October 21, 2006
The Complete Lawyer
"The Complete Lawyer," an online periodical that "focuses solely on the personal and professional development of lawyers," has an article in the current edition about effective communication and being a powerful presenter. It contains ideas that are transferable to the classroom, such as having a clear purpose, not cramming too much information into one presentation, and meeting the needs of your audience.
Professor Dan Barnett is known for the excellent workshops he has organized on critiquing law students' paper, at the Legal Writing Institute's bi-ennial conferences. He has recently completed a related article, Triage in the Trenches in the Legal Writing Course: The Theory and Methodology of Analytical Critique, based on his workshop materials. The article will be published by the University of Toledo Law Review in December 2006 (Volume 38). The manuscript is currently available electronically:
hat tip: Professor Dan Barnett
October 19, 2006
dates set for 7th annual Rocky Mountain conference
Conference organizers are working on obtaining a conference rate for hotels, but advise that you may wish to shop the 'Net for better rates. While you may wish to rent a car, UNLV Prof. Terry Pollman says that cab rides from the Strip to the law school typically cost around $10. Watch for the Call for Proposals to be posted soon.
October 18, 2006
"Ig Nobel" prize (say it fast)
Princeton psychology professor Danny Oppenheimer's empirical study, ominously titled "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly," receives the Ig Nobel prize--and other accolades--for demonstrating that readers react badly to writing that uses too many big words.
Hat tip to Ruth Anne Robbins, who posted a link to the story on the LRWPROF listserv.
one law school's advice to grads interested in law school teaching
The D.C. meat market looms on the horizon. Students at prestigious Columbia University have a web page devoted to legal careers in academe. One of the FAQs on that page asks,
Well, it all depends. Teaching legal writing and research, in and of itself, has little to commend it as an entre [sic] to law school teaching unless that is the subject you wish to teach (and a number of schools do have permanent legal writing and research faculty, some tenure-track).
If this means that Columbia (and by extension, other feeder schools) wouldn't recommend going into LRW teaching unless the applicant really wants to teach LRW, then hurrah! The parenthetical comment persuades me that this is exactly the message they're sending.
possessives and the Supreme Court
For an analysis of the Supreme Court justices' usage of a lone apostrophe or an apostrophe-plus-s to indicate the possessive case when a singular word ends in "s,", see http://www.law.com/jsp/dc/PubArticleDC.jsp?id=1159866327040&hub=Commentary.
October 17, 2006
the future of legal research
Here's an announcement from Professor Mary Rose Strubbe:
Chicago-Kent College of Law is pleased to again welcome legal skills faculty and law librarians to a conference on May 18 & 19, 2007, to continue the discussion that we began at “The Future of Legal Research” conference in May, 2005.
Among the topics that we will consider are:
Results of the follow-up surveys on practitioners’ research habits;
Research teaching techniques in our electronic age;
Law students’ research abilities and how they differ from those of their employers in practice and their law school professors;
Internet access to abundant free material and how it will change the legal research landscape;
Teaching students to think critically about the material that they gather from free sites;
Citing sensibly to electronic sources that will change over time;
Exploring the burgeoning availability of international law sources and understanding why these sources will take on increasing importance to lawyers and students;
Teaching students to evaluate the content of their research rather than the medium in which it is found.
Proposals are now being accepted for presenters and panelists for the above topics and other topics that address both how legal research will be accomplished in the future, and how we should prepare our students for these changes. Proposals are due by January 15, 2006, and should be addressed to either:
Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 West Adams Street
Chicago, Illinois 60661
Material may be submitted electronically or in hard copy. The material from the conference will be posted on a website after the conference ends.
The conference will be held in the beautiful City of Chicago, which comes to life in the spring. For those who haven’t been to the Windy City in a few years, the newly opened Millennium Park, designed by the world renowned architect, Frank Gehry, is alone worth the trip. There is no fee to attend the conference, but attendees are responsible for their own housing and transportation. Information about hotels and a detailed schedule should be available by late January. Come join the discussion about how legal research is changing, and what our response to those changes should be!
- Professor Mary Rose Strubbe, Chicago-Kent College of Law
October 16, 2006
go West ...
This post is not meant to be an endorsement of any database vendor. If you have been using a particular vendor's database, however, and if you've ever wondered where the idea to even have such a database got started, you might find the short history at the link below interesting:
Scroll down a little to get to the early story.
hat tip: Associate Dean Nancy Soonpaa, Texas Tech
October 15, 2006
remembering where their heads are
Click on here for a post that encourages trial attorneys to remember that most jurors are plenty intelligent and just aren't steeped in legal jargon. Depending on how advanced a class of legal writing students is, this post could be a good reminder about where the students' heads are. Or, it could be a good reminder to share with students about the audience of a particular written or oral communication.
hat tip: Professor Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University