Tuesday, July 8, 2008
This post continues the preview of sessions at the upcoming Legal Writing Institute summer conference in Indianapolis. We're almost done! The third session on Thursday, July 17, 2008 (the last day of the conference) will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Mary Garvey Algero (Professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, pictured here on the left) and Robin Wellford Slocum (Professor and Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California) present a panel called Beyond PowerPoint and Movie Clips: How to Reach Your Full Potential as a Teacher. Research shows that the most effective teachers are those who bring their personal identities into the classroom, and who can show a connectedness between themselves, their students, and their subject. Although technology and innovative teaching techniques can enhance effective teaching, they are not the most important ingredients. What is the secret? Come to this presentation to find out.
J. Christopher Rideout (Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program at Seattle University School of Law) will discuss the question "Doe Voice Exist in Legal Writing?" Drawing upon recent work in academic literacies, he'll offer a framework for answering the complex question of whether a legal writer can have a voice. The presentation will also pose some possibilities for the legal writing classroom. Chris was a Co-founder of the Legal Writing Institute, and he chaired its board of directors for several years. He also has been editor-in-chief of the journal Legal Writing and serves on its editorial board.
Obviously I'm not biased . . . but here is a fantastic presentation with three superstars of the legal writing community. Professors Julie Spanbauer (pictured here on the left), Sonia Bychkov Green, and Maureen Straub Kordesh, all of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, will make a presentation on Incorporating Learning Theory and Student Expectations in Problem Design for a First-Year Writing Course. As professors we often fail to appreciate how students struggle to understand published cases. Published cases were never intended to be teaching and learning tools -- rather, they are documents written by experts to resolve legal disputes. This panel will present teaching and learning theory, samples of classroom techniques, and student surveys addressing how the real world of the law can be effectively incorporated into a first-year legal research and writing classroom.
Sue Payne (Clinical Assistant Professor in the Communication and Legal Reasoning Program at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago) will discuss how to Teach Basic Contract Drafting to First Year Law Students in Four Hours or Less. Now her presentation won't be four hours, but in the time she does have she'll demonstrate how to introduce basic contract drafting concepts to student teams through interactive lectures and simulated interviews with clients and opposing counsel, guide teams through the process of drafting a basic contract, and conduct a spirited, in-class critique of student drafts.
Thomas D. Cobb (pictured here on the left), Sarah Farley Kaltsounis, and Theodore Myrhe (pictured here on the right) are each lecturers at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, and that they are co-presenters on Re-imagining Collaborative Learning: New Techniques and Possibilities. They will discuss how web-based social networking and collaborative drafting software have opened up new possibilities for collaborative learning in law school classes. This interactive panel/workshop will survey new collaborative technologies, discussion how they have been used, and invite audience members to collaborate on further innovative applications.
And finally for this session, Nancy Soonpaa (Director of the Legal Practice Program and Professor at Texas Tech, and one of the editors of this legal writing prof blog), will discuss the topic of Creating an Effective Syllabus. Nancy's thought is that drafting an effective syllabus is part of designing an effective course. A syllabus establishes expectations and defines relationships in the learning environment. Its presentation, tone, and content require thoughtful attention as part of course development.
She'll be followed by Grace J. Wigal (Lecturer and Director of Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy at West Virginia University College of Law in Morgantown, West Virginia). Her topic is Teaching Professionalism and Efficient Document Production With an Exercise in Timekeeping. She'll explain an exercise that she conducted at WVU to teach students valuable lessons on how they spend billable time while teaching them valuable ethics lessons about professionalism, billing ethics, and their own research and writing skills.