December 23, 2006
that time of year again ...
Lawyers know the power of a compelling story, and legal writing students practice narrative writing techniques. To see a seasonal example of a persuasive narrative, brought to you by NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (presumably with your tax dollars), click here.
December 22, 2006
advice for the semester break
The blawg for law school academic support professionals has some great tips on how law students might best re-charge during the semester break. Much of it is also great advice for law professors (eat healthy food, laugh a lot, reward yourself for your hard work) -- except perhaps the part about not worrying about grades. ;>
December 20, 2006
LWI & ALWD reception at AALS
If you're going to the AALS annual meeting, here's something to add to your dance card, as announced (sans links & photo) by the hosting organizations:
"The Legal Writing Institute and
the Association of Legal Writing Directors
cordially invite you to the presentation of the
Golden Pen Award
honoring California's new jury instructions and Justices
Ronald M. George, Carol A. Corrigan, and James D. Ward
and to the presentation of the
Thomas H. Blackwell Memorial Award
honoring Louis J. Sirico, Jr.,
for their outstanding contributions
to the field of legal writing."
"Friday, January 5, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Lincoln West, Concourse Level,
Hilton Washington & Towers
December 19, 2006
"Editing is the same as quarreling with writers - same thing exactly."
- Harold Ross
December 18, 2006
I laughed, I cried . . .
over these stories of legal antics over the past year.
hat tip: Pam Armstrong,, Albany Law School
A reader asked me today why lawyers use French spacing. I confess, although I apparently have been using French spacing since I first took a high school typing class in 1973, I had not previously heard the term "French spacing." I did know that putting two spaces after a comma and a semi-colon had something to do with the limitations of the old typewriter. Some general information on French spacing is quickly available at:
I have now been persuaded by my legal writing professor colleagues that the two spaces are not necessary any longer, since most wordprocessing fonts are not mono-spaced (wordprocessing kerns automatically), and typeset books and documents for the most part have used just the one space for a long, long time. In other words, now that we can use the one space easily and not slow down readers, there's no reason not to. And that's what I tell my students.
Lawyers do tend to be conservative in matters like spacing and other graphics on the page, so much legal writing will likely retain the French spacing for at least another generation.
December 17, 2006
seven deadly sins
The seven deadly sins of students and professors are explored in recent pieces in The Chronicle of Higher Education. While some of the observations seem more typical of the undergraduate classroom, others hit uncomfortably close to home.