Saturday, July 5, 2008

state constitutions

When you least expect it, a question of state constitutional law may come up in teaching or in practice. An excellent source for any U.S. state constitution you may ever need to consult, including historic ones, is made available by the Maryland State Constitutions Project

hat tip: Professor Chris Green


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

ideas for legal writing problems

Millerk4 If you're looking for ideas for legal writing problems, take a look at Kathleen Miller's article on Creating an Appellate Brief Assignment.  The first section of her article explains the various sources of ready-made appellate brief problems, which often can be adapted for use as memo problems or trial brief problems, too.  She also includes sources for current controversies within the law, which can be helpful in designing your own problem from scratch.


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

Friday, July 4, 2008

no rocket surgery

Rocketshippeppermill2 As legal writing professors, we occasionally get into heated discussions on our listservs about grammar and usage. We aren't the only ones who get worked up about others' indelicate errors or downright awful transgressions. Following the recent Bashman/Posner debate about ostrich heads, the ABA Journal's blog asked readers to identify their pet peeves in grammar and spelling. If yours isn't there, add it.

I have to share one comment (#50):

"An example of my most dispised [sic] usage is 'The judge spoke to him and I.' What???  This is not rocket surgery!"  Scalpel


July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LRW-related panel at ABA meeting in August

At the ABA meeting in August, there will be a panel presentation that includes a speaker from Great Britain, Louise Stoker, who will be talking about the qualifications process required before practicing there and the outcomes-based process to legal education that includes demonstrating skills mastery; a professor from Temple, Eleanor Myers, who will discuss that school’s transactional practice skills course and creative ways to incorporate practitioners into law school teaching other than traditional adjunct roles; and a partner at Dorsey Whitney, Bryn Vaaler, who is in charge of all in-house skills training for new associates and will discuss that law firm’s development of a list of "core competencies" around which to structure that training curriculum.

If you’re going to attend or know some who might be interested, please share the information! Here are the details:

ABA Section of Business Law

ABA Annual Meeting, August 8 - 11, 2008

Grand Hyatt New York

Sponsors: The Business Law Education Committee of the Business Law Section and

The Communication Skills Committee of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Program: Law Students and Practitioners -

Students Showing What They Know and

Practitioners Teaching What They Know

Broadway, Conference Level

Co-chairs: Nancy Soonpaa and Tina L. Stark


July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

tempted to "edit" your student evals?

Student evaluations sometimes seem like the bane of the law professor's existence, and it might be just barely understandable that one might be tempted to "edit" one's student evaluations.  Well, here's a really good example of why that would be a bad idea: Download disciplinary_proceedings.pdf

hat tip:  Susan Fortney, Texas Tech


July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another "thank you" in advance to the LWI Conference Team

Lwi_3Legal Writing Institute Conferences are big events.  Huge.  And a lot of fun.  But behind the scenes there is always a lot of work that got done to make the conference a success.  So here, in advance, are the names of the people who contributed to the certain success of the LWI Conference in Indianapolis.  Please thank them in person when you see them in Indianapolis.  (Hope I'm not missing anybody!)

Site Committee

Deb McGregor, Chair
Joel Schumm
Cynthia Adams
Ken Chestek
Jim Dimitri
Allison Martin
Joan Ruhtenberg

Program Committee

Ruth Ann Robbins, Co-Chair
Mel Weresh, Co-Chair
Dan Barnett
Rachel Croskery-Roberts
Anne Enquist
Michael Hidgon
Hollee Temple

Poster Mentoring Committee

Lisa Penland, Co-Chair
Jim Levy, Co-Chair
Kirsten Dauphinais
Gail Stephenson
Patty Legge

Fair Committee

Kirsten Dauphinais, Chair
Kendra Fershee
Gail Stephenson
Bonny Tavares

Critiquing Workshop Organizer

Joan Malmud

See you all in Indianapolis!



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

new book on writing memos

Congratulations to Wayne Schiess (Texas), who reports that his new book, The Legal Memo, has just been published by Kendall/Hunt.


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

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

and you thought laptops were only distracting to students

The BBC reports that the Speaker of the Parliament of Bhutan has banned its members from bringing laptops to its sessions because too many members of that august body were playing games with their computers instead of paying attention to the proceedings.


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

Monday, June 30, 2008

another quote

1r9cai53xjpcadrz754caq9jvzvcaeot5og Today a federal court quoted Lewis Carroll, apparently with more accuracy.

hat tip: Professor Ralph Brill


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

major misquote

RobertsIImagest's not every day that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court quotes Bob Dylan in a decision.  So people are likely to notice.  Too bad the quote was not accurate.  Too bad the Chief Justice's law clerks did not do a careful cite check on this one.

hat tip:  Professor Mary Ray  


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

Sunday, June 29, 2008


When the American Bar Association holds its annual meeting in New York City in early August, the programming will include a special Day of Equality.  The ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession will end that day with an Equalitea, marking the Commission's 20 years of work towards equality for women in the legal profession and calling for future action.  Since about 75% of the lawyers who teach legal writing in the United States are women and legal writing professors disproportionately hold the lowest levels of academic appointments in United States law schools, that future action must not overlook the legal academy.  To ensure legal writing and other women law professors are on the Commission's future agenda, legal writing professors who plan to attend the ABA annual meeting might want to put the Equalitea on their calendars now.


June 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)