Do journalists deserve some blame for America’s mass shootings?

The reporter who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for feature writing initially thought she was in Charleston, South Carolina, to chronicle the lives of nine church-goers who died in 2015 when a stranger with a Glock murdered them while they were praying.

The names, mug shots and one paragraph each about the lives of those nine victims did make it into Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s story, “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof,” published in GQ in September 2017.

But the rest of her over 12,000-word story told the tale of their killer instead. Ghansah spared nothing in tracking down intimate details of the shooter’s life, coming from his childhood friends, elementary school principal, church minister, co-workers, teenage pals and more. The reporter went back to his birth, telling of the isolation of his school years as a low-income white boy, can’t-get-out-of-bed depression, rancid racism, incessant preparations for killing African-American parishioners and his death sentence for a federal hate crime conviction.

It’s an incredible work of journalism, but also an example of the type of mass shooting coverage that’s maddening to advocates who, for years, have tried to little avail to persuade the media to stop publishing the names and images of mass shooters.

This article first published in Quill Magazine in June. It’s available for reprints. Contact me for details.

Continue reading Do journalists deserve some blame for America’s mass shootings?

The Secret Recipe to Bar Prep: Meal Prep?

Everyone knows that eating fast food, candy and sugary drinks can cause weight gain, but aside from the battle against the bulge, there’s another great reason for law graduates to strive toward more healthful eating while studying for the Texas bar exam. Science has shown that a good diet can boost brain health and mental functioning, helping good eaters to acquire knowledge, retain memories and better process mood and emotions. Even though it’s difficult to find the time, there are strategies that law students can use to change their eating habits for the better, whether they cook at home or dine out.

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PDF: the-secret-to-bar-prep-meal-prep

Entering Its 4th Year, Award-Winning Houston Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Is Just Getting Started

Daniel Henry was studying to become an engineer, but something wasn’t right.

Studying for his undergraduate engineering courses at the University of Houston was boring—a real chore—and he couldn’t see himself in the field for the rest of his life. Then an African-American studies course made him realize his true passion was fighting for justice and helping the black community.

But how?

That question lead him to enroll in an innovative, intense diversity program at the University of Houston Law Center, unprecedented among Texas law schools and rare among nationwide law schools, which has won national accolades from diversity advocates.

“I just went to learn about the legal field, and I came out knowing [and] fighting for justice as an attorney was my purpose,” Henry said.

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PDF: prelaw pipeline program

New Nonprofit Firm the First Founded by Baby Lawyers

Two recent law graduates in Houston have joined a national trend by launching a new nonprofit law firm to serve low- and middle-income clients.

Access Justice Houston, founded by 2017 University of Houston Law Center graduates MacKenzie Dunham and Doug Evans, has become the fourth Texas-based nonprofit firm—along with DiFilippo Holistic Law Center in Austin, Legal Access Texas in Dallas, and Greater Waco Legal Services in Waco—that are targeting modest-means clients in an effort to close the justice gap. The other Texas-based nonprofit firms were launched by veteran lawyers; Dunham and Evans are the first recent law graduates to take the plunge.

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PDF: New Nonprofit Firm the First Founded by Baby Lawyers _ Texas Lawyer

At Elite Law Reviews, Diversity Efforts May Be Paying Off

In the past few years, some of the country’s most elite law reviews have elected students of color as editors-in-chief, a signal that yearslong diversity efforts might finally be paying off.

Historically speaking, law reviews have struggled to represent students of color and women equally among their editors—jobs that can open doors to prestigious judicial clerkships and Big Law employment. It’s been even harder for underrepresented students to win the coveted editor-in-chief role, as statistically, leadership posts at law reviews have overrepresented white male law students.

Are the times changing?

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PDF: At Elite Law Reviews, Diversity Efforts May Be Paying Off _ National Law Journal

Move Over Moms, Male Lawyers Are Using Flextime Too

Say the word “flextime” and most people think of reduced hours for working mothers. But a small, yet growing number of male lawyers are using lighter job schedules to strike the right work-life balance.

More law firms in recent years have incorporated flextime policies—especially reduced-hour schedules—to help with attorney retention. And women, more than men, have used the policies to balance their jobs with raising kids.

But more widespread adoption by male attorneys of the benefit is expected to lift all boats—helping women lawyers juggle demands and attracting millennial attorneys less interested in working a constant grind.

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PDF: Move Over Moms, Male Lawyers Are Using Flextime Too _ Law.com

 

One Texas Law School Is Doing the Heavy Lifting When It Comes to Diversity Efforts

Texas legal educators are striving to recruit racially and ethnically diverse law students, but there’s one law school that’s excelling hand-over-fist compared to the others.

With 91 percent of its current students hailing from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law takes the top spot when it comes to a diverse student body.

Texas Lawyer analyzed demographic data from the 10 Texas law schools and ranked them based on the percentage of minority students. Schools submit data annually to the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is responsible for accrediting law schools.

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PDF: One Texas Law School Is Doing the Heavy Lifting When It Comes to Diversity Efforts _ Texas Lawyer