Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The following observation is currently circulating in cyberspace:
Lord's prayer: ............... 66 words
Archimedes' principle: ..... 67 words
10 Commandments: .......179 words
Gettysburg address: .......286 words
US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: ... 26,911 words
hat tip: Prof. Scott Fruehwald, Hofstra University School of Law
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Lawyers and poetry--an unusual combination? Not at all!! The Legal Studies Forum, edited by James R. Elkins, occasionally publishes the poetry of contemporary lawyers. The website includes an index of lawyer poets. I note with some relief that my random sampling of poems uncovered none with law as its topic.
Hmm. Wonder if haiku submissions are encouraged?
For an interesting article explaining how law students and their writing may benefit by studying literature, see:
This article reports the experience of a professor in the U.K. Legal writing professors in the U.S. will see many familiar concerns. I'm not sure if that's more comforting or more disconcerting.
Monday, May 29, 2006
In the spirit of the unofficial start to summer today, check out a website dedicated to beach law. In what jurisdiction, you ask? Well, of course, in California. But I came here to read about legal writing, what's beach law got to do with legal writing, you say? Scroll down just a tad at that site, and you'll see an amusing sign that cries out for better legal writing -- and more user friendly municipal legislation.
It may be hokey and commercial, but it's also fun and a celebration of American business savvy. The Coke museum in downtown Atlanta also offers you the opportunity to ingest endless sugary tastes of Coke products from around the world, including flavors that defy description.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Several U.S. towns claim to have held the first Memorial Day ceremony or to have been the crucible for the idea of the national Memorial Day. Perhaps the most legit claim for the origins of Memorial Day in the U.S., because it is written authority, is General Order No. 11, issued by General John A. Logan after the Civil War. General Logan hailed from Southern Illinois, and his Order is read every year at the Memorial Day ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetary in Carbdonale, Illinois, one of the claimants to the first such ceremony.
Friday, May 26, 2006
If you are working on an article this summer and have been teaching no more than 5 years, consider submitting your work to the AALS Call for Scholarly Papers. Your article has to be unpublished, and manuscripts are due by August 18th. AALS assembles a group of experienced professors to read each entry and awards a first place and a few honorable mentions. The first place winner will be invited to speak at the AALS annual meeting in Washington, D.C., the first week of January 2007. It would be nice to have a legal writing professor receive that honor.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
You may have heard about the controversial museum exhibit called "Bodies: The Exhibit." Well, it's in Atlanta at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center from March 4 to September 4. For more information and tickets, go to http://www.clicknprinttickets.com/atlantabodies.htm.
If you'd like to learn more about the exhibit, you can visit the official website.
An announcement and call for papers has gone out for the First Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies. Cornell Law School and the University of Texas School of Law are jointly organizing this conference, to be held October 27-28 in Austin, TX. The deadline for submitting papers is June 30th, out-of-town paper presenters will receive $800 for travel expenses, and there is no charge for attending the conference. Sounds like a good deal for anyone with a relevant article in the works.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Many legal writing professors are familiar with the excellent diagnostic tests (to gauge weaknesses in new law students' writing skills) in the comprehensive textbook by Oats & Enquist, The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing (4th ed., Aspen 2006). Other sources for basic writing diagnostic tests and training include:
Diana Hacker's exercises, under "Additional Resources," at http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/bedhandbook/default.asp
Marc Grinker's exercises at http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LWTA.htm
hat tip: Prof. Tracy McGaugh, South Texas College of Law
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Ever wonder how to capture that idealism that most new students start law school with? Well, two legal writing professors suggest a way. Michael Milleman and Steve Schwinn, both at the University of Maryland School of Law (pictured here left to right), argue that giving 1L's real legal work, for a real client, is a great way to teach the basics of legal research and writing, retain student idealism about being lawyers, and provide legal services for those who might not otherwise have representation. You can access the article, Teaching Legal Research and Writing with Actual Legal Work: Extending Clinical Education into the First Year, on SSRN. (Scroll down there past the abstract for the links to the full text.) (spl)
Monday, May 22, 2006