June 7, 2008
Legal Skills Conference in Istanbul
The program for the Legal Skills Conference in Istanbul is now available. Click here for more information. The conference will be August 4-8, 2008.
a move & an opening
Professor Elizabeth Keith, the Assistant Director of the Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis Program at George Mason Law School, is moving to the Legal Rhetoric Program at American University Washington College of Law. It's hard to imagine two law schools with more different focus (focuses? foci?), so Elizabeth looks to be in for a big change.
Anyone interested in applying for the now open position of Assistant Director of the LRWA Program at George Mason, should refer to the school's job posting for position number FA811z.
hat tip: Professor Jennifer Hodge
from legal writing director to dean
June 6, 2008
Professor Stephanie Hartung (Suffolk Law School) has asked for news and calendar events to include in the next issue of The Second Draft, the newsletter of the Legal Writing Institute. This is an opportunity for legal writing professionals to spread the word about their publications, presentations, promotions, program improvements, upcoming conferences, etc. Forward your news to firstname.lastname@example.org before July 11, 2008.
AALS - Call for Papers (International Law Section)
The Association of American Law Schools Section on International Law has issued a call for papers for possible presentation at the 2009 annual meeting in San Diego. Click here for more information.
The International Law Section will also be sponsoring poster submissions.
2009 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
The schedule for the 2009 Jessup Moot Court Competition is now available. Click here for more information.
June 5, 2008
Don't throw out old editions of textbooks & teacher's manuals.
If you have any older editions or duplicates of law books taking up too much space on your bookshelf, consider donating them to APPEAL (Academics Promoting the Pedagogy of Effective Advocacy in Law). This organization is partnering with Boeing to collect and deliver books as donations to law schools in Africa. They have a relatively short window within which to have the books transported. If you have books to donate, send them to:
Law Books for Africa
c/o Professor Anne Enquist
Seattle University School of Law
901 12th Ave., Sullivan Hall
Seattle, WA 98122-1090
APPEAL promotes the exchange of ideas and resources about how to teach effective legal writing and advocacy among academics in the United States and Africa. The books you donate can focus on any area of the law; they do not have to be only legal writing books.
hat tip: Professor Michele Butts, Atlanta's John Marshall Law School
ordering a compromise
In a case pending in federal district court in Texas, the parties could not agree whether to take the deposition of a corporate Wal-Mart executive in Texas or in Arkansas. Senior United States District Judge James Nowlin ordered them, unless they could agree to do something different, to conduct the deposition on the federal courthouse steps in Texarkana, with the Texas plaintiff's counsel standing on the Texas side of the state line, and the Arkansas attorney and witness on the Arkansas side. (And for football fans, note that the judge's reasoning included references to old rivalries between the University of Texas and the University of Arkansas.) Reports of the decision are available here and here. And the order itself is here.
mark your calendar
Stetson University College of Law has announced that it will host the next Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference -- on September 11 and 12, 2009. Although it's over a year away, this is a conference worth marking on your calendar now. The law school campus is beautiful. The Stetson legal writing faculty and other law school personnel take excellent care of the conference attendees,. And legal writing colleagues from the Southeast U.S. and many other areas share a great deal of helpful information in a short period of time.
Marquette uses endowed chair for visiting legal writing professors
Dean Joseph Kearney has announced that in the fall semester of 2008 Marquette University Law School will begin hosting a series of distinguished legal writing professors, each of whom will serve as the Boden Visiting Professor of Law. The Boden Professorship is an endowed chair, and next year will be the first time that Boden visitors will teach in the area of legal writing. The first three legal writing professors to serve as Boden Visiting Professors of Law will be Robin Wellford Slocum (fall 2008), Michael Smith (fall 2009), and Mary Beth Beazley (fall 2010).
hat tip: Professor Alison Julien, Marquette University
June 4, 2008
LWI Silver Anniversary Celebration (2009-11)
The anniversary celebration will begin at the Golden Pen and Blackwell Award Ceremonies in San Diego on the evening of Friday, January 9, 2009, during the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools. That celebration is likely to take place from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. that evening (to allow people to stop in at the various law school receptions that will be starting at 6:30 p.m.). More details are sure to come on that -- just save the date for now as you make your AALS travel plans.
The silver anniversary celebration of the Legal Writing Institute will likely continue until April 3, 2011, which will mark the 25th Anniversary of when the Legal Writing Institute was incorporated in the State of Washington. Celebrating the anniversary for two years will help ensure that everyone has a chance to join in the festivities for this great organization, and to celebrate its achievements and contributions over the years.
My fellow LWI board members have entrusted me with organizing some of the events that will take place. The board would welcome your suggestions as to events that the LWI might undertake during this anniversary celebration. We want to celebrate the institute and its many accomplishments, including conferences, publications, and its profound influence on how the legal academy views the professional contributions of legal writing faculty. We also want to use the anniversary to promote the interests of its fantastic membership, and to set a strong course for the next 25 years (and beyond!).
We'll have more information on the anniversary celebration during the LWI Conference in Indianapolis, but please start thinking about activities that you would like to help organize to celebrate the LWI Silver Anniversary.
June 2, 2008
Congratulations to Steven Schwinn
Steven Schwinn, who teaches Lawyering Skills and Constitutional Law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has won a trade adjustment assistance case before the U.S. Court of International Trade. Click here to read more.
Penalties for Verbose Legal Writing
Here's a post that Sue Liemer shared on this blog back in 2005. It's still good . . . and be sure to click on the link to a copy of the 412-year-old judgment.
Everyone who teaches legal writing should know about the case of Mylward v. Weldon, decided on February 15, 1596. (No, that date is not a typo.) This is a famous English case in which the plaintiff submitted a document to the court that was "six score sheets of paper" long, "yet all the matter thereof which is pertinent might have been well contrived in sixteen sheets of paper."
The court's response to this unnecessary verbosity:
"[I]t is therefore ordered, that the Warden of the Fleet shall take the said Richard Mylward, alias Alexander, into his custody, and shall bring him into Westminster Hall, on Saturday next, about ten of the clock in the forenoon, and then and there shall cut a hole in the myddest of the same engrossed replication (which is delivered unto him for that purpose), and put the said Richard's head through the same hole, and let the same replication hang about his shoulders, with the written side outward; and then, the same so hanging, shall lead the same Richard, bare headed and bare faced, round about Westminster Hall, whilst the Courts are sitting, and shall shew him at the bar of every of the three Courts within the Hall, ...."
This is a good case to use to persuade legal writing students that judges do take brevity seriously, and they have done so for over four centuries. You can find the complete text in a facsimile by clicking here.
"Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking."
- Jessamyn West
June 1, 2008
Legal Writing Conference in Turkey
If you're going to the Legal Writing Conference in Istanbul this coming August, you might like it there so much that you will want to stay in Turkey. Here's a job posting for a new law school in Turkey that will open next year. They're looking to hire some professors in a variety of fields.