Saturday, June 17, 2006
"Omit needless words.
"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."
- William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style, ch. 2, sec. 13 (1918)
Friday, June 16, 2006
Although the second edition of the ABA Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs has been unavoidably held up just as it was ready to go to print, the bibliography for the new Sourcebook is available on-line. The bibliography had to be put on-line because it just got too huge for a reasonably-priced, manageable book -- thanks to the explosion of legal writing scholarship in the last decade, since the first edition of the Sourcebook was published.
This bibliography contains books, articles, and more. It is a deep, deep resource for almost anything you might be researching relating to the teaching of legal writing, legal writing program administration, and legal writing scholarship.
Although many people contributed to this bibliography, the Herculean task of compiling, organizing, and standardizing all the information was undertaken with aplomb by Professor Kristen Gerdy at Brigham Young University. The ever-patient editor of this new edition is Professor Eric Easton at the University of Maryland.
Judges aren't the only ones citing to blogs with increasing frequency. Law professors are doing the same thing in their scholarship. And now there's a list of law review articles that cite to blogs. If your article is missing, the author of the list welcomes your addition to the list.
hat tip: Ian Best
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Playing Tetris . . . listening to a classmate's oral argument. Which would you choose?
There's a growing list of court cases that cite to blogs. After clicking on the link, you might want to scroll down and read the comments at the end of the post, some of which offer more links, and some of which offer thoughtful concerns. Blogs seem to add one more layer to the challenge of teaching (and learning about) the weight of authority in law.
hat tip: Ian Best
Some of the more amusing and just plain odder recent judicial decisions that have been noted on this blog, as well as some additional beauties, are now referenced in one place in a nifty compilation. Perhaps they could provide a useful lesson on the outer limits of legal writing.
hat tip: Dan Real
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Linda Edwards of Mercer introduces Mercer University's law dean, Daisy Hurst Floyd, and Carnegie Senior Scholar Richard Gale. They offered the keynote address on Thursday, June 11th, at the Legal Writing Institute's conference in Atlanta.
By vote of the faculty in May, the legal research and writing professors at Catholic University of America, School of Law, will now have long-term contract status, with a possible career path from Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills to Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills. All six of the people currently teaching legal writing were approved for these appointments, by vote of the faculty. In addition, the directorship of the legal writing program will now rotate year by year, among the legal writing professors.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The last LWI conference session I have first-hand knowledge of is the panel presentation that I organized on Legal Writing Scholarship: What Counts? First up was Suzanne Rowe (Oregon), who shared her law school's written scholarship criteria for tenure and explained how she received tenure pursuing scholarship in the field of legal writing. Next up was Katy Mercer (Case Western Reserve), a former editor of LWI's Journal, who gave information on what journal editors are looking for and shared actual comments editors made when deciding whether to accept an article. Next, Steve Jamar (Howard) came out of legal writing retirement to give the perspective of doctrinal faculty, by role playing what they might be thinking as they read scholarship in the field of legal writing. And finally, Dean Daisy Hurst Floyd (Mercer) added a broader perspective, with practical advice on accurately reading your faculty's expectations. Most of our handouts are available on the LWI website.
If you are working on a paper that has anything to do with the use of narratives in the law, consider responding to a call for papers for a conference on Storytelling and the Law: A Retrospective on Narrative, Ethics and Legal Change. This conference is being planned by the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at Emory University School of Law, for October 27 - 28, 2006.
Boston University School of Law has announced an opening for an Associate Director of the First Year Writing Program, who will be primarily responsible for the school's extensive moot court program. Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter to:
Joanne Letty, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston University Office of Human Resources
25 Buick Street
Boston, MA 02215
1. The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. (It is classified as an administrative position.)
2. The professor hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range of $50,000 to $59,999.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.
It must have been good, because they were sitting in the aisles during the last afternoon of the LWI conference, to hear about Preparing for the New Students: New Technologies in the Service of Teaching Technology. This presentation was given by David Thomson (U. Denver), Tracy McGaugh (South Texas), and Cliff Zimmerman (Northwestern). Now David advises his podcast of the presentation, as well as links to his PowerPoint and bibliography, are available at http://web.mac.com/dicthomson/iWeb/LWI2006/Podcast/Podcast.html. This may be the very first LWI conference podcast.