Saturday, August 11, 2007

literature as legal authority

A recently published student article examines courts' use of literary references in judicial opinions. Those who use Wyoming Prof. Michael Smith's text, Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing, and others interested in the persuasive/rhetorical/legal effect of literary references may wish to take a look. Here's the citation:

John M. DeStefano III, Student Author, On Literature as Legal Authority, 49 Ariz. L. Rev. 521 (2007).


August 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Friday, August 10, 2007

1L survival tips

The ABA has issued a pamphlet for incoming law students, entitled How to Survive the First Year of Law School, by William D. Henslee.  Admissions offices at ABA accredited law schools currently are receiving boxes of these pamphlets to hand out during orientations.  Here's what it says about LRW:

"Legal writing is the one skill that you will use throughout your entire career.  You must develop an effective legal writing style while you are in law school so that you can impress your employers.  Research is the key to effective outlining and writing.  Thorough research will help you avoid committing malpractice.  Incorporating your research into a well-written legal document will win cases.  Your research and writing classes are possibly the most important classes you will take in law school."

As most lawyers can attest, the ABA has hit the mark here.

So -- why doesn't the ABA require law schools to hire legal research and writing professors with the same terms of employment as other law professors?  Why does the ABA allow employment in the pink ghetto to remain the status quo for those who teach these crucial courses?


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

Congratulations, Melody Daily!

Dailym Congratulations are in order for Professor Melody Daily at the University of Missouri - Columbia, who has been selected to receive the Missouri Bar Foundation's Spurgeon Smithson Award for this year.  She will receive the award officially this September at the Annual Meeting of the Missouri Bar.

According to the Missouri Bar's website:

"The Spurgeon Smithson Awards
were established in 1976 by bequest of the late Mr. Smithson, an outstanding Kansas City lawyer. The awards are made annually by the Missouri Bar Foundation to Missouri judges, teachers of law and/or lawyers deemed 'to have rendered outstanding service toward the increase and diffusion of justice among [all people].'"

hat tip:  Professor John Mollenkamp, Cornell Law School


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

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

job opening in Arizona for fall 2008

Professor Judy Stinson sends word of this announcement:

"The Arizona State University College of Law invites applications for the position of Associate Clinical Professor of Law for the 2008-2009 academic year.  Responsibilities include teaching in the legal research and writing program.   Applicants must have a J.D., evidence of a strong academic record, and experience that demonstrates a potential for excellence in teaching legal research and writing.  Law practice experience and experience teaching legal research and writing desirable.  Salary competitive. 

"Please submit resume with names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two references to:  Jan Spence, Coordinator for Appointments Committee, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law,  Arizona State University, 1100 S. McAllister Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287-7906, or electronically to:  A background check will be performed prior to an offer of employment.  Application deadline is October 1, 2007; if not filled, the 1st of each month thereafter until search is closed. 

"ASU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

"1. The position advertised:
_X_ a. is a tenure-track appointment.
__ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
__ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

"2. The professor hired:
_X_ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. (on all matters except faculty hires and promotions)
__ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

"3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or
teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)
__ a. $90,000 or more
__ b. $80,000 to $89,999
__ c. $70,000 to $79,999
_X_ d. $60,000 to $69,999
_X_ e. $50,000 to $59,999
__ f. $40,000 to $49,999
__ g. $30,000 to $39,999
__ h. this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__ I. this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research and writing professor will be:
__ a. 30 or fewer
__ b. 31 - 35
_X_ c. 36 - 40
__ d. 41 - 45
__ e. 46 - 50
__ f. 51 - 55
__ g. 56 - 60
__ h. more than 60


August 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Scribes luncheon at ABA annual meeting

If you will be at the ABA's annual meeting this week in San Francisco, don't forget the Scribes annual luncheon is Saturday at noon.  To be included in the head count, please contact Professor Joe Kimble at  If you are not a member of Scribes but will be at the ABA meeting and have an interest in legal writing, please consider joining.  Membership requires two published articles on legal topics or two published judicial decisions, a filled-out membership form, and payment of the membership fee.  Joe Kimble can answer membership questions, too.

August 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

a lo-o-o-o-ng brief

A court's comment about an excessively long brief:  " . . . [I]n recent years we have witnessed great technological advances in the methods of reproduction of the written word. Too often this progress is merely viewed as a license to substitute volume for logic in an apparent attempt to overwhelm the courts, as though quantity, and not quality, was the virtue to be extolled. As we noted many years ago, for obvious reasons this problem never arose when ‘every lawyer wrote his points with a pen’ [citation omitted].  Hopefully, the solution to this problem will not require that we return to that system, ignoring decades of technological advances."  See Slater v. Gallman, 38 N.Y.2d 1, 339 N.E.2d 863, 377 N.Y.S.2d 448 (1975)(assessing costs against the appellant for his 284-page long brief).

As the court had noted,  "His argument wanders aimlessly through myriad irrelevant matters of administrative and constitutional law, pausing only briefly to discuss the issues raised by this appeal."  An accompanying footnote catalogs "statement of questions presented, 16 pages; statement of the nature of the case and facts, 50 pages;  . . . reproduction of statutes, 40 pages; table of contents, 14 pages; table of authorities, 11 pages; legal argument on the merits, 126 pages; and a purported explanation as to length of his brief, 4 pages. . . ."  Id. at 4, 339 N.E.2d at 864, 377 N.Y.S.2d at 450.

This might be a useful case to use as an admonition when students excessively cut and paste on their first drafts or when they argue that thoroughness demands excessive length.


August 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)