Saturday, August 5, 2006
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
Friday, August 4, 2006
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
Thursday, August 3, 2006
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
by BENJAMIN BARTON
University of Tennessee, Knoxville - College of Law
Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=913421
"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
hat tip: Professor Jan Levine, Temple University
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 http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/news/15183758.htm.
Surely there's a legal writing assignment's fact pattern in there somewhere!!
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
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Monday, July 31, 2006
There's an interesting example of judicial writing from Phoenix that concerns lunch:
Be sure to read the footnotes, too.
hat tip: Prof. Lisa McElroy, Southern New England School of Law
Sunday, July 30, 2006
This is the season when I finally get around to reading the article reprints that legal scholars kindly send me throughout the academic year. Today I read Marina Angel's piece published at 38 U. Akron L. Rev. 788 (2005), and entitled:
The Modern University and Its Law School: Hierarchical, Bureaucratic Structures Replace Coarchical, Collegial Ones; Women Disappear from Tenure Track and Reemerge as Caregivers: Tenure Disappears or Becomes Unrecognizable.
From the perspective of a tenured, female law professor, Prof. Angel reviews the recent and continuing shift in modern American universities from faculty-centered governance models towards more business-like corporate structures. She makes an interesting point when she suggests that the demands of legal writing professors for law schools to take off caps -- i.e., to stop limiting the number of years they can teach at a school -- fed neatly into the other forces eroding tenure at U.S. universities. After all, as she posits, if a university can get a full-time professor to work long-term without tenure, why offer tenure?
Professsor Angel does seem to suggest that legal writing professors, most of whom are women, unwittingly made it harder for women to obtain tenure at U.S. law schools. This perspective, likely unintentionally, sounds a bit like blaming the victim for the wrong-doing. Perhaps the better response would be, now that this cadre of female legal writing professors have multi-year, renewable contracts at many U.S. law schools, to figure out what it will take to continue the process of upgrading these positions until they are tenure lines jobs.