May 4, 2016
A new draft article—co-authored by Professor Daniel Schwarcz and Dion Farganis (‘17)—documents through statistically significant evidence that individualized feedback in one first-year doctrinal course improves students’ performance in other first year courses. “The Impact of Individualized Feedback on Law Student Performance” has been covered by numerous media outlets and blogs, including Above The Law, Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports, Concurring Opinions, The Faculty Lounge, and Tax Prof Blog, among others.
Unlike prior research on formative feedback in law schools, the paper exploits a natural experiment, which arises from the random assignment of students to first-year sections and the occasional grouping together of students into “double section” first-year class. The paper finds that, in double section classes, students in sections that have previously or concurrently had a class providing individualized feedback consistently outperform students in sections that have not received any such feedback. It also finds that the advantages of individualized feedback appear to be concentrated among lower-performing students at the Law School.
May 3, 2016
Professor Kevin Reitz was recently interviewed by reporter Sandy Hausman of WVTF Public Radio on “Crowded Prisons, Rare Parole: A 5-Part Series.” This series examines Virginia’s parole release practices: “It’s been more than 20 years since Virginia abolished parole, and over that time the prison population has grown to more than 30,000 people. Just over 10% of them committed crimes before the law changed, so they’re still eligible for parole, but few of them are getting out, and the state now spends more than a billion dollars a year on prisons and correctional programs.” “Crowded Prisons, Rare Parole: A 5-Part Series” also examines Virginia’s low rate of parole, questions parole hearings proceeding in private, asks why the parole board rarely paroles, looks at Virginia’s prison population, and concludes with a focus on drug offenses.
When discussing what might prevent parole board members from paroling an offender, Prof. Reitz says, “There is a feeling that if I [the parole board member] let this person out today and, God forbid, he or she goes on to do something terrible, then that’s on me [as a parole board member]. On the other hand, if I make the cautious decision and keep the person in, then there’s no risk to me. They [the parole board members] have a reasonably nice job, but if they make a mistake and let the wrong person out, that job could be gone tomorrow.”
Learn more about the Robina Institute’s research on parole release and revocation practices here.
May 2, 2016
Professor Prentiss Cox was quoted in The Atlantic on the regulation of payday loans and small-dollar consumer lending. Prof. Cox framed the issue in the broader context of consumer protection issues, and stated that the consensus solution of consumer advocates was to move payday lending into the mainstream of consumer finance with improved regulatory control.
April 25, 2016
Professor Judith T. Younger was quoted on Minnesota Public Radio about the status of the late Prince’s estate and the potential release of—reportedly—over 50 albums worth of unreleased music, locked in a bank vault under Paisley Park. Prof. Younger said she’d be surprised if Prince didn’t have a will outlining his expectations regarding property, including any unreleased recordings. Prof. Younger also added that even if there are wishes outlined in a will, courts have been known to disregard such directives in special cases.
April 22, 2016
Professor Brad Clary was interviewed for a Gail Rosenblum column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the subject of spousal privilege. The column explores the current attempts by lawyers in the defamation case against entertainer Bill Cosby to take deposition testimony from his wife. “In the real world, [the exact meaning of spousal privilege] does get messy,” said Prof. Clary. “But the theory is that the inner workings of the marriage, in terms of spouses being supportive of each other, hinges on the confidential nature of a communication during pillow talk. What people are out and about observing is much less sensitive. The needs of the court system outweigh that kind of protection.”
April 22, 2016
Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin received the 2016 Society of Legal Scholars Research Activities Fund Award to advance research on her project on “Conceptualizing and Quantifying Maternal Harms.” The award will enable archival research and advance data collection on conflict bereaved mothers in Northern Ireland. The Society of Legal Scholars supports legal research and scholarship through its Research Activities Fund each year.
April 19, 2016
Ellen Anderson, executive director of the Energy Transition Lab, will speak at the ”United We Change: What the Paris Climate Summit Means for Minnesota.” This event is the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy’s annual women’s breakfast, to be held at the University of St. Thomas. More information can be found here.
April 13, 2016
Professor Richard Painter—an expert in securities law and government ethics—was interviewed by KSTP News in a story about a school board official in Stillwater, Minn., who allegedly participated in recommending a broker dealer where her husband worked for underwriting a school bond issue. “That is clearly a financial conflict of interest,” said Painter. “[The School district treasurer] needs to recuse from that decision or any recommendation on whether to do business with that firm. And ultimately the voters should be told about it.”
Prof. Painter Authors Op-Ed Urging Judiciary Committee Chairman to Hold Confirmation Hearing for Judge GarlandApril 13, 2016
Following up on his op-ed in the New York Times on the Garland nomination, Professor Richard Painter urged in another op-ed in the Des Moines Register that Iowa voters insist that Senator Grassley do his job and hold a hearing for Judge Garland. “Partisan politics is an increasingly intense and pernicious influence in Washington. Senator Grassley has been in Washington for a long time. Even though Grassley has for three decades served in the Senate with integrity and distinction, even though no Supreme Court nominee has ever been denied a confirmation hearing, even though the vast majority of voters in Iowa and the nation want Judge Garland to receive a hearing now, and even though the Supreme Court cannot effectively conduct its business with only eight justices, Grassley says that he will refuse to have a hearing for Garland until the November election,” wrote Painter.
April 7, 2016
Professor Allan Erbsen’s article “Impersonal Jurisdiction” was recently cited by the Iowa Supreme Court. In the case of State v. Rimmer, the court cited the article’s discussion of how the scope of a state’s territorial jurisdiction in criminal cases may differ from the scope of its territorial jurisdiction in civil cases.