Current Projects & Books in Progress

I am currently working on several major projects – one nearly completed, while the others are books in development (completion dates are 2016-2017). They are quite far along in design and implementation and are described below.

1. Failing Cities: Cases of Financial, Legal and Urban Bankruptcy. This book addresses the emergence of bankruptcy as a strategic option for cities and municipalities. A controversial strategy for both problem solving and legal reasons, public leaders in Detroit Michigan, Stockton, California and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as well as several other cities are currently considering this path (Detroit has already filed as the largest city bankruptcy in history). The book considers the external trends facing cities and citizens generally, and takes an extended case focus on Detroit, Michigan and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Nine other cities are briefly described as they are in a distressed state (but not yet filing for bankruptcy). Analyses are made of the contributing factors to the distress of the key cases and general implications are noted.

2. Patient Expectations for Health Care Reform. The United States is currently implementing some aspects of health care system reform. Hoping to address access, cost and quality issues, the implementation has faced significant start up problems. Patients are rarely asked what they would most like (and expect) from their health care system. Their expectations can be captured in a series of short cases with long and lasting lessons. With my colleague from Montreal – Patricia O’Rourke Ph.D. – I have started a web site to present patient perspectives. The cases are based in decades of work on health system projects (from the both of us). Eventually to emerge as a book (Patients’ Designs for Health Care System Reform) , the beginning cases, rationale and proposed use are available at

3. New Lawyer Training Curriculum. This project outlines the knowledge and skills to be learned in the first year of practice following graduation from law school. Some private practice firms have formal training curricula – others have none, relying instead on a system of informal apprenticeship. This project is an effort to purposely define the learning agenda for new lawyers (extending my long involvement in curriculum design for professional education). The “post degree” curriculum is an identification of entry professional skills used in the practice of law, with suggestions as to content and reading.

4. Strategy and Engagement. Two other projects are underway – one in strategy at the country level, based on my 2008 book and recent short articles. The second is research on engagement of organization stakeholders (Participation: Tools & Strategies for Engaging Citizens, Employees and Customers).The participation research continues work presented in an earlier monograph.