April 29, 2006
riding a horse while intoxicated
For an entertaining analysis of whether a state's drunk driving law applies to a person riding a horse while intoxicated, see Com. v. Noel, 857 A.2d 1283, 1289 (Penn. 2004)(analyzing whether a statute extending the rights and duties of a driver to one on a horse applies in the context of DUI laws).
Of special note is Justice Eakin's dissent, which begins as follows:
"A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.
Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course. Talk to Mr. Ed.
Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, Mr. Ed, (CBS, 1961-1966).
Mr. Ed would know which sections of Part III do not 'by their very nature' apply to his rider, and I attribute the equivalent horse sense to the ordinary reasonable person."
Justice Eakin's dissent "trots along" with equine imagery throughout.
April 28, 2006
Vickie Rainwater, the Director of Legal Writing and currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, has been granted tenure. Directing the writing program, serving as Associate Dean, and writing scholarship for tenure all at once -- surely Vickie is way ahead of the scientists in mastering time relativity!
kudos to Clark!
Congratulations to Diana Clark, who has won the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Diana teaches 3 sections of Tulsa's Legal Reasoning, Analysis and Writing course, a total of 50 students. That quite a large teaching load for an adjunct professor, making the students' recognition of her work all the more remarkable.
For a creative solution to students' weak writing skills, see The Real Reasons Students Can't Write by Laurence Musgrove. Given the legalistic bent of most law students, it might just work.
hat tip: Dean Darby Dickerson, Stetson University College of Law
April 27, 2006
recommended post-modern reading
The information below arrived today in an e-mail update from SSRN. I had no idea that all along we legal writing professors have been post-modernists trying to make our way in an academy full of modernists. That explains a lot. (spl)
Neither Dead nor Dangerous: Postmodernism and the Teaching of Legal Writing
Contact: ADAM G. TODD
Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law
This article explores postmodernism and its relation to the teaching of legal writing. Postmodernism is an undeniably important theory in literary criticism, composition, and rhetoric and has provoked much debate in areas of legal scholarship, but it has seldom been addressed directly by legal writing scholars. Legal writing has been greatly affected by postmodernism and can be characterized as a "postmodern" class in what is otherwise a modernist academy. Legal writing teachers generally teach in a modernist paradigm which seeks to normalize the law and create unitary meaning from the morass of texts and ideas which is considered "the law". They have, however, simultaneously, a rather benignant postmodernist bent when it comes to teaching writing and have to engage a number of postmodern paradoxes as part of their profession. It is the postmodern components of their work that provide strength to the profession and help prepare law students for both the "modern" and "postmodern" world. This article directly contradicts legal scholars who claim postmodernism is dead, dangerous, or irrelevant to the law and has no place in the legal academy.
The article begins by defining postmodernism and its contribution to the legal academy in general. The article continues by examining how postmodernism has affected the teaching of legal writing specifically. Postmodernism underlies the theories of process and post-process writing pedagogy, deconstruction, and story-telling, which can all be found in many legal writing classrooms. In addition, the legal writing class embodies certain postmodern attributes or characteristics not found in much of the other, more modernist, parts of the legal academy. The article concludes by arguing that the postmodern components of legal writing classes are a source of legal writing's strength, growth and relevance in and outside of law schools. Postmodernism, in this context, is neither dead nor dangerous but rather vital and relevant to legal education.
The topic of this article was competitively selected to be awarded a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors and parts of the article were presented at the Third Annual Rocky Mountain Region and the 2005 Central States Legal Writing Conferences.
April 26, 2006
say it /spell it
At a committee meeting, members were asked to approve the minutes of a prior meeting. The first item of the minutes read as follows: "Mr. X made a motion that the minutes be approved pending the correction of type-O's."
Is that a bonified* spelling error? :)
*one of my all-time favorite real-life examples.
April 25, 2006
Sure, you already may have some sense that they do things differently at Temple. You may have picked up some clues from Temple's LRW profs' posts on the legal writing listserve, or from their conference presentations, or from the nature of their previous scholarship. But if you want to know what they're really doing in that part of Philly, see the latest article by Ellie Margolis and Susan DeJarnatt, Moving Beyond Product to Process: Building a Better LRW Program, 46 Santa Clara L. Rev. 93 (2005). It is full of thought-provoking ideas about effective ways to teach legal research and writing. In this article, any given LRW professor is likely to find some familiar things, some new things, something impossible given your situation, and a few things you might just want to try.
test your vocabulary against that of a judge
Judge Ferdinand Francis Fernandez of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates an astonishing breadth of vocabulary in his opinions. Who among the readers of this blog can define canorous, epopt, or haruspex?
If you pride yourself on your vocabulary, then challenge yourself with this quiz based on words used in his opinions.
April 23, 2006
recommended -- and quotable -- reading
Everyone responsible for training the next generation of lawyers should read the latest article by Chief Judge Edward D. Re, Increased Importance of Legal Writing in the Era of "the Vanishing Trial," 21 Touro L. Rev. 665 (2005). If you teach legal writing, be patient through the introductory remarks. You will find much to cheer and highly quotable material throughout the article.