Inaugural Issue
Winter/Spring 2009 - Volume 1 Number 1 - Articles

Foreword

The founding of the Drexel Law Review marks a noteworthy moment in the institutional life of the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, already a vibrant center for scholarly in-quiry and professional development in the field of law. Like the law school’s lecture halls, faculty offices, and corridors, these pages will provide a fresh new forum for some of the in-tellectual pursuits that are most important to our profession—the exposition of the law and the give-and-take of academic dialogue.

Inaugural Article: Reforming Knowledge? A Socio-Legal Critique of the Legal Education Reforms in Japan

The founding of a new law review is an opportunity to re-flect on the wider purposes of legal education. This is increa-singly a comparative question as law becomes a transnational field of practice, and the American model of legal education is emulated around the world. Consider the case of Japan. In April of 2004, a new so-called “Law School” (rosukuru) system was introduced. For over a century prior to this reform, legal education had been provided at the undergraduate level on the European civil law model. As many commentators have enthusiastically noted, the primary model for the new law school system was without a doubt the American law school system.

Why Trying to Rank Law Schools Numerically is a Non-productive Undertaking: An Article on the U.S. News & World Report 2009 List of "The Top 100 Schools"

The editors of the Law Review proposed that my contribution to this first issue address some aspect of legal education. I have done so in a fashion that the editors could not have antic-ipated and which—had I consulted them when I was turning over in my mind what subject to write about—they might have urged me to abandon in favor of some broader and dee-per topic. But I did not consult the editors. I had no broad and deep issues of legal education in mind. But I realized that there was a narrow and rather shallow question that has ran-kled for years, and that I wanted to write a few paragraphs about. The question is whether the annual ranking of Ameri-can law schools by U.S. News & World Report is a useful en-deavor or a counter-productive one. I am convinced that it is the latter—that it is an incubus, bad for the health of legal education.

Teaching Transactional Lawyering

Over the years I have developed a habit. Whenever I meet a "deal lawyer" of some experience and the opportunity presents itself, I ask this question, "what makes a 'great' deal lawyer better than a simply 'average' one?" While my interlo-cutor is pondering his or her answer, I clarify my inquiry in two ways. First, I explain that I want to discount for expe-rience. So in answering the question, I ask my interlocutor to have in mind two lawyers of roughly comparable vintage. Second, I ask him or her to keep in mind that my second question will be, whatever they identify as the critical components of this difference, are the components teachable?

Resolving Amicus Curiae Motions in the Third Circuit and Beyond

Amicus curiae briefs are deeply woven into the fabric of modern federal appellate practice. Indeed, amici curiae submit briefs in approximately ninety percent of the cases that the United States Supreme Court entertains, and the Justices deny a minuscule number of amicus requests to participate. Amicus practice is less ubiquitous in the United States Courts of Appeals. Amici seek to file comparatively few briefs, nearly all of which the appellate courts permit, while many tribunals have not developed a comprehensive jurisprudence for resolving amicus motions. Nonetheless, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has articulated rather stringent criteria, which it has strictly applied to limit amicus involvement, even as the Third Circuit has formulated less restrictive standards that the court has generously enforced to facilitate amicus participation. The significance of federal appellate court amicus practice will only grow as the twelve regional circuits increasingly become the courts of last resort for their geographic areas because the Supreme Court hears so few appeals. These propositions mean that federal appellate court disposition of amicus curiae motions warrants assessment, which this Article undertakes, concluding that the appeals courts should generally follow the Supreme Court and Third Circuit approaches as illuminated by certain aspects of the Seventh Circuit treatment.

Inaugural Issue Winter/Spring 2009 | Notes

"Genius of Art! What Achievements are Thine?" The Social Shaping of Inventiveness Requirements in Antebellum Patent Law

Scholars have described non-obviousness as a critical element of the United States patent system. The requirement mandates that, at the time of invention, an invention must not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art. In effect, this screens routine improvements out of the patent system and rewards inventions perceived to be scientific breakthroughs.

Sex Offender Residency Restrictions: How Common Sense Places Children at Risk

Sex offender residency restrictions (SORRs) are a manifestation of the American public's retributivist attitudes and biased fears - attitudes and fears that ultimately result in ineffective policy choices. Over the last quarter century in the United States there has been a reemergence of "just deserts" as a generalized theory of policy. This retributivist policy is particularly salient in recent civil sanctions levied against sex offenders after their release from prison. Sex offenders, as a group, incite the public's fear and hatred, and politicians seeking to curry electorate favor often support increasingly harsh sanctions against these "political pariahs of our day." Most recently, in an attempt to keep communities safe, at least twentytwo states and hundreds of local municipalities have placed severe restrictions on where sex offenders may live after being released from prison. These restrictions typically exclude sex offenders from living within 1000 to 2500 feet of schools, parks, day care centers, and other areas where children congregate. However, research indicates that these fear-driven laws are ill-advised policy choices based on faulty reasoning. They aggravate recidivism risk factors, and hence may actually make communities less safe.