Saturday, January 14, 2006

Washington Post movie reviews as teaching tool

Washington Post movie reviews are a great example of how to create a summary from a longer piece.  The Post offers both full and summarized movie reviews.  The summaries are beautiful examples of taking the topic sentences from the full reviews and turning them into a summary--and thus a beautiful example of how the topic sentences of a full discussion should express clearly and in a well-organized fashion the core ideas of the discussion.

The review of "Hoodwinked" by Stephen Hunter is an excellent example.  It can be found at (the full article) and

(the summary).  Do be aware that you may need to create a user profile to access these materials.


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

Friday, January 13, 2006

CALI course blogs

If you would like to set up a blog for your course, and your law school is a member of the CALI consortium, you can use Classcaster, CALI's blogging system, at no cost.  Information is available at  You can also see some examples there.

You can limit access to your Classcaster course blog just to your students, but then you won't have a feed (a way for your students to automatically receive new content, without having to go to the blog to check for new content).

More information about CALI (The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) generally is available at  (spl)

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

Thursday, January 12, 2006

advanced legal writing syllabi

Many legal writing professors are putting final touches on course syllabi this week.  If you are teaching any type of advanced legal writing course, don't forget that there is a bank of syllabi for such courses available on the website of the Legal Writing Institute.  You can find this excellent resource at:

This syllabus bank includes syllabi for courses on:
Advanced Legal Writing - General
Advanced Legal Writing - Survey
Drafting - General
Drafting - Legislation
Drafting - Litigation
Drafting - Transactional
Advanced Advocacy
Advanced Legal Research

Of course there are many ways to structure these courses, many types of assignments to include, etc., and looking at a variety of these samples may help jump start your own good ideas.  (spl)

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

2006 Golden Pen Award

ClickGolden_pen on the photo, and you'll see Professor Terri Seligmann (U. Arkansas - Fayetteville), President of the Legal Writing Institute; author Joseph M. Williams, recipient of the 2006 LWI Golden Pen Award; and Professor George Gopen (Duke), presenter of the award.  Joe Williams is well-known among legal writing professors for his book Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity & Grace (University of Chicago Press).  In this picture he is holding the plaque he received at the award reception on January 6th, and also a small box, which does indeed contain an actual golden pen.  With this annual award, the Legal Writing Institute recognizes an individual who has done an outstanding job wielding the figurative golden pen and advancing the cause of clear legal writing. (spl)

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

global legal rhetoric

American University Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C., has announced that on April 18th it will be holding a symposium on Global Legal Rhetoric:  A World Perspective on Writing and Advocacy.  The focus will be on transnational and trans-cultural legal rhetoric.  The deadline for submitting proposals for panels or workshops is February 10th, and presentations should be based on original, unpublished work that will interest an audience of lawyers and law professors.  For more information or to submit a proposal, contact Professor Heather McCabe at  (spl)

January 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 9, 2006

kudos for LeClerq!

Leclercq_teresa_lg At the annual luncheon of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, last Friday, January 6th, Professor Terri LeClerq received the 2006 Section Award for her many years of contributions to the legal writing field.  Professor LeClerq has long been a pioneer, as one of the first to hold a PhD in English and work as a writing specialist within a law school legal writing program, developing and defining that sub-discipline throughout her career.  The field of legal writing has been enriched in countless ways through her contributions, including her many publications and legendary conference presentations.  Details of her achievements are available at  A permanent link to the website for the AALS Section is on the left side of this page.  (spl)

January 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 8, 2006

writing lessons from holiday letters

As I clean up after Christmas, I'm struck by the richness of teaching materials sitting in my card basket--those heaps of Christmas letters.  First lesson--don't make the family name plural with an apostrophe!! 

The greeting isn't from "The Simpson's"--it's from "The Simpsons."  Family names are pluralized in a pretty regular fashion:  one Smith, two Smiths, the Smith family; Ann Jones, the Joneses, the Jones family.  So simple. 


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


Found on a calendar for teachers:

"The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality."
- John Quincy Adams


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