Saturday, February 18, 2006

good news from Oregon

Suzanne Rowe, Director of Legal Research and Writing at University of Oregon School of Law, has just announced that "[t]he faculty at Oregon just voted to create the rank of Senior Instructor for our LRW colleagues. They can be considered for this promotion in their sixth year. Promotion would bring an increase in salary, eligibility for sabbatical, and longer contracts."  LRW faculty at Oregon include Joan Malmud, Kate Weatherly, and Rebekah Hanley.

Congratulations to all!!


February 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2006

law-related humor

For a varied assortment of law-related humor in the form of articles and songs, go to  And if you want to plan ahead for next Christmas, there are three--count 'em, three!--albums of holiday music with law-themed lyrics.


February 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

don't hit "send" too quickly!!

For a cautionary lesson in professionalism and e-mailing, refer students to the following story:


February 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

an intellectual exercise?

If you are knee deep in paper grading, or if you're supposed to be knee deep in paper grading and are simply procrastinating, check out:

While it's hard to envision grading as an intellectual exercise, that suggestion to embrace grading as a teaching opportunity certainly makes sense.  Now, back to the stack, ....

February 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

legal writing community well represented at ABA negotiation competition

The ABA Law Student Division Negotiation Competition, held this past weekend, included a good number of legal writing professors as coaches and competition committee members.  Committee members were Larry Teply from Creighton, Katy Mercer from Case Western, and Nancy Soonpaa from Texas Tech; coaches included Kelly Feeley from Stetson, Laurie Kadoch from Vermont, and Shannon Moritz from the University of Illinois.


February 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Rocky Mountain conference

Reminder: March 1st is the deadline to register for the Rocky Mountain Regional Legal Writing Conference. All participants must register; this includes presenters, too. There is no conference fee, but we need an accurate count to order the food and plan the rooms. For registration and other information about the conference, go to:

I'll share a little secret here: The Rocky Mountain Conference is always a lot of fun. Tucson is gorgeous in March. And while we can't predict the weather, it was 78 degrees today -- and sunny. March is usually beautiful swimming weather. We have the best Mexican food north of the border -- and yes, we are just a little over 45 minutes from Nogales, Mexico. Because the conference is free and meals are provided, you should have a little extra spending money for our world-famous margaritas.

Our plenary speaker this year is Richard Neuman, who will be speaking on Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and Legal Writing. Thanks to program chairs, Terry Pollman and Judy Stinson, we have a program full of outstanding presentations by experienced legal writing professionals. Take a look for yourself:

Today is the last day to book the group rate at the Windmill Inn. You still have until Feb. 22 to get the group rate at the Sheraton. For details on hotels, see:

You can fly into either Tucson or Phoenix. The Phoenix airport is an easy 2-hour drive to the conference site.

Suzanne Rabe
Director of Legal Writing & Associate Clinical Professor of Law
The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

February 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

LWI conference program

The program for this summer's Legal Writing Institute conference is now available on-line.  It is chock-a-block full, with three days of presentations and events.  There are different "tracks" for new legal writing teachers, innovations, empirical scholarship, technology, and "peak years," although participants may choose from among all the offerings.  The on-line brochure also includes registration details. (spl)    

February 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 13, 2006

marrying procedure and substance

As we introduce students to adding the procedural aspect of their problem to their organizational structure, I find myself saying:

"I invite you to the marriage ceremony of substance and procedure.  In the fall semester, substance was all alone, as you wrote predictive memos.  This semester, substance has decided to ask procedure to be its helpmate in your court briefs, and we will be introducing you to a new method that marries these types of legal analysis."

Then I introduce the CRAC structure that has a big, procedural law CRAC, with little substantive law CRAC's within it.  Then I say things like "no marriage will work if partners go their separate ways, they must work together for the benefit of the marriage.  It helps substance to be a better partner when it thinks about procedure often."  This may sound really goofy, but it seems to turn some lights on for some students.

Professor Melissa Marlow
Southern Illinois University School of Law

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seeing red?

If grammar errors make you mad as you-know-what, perhaps you would enjoy a blog that shares your sensibility and may help you regain your sense of humor on such matters.  They sure do a good job with the graphics, too.  (spl)

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

ask for the sale

Every once in awhile, a lawyer forgets to include a prayer for relief at the end of a complaint.  It may seem a trivial matter when you can simply amend the complaint.  But there are times when you cannot amend a complaint.  A statute may allow a limited time period for filing a complaint, and if that time runs out and the cause of action is created by statute alone (i.e., did not originate at common law), there may be no opportunity to perfect the pleadings.

One huge example is the filing deadline in the Administrative Procedure Act for a jurisdiction.  You can hear a pin drop in my classroom when I tell my students how I once received a complaint appealing a decision of the state agency at which I worked, and I realized the complaint contained no prayer for relief.  I waited until I was sure the time period for filing a complaint had run, called the attorney who had written the complaint to tell him the bad (for him) news, filed my motion to dismiss in court, and had it granted quickly.  One good horror story should stick in the memory of students and new attorneys, so they will always remember to ask for what the client wants, always "ask for the sale."

All experienced sales people know what "ask for the sale" means.  Ask any group of law students or CLE participants if they have any sales experience.  Inevitably someone will have sold insurance or managed a retail store in a prior life, and others sold cookies for the Girl Scouts or candy bars for the school band.  Ask them to explain how they succeeded.  With little prompting most participants in American commerce can tell you that they described the product, persuaded the customer, and then ended with a closer, something like "so may I wrap that up for you" or "so how many would you like?"  That's asking for the sale, closing the deal.

Law students need to learn to do the same thing.  In a brief to the court, after describing their client's position and persuading the court on each issue, they need to follow through and ask for the sale, saying something like "and therefore this Court should award compensatory damages of $10,000 to the plaintiff" or "and therefore the Court should grant the motion for summary judgment."  This type of ending, after each issue's persuasive analysis, is an effective use of repetition.  (spl)

February 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (5)