Posts will be thin this week as I’m in Waco in classes all day for the litigation management LL.M. on campus week. But having a great time learning more about everything from focus groups and other case evaluation tools to crisis management (although I thought the fire drill yesterday was taking it a bit too far).
The idea behind the program and my participation is that, candidly, things can be done better in litigation – and I want to study how.
Law firms often have a lot of bad processes, which could benefit from informed evaluation and change. The program – the first of its kind in the nation – is to carry the banner of ”doing things better” in litigation. As one of the program’s alumni, Amazon risk manager Aaron Mutnick puts it “the LL.M. in Litigation Management is a world-class program that enables lawyers to manage a team, and lead their company or firm’s efforts to manage a high-volume, high-stakes docket.” That was attractive to me because I’d like to have in my personal toolbox the state of the art approach to litigation management to help my firm and our clients better manage our clients’ interests in litigation.
To that end, the program’s mission is a good place to start:
- Equip national thought leaders for solving litigation justice system problems.
- Equip litigation management specialists for providing results – oriented, cost – effective client solutions
- Equip litigation firms and departments to deliver outstanding client results with profitability; and
- Prevent the disappearance of our Seventh Amendment right to jury trial
In short, to preserve our right to a jury trial, we have to find a way to show that things can be done better in litigation.
At our orientation to the program last week the Baylor LL.M. faculty explained to us what the program is about, using the Baylor “R6” framework.
“R6” stands for the six “rights” that the program seeks to study and help effectuate. It is explained more fully in the attached white paper, but in short, they are :
- The right WAY
- The right PLAN
- The right TEAM
- The right COST
- The right TOOLS; and
- The right RESULT
I will save the precise curriculum for later posts, but essentially the program consists of three semesters of work with about 12 credit hours of work per semester. The number of courses per semester varies, but as an example, the first semester has six courses plus the research project.
The work includes readings, assignments, and lecture components, some of which are pre-recorded, and some of which are live, or “synchronous” as the program puts it. Most of this is presented via the familiar Canvas platform, which I used in my last masters project at Arizona State. Assignments can be completed using a case packet provided as fodder, but students are encouraged to use their own active cases (with appropriate confidentiality of course) to fulfill assignments. For example, you could fulfil an assignment to come up with a damages model for a case using the provided case packet, or you could (as I intend to do) take a fact situation from an existing case, modify it to eliminate case identifying information, and do that analysis in that. It could, for example, provide an opportunity to try a different strategy that wasn’t tried in the actual case to see what the pros and cons of that alternative strategy would have been.
The program concludes with a research project which consists of three semesters preparing a short and a long paper on a topic of my choosing. The short piece must be under five pages and is intended for publication in a bar Journal of some kind. The longer piece must be at least 20 pages and include substantial research. The program will provide a paid law student research assistant to help with the long paper
The show begins on Monday when the courses open in Canvas, but I’m already busy outlining what I think will be the topic of my papers, based on what I already know I’m interested in.
Well, I’m at it again. Just finished the introductory course in Baylor Law’s Executive LL.M. program in Litigation Management. https://www.baylor.edu/law/llm/ “Courageous Conversations: Hearing Every Voice” helps educate members of the Baylor community on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion.
It was enjoyable and informative, and I think prepared me to play a more positive role as a (returning) member of the Baylor community. If schedule holds, I’ll graduate January 2024.
Next course up is Law 9130 “Forum Issues Affecting Major Litigation”. Okay.