Saturday, December 30, 2006

job opening in Florida

Professor David Walter sends word that the following search is very much still much open:

"The Florida International University College of Law seeks applications and nominations for the position of Director of its Legal Skills & Values Program.  This may be a tenured, tenure-track, or long-term contract position, depending upon the applicant's qualifications.

"The Legal Skills & Values Program combines demanding traditional legal analysis, research, writing, and advocacy instruction with an introduction to other lawyering skills and professionalism.  It is a required three-semester program for entering students, with third semester enrollment options provided in either the students' fall or spring semester of their second year.  Finalist candidates for this position will be asked to present a curricular plan for the three-semester sequence.   A highly qualified instructional staff is already in place.

"Applicants should be experienced law teachers with a strong background in legal research and writing instruction and some experience in other skills taught in the program.   Those applying for a tenured or tenure-track position should also have a demonstrated commitment to and a talent for
legal scholarship.  Previous management or administrative responsibility in legal education would also be helpful, but is not required.

"Nominations and applications should be directed to:
Associate Dean Ediberto Roman
Professor Matthew Mirow
Appointments Committee Co-Chairs
Florida International University College of Law
University Park, Rafael Diaz Balart Hall
Miami, Florida 33199

"Review of applications will begin November 20, 2006.

"1.  The position advertised:
_x_   a.   is a tenure-track appointment.
_x_  b.    may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
__   c.   may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__   d.  has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__   e.  is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__   f.   is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

"2.  The professor hired:
_x_   a.   will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings
___ b.   will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

"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.   $90,000 or more
__   b.   $80,000 to $89,999
__   c.   $70,000 to $79,999
__ d.    $60,000 to $69,999
__ e.    $50,000 to $59,999
__   f.   $40,000 to $49,999
__   g.   $30,000 to $39,999
__   h.   this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__   I.   this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

"4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research and writing professor will be:
_x_  a.   30 or fewer
_x_   b.   31 - 35
_x_   c.   36 - 40
__  d.    41 - 45
__   e.   46 - 50
__   f.   51 - 55
__   g.   56 - 60
__   h.   more than 60"

(spl)

December 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

happy new FRAP

Professor Mark Wojcik, at the John Marshall Law School, sends an important reminder and some questions: 

"Happy New Year to all, and happy new rules of Federal Appellate
Procedure, which take effect on January 1, 2007.

"First a reminder: as of January 1, 2007, FRAP 32.1(a) will provide that
a [federal] court may not prohibit or restrict the citation of federal
judicial opinions, orders, or judgments that have been (i) designated as
'unpublished,' 'not for publication,' 'non-precedential,' 'not
precedent,' or the like; and (ii) issued on or after January 1, 2007.

"1.  Do you think that federal courts will continue to issue any future
decisions as 'non-precedential' (or a similar phrase described in FRAP
32.1), or will these 'unpublished' decisions be an historical anomaly
that our future students will see mentioned only in a legal trivia game?

"2.  How should we teach (if at all) how to cite unpublished opinions
decided before January 1, 2007?

"3.  What will become of the Federal Appendix, our reporter for
unpublished decisions?  Are we about to have our Appendix removed? :)

"4.  Because the 32.1 rule change is a federal one, are there particular
state rules on unpublished state court decisions?  Or are states
following the federal lead?

"5.  Does the new rule have any special application for federal
administrative agencies, which are not expressly covered by FRAP 32.1?

"6.  The amended rule 32.1 is in the Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure,
which under FRAP 1(a)(1) governs procedures for the federal courts of
appeal.  What do we tell our students when they ask if those appellate
citation rules apply in the federal trial court?  Alternatively
(assuming there will be unpublished decisions after January 1) could a
district court adopt its own local citation rules?"

(spl)

December 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 29, 2006

job opening in Philadelphia

The announcement below arrived from Professor Anne Kringel:

"The University of Pennsylvania Law School invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Legal Writing, beginning in August 2007.  The Assistant Director will assist the Director of Legal Writing in:

(1)    teaching the first-year Legal Writing course;
(2)    selecting, training, and supervising student instructors;
(3)    coordinating legal research training with the librarians;
(4)    overseeing Appellate Advocacy and other writing skills courses;(5)    advising the moot court board and moot court teams; and
(6)    teaching upper-level writing courses.

"The Assistant Director will also direct the Law School’s academic support program.

"The primary responsibility of the Assistant Director will be to teach the first-year Legal Writing course in partnership with the Director.  Together, the Assistant Director and Director will develop course materials and teacher training materials.  They will teach large lecture classes to first-year students; train and supervise the upper level student instructors for the course; and coordinate legal research training with the law librarians and representatives of CALR services. 

"The Assistant Director will assist the Director in overseeing the adjunct-taught Appellate Advocacy course and other writing skills courses and in advising the student-run Moot Court Board, the finalists in the Keedy Cup competition, and the Law School’s National Moot Court team.

"The Assistant Director may teach upper-level courses as approved by the Director and the Associate Dean.  Most such upper-level courses should emphasize lawyering skill development.

"The Assistant Director will also direct the Law School’s academic support program, which includes a series of optional lectures provided to first-year students in the fall term and individual counseling provided throughout the year.  The Assistant Director will provide individual counseling and instruction to students seeking academic assistance and to students identified as having academic difficulty after their first semester. 

"The applicant must have a Juris Doctor degree and superior writing, research, and analysis skills.  Legal practice experience is required.  Prior law school teaching experience in the areas of legal writing and academic support is strongly preferred.  Experience mentoring beginning teachers and lawyers is desirable.

"The Assistant Director will receive a one-year contract and the title of Lecturer in Law.  The contract is renewable and may lead to long-term contracts of four years.  The Assistant Director will receive the standard research and travel allowance given to faculty.  The Assistant Director will participate in faculty committees and will attend faculty meetings as a non-voting member.

"Applications will be considered on a rolling basis but must be submitted by February 28, 2007.  Please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and contact information for at least two references to Sherri Kaplan, Administrative Assistant for Legal Skills Programs, at sherrigk@law.upenn.edu.  Questions can be addressed to Anne Kringel, Legal Writing Director, at akringel@law.upenn.edu.

"1. The position advertised:
__ a. is a tenure-track appointment.
__ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
X_ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

"2. The professor hired:
__ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
_X b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

"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.)
__ a. $90,000 or more
__ b. $80,000 to $89,999
_X c. $70,000 to $79,999
_X d. $60,000 to $69,999
__ e. $50,000 to $59,999
__ f. $40,000 to $49,999
__ g. $30,000 to $39,999
__ h. this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__ i. this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

"4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
__ a. 30 or fewer
__ b. 31 - 35
__ c. 36 - 40
__ d. 41 - 45
__ e. 46 - 50
__ f. 51 - 55
__ g. 56 - 60
X* h. more than 60

"Additional information about teaching load, including required or permitted teaching outside of the legal research and writing program: 
*The Assistant Director will teach a limited number of large lectures to first-year students but will primarily teach the 3L Legal Writing Instructors."

(spl)

December 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

syllogisms to the rescue?

Boland Professor James Boland of Regent University School of Law has written a provocative piece on Legal Writing Programs and Professionalism:  Legal Writing Professors Can Join the Academic Club, 18 St. Thomas Law Review 711 (2006).  Professor Boland argues that legal writing professors would be better integrated into the legal academy if they would teach the basics of syllogistic reasoning to their first-year legal writing students, become the in-house experts on syllogisms, and use a sophisticated understanding of syllogisms as the basis of their scholarship.  If eliminating all the obstacles placed in the paths of legal writing professors were as easy as adding labels like "major premise" and "minor premise" to a few of the many modes of legal analysis we already teach in class and employ in our own scholarship, surely someone would have tried it by now.  If no one has and Professor Boland is right, perhaps he will report periodically on his own efforts to succeed by relying on syllogisms. 

(spl)

December 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

fusspots & nitpickers?

If you've ever wondered whether 7th Circuit Judges Richard A. Posner and Frank H. Easterbrook are "fusspots and nitpickers" (their words)  when it comes to requiring attorneys to follow the rules, see http://broadcast.isba.org/12All/lt/t_go.php?i=114&e=ODg4NzM=&l=-http--www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp--Q-id--E-1165582068191.

hat tip:  Professor Mark Wojcik, John Marshall Law School

(spl)

December 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS Section Newsletter

The Winter 2006 edition of the newsletter of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research is available now.  It has news of upcoming legal writing events at the AALS annual meeting in early January, as well as news of the recent achievements of U.S. legal writing professors.

hat tip:  Professor Suzanne Rowe, University of Oregon

(spl)

December 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 25, 2006

humor of the day

Whether or not you're observing the holiday today, if you're in the U.S., you probably have the day off, and, with everything other than the occasional  restaurant or movie theater closed, you likely do not have a lot to do.  So here's some humor to pass the time.

(spl)

December 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

grant sources

Sources of grants and awards for legal writing professors are listed on the website of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Research, and Reasoning.  A  legal writing professor with time over the semester break to think ahead and contemplate possible long-term projects and future goals might find the list a source of inspiration.

(spl)

December 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

that time of year again ...

Lawyers know the power of a compelling story, and legal writing students practice narrative writing techniques.  To see a seasonal example of a persuasive narrative, brought to you by NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (presumably with your tax dollars), click here.

(spl)

December 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 22, 2006

advice for the semester break

The blawg for law school academic support professionals has some great tips on how law students might best re-charge during the semester break.  Much of it is also great advice for law professors (eat healthy food, laugh a lot, reward yourself for your hard work) -- except perhaps the part about not worrying about grades. ;>

(spl)

 

December 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

LWI & ALWD reception at AALS

If you're going to the AALS annual meeting, here's something to add to your dance card, as announced (sans links & photo) by the hosting organizations:

"The Legal Writing Institute and
the Association of Legal Writing Directors
cordially invite you to the presentation of the
Golden Pen Award
honoring California's new jury instructions and Justices
Ronald M. George, Carol A. Corrigan, and James D. Ward
and to the presentation of the
Thomas H. Blackwell Memorial Award
Sirico_1 honoring Louis J. Sirico, Jr.,
for their outstanding contributions
to the field of legal writing."

"Friday, January 5, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Lincoln West, Concourse Level,
Hilton Washington & Towers
Washington, D.C."

(spl)

December 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

quotable

"Editing is the same as quarreling with writers - same thing exactly."

- Harold Ross

(spl)

December 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 18, 2006

I laughed, I cried . . .

over these stories of legal antics over the past year. 

hat tip:  Pam Armstrong,, Albany Law School

(njs)

December 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

French spacing

A reader asked me today why lawyers use French spacing.  I confess, although I apparently have been using French spacing since I first took a high school typing class in 1973, I had not previously heard the term "French spacing."  I did know that putting two spaces after a comma and a semi-colon had something to do with the limitations of the old typewriter.  Some general information on French spacing is quickly available at:

http://www.search.com/reference/French_spacing_%28English%29.

I have now been persuaded by my legal writing professor colleagues that the two spaces are not necessary any longer, since most wordprocessing fonts are not mono-spaced (wordprocessing kerns automatically), and typeset books and documents for the most part have used just the one space for a long, long time.  In other words, now that we can use the one space easily and not slow down readers, there's no reason not to.  And that's what I tell my students.

Lawyers do tend to be conservative in matters like spacing and other graphics on the page, so much legal writing will likely retain the French spacing for at least another generation.

(spl)

December 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

seven deadly sins

The seven deadly sins of students and professors are explored in recent pieces in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  While some of the observations seem more typical of the undergraduate classroom, others hit uncomfortably close to home.

(njs)

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

Saturday, December 16, 2006

How much time do you spend teaching?

The article at this link:

http://comppile.tamucc.edu/compworkload.htm

breaks out quite clearly the time-on-task spent by a writing teacher teaching 25 first-year undergraduates.

It's pretty easy for a legal writing professor (teaching only on the graduate level in the U.S.) to follow this article's method and calculate the time-on-task spent teaching during the just now waning semester.  Of course, the average legal writing professor in the U.S. has more in the range of 40 to 50 students each semester (some have a lot more), and lengthier, even more complex tasks to teach and critique.  Most legal writing professors also are required to perform service activities within the academy, the profession, and the community.  And many are required to pursue scholarship and publish, many at the same rate and level as all tenure-line law professors.  If we're tired as the semester draws to a close, it's easy to see why!

(spl)

December 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 15, 2006

quite a vent

Been grading?  Need to vent?

Check out the Top Ten No Sympathy Lines (Plus a Few Extra) at http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/nosymp.htm, by a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay professor of natural and applied sciences.  Some of his venting is more applicable to undergrads, but plenty of it is cathartic for law professors to read.

hat tip:  Professor Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University

(spl)

December 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

more U.S. law schools

The American Bar Association has now granted full accreditation to two Florida law schools:  Barry University School of Law and Florida International University College of Law. It also granted provisional accreditation to the new Charleston School of Law in South Carolina.  More future legal writers!

(spl)

December 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

congratulations to Ruth Anne Robbins

The law faculty at Rutgers-Camden yesterday voted unanimously to grant Ruth Anne Robbins clinical tenure and to promote her to the rank of full professor.

Professor Robbins is known for her presence in the legal writing community, as well as her innovative and dedicated teaching and her New Jersey domestic violence scholarship and service.

hat tip:  Carol Lynn Wallinger, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law - Camden

(njs)

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a wordy website

The Word Detective discusses "words and language in a humorous vein on the web since 1995."  The section on "My Favorite Word" is especially fun to browse.  What's your favorite word and why?

(njs)

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