Thursday, May 24, 2007

black holes and legal writing

While doing some research for an article I'm working on, I came across the following footnote today:

"Stephen Hawkings is correct in his assertion that black holes exist.  They are called legal writing positions.  Once you enter a legal writing position, it is almost impossible to escape the legal writing field.  So, despite the gravity of the problem with current legal writing, one really has to be warped to take such a job.  If writing is the process of generating and committing one's analysis to paper, then legal writing is the process of generating and committing one's legal analysis to paper.  What does that make legal writing?  Only the single most important course in the curriuclum, since the one thing you can be sure you will do in practice is engage in a lifetime of legal writing.  Thus, many law professors naturally acccord legal writing an amount of respect that is in inverse measure to its actual importance."

Kevin H. Smith, How to Become a Law Professor Without Really Trying:  A Critical, Heuristic, Deconstructionist, and Hermeneutical Exploration of Avoiding the Drudgery Associated with Actually Working as an Attorney, 47 U. Kan. L. Rev. 139, ___ n. 17 (1998).


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

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

materials from back-to-the-future

Handouts and podcasts from last Friday’s Back to the Future of Legal Research symposium are now available online at

Photos of the conference are posted online at

hat tip:  Candle Wester-Mittan, Southern Illinois University


May 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

junior scholars conference in Texas

Inaugural Texas Junior Legal Scholars Conference,
Texas Wesleyan School of Law
August 10-11th, 2007

Sponsored by:
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law

And in cooperation with:
Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law
South Texas College of Law
St. Mary's University of San Antonio School of Law
Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Texas Tech University School of Law
University of Houston Law Center

Seven of the nine Texas Law Schools have come together to create a forum for untenured scholars in Texas and throughout the United States to present papers and works in progress in an informal atmosphere while getting feedback from other untenured legal scholars.  They are encouraging submissions on a wide range of topics and from many perspectives -- legal, economic, critical, historic, comparative, literary, political, sociological, philosophical, practical, and interdisciplinary -- so presumably legal writing scholarship is fair game.

deadline for submissions: June 1, 2007
notification of accepted papers: June 18, 2007

Submissions received after June 1 may be accepted on a space-available basis.  Proposals must contain: (1) your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address; (2) the title of your presentation, and (3) a brief description of your presentation idea. Completed papers are not required, although they are welcome. For full panel proposals, you need to submit the above information for each participant.

E-mail submissions are preferred; all submissions should be sent to:

Professor Meredith Conway
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
1515 Commerce Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76102


hat tip:  Professor Susan Ayres, Texas Wesleyan University


May 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, May 21, 2007

logic for lawyers

In response to an inquiry on the legal writing professors' listserve, subscribers offered the following suggestions for books that may help lawyers understand the types of logic they need to be able to use in their writing:

Michael Adams, The Writer's Mind (University Press of America 1993).

Ruggero J. Aldisert, Logic for Lawyers: A Guide to Clear Legal Thinking (3d ed., National Institute for Trial Advocacy 1997).

Colin Bruce, Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Maths and Probability (Vintage 2001).

Charles R. Calleros, Legal Method and Writing (5th ed., Aspen 2006).

Irene L. Clark, The Genre of Argument (Thomson/Heinle 1998).

Irving M. Copi, Carl Cohen, Daniel E. Flage, Essentials of Logic (2d ed., Pearson/Prentice Hall 2007).

S. Morris Engel, With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies (6th ed., Bedford/St. Martin's 2000).

Elizabeth Fajans, Mary R. Falk, Helen S. Shapo, Writing for Law Practice (Foundation Press 2004).

David Perkins, The Eureka Effect (WW. Norton & Company, Inc. 2000).

Christopher W. Tinsdale, Fallacies and Argument Appraisal: Critical Reasoning and Argumentation (Cambridge University Press 2000).

hat tip: Professor Libby A. White, Villanova University School of Law


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