Friday, December 14, 2007

reluctant readers . . .

The current newsletter from Killian Advertising has a piece entitled, "The Post-Literate Era:  Planning Around Short Attention Spans."  While somewhat depressing, it does make some good points about making text palatable to reluctant readers.
hat tip:  Gail S. Stephenson, Director of Legal Analysis & Writing and Assistant Professor of Law, Southern University Law Center


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

Lincoln, the legal writer

If you will be in New York City at 6 p.m. on January 3, 2008, note that Scribes -- The American Society of Legal Writers is co-sponsoring a free program, open to the public, on what's now known about Abraham Lincoln as a legal writer.  The speakers and their topics will be:

Harold Holzer, co-chair of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, giving opening remarks;

John Lupton, associate director, The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, speaking on Lincoln's Mastery of Language in the Practice of Law;

Roger Billings, professor at Northern Kentucky University, Chase College of Law, speaking on Lincoln's Correspondence -- the Art of Dealing with Clients; and

Mark Steiner, professor at South Texas College of Law & author of An Honest Calling:  The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, providing commentary on all of the above.

The program takes place at the headquarters of the New York City Bar, 42 West 44th Street.


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

Thursday, December 13, 2007


"I've never read a brief that I couldn't put down in the middle.  It is not the best part of the job."

- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, ABA Journal, May 1997


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

Wayne Schiess listed in ABA's top 100 blawgs

Wayne_schiess Congratulations to University of Texas Prof. Wayne Schiess, whose eponymous blog has just been named to the ABA Journal's "Blawg 100." Wayne's most recent posts quiz readers about topics in legal writing; do you know the answers? Some may surprise you.

Archives allow readers to access posts going back to March 2005. One of my recent favorites was a post giving advice about choosing topics to put into paragraph topic sentences, a challenging proposition for many of our students.

Here's to Wayne for a well deserved honor!


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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

plan to attend writing awards at AALS

Gold_pen If you are attending the AALS meeting in New York, mark your calendar for a special ceremony on Thursday, January 3, 2008, as two of legal writing's most prestigious awards will be conferred on their recipients. The Golden Pen Award will be presented to Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert, Senior Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; and the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award will be presented to Diana V. Pratt, Director of Legal Writing at Wayne State University Law School from 1981 until 2007. The ceremony, set to begin at 6:30 p.m., will be held at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, Empire Ballroom East, 2nd Floor, 811 7th Avenue at 53rd Street with a reception following.

hat tip: Julie Spanbauer


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

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Wayback Machine

If the title of this post made you think of Rocky and Bullwinkle, congratulations, you've just dated yourself as a baby boomer.  The more current iteration of the Wayback Machine is at the Internet Archives, where you can find that website that you just know used to be there but no longer seems available on-line.  These archives can be particularly helpful for finding information posted by a previous administration's government agencies.

hat tip:  Professor Candle Wester-Mittan, Southern Illinois University



December 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

teach legal writing in the Big Apple

The following job announcement arrived from St. John's University:

C2223071738b4147a718cba37ef9efa9"St. John’s University School of Law has a full-time position available for an Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, which will commence in August 2008.

"JOB DESCRIPTION:  Starting Assistant Professors of Legal Writing are afforded renewable one-year contracts for three years, to be voted upon by the Faculty Council and Dean. Upon successful peer and student evaluations, as well as any other pertinent considerations (scholarship and service are considered but not required), a three-year renewable contract may be offered by the Faculty Council and the Dean. Upon completion of a three-year contract, a Legal Writing Professor may be eligible for a renewable seven-year contract.  The school anticipates that the starting annual academic year base salary for the position will be in the range of $75,000 to $80,000.

"In the Fall, writing professors teach Legal Writing, a two-credit course. The responsibilities of the writing professors include creating and critiquing writing assignments emphasizing case law analysis, statutory interpretation, and basic writing skills.  In the Spring, writing professors teach Legal Research and Writing, a two-credit course. The responsibilities include teaching legal research, memoranda writing, appellate brief writing, and oral argument.  Summer research stipends may be available as well as some conference travel or other professional development funds.

"JOB QUALIFICATIONS:  St. John’s seeks individuals with strong interest and competencies in teaching legal research and writing. Candidates should have excellent academic records (including a J.D. or its equivalent). Teaching experience, scholarship, and practice experience as a lawyer would be viewed favorably.

"APPLICATION PROCEDURE:  Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, the names of three references, writing sample and teaching evaluations (if available) on or before December 22, 2007 to:

Robert A. Ruescher
Coordinator, Legal Writing Program
St. John’s University School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439

"St. John’s University School of Law is part of St. John's University, a Catholic and Vincentian institution of higher education committed to academic excellence and the pursuit of wisdom and truth. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, St. John’s encourages applications from women and minorities. The University is located in the New York metropolitan area and is accessible by highways and public transportation to NYC.

"1. The position advertised
__ a. is tenure-track.
_x_ b. can lead to long-term contracts.
__ c. has neither of these forms of job security.

"2. The person hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
_x_ a. true
__ b. not true

"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.)
_x_ a. $80,000 or more
_x_ b. $70,000 to $79,999
__ c. $60,000 to $69,999
__ d. $50,000 to $59,999
__ e. $40,000 to $49,999
__ f. $30,000 to $39,999
__ g. less than $30,000

"4. The person hired will teach legal writing, each semester, to the total number of students in the range checked below:
__ a. less than 30
_x_ b. 30 to 44
__ c. 45 to 59
__ d. more than 59


December 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)