Friday, November 18, 2005


If legal research is part of your legal writing course, take a look at lawdawgblawg.  This blawg is written by the professional law librarians at Southern Illinois University School of Law.  They not only give updates on the newest high tech ways to do legal research, they also post helpful reminders and instructions full of research tips and hints.

You can access lawdawgblawg at:

And now for an explanation of the name:

If you're reading this blog, you probably already know that "web" + "log" = weblog = blog.
And, a blog about law = a blawg.

The mascot of Southern Illinois University is the Saluki, a breed of ancient Egyptian dog.  (Southern Illinois has long been called "Little Egypt.")  The SIU Salukis are also known informally as "the dawgs."

And, the SIU law school folks are known as the "law dawgs."

When a group of law dawgs created a blawg, it was just natural to call it lawdawgblawg.


November 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2005


"The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter."

- Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letter 16, in Pensees

November 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ALWD summer research grants

The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) has just announced it will once again, for the summer of 2006, be awarding summer research grants.  The grants help legal writing professors spend the summer pursuing scholarship.  In past years the grants have ranged from $2,000 to $5,000.  The number of grants awarded varies from year to year, and it reflects the royalties the organization receives from the ALWD Citation Manual.

Both full-time and adjunct legal writing professors are eligible to apply.  ALWD Board members, officers, and Scholarship Committee members are NOT eligible until they have been out of those positions for a full academic year.  Preference is given to those legal writing professors who have no other source of research funding, i.e., those whose law schools do not provide summer research grants to legal writing professors.  Both new and veteran legal writing professors are encouraged to apply.

Along with the required application form, applicants must provide a five page synopsis of the project.  This synopsis should include a preliminary list of sources, a description of research methods, a detailed description of the project, a table of contents, a timeline for completing the work, and a discussion of the contribution the work will make to exisiting scholarship and the gap it will fill.  All applications will be reviewed blindly.

Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST, Februrary 1, 2006, by Professor Sarah Ricks at Rutgers-Camden.  Selections will be made by April 1, 2006.

more information:
For complete details and an application form, please contact the Chair of the ALWD Scholarship Committee, Professor Sarah Ricks, (spl)

November 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

deadline for AALS Section nomination

The deadline is fast approaching for nominations for Secretary for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  Nominations should be sent by November 30th to Professor Suzanne Rowe at the University of Oregon:

Any member of the Section can self-nominate or be nominated by another colleague.  The Secretary's main duty is to prepare the Section newsletter twice a year.  Examples of past newsletters are available at:

After one year, the Secretary usually moves up in the rotation of Section officers, to Chair-Elect, and then to Section Chair the year after.   

There is no fee to join the Section.  To become a member, contact the AALS National Office at (202) 296-8851 or

November 15, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 14, 2005

timing student conferences

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, many 1L legal writing programs in the U.S. are almost done for the fall semester.  As our students wrestle with that last big paper, they're in our offices, having individual conferences on their drafts and asking lots of questions.  A tricky aspect of scheduling the course every year seems to be timing the conferences just right.

Schedule the conferences too soon, and the students don't have serious drafts ready.  They haven't done enough of the difficult thinking work yet to know what their real questions are.  The quarter or half an hour you set aside for a student ends up being time wasted.

Schedule conferences too late, and the students won't have enough time to incorporate into their papers what they figure out during their conferences.  Even worse, some students will put off doing the hard thinking work until it's too late to produce a strong paper.

The right timing IS possible to achieve, with a lot of forethought and a little luck.  And when you do, those intense, long days of back-to-back conferences can be less draining and more productive. (spl)

November 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

legal writing scholarship

To find out what legal writing professors themselves write about, check out:

You do NOT need a password to click on the alphabetical listings of legal writing professors by last names and see bibliographies of their published work.  It's easy to see what people in the field of legal writing are writing about generally, or what any individual legal writing professor has written.

Of course, some entries are more up to date than others.  If you are a legal writing professor who would like to update or correct your entries, or if you would like to add yourself to the listings, you will need a password.

The person to contact for a password is Professor Terry Pollman at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas:

Her co-author on the legal writing scholarship project is Professor Linda Edwards at Mercer University:


November 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


"I've never read a brief that I couldn't put down in the middle.  It is not the best part of the job."

- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
  quoted in the ABA Journal, May 1997

November 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)