Saturday, April 28, 2007

legal counsel's nod to haiku

Professor Gregg Miller, at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, offers the following 3 lines, as instructions before you read the rest of his stanzas below:   

The seventh stanza
Is meant as a placeholder.
Change it as needed.

May it please the Court.
All my oral argument
Shall be in haiku.

I wish to reserve
Two minutes of my time here
For a rebuttal.

Appellant maintains
The trial court erred when it
Granted the demurrer.

An order granting
Demurrer is subject to
De novo review.

Any fact, as well as
Reasonable inference
May be examined.

Respondent alleged
Appellant did not plead breach
The trial court agreed.

Quite simply stated
Respondent’s trial counsel
Was a poopie-head.

I thank you for your time
And will now answer questions
You may have for me.


April 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

new newsletter

The latest issue of the newsletter for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Research and Reasoning is now available.  It contains news on what the Section has been up to, what it is planning, and what members of the section have been doing, too.  If you missed the AALS annual meeting in January '07, this issue of the newsletter contains the scoop on the Section's presentations, awards, and receptions, as well as remarks from officers.

Please note that the Section has a new web address, at  Thanks to LSU for taking on this hosting function.  And thanks to Pace for hosting for many years previously.


April 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

case won because of legal research?

Researching This week's ABA Journal eReport asks readers to send in their answers to the question, "What is the best example of how legal research contributed to a positive outcome of a case or legal matter you were involved with?" We'll share the top answers when they're released next week.


April 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 27, 2007

2007 Burton Award goes to Laurel Oates

Laurel_oates The Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education is presented to one who has made outstanding contributions to educating new lawyers in legal analysis, research, and writing, whether through teaching, program design, program support, innovative thinking or writing.

This year's distinguished award winner is Professor Laurel Oates of Seattle University School of Law. Laurel is the Director of Seattle University's Legal Writing Program, co-founder of the Legal Writing Institute, and co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, now in its fourth edition, and its spin-offs, Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, and Just Writing.

Laurel is presently working in India and Africa, training magistrates, hosting a conference for law school professors and providing workshops for attorneys, and providing training for judges. Three cheers for Laurel!


April 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Writers Cafe

The Benchmark Institute, a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities, offers writing tips in its Writers Cafe.  You can also find competencies lists, inventories, and exercises.


April 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the poetic Utah bar

The Utah State Bar Appellate Practice Section has announced its first appellate haiku and limerick contest.  It seems entrants need to be members of the Utah bar, but perhaps other state bar associations will take note and dream up their own competitions.

If you're interested in entering the Utah contest, your entry should relate to appellate law in some way and be submitted to or by snail mail to Tawni Anderson Sherman, Dewsnup, King and Olsen, 36 S. State St. #2400, Salt Lake City UT 84111.

The announcement included some fine print:

"Entries must be received by June 1, 2007.  By submitting an entry, participants certify that the submitted work is original and further grant the Section a non-exclusive license to the use and publication of their poems at the state bar's annual convention, on the Section's website, in Section promotional materials, in the Utah Bar Journal, and in any documentary film based on the contest (even if made by Michael Moore).  Only entrants who are members of the Appellate Practice Section or who are Utah court judges are eligible to win.  (Not a member?  No problem!  You can join for a mere $10. Judges need not be members.)  Officers and executive committee members of the Section are not eligible to win but may submit entries for publication and glory.  The Section is not responsible for entries lost in cyberspace.  Judges have absolute discretion to determine the winning entries and their decisions, incongruously enough, are not reviewable in any way, shape, or form.  Winning entries will be posted on the Section's website and/or published in the Utah Bar Journal sometime after the state bar's annual convention, further ensuring the  perpetual fame of the winners and selected other honorees."

hat tip:  Prof. Kristen Gerdy, Brigham Young University


April 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Seventh Circuit gets literary

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, reporter Abdon Pallasch writes about a recent opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals:

In a more-literary-than-usual opinion, federal appellate judges opened with Robert Burns and closed with Cinderella’s stepsister in upholding a witness-tampering decision.

The case involves the “incredibly bizarre” tale of Joseph Kalady, the 450-pound document forger who tried to fake his death by having his friend James Rand get a body-double who would be killed and left at Kalady’s house for authorities to presume to be Kalady.

“As Robert Burns observed, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” Judge Terence Evans wrote, explaining authorities realized the 185-pound man wasn’t Kalady. Kalady, his brother and Rand were all charged.

But Judge Ilana Rovner dissented, agreeing with Rand's attorneys that the case had nothing to do with witness-tampering.

“Rand’s actions simply do not fit within the plain language of this statute even with a shoehorn,” Rovner said. “As Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters taught us, no good can come of stuffing a foot into an ill-fitting shoe.”

The slip opinion is available at

hat tip: Ralph Brill


April 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 23, 2007

reminder of May research conference

"Back to the Future of Legal Research" will be held at Chicago Kent on Friday, May 18.  Find more information at


April 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)



"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

hat tip: Prof. Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University


April 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)