The Newsletter contains information on case studies and role plays to help you plan upcoming courses and professional development with actively engaging, participant-centered learning.

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New Discussion-Based Case Studies
New Lessons from Bingham McCutchen Case
HLS case study “Bingham McCutchen: Combinatorial Mathematics” made the news recently, as law firm Bingham McCutchen faces challenges following a series of partner departures. Citing the case study for its depiction of Bingham’s growth trajectory, the Am Law Daily reports that Bingham posted its worst financial performance in 2013, which some at the firm attribute to contracts guaranteed to attorneys in connection with a 2009 merger with McKee Nelson. According to the Am Law article, guaranteed contracts had succeeded in previous mergers that Bingham pursued, but met opposition when Bingham honored McKee’s closed compensation system for the duration of the guarantees. As financial performance dipped, legacy Bingham attorneys reportedly wanted more transparency about compensation guaranteed to attorneys brought in from McKee. A wave of departures ensued. Read full article...
Twitter Happenings
Ethics in Hindsight
The Nation Reflects on Aaron Swartz Case, Prosecutorial Discretion

New Product: Prosecutorial Discretion in Charging and Plea Bargaining: The Aaron Swartz Case (B)

The B case, now available, is an epilogue to Part A, the main discussion stimulus. Part A asks participants to consider the prosecutorial decisions and ethics of Aaron Swartz’s case. Swartz was a 24-year-old Internet prodigy, charged with computer fraud for downloading much of the JSTOR online journal database while on the campus of MIT. The prosecution offered multiple plea bargains, but Swartz refused to plead guilty to any felony counts. Two years went by, with pre-trial negotiations escalating and then reaching a stalemate. Just before Swartz’s trial was slated to begin, Swartz committed suicide.

B cases can provide resolution, or chronicle the lack thereof. Read full article...

Meet Our Authors: Q&A Series

Professor
Holger Spamann



The Battle for Unocal


What inspired the case study?
HS: The practice of corporate law is overwhelmingly transactional. Corporate lawyers have to anticipate problems and transact around them. It is difficult to convey that from an appellate case such as Unocal v. Mesa. It certainly does not provide any training of transactional thinking. That prompted the idea of transforming this seminal Delaware decision into a case study by stepping back in time a couple months, before the parties had made the decisions that were ultimately adjudicated by the Delaware court. Giving more background also makes it easier for students to understand what is really at stake. Read full article...


Professor
Adriaan Lanni

 

What challenges and opportunities did the case writing process present?
AL: Having a detailed case study made it possible for a much more detailed and nuanced class discussion, and put everyone in the class on an equal footing. If I hadn’t had a dedicated case writer I probably would have assigned a short magazine article, which wouldn’t have provided enough information to really dig into the prosecutor’s options at various points in the case timeline. One challenge was that many members of the class had strong views on the Swartz case, which made it more difficult to elicit a balanced discussion. Read full article...


Kyle Courtney, HU Copyright Advisor

How did the students react to the case study?
KC: They really liked it—even I was surprised at the amount of enthusiasm generated by something as routine as e-reserves. The case led to a robust discussion. I think the participants realized that their work today may have an impact on the law! Case studies are great because they reflect the front-line problems that education has with copyright law. Capturing these problems is complex but proves that these issues can be reasoned, analyzed, and addressed. Cases give front-line people the sense that there is ground to be gained...
Read full article...

For more information, or to discuss how to adapt our case studies for your academic or professional education needs, contact Lisa Brem, Case Studies Program Manager, at lbrem@law.harvard.edu.
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