Saturday, June 2, 2007

a deeper look at narratives in the law

Meyer72dpi Professor Phil Meyer has just published an article on Retelling the Darkest Story: Mystery, Suspense, and Detectives in a Brief Written on Behalf of a Condemned Inmate, 58 Mercer Law Review 665 (2007).  Phil is a wonderful creative writer in his own right, which adds to his (and now our) perspective on the use of narrative in the law.  As our informant explains, Phil's article: 

"- demonstrates ways to use narrative when the client cannot be portrayed as a good guy;

- shows the uses of narrative outside the fact statement, in the legal argument itself;

- explains how courts, judges, lawyers, and even the law itself can be 'characters' in a story;

- links choices about legal narratives to genres of detective stories we’re all familiar with."

hat tip:  Linda H. Edwards


June 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

what they're doing on the law journals

A new article by Jason Nance and Dylan Steinberg provides some more information on The Law Review Article Selection Process:  Results from a National Study.  You can download the full text gratis from SSRN at:  And here's their abstract:

"The student-edited law review has been a much
criticized institution. Many commentators have expressed their
belief that students are unqualified to determine which articles
should be published in which journals, but these discussions have
been largely based on anecdotal evidence of how journals make
publication decisions. It was against that backdrop that we
undertook a national survey of law reviews in an attempt to
determine how student editors responsible for making publication
decisions went about their task. This article compiles the
results of that survey, which received 191 responses from 163
different journals. We analyzed 56 factors that influence the
selection process and then grouped similar items together to form
17 constructs using factor analysis. Finally, we disaggregated
the results to determine whether the results were significantly
different based on the prestige of the journals involved. While
many of our results confirm what has been widely assumed to be
true, there are also some surprising findings. We found, for
example, that Articles Editors seek to publish articles from
well-known and widely-respected authors. It appears, however,
that editors do not assume that prestigious authors produce the
best scholarship, but instead they pursue the work of well-known
authors because it can increase their journals' prestige within
the legal academic community. The survey reveals that editors are
not nearly as likely to seek out articles dealing with hot or
trendy topics as some commentators have assumed, and that author
diversity plays almost no role in the article selection process.
We hope that our study will provide some structure to the ongoing
debate about how best to use students in the law review
publication process and will allow a more informed consideration
of whether students are sufficiently well-trained to evaluate
articles and whether they are using the proper criteria."


June 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Arkansas considers treatment of all unpublished opinions as precedent, mandate Bluebook

The Arkansas Supreme Court is considering a proposal from its Civil Practice Committee to amend the court rule governing citation of judicial opinions. Under current rules, citation to unpublished opinions is prohibited. The new rule will treat all opinions by the Arkansas Supreme Court or the Arkansas Court of Appeals as precedential, regardless whether they are published. The proposal also would mandate citation according to the latest edition of the Bluebook. Comments regarding the proposal are invited no later than August 1, 2007; they should be addressed to Mr. Leslie W. Steen, Clerk, Supreme Court of Arkansas, Attn: Civil Procedure Rules, Justice Building, 625 Marshall
Street, Little Rock, AR 72201.

Hat tip: Jessie Wallace Burchfield


May 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

speakers needed for legislative drafting program

The National Conference of State Legislatures is seeking speakers--preferably law professors who teach legislative drafting or legislative research--for a professional development program for legislative staff, some of whom are lawyers. Contact Pamela Ray, by telephone: (505) 986-4637; or e-mail:


May 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

for Memorial Day

When it comes to the written word, In Flanders Fields is one of the pieces most associated with Memorial Day.  Clicking on the title of the poem in the previous sentence will bring you the full text and an interesting explanation of how it came to be written.


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