Saturday, March 10, 2007

on the move

Next fall, Lisa McElroy will be joining the faculty at Drexel University College of Law as an Associate Professor of Law.  She'll be teaching in the first year Legal Methods curriculum, and also offering a Supreme Court Seminar.  The other professors already teaching legal writing at Drexel are Kevin Oates, Emily Zimmerman, and program director Terry Seligmann.


March 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 9, 2007

legal writing at Harv. L. Rev.

I thought this post linked here and the comments after it might be appropriate Friday afternoon entertainment for those concerned with legal writing in the real world.


March 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

logic for law students

Look out for a new article on Logic for Law Students: How to Think Like a Lawyer, due out in 2007 in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.  The distinguished authors are:

RUGGERO ALDISERT, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

STEPHEN CLOWNEY, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

JEREMY PETERSON, U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals

You can access the full text of their article free at:

And here's their intriguing abstract:

"Law schools no longer teach logic. In the authors' view this is tragic, given that the fundamental principles of logic continue to undergird the law and guide the thinking of judges."

"In an effort to reverse the trend, this essay explains the core principles of logic and how they apply in the law school classroom. The manuscript begins by examining the basics of the deductive syllogisms and then turns to inductive generalizations and the uses and abuses of analogies. The authors claim that students who master the basics of logic laid out in this article will be better lawyers and will feel more comfortable when they find themselves presenting arguments to judges and juries."


March 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

call for papers

Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors

Call for Articles

Fall 2008 Legal Writing Beyond Memos & Briefs


The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) invites submission of articles for its Fall 2008 Legal Writing Beyond Memos & Briefs issue.  In this issue, the Journal will publish articles about the "best practices" of legal writing in contexts other than the traditional litigation setting.  Although much valuable legal writing scholarship has focused on the memoranda and briefs that are produced in connection with lawsuits, many lawyers are engaged in other kinds of writing: they draft transactional documents, legislation, rules, and regulations; they write formal and informal opinions and correspondence; they produce essays and articles for legal scholars and practicing lawyers.

The Journal encourages submissions for this issue from law professors, practicing lawyers, and judges as well as from academics, researchers, and specialists in other disciplines.  In addition to full-length articles, the Journal welcomes essays and practice notes.  The final deadline for submission of articles is September 15, 2007.  Article selection will be completed by November 1, 2007. 


Topic ideas

For the Fall 2008 Legal Writing Beyond Memos & Briefs issue, the Journal editors envision that major articles may address subjects such as the following:

1.  How should "plain English" theory affect the drafting of legislation, regulations, court rules, and jury instructions?

2.  Will application of rhetorical, metaphor, and narrative theories help lawyers produce more persuasive and effective transactional documents?

3. Can empirical research help lawyers draft documents that better meet the needs of non-lawyers, including such documents as form contracts, liability releases, arbitration agreements, government regulations, and jury instructions?

4.  Does interdisciplinary theory and research suggest ways to enhance the effectiveness of other forms of lawyers' communications, including marketing, advertising, e-mails, client letters, and opinion letters?

5.  Does ethnographic and empirical research shed light on the practice of legal writing in different professional settings?

6.  Are different writing processes and critical analyses appropriate for generating effective legal documents that fall on "the other side" of legal writing?


The Journal's mission is to generate landmark volumes within the field of legal writing by encouraging and publishing scholarship that uses theory, research, and experience to propose and develop "best practices" within a specific subject area.  The Journal aims to be an active resource and a forum for conversation between the legal practitioner and the academic scholar.  To accomplish these goals, the Journal is interested in two kinds of articles: (1) articles that develop the theory and research the practice of legal writing, and (2) articles that apply theoretical and research findings from law and other disciplines to the "doing" of legal writing.  In addition, the Journal will publish selected "practice notes" designed to highlight a  strategy or technique applied in the field, a current problem or obstacle, or a new issue that has not yet received much scholarly attention.

Without compromising analytical rigor and the need to provide theoretical and research underpinnings for practical application, the Journal emphasizes readability and accessibility.  To ensure the widest possible audience, the Journal appears not only in printed and bound hard copy, published by Thomson West, but also on Westlaw and the ALWD website,

Submission Guidelines

Completed manuscripts will be accepted through September 15, 2007.  The Journal editors prefer that manuscripts not be under submission elsewhere; please advise us if you are submitting your manuscript to other publications.  Manuscripts should be accompanied by (1) a cover letter summarizing the article and (2) the resume of the author, including telephone number and e-mail address.  For major articles, the Journal will consider manuscripts from 30 to 50 typewritten pages (7,500 to 12,500 words).  For practice notes, the Journal recommends manuscripts from 5 to 15 typewritten pages.  All manuscripts should be prepared in Microsoft Word 2000 or higher, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, 12-14 point font, and footnotes (not endnotes).  Hard copies should be submitted on 8 1/2 x 11 paper, printed on one side only.  Citation format should adhere to the ALWD  Citation Manual (3d ed., Aspen L. & Bus. 2006).  The Journal discourages textual footnotes.

The Journal will use a two-step review process: an initial internal review by the Editorial Committee, followed by anonymous external peer review, with final publication decisions made by the Editorial Committee.


Please send submissions (preferably electronic) of completed manuscripts to:               

or to the following address:

Linda L. Berger

Chair, Editorial Committee, J. ALWD


Thomas Jefferson School of Law

2121 San Diego Ave.

San Diego, CA 92110

phone (619) 374-6933, fax (619) 296-4284

Submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail.


March 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

the 7 deadly sins

I think I can just retire and send my students links to URLs when there are postings as spot on as the 7 deadly sins of persuasive writing.  It's exactly what we discussed in class last week, when talking about how to write an effective argument section for an appellate brief.

hat tip:  Professor Diane Murley


March 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)