Saturday, April 21, 2007

thinking like a lawyer -- in the 21st century

Most law professors who teach first-year students will acknowledge that we try to hone certain specific cognitive skills in our students.  Now definitely going on my "to-read" list is PCs and CALR: Changing the Way Lawyers Think, by Elizabeth McKenzie and Susan Vaughn at Sufflok University. Their draft is available on SSRN, and here's their abstract:

"Computers are changing the way lawyers and judges think. The authors measured differences in analogical reasoning in briefs and decisions written before computers were used in law, and now. They argue that the changes found mandate changes in legal education, that students need more emphasis on careful reading and analysis."


April 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 20, 2007


Every now and then a law student will use the blended conjunction "and/or." My usual comment on their paper is that this construction is too vague for legal writing; it's just not precise enough. Now I think I'll also refer them to to illustrate that "and" and "or" can lead to problems.

hat tip:  Prof. Andrew Solomon, South Texas College of Law


April 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

brief haiku

Trivial points urged.
Polysyllabics rampant.
Crummy brief, counsel.

- by Attorney Chris Wren


April 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UT legal research conference

Roy Mersky spoke at Tech on Wednesday, and he reminded us of the upcoming legal research conference at UT.  "Teaching the Teachers:  Effective Instruction in Legal Research" will be held October 18-20, 2007, at UT (in Austin, TX). 

Conference registration is $250 before August 1 and $275 thereafter.  You can find more information at


April 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

in this corner, ...

Awhile back (in blogger time anyway) on idealawg, Professors George Gopen and Wayne Schiess exchanged some ideas on a few legal writing issues:

If you're new(er) to legal writing, you might particularly enjoy Professor Gopen's perspective of many years.

hat tip: Professor Andrew Solomon, South Texas College of Law


April 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

grammar and its revenge

If you are looking for entertaining examples of what happens when writers ignore the rules of grammar, try:
Anguished English, by Richard Lederer


The Revenge of Anguished English:  More Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language, also by Richard Lederer.

hat tip:  Professor Ralph Brill, Chicago-Kent


April 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

set in style

Whether you're a regular reader or first time visitor to this blog, you might also find posts of interest on a new blog about legal publishing, called Set in Style.  Legal writing professors will frequently find examples of judicial and lawyerly writing posted there that may prove useful in the classroom.


April 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 16, 2007


"A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who instead of aiming a single stone at an object takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit."

- Samuel Johnson

hat tip:  Prof. Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University


April 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)