Line Drawing

By Professor David Phillips

A key activity of those involved with “law,” whether it’s in the context of creating law or applying law to given facts, is either to draw lines or to decipher on which side of a line a certain activity falls. The speed limit on a particular street or highway presents an obvious example.  Let’s say that the speed limit on a superhighway is 65 mph; one drives legally at or below that “line,” whereas one drives illegally above that speed limit and possibly subjects him or herself to a fine.  But when I say that law is about line-drawing, I mean such on a more embracing and hopefully sophisticated level.  And, to be realistic, even this simple initial example of a speed limit is far more complex than would at first appear, as we shall discover when returning to it later.  Read on to try some other examples first and through these examples discover some of the ideas you’ll struggle with as you proceed through the first-year of law school.

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Faculty Post: Arbitration vs. Labor Arbitration

By Roger I. Abrams, Richardson Professor of Law

Recently, the New York Times published a three-day series on the “evils” of arbitration. Many of my colleagues and friends who know that I teach a workshop in arbitration at Northeastern and have served as a labor arbitrator for over forty years have asked me how I could possibly be involved with such a shameful procedure! In fact, I am not. The difference between labor and commercial arbitration is not very well known. Continue reading

Faculty Post: Discussing Domestic Violence

by Jennifer Howard, Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence Institute

A woman steals her roommate’s food and an altercation ensues. When asked to clean up his trash, a brother consistently berates his sister, to the point she is afraid to come out of her room. Shelter mates “fight” over time in the bathroom and one continually stares down the other, causing fear. To force her partner to move out of the doorway and let her leave their apartment, a woman throws a remote control, knocking her partner in the eye.   A mother stabs a father’s arm with a fork to stop him from chasing after their teenage daughter. Each of these scenarios involves the use of violence within the context of a special relationship and each of them might constitute grounds for a restraining order in Massachusetts.   But should they?

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Faculty Post: Farewell to “No Child Left Behind,” Hello to….??

by Professor Mary O’Connell

In January of 2002, President George W. Bush signed a statute his administration optimistically dubbed “No Child Left Behind”(NCLB). In fact, the statute was a re-authorization of the more mundanely named “Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)”, a key pillar of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program. Johnson, who was raised in very modest circumstances, famously declared a “War on Poverty” ; the ESEA, which flowed federal funds to public schools with high concentrations of poor children, was one of Johnson’s legislative centerpieces.

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Faculty Post: Real Lawyering from Day One — How Does Northeastern’s Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC) Program Jump Start Your Professional Development?

by Susan Maze-Rothstein, Teaching Professor

A warm welcome to our incoming Class of 2018! Read on to learn a little more about what’s in store for your 1L year…

To compete in today’s rapidly evolving legal profession, law students need to know, more than ever before, how to get practice-ready and fast. The profession can no longer accommodate graduates who need their first five years of practice to really learn how to be a lawyer. In coming to NUSL, you have picked perhaps the most interesting time to go to law school because the law school business model of lecture courses is changing as it must. You are entering the ground floor of the future of lawyering. Welcome!

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Faculty Post: the Legal Advocacy for Victims Project

by Jennifer Howard, Supervising Attorney of the Domestic Violence Institute

It’s a cold, late November night, when a NUSL 1L student first meets Paul, in the basement community room of a local transitional housing program. After a long day of classes and a rush hour ride to the event, the 1L carefully opens the interview with gentle questions in an effort to establish rapport with Paul. Through the course of the 90 minute consultation, the 1L gains Paul’s trust and listens intently as Paul describes childhood sexual abuse and the domino effect it has had on his life, as he sits now, profoundly depressed, unemployed and essentially homeless. A lack of support and an unwillingness by Paul’s family to validate his experiences have no doubt led him to take advantage of the chance to sit down with a NUSL law student to explore legal options. Welcome to the Legal Advocacy for Victims (LAV) project of the Domestic Violence Institute (DVI) at NUSL.

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