Saturday, September 15, 2018
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Here's a helpful tool to help you decipher unfamiliar or obscure abbreviations of legal reporters and journals.
The Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States, including those covering international and comparative law. Many major foreign language law publications are also included in the database.
The database mainly covers law reports and legal periodicals but some other legal publications are also included. The Index is under continuous development with new abbreviations and titles being added on a regular basis.
Hat tip to the law librarians at Yale Law School.
Friday, September 7, 2018
The Legal Writing Institute will again host one-day workshops around the country in late November and December. A list of locations and dates can be found by clicking here, with information on how to be a presenter.
Professor Michael D. Murray has joined the full-time legal research and writing faculty University of Kentucky College of Law in Lexington. He had been a Visiting Professor of Law at UK Law in 2016-2017, when he taught Legal Writing, Professional Responsibility, and Advanced Legal Research and Writing.
Professor Murray graduated from Loyola College in Maryland and from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He was a member of a national champion Jessup International Law Moot Court team at Columbia, and Notes Editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. After law school, Mike clerked for U.S. District Judge John F. Nangle of the Eastern District of Missouri, who was then the Chair of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. He also practiced commercial, intellectual property, and products liability litigation for seven years at Bryan Cave law firm in St. Louis.
After leaving private practice, Professor Murray taught at the law schools of Saint Louis University, University of Illinois, Valparaiso University, University of Michigan, and University of Massachusetts, and internationally in Italy and the United Kingdom. He currently has published 27 books and numerous law review articles on advocacy, legal research and writing, rhetoric, copyright, art law, right of publicity, and other topics.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Do you need to find unpublished decisions of the Illinois Appellate Court? The archives of the Louis L. Biro Law Library at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago contain the largest collection of unpublished Illinois Appellate Court Opinions available. John Marshall's collection spans nearly 350 legal-size volumes dating from about 1900 to 1975. Copies of unpublished decisions may also be found at the Cook County Law Library.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Professor Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University School of Law observed that as "emoticons and emojis play an increasingly important role in how we communicate with each other, they will increasingly raise legal issues." Eric Goldman, Surveying the Law of Emojis, Santa Clara University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 8-17, at 5.
This week, a "smiley face" and the "pile of poo" emoji appeared in Emerson v. Dart, an opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, The Seventh Circuit was quoting a Facebook post that used both the smiley face and the emoji. The Facebook post was written by a plaintiff who was attempting to dissuade employees of the Cook County Department of Corrections from assisting the County in its defense of the plaintiff's discrimination claim.
The Seventh Circuit opinion does not discuss the smiley face or the emoji. They are simply in a quote in the opinion. But their presence illustrates that lawyers and legal writing professors will have to start dealing with these new forms of communication that will raise issues as to their interpretation (and other legal issues flagged in Professor Goldman's article.
Hat tip to Aggie Baumert.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
South Texas College of Law Houston invites applications from both experienced and entry-level faculty for two full-time, tenure-track Legal Research & Writing positions beginning in the 2019-2020 academic year. All legal research and writing faculty positions at the law school are tenure-track or tenured. The school seeks candidates with outstanding academic records who are committed to both excellence in teaching and sustained scholarly achievement. Individuals whose backgrounds will contribute to the diversity of the faculty are encouraged to apply.
South Texas College of Law Houston provides a diverse body of students with the opportunity to obtain an exceptional legal education, preparing graduates to serve their community and the profession with distinction. The school, located in downtown Houston, was founded in 1923 and is the oldest law school in Houston. South Texas is a private, nonprofit, independent law school, fully accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, with 65 full-time and 37 adjunct professors serving a student body of 931 full and part-time students.
South Texas is home to the most decorated advocacy program in the United States, which, alongside the LRW program, boasts countless best brief awards. STCL Houston students benefit from six additional Centers of Excellence: The Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution, The Harry L. Reed Oil and Gas Law Institute, the Institute for International Legal Practice and National Security, the Legal Research & Writing Program, The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, and the Transactional Practice Center.
The LRW Program is committed to excellence in preparing students for practice. Its faculty members are also committed to being collegial and supportive of each other’s teaching, research, and service. The LRW Program leads the nation in students winning first-place Best Brief awards from the national Scribes competition.
Please submit your cover letter, CV, and contact information for professional references, and address your application to Professor Maxine Goodman, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee. You may email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org You may also apply through standard mail to Professor Maxine Goodman, South Texas College of Law Houston, 1303 San Jacinto Street, Houston, TX 77002-7006. The positions will be open until filled.
Hat tip to Prof. Amanda Harmon Cooley
Saturday, August 4, 2018
The University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law invites applicants for a tenure-track position in the school's first-year legal analysis and writing course. The successful applicant will begin in July 2019. Contact Professor JoAnne Sweeney at the University of Louisville for more information.
Friday, August 3, 2018
Many state and local bar associations offer free legal research tools as a benefit of bar association membership. The two main companies offering their services through state and local bar associations are Fastcase and Casemaker.
- Alabama State Bar
- Alaska Bar Association
- Colorado Bar Association
- Connecticut Bar Association
- Idaho State Bar
- Hampden County Bar (MA)
- Indiana State Bar Association
- Kansas Bar Association
- Kentucky Bar Association
- Maine State Bar Association
- State Bar of Michigan
- Nebraska State Bar Association
- New Hampshire Bar Assocation
- New York City Bar Association
- Bar Association of Erie County (NY)
- Monroe County Bar Association (NY)
- Oneida County Bar Association (NY)
- State Bar Association of North Dakota
- Ohio State Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Rhode Island Bar Association
- Santa Clara County Bar Association (CA)
- Schenectady County Bar (NY)
- State Bar of Texas
- Utah State Bar
- Vermont Bar Association
- Washington State Bar Association
- Wyoming State Bar
Here's the list of state, local, and specialty bar associations that offer access to Fastcase:
- Akron Bar Association
- Alameda County Bar Association
- Allegheny County Law Library
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- State Bar of Arizona
- Arkansas Bar Association
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- Columbus Bar Association
- Dayton Bar Association
- D.C. Bar
- Delaware State Bar Association
- Federal Circuit Bar Association
- The Florida Bar
- State Bar of Georgia
- Hamilton County Law Libary
- Hawaii State Bar Association
- Illinois State Bar Association
- Iowa State Bar Association
- Jenkins Law Library (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Los Angeles County Law Library
- Louisiana State Bar Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- The Mississippi Bar
- The Missouri Bar
- State Bar of Montana
- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
- National Creditors Bar Association
- State Bar of Nevada
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
- State Bar of New Mexico
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- Oregon State Bar
- Toledo Bar Association
- South Carolina Bar
- San Fernando Valley Bar Association
- State Bar of South Dakota
- Tennessee Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Virginia State Bar
- Virgin Islands Bar Association
- West Virginia State Bar
If you're a member of one of the bar associations listed above, be sure to learn about the research resources available through Casemaker or Fastcase.
The American Bar Association Annual Meeting continues in Chicago with hundreds of meetings and programs. One of those programs is "How to Conduct FREE Legal Research Online," presented by Barbara Bavis, the Bibliographic and Research Instruction Librarian at the Law Library of Congress. The program was sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. Here's some of the information that was shared during the two-hour program:
The Law Library of Congress is the world's largest law library. It was established by law in 1832 as a separate department of the Library of Congress to serve the legal research needs of all three branches of government. It is the largest law library in the world with more than 2.9 million volumes of federal, state, and foreign materials, including codes, constitutions, official gazettes, law journals, secondary sources, and other legal materials from 267 nations and jurisdictions. It includes research materials from countries that no longer exist as separate countries (such as Sikkim).
The Guide to Law Online is a legal portal with more than 9,000 links to annotated compilations of Internet links. It is organized by jurisdiction and topic and includes international, U.S., and state materials. It provides links to the full text of laws, regulations, and court decisions. There's also a link to the Indigenous Law Portal, which includes links to American Indian constitutions and legal materials.
Current Legal Topics is a resource with current international issues, in-depth legal commentary and comparisons of international and foreign laws, and extensive bibliographic resources.
The Global Legal Monitor provides worldwide legal news and is frequently updated. It may be searched by topic, country, keywords, author, date, and other terms.
In Custodia Legis is the blog for the Law Library of Congress. It publishes new posts on research guides, current legal trends, information about changes and additions to Congress.gov, significant international law developments, legal history, and "arcana" (inspired by rare items in the collection of the Law Library of Congress.
The program on cost-effective legal research also included information on free legislative and regulatory research, judicial opinions and citators, judicial records and briefs, and presidential documents.
Photo: Barbara Bavis (Bibliographic and Research Instruction Librarian at the Law Library of Congress) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik (Incoming Chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress).
Thursday, August 2, 2018
The Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association includes several panels on legal research and writing. One such panel is “The Power of Personal Narrative: The Role of Compelling Storytelling in Criminal and Civil Cases.” The program was co-sponsored by The John Marshall Law School and Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers.
Crafting a compelling narrative is a skill all attorneys should master. This panel featured English Professor Jill Patterson, a former Soros Justice Fellow who serves as the Case Storyteller for the Texas Regional Public Defenders Office for Capital Cases. Professor Patterson regularly works as a litigation team member, interviewing capital clients and helping the attorneys develop the client’s narrative and the themes for trial. She described techniques for developing powerful personal narratives for clients.
Her presentation was followed by attorney-filmmaker Doug Passon, who has pioneered the field of producing videos for sentencing hearings.
Pictured here (from left to right) are: Moderator Darby Dickerson, Dean and Professor at The John Marshall Law School and Past President if Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, Chicago, Illinois; Professor Jill Patterson, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas; Doug Passon, President and Creative Director, Doug Passon Law, Scottsdale, Arizona; Natalie Chan, Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, Illinois; and Anthony Franze, Author and Counsel at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Washington, D.C.
The 2018 American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago includes several programs on legal writing and research. One such program is "The Art and Craft of Legal Writing: Advice from Master Writers," held on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago as part of the ABA's "CLE in the City." The program was co-sponsored by The John Marshall Law School and Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers.
Pictured here (from left to right) are: Professor Mark E. Wojcik (President of Scribes–The American Society of Legal Writers and Professor, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois); Linda Coberly, (Managing Partner, Winston Strawn, Chicago, Illinois); Anthony Franze (Acclaimed Author and Counsel, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Washington, D.C.); and panel moderator Paula Hudson Holderman (President of The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees, Chicago, Illinois).
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
The American Bar Association Young Lawyers' Division will present a one-hour program called “So You Think You’re Done With Legal Writing? Think Again!” on Friday, August 3, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The presenter will be Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Professor Wojcik is the President of Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers; the incoming Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress; and the 2018 recipient of the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. The moderator will be John Rice of Elmore, Stone & Caffey PLLC.
The program will be held at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 5th Floor,.
This is only one of the legal research and writing programs being held during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
The American Bar Association opens its annual meeting this week in Chicago with hundreds -- make that thousands -- of meetings, seminars, and programs for the various ABA sections, fora, divisions, standing committees, and other bar association entities. One of the programs being offered this week is a program on "How to Conduct Free Legal Research Online," sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress.
The research program will be held on Friday, August 3, 2018, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, East Tower, Lobby Level, Plaza Ballroom A. The program will explain research services available through the Law Library of Congress (the largest law library in the world) and other free, online collections.
The program will be given by Barbara Bavis of the Law Library of Congress. At past ABA Annual Meetings this has sometimes been a standing-room only event, so plan to arrive a few minutes early. You'll be glad you did.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
The new deadline is Wednesday, September 5, 2018.
Scribes began this competition in 1996 to help identify and celebrate excellent student-written briefs. The Scribes Brief-Writing-Award Competition solicits winning briefs from national moot-court competitions and selects the finest of those winning briefs — the best of the best. Last year, the winners were three law students from the Wake Forest University School of Law: Matthew Cloutier, Mia Falzarano, and Blake E. Stafford. Additional winners and winners from previous years are posted on the Scribes website.
This 2019 winning authors will be recognized at the 2019 Scribes Annual CLE. Plaques will be awarded to the authors and their school. Normally, the school pays the authors’ expenses to attend the awards ceremony. The competition covers the current school year — September 2017 to May 2018. If one of your moot-court teams wrote the best brief in a national moot-court competition, or wrote the best brief in any preliminary regional competition held before a national competition, please enter the brief into the Scribes 2019 Brief-Award Competition.
To submit an entry, please contact Philip Johnson, the Executive Director of Scribes, at email@example.com.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
We continue to celebrate legal writing colleagues who are retiring after years of service to the legal academy.
Her publications include a leading text on legal drafting.
In 2012, Susan won the prestigious Section Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research for her lifetime contributions to legal writing education. Here is a link to a video (thanks Karin Mika!) of the award presentation at the Law Library of Congress.
We congratulate Susan Brody on her retirement from teaching and thank her for her many efforts over the years on behalf of legal writing professors across the country.
Ruth M. Hargrove, a Legal Writing Professor at California Western School of Law, retired after many years of teaching Introduction to Legal Skills, Legal Skills I and II, and Legal Research & Writing: Trial Motions.
Before joining the faculty at California Western School of Law in 1999, Ruth was a trial attorney and spent seven years as a prosecutor in Los Angeles and then in San Diego. While in Los Angeles, she was instrumental in starting the Domestic Violence Unit, which became a model for other prosecution agencies in California. In San Diego, she successfully prosecuted murder, robbery, child-molesting, and other felony cases. She spent the next ten years as trial counsel for several San Diego municipalities, specializing in employment and tort law.
Throughout her career as a trial lawyer, she taught as an Adjunct Professor at several San Diego area law schools, served as a Judge pro tempore in San Diego, and provided legal commentary for Public Radio and commercial television. She kept an active pro bono practice representing students in disciplinary matters and was the substitute counsel for the San Diego County Civil Service Commission.
In addition to her regular teaching, she taught in summer law programs in Malta, England, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. She also presented at regional and international conferences such as the Global Legal Skills Conference.
The Calfornia Western Student Body Association selected her as the Outstanding Faculty Mentor in 2011, a role she cherished throughout her legal career.
Congratulations to Professor Ruth Hargrove on her retirement from the California Western School of Law.
The American Bar Association House of Delegates ("HOD"), the body that determines association-wide policy, will review proposals at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting to change rules and procedures affecting how the ABA accredits the nation’s 204 law schools. The HOD will also consider updates to the model rules governing lawyer-client communications.
The HOD made up of 601 delegates from state, local, and other bar associations and legal groups from across the country. It will meet at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Aug. 6-7, 2018, at the close of the Annual Meeting, which begins August 2. Altogether, about 50 proposals are on the House’s agenda. The HOD debates are open to observers and may also be available by webcast.
Proposed Changes to the ABA Standards and Procedures to Approve Law Schools
The proposed revisions to the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools follows a lengthy review and comment process. The changes will modify not only rules and standards, but the way the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar – the association’s independent arm which serves as the national accreditor of law schools -- operates. Altogether, there are five legal education resolutions (111A-111E) before the House.
For law schools, the most significant proposed change affects the standard requiring a “valid and reliable test” for prospective law students. While a test, such as the LSAT, would no longer be required, language would establish that a school whose admissions policy and practices are called into question is presumptively out of compliance with the standards if it does not require a valid and reliable admissions test as part of its admission policy. In recent years, close to two dozen schools have announced they will accept the GRE in addition to the LSAT.
The Council, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole national accrediting agency for law school education, is also seeking to eliminate both its Accreditation and Standards Review committees and fold their work into the Council itself to accelerate its review of schools. Under ABA rules, the House can either concur with the recommended changes or send them back to the Council with or without a recommendation. The Council must then resend any changes back to the House for re-consideration, but the final decision rests with the Council.
Proposed Changes to the ABA Rules of Professional Responsibility
The lawyer communications proposal culminates several years of work by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and affiliated groups, which have shepherded the process for review of model rules related to advertising and lawyer communications with clients.
The standing committee is asking the House to approve amendments to the following ABA Model Rules: 7.1: Communications Concerning a Lawyer’s Services, 7.2: Advertising, 7.3: Solicitation of Clients, 7.4: Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization, and 7.5: Firm Names and Letterheads. Proponents contend the current web of complex, contradictory and detailed advertising rules impedes lawyers’ efforts to expand their practices and thwart clients’ interests in securing the services they need.
The key changes focus on model rule provisions related to false and misleading “communications” and solicitations by lawyers. The changes in the ABA Model Rules, which serve as recommended guidelines to state regulators, would streamline and simplify the rules and still adhere to constitutional limitations on restricting commercial speech; protect the public; and permit lawyers to use technologies to inform consumers accurately and efficiently about the availability of legal services. For instance, “office address” would be changed to “contact information” (to accommodate technological advances), and the changes add new language to the general provision against paying for recommendations to permit nominal “thank-you” gifts.
Other Proposed Changes Before the HOD
The House is also being asked to approve a major change in how the ABA collects dues from its members. Under the proposed new membership model, the current 157 price points would be streamlined into five, ranging from $75 to $425 depending on years of bar admittance. Under the plan, the change would take place in the association’s 2020 fiscal year, which begins September 1, 2019.
Other proposals before the House include:
- Resolution 103, which adopts the ABA Model Impairment Policy for Legal Employers, dated August 2018, to provide a mechanism within law firms to identify impairment and craft proper intervention, and to prevent professional standards and the quality of work for clients from being compromised by any legal employer personnel’s impairment. The resolution also urges legal employers to adopt the new model policy.
- Resolution 106A, which reaffirms the ABA’s commitment to advance the rule of law and condemns the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, arbitrary disbarment, denial of due process, other ill-treatment and killings of judges, lawyers, other members of the legal profession and their extended families throughout the world for serving in their designated capacities.
- Resolution 114, which adopts the black letter and commentary to the ABA Ten Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees, dated August 2018, and urges governmental agencies to promulgate law and policy consistent with the guidelines, which are intended to minimize excessive penalties if an individual cannot afford to pay them.
- Resolution 118, which urges the federal government to recognize that service by persons who otherwise meet the standards for accession or retention, as applicable, in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be restricted, and transgender persons should not be discriminated against, based solely on gender identity.
- Resolution 10A, which asks states to adopt General Provisions for Regulation of Online Providers of Legal Documents to establish reasonable standards of product reliability and efficacy for online legal providers.
- Resolution 100B, which urges Louisiana and Oregon to require unanimous juries to determine guilt in felony criminal cases and reject the use of non-unanimous juries where currently allowed in felony cases.
All proposed and filed resolutions and reports can be found here. Only proposals adopted by the House constitute association policy.
(Adapted from an ABA Press Release)