Thursday, August 17, 2006

Scribes annual luncheon

Belated congratulations to Scribes for a great event during the ABA annual meeting.

For those who didn’t attend the meeting, you might want to know that the membership approved a name change.


·        The old name:  Scribes – The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects

·        The new name:  Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers

( If you have webpages that link to Scribes, you might note the new name. )  

The speaker at the Scribes luncheon was Roy M. Mersky of the University of Texas School of Law, who spoke on "Issues in Legal Research and Writing.”  He was introduced by Dean Donald J. Dunn of the University of La Verne School of Law.

Scribes also presented its 46th (!) Book Award at the luncheon for the best new book in a legal subject, and a Brief-Writing Award for the best of all the winning briefs in national moot-court competitions.  The book award was presented by Judge Michael Hyman, immediate past president of the Chicago Bar Association.  I mention that because Scribes is one of those rare organizations that actively involves not only legal academics, but also practitioners and judges.

This is a splendid event, and you should plan to attend the next Scribes luncheon during next year’s ABA Annual Meeting.  There will also be a Scribes-sponsored event at the AALS Annual Meeting.  I believe Joe Kimble will share more information about that as we get closer to January.

If you teach at a law school and your law school is one of the institutional members of Scribes, then you’re a member. 

If your school isn’t a member, you should consider becoming a member as an individual.  Scribes publishes a quarterly newsletter, The Scrivener; and it publishes the unique and highly regarded journal, The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.  Get more information about Scribes at its website,

I just want to also point out that I am not an officer in Scribes and have no personal stake in it.  I just think it is a great organization for legal writers, and one that provides a great mix of law professors, judges, and lawyers who are concerned with better legal writing.  I was an individual member for several years (until my law school joined as one of the institutional members).

- Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School


August 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

housing for visits

There's a new on-line service that helps professors line up housing when they visit away at another school or go on sabbatical:

I can't vouch for this service, since I've never used it and it appears to be quite new, but the idea sounds helpful.


August 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 14, 2006

job opening in Baltimore

The following is an announcement from the University of Baltimore School of Law:

"The University of Baltimore School of Law invites applications for two tenure-track faculty members to teach in our Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing (LARW) program.

"The successful candidates will each teach one section of a required, first-year, fall semester course combining instruction in torts and legal research and writing.  We expect the size of each section to be 30-35 students.  Our second and third semester LARW courses will continue to be taught by adjunct faculty and student teaching assistants, under the direction of a full-time faculty member.  The successful candidates will administer and teach those courses on a rotating basis with other program faculty.  Successful candidates’ teaching loads may include other courses, depending on the candidates’ interests and the law school’s needs.  The positions carry the same scholarship requirements as all other tenure-track positions at the University of Baltimore, which may be satisfied by analytical writing in legal research and writing or other fields.  All faculty members at the University of Baltimore are expected to participate in faculty governance and other service activities.

"Applicants should submit a cover letter; a current resume; and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references. Applications sent via e-mail are preferred and should be sent to Professor Michael J. Hayes, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee,  Hard copy applications may be sent to Professor Hayes at the University of Baltimore School of Law,
1420 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD, 21201.  For more information on the LARW program, visit our web site,, or contact Amy Sloan at 410-837-6529 or

"The Appointments Committee will begin to review applications on September 1, 2006, and will continue to review applications until the positions are filled. For full consideration, applications should be received by September 29, 2006.

"The University of Baltimore has strong commitments to the principle of equal employment opportunity and to the objective of having a diverse faculty. In furtherance of these commitments, we welcome applications from women and minorities.

"1.  The position advertised

X_  a.   is tenure-track.
__   b.   can lead to long-term contracts.
__   c.   has neither of these forms of job security.

"2.  The person hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

X_  a.   true
__   b.   not true

"3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below.  (A base salary does NOT include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)

_X   a.   $80,000 or more
__   b.   $70,000 to $79,999
__   c.   $60,000 to $69,999

__   d.   $50,000 to $59,999
__   e.   $40,000 to $49,999
__   e.   $30,000 to $39,999
__   f.    less than $30,000

"4.  The person hired will teach legal writing, each semester, to the total number of students in the range checked below:

__   a.   less than 30
_X   b.   30 to 44 
__   c.   45 to 59
__   d.   more than 59

"We expect the sections in the fall semester course to have 30-35 students.  The second and third semester courses may have anywhere from 100-300 students in them.  Faculty members coordinating those courses create assignments, hire adjunct faculty and teaching assistants, and teach large group classes, but do not grade papers or hold student conferences."


August 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 13, 2006


"Like stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill."

- Edmund Morrison


August 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

legal writing for pre-law students

If you are interested in legal writing instruction for pre-law students, i.e., undergraduates, one helpful starting place for information is:


August 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


How many digits does he have left, total?  Nine or four?  Great example for a writing exercise.

"Three teenagers were charged Friday with a sword attack in a south Minneapolis apartment that left one of them with only four fingers on one hand.

The finger was found in the entryway, the sword was in the bathroom and broken pieces of a gun were in the living room, according to court documents released Friday."  Minneapolis StarTribune, August 12, 2006.


August 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 11, 2006

contract drafting

Into contract drafting?  Here's a blog on the topic.  Ken Adams's background statement says, "Ken Adams occupies a unique position in the field of contract drafting, in that he’s the only commentator to focus on the language of contracts—not what you express in a given contract provision, but how to express it in modern and effective contract language."  If that sounds intriguing to you, take a look at his blog.


August 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the lowly comma strikes again

Here's another cautionary tale for legal writing students, on the importance of precision in punctuation use and careful proofreading:

hat tip:  Prof. R.J. Robertson, Southern Illinois University


August 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

eh, it's not the end of the world

In a transactional practice, strong legal writing will anticipate and prevent problems, providing operating instructions for all readily foreseeable circumstances.  See how far some lawyers will go:


August 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

copyright and yoga . . .

From U.S. Law Week:  "A sequence of yoga poses may be protectable as a copyrightable compilation, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held April 1 [2005]. The court acknowledged that it seems "inappropriate, and almost unbelievable, that a sequence of yoga positions could be any one person's intellectual property." However, it said, copyright protection would be available if the trier of fact were to determine that enough individual yoga poses were arranged in a sufficiently creative manner. Open Source Yoga Unity v. Choudhury, N.D. Cal., No. C 03-3182 PJH, 4/1/05. 69 BNA's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal 589."

The parties settled shortly thereafter, so the case never went to trial.

Time to gear up for writing those fact patterns!!


August 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

new adventures for Jo Anne Durako

Jo Anne Durako, former president of ALWD, formerly teaching and directing at Rutgers-Camden and most recently teaching at Stetson University School of Law, has taken one of those grand leaps that many only dream of:  she reports that she and her husband have bought a small publishing company, and she will be "editor-in-chief of a magazine serving the western Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia and the adjacent horse country." 

Best of luck in your new adventure, Jo Anne!


August 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

good grammar links

There are lots of resources on-line for law students who need help with their grammar, including:
hat tip: Professor Don Hughes, Capital University Law School
hat tip: Professor John Haberstroh, Northwestern University School of Law
hat tip: Professor Ken Swift, Hamline Law School
hat tip: Professor Kathy Sampson, University of Arkansas School of Law
hat tip: Professor Bobbi Jo Boyd, University of North Carolina School of Law
hat tip: Professor Mark Cooney, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
hat tip: Professor Christine Venter, Notre Dame Law School


August 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 7, 2006

reading, writing, and ...

A few years ago, the National Endowment for the Arts published a report on the number of Americans who read as a leisure activity.  The stats show a steady decline in reading for young people in the U.S., which means students are likely to have less and less exposure to literature of any kind before attending law school.  The report also gives interesting stats on how reading correlates with other leisure activities, including creative writing.

hat tip:  Professor Laurel Oates, Seattle University


August 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 6, 2006

new book

Lisa McElroy of Southern New England School of Law has written a book, John G. Roberts, Jr.: Chief Justice, for middle-school-age children.  It was recently reviewed by the Legal Times, and the review is reprinted on at

hat tip: 
Alison E. Julien
Associate Professor of Legal Writing
Marquette University Law School


August 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 5, 2006

new volume of J. ALWD

Waiting for Volume 3 of J. ALWD?  Although it's not yet been shipped in paper, it's already available on Westlaw.  The issue focuses an Rhetoric and Argumentation and ranges from articles on "Classical Persuasion through Grammar and Punctuation," by Lillian B. Hardwick, on page 75, to "Philosophy v. Rhetoric in Legal Education: Understanding the Schism Between Doctrinal and Legal Writing Faculty," by Kristen Konrad Robbins, on page 108.  There are many more too!

hat tip:  Linda Berger, chair, J. ALWD Editorial Committee


August 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 4, 2006

how to read a case

Tennessee attorney Susan McDonald writes an interesting blog on legal research and writing.  She recently included a link to an article that may be helpful and reassuring for new law students who are trying to understand how to read cases.

hat tip:  Scott A. Meyer


August 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

synergy for law profs?

Below is information and an abstract about an interesting new article available free via SSRN:

Is There a Correlation between Scholarly Productivity, Scholarly
Influence and Teaching Effectiveness in American Law Schools? An
Empirical Study

University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Law
Full Text:

"This empirical study attempts to answer an age-old
debate in legal academia: whether scholarly productivity helps or
hurts teaching. The study is of an unprecedented size and scope.
It covers every tenured or tenure-track faculty member at 19
American law schools, a total of 623 professors. The study
gathers four years of teaching evaluation data (calendar years
2000-03) and creates an index for teaching effectiveness.

"This index was then correlated against five different measures of
research productivity. The first three measure each professor's
productivity for the years 2000-03. These productivity measures
include a raw count of publications and two weighted counts. The
scholarly productivity measure weights scholarly books and top-20
or peer reviewed law review articles above casebooks, treatises
or other publications. By comparison, the practice-oriented
productivity measure weights casebooks, treatises and
practitioner articles at the top of the scale. There are also two
measures of scholarly influence. One is a lifetime citation
count, and the other is a count of citations per year.

"These five measures of research productivity cover virtually any
definition of research productivity. Combined with four years of
teaching evaluation data the study provides a powerful measure of
both sides of the teaching versus scholarship debate.

"The study correlates each of these five different research
measures against the teaching evaluation index for all 623
professors, and each individual law school. The results are
counter-intuitive: there is no correlation between teaching
effectiveness and any of the five measures of research
productivity. Given the breadth of the study, this finding is
quite robust. The study should prove invaluable to anyone
interested in the priorities of American law schools, and anyone
interested in the interaction between scholarship and teaching in
higher education."

hat tip:  Professor Jan Levine, Temple University


August 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

not at all relevant, but kinda funny

A guard dog at a museum "went berserk" and tore up part of the teddy bear collection that he was supposed to be guarding.  Read more at

Surely there's a legal writing assignment's fact pattern in there somewhere!!


August 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the lowly typo

To see just how powerful a mistake a little typo can be, click on:

It's a great cautionary tale for legal writing students who may not fully appreciate the importance of proofreading. 

hat tip:  Professor R.J. Robertson, Southern Illinois University School of Law


August 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Supreme Court Fellows

Interested in being a Supreme Court Fellow or know someone who might be?  Get more information at  The application deadline is November 13, 2006.


August 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)