Saturday, June 14, 2008

writing resources for international students

Hotchkiss An excellent list of resources for international law students is A Sampling of Legal Writing and Research Texts for International Students, by Mary Hotchkiss at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle.  You can find it by clicking here, opening the full document, and going to the last page of the document.

hat tip:  Professor and blog co-author Mark Wojcik


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

future accreditation standards for law schools

Aba_2The ABA has been considering revising its law school accreditation standards, which have evolved into a bit of a hodge podge over the years.  Committees have now issued reports on three separate topics:

Outcome Measures
Security of Position

Click on the titles above to access each report in full.  The report on Security of Position should be of particular interest to any law professor with a non-tenure-line appointment, which of course includes most legal writing professors.

hat tip:  Professor Ruth Anne Robbins


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

Happy Flag Day!

0614betsy You can read about the history of the United States flag, including relevant laws, at The Library of Congress's website.  Once there, click on the link for "June 14, 1777."  Then click on the link for the actual "Page image."  (Those URLs are too long to imbed here.)  You'll be smack dab in the middle of the Journals of Congress from June 14, 1777, where you can read Congress's original reference to the U.S. flag.  Clicking around the next few pages will provide some context, with references to John Paul Jones and the difficulty of getting salt to New Yorkers when all their ports were under British control.


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

Rutgers job opening for 2009

The information below comes from Professor Sarah Ricks:

Rutgers School of Law - Camden is conducting a national search to fill a 405(c) clinical professor position in our Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program (LAWR).

Each LAWR clinical professor teaches approximately 40 first-year students in a two-semester, graded, four credit hour course.  The professor will also teach an additional course each year.  There is considerable flexibility in choosing the other course offering.  The first year LAWR program covers legal research, analysis, writing, and oral advocacy skills.  The professor, with the assistance of
approximately four teaching assistants, is responsible for classroom instruction, regular office hours, periodic conferencing, and review, critique, and evaluation of student work. Our program is a collegial
model with a rotating department chair.  The current faculty consult about course content but have full academic freedom to design and conduct their own classes. We participate in a scholarship workshop with other lawyering faculty.

Successful candidates may be hired at the clinical assistant, clinical associate, or clinical professor level as of July 1, 2009, or as early as January 2009, depending upon availability. Three or five year
contracts are available. Clinical professors can vote on all matters other than tenure hiring/promotions; their own promotions; and promotions to positions for contracts of longer length or titles higher than their own. They serve on faculty committees and have travel/research budgets.

The ideal candidate will have a law degree from an accredited law school, excellent written and oral skills, legal practice experience, and recent legal research and writing teaching experience. Rutgers
University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, national or ethnic origin, race or color, religion, sex or sexual orientation.  As the
state university of New Jersey, Rutgers offers significant benefits packages.

The application deadline is August 1, 2008.  Selected applicants will be invited to campus for presentations to the faculty. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, three references who can comment on teaching or conferencing and writing ability, a writing sample, and samples of teaching materials, if any.  Applications should be sent to:

Sarah E. Ricks
Clinical Associate Professor
Chair, Clinical Appointments Committee
Rutgers School of Law - Camden
217 N. Fifth Street
Camden, NJ 08102

1. The position advertised:
__ a. is a tenure-track appointment.
_X_ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
__ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

The track for the position complies with ABA Standard 405(c) and the usual sequence is two three-year contracts followed by a five-year contract.

2. The professor hired:
_X_ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
__ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

Clinical professors can vote on all matters other than tenure hiring/promotions; their own promotions; and promotions to positions for contracts of longer length or titles higher than their own. They serve
on faculty committees.

3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)
__ a. $90,000 or more
__ b. $80,000 to $89,999
_X_ c. $70,000 to $79,999
__ d. $60,000 to $69,999
__ e. $50,000 to $59,999
__ f. $40,000 to $49,999
__ g. $30,000 to $39,999
__ h. this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__ i. this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

Clinical faculty have travel/research budgets.

4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
__ a. 30 or fewer
__ b. 31 - 35
_X_ c. 36 - 40
__ d. 41 - 45
__ e. 46 - 50
__ f. 51 - 55
__ g. 56 - 60
__ h. more than 60


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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Congratulations to Bob Sachs

Sachs_robert Rutgers-Camden announced that Robert A. Sachs will be a Visiting Clinical Associate Professor of Law for the 2008-09 year, teaching in its first-year legal writing program.

He joins Rutgers after three years of teaching in the Legal Skills program at California Western, and after eight semesters as an adjunct at Seton Hall, teaching Products Liability and New Jersey Practice.  Bob practiced law in New Jersey for 35 years.

Bob's recent publications include "Getting a Witness to 'Walk the Line': Accident Demonstrations at Videotaped Discovery Depositions," 30 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 487 (2007) and "Product Liability Reform and Seller Liability: A Proposal for Change," 55 Baylor L. Rev. 1031 (2003).

Hat tip to Sarah E. Ricks



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

Congratulations to Evangeline Abriel and Santa Clara University School of Law

Abriel_evangeline Congratulations to Evangeline Abriel, who was chosen as the new Director of the Legal Analysis, Research and Writing Program at Santa Clara University School of Law.

Evangeline joined Santa Clara University School of Law as a LARAW instructor in the Fall of 2003. Before going to Santa Clara, she was a clinical professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans, from 1983 until 1999, where she practiced law with her students in the areas of immigration, juvenile, domestic, and federal civil rights law, directed the Street Law Program, and directed the Mobile Immigration Clinic. She continues to co-direct Loyola's summer legal studies program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she teaches Immigration Law and supervises the judicial internship. In 1999, she moved with her family to Perth, Western Australia, where she taught at Notre Dame University School of Law and served as a consultant to the Murdoch University Law School Clinic. Upon returning to the United States in 2000, Prof. Abriel worked as a senior attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), in San Francisco. She continues to work with CLINIC on a consulting basis. Prof. Abriel has taught legal writing at Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, the University of California at Davis School of Law, and Golden Gate University School of Law.


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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Comment on a Work in Progress

Legal writing scholarship is a wonderful thing.

It is great to read the interesting articles our colleagues publish in journals such as ALWD, Legal Writing, Scribes, Clarity, The Second Draft, and even mainstream law reviews.

But I find that I enjoy reading works in progress even more than published work.  Why?  If I have something to say about the article before it gets published, I have an opportunity to contact the author directly and share my thoughts.  It is more interactive, and I feel an opportunity to contribute in general to legal writing scholarship (and other scholarship by legal writing professors).

SchwinnI've just come across one such work in progress by a legal writing collegue, and I'm sharing this with you (in case you also share my willingness and enthusiasm for reading works in progress).

Here's the abstract: 

The traditional first-year curriculum in American law schools takes incoming law students as novice or dualistic thinkers (in the nomenclature of developmental learning theorists). Thus the traditional first-year curriculum emphasizes the determinate nature of law and practice, and the role of authority in the law, just to name two features.

But while our incoming students may, in fact, be novices in the law, they are increasingly sophisticated thinkers in other areas of their lives and in their moral reasoning abilities. They can deal with indeterminacy, and they can be agents of development (not merely recipients of knowledge), outside the law. Moreover, they can apply these capabilities to their legal studies.

In treating first-year students as novices, the traditional legal curriculum neglects these capabilities. Worse, it regresses first-year students as thinkers and as moral reasoners on conventional developmental continua.

In contrast to the traditional curriculum, actual legal work in the first year—where students take responsibility for actual legal work, with all its attendant indeterminacies—builds upon the capabilities that our students bring to law school and thus promotes their intellectual development, their ethical reasoning skills, and their development as professionals.

The article is by Steven D. Schwinn of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Click here to read his work in progress.


June 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Same-Sex Marriage and Legal Writing Problems

Thousands of same-sex couples will start to marry in a few days in California.  This development is for me (and for many readers of this blog) a wonderful event, no matter what your sexual orientation or affectional preference may be.

Because California does not require people who marry there to be residents of California, this development will raise many legal issues that didn't arise with same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Many of these legal issues will make excellent legal writing problems.

Here's one as an example.

A same-sex couple marries next week in California.  (Maybe they have a kid, maybe not -- depends on how complicated you want your fact pattern to be).

Sometime later, one of the partners in that marriage empties the bank account and moves to a state (insert name of jurisdiction that has a statute or a state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage).  If your fact pattern includes a child, he (or she) takes the kid along too.  Basically have the character empty teh bank account and bring along some other "marital property" as well. 

The left-behind partner sues the absconder in that state's state court for taking the marital assets (and the kid).  The absconder raises that state's statute or constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, and argues that the state cannot grant any relief because to do so would recognize same-sex marriage in violation of the state statute or constitutional provision.

That's a basic fact pattern -- I am not writing more here because this is a blog and your students may come across this post with their most trusted legal research source (Google).  But you can see the problems here -- it is so obvious that the guy who ran off with the money (and kid) should not get away with that, but to provide any remedy may violate state law.

If you would like some background information on same-sex marriage, I would encourage you to have a look at an article I wrote just before same-sex marriages began to be performed in Massachusetts.  The article goes through some of the arguments and issues that you (or your students) may come across if you use an aspect of same-sex marriage in one of your writing problems next year. 

Here's a link to where you can download the article.  It will give you some useful background and some of arguments surrounding same-sex marriage.

And here is another great resource.  It's a memorandum about litigating same-sex marriage isssues in other jurisdictions.

Congratulations to any of our readers getting married next week in California.  With luck, your home state will recognize your marriage when you get back home.  (For example, by judicial decision and gubernatorial decree, New York will recognize a same-sex marriage from California.)


Click here for information on the Pink Ink Caucus of the Legal Writing Institute.

June 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

online sources for information on U.S. federal, state judicial systems

J0438767Civics quiz: How much do your incoming students know about the federal and state judicial systems of the United States?
While some professors have sought teaching materials to offer foreign students coming to study law in America, such materials are probably also valuable to provide to students born and raised here, whether during law school orientation or during the first few weeks of class. The following links provide useful--and free--information on our courts:

hat tips: John Mollenkamp and Barbara G. Traub


June 12, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NOW they get it

This is the time of year that I get e-mails from some of my previous students, acknowledging (and sometimes thanking me for) all that they learned in the legal writing class, as they're now using those skills at work. I found this blog entry today, in which the same sentiments are expressed. Don't know whose student he is, but do appreciate his making the statement.


June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jurors Playing Sudoku

This news might be somewhat related to the post below on laptops in classrooms . . .

A judge in Australia aborted a drug conspiracy trial this week after some of the jurors were found to be playing the puzzle game Sudoku while lawyers were presenting evidence. The complex trial had been running for 66 days and cost about a million dollars.  Click here for more.

Is there something about the law that makes it hard for jurors -- and law students -- to pay attention? 


June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Laptops in Classrooms

The Chronicle of Higher Education has another story this week on a favorite debate item among law school (and business school) faculties -- whether to ban laptops from classrooms.  The article is called Law Professors Rule Laptops Out of Order in Class by Andrea L. Foster.  It appears in the issue dated June 13, 2008.  Click here for a free link to the article. 

Here is a link to our earlier posts on the question of whether to ban laptops (or whether to ban internet access) from classrooms.


June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Scholarship Blog

The Legal Scholarship Blog is asking for readers to take a quick survey about how they use that blog and any suggestions you might have to improve it.   Click here.

We don't have a similar survey for this blog, but of course we welcome your suggestions and input.

Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog.


June 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Popcorn Session on Getting Published

We have a new description for one of the popcorn sessions on Tuesday evening, July 15, 2008 at the summer conference of the Legal Writing Institute.  Here it is:

A panel of experienced editors representing several major legal writing publications will discuss how you can Popcorn_4_3 improve your chances for publishing an article.  The panel of editors will also answer your questions and provide information about how to become involved as a participant on one of these outstanding journals.  Publications to be represented in this popcorn session will include:

  • The Journal of Legal Writing;
  • The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process;
  • Perspectives; and
  • The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (JALWD).

Other journals may also be represented that evening.  The session is intended to provide broad-based, informal advice about getting published in a variety of legal writing publications.  That sounds like a good investment of time to me!

Click here for descriptions of the other popcorn sessions.


June 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

kudos to Michael Smith!

Smith_michael_r The Wyoming School of Law has named legal writing professor extraordinaire Michael Smith as the Winston S. Howard Distinguished Professor of Law.  This endowed professorship is named after one of the two founders of Denver’s oldest law firm, Sherman & Howard.

Michael Smith has been a Professor of Law and the Director of Legal Writing at the University of Wyoming College of Law since 2006. He administers the law school’s legal writing program and teaches classes in Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy.

Before joining the University of Wyoming College of Law, he taught in two nationally-ranked legal writing programs. Immediately prior to coming to the University of Wyoming, he was an Associate Professor of Law at Mercer University School of Law. Before that he legal writing at Temple University School of Law, the University of San Diego College of Law (1992-1996); and the University of Florida College of Law (1990-1992).

Before teaching law, he practiced law in Pensacola, Florida with the law firm of Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler and in Newport Beach, California with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

His primary areas of scholarly interest are the psychology of persuasion and, more generally, the cognitive processes underlying effective legal writing. He has written extensively in these areas and has given numerous presentations, both in the United States and abroad. In 2002, Smith published his book, Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing (Aspen 2002). This multi-disciplinary book has been hailed as a groundbreaking work in the area of persuasive legal writing and, as one reviewer noted, "a must read for every legal writing and advocacy teacher."*

* Kathryn M. Stanchi, Moving Beyond Instinct: Persuasion in the Era of Professional Legal Writing (A Book Review of Advanced Legal Writing by Michael R. Smith), 9 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 935, 936 (2005).

hat tip:  Prof. Ruth Anne Robbins (Rutgers-Camden)

(spl and mew)

June 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

like, uh, like

If you are stunned by the frequency with which the newest generation of law students uses the word "like" in their spoken language, you might appreciate an article entitled Like: The Discourse Particle and Semantics, 19 Journal of Semantics 35-71 (2002), by Muffy Siegel, an English professor at Temple University.  Legal professionals who also happen to be parents of teenagers might find solace there, too.

hat tips: 
Patrick Wiseman, GSU College of Law
Diane Edelman, Villanova University School of Law


June 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Journal call for articles

Speakers making presentations at this summer's Legal Writing Institute conference are invited to submit articles on their presentations for upcoming Volume 15 (proceedings issue) of Legal Writing, the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. Manuscripts will be accepted until September 1, 2008; the expected publication date for Volume 15 is spring 2009.

Submission guidelines are available at Authors may also wish to attend a panel discussion at this summer’s conference on the publication expectations of the journal. The journal is circulated to approximately 2,600 subscribers, including academics, practitioners, and judges.

hat tip: Jim Levy


June 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

latest issue of Legal Writing features storytelling

Williams_joe Volume 14 of Legal Writing, the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, is now available online. The issue features a tribute to Joseph Williams by Chris Rideout.  (The photo to the right is of Joe Williams when he received the 2006 Golden Pen Award). 

The issue also features rticles from LWI's 2007 symposium on storytelling (articles in pdf):

  • Ruth Anne Robbins, An Introduction to Applied Storytelling and to This Symposium
  • Brian J. Foley, Applied Legal Storytelling, Politics, and Factual Realism
  • J. Christopher Rideout, Storytelling, Narrative Rationality, and Legal Persuasion
  • James Parry Eyster, Lawyering as Artist: Using Significant Moments and Obtuse Objects to Enhance Advocacy
  • Kenneth D. Chestek, The Plot Thickens: The Appellate Brief as Story
  • Elyse Pepper, The Case for "Thinking Like a Filmmaker": Using Lars von Trier's Dogville as a Model for Writing Statements of Facts
  • Mary Ellen Maatman, Justice Formation from Generation to Generation: Atticus Finch and the Stories Lawyers Tell Their Children
  • Stacy Caplow, Putting the "I" in Wr*t*ng: Drafting an A/Effective Personal Statement to Tell a Winning Refuge Story
  • Patricia Grande Montana, Better Revision: Encouraging Student Writers to See through the Eyes of the Reader

hat tip: Jim Levy

P.S. In case you missed it, here is a link to our post discussing the online publication of Volume 13.


June 10, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Getting It

Here's a link to a post from Sue Liemer about students who "get" it.


June 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Conference - Monday Night Awards

Indianapolis_artsgarden Here's Lwi a reminder of the awards being presented on Monday evening during the Legal Writing Institute Conference in Indianapolis. These awards will be presented at the Indianapolis Arts Garden from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on July 14, 2008.

It should be an incredibly festive event, and a cause to celebrate these award recipients as well as to celebrate the opening of the 13th Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference.  It's also the opening of the posters as well.  (And it's Bastille Day.)

So, who are the award recipients on Monday evening?  Well, frankly, I'm not sure that I have them all, but here are my best efforts to pull the information previously announced on the Legal Writing Listserve and in other public venues. I've listed first, second, and third here, but I actually have no idea of the order in which the awards will be presented on Monday.


Lien_mollyFirst off, it's the wonderful Molly Lien, Brill_ralphProfessor of Law and director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and Ralph Brill, long-time legal writing leader and professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

. Molly and Ralph will receive the Terri LeClercq Courage Award.

.The award is named for--you guessed it--Terri LeClercq, who has herself over the years been an award recipient in recognition of her contributions to the field of legal writing.Leclercq_terry Leclerq_book

I think this is a wonderful award and a wonderful pair of its first recipients.




Second, Dr. Natalie Tarenko of Texas Tech University School of Law will be the first recipient of an award honoring the late Deborah Hecht, a writing specialist who contributed regularly to the Second Draft.  Click here to read more about that award.  You can also click here to read more about Natalie Tarenko, in a post that includes a link to the article for which she is being honored. (Still no picture of Natalie to share with you, sorry!)



Easton_eric_3AalslogoAnd third, Eric Easton from the University of Baltimore will receive an award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  Click here for more information on that award.  Eric was supposed to have received this award back in January during the AALS section luncheon, but he was out of the country at the time, so the Legal Writing Institute is allowing the AALS Section to present the award here in this great venue.

There may be other presentations on Monday, such as introducing the international visitors from Africa and Belarus.  I'm not sure what the program is because I'm just going to be a participant there, just like you. I do know that it is going to be a fantastic event, and I look forward to seeing you there.

For descriptions ofthe opening plenary on Tuesday morning, July 15, click here.

Appeal_4 For information about the law professors who will be visiting from Africa, click here.

For descriptions of session 2 on Tuesday, click here.

For information on the Tuesday diversity lunch, click here.

For information on the Tuesday Pink Ink lunch, click here.

For descriptions of session 3 on Tuesday, click here.

For descriptions of session 4 on Tuesday, click here.

For information on the Tuesday evening dinners for new legal writing professors, click here.

Popcorn_1 For descriptions of the not-to-be missed (because that's when I'm presenting) Tuesday evening Popcorn sessions, click here.

For descriptions of session 1 on Wednesday, click here.

For descriptions of session 2 on Wednesday, click here.

For descriptions of session 3 on Wednesday, click here.

For descriptions of session 4 on Wednesday, click here.

For descriptions of session 5 on Wednesday, click here.

For information on the Wednesday evening museum gala, click here.

For descriptions of session 1 on Thursday, click here.

For more information about the conference (including registration information, in case you still haven't done that), click here.


June 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)