Thursday, July 12, 2018
The opening plenary session speaker of the 18th Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference is Dr. Corey Seemiller of Wright State University, an expert on the learning styles and needs of Generation Z. The generation includes persons born between 1995-2002 (Big Z's), followed by persons born 2003-2010 (Little z's).
Dr. Corey Seemiller received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Arizona State University, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. She has worked as a leadership educator in higher education, K-12, non-profits, military, and in the community for more than 20 years.
Before becoming an Assistant Professor in Organizational Leadership at Wright State University, Dr. Seemiller served as the Director of Leadership, Learning, and Assessment at OrgSync, Inc., a campus management technology platform for more than 450 colleges internationally. She oversaw all thought leadership initiatives and leadership research. She also served as the Director of Leadership Programs at the University of Arizona from 2006-2014 overseeing more than 3,000 participants in 10 leadership programs.
Legal writing professors must know about their students and their learning styles. Dr. Seemiller's research on college students in General Z disclosed that many things that are common knowledge for legal writing professors will be unknown to our students, such as an atlas (yes, the book of maps). She noted that 50 percent of teens believe that they are addicted to their smartphones, with instant and continuous access to information and distractions. The face an uncertain job market directly affected by the great recession, something that affected nearly three-quarters of Americans. And they live in an economy where more than 57 million people in the United States create career opportunities by freelancing: they make and sell things online, they start businesses on their own, and they are intensely creative. Her research also disclosed that Generation Z is severely affected by gun violence, including violence in schools. Generation Z students care about the environment and human rights.
Generation Z is also connected to social causes, including religious freedom and LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights, kneeling during the national anthem, DACA, the transgender military ban, the Trump Travel Ban, and separating children from their parents who come to the United States to seek asylum. They are the most ethnically-diverse generation to date, and more comfortable with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.. They distrust news media and only 25 percent of them trust information they receive from news organizations. Parents are the primary role models for 69 percent of Generation Z students (compared to 54% of Millennials and 29% of Gen Zers). And parents today are not helicopter pilots, but rather co-pilots who play a strong role in decisions that their children make.
Dr. Seemiller also discussed learning environments, information overload in a "fast-paced and flattened world," and that students are going for a quick answer rather than a correct answer. Research for Generation Z students is less about acquiring new knowledge and more about getting a quick answer to a particular question. They may rely on social media posts as fact, and frequently go to YouTube to learn how to do things. Dr. Seemiller reminded the conference attendees that legal writing professors do not only have a duty to teach, but now must help students unlearn misinformation that they may bring into the classroom.
Dr. Seemiller's opening presentation helped the LWI conference attendees better understand the various influences facing their Generation Z students.
Legal Writing Institute Leadership: Congratulations to Professors Kim Chanbonpin, Kris Tiscione, and Kim Holst
The 18th Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference is underway in Milwaukee at Marquette University School of Law and the Hilton Milwaukee.
Congratulations to Professor Kim D. Chanbonpin of The John Marshall Law School, who this week finishes her two-year term as President of the Legal Writing Institute. She is the Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at John Marshall, where she teaches Lawyering Skills, Criminal Law, Torts, Gender Race and Class, and National Security Law. She has also taught Introduction to the U.S. Legal System to LL.M. students in China's State Intellectual Property Office and at Masaryk University Faculty of Law in the Czech Republic. In 2014, she was a Visiting Professor at Seattle University School of Law. Her scholarly writing considers redress and reparations law, policy, and social movements in the United States. She is a contributor to the SALT Law blog, and her work has appeared in the U.C. Irvine Law Review, the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy, and the Mercer Law Review, among other publications.
Professor Kristin Konrad Tiscione of Georgetown University Law Center is the new LWI President. She will serve as President until the summer of 2020 when the LWI will hold its next Biennial Conference at Georgetown. After graduating from the Law Center, Professor Tiscione (then Robbins) joined the firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C. While at Kirkland & Ellis, she specialized in commercial litigation, including products liability and copyright infringement. Professor Tiscione taught Legal Research and Writing while still in practice at the George Washington University National Law Center and then came to Georgetown to teach full-time in 1994. Her scholarly interests include classical and contemporary rhetoric, as well as empirical research in the current practice of law and its implications for legal pedagogy.
The new President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute is Professor Kim Holst of the Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. Her two-year term as President will begin in 2020. Her scholarship focuses on the interdisciplinary use of methods from various areas of educational pedagogy and their application to teaching the law. Her work is also applied to the development of law school pedagogy in the global context. She has presented to various international audiences about techniques for more effective law school pedagogy. Additionally, she has written in the areas of intellectual property law and criminal procedure. Before joining ASU in 2010, she taught Legal Research and Writing at Hamline University School of Law and at the University of Minnesota Law School. While at Hamline, Professor Holst created a pipeline for diversity pilot program aimed at helping middle school-aged children think about and aspire to a career in the law. She also developed a self-assessment tool to aid first-year law students in reflecting about their skills and knowledge as they relate to achieving the school’s learning outcomes. Professor Holst will also be a Co-Chair of the 2019 Global Legal Skills Conference.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Security levels are high at the LWI Biennial Conference in Milwaukee, where LWI President Kim Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) is finishing her term and LWI President-Elect Kris Tiscione (Georgetown University Law Center) is about to take office. They are pictured here with LWI Board Members Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), Jason Palmer (Stetson University), and Bob Brain (Loyola Los Angeles). The LWI Conference opens tonight at Marquette University.
The largest, most important legal writing conference opens today at Marquette University School of Law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. More than 400 (and probably more than 500) legal writing professors from around the country have gathered here to exchange tips and insights on the most effective ways to teach legal writing, drafting, and communication, as well as the latest in teaching legal research.
We invite LWI attendees to send us guest blog posts about the various sessions you attend this week.
Mark E. Wojcik (mew)
Sunday, July 1, 2018
Sheila Slocum Hollis Finishes Three Years as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress
Sheila Slocum Hollis has finished a three-year term as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. She's pictured here with incoming Standing Committee Chair, Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, at the 2018 Burton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Writing.
Sheila Slocum Hollis is chair of the Washington, D.C. office of Duane Morris LLP, and was the office’s founding managing partner, as well as the founding practice group leader for the firm’s Energy, Environment and Resources Practice Group. She served on the firm’s Executive Committee for more than a decade and the Partners Board for 20 years. Ms. Hollis practices in the areas of energy transactional and regulatory law and international and administrative law before government agencies, Congress, state and Federal courts, and other entities. She focuses on domestic and international energy, water and environmental matters, representing governmental bodies, the power and natural gas industries, and other entities.
Established in 1932 as the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Facilities of the Law Library of Congress, with a name change in 1993 to the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, the committee serves as the voice of the legal profession concerning the Law Library of Congress (LLC). Over the years, working with Members of Congress and their staffs, the committee has obtained higher levels of funding for the LLC. In addition, collaborating with other nationally recognized professional societies, the committee facilitates efforts to increase Law Library visibility and supports the digitization of legal materials and other efforts that improve access to legal literature and resources. The committee has continued to work toward the development of the LLC as a national resource serving not only Congress but also the legal profession, universities, law schools, and the public.
Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago will become the new Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago this August. He has been a member of the Standing Committee and also previously served on the Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
- Teaching Students (and Ourselves) to Think Globally: The Why, What, and How of Infusing Transnational Law into the JD Legal Skills Curriculum
- Rosa Kim
- Diane Penneys Edelman
- Susan DeJarnatt
- Adrienne Brungess
- Best Practices in Designing Curricula and Teaching LL.M. Students
- Katherine Brem
- Lurene Contento
- John Thornton
- Understanding Cultural Competency as a Core Lawyering Skill
- Cara Cunningham
- Deleso Alford
- Sha-Shana Crichton
- Mary-Beth Moylan
- Sandra Simpson
- Incorporating Ideas from Applied Linguistics and English Education into the Legal Writing Classroom
- Lurene Contento
- Jeremy Francis
- Alissa Hartig
- Diane Kraft
Hat tip to Rosa Kim (Suffolk University Law School)
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Friday, June 15, 2018
Linda H. Edwards is the 2017 recipient of the Legal Writing Institute's Teresa Godwin Phelps Award for Scholarship in Legal Communication. Professor Edwards is the E.L. Cord Foundation Professor of Law at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a nationally-recognized scholar of rhetoric and legal writing.
The Phelps Award honors individual works of outstanding scholarship specific to the legal writing discipline that are published in any given calendar year. The award is meant to set aspirational standards for others writing in the field. In making the award, the Selection Committee and the LWI Board focus solely on whether an individual work is specific to the discipline of legal writing and on whether it makes an outstanding contribution to the discipline.
The Phelps Award supports LWI’s discipline-building priority. Naming the award in honor of Terry Phelps recognizes her consistent support for and encouragement of others’ scholarly work and her own exemplary scholarship in narrative, international human rights, and legal rhetoric, including the foundational article that nourished and influenced all subsequent study of the field, The New Legal Rhetoric, 40 Sw. L.J. 1089 (1986). This article was the essential introduction to the idea that legal writing was itself a field worthy of serious study.
The LWI Selection Committee unanimously recommended Professor Edwards for the Phelps Award to recognize her 2017 article, “Telling Stories in the Supreme Court: Voices Briefs and the Role of Democracy in Constitutional Deliberation,” published in Volume 29 of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. It is the first scholarly article to address the recent explosion of narrative briefs filed by non-parties in cases pending before the United States Supreme Court, which she calls “voices briefs.” The letter nominating Professor Edwards’s article explains: Linda situates the briefs as policy that the Court can—and should—consider and illustrates how such stories can persuade by allowing justices a peek at the impact of laws on real lives, lives that may be outside justices’ own experiences. Linda gives advocates a theoretical, scholarly basis to support their decision to use voices briefs and gives the legal writing community the language to use and scholarly grounding to teach students about another way to persuade.”
The award will be presented on Friday, July 13, 2018, during the Gala Dinner at the LWI Biennial Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The LWI selection committee was chaired by Lisa A. Eichhorn and included members Mary Beth Beazley, Elizabeth Fajans, Lucy Jewel, and Teri McMurtry-Chubb.
Hat tip to Kim Chanbonpin.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018
The American Bar Association has named Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, the inaugural ABA Competitions Champion.
Competitions Champion is awarded to the law school that garnered the most points through team achievements and participation in the ABA Law Student Division’s four practical skills competitions:
- The Arbitration Competition,
- Negotiation Competition,
- Client Counseling Competition and
- National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC Moot Court).
Ranking criteria and the point totals for the top teams can be found here.
“Our four competitions offer students an amazing opportunity to hone essential lawyering skills before they enter practice. Through consistent participation and success in ABA competitions, these law schools display especially well-rounded practical skills training programs. We are thrilled to recognize these schools through the Competitions Championship,” said Connie S. Smothermon, Competitions Committee co-chair and director of Competitions and Externships, University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Stetson fielded nine teams across four competitions and advanced to the national finals in the Arbitration, Negotiation and Client Counseling Competitions. Vanessa Denk, and Jahanna Azarian finished as national semifinalists at the Client Counseling Nationals in March at North Carolina Central University. The Arbitration team of Olivia Mejido, Max Brown, Caroline Garrity, and Meghan Sullivan placed first at the regional competition at Michigan State University College of Law.
“We are delighted to be recognized by the preeminent organization of our nation’s lawyers. Importantly, these skills are the foundation on which our students will build their professional careers to effectively represent clients and advocate for our communities,” added Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, dean and professor of law, Stetson University College of Law.
ABA competitions teach law students real-world legal skills in a simulated practice environment. Judges for the competitions included volunteer attorneys and sitting members of the bench. This year, over 1,300 students from 156 law schools participated in one or more of the competitions sponsored by the Law Student Division.
Top Ten ABA Competition Law Schools by Points
1. Stetson University College of Law
2. Texas Tech University School of Law
3. Drake University Law School
4. Liberty University School of Law
5 (tie). University of Oklahoma College of Law
5 (tie). Michigan State University College of Law
7 (tie). Chapman University School of Law
7 (tie). University of Illinois College of Law
9. Southern Methodist University – Dedman School of Law
10 (tie). South Texas College of Law
10 (tie). Texas A&M University School of Law
For more information on the ABA Law Student Division and the competitions, visit abaforlawstudents.com/.
(mew) (adapted from an ABA Press Release)
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Here is the list of past winners of the Burton Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education:
- Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago (to be presented on May 21, 2018)
- Linda Edwards, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (2017)
- Louis J. Sirico, Jr., Villanova University (2016)
- Marilyn Walter, Brooklyn Law School (2015)
- Anne M. Enquist, Seattle University School of Law (2014)
- Mary Lawrence, University of Oregon School of Law (2013)
- Tina L. Stark, Boston University School of Law (2012)
- Marjorie Dick Rombauer, University of Washington (2011)
- Helene S. Shapo, Northwestern University Law School (2010)
- Richard K. Neumann Jr., Hofstra University School of Law (2009)
- Mary Beth Beazley, Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law, now at UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (2008)
- Laurel Oates, Seattle University School of Law (2007)
- Ralph Brill, Chicago-Kent College of Law (2006)
- Darby Dickerson, Stetson University College of Law, now at The John Marshall Law School-Chicago (2005)
- Kent D. Syverund, Vanderbilt University Law School (2004)
The Burton Legal Writing Awards Ceremony is beyond doubt the most glamorous legal writing event anywhere. Held annually at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., this remarkable event celebrates exceptional legal writing and its teaching.
The next Burton Awards will be presented on Monday, May 21, 2018 at the Library of Congress. Click here for a look back at some photos from the 2015 awards, in a video provided courtesy of Karin Mika and Ralph Brill.
Monday, May 14, 2018
Newly released survey data from the American Bar Association on the nationwide population of lawyers indicates a total of 1,338,678 licensed, active attorneys in the United States. The total represents a 0.2 percent increase since last year and a 15.2 percent rise over the past decade in number of U.S. lawyers.
The American Bar Association National Lawyer Population Survey is an annual snapshot of the number of licensed practicing lawyers in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories. The association compiles this information each year from data voluntarily submitted by state bar associations or licensing agencies that are asked to provide the number of resident and active attorneys as of December 31 of the prior year. Under those parameters, the 2018 survey represents data as of December 31, 2017.
Overall, the 2018 survey indicates a slight gain in the national lawyer population, rising 0.2 percent from 1,335,963 active resident attorneys on December 31, 2016 to 1,338,678 lawyers on the same day in 2017. A look at the 10-year trend in lawyer population also shows modest year to year increases since 2008, culminating in 2018 with an overall 15.2 percent gain in practicing U.S. lawyers over the decade.
Among other findings from the report, the top five areas with the largest number of active attorneys in residence are New York (177,035), California (170,044), Texas (90,485), Florida (78,244) and Illinois (63,422). The top five areas with the fewest resident attorneys are North Dakota (1,694), Virgin Islands (776), Guam (270), North Mariana Islands (128) and American Samoa (59).
The 2018 data is presented in three tables. The first is a state-by-state listing of the number of resident lawyers with comparable data from the previous year. The next table shows the trend in population over the past 10 years, again organized by geographic area. And the last table offers the total number of lawyers by year from 1878 to present.
The numbers presented in the 2018 population report reflect the best available data provided to the ABA from the state associations and agencies. The organizations responding to the survey sometimes change their reporting standards. Among the changes affecting the 2018 report, Vermont was not able to provide current data for 2017 so the data from the most recent submission were used (2016). Virgin Islands was not able to provide residency data in 2018 due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, causing the significant increase in lawyer count. In 2018, Oklahoma removed senior members from the count of active residents (they can still practice but are over the age of 70), causing the significant drop in lawyer count. Each table is footnoted to provide relevant detail on the data submitted by each responding entity.
A full copy of the 2018 survey is located here.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
(ABA Press Release)
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Naruto, the seven-year-old Crested Macaque (a monkey) who took a selfie on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia had Article III standing under the U.S. Constitution but he (and all other animals) lacked statutory standing under the Copyright Act to sue for copyright infringement. Click here to read the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Naruto v. Slater.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
The Legal Writing Institute 2020 Biennial Conference will be hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. from July 15-18, 2020.
The next LWI Conference is in Milwaukee at Marquette University School of Law, from July 11-14, 2018.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--presents an annual award to the best law-review article written by a law student.
A total of 57 articles were nominated for the 2018 award. From that number, the screening committee selected the following finalists:
- Caroline Donze, Breaking the Seal of Confession: Examining the Constitutionality of the Clergy-Penitent Privilege in Mandatory Reporting Law (Louisiana Law Review);
- Adam K. Hersh, Daniel in the Lion's Den: A Standard Reconsideration of Religious Exemptions from Nondiscrimination Laws since Obergefell (Standford Law Review);
- Estalyn Marquis, Nothing less than the Dignity of Man: Women Prisoners, Reproductive Health, and Unequal Access to Justice under the Eighth Amendment (California Law Review);
- Fiona O'Carroll, Inherently Governmental: A Legal Argument for Ending Private Federal Prisons and Detention Centers (Emory Law Journal);
- Steven B. Pet, Preserving Antitrust Class Actions: Rule 23(b)(3) Predominance and the Goals of Private Antitrust Enforcement (Virginia Law and Business Review); and
- Ryan J. Silver, Fixing United States Elections: Increasing Voter Turnout and Ensuring Representative Democracy (Drexel Law Review).
The winning article was:
- Julie Lynn Rooney, Going Postal: Analyzing the Abuse of Mail Covers under the Fourth Amendment (Vanderbilt Law Review).
The Scribes Law-Review Award was presented in Chicago on March 17, 2018 at the National Conference of Law Reviews. At that time, the other finalists were not identified. This is the first public list of the 2018 finalists. Congratulations to all.
The final selection committee included Associate Dean Glen-Peter Ahlers (Barry University School of Law), Professor Mary Bowman (Seattle University School of Law), Mr. Steven Feldman (Legal Advisor to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and Professor Richard Leiter (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).
Mark E. Wojcik, President, Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Simple. Your appeal gets dismissed. Ammar v. Schiller DuCanto and Fleck LLP, 2017 IL App (1st ) 162931, 419 Ill. Dec. 541, 93 N.E.3d 660.
The appellate brief in Ammar failed to cite the record and failed to cite supporting legal authority for various points. This was the third time that the plaintiff had brought an appeal, and his briefs each violated the rules of appellate procedure.
It didn't matter that the appellant was not an attorney. "The plaintiff's pro se status does not allow him to claim ignorance of our supreme court rules or excuse his noncompliance. Where a party has chosen to represent himself, he is held to the same standard as a licensed attorney and must comply with the same rules. Id. para. 15, 419 Ill. Dec. at 544, 93 N.E.2d at 663.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) has announced that Dr. JoAnne Sweeny (Louisville) will be the new co-Editor-in-Chief of Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, the legal-writing journal published by ALWD. Dr. Sweeny is stepping into the role that Joan Magat (Duke) has held for the previous eight volumes.
ALWD also announced that Jessica Wherry (Georgetown) would be co-Managing Editor of JAWL.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
The conference co-chairs will be Nantiya Ruan (Denver) and Amy Griffin (Colorado). The Site Selection Committee was chaired by Jason Palmer and included Elizabeth Keith, Ruth Anne Robbins, Beth Schwartz, and Kris Tiscione.
Hat tip to LWI President Kim Chanbonpin.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
The Legal Writing Institute and Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers—have each sent letters congratulating the American Bar Association on passing Resolution 109 at the 2018 Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. That resolution urges the U.S. Congress “to approve appropriations to the Library of Congress necessary to enable the Law Library of Congress to adequately staff, modernize, and enhance its services, collections, facilities, digital products, and outreach efforts.”
The Law Library of Congress is the largest law library in the world, with approximately three million volumes. Much of its collection is unique and unavailable even in countries where the materials originated. Building and maintaining such a unique and magnificent collection requires trained staff and sufficient resources, including special facilities to store and preserve rare law books. Researchers around the world use this unique collection.
LWI and Scribes also wrote in support of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, an entity first established 86 years ago as the Special Committee on Facilities of the Law Library of Congress. Now known as the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, it helps inform the public, bar association members, and members of the legal community about the vast and unique collections of treasures in the Law Library of Congress.