September 8, 2006
The following quote is from Peter Gross’s article, “On law School Training in Analytical Skill,” which was published more than 30 years ago:
“Legal Writing often is viewed as a separable and peripheral subject—one identified with a knowledge of legal materials and of composition. But in fact, “[the process of legal] writing is basically 85 percent analysis and 15 percent composition; and “criticism of law student writing] . . . generally relates as much to defects in thinking as to faults in expression” Legal writing is no less than the principal medium for the expression of, and hence for practice in, legal analysis 25 J. Legal Educ. 261 (1972-73).
- Professor Laurel Oates, Seattle University
September 7, 2006
great teaching case
Here's a case that demonstrates the lengths to which a creative judge will go to make a point about lawyers' sub-par research and writing. For example,
Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact – complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words – to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their childlike efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.
Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp. , 147 F. Supp.2d 668, 670 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (emphasis added).
The opinion makes a number of good teaching points about using appropriate authority, pinpoint citations, etc. Enjoy!!
hat tip: Terry Conaway, Head of Reference and Instruction. Law Library, Texas Tech University School of Law
September 6, 2006
free Expresso-type service
The Expresso service from SSRN is a handy way to e-shop an article to many law journals, but either a law school pays for a subscription and a couple of dollars for each submission or an individual has to pay the full cost of usage. Now there is a similar service available free at http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/index.aspx. I haven't used it, so I am not vouching for it, just making you aware of its existence.
Professor Malla Pollack, American Justice School of Law
Professor Christine Corcos, Louisiana State University School of Law
Milani Award winners announced
The judges’ results are in and we have three winners!
Congratulations to Gilbert Hain (Florida Coastal), who won the Law Practice category for appellate briefs and to Gilbert’s professor, Stephanie Shingleton.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Stawarski (St. Thomas, MN), who won the Law Practice category for trial-level briefs, and to Elizabeth’s professor, Julie Oseid.
Congratulations to Stacy Mikulik (Emory), who won the Essay category, and to Stacy’s professor, Ani Satz.
Gilbert and Elizabeth won $300 each and Stacy won $400, for a total of $1,000 in prizes.
We’ve notified the winners, and we’ll now begin notifying the other students who submitted entries.
On behalf of Adam Milani’s family and everyone at Mercer University School of Law, thank you for making these awards possible and for helping to keep Adam’s memory alive. Please consider using a disability law assignment and encouraging your students to enter next year’s competition.
- Professor Linda Edwards, Mercer University
job opening in Jordan
Job Opportunities: Amman, Jordan
Position: Legal Education Legal Specialist
Location: American Bar Association, Amman, Jordan
Start Date: January 2006
The ABA seeks a legal education legal specialist who will be responsible for implementing the ABA's legal education reform program in Jordan. The program consists of two complementary components: faculty development through the use of practical teaching methods and use of interactive techniques in the classroom, and curriculum development in substantive areas of law as well as the introduction of practical skills in existing courses. Candidates should have experience in one or more of the following:
-experience in developing teacher training programs
-developing training materials and supporting training on teaching methodology;
-developing TOT programs for teachers/professors;
-teaching interactive techniques and practical teaching skills;
-incorporating into curricula skills such as negotiation, client interviewing, debate, legal research and writing, analytical reasoning;
-experience in developing clinical legal education programs and similar activities;
-developing curricula in one or more of the following substantive areas: commercial law, international law (public and/or private), legal English, ADR, e-commerce, ethics.
Applicants should have strong program management experience and experience working on legal education issues. Arabic speakers preferred but not required.
This legal specialist position is for a 6-12 month term and is on a pro-bono basis. A generous support package is provided which covers all living costs and business expenses. To apply, please register with ABA International Legal Reform Programs at http://portal.abaceeli.org/ilrp/registration.asp and specify the Jordan legal education position.
For information on other ABA legal education legal specialist opportunities, please visit http://www.abanet.org/ceeli/program/positions.html for more information.
hat tip: Professor Roy Stuckey
Interesting "snapshot" from USA Today: Male professors lecture 46% of the time; female professors lecture 35% of the time.
September 5, 2006
Seattle University School of Law, the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and the American Society of International Law are sponsoring a Conference on the Pedagogy of Legal Writing for East African Legal Academics on March 15-17, 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Fairview Hotel.
While the conference program has not yet been set, the conference will co ver three main themes: (1) the emergence of Legal Writing as discipline in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries; (2) the learning theory underpinning Legal Writing pedagogy; and (3) the "nuts and bolts" of teaching Legal Writing.
We expect that we will have sessions covering the following topics:
Why teach legal writing
Incorporating Legal Writing into existing curricula
Writing as a process
Writing to a particular audience for a particular purpose
Characteristics of effective Legal Writing
Teaching effective sentence structure
Teaching persuasive techniques
Teaching conciseness and precision
Critiquing student work
Conferencing with students about their writing
In addition, many of the sessions will have a "hands-on" component, allowing the participants to try out the techniques and exercises explored in the sessions. The conference participants will also have an opportunity to engage in "sharing sessions" to discuss the curriculum and methodology at their institutions with the other participants and conference presenters.
While the conference will be presented free of charge for the African participants, presenters from the U.S. will be expected to cover their own transportation and accommodation costs. If you are interested in presenting at the conference or have questions, please contact Mimi Samuel at email@example.com or Laurel Oates at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, October 6, 2006. If you are interested in presenting, please let us know your preference for presentation topic, and please send a current copy of your resume.
- Professor Mimi Samuel, Seattle University
September 4, 2006
Since the Labor Day weekend seems to have impeded posting on this blog, perhaps it's appropriate to step back for a minute and appreciate why we have Labor Day in the U.S. in the first place. A brief reminder of the history, including the first laws related to the holiday, can be found at http://www.thehistoryof.net/the-history-of-labor-day.html.