Saturday, October 25, 2008

new LRW title with international focus

.Deborahmcgregorindyindianapolis_3 .Cynthiaadams_indy_4 Aspen Publishers has announced a new book by Professors Deborah B. McGregor and Cynthia M. Adams of the Indiana University School of Law-Indiananpolis: The International Lawyer's Guide to Legal Analysis and Communication in the United States. Mcgregor_intllawyersguide_cover_5 Designed for international students, the book introduces the U.S. legal system and processes and explains the operation of common-law precedent and statutory interpretation. It contains several features of particular interest to such students, including chapters on plagiarism, drafting (including client letters, demand letters, and contracts, with an emphasis on international transactions).


October 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kentucky's Barkley School of Law closing

After only a few months of operation, the for-profit Barkley School of Law in Paducah, KY is filing for bankruptcy and closing, reports the ABA Journal. According to the ABA, the school has only ten students. The ABA story also cites the school's dean, Larry Putt, as attributing the school's difficulties to the financial woes and bad publicity that BSL inherited from its predecessor, the American Justice School of Law.

A news release in April 2008 had announced the school's reorganization and plans for expansion. The Wikipedia entry for the school projected an enrollment of 500 students within five to six years. The main page to the law school's website has been deactivated.


October 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

preemption, pre-emption, or preëmption?

Plain, with a hyphen, or with a diaresis? A post last night on the Volokh Conspiracy got a surprisingly high number of responses. What is the right (or preferred) spelling, and why? Comments welcome.


October 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering Stephanie . . . .

As a contributing editor to this blog and a colleague of Stephanie, I want to share some personal thoughts and memories of a truly amazing person, legal writing professor, teacher and friend.  First, let me express my heartfelt thanks to my fellow blog editors - Mark, Coleen, Sue and Nancy for so graciously and thoughtfully keeping this blog silent today in honor of Stephanie's memory. 

Stephanie's passing came as a shock to everyone who worked with her at NSU Law School.  Stephanie had waged on ongoing battle with melanoma for several years.  When she was first diagnosed five years ago, the doctors operated and thought they got it all.  Unfortunately, it came back this past spring and the doctors operated once more.  Again, they thought they got it all.   Following the surgery, Stephanie stoically underwent an experimental treatment during late spring and into the summer which the doctors hoped would put the cancer into permament remission.  But after the start of the fall semester, doctors discovered that the melanoma had returned yet again.  Stephanie took a leave of absence from teaching several weeks ago to try another experimental treatment we all hoped would finally put the cancer into permament remission.  Last week she began a series of self-injections to prepare herself for this new regiment of treatment which began yesterday.  It was during her first hospital stay to begin the new treatment that she suddenly stopped breathing and passed away shortly thereafter.  She was only 36.

We are still in shock at this sudden loss of such a brave and loved colleague and friend.  Stephanie was a real pistol - a former prosecutor and a real tough cookie whose laugh carried down the hall and who loved her students more than anything.  During last year's graduation ceremony, more students asked to be hooded by Stephanie than any other member of the faculty, by far.  That tells you a lot right there.

Stephanie was one of the strongest, most determined people I've ever met.  She didn't take crap from anyone.  Yet she was sensitive in all the best ways - kind, thoughtful and considerate of others' feelings.  She was so positive and enthustiastic about life, teaching, her students and her school that it made the rest of us feel like Woody Allen in comparison.

She's a great person and no one can ever take her place.  If you'd like, please share your own thoughts and memories about Stephanie in the comments box below.

While I'm normally the scholarship dude, tonight I'm just very sad and empty.



October 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

in memoriam: Stephanie Feldman Aleong

Aleong1_2The Legal Writing Prof Blog offers its condolences to the friends, family, students, and colleagues of Professor Stephanie Feldman Aleong, who passed away on Tuesday, October 21, 2008.

Stephanie was an Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she taught in the Lawyering Skills and Values program and directed the Masters in Health Law Program.

A member of the Florida Bar since 1996, Stephanie was a state prosecutor for six years.From November 2000 through July 2002, she served as an Assistant Statewide Prosecutor and the Health Care Fraud Priority Leader for Florida. She specialized in the prosecution and investigation of racketeering in pharmaceuticals. Her work as a prosecutor in the area of prescription drugs was detailed in a non-fiction novel and many periodicals.

From 1996 through 2000, Stephanie was an Assistant State Attorney for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, serving in many units including acting as the Assistant Chief of the DUI Division in County Court and serving in the Career Criminal Unit. During her tenure as a prosecutor, Stephanie taught Trial Advocacy for the U.S. Department of Justice in both Honduras and Venezuela.

Before joining the faculty at Nova, Stephanie was a member of the faculty of Emory Law School as an instructor in the Legal, Writing, Research and Advocacy Program from 2002-04. She also taught in the first-year Professionalism program at Emory and developed materials for the second-year Trial Techniques program. During the summer of 2003, Stephanie was a Visiting Professor at the University of Trier Law School in Trier Germany, where she taught Legal Writing in an international, bilingual program.

Stephanie's J.D. and B.A. degrees were from Vanderbilt University. She was the Moot Court Board's Associate Justice for the First Amendment Competition at the law school.

There will be a memorial service for Professor Stephanie Aleong on Friday, October 24 at 3:30 p.m. at place at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel, 11115 Jog Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33437.

You can read the wonderful tribute in the Broward Sun Sentinel here.

The family requests that donations be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation in the memory of
Stephanie Feldman Aleong.  Donations can be mailed to the Melanoma Research Foundation, 170 Township Line Road, Bldg B, Hillsborough, NJ, 08844, or submit one online at  If the foundation asks for an address to send a memorial card, give them the law center address (Nova
Southeastern Univ., Shepard Broad Law Center, 3305 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314).  The law school will forward those cards to her husband.

October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

horrifying cases for All Hallow's Eve

J0409275_2 "The Court is faced with the issue of whether [the claims examiner's] October 31, 2003-letter was a Halloween trick to fraudulently induce plaintiff to sign the enclosed general release to settle all his claims against defendant, or a Halloween treat to settle only plaintiff's property damage claim. Since a trial is necessary to resolve the trick or treat question, this Court cannot grant summary judgment to defendant." Fox v. "John Doe", 12 Misc.3d 1168(A), 820 N.Y.S.2d 842 (Table), 2006 WL 1584212 (N.Y. Super. 2006).

"The scene of the killings was extremely bloody. Many people had tracked in and out of the house as the paramedics, firefighters, and police came and went. An expert on blood spatter interpretation testified that many of the bloodstains in the entryway and on a stool, jack o'lantern, the front door, and the ceiling, were velocity stains. The blood on the ceiling and upper walls probably flew off the weapon as it was raised after striking [the victim]. There were slash marks on the front door and in the eight-foot-high ceiling above the entryway. A wolf mask was in a corner of the front porch area." People v. Dennis, 950 P.2d 1035 (Cal. 1998).

"[The] defendant, a paranoid schizophrenic, believed one victim was the devil and the other a witch, and he heard auditory command hallucinations telling him one victim was going to kill him or have him killed." People v. Duckett, 209 Cal. Rptr. 96 (Cal. App. 1984).

"When police knocked and requested entry, appellant refused to open her door, telling the officers that they were vampires, that they were 'terrorist militia,' and that, 'on authority of President George Bush, she did not have to answer her door.'" State v. K.L., 188 P.3d 395 (Or. App. 2008).

I've saved the most horrifying for last . . .

“Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again . . . .” Lamb's Chapel v. Ctr. Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 398 (1993) (Scalia, J., concurring).


October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do Bloggers Need Insurance?

We only say nice things about our colleagues, so WE don't need blogger insurance.  But other people might.  Click here to read more.

I'd tell you who shared this with me, but he might sue me.


October 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Using Plain Language Will Make You Look Smarter (and More Persuasive)


The (New) Legal Writer has just posted a review of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.  One of the 50 ways to be persuasive is to use plain language. 

“Take, for example, the fact that communicators frequently try to convey their erudition . . . by using unnecessarily long words or overly technical jargon . . . .  [R]esearch by [Daniel] Oppenheimer has shown that using overly complex language like this can produce the exact opposite of the intended effect: Because the audience has difficulty interpreting the language, the message is deemed less convincing and the author is perceived to be less intelligent.” 

For this propsosition the Yes! authors cite D.M. Oppenheimer, Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: Problems with using long words needlessly, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20:139–56.  The (New) Legal Writer notes that this give us scientific proof that plain language aids persuasion.

Hat tip to the (New) Legal Writer.


October 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Aggravated Identity Theft - A Great Issue Right Now for Legal Writing Problems

The Statutory Construction Blog informs us that the U.S. Supreme Court has just granted cert. in a case that will decide whether identity theft requires that you take the identity of a real person.  The case is Flores-Figueroa v. United States, No. 08-108. The issue is whether to In order to prove aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), must the government show that the defendant knew that the means of identification he used belonged to another person.  Courts have split when the identity assumed was that of someone simply created out of the air rather than that of another person. 

What does this mean?  Right now it's a great issue for legal writing problems.  You have a split among the circuits and a great issue that students will enjoy writing about.

Hat tip to the Statutory Construction Blog.


October 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

links to writing assistance

Do you have a 1L who writes sentences lacking parallel structure?  Or a seminar student with a severe case of writer's block?  Amherst College's writing resources web pages provide a lot of basic writing advice and links to many other well-known writing resources sites.

hat tip:  Prof. Tracy McGaugh, Touro Law Center


October 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blog Calls for Penn to Upgrade Its Legal Writing Program

Here's a link to a blog that urges Penn Law to invest more into its legal writing program, which is now taught by third year law students.  The post on Money Law Blog asks "Why give so much weight to legal writing? Three reasons: (1) one of the most important skills for lawyering; (2) arguably the most important class in law school . . . ; and (3) frequent complaints from lawyers about new graduates' ability to communicate effectively in various forms." 

Hat tip to RJS


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