Saturday, April 19, 2008

job opening at Idaho

The University of Idaho College of Law invites applications for the position of Legal Research and Writing Instructor for the 2008-09 academic year. The position is a one-year, full-time, contract position. The Legal Research and Writing course is a two-semester, five-credit, required first-year course. Three Legal Research and Writing Instructors are responsible for developing the course collaboratively.  In addition to shared responsibility for course development, each instructor is responsible for the direct instruction of a section of 35-37 students.  After an initial year of transition to the position, Instructors may teach a seminar that fits their interests and the needs of the institution.

Applicants must hold a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school or the equivalent.  Applicants should have a distinguished academic record and post-J.D. practice, clerking, or teaching experience, and they should demonstrate excellent legal research and writing abilities and the ability to work collaboratively with others. 

To apply, send a letter of application, a resume listing three references, and a writing sample to Elizabeth B. Brandt, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Idaho, College of Law, P.O. Box 442321, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2321, by April 22, 2008.

For more details on this and other current openings for legal writing positions, check the LWI website job posting page.


April 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

J. ALWD call for articles on best practices in persuasion

Jalwd_currentissues The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) invites submission of articles for its Fall 2009 Best Practices in Persuasion issue. The Journal encourages authors to submit articles addressing the "best practices" theme as well as articles on other topics that fit within the mission of the Journal.

The Journal's mission is to advance the study of professional legal writing and to become an active resource and a forum for conversation between the legal practitioner and the legal writing scholar. The Journal is dedicated to encouraging and publishing scholarship (1) focusing on the substance of legal writing; (2) grounded in legal doctrine, empirical research, or interdisciplinary theory; and (3) accessible and helpful to all "do-ers" of legal writing: attorneys, judges, law students, and legal academicians.

The Journal encourages submissions from law professors, practicing lawyers, and judges as well as from academics, researchers, and specialists in other disciplines. The final deadline for submission of articles for the Fall 2009 issue is September 15, 2008. Article selection will be completed by November 15, 2008. 

The Fall 2009 issue marks the beginning of annual print production of the Journal, thanks to the support of West, A Thomson Business, which prints the Journal, and ALWD, which supports distribution of the Journal by mail to some 3,200 practicing lawyers and judges; law school libraries, deans, and professors; and others interested in the field of legal writing. The Journal is available electronically on the ALWD website and from Westlaw, SSRN, HeinOnLine, and H.W. Wilson Company. J. ALWD has been published biennially since 2002; annual electronic publication began with the Fall 2007 issue (which will be distributed in hard copy as part of the Fall 2008 issue).

  • Topic ideas

For the Fall 2009 Best Practices in Persuasion issue, the Journal editors envision articles that explain and apply theories and research from the law and other disciplines to lawyers¹ practices of persuasion. So, for example, articles might be constructed around classical and contemporary rhetorical theory; metaphor, narrative, and archetype theories; psychological theory and research; cognitive science studies; learning theory and research; communications theory and research; social research; cultural anthropology; critical theory; or empirical research focusing on legal audiences.

The Journal also will select articles and practice notes for the Fall 2009 issue that do not specifically address the theme but fit within the mission of the Journal. The Fall 2009 issue will include the proceedings of the 2009 AALS Annual Section Program on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research.

Questions about potential articles are welcome and should be directed to

  • Submission of Articles

Submissions are due on or before September 15 of the calendar year before an upcoming issue. Most issues bring together "best practices" articles on a particular subject, but the editors welcome articles on any topic that falls within the mission of the Journal: to develop scholarship focusing on the substance and practice of professional legal writing and to make that scholarship accessible and helpful to practitioners as well as to legal academics. Without compromising analytical rigor and the necessary theoretical and research foundation, the Journal's goal is to publish articles that are readable and usable by the broader audience of professional legal writers. Journal editors are looking for clear, concrete, direct writing; strong, interesting, intelligent voices; and a style that uses the text for substance and the footnotes to provide support, sources, and references for additional study.

Potential authors may wish to consult articles published in past issues of the Journal as well as the more specific information for authors available at the ALWD website.

  • Exclusive submission

The Journal prefers exclusive submission of manuscripts. If an author has submitted the manuscript elsewhere or wishes to do so, the author should inform the Journal at the time of submission and notify the Journal immediately should the author accept another offer of publication.

  • Technical requirements

Manuscripts should be accompanied by (1) a cover letter summarizing the article and (2) the resume of the author, including telephone number and e-mail address. For major articles, the Journal will consider manuscripts from 30 to 50 typewritten pages (7,500 to 12,500 words). For practice notes, the Journal recommends manuscripts from 5 to 15 typewritten pages. All manuscripts should be prepared in Microsoft Word, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, 12-14 point font, and footnotes (not endnotes). Hard copies should be submitted on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, printed on one side only. Citation format should adhere to the current edition of the ALWD Citation Manual.

  • How to submit

Electronic submissions (via e-mail) are preferred, but authors may elect to mail hard copies to Professor Linda L. Berger, Chair, J. ALWD Editorial Committee, at one of the following addresses, depending on the date of submission:

(before July 1) Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 2121 San Diego Ave., San Diego, CA 92110

(July 1 and later) Mercer University School of Law, 1021 Georgia Ave., Macon, GA 31207

Authors will receive e-mailed acknowledgment of their submissions.


April 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Congratulations, Tom McDonnell!

Mcdonnell_thomasThomas McDonnell, Chair of the Criminal Law/Legal Writing Program at Pace Law School, was elected as a Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law (ASIL)Teaching International Law Interest Group (TILIG).  He replaces . . . me!   I served as a co-chair of TILIG for the past three years, and I am extremely pleased to see that Tom was elected as one of the new co-chairs.  He will certainly bring the interest group and its activities to a new level.  If you're a member of the ASIL, you can join TILIG for no additional charge -- just sign up on the website at  The American Society of International Law has members from around the world, and a brilliant annual meeting held each Spring in Washington D.C.  Interest groups carry on activities throughout the year, including a post-AALS TILIG meeting each year for law professors who teach international law or who are interested in doing so.

Tom, congratulations on becoming one of the co-chairs of this Interest Group!  Have a wonderful term!  He's joined in the new position by fellow Co-Chairs Professor Cindy Galway Buys of Southern Illinois University and Professor Rhee Sang-Myon of Korea.

Many legal writing professors have assumed important leadership roles in organizations not directly related to legal writing.   


April 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Congratulations, Richard Neumann and Sheila Simon!

Sheila_simonNeumann_richard Richard K. Neumann, Jr. (Hofstra University) and Sheila Simon (Southern Illinois University) are co-authors of a new legal writing book called, oddly enough, Legal Writing.  It is published by Aspen Publishers (part of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business).  It looks great.  The features in it that I didn't expect to see are short chapters (for example, chapters of only 6 or 8 pages) that I think many students will find quite easy to read (and re-read).

I got my copy in the mail yesterday, just before boarding a train from Chicago to Carbondale (so that I could do some more spying on Sue Liemer while she is on sabbatical!).  And now I have a copy signed not only by Sheila, but by her daughters Reilly and Brennan to whom Sheila dedicated the book.

The book is impressive, and I think that it will find many classroom adoptions in the coming year.  Congratulations again to Richard and Sheila.  Click here for more information.

Here's the table of contents:

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Writing and Professional Work

Part I: Legal Rules and Their Sources
Chapter 2. Inside a Rule of Law
Chapter 3. More About Rules (Including Where They Come From)
Chapter 4. Inside a Statute and Outlining One
Chapter 5. Inside a Case (a Judicial Opinion)
Chapter 6. Briefing a Case
Chapter 7. Policy and Why Courts Care About It
Chapter 8. Selecting the Most Appropriate Cases, Statutes, and Other Authority
Chapter 9. Working with Cases
Chapter 10. Working with Statutes

Part II: The Process of Writing
Chapter 11. Getting to Know Yourself as a Writer
Chapter 12. Inside the Process of Writing
Chapter 13. How Professional Writers Plan Their Writing

Part III: Office Memoranda
Chapter 14. Office Memorandum Format
Chapter 15. Predictive Writing in an Office Memorandum

Part IV: Organizing Analysis
Chapter 16. CREAC: A Formula for Organizing Proof of a Conclusion of Law
Chapter 17. Varying the Sequence and Depth of Rule Explanation and Rule Application
Chapter 18. Advanced CREAC: Organizing More Than One Issue
Chapter 19. Working with CREAC in First Drafts and in Later Drafts

Part V: Working Effectively with Details
Chapter 20. Organizing a Paragraph
Chapter 21. Writing an Effective Sentence
Chapter 22. Effective Style: Clarity, Vividness, and Conciseness
Chapter 23. Citing Authority
Chapter 24. Quoting Effectively

Part VI: The Shift to Persuasion
Chapter 25. What Persuades a Court?
Chapter 26. Writing a Motion Memorandum

Part VII: Telling the Client’s Story
Chapter 27. The Statement of the Case in a Motion Memo or Appellate Brief
Chapter 28. Developing a Persuasive Story
Chapter 29. Telling the Story Persuasively

Part VIII: Making the Client’s Arguments
Chapter 30. The Argument in a Motion Memo or Appellate Brief
Chapter 31. Point Headings and Subheadings

Part IX: Appellate Briefs and Oral Argument
Chapter 32. Appellate Practice
Chapter 33. Writing the Appellate Brief
Chapter 34. Making Policy Arguments
Chapter 35. Questions Presented
Chapter 36. Oral Argument

Appendix A Sample Office Memorandum
Appendix B Sample Motion Memorandum
Appendix C Sample Appellate Brief


April 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Congratulations, Mimi Samuel!

Samuel_mimi_2 Mimi Samuel of Seattle University has won the Bronson-Dillehay Award for Research, Scholarship, and Education in Procedural Justice.  She won the award for her forthcoming article in the Brooklyn Law Review, called "Focus on Batson: Let the Cameras Roll."   Congratulations, Mimi!

Hat tip to Laurel Oates.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

roundtable lunch planned for legal writing profs of color

Bill_chinlewisclark Faculty of color attending this summer's Legal Writing Institute conference in LoribannaiseattleIndianapolis, Indiana, are invited to attend a roundtable lunch on Tuesday, July 15, 2008. The goals of the roundtable are to build
community, to exchange ideas, and to start discussions about issues of common concern. Roundtable organizers Bill Chin (Lewis & Clark) and Lori Bannai (Seattle) ask that those interested pick up LWI-provided box lunches and meet from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in Room 245 of Inlow Hall, the law school building in which most of the conference sessions will be held.

Potential topics for discussion could include any of the following:

  1. strategies for increasing diversity among faculty who teach legal writing;
  2. whether potential barriers to increased diversity exist in recruitment/hiring processes;
  3. retention, pay, status, and related concerns;
  4. sharing ways to connect issues of race and race awareness to course content; or
  5. any other issues that folks wish to discuss.

Anyone interested in these issues is welcome to join the group. You are invited to spread the word to others who may be interested. Let Bill or Lori know if you are interested in coming or if you have suggestions for discussion topics.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

University of Denver revamps upper-level writing program

The faculty of the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law have voted to accept the recommendations of consultants and professors Ralph Brill of Chicago-Kent and Karin Mika of Cleveland-Marshall to not only revise its upper-level writing (ULW) curriculum, but also to move to a different faculty model. The revamped program will feature the following:

  • A requirement that all law students take a three-credit advanced writing course in the second year, based on the skills model currently being used in the Upper Level Writing course, with the courses to offer a variety of skills experiences, including non-litigation skills.
  • A requirement that the proposed ULW course be taught exclusively by ULW faculty trained to teach legal writing, who shall receive long-term contracts with governance rights commensurate with existing ULW faculty. 
  • A commitment to undertake the gradual transformation of the Upper Level Writing faculty positions into tenure-track positions (tenured in the writing program with full faculty governance rights), subject to the faculty's approval of the terms and description of the tenure track position and, where required, by the University.

Congratulations to the University of Denver for approving this forward-thinking proposal!

hat tip: Timothy Hurley, Director, ULW Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law


P.S.  Karen Mika wanted to acknowledge also the contributions of former director K.K. DuVivier and Associate Dean Jay Brown.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

more on and/or

A few days ago, we posted links to a couple of judicial opinions addressing the ambiguities Trashcan_2 created by the "and/or" conjunction. For the writing expert's take on the topic (and you can discern his position from the title), read Joe Kimble's article in the Michigan Bar Journal, To the Trashcan with And/Or.

hat tip: Scott A. Meyer


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

opening for visitor at Denver

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law invites applications for a one-year visitor teaching position in its first-year legal research and writing program, known as Lawyering Process, to begin in the 2008-2009 academic year. The opening is classified as visiting lecturer position. Lawyering Process is a required first-year, 2-semester, 6-credit course that utilizes small classes to teach legal writing, research and analytical skills, document drafting, and professional practice skills.

Applicants must have a law degree as well as a strong academic record, an interest in teaching, excellent legal research, analysis, reasoning, and written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. A minimum of 2 years of legal practice experience is preferred.  For more information or to apply for a posted position, visit the University of Denver's job website. Send questions about the position or submit your application, including a resume with the names of three references, by May 15, 2008, to Nancy Ehrenreich, Chair, Lawyering Process Appointments Subcommittee, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 E. Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80208, 303-871-6256.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More than 80,000 visits to the Legal Writing Prof Blog

A short time ago the Legal Writing Prof Blog had its 80,000th visit.  Wow.  Watch out, Tax Prof Blog!  (And happy 4th year anniversary to you as well from the Legal Writing Prof Blog!)


April 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

list of Plain Language columns

Kimble_joe_2 From Joe Kimble of Thomas Cooley:

Here's a list of almost 25 years' worth of Plain Language columns in the Michigan Bar Journal.
Most of the more recent ones have links to the articles.
Thanks, Joe!!

April 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One of my favorite diversions from grading . . .


One of my favorite diversions from grading is an Internet game called the Traveller IQ Challenge.  In the game, you have to locate countries, capitals, cities, famous monuments, and other such things around the world.  You can pick the whole world or just a part of it (North America, or Africa for example).  You can also try the game where you identify the flags of various countries.  I first learned of the site from an article in the Wall Street Journal, describing the site as a favorite of many lawyers.  There are different levels, each progressively more difficult. 

Years ago, the subject matter of a post like this would not have been relevant to legal writing.  But our profession has matured to a level where we now hold conferences in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia (the conference in Istanbul counts for both Europe and Asia!).  With all of these conferences around the world, an increased knowledge of geography might also help make you a better legal writing teacher!

In the meantime . . . it IS a good distraction from grading (not as if there is any shortage of such distractions -- such as blogging, or writing haikus).


April 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 14, 2008

a symbol for sharing

Legal writing professors are among the most generous of educators, freely sharing their ideas, opinions, and teaching materials via their organizations' listservs and the Legal Writing Institute's IdeaBank.

From one of our podium brethen comes another idea for indicating one's willingness to share materials, the "konomark." According to Professor Eric Johnson at Prawfsblawg, the konomark (pictured above, a graphic pineapple in a circle) is a symbol one can add to one's web site or blog to indicate to others that to borrow materials posted there, all they need do is e-mail and ask permission.


April 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do You Subscribe to Perspectives?

Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing is now in its 16th edition.  It is published and mailed for free by West Publishing ("as a service to the Legal Community," as it says on the front cover).  It is a great resource for those of us who teach legal research and writing. 

You can get a free subscription by writing to West, P.O. Box 64833, St. Paul, MN 55164-9777 (attn A. Laughlin, D5-S238). 

You may find it easier to view the pdf at

Past issues -- going back to volume 1 -- are searchable on Westlaw in the Perspectives Database (PERSPEC) and in the LEGNEWSL, TP-ALL, and LAWPRAC databases.

Hotchkiss The editor is Mary Hotchkiss of the University of Washington School of Law and the Information School in Seattle Washington.  On her editorial board are Barbara Bintliff (University of Colorado), Elizabeth Edinger (Catholic University of America Law Library), Penny Hazelton (University of Washington Law Library), Judith Meadows (State Law Library of Montana), Kathryn Mercer (Case Western Reserve University School of Law), Helene Shapo (Northwestern), Craig Smith (Vanderbilt), and Kay Todd (Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, Atlanta, Georgia).


April 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Are You a Member of the Legal Writing Institute?

We don't assume that everyone who visits this Blog is a member of the Legal Writing Institute, but since membership in the LWI is free, there is no reason not to join.  (And a reminder to faculty teaching legal research, reasoning, and writing -- be sure that new legal writing faculty at your school join the LWI.)

Here's a description of the LWI (from the LWI website), in case the organization is unfamiliar to you:

The Legal Writing Institute is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1984 by the University of Puget Sound School of Law – now Seattle University School of Law. The Institute’s purpose is to exchange ideas about legal writing and to provide a forum for research and scholarship about legal writing and legal analysis. The Institute is currently housed at Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia.

The Institute promotes new activities through a newsletter, published twice a year; a scholarly journal, published about once a year; and a national conference that has been held every other year since 1984.

The Institute has close to 2000 members representing all the ABA-accredited law schools in the United States. The Institute also has members from other countries, as well as from English departments, independent research-and-consulting organizations, and the practicing bar. Anyone who is interested in legal writing or the teaching of legal writing may join the Institute.

Membership is free. To join, click on the membership link.

For information about the LWI Conference, click here.


April 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Blog for Clinicians

Hey, there's a new blog for clinicians.  Have a look.

Hat tip to Ruth Anne Robbins


April 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Should We Involve Students When Drafting a Statement of Facts for a Memorandum Problem?

Mika_karin_3 Karin Mika at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Ohio has an interesting essay on the subject of Developing Internal Consistency in Writing Assignments by Involving Students in Problem Drafting.  It appeared in the Winter 2008 issue of Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing.

In her essay, Karin describes a new teaching strategy in which she divided students into groups and assigned them a fact-specific issue statement, such as whether a public utility should be liable for negligence when a child is injured after climbing up a utility pole by means of a ladder left out by a utility company worker who was planning to return to the site the following day.

What was the result of her experiment with this new teaching strategy?  I don't want to spoil the surprise for you, so click on the link to get a copy of the article (or dig out your winter issue of Perspectives!).  Her observations may well change how you handle your next memorandum assignment.


April 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

David Thomson, Legal Writing Director . . . and Photographer!

Thomson_david_2 Dave Thomson, recently appointed as director of the writing program at the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, is a photographer of some quite beautiful outdoor scenes (and some indoor scenes, too from London).  Click here to see some of his photos.


April 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Indianapolis -- Advice for New (and Experienced) Panel Chairs

Tracy_mcgaugh The Chronicle of Higher Education has some advice for panel chairs.  Tracy McGaugh suggests that it might be a good article for those who will be chairing panels for the first time in Indianapolis.  I think that the article has some good advice even for the most experienced panel chairs.  Click here for the article.   

Hat tip to Tracy McGaugh


April 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

contraction reaction

10oclock What's What is your take on the use of contractions in formal writing? The California Blog of Appeal wants to know. And if you disapprove in general, would you react badly to a brief that referred to an event occurring "at ten o'clock"?


April 13, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)