Saturday, October 7, 2006

Neither a borrower nor a lender be?

I frequently base the memo and brief problems I create on the facts of actual cases, changing some of the details and changing the jurisdiction. Good thing I am not a prosecutor.

California's Second District Court of Appeals has ruled that a district attorney cannot prosecute a rape case because the novel she is writing has borrowed too many facts from that case. Read the whole story on


October 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 6, 2006

congratulations to Nancy Wanderer


The Women's Law Association at the University of Maine has announced that Nancy Wanderer, director of the LRW program at University of Maine School of Law, has been chosen as the Distinguished Alumna of the Year. (Last year's award went to the chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.)

hat tip:  Suzanne Rowe


October 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

how much appeal?

Here's an interesting article on how many issues should be included in an appellate brief, and why:

It could be helpful for students who think the appellate brief word limit dictated by their legal writing professor is irrational or unrealistic.

hat tip:  Professor Alice Noble-Allgire, Southern Illinois University


October 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Does class participation matter?

What can or should law professors do to encourage class participation? Professors, students, and law grads squared off early today to comment on a PrawfsBlawg post about “disciplining a lazy student” who refused to respond to the professor’s questions in class. Comments responding to the post are revealing. Is a legal education/JD degree nothing more than a commodity purchased by student-consumers? Does the mandatory curve make students close-mouthed and nastily competitive? Does class participation bear any relationship to the grade—or to learning?

While the Socratic method is not the prevailing model used in the legal writing classroom, how many of these student concerns are relevant to our thinking about the way we design our programs, teach our classes, and assess our students’ learning?


October 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

another interesting blog

Six new blogs have joined the Law Professor Blogs Network.  Of particular interest among those  may be the Statutory Construction Blog, edited by Professor David Hrickik of Mercer University.

hat tip:  Professor Paul Caron, University of Cincinnati


October 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Harvard proposal to require courses in writing and reasoning

This morning's newspaper contained an AP story about the recommendations of a Harvard faculty committee to revise the university's core curriculum for undergraduates. According to the article, Harvard's current curriculum has been criticized for its failure to focus on "real-world matters students would likely confront beyond Harvard."

It was heartening to see coursework in writing and analytical reasoning among the recommendations. Does Harvard's faculty recognize writing and reasoning deficiencies in its entering students? Or in its graduates? Or in both? Let's hope this is an idea that quickly inspires colleges and universities to follow Harvard's lead.


October 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

grading rubrics

Here's a nice article from the University of Texas on developing grading rubrics.


October 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

tenure-track position at Arkansas-Little Rock

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law invites applications from both experienced and entry-level faculty for a tenure-track position for the 2007-2008 academic year in our Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy program.

The Bowen School’s Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy program is co-directed by tenure-track professors, each of whom teaches either another doctrinal course or an advanced skills course. Salaries, research budgets, and status of legal writing faculty are identical to those of other tenure-track faculty members.

The successful applicant should show performance or potential as both a teacher and a scholar. Successful candidates must possess a Juris Doctorate degree or its equivalent from an ABA-approved law school. The UALR William H. Bowen School of Law is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and actively seeks the candidacy of minorities, women, Vietname-era veterans, and persons with disabilities.

Located in downtown Little Rock, the Bowen School is near the state’s capital as well as minutes from the University of Arkansas’s Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Presidential Library. Little Rock is a dynamic urban area with excellent arts, including museums, symphony and theater, as well as outdoor opportunities, including nearby state parks and bike trails that run throughout downtown.

Under Arkansas law, all applications are subject to disclosure. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to Professor Theresa M. Beiner, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, 1201 McMath Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.

1. The position advertised:

_X_ a. is a tenure-track appointment.
__ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.

__ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

2. The professor hired:
_X_ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (except for certain appointments and promotion matters).
__ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)
__ a. $90,000 or more

_X_ b. $80,000 to $89,999
__ c. $70,000 to $79,999
__ d. $60,000 to $69,999
__ e. $50,000 to $59,999
__ f. $40,000 to $49,999
__ g. $30,000 to $39,999
__ h. this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__ i. this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

In addition, legal writing professors are eligible for the same summer research and writing stipends as the doctrinal faculty.  They also have the same annual research and travel budget as doctrinal faculty.

4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
__ a. 30 or fewer

__ b. 31 – 35
__ c. 36 – 40
__ d. 41 – 45
_X_ e. 46- 50
__ f. 51 – 55
__ g. 56 to 60
__ h. more than 60


October 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

clear writing pays off

There was an interesting article on Market Place, a public radio show, last week, on the economic value of clear writing.  It could provide one more incentive for legal writing students struggling to communicate their analysis clearly in writing.

hat tip:  Professor Rick Peltz, University of Arkansas at Little Rock


October 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CMS on-line

Speaking of the Chicago Manual of Style, it is now available on-line, in its entirety.

hat tip:  Professor Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University


October 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 2, 2006

Nostalgia for “Mr. Language Person”

Remember Dave Barry’s syndicated columns from the Miami Herald—especially those by “Mr. Language Person”? Here’s his Q & A about semi-colons, originally published in the Herald on December 13, 1992:

Q: What is the purpose of the semicolon?
A: It can be used to either (1) separate two independent clauses, or (2) indicate an insect attack.

(1) ''Well, I'm a clause that certainly doesn't need any help!''; ''Me either!''
(2) ''Be careful not to bump into that ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; AIEEEEEEE!''

Don’t ask why the ; is on my mind right now!


October 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 1, 2006

detailed marking code

The University of Calgary has a Detailed Marking Code to help provide detailed feedback on written assignments.  If you're in the process of developing a revision or grading checklist for your students, consulting this code will give you a good headstart.  While it's not designed for legal documents, almost every item is usable--you'd just need to add in the specifics for the requirements of your assignment.


October 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)