August 12, 2006
legal writing for pre-law students
If you are interested in legal writing instruction for pre-law students, i.e., undergraduates, one helpful starting place for information is:
How many digits does he have left, total? Nine or four? Great example for a writing exercise.
"Three teenagers were charged Friday with a sword attack in a south Minneapolis apartment that left one of them with only four fingers on one hand.
The finger was found in the entryway, the sword was in the bathroom and broken pieces of a gun were in the living room, according to court documents released Friday." Minneapolis StarTribune, August 12, 2006.
August 11, 2006
Into contract drafting? Here's a blog on the topic. Ken Adams's background statement says, "Ken Adams occupies a unique position in the field of contract drafting, in that he’s the only commentator to focus on the language of contracts—not what you express in a given contract provision, but how to express it in modern and effective contract language." If that sounds intriguing to you, take a look at his blog.
the lowly comma strikes again
Here's another cautionary tale for legal writing students, on the importance of precision in punctuation use and careful proofreading:
hat tip: Prof. R.J. Robertson, Southern Illinois University
August 10, 2006
eh, it's not the end of the world
In a transactional practice, strong legal writing will anticipate and prevent problems, providing operating instructions for all readily foreseeable circumstances. See how far some lawyers will go:
August 9, 2006
copyright and yoga . . .
From U.S. Law Week: "A sequence of yoga poses may be protectable as a copyrightable compilation, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held April 1 . The court acknowledged that it seems "inappropriate, and almost unbelievable, that a sequence of yoga positions could be any one person's intellectual property." However, it said, copyright protection would be available if the trier of fact were to determine that enough individual yoga poses were arranged in a sufficiently creative manner. Open Source Yoga Unity v. Choudhury, N.D. Cal., No. C 03-3182 PJH, 4/1/05. 69 BNA's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal 589."
The parties settled shortly thereafter, so the case never went to trial.
Time to gear up for writing those fact patterns!!
August 8, 2006
new adventures for Jo Anne Durako
Jo Anne Durako, former president of ALWD, formerly teaching and directing at Rutgers-Camden and most recently teaching at Stetson University School of Law, has taken one of those grand leaps that many only dream of: she reports that she and her husband have bought a small publishing company, and she will be "editor-in-chief of a magazine serving the western Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia and the adjacent horse country."
Best of luck in your new adventure, Jo Anne!
good grammar links
There are lots of resources on-line for law students who need help with their grammar, including:
hat tip: Professor Don Hughes, Capital University Law School
hat tip: Professor John Haberstroh, Northwestern University School of Law
hat tip: Professor Ken Swift, Hamline Law School
hat tip: Professor Kathy Sampson, University of Arkansas School of Law
hat tip: Professor Bobbi Jo Boyd, University of North Carolina School of Law
hat tip: Professor Mark Cooney, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
hat tip: Professor Christine Venter, Notre Dame Law School
August 7, 2006
reading, writing, and ...
A few years ago, the National Endowment for the Arts published a report on the number of Americans who read as a leisure activity. The stats show a steady decline in reading for young people in the U.S., which means students are likely to have less and less exposure to literature of any kind before attending law school. The report also gives interesting stats on how reading correlates with other leisure activities, including creative writing.
hat tip: Professor Laurel Oates, Seattle University
August 6, 2006
Lisa McElroy of Southern New England School of Law has written a book, John G. Roberts, Jr.: Chief Justice, for middle-school-age children. It was recently reviewed by the Legal Times, and the review is reprinted on law.com at
Alison E. Julien
Associate Professor of Legal Writing
Marquette University Law School