Saturday, April 5, 2008

recently published works of interest

Recent publications of note:

Robert F. Blomquist, Concurrence, Posner-Style: Ten Ways to Look at the Concurring Opinions of Judge Richard A. Posner, 71 Alb. L. Rev. 37 (2008).

Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Thinking like a Lawyer: The Heuristics of Case Synthesis, 40 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 1 (2007).

David Kessler, Justices in the Jury Box: Video Evidence and Summary Judgment in Scott v. Harris, 127 S. Ct. 1769 (2007), 31 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Policy 423 (2008).

Sarah E. Ricks, A Modest Proposal for Regulating Unpublished, Non-precedential Federal Appellate
Opinions While Courts and Litigants Adapt to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1
, 9 J. App. Prac. & Process 17 (2007).

Jeff Todd, Undead Precedent: The Curse of a Holding "Limited to Its Facts," 40 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 67 (2007).


April 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

great changes at John Marshall (Atlanta)

Michelle Butts of John Marshall (Atlanta) announces the following exciting developments: 

The JMLS faculty recently voted to put all Legal Skills faculty members onto the tenure-track.  Last week, the JMLS Board of Directors officially approved the status change.  Legal Skills professors now have all the rights and responsibilities of all other JMLS faculty members, including scholarship requirements and increased pay.  Prior to the vote, Legal Skills professors were afforded the ability to secure “405(c) status” long-term contracts.  Although Legal Skills faculty had the opportunity to vote in faculty meetings, Skills professors had no obligation to produce scholarship and received less pay than professors on the tenure-track.

For 75 years, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has been dedicated to providing a quality legal education to nontraditional or adult learners, and to other significantly underserved segments of Georgia citizenry.  Alumni of John Marshall now number slightly in excess of 2,000 members and many have served with distinction as members of the judiciary, public officials, government officials, and as members of the private bar serving the people of the State of Georgia. After receiving provisional ABA accreditation in 2004, JMLS is now working toward developing a national reputation as a major institution of legal education.


April 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Appellate Briefs - A Reader's Perspective

It's often difficult to put yourself in the reader's shoes, especially if been working for a while on only one side of a case.  That's one of the messages that Sorkin_2Professor David Sorkin of The John Marshall Law School (Chicago) includes in his article, Appellate Briefs - A Reader's Perspective.

Other tips from the article include quoting brief passages from the record where appropriate, being sure to state the precise relief you are seeking, and not assuming that a judge "will spend twice as much time reading a 50-page brief as a 25-page brief."  He also emphasizes using plain language ("Judges prefer plain language to legalese"), citing an article by Second Circuit Judge Roger Miner in the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review ("Pack the brief with lively arguments, using your own voice and style of expression.  We prefer briefs that are not pompous, dull, or bureaucratic.") 

The article also includes some useful advice on tone, and on remembering the court's role in adjudicating an appellate dispute.

Click on the link above to download a copy of the article, which appeared originally in the Illinois Bar Journal.


P.S. For those who are wondering (because of the other posting here today about the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta), The John Marshall Law School in Chicago is not related to the John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.  They are different schools.

April 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ideal vacation spot for legal writing profs

300pxsanserriffemap_2You've been grading papers, conducting conferences, organizing legions of judges for oral arguments. You need a vacation. And we have just the place for you . . . the islands of San Serriffe. Wikitravel has an excellent article devoted to all the wonders of this idyllic spot. The capital, Bodoni, is situated on the northern island of Upper Caisse, although many visitors prefer to spend hours lounging on the shores of Helvetic Bay on the southern island of Lower Caisse, or wandering the streets of the quaint village of Arial.



April 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 31, 2008

AALS Names New Executive Director

Susan_westerberg_pragerThe Association of American Law Schools announced today that its next Executive Director will be Susan Westerberg Prager, a former dean of the University of California at Los Angeles.  Her appointment will become effective in September.  She will succeed Carl Monk of Washburn University, who has served as AALS Executive Director for 16 years.

When she became Dean of UCLA in 1982, she was one of only two female law deans in the United States.  She held that position for 16 years, making it the longest tenure of any dean at UCLA.  She served as President of AALS in 1986.

Her bio on the UCLA website notes that she is widely regarded as a leader in national legal education issues and as an advocate for intellectual and racial diversity.  Congratulations to her, to Carl, and to the AALS.


March 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the rest of the ranked LRW programs

Usnews_badge_3 11 Indiana University--Indianapolis

12 Ohio State University (Moritz)

13 University of Denver (Sturm)

University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

15 University of Baltimore

Villanova University

17 Southern Illinois University--Carbondale 

18 Arizona State University (O'Connor)

Lewis and Clark College (Northwestern)

20 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey--Camden

University of Arkansas--Little Rock (Bowen)

22 Brigham Young University (Clark)

Nova Southeastern University (Broad)

University of Louisville (Brandeis)

25 Hofstra University

Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago-Kent)

Texas Tech University

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Washington University in St. Louis

30 Duquesne University

University of Detroit Mercy

Washburn University

33 Georgetown University

Marquette University

Suffolk University

36 Gonzaga University

South Texas College of Law

William Mitchell College of Law

39 American University (Washington)

Drake University

Emory University

St. John's University


March 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

legal writing software

Want to transform your ordinary writing into legal writing?  This software will help!!  It "helps you write any legal document with the correct terminology. By adding legal-based terminology, WhiteSmoke Legal writing version makes your writing more precise, persuasive and credible.  You will improve your legal writing skills rapidly.

Legal writing can be a very complicated task.  Making sure that any word is in its correct place, any terminology refers to the right meaning, every punctuation is right where it should be, is not simple at all."

"Every punctuation is right where it should be."  Yup.  That's a good start.

hat tip:  Karin Mika


March 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teach Law in Asia

Brady Coleman submitted this entry:

Beginning September 1, 2008, teach law at one of Asia's most elite graduate law schools, in Seoul, Korea. Expanding global campus in Seoul, Europe, China and the U.S. See Language of instruction (and all on - campus communication) English only; students mostly valedictorian or salutatorian law graduates from top Asian universities (in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, etc), all virtually fluent in English, obtaining their graduate (second) law degrees in international law (but more core American subjects needed); salary roughly equivalent to similar U.S. position; send resume & cover letter as attached documents by email to; four months paid holiday/ year; free housing and food provided near campus; no teaching experience required for this position; hiring initially for a one year visitor with possibility of renewal. Looking for energetic, ambitious, adventurous and personable lawyer or current law professor. Person hired will have flexibility in choosing subjects for instruction. New or fairly recent law graduates to be considered for this junior position. Job likely will require some travel both in Asia and globally.


March 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. News and World Report Rankings - The "Top 10" Legal Writing Programs

Usnews_badge_2 U.S. News and World Report lists a number of specialty areas in which faculty members who teach in that particular field list the "best" programs.  The fields include such ones as intellectual property law, international law, and legal writing.  We all recognize that there are problems with these law school rankings (in general and with the list of specialty programs), but we all also look to see who made the magazine's top ten list.  So, here's the list of schools ranked for Legal Writing.

1.  Mercer University (Macon, Georgia)

2.  Seattle University (Seattle, Washington)

3.  University of Nevada - Law Vegas (Boyd)

4.  Temple University (Beasley) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

5.  The John Marshall Law School (Chicago, Illinois)

6.  Stetson University (Gulfport, Florida)

7.  Boston College (Newton, Massachusetts)

8.  Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois)

9.  Brooklyn Law School (New York)

10.  University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon)

We'll have another post here with more of the rankings.


March 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)