Sunday, September 30, 2007
Florida's Stetson University College of Law seeks applicants for a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Skills to teach in its Legal Research and Writing program for one semester in Spring 2008. The visitor will teach one section of first-year Research and Writing and may be asked to teach on either the Gulfport or Tampa campus.For more information about this position, please e-mail or telephone Professor Kirsten K. Davis, Director of Legal Research and Writing (tel. 727-562-7877). To apply, send a cover letter, current curriculum vitae/resume with contact information for at least three professional references, and a writing sample to Professors Michael Allen and Timothy Kaye, Co-Chairs, Faculty Appointments Committee, Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled, but the first round of applications will be considered in early October.
St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida, is seeking applicants for a full-time contract-track position in Legal Writing as an Assistant Professor, beginning in August 2008. In addition to the usual credentials, applicants must be members of the Florida Bar (although a successful out-of-state applicant may obtain bar admission during the first year of employment).
To apply, send a cover letter, resume with three references, and a writing sample to St. Thomas University School of Law, Legal Writing Department, 16401 N.W. 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054. Candidates with prior teaching experiences should also send a sample of their teaching materials and copies of student evaluations.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I like to tell my students that effective legal writing draws on both the right brain and the left brain, both analytical and creative thinking. Now Professor Andrea L. Mcardle has written an article entitled In a Creative Voice: Talking Back to Lawyers' Texts in Notes from a Difficult Case. As her abstract explains: "[A] creative voice can and should play an important role in legal writing, if it is to effectively convey the human elements from which any legal case arises. This point is illustrated through an analysis of law professor Ruthann Robson's essay, Notes from a Difficult Case, a non-fictional narrative based on Robson's own experience with a personal health crisis that led to a medical malpractice case.
"This piece emphasizes how Robson's crossing back and forth between a professional and personal voice within her essay works to cogently convey an intensely human experience that a purely structured form of professional writing could not. Robson's essay is proof for the hypothesis that legal writing can be an even more effective tool when infused with a writer's personal voice working to recognize the human element at the heart of a legal issue."
Friday, September 28, 2007
A reminder from Professor Mark Wojcik:
We want to remind you that October 10 is the deadline for proposals for the Global Legal Skills Conference III, which will be held in Monterrey, Mexico from February 28 to March 1, 2008. Information about the conference--and about submitting proposals--is available at www.fldm.edu.mx. We have already received a great number of wonderful proposals, and we are hopeful that we will have a high acceptance rate of proposals submitted. Please be a part of this important conference.
Queremos recordarle que el 10 de octubre vence el plazo para presentar propuestas de participación para la Global Legal Skills Conference III, que tendrá lugar en Monterrey, México, del 28 de febrero al 1 de marzo de 2008. Para más información –incluyendo la forma de enviar sus propuestas—visite nuestra página www.fldm.edu.mx. Hemos recibido un buen número de propuestas y consideramos que casi todas ellas serán aceptadas. ¡Esperamos su participación!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Can you imagine a world in which legal research is a tested topic on the bar exam? Well, law professor Claire Germain, at Cornell can. See her article on Legal Information Management in a Global and Digital Age: Revolution and Tradition, International Journal of Legal Information, Vol. 35, p. 134 (Summer 2007).
As she explains in her abstract:
"This article presents an overview of the public policy issues surrounding digital libraries, and describes some current trends, such as Web 2.0, the social network. It discusses the impact of globalization and the Internet on international and foreign law information, the free access to law movement and open access scholarship, and mass digitization projects, then turns to some concerns, focusing on preservation and long term access to born digital legal information and authentication of official digital legal information It finally discusses new roles for librarians, called upon to evaluate the quality of information; teach legal research methodology; and be advocates in information policy. Law librarians are encouraged to join professional associations and undergo continuous professional education. A recent development in the U.S.A., to add a legal research test on the bar exam, is of interest to the whole world, because it signifies the importance of a sound legal research training to the competent practice of law."
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on the legal writing of Attorney General nominee, Judge Michael Mukasey.
Apparently, he keeps a framed photo of George Orwell in his chambers, which would put him in agreement with Professor Judy Fischer, whose article on Why George Orwell's Ideas about Language Still Matter for Lawyers, 68 Mont. L. Rev. 129 (2007), we've mentioned here previously.
Judge Mukasey also credits his background as a journalist as a positive influence on his legal writing. And here he is agreement with an article by legal writing professor Hollee Temple, Here's the Scoop for the Law Profs: Teach Your Students to Think Like a Journalist, 81 U. Detroit Mercy L. Rev. 175 (2004).
hat tips: Prof. Sarah Ricks, Rutgers-Camden, and Attorney Christopher Wren, Wisc. DOJ
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Academic posters, long a staple in other fields, have recently made their entry into legal scholarship. For example, AALS started having displays of academic posters at its annual meeting of law professors a few years ago. And now the Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy has announced its first annual Call for Academic Posters and Multimedia Scholarship.
hat tip: Professor Ruth Anne Robbins, Rugters-Camden
Monday, September 24, 2007
Professor Ken Chestek, at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, has hit the nail on the head in his new article, The Plot Thickens: The Appellate Brief as Story. Chestek explains how an entire appellate brief can work as a seamless narrative, putting to persuasive use the core elements that make up effective storytelling, such as character, conflict, setting, theme, and plot. And it is great fun to see how the author models these very techniques throughout his article. These are absolutely the techniques you hope opposing counsel has not yet mastered.
Frequent contributor of ideas for this blog, Professor Diane Murley, has started a law school library blawg at her new school, Arizona State University.
You can visit the Ross-Blakley Law Library Blog at http://lawlibnews.blog.asu.edu/ or subscribe to its feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/Ross-BlakleyLawLibraryBlog. In addition to library news and announcements, they will be posting research tips, reviews of legal information sources, library podcasts, online tutorials, animal photos of the week, and more.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
On September 20, 2007, the creator of the "Party of the First Part" website presented the "first annual Golden Gobbledygood Awards for truly awful legalese." I don't think anyone was there to claim these awards, however. First place went to the author of an Oklahoma criminal information alleging this conduct: "That is to further state that within said time period and within said County and State, the aforesaid defendants . . . did combine, conspire and agree, one with the other and with others, to defraud the State of Oklahoma . . . ." Second place was awarded to a pre-nuptial provision which warned against relying on the accuracy of any exhibits to the agreement. Third place went to a brief's argument objecting to an expert witness.
The winning entries, along with a number of "Dishonorable Mentions," are posted at the website's Legalese Hall of Shame.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
When a prison inmate recently mailed a hard-boiled egg to federal magistrate judge James R. Muirhead of New Hampshire, the judge registered his objection, borrowing inspiration from a famous Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham (a story famous in part for being composed of only 50 different words). According to CBS News and the Associated Press, the magistrate penned the following opinion:
I do not like eggs in the file.
I do not like them in any style.
I will not take them fried or boiled.
I will not take them poached or broiled.
I will not take them soft or scrambled
Despite an argument well-rambled.
No fan I am
Of the egg at hand.
Destroy that egg!
Today I say! Without delay!
Washburn University School of Law will host its second Writing to Win Symposium on Plain Language Jury Instructions in Topeka, Kansas, April 6-8, 2008. The keynote speaker is the Honorable Carol Corrigan, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court., who chaired the California Judicial Council Task Force on Jury Instructions from 1997 to 2005. Justice Corrigan is one of the three California justices who recently received the 2007 LWI/ALWD Golden Pen Award for California's Plain-Language Jury Instructions.
If you would like to make a presentation at the symposium, send your proposal by October 15, 2007. Click here for information on submitting proposals: Download washburnsymposium_rfp.pdf .
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Duquesne University School of Law seeks applicants for three new full-time contract positions in the Legal Research and Writing Program for the 2008-09 school year. For more information about these positions, contact Prof. Jan M. Levine, Director, Legal Research & Writing Program, Duquesne University School of Law, 600 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15282.
To apply, send a cover letter, a resume, the names and contact information for three references, and a writing sample to Prof. Nicholas Fisfis, Chair of the Recruiting Committee, Duquesne University School of Law, 600 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Applicants with prior teaching experience should also submit samples of their teaching materials and copies of student evaluations, if available.
The University of Denver Sturm College of Law invites applications for two full-time, long-term-contract teaching positions in its first-year legal research and writing program, known as Lawyering Process, to begin in the 2008-2009 academic year.
If you have questions, contact Nancy Ehrenreich, Chair, Lawyering Process Appointments Subcommittee, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 E. Evans Avenue, Denver, CO 80208. To apply, go to https://www.dujobs.org/. Submit your application, including a resume with the names of three references, by Oct. 31, 2007.
and available on LexisNexis and Westlaw--
- Jessica E. Price, Imagining the Law-Trained Reader: The Faulty Description of the Audience in Legal Writing Textbooks, 16 Widener L.J. 983 (2007).
- Louis N. Schulze, Jr., Transactional Law in the Required Legal Writing Curricululum: An Empirical Study of the Forgotten Future Business Lawyer, 55 Clev. St. L. Rev. 59 (2007).
- Carrie W. Teitcher, Rebooting the Approach to Teaching Legal Research: Embracing the Computer Age, 99 Law Lib. J. 555 (2007).
- Nancy Levit, Scholarship Advice for New Law Professors in the Electronic Age, 16 Widener L.J. 947-982 (2007).
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Valparaiso University School of Law seeks to hire a full-time legal writing professor who will also act as Coordinator of its legal writing program, as well as a visitor to teach in its first-year legal writing program for the 2008-09 academic year.
The Coordinator will teach only legal writing and have administrative duties, including, but not limited to, chairing meetings of the legal writing professoriate, leading faculty discussions regarding curriculum, and training and mentoring legal writing visiting faculty. Valparaiso is moving to a “director-less” model for the legal writing program, so these administrative functions do not include directing the work of other legal writing faculty.
Send applications for either position to JoEllen Lind, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, 243 Wesemann Hall, School of Law, Valparaiso University, 656 S. Greenwich St., Valparaiso, Indiana 46383.
At the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference, Professor Jan Levine will be leading a small group discussion for candidates interested in teaching Legal Writing. The workshop for candidates will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2007, the first day of the conference. The discussion session will start around 5:15 pm and last until about 6:00 pm. It will be in the Hoover Room, on the Mezzanine Level of the Wardman Park Hotel. If you're a candidate, or are attending the AALS FRC to interview candidates for LRW teaching, please stop by the session.
hat tip: Professor Jan Levine, Duquesne University
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
It's fairly common for legal writing teachers to find inspiration and ideas in doctrinal areas of the law. Does it work both ways? Here's a new article you may wish to examine: Scott A. Schumacher, Learning to Write in Code[:] The Value of Using Legal Writing Exercises to Teach Tax Law, 4 Pitt. Tax Rev. 103-135 (2007).
Thanks to Professor Diane Murley, now at Arizona State University, for the heads up on these links to sites that may be useful to legal writing students:
Suggestions on Style
Legal Writing: How to Begin a Brief or Memorandum
A Brief Description of Citators for Those Without a Legal Background, by Mark Giangrande
Monday, September 17, 2007
A new project helps lawyers feed legal issues they come across in practice to students who need topics to research and write up. More information is posted over on the Workplace Law Prof Blog.
hat tip: Professor Rick Bale, Northern Kentucky University
For those of you who are not law professors (or those of you who are law professors but tune out whenever you see the acronymn AALS), the National Law Journal has written a nice summary of many current concerns of the legal academy. These concerns will be addressed when law professors across the U.S. converge in NYC for the Association of American Law Schools' annual meeting in January.