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4/20/2016 9:13:50 AM
Book Review: The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts
Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, Oxford University Press, 2015, 346 pages, inclusive of appendices, bibliography, and index, Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-19-871339-5
Richard Susskind has previously written and spoken extensively on the future of law and the legal profession. Here he’s written a new book along with his son who is an economics professor at Oxford. Because of Susskind’s past scholarship in this area, this was a book I knew I had to look at and one you will probably want to skim, if not read through. You will probably want to have this book available in your library purely on the author’s reputation. Lawyers and academics in law will want to know what’s here.
This is not a book about law or lawyers. The Future of the Professions is about trends across the information professions generally. Information professions aren’t defined clearly. Characteristics of an information profession are high levels of specialized knowledge for practitioners, admission based on credentials, government regulation on activities, and a common set of values among practitioners. Examples include clergy, professors, architects, and management consultants, as well as lawyers. But lawyers are such a small portion of the book that this isn’t about understanding the legal profession.
What this book was good for is getting an overview of technology trends affecting all kinds of skilled work. It was helpful for updating my knowledge of technology trends outside of the legal profession. It brushes on diverse topics from downloadable plans for 3D printed houses which have actually been printed and assembled, to MOOCs, to religions using social media to organize. I found it a great tour of new technologies. As you might imagine the topic is so ambitious that coverage can’t be in-depth. Instead, coverage is broad, and copious footnotes get you to the more detailed information. For most technologies, the footnotes even give you a link to download printable house plans, view a social network, or see the webpage of a corporation providing services in an area. In contrast to previous books by Susskind, this book is not gloom and doom and instead presents technology as powerful and pervasive. The tone is upbeat.
A pleasant surprise was the amount of content dedicated to educational trends. This goes well beyond MOOCs into discussions of costs of education impacting professions, apps for educating autistic children, and learning analytics. One of the authors is a professor, and that may account for the emphasis on how technology is changing education. As librarians, we often work as educators. We support professors, teach legal research, present CLEs, help pro se patrons find what they need, and guide attorneys in research.
A tremendous positive in this book, given that it’s not about law, is that individual sections or chapters of the book hold up well as stand-alone readings. In fact, for me reading it straight through, some facts or examples repeated and I suspect the book may be intended to be read in portions. Someone who is casually interested can read the introductory sections, then skim the table of contents for the most relevant sections.
Review by Wilhelmina Randtke, Digital Library Services Coordinator, Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative.
Posted By 4/20/2016 9:13:50 AM
4/19/2016 10:11:43 AM
Book Review: Madam Chief Justice: Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina
Burke, W.L., Assey, J.P., O’Connor, S.D., & Ginsberg, R.B. Madam Chief Justice: Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press, 2015, 205 pages, inclusive of appendices, bibliography, and index, Hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-61117-692-6
Madam Chief Justice: Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina is a biography about the life of Jean Hoefer Toal who was the first woman elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Each section is written by someone who knew her through her work as a lawyer, elected official, and the Supreme Court. There is also one section written by her two of her daughters. There isn’t one legal issue addressed in this book but an overview of her life as a lawyer, elected official, and judge.
The book is interesting and it does cover Hoefer Toal’s life. The biggest issue with each section being written by someone new is the repetitive narrative. A number of the sections addressed the same cases she worked on. They didn’t give any new insight into the case. The new author rehashed what other’s had said about Hoefer Toal’s life. There were some very interesting cases addressed in the book. One of the cases rehashed in a couple sections was Eslinger v. Thomas where Victoria LaMonte Eslinger, a first-year law student applied to be a page for the South Carolina Senate in 1971. She was turned down because she was a “girl.” Other sections in the book do cover other cases she worked but the Esling v. Thomas was the case repeated in a number of sections.
Researchers will like the historical value of the book. There are number of sections that delve into the history of South Carolina to illustrate changes Hoefer Toal made when she took a position. In the tenth section in the book, which is written by Sue Erwin Harper and Elizabeth Van Doren Gray where they talk about how Hoefer Toal’s belief in mentoring led to the creation of the South Carolina Women Lawyer’s Association. The section written by Tina Cundari talked about the history of the courts and when Hoefer Toal became the Chief Justice she modernized the courts.
Madam Chief Justice: Jean Hoefer Toal of South Carolina would probably be best in a law school library and any library in South Carolina. It has a lot of historical value to trace the history of South Carolina courts. It would also be interesting for anyone who wants to read about women and the law. The book gives statistical information on the numbers of women in the law when Hoefer Toal began practicing, won her seat on the Senate, and her election to the Supreme Court.
I personally had a hard time reading the book because there was no organization in it. There is no timeline at all. Each section is written by one or two people and it seems they picked what they wrote about. The section could start with a case she handled later in her career or it could start with her very first case which made it more difficult for me to understand when things were happening in her life and I had to do some additional research to find out. If you just want to read a chapter here and there this book would be an excellent book to pick up. Each section can stand on its own without further reading so if someone was interested in how Hoefer Toal brought the court house into the twenty-first century they could flip to that section and read on that. If they wanted her take on torts they could flip to that section. However, if you are looking for the life story from beginning to current, this is not the book.
Author: Victoria Troemel (email@example.com) is Technical Services Librarian at Indiana Tech Law Library, Fort Wayne, IN.
Posted By 4/19/2016 10:11:43 AM
4/18/2016 2:54:03 PM
Book Review: The Articulate Advocate: Persuasive Skills for Lawyers in Trials, Appeals, Arbitrations, and Motions, 2nd edition
Brian K. Johnson and Marsha Hunter, The Articulate Advocate: Persuasive Skills for Lawyers in Trials, Appeals, Arbitrations, and Motions, 2nd Edition, Crown King Books, 2016, 228 pages, inclusive of appendices, bibliography, and index, Paperback, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-19-939506-03-0
The Articulate Advocate by Brian K. Johnson and Marsha Hunter serves as a welcome how-to-guide for anyone interested in the arena of oral advocacy. The first edition of this book focused only on courtroom communication skills for trial lawyers. In the preface, Johnson and Hunter explained the rationale of expanding the book in the second edition to be more encompassing and reach a broader audience. As a result the second edition includes advice on being successful advocates in a variety of situations, including jury trials, bench trials, mock trials, motion practice, appeals, and arbitrations.
The book is broken down into five discrete parts – your body, your brain, your voice, technique (how to practice), and finally application in practice. Throughout the book, the authors show the reader how to use their, body, their brain, and their voice to communicate with power and effect. They teach you how to stand and use your body effectively and then introduce you to the basics of breathing and then how to use your voice successfully to persuade your audience. Johnson and Hunter create an invaluable guide to effective courtroom communication by providing strategies for public speaking and how to act naturally in stressful situations.
Following the preface and the introduction, the book begins explaining to the reader how to take control of your body and use it to enhance your oral advocacy skills. Not only do they explain to the reader how to place and use your body, the book is full of illustrations on how to control your body, plant your feet, stand still and finally how to move with purpose. The chapter then moves on to explain tactical breathing, or conscious breathing. Conscious breathing helps you feel, speak and think better. The chapter concludes with a discussion on natural gestures and posture alignment.
Next, the book focuses on the brain. The authors focus on the time warp phenomenon created by adrenaline and that it needs to be understood and exploited in order to think and speak under pressure. In explaining this phenomenon, the authors offer very matter of fact advice on how to control silences and to use it your advantage to assist you in thinking on your feet. Once this concept is explained, Johnson and Hunter move on to teach you how to think on your feet. One key element discussed is how to create notes. Notes created for speaking become more useful once the difference between how you write versus how you think, speak, and gesture is understood. The authors offer a simple explanation – you write vertically but you think and gesture horizontally. Therefore, create notes that synchronize with how your brain remembers and how your hands gesture. Hunter and Johnson also address the fear factor – what if I forget? The better question and answer is when I forget, how will I recover?
Following the discussion of both the body and the brain, the authors next turn their attention to the voice. They also instruct the reader about how the power of your voice is created and how to achieve articulation clarity to make the listener’s job easier. They go on to explain how to unlock the intended meaning of words by stressing the key words in sentences. Other areas explored in this chapter are how to to speak in phrases, and avoid thinking words, such as um, etc.
The final two chapters focus on practicing the techniques discussed in the preceding chapters and how to apply those skills at trial. The authors focus on the idea that the only way to improve any skill is to practice and to use everyday conversation as the field to hone these skills and techniques. Each chapter concludes by highlighting the salient points in a chart that serves to emphasize to the reader their importance.
Appendix 1 and 2 provides helpful checklists for the reader to use to prepare and critique their own performance. Appendix 1 is the speaker checklist that highlights for the reader how to coordinate their body, mind, voice, and brain for effective advocacy. Appendix Two is the video self-review checklist for the reader to critique their own performance. Appendix Three and Four round out the book by providing essential delivery skills for sitting for arbitration and to argue a motion or appeal, respectively.
This book is well written and extremely easy to follow. It succinctly guides the reader with easy to follow instructions and illustrations that help them to be comfortable thinking on their feet while they speak. The authors seamlessly blend a mix of science and practical techniques and tips which creates a well-balanced step-by-step guide to improve and enhance oral advocacy skills. It could easily serve as a basic introduction to oral advocacy as well as a refresher for seasoned advocates to brush up on their advocacy skills and would be a welcome addition in any law library.
Review by Whitney A. Curtis is the Associate Director/Head of Public Services at Barry University School of Law.
Posted By 4/18/2016 2:54:03 PM