Saturday, September 30, 2006

Online Style Guides

One of my colleagues on the faculty asked whether to include an apostrophe in the phrase “bachelor’s degree.” (Yes.) Being an academic (and a legal writing teacher), I wanted to cite an authoritative source for that answer. I pulled out my trusty orange volume of The Chicago Manual of Style, but didn’t find the precise answer in its pages. So I went online and immediately found several authoritative academic style guides—including an answer in the online version of the CMoSgiving what I needed. Perhaps one of them will come in handy for you:


September 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Weresh receives award

Professor Mel Weresh, Assistant Director of Legal Writing at Drake University Law School, has been awarded Drake University's Distinguished Community Service Award.



September 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

recommended reading

Weresh Professor Melissa Weresh, at Drake University Law School, has written an article on Form and Substance:  Standards for Promotion and Retention of Legal Writing Faculty on Clinical Tenure Track.  It's not slated to be published until the winter, but you can access it now via Expresso's Preprint Series, at  Here's the abstract:

"This article compares standards for promotion and retention of legal writing faculty on a clinical tenure track. The article provides a brief history of legal writing professionals and examines specific employment criteria such as teaching, service, and scholarship. The article makes recommendations regarding those criteria based upon an assessment of institutional realities and the historical development of the profession."

This article will be very helpful for any law school contemplating changes to the terms of employment and contractual operating documents of non-tenure-track legal writing professors.



September 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

“Alex, I’ll take ‘Red Lights’ for 10.”
“The answer is, 'If you use a signal, it may help to use this as well.'”
“What is an explanatory parenthetical?”

Did someone say that learning citation isn’t fun? Now you and your students can play ALWD Jeopardy, 3d edition. Darby Dickerson’s lively powerpoints—not just the Jeopardy game but many, many more citation instruction powerpoints (e.g., lessons on citing statutes, books and treatises, using signals, punctuating and editing quotations, even comparison tables for ALWD and Bluebook)—are available as free downloads from Aspen’s new web site for the ALWD Citation Manual.


September 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Welcome Professor Barger!

Here at the legal writing professors blog, we are delighted to welcome a new co-editor, Professor Coleen Barger from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. Professor Barger is a veteran legal writing professor, who has been active in our field at the national level for many years.  You can read more about her by clicking here.  Once the manager of the law prof blogs returns (i.e., after the weekend), Professor Barger's contact information will appear on the left-hand side of the screen here.



September 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

rules and analysis exercise?

The "cute overload" website has an interesting drawing of the guidelines that Warner Bros. uses in creating cute cuddly cartoon characters.  You could probably build a fun analysis/rule creation class around the drawing.  Go to and scroll a wee bit down the page.


September 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

reference "books"

sources of teaching ideas

Proving that inspiration for teaching legal writing can be found almost anywhere, Professor Peter Friedman of Case Western Reserve University refers us to both comic books and Jorge Luis Borges:


September 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 25, 2006

filing a motion when a brief is more appropriate

In a very recent case, the Seventh Circuit (specifically, Judge Easterbrook) does not take kindly to a party's attempt to evade brief length limitations by presenting some of its points as an "absurd" motion to strike portions of the opposing party's brief rather than address them in the reply brief.  The sanction?  Take the number of words in the problematic motion, double it, and subtract that from the permitted length of the reply brief wherein the points should have been made in the first place.

hat tip:  Molly Lien, The John Marshall Law School - Chicago


September 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

statutory interpretation and legislative intent

A recent North Dakota Supreme Court opinion analyzes the state's recreational use statute and the legislative intent behind it (the dissenting opinion addresses specifically the majority's focus "on the user's use of the property rather than the owner's purpose in making the property available" and which focus is appropriate).

This is a good, easy-to-understand case for 1-L's to use in discussing statutes and statutory interpretation.


September 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

oral argument as conversation

For a helpful way for law students to think about oral argument, click on:

hat tip:  Professor Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University


September 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)