June 16, 2014
It is no secret that PI trial lawyers are not particularly fond of the ABA. It is perceived as a white-shoe, corporate/commercial organization that speaks nothing of value to the plaintiff’s trial bar.
As a Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Appellate Advocacy Committee, we can tell you that this is not precisely true. However, actions such as the one taken by the ABA’s
Council of the Section of Legal Education last week make it very difficult for us to assure you that the ABA lives in the same world we do.
The Council voted to continue its ban on law students getting both pay and credits for externships, a position attacked by, among others, the ABA’s own Law Student Division. With the cost of
law school burgeoning out of control and the reality that law students both need and deserve to be paid for what they do, the Council’s intransigence is nothing more than an antiquated paean to a lost world.
There is no good reason to bar both pay and credit for the same educational experience. Does this make sense? “Allowing students to be paid while simultaneously getting academic externship course credit
will necessarily undermine the academic focus of field placement experiences and will not likely expand the number or kind of placements available to students.” (Soc. Of Am. Law Teachers) In other
words, free labor is good for the system. Poppycock.
We worked for a lawyer while in law school. We learned from him how to be a lawyer. No mere professor ever taught us that. Receiving credit for the experience would have only recognized its value, not reduced it.
As boring as it might be, sometimes you just have to read the statute to know what you’re doing. It also makes sense to read the statute before you prep your client for his EBT. Finally, in a word to the wise, appellate panels read statutes too.
Submitted for your approval on this point is Derosario v. Gill, 2014 Slip Op 04163 (2d Dep’t 6/11/14). VTL 1142(a) provides that a driver who stops at a stop sign, but then proceeds forward and fails to yield the right-of-way to crossing traffic, “is negligent as a matter of law.” In other words, a party who testifies, no matter