October 6, 2007
job opening at Maryland
The University of Maryland School of Law seeks applications for the contract-track position of Associate Director of Legal Writing, beginning in the summer of 2008. The Associate Director assists the Director in coordinating an integrated, two-semester program in Legal Analysis, Writing and Research (LAWR). The person hired will teach both the 3-credit LAWR I and a 2-credit doctrinal offering to a small section of approximately 24 students. The Associate Director also has primary responsibility for coordinating the second-semester LAWR course (persuasive writing and oral advocacy) and helping to hire, train, and supervise the adjunct faculty teaching this course.
For more information about the position, contact Prof. Susan Hankin. To apply, submit a resume, cover letter, and list of references to Professor Richard Boldt, Appointments Committee, University of Maryland School of Law, 500 W. Lombard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
writing and self-development
In the book "Self-Development and College Writing" (pp. 55-59), Nick Tingle writes about a craft-oriented approach to writing, in which the author is distinct from--separates self from--the text. However, professors teaching from that perspective (and I would suggest that most legal writing professors encourage such separation) deny their students' reality: that "writing becomes self-exploration as an attempt . . . to find his or her relationship to this new [academic] environment."
He goes on: "Student self-explore because they are asked to experience the act of writing in a different way." (Our 1-L's exactly!) As they learn about themselves and their beliefs in the act of writing, they also seek understanding through that written expression, only to get professorial comments about thesis development or lack of authority. This lack of acknowledgement of students' developmental growth may result in a "wounding [that] may account, in part at least, for the emotionality that instructors who employ a craft orientation may experience."
hat tip: Natalie Tarenko, Texas Tech University School of Law
October 3, 2007
Second Draft deadline reminder
The Spring 2008 issue of The Second Draft, the newsletter of the Legal Writing Institute will address Teaching to Different Learning Styles. If you would like to submit an essay, of about 650 words, on how to address the different learning styles of legal writing students, you should send it as an e-mail attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org. But first, please review the submission guidelines. The deadline is October 9, 2007.
hat tip: The Second Draft Editorial Board: Professors Julie Baker, Stephanie Hartung, Samantha Moppett, & Kathleen Elliott Vinson, all of Suffolk University Law School
welcome to ALWD's newest Board member
The Board of Directors of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) recently welcomed a new member, Professor Linda Berger of Thomas Jefferson Law School. Linda has been the editor-in-chief of J. ALWD since its inception. Her able guidance is largely responsible for the Journal's quick growth and success. She steps into a position held previously by Professor Jessica Elliott, who recently left law school teaching for undergraduate teaching.
hat tip: Professor Terri Pollman, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
October 2, 2007
(1) Michael (the boss, if you don't know the show) is concerned that the office is jinxed, but he's not letting it overwhelm him. He says, "I am not superstitious, but I am little stitious."
(2) Pam (the receptionist) walks in on Michael as he's changing into his running clothes. He's not fully dressed. Talking to a co-worker about the incident, she says, "The image of his dangling participle still burns in my eyes."
I am slightly stitious that I can never say the phrase "dangling participle" again in polite company.
Should District Court cases be published?
Professor Hillel Levin at Stanford University explores problems created by not publishing federal District Court cases, in Making the Law: Unpublication in the District Courts.
His abstract alone provides much food for thought:
"In recent years, scholars have engaged the issue of systematic unpublication of judicial opinions in the appellate courts and the problems its poses for judicial accountability and transparency. And not just scholars. Indeed, all elements of the legal profession have weighed in. Judges have issued dueling precedent on the constitutionality of unpublication and traded polemical statements on its appropriateness; and practitioners, whose voices often seem lost, or at least muted, on issues like this, are in the thick of the debate. The debate has even spurred a change in the rules of appellate procedure, albeit a relatively minor (though still highly contested) one.
"Unfortunately, amid all of this talk about unpublication on the appellate courts, the practice of unpublication in the district courts has gone essentially unnoticed.
"In this Article, I address the issue of unpublication in the district courts from a normative perspective for the first time.
"I draw from the rich parallel literature regarding appellate court publication practices, but argue that unpublication in the district court context raises an even broader set of concerns. My argument rests on two fundamental points. First, district courts play a unique institutional role in our system of adjudication, one that gives district judges exceptional power to make and shape the law. Indeed, from the perspective of a realist, district judges have even greater control over the law than do their appellate counterparts, and yet they often operate free from appellate oversight and public scrutiny. Second, in contrast to the appellate context, where even "unpublished" opinions are usually available for public review, in the district court context, "unpublished" opinions effectively disappear from the public's view. Thus, district courts, the central location of lawmaking in our system, are rendered opaque, and our district judges unaccountable.
"The consequences of this opacity and unaccountability are serious. From the perspective of the legal academic, unpublication erects serious epistemological barriers; we cannot accurately describe, let alone assess, the law as it really is.
"This, in turn, has led to an unduly formalistic and distorted account of the law and of the district courts for ourselves and our students. But the epistemological problems are not merely the concern of those of us who study and critique judicial behavior for a living; there is a deep and fundamental problem with a system that creates a body of law and norms that are unknowable to the people they govern. And, from a practical standpoint, unpublication by district courts deprives district and appellate judges, attorneys, and those who are governed by district courts, of information about the law, distorting its development. Worse, it potentially operates to disadvantage already marginalized groups and presents judges with the opportunity to manipulate the law in unprincipled ways."
Become up-to-date in Kansas City!
October 1, 2007
"He always hurries to the main event and whisks his audience into the middle of things as though they knew already."
- Horace (translated in C. Edward Good, Mightier Than the Sword 153 (1989)
September 30, 2007
job openings at Stetson and St. Thomas (Miami)
Florida's Stetson University College of Law seeks applicants for a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Skills to teach in its Legal Research and Writing program for one semester in Spring 2008. The visitor will teach one section of first-year Research and Writing and may be asked to teach on either the Gulfport or Tampa campus.For more information about this position, please e-mail or telephone Professor Kirsten K. Davis, Director of Legal Research and Writing (tel. 727-562-7877). To apply, send a cover letter, current curriculum vitae/resume with contact information for at least three professional references, and a writing sample to Professors Michael Allen and Timothy Kaye, Co-Chairs, Faculty Appointments Committee, Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled, but the first round of applications will be considered in early October.
St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida, is seeking applicants for a full-time contract-track position in Legal Writing as an Assistant Professor, beginning in August 2008. In addition to the usual credentials, applicants must be members of the Florida Bar (although a successful out-of-state applicant may obtain bar admission during the first year of employment).
To apply, send a cover letter, resume with three references, and a writing sample to St. Thomas University School of Law, Legal Writing Department, 16401 N.W. 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054. Candidates with prior teaching experiences should also send a sample of their teaching materials and copies of student evaluations.