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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.

How Law Professors Can Write a
Problem Solving Case

By Joseph William Singer, Bussey Professor of Law

We all know law professors use the case method to teach law. But the Problem Solving Workshop has adopted a new kind of case method—the kind more typical of business and public policy schools. The old Langdellian case method asks students to read judicial opinions; we do that to teach students how to interpret cases, to read the law, to consider alternative rules of law, to make arguments on both sides of contested questions, to understand the judicial role and legal reasoning. Such cases start at the end when the facts are decided, the legal issues identified and narrowed, and a ruling of law announced and defended.

The problem solving case method focuses on the case at the very beginning—before the facts are all known, before the parties' goals are clarified, before the legal issues have been narrowed, before the dispute has crystallized or run its course. This problem solving method asks students to consider who the client is and what their goals are or might be, what the facts are and what facts the lawyer needs to find out, what various legal rules affect the client's ability to achieve the client's goals, and what options might be available to help the client achieve her goals ethically and within the bounds of the law.

Writing a case like this may seem daunting, but any law professor can do it by following these simple rules. Read full article or forward to a friend...
It's not too late to do your summer reading...
Need a back-to-school refresher? This summer, the Case Studies Program Blog surveyed the big questions facing legal education today. Here's what you missed while you were on vacation:

The Legal Apocalypse
Legal Education's 9 Big Ideas, Part 1: Science and Technology
Legal Education's 9 Big Ideas, Part 2: The Four Cs
Legal Education's 9 Big Ideas, Part 3: The Case Study
Conversation Starters: Case Studies for Curricular Reform
New Products from Our Programs
Problem Solving Workshop: The Case of the Commissioner's ChoiceBalloon Boy.
NEW RELEASE: Critical Decisions in Negotiation DVD w/ Prof. Robert Bordone
Special Offer! Order "Critical Decisions in Negotiation" before November 15, 2013, and receive a free DVD set containing the full-length unedited negotiations for each of the four pairs of negotiators ($100 value).
Case Studies In Action
Professor Bob Bordone utilized case studies at his Harvard Negotiation Institute workshop this summer.
HNMCP Case Studies Website Shapes Harvard Negotiation Institute Workshop

With one hundred participants representing over twenty countries, the summer Harvard Negotiation Institute’s Negotiation Workshop offered five days of instruction to expand participants’ negotiation toolboxes. To facilitate skill development, Professor Robert Bordone relied on the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program’s Case Studies website.
Participants—from government officials to judges to real estate agents—learned about managing competitive bargainers and other difficult behaviors by negotiating Kesnia. In Kesnia, a country’s newly-elected government negotiates with an international NGO to determine restitution payments for a resident impacted by the country’s recent war.
When teaching about value creation, Professor Bordone used Diego Primadonna, a case involving an aging football star negotiating a new contract with his former team for a new contract.
Suffolk Law Launches Problem Solving Workshop

“I have no doubt in my mind that this will be the most memorable course I have taken,” said Suffolk Law student Thomas Lessard on his last day attending the Problem Solving Workshop. At the beginning of this year, Suffolk Law adapted Harvard Law School’s Problem Solving Workshop for its first-ever January intersession. Taught by Kathy Vinson, Professor of Legal Writing, and David Abrams, adjunct faculty and former Program Director of the Problem Solving Workshop at HLS, the course combined law, theory, and practical judgment to show students how to channel their knowledge toward client needs.
 In the lightning-fast, five-day offering, students met for five hours daily. The students tackled four case studies, three of which were HLS offerings: The Case of the Lead Toys, The Case of the Federal Defender’s Advice, Prisoner’s Lawsuit (developed by Columbia Law Professor James Tierney), and The Case of the Landlord’s Dilemma.
Financial Management Case Studies at Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School launches a new course this fall, Law Firm Financial Management, co-taught by Madhav Srinivasan, Director in Finance at Paul Weiss, and Dr. Silvia Hodges, Director of Research Services at TyMetrix Legal Analytics. The course will prepare students who are planning to enter the profession by teaching them material essential for practicing lawyers: elements of law firm finance, including income statements, balance sheet, cash flow, financial planning, analysis and forecasting as well as the financial implications of growth. Additional concepts include understanding the competitive landscape, business development, business intelligence, law firm success and failure, and practical career considerations for associates.

Srinivasan said that he and Hodges set out to design a course focusing on three main objectives. The first is to help students recognize that the global legal industry is large, profitable, and evolving through ongoing structural changes. 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
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