colleagues who predict the demise of the classroom as we know it; I still see technology as playing a supporting role, not signaling a casebook/classroom apocalypse. But time will tell whether Bob Berring's predictions will come true.

Second, my students and I have found that our web course experience is very nearly the real thing. My students work from their home or office computers, just like real lawyers, without having to go to court/class every day. They engage in collaborative learning via private and group e-mail messages about their pending assignments, just like real lawyers in real practice. They have unyielding deadlines, just as they will have in what they so fondly refer to as "the real world." One may of course accomplish similar objectives in a more traditional classroom environment. But all my students emphatically assert that this is as real as it gets in law school without actually going to court.

At this point I could provide self-serving excerpts from students' course evaluations. Instead I have asked some of my students to serve as resources if you have specific questions about their reaction to whatever scheme you might devise. They too are pioneers, and I thank them for contributing to the success of my paperless e-class experiment.31


William R. Slomanson is Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He thanks the following for their comments: Glen-Peter Ahlers (Arkansas), Michael Geist (Columbia), Marybeth Herald (Thomas Jefferson), Bernard Hibbitts (Pittsburgh), Andrea Johnson (California Western), John Rogers (Kentucky), Stephen Sowle (Chicago-Kent), and David Van Zandt (Northwestern). Special thanks to Kay Henley, director of academic administration at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, for her assistance during the first e-class.

1. Paul F. Teich, How Effective Is Computer-Assisted Instruction? An Evaluation for Legal Educators, 41 J. Legal Educ. 489, 489 (1991).

2. In December 1997 Microsoft (and three other companies) announced a plan to develop an electronic filing system for all U.S. and Canadian courts. This project will automate the entire legal system—from each law firm to every judge's bench. Anthony Aarons, Microsoft Sets Its Sights on Electronic Filing Systems, Cyber Esq. (supplement to legal newspapers in various western states), Winter 1998, at 5.

3. See generally Ruta K. Stropus, Mend It, Bend It, and Extend It: The Fate of Traditional Law School Methodology in the 21st Century, 27 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 449 (1996).

4. The Big Picture (remarks ending workshop on Teaching and Technology in the Twenty-first Century (Washington, Jan. 1997). As Berring noted several years earlier: "It is amazing that in 1993 law students still read casebooks, desiccated collections of appellate opinions. But rather than being the introduction to the old world of the case categorizations of West, the textbooks now are the last bastion of the case gestalt. The rest of the research world is changing." Robert C. Berring, Collapse of the Structure of the Legal Research Universe: The Imperative of Digital Information, 69 Wash. L. Rev. 9, 32 (1994). A telling history is available in Steve Sheppard, Casebooks, Commentaries, and Curmudgeons: An Introductory History of Law in the Lecture Hall, 82 Iowa L. Rev. 547 (1997).

5. Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, American Bar Association, Report of the Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap, Legal Education and Professional Development—An Educational Continuum (Chicago, 1992). My crusade is reported in Richard C. Reuben, A Man with a Mission: California Law Prof Touts State Civil Procedure Courses, A.B.A. J., Feb. 1997, at 34.

6. Richard Warner, Teaching Electronically: The Chicago-Kent Experiment, 20 Seattle U. L. Rev. 383 (1994); Scott A. Taylor, Teaching a Law Seminar over the Internet, 7 J.L. & Info. Sci. 41 (1996).

7. Richard Haigh, What Shall I Wear to the Computer Revolution? Some Thoughts on Electronic Researching in Law, 89 Law Libr. J. 245 (1997).

8. Lucia Ann Silecchia, Of Painters, Sculptors, Quill Pens, and Microchips: Teaching Legal Writers in the Electronic Age, 75 Neb. L. Rev. 802 (1996).

9. Robert H. Thomas, "Hey, Did You Get My E-Mail?" Reflections of a Retro-Grouch in the Computer Age of Legal Education, 44 J. Legal Educ. 233 (1994).

10. E-mail to author (Feb. 6, 1998). I construed his 1998 AALS presentation (as part of a panel on Funding Legal Information Technology in the Law Schools) as the most compelling acknowledgment that the teacher and the institution must base the desire to integrate teaching and technology on something more than the glitz factor of being in the technological vanguard.

11. Last Writes? Re-assessing the Law Review in the Age of Cyberspace, 71 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 615 (1996) (also at <http://www.law.pitt.edu/hibbitts/lastrev.htm>). The responses to Hibbitts's predictions include Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Reassessing Professor Hibbitts's Requiem for Law Reviews, 30 Akron L. Rev. 255 (1996). For a reply, see Bernard Hibbitts, Yesterday Once More: Skeptics, Scribes and the Demise of Law Reviews, 30 Akron L. Rev. 267 (1996) (also at <http://www.law.pitt.edu/hibbitts/akron.htm>).

12. See <http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/index.htm> (revised version, Feb. 1998). Both Cambridge University and the Australian National University operate Jurist "mirror" (affiliate) sites, meaning that Jurist is no longer just a U.S. website. It is a global network of law teachers.

13. For a listing of laptop schools, see James E. Duggan, Mandating Computer Ownership at Law Schools: A Survey, at <http://www.siu/offices/lawlib/survey.htm>.

14. See, e.g., Andrea L. Johnson, Distance Learning and Technology in Legal Education: A 21st Century Experiment, 7 Alb. L.J. Sci. & Tech. 213 (1997); Susan E. Davis, Remote Learning by Leaps and Tumbles, Cal. Law., Aug. 1996, at 49. On the benefits and burdens of distance learning, see Jill M. Galusha, Barriers to Learning in Distance Education, 5 Interpersonal Computing & Tech., Dec. 1997, at 1 (articles stored as files at Georgetown University). To retrieve this file (article), place the term GET both before and after <GALUSHA.IPCTV5N4> in the body of your e-mail message to <LISTSERV@LISTSERV.GEORGETOWN.EDU>.
The A.B.A. Distance Learning Guidelines are contained in a letter from James P. White, consultant on legal education to the American Bar Association to Deans of ABA Approved Law Schools (May 6, 1997). Fortunately, they do not purport to apply to an e-class at one law school, although teacher and students may be separated by more miles than the distance between the two schools involved in a distance-learning project.

15. See, e.g., Rosemary Shiels, Technology Update: Attorneys' Use of Computers in the Nation's 500 Largest Law Firms, 46 Am. U. L. Rev. 537 (1996); Barbara Bintliff, From Creativity to Computerese: Thinking Like a Lawyer in the Computer Age, 88 Law Libr. J. 338 (1996); Ethan Katsh, Digital Lawyers: Orienting the Legal Profession to Cyberspace, 55 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 1141 (1994); William T. Braithwaite, How Is Technology Affecting the Practice and Profession of Law? 22 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1113 (1991); Twenty-ninth Selected Bibliography on Computers, Technology and the Law, 23 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 419 (1997).

16. See Eugene Volokh, Computer Media for the Legal Profession, 94 Mich. L. Rev. 2058 (1996); Richard A. Matasar & Rosemary Shiels, Electronic Law Students: Repercussions on Legal Education, 29 Val. U. L. Rev. 909 (1995); Richard A. Danner, Facing the Millennium: Law Schools, Law Librarians, and Information Technology, 46 J. Legal Educ. 43 (1996); Gail M. Daly, Law Library Evaluation Standards: How Will We Evaluate the Virtual Library? 45 J. Legal Educ. 61 (1995).

17. Where Can You Go Today? The Computerization of Legal Education from Workbooks to the Web, 11 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 141 (1997) (also at <http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/articles/11hjolt141.html>).

18. Stephan D. Sowle & Richard Warner summarize the advantages:

[Use of e-mail discussion groups] frees up additional classroom time for delving deeply into theoretical and policy considerations, exploring hypothetical applications of the legal rules under discussion . . . . Classroom time can thus be reserved for discussion of difficult or sophisticated issues that are best taught in direct exchanges with students.
...Another benefit is that students who lack the confidence to participate in class may feel more comfortable taking part in on-line discussions, particularly if they can be anonymous. This helps counteract the unfortunate tendency for classroom discussion to be dominated by a few students.
Cruising the Electronic Classroom, Law Tchr., Fall 1997, at 4, 5.

19. Threading refers to an e-mail system's capability to arrange (and rearrange) incoming e-mail messages by a particular order (date, sender, topic, etc.).

20. One might surmise that, because the comparable Lexis WCB is a no-cost alternative, West will ultimately drop its plan to charge for TWEN—or abandon TWEN altogether, as more and more people choose to construct their own websites.

21. You may want to tell your students that the use of TWEN or WCB inserts a "cookie" into their computer programming, making it possible to gather information about the computer user's tastes and usage of the product.

22. I upgraded to the unlimited-Internet-access pricing option with my ISP, merely to obtain a no-cost host for the academic website that I was planning. I do not recommend the cookie-cutter templates offered by ISPs such as AT&T and AOL. These are fine for many purposes, but not for a state-of-the-art law course.

23. See William Slomanson, The Four Corners of the Academic Website World, at <http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/lesfeb98.htm>. Note: Do not dismiss the do-it-yourself option because you think that do-it-yourselfers have to understand the intricacies of HTML coding. There are marvelous website construction programs that eliminate the drudgery associated with inputting HTML coding. The most popular program is probably Adobe Page Mill. See <http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/pagemill/main.html>. Using TWEN or WCB is easier, but the do-it-myself option has given me a much greater return on my time investment.

24. I don't recommend requiring students to take part in an e-mail discussion group or grading them on their participation. In this instance a carrot may be more effective than a stick.

25. They prepare state practice motions because the vast majority of students will practice in state courts long before they ever appear in federal court—or before they decide to pursue a predominantly federal practice.

26. See e-class web page at <http://home.att.net/~slomansonb/e-Class.html>.

27. There are several companies that offer free e-mail service, so that students do not have to pay for a second e-mail account just to take my course.

28. During the semester when I operated my first electronic discussion group, AOL was down for a long period. (AOL had advertised an attractive upgrade, without anticipating the new demands on its existing system as millions of people signed on.) Many of my students learned the hard way that ISPs are not always up and running.

29. A number of our colleagues will dispute the propriety of allowing anonymous e-mail messages from a nontraceable source. Because of actual, perceived, or potential student abuse—the subject of past LAWPROF or E-TEACH threads—some teachers do not allow anonymous postings, or any submission that the teacher has not screened.

30. See Gregory E. Maggs, Self-Publication on the Internet and the Future of Law Reviews, 30 Akron L. Rev. 237 (1996).

31. Their personal e-mail addresses are: cgorian@juno.com, hangellea@hotmail.com, hsbass@juno.com, jd@thegroup.net, lido14@worldnet.att.net, mischmart@aol.com, tpmoye@aol.com, vancho@inetworld.net (Professor: bills@tjsl.edu).


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