Mittwoch, 29. Januar 2014

Share Not Own - Textbooks

The Sharing Economy, enabled by smartphones and web 2.0 is a new phenomenon - and it is on the rise. Car2Go, DriveNow and StadtRad are easy and flexible ways to get around town here in Hamburg, but I also love Velib in Paris, CitiBike in London and CapitalBikeShare in Washington, DC. Tuxedos, ball gowns, Prada handbags are for rent these days, AirBnB works with sharing as well as Mitfahrzentrale does.
 The next big thing might come from a Bucerius alumna: Marieke Otto started CampusRitter, a new venture sharing / renting textbooks. Students rent instead of buy textbooks with a discount of up to 50 %, returning them after the term or exam. Given the limited number of a respective textbook (and its newest edition...) in any unversity library compared to the high, but timely limited demand, CampusRitter might become the "White Knight" to solve a student's most urgent problem by even saving her money.

A proof of concept might be the fact that chegg.com in the US successfully runs this business. With "chegg" being derived from the dilemma "chicken" or "egg" which of one was first, Marieke and her colleagues decided not to wait for a solution but create a hero: The Knight of the Campus!

And if you like to share, too: share with me the stories of more and more Bucerius alumni becoming entrepreneuers and starting their own companies.

Donnerstag, 16. Januar 2014

Influential Newcomers



In the US everything seems to be "rankable". This is why I love the list of the "Most Influential People in Legal Education", published by The National Jurist every year. The top rank in 2013 was Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Irvine School of Law. When I visited him in September, I was forward-looking enough to have a photo taken of us in front of his office. As there is no such ranking in Germany, I can at least claim that I was standing next to the most influential person in legal education in the US...

But what makes him so influential? UC Irvine established its law school just a few years ago, in 2007. It comes with a concept pretty similar to Bucerius: playing by the rules, in this case the ABA standards of accreditation with all its ramifications, but at the same with the aspiration to be academically excellent, rigorous in admissions and focussed on practical experience. And thus being relevant.

Erwin's goal is to be ranked in the top 20 by next year, the first time US News and World Report will have them in their scope. Knowing his drive and commitment would to me prove enough evidence to buy in. But being friends with his faculty colleague Bryant Garth, former Dean of Southwestern in LA and one of the finest legal scholars I have met (and having had the pleasure to host him at Bucerius last year, sadly without photo, btw ranked #16 in this definitely questionable, but funny ranking) makes it a safe bet.

However, we keep our fingers crossed for newcomers, both honoring and challenging legal education in its traditions.

Mittwoch, 8. Januar 2014

WenzDay, relaunched



Dear Readers, I am not only back after a longer break with remarks on law, higher education and legal education in particular. I also return from this year's conference of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), where I took the time to think over the concept of this blog. Who do I want as readers? It is first and foremost the audience I am tuned to in my professional life: students, faculty, colleagues at Bucerius and other leading law schools as well as friends in the field of legal practice or higher education. The first thing I had to consider was if to continue to write in German, limiting myself to the German speaking audience. I decided, as you can see, to write in English, as it is not only academia’s lingua franca, but gives me also a chance to be read and hyperlinked by other bloggers and blogs. Moreover, as a significant chunk of our student body (namely the MLBs and, from2014 on, LL.M. students as well as the Internationals) are taught in English and do not necessarily speak German, I wanted to reach out to them, too. Finally, most of the discussions on the future of legal education, the challenges in legal practice and trends in higher education are carried out in English. So I simply hop on a train that is already running.

And the content?  I am sure we live in most exciting times worth writing about: After a long decade (or nearly two) of upswing in legal practice, many law firms now are challenged with a number of issues arising at the same time: cost cutting by General Counsel, new technologies, globalized competition, and generation Y asking for work-life balance, just to name a few. New players are coming up: Cornuum, Xenion or Axiom are probably still far from being a threat to “Big Law”, but could turn out to become a competitor – or a part of the value chain in a sequentialized legal consulting process. Whoever wants to get a glimpse of  the discussion about “disruption in legal practice” should go to Bucerius’ new online platform; watching the lectures from the latest conference of the Center on the Legal  Profession. My favourites: Markus Hartung (Bucerius) and Leo Staub (St. Gallen).