Thursday, June 14, 2007

creative teaching ideas

If you're interested in creative teaching ideas, here's a website that includes teaching using Star Trek and Star Wars and examples of humorously stated grammar rules.


June 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

new website for LWI journal

The Legal Writing Institute announces creation of a new website for the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, temporarily located at until a permanent domain is established.

The current issue is up on the site. All coming articles will be published both online at the website and in print. Past articles will also be available on the site, searchable by key word.

Site developers Jim Levy, Kristin Gerdy, and Brooke Bowman invite your comments and suggestions for the website.

Hat tip: Jim Levy


June 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Phoenix provisionally approved

News from the Southwest: Phoenix School of Law received provisional approval from the ABA effective June 8, 2007.

Hat tip: Penny Willrich


June 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

new courage award

The Legal Writing Institute's Awards Committee has announced a call for nominations for a brand new award established by Professor Terri LeClercq, the LeClercq Courage Award, which will be presented during the Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference in July, 2008.  Any member of the Legal Writing Institute may nominate someone for the award. Submit your nominations directly to Julie Spanbauer at on or before July 1, 2007. 

Images Professor LeClercq retired in 2006 from her position as a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Texas at Austin after a distinguished career in language and the law.  She holds a Ph.D. in English and taught students at the University and at the Law School for nearly two decades.  Terri is the author of Guide to Legal Writing Style and Expert Legal Writing, two of the first reference books specifically for legal writing. Her expertise in language and the law has made her a sought-after expert witness in language interpretation for statutes and contracts.  But it is Terri's daring spirit that led her to create LWI's Courage Award. Whether deciding to leave the English Department 23 years ago and teach in a law faculty, or standing up for colleagues fighting battles against their school's hierarchies, or being arrested for peacefully protesting foreign military officer education at Ft. Benning's School of the Americas, Terri's words and deeds embody the courage that this award seeks to foster.

Nominees must be members of the Legal Writing Institute who have demonstrated an act of courage by doing something, despite fear, that most people could not or would not do. Ordinarily, one person will be selected for this award per year except in situations in which several people are responsible for a specific act of courage.

Courage for the purposes of this award might be demonstrated in the following ways:

Personal Courage: The recipient might have done something extraordinary that reflects a commitment to the profession. A professor who overcame great adversity to teach legal writing or who overcame such adversity while continuing to teach legal writing would exemplify personal courage.

Moral Courage: The recipient might have stood up to authority for a principled reason and despite personal or professional risk of ostracism or other negative consequences. Another example of moral courage might include a professor who stood up to a major publisher in order to get a new type of text published.

Civil Courage: The recipient might have done something for the world at large despite personal adversity or other circumstances that required courage as defined above. For example, a recipient may have worked in a developing or emerging nation.

These examples are not intended to be exhaustive; the LWI Awards Committee welcomes diverse examples and definitions of courage.

hat tip:  Prof. Julie M. Spanbauer


June 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

reminder re deadline for proposals for 2008 LWI conference

Still thinking about submitting a proposal?  The deadline is June 15--that's this Friday!!  For more information, please go to either the LWI website or the Indianapolis law schoolwebsite. Those are or .


June 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 11, 2007

banner year at Suffolk

Suffolk's Legal Practice Skills Program and writing faculty achieved many notable changes in the last year, including improvements to curriculum (increase in credit hours, addition of upper-level courses, reduction of student/teacher ratio) and status upgrades to writing faculty (increase in length of long-term contracts, salary raises, additional position, new furniture). On top of all that, they received an award from the University recognizing outstanding service and achievements. Congratulations, and let's hope this is a contagious development!

hat tip: Kathy Vinson


June 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Institute for Law School Teaching conference, part two

Saturday's sessions included my presentation on syllabus construction, focusing on tone and pedagogical impact of syllabus design.  The next morning session offered a discussion of learning style theory and its application to legal education; panelists were Debra Cohen, Southern New England; Janice Kosel, Golden Gate; and Eric DeGroff, Regent.  Sophie Sparrow, Franklin Pierce, led off the afternoon sessions with a presentation on building a positive classroom environment, including how to create a comfortable learning environment for active learning techniques such as group exercises and role play.  After a long and collegial break for ice cream, the day concluded with a discussion of ideas to take home from the conference and a hearty thanks to Gail Hammer, Eric Lustig, and Barb Glesner Fines for their hard work in putting together the conference and to Suffolk University School of Law for hosting the event.


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

Institute for Law School Teaching conference, part one

Gonzaga's Institute for Law School Teaching has just concluded its 13th annual conference on teaching and learning. 

Friday's talks included Justine Dunlap, Southern New England, who spoke about incorporating humanizing principles into law school teaching.  David Thomson, Denver, and Syd Beckman, Charleston, talked about using responder units ("clickers') in the classroom to increase student engagement.  Margaret Kantlehner and Catherine Dunham, both of Elon, discussed self-handicapping and the use of preceptors (practicing attorneys who act in a trained mentoring role) to counteract the dehumanizing effects of the first year of law school.  Patricia Broussard, Florida A & M; Bonny Tavares, Temple; Jose Gabilondo, Florida International; and Kirsten Dauphinais, North Dakota;  capped off Friday with a panel on equity pedagogy--creating a relevant curriculum and respectful learning environment for the diverse students in our classrooms.


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