Friday, March 17, 2006

report from Tucson

Well. it's two for two so far at the Sixth Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference.  After a warm welcome from Suzanne Rabe of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of law, I attended a presentation on humor and the law and a presentation on law and literacy.

Michael Dinnerstein, Julie Oseid, and Leah Christensen talked about the theory and practice of incorporating humor into the practice and teaching of law.  With examples ranging from class-based critiques of judges' use of humor in opinion writing to a punk song titled "You Are Not the Boss of Me" to teach court hierarchy, their presentation engaged the full-room audience and kept them asking questions until time ran out.  Kudos to all!!

Kirsten Davis talked about literacy and whether legal writing courses should focus on teaching legal literacy--a concept that involves enculturating students to their new discourse community and recognizing that truly acquiring literacy, as opposed to mimicking it, may well take longer than two semesters.  Her presentation style engaged the group; she first challenged us to "read" a letter written in a language based on pictures, then asked us whether our somewhat successful attempts made us any more literate in that language than our students' somewhat successful attempts to interpret and write in the law make them literate in that language.  The rest of the hour was lively, provocative, and interactive.  Great topic and ideas!!

I have no doubt that the other sessions were just as high quality--the handouts look great.

More tomorrow.


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