Monday, September 29, 2008

could be an interesting fact pattern . . .

OK, I couldn't find the article in any periodical that I would even admit to reading, but stories of whether stolen pics of Jamie Lynn Spears breastfeeding her baby could result in child porn charges against the photo-seller are just irresistible to someone who looks at life as one big montage of potential fact patterns.

Statutory construction . . . IIED . . . invasion of privacy . . . theft  . . . so many possibilities!!  And was it stupid or a publicity-seeking stunt when her boyfriend dropped the memory card off at WalMart?  (Yes.  WalMart.  Could this be any better?)

This scenario would just be too fun.  And add in the serious topic of whether a photo of a mother breastfeeding could ever be considered pornographic . . . yes.  A great fact pattern could come out of this.

And for the record, I got the initial report off msn.com.  :)

(njs)

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

snip, snip, snip

BigcutsHave you ever struggled with cutting the length of a wordy memo or brief when you needed to keep all of the points? Do your students complain that your page limits are too short?

I thought so.

That's why I am pleased to recommend this post from Write to Done, which gives a lot of providing good advice to writers who want to say the same thing in fewer words cut words.

hat tip: the (new) legal writer

(cmb)

September 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

lawyers experiment with wikis

Everybody knows about Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, but not everyone has tried a (lowercase) wiki for group composition and editing. Law.com recently reported on lawyers in firms and legal departments who "have begun testing the wiki waters over the last two years."

One notable advantage of a wiki for multi-person editing is that it keeps a history of each alteration of the posted document, making it easy to track back if needed, and easy to contact the contributor who suggested the change.

Others like wikis because they help reduce the need to e-mail drafts to all concerned. Instead, those who wish to view (or edit) a draft simply go to the single collaborative document on the web.

I've begun using wikis in the last year in a couple of different contexts--(1) working with authors at two other law schools on a collaborative manuscript (fun!) and (2) letting my students do small group drafting projects in class (a positive way to engage laptop users) (also fun, as long as our Internet connection is not bogged down). So far I've been pleased with the utility of the approach. The online environment has its limitations--less-sophisticated word processing, for one--but overall, it's worked the way I expected it to.

I like this Youtube explanation of wikis for those who are new to the concept:

Wikis can be public or private. Publicly accessible wikis are typically provided to users for free. Some popular (and free) wiki spaces and software include Google Docs (here's a nice tour of that site), Wikispaces, Wetpaint, and PBwiki. [Updated to add Acrobat.com Buzzword, a Flash-based word processor that exports documents in all standard word processing formats, plus Adobe PDF]

Leave a comment if you have thoughts on using wikis in the legal writing classroom or in law practice.

hat tip: Law School Innovation blog

(cmb)

September 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Spence on "tyrant judges"

While I don't agree with all he says, Gerry Spence has posted an interesting three-part series on his blog titled "How to Survive the Tyrant Judge." Here are links to the three postings, with a representative quote from each:

Part 1   "We’re afraid of judges because they’re power-persons, which harkens back to our experiences with our first power-persons –- usually a parent."

Part 2   "The greatest attraction to the bench is simply power."

Part 3  "The need to be helped is endemic with the judge who was, himself, a child in need of help, and that need persists with the judge who is now the power-person with a parental duty to help."

(cmb)

September 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)