Friday, November 17, 2006
Our colleagues in the Academic Support blog just posted a terrific set of tips and affirmations for students headed into the Thanksgiving break. When students drop in to see you next week, you can offer these suggestions for a less-stressful holiday.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research has announced that Professor Anne Enquist of Seattle University School of Law is the winner of the section's 2007 Service Award. Anne will be recognized on January 5 at the Section lunch during the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Congratulations, Anne!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The AALS hiring pow-wow concluded recently, and it seems that a larger number of legal writing candidates used the AALS interview process than has been the case in the past. To what extent is this a good thing? Does it portend status equity with doctrinal hiring? Maybe so. But do the majority of job applicants in the field utilize this approach? How are most law schools finding their new hires? This could be a good question to ask in the upcoming 2007 ALWD-LWI Survey of Legal Writing Programs.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Each year, the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award is given to a person who has made outstanding contributions to the field of legal writing. The award is named in memory of Thomas Blackwell, a professor at Appalachian School of Law who was killed by a disturbed student.
The Blackwell Award Committee has just announced that this year's winner of the Blackwell Award is Lou Sirico of Villanova. The award will be made in January at the AALS meeting.
The announcement below comes from Professor Wayne Schiess at the University of Texas: "The program committee for the 2007 Lone Star LRW Conference is now accepting presentation proposals. The conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 31 and June 1, at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, TX.
The announcement below comes from Professor Wayne Schiess at the University of Texas:
"The program committee for the 2007 Lone Star LRW Conference is now accepting presentation proposals. The conference will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 31 and June 1, at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, TX.
"The committee is seeking proposals for two 75-minute legal writing presentations, two 75-minute legal research presentations, and two 75-minute plenary presentations—both plenary presentations could be on legal research and legal writing combined. The times for these presentations on Friday, June 1, are here:
- 9:15 - 10:30--Concurrent morning sessions: one on research and one on writing.
- 10:45 - 12:00--Plenary morning session on research and writing.
- 1:15 - 2:30--Concurrent afternoon sessions: one on research and one on writing.
- 2:45 - 4:00--Plenary afternoon session on research and writing.
"The committee seeks proposals or suggestions for all of the sessions, concurrent and plenary. Send your proposal or suggestion to Wayne Schiess at WSchiess@law.utexas.edu. The deadline is January 15, 2007, but, as we down here in Texas, we might could be flexible on that."
Monday, November 13, 2006
LexisNexis and the Berkman Center at Harvard are conducting a survey of recent law school graduates, to learn more about how prepared new lawyers are for today’s legal work world. The results should be particularly interesting for those of use who teach fundamental lawyering skills, such as legal writing. For information on the survey, click on:
hat tip: Professor Paul Caron, University of Cincinatti
Sunday, November 12, 2006
A federal judge's recent memorandum opinion took lawyers to task for their lack of care in citing authority. In Capital Yacht Club v. Vessel AVIVA, 2006 WL 2792679 at *2 n. 5 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2006), District Judge Ricardo Urbina chastised counsel for their "sloppy submissions":
It is almost as if the parties' counsel have together devised an entirely new legal writing style, complete with a rule favoring citation to bad law in place of citation to good law, and a wholesale rejection of the Bluebook in favor of their own not-so-uniform system of citation. Although the court finds this parallel universe of legal advocacy entertaining, it now longs for the traditional methods of representation: citations to good law and utilization of the ubiquitous Bluebook.
Westlaw's link to the ill-favored plaintiff's brief reveals citations that (horrors!) use supra as the short-form for a case citation, lack pinpoint page references, use "D.N.Y." as the abbreviation for the Southern District of New York, and tack "et al." to a party's name.
The court reconsidered its previous ruling granting a motion to dismiss and ruled that the parties could resubmit their dispositive motions, which "must include thorough legal analyses of their positions with relevant case law and properly bluebooked case citations." 2006 WL 2792679 at *1 n. 3.
I often find myself telling my legal writing students that carefully using their writer's tools allows them to achieve greater mind control of their reader, i.e., to control better the voice the reader hears internally while reading the writer's text. Now it seems understanding what's going on inside the mind may be a new focus for the law in coming decades. Professor Edwin Fruehwald at Hoftstra University has written a paper on Posthmodern Legal Thought and Cognitive Science, and here's the abstract:
"The article criticizes postmodern legal thought using insights of cognitive science. The insights that cognitive science can bring to jurisprudence is the next frontier for legal philosophy. As Professor John Monahan has stated, "the question I want to raise is whether evolutionary psychology [a branch of cognitive science] . . . could play the same central role in legal scholarship for the next thirty years that economics has played for the past thirty." John Monahan, Symposium: Violence in the Family: Could "Law and Evolution" Be the Next "Law and Economics?" 8 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 123 (2000).
"Part II of the paper examines postmodern legal thought. Part III then introduces basic concepts of cognitive science, and Part IV demonstrates how insights of cognitive science weaken the foundations of postmodern legal thought. Part V shows the existence of universals in the human mind, which destroys the strong moral relativism underlying postmodernism. Finally, Part VI presents an alternative to postmodernism's radical political theories, based on cognitive science."
The full text is available free via SSRN, at: