The Southeastern Association of Laws Schools (SEALS) is in the middle of its annual conference. After this meeting, which is in Amelia Island, Florida, the yearly gathering heads down to South Florida, alternating between Boca (A City for All Seasons) and Ft. Laudy (Venice of America) until at least 2021. SEALS is terrific for learning about new developments in the law, meeting a cross-section of law professor colleagues, finishing up summer writing projects, and having a final getaway before the start of the fall semester.

You can gauge the breath and depth of the programming available by looking at the 2016 program or following #SEALS2016 on Twitter. The description of the organization is a bit misleading, because the conference attracts attendees nationally and globally. For example, this year Cincinnati and UC Hastings officially became members schools and jointly hosted the welcome reception. Since my first meeting in 2013, when I attended the inaugural program of the prospective law professor sessions, I have seen the environmental and energy law portion of the program expand considerably.

On Wednesday, I moderated and presented at the Energy Infrastructure in Transition: Environmental, Economic, and Justice-Based Issues in Modern Energy Law panel with Jonas Monast (Duke), Felix Mormann (Miami), and Nathan Richardson (South Carolina).

State and local policies addressing low-carbon electricity generation and enhanced oil and gas production, as well as the federal Clean Power Plan and other federal policies, are causing U.S. infrastructure for generating, transporting, and storing energy to undergo a substantial transition. Companies are rapidly siting and constructing new oil and gas wells and pipelines, electricity transmission lines, and renewable energy infrastructure, and storage technologies are expanding. This panel addressed (a) the extent to which energy law policies for financing, constructing, and siting this changing mix of energy infrastructure incorporate economic (jobs and other impacts), justice-based, and environmental concerns and (b) how the law could improve to better incorporate and balance these concerns.

I’m glad to see the growing contingency of enviro and energy law profs.

Later today, I will present at the discussion group workshop on Trusts & Estates on Teaching the Knowledge, Skills, and Values of Trusts and Estates in the Age of Assessment. Even though I don’t teach Trusts & Estates, I delve into future interests and real estate transactions in my property law course. Also, my practice experience includes estate planning and probate in Florida and mineral rights and oil and gas leases in Colorado. Trusts & Estates issues are additionally important for renewable energy deployment due to rights-of-way grants and leases for energy projects.

Assessment has become the new buzz word in legal education because of the new ABA standards.

It is an integral component of education. It provides for the systematic development, collection, and analysis of information to foster student learning and retention of course material. Assessment provides opportunities to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses, monitor semester learning, evaluate methods of instruction, and measure institutional effectiveness. Our discussion group participants will share forms of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment devices for trusts and estates courses that use reliable, valid techniques, such as checklists, selected-response assessments (multiple choice, matching, true/false), one-minute papers, exams, and quizzes, discussion, self-evaluation, peer review, professor review, and role play performances. Discussion group participants will also share strategies to manage syllabus time and balance work load for both the professor and the students.

This program is organized and moderated by Karen Sneddon (Mercer). The other discussants are Elizabeth Carter (Louisiana State) Mitchell Crusto (Loyola New Orleans), Camille Davidson (Charlotte), Alyssa DiRusso (Cumberland), Akram Faizer (Lincoln Memorial), Deborah Gordon (Drexel), Lucy McGough (Appalachian), Carla Spivack (Oklahoma City), and Allison Tait (Richmond).

Next year I plan to organize an environmental justice workshop panel. If you are interested in being a part of such a discussion, please email me.

#lovefl @visitFlorida

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Nadia Ahmad

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