Saturday, November 1, 2008

J. ALWD seeking articles on metaphor & narrative

The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) has issued a Call for Articles for the Fall 2010 issue. This early call gives authors more time to plan and an opportunity to submit articles throughout the year. For more information about the Journal and to view back issues, visit its page on the ALWD website. The text of the Call is reproduced below:

Call for Articles

Fall 2010 – Metaphor & Narrative

The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) invites submission of articles for its Fall 2010 Metaphor & Narrative issue. In addition to articles that address the theme, the Journal encourages authors to submit articles on any topic that fits within the mission of the Journal.

Current research and scholarship have focused attention on metaphor and narrative as cognitive processes that structure perception and expression. In this issue, J. ALWD plans to publish articles examining the use of metaphor and narrative in interpreting and composing legal texts. In other words, we are looking for (1) articles that discuss the effects on the law-making process of metaphoric concepts (for example, frameworks, models, images, symbols) and narrative elements (plot, character, conflict, setting, and so on) and (2) articles that propose effective methods for lawyers and judges to use these processes to persuade and to reach understanding.

Questions about potential articles are welcome and should be directed to

The Journal encourages submissions from law professors, practicing lawyers, and judges as well as from academics, researchers, and specialists in other disciplines. The deadline for submission of articles for the Fall 2010 issue is September 15, 2009. Article selection will be completed by November 15, 2009. The Journal is published annually, thanks to the support of West, which prints the Journal, and ALWD, which distributes the Journal by mail to some 3,200 practicing lawyers and judges; law school libraries, deans, and professors; and others interested in the field of legal writing. The Journal is available electronically on the ALWD website and from Westlaw, SSRN, HeinOnLine, and H.W. Wilson Company.

General Guidelines

  • Submission of Articles

Submissions are due on or before September 15 of the calendar year before an upcoming issue. Most issues bring together “best practices” articles on a particular subject, but we welcome articles on any topic that falls within the mission of the Journal: to develop scholarship focusing on the substance

and practice of professional legal writing and to make that scholarship accessible and helpful to practitioners as well as to legal academics. Without compromising analytical rigor and the necessary theoretical and research foundation, our goal is to publish articles that are readable and usable by the broader audience of professional legal writers. We are looking for clear, concrete, direct writing; strong, interesting, intelligent voices; and a style that uses the text for substance and the footnotes to provide support, sources, and references for additional study. Potential authors may wish to consult articles published in past issues of the Journal as well as the more specific information for authors available at

  • Exclusive submission

The Journal prefers exclusive submission of manuscripts. If an author has submitted the manuscript elsewhere or wishes to do so, the author should inform the Journal at the time of submission and notify the Journal immediately should the author accept another offer of publication.

  • Technical requirements

Manuscripts should be accompanied by (1) a cover letter summarizing the article and (2) the resume of the author, including telephone number and e-mail address. For major articles, the Journal will consider manuscripts from 30 to 50 typewritten pages (7,500 to 12,500 words). For practice notes,

the Journal recommends manuscripts from 5 to 15 typewritten pages. All manuscripts should be prepared in Microsoft Word, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, 12-14 point font, and footnotes (not endnotes). Hard copies should be submitted on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, printed on one side only.

Citation format should adhere to the current edition of the ALWD Citation Manual.

  • How to submit

Submissions (preferably electronic) should be sent to the following e-mail address, directly or through the ALWD website: . Or they may be mailed to: Professor Linda L. Berger, Chair, J. ALWD Editorial Committee, Mercer University School of Law, 1021 Georgia Ave., Macon, GA 31207. Submissions will be acknowledged by e-mail.


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

Bluebook users: automated citations in Firefox

The Law Librarian Blog recently posted news of a new tool available for Firefox users, CiteGenie. It purportedly can create "Bluebook-formatted pinpoint citations from Westlaw." The post refers readers to an article reviewing CiteGenie by Marc Hershovitz at

This is a fascinating product, from what I've read in Hershovitz's review. Keep reading. You may be delighted or horrified, depending on your attitude toward teaching citations.

Using the Firefox browser to access Westlaw, a user pulls up an authority in Westlaw, highlights and copies the desired text, and pastes it into a word processing document. CiteGenie then automatically adds the full citation to the quotation, including pinpoint references (even when they span pages). Note that it does not add subsequent history, although it does flag cases to alert users to check the KeyCite results. CiteGenie can also be configured to warn users if the material copied comes from a dissenting or concurring opinion.

Hershovitz tested CiteGenie for its ability to recognize and apply some of the "tricky" rules of citation: parallel citation (including whether to use it or not depending on a jurisdiction's own briefing rules); case names (e.g., when to use a state's name vs. referring to it as "State," "Commonwealth," "People"); pinpointing material appearing in footnotes; dropping the second business reference for party names ending in "Co., Inc."; even altering citations to conform to state-specific rules, such as medium neutral and public domain references. In Hershovitz's test, CiteGenie got them all right. It handles state and federal statutes and regulations, too.

Hershovitz acknowledges that although CiteGenie is "not quite perfect," he's hooked. As your students discover this product, they will probably be hooked, too.

The CiteGenie website advises visitors that Lexis (some functionality available now) and Internet Explorer versions are "in development."

ADDED: If you are an ALWD citation manual user, you may wish to look at this product, too. Most practitioner-style citations in Bluebook and ALWD are identical, particularly for cases and statutes. CiteGenie will let you select a "truncated court name" (e.g., Ark. App. instead of Ark. Ct. App.), which matches ALWD's requirements. You'll need to watch for Bluebook Table 6 abbreviations that use apostrophes, changing them to conform with ALWD Appendix 3 abbreviations.

ALSO ADDED: I downloaded CiteGenie and tried it myself. Note that it does not italicize or underline case names (you'll have to do that yourself when you edit your document). Also note that it relies on the West's running head for its rendition of the case name. As you know, sometimes the running head version does not conform to a citation manual's dictates.


November 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (3)

Friday, October 31, 2008

appointment decisions shaped by teaching experience?

A story by Nina Totenberg on an October 30, 2008, broadcast on NPR examines the influence that Barack Obama's law-school teaching experience might have on his Supreme Court appointments, should he be elected. Totenberg finds a chapter in Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, to be particularly revealing in terms of his disagreement with the strict constructionist viewpoint espoused by some sitting members of the Court:

[M]uch of the Constitution speaks in generalities that cannot tell us what the Founding Fathers would have thought about modern dilemmas: whether, for example, the National Security Agency's data mining is constitutional, or what freedom of speech means in the context of the Internet.

"Anyone like Justice Scalia looking to resolve our modern constitutional dispute through strict construction has one big problem," Obama writes. "The founders themselves disagreed profoundly, vehemently, on the meaning of their masterpiece."

Totenberg also notes that most Court observers predict that the next appointee will be a woman, particularly if Obama wins the election. Prominent names include Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Harvard Dean Elena Kagan, Governor Jennifer Granholm (Michigan), and Senator Hillary Clinton (New York). Totenberg is unable, however, to come up with a list of female candidates should McCain win the election, predicting that he would be more likely to consider men such as former Solicitor General Paul Clement, Judge Jeffrey Sutton and Judge Michael McConnell.


October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

interview with a curmudgeon

Markherrmann_2 You may be familiar with Jones Day attorney Mark Herrmann's book, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law, published by the ABA. If not, I recommend it; you will be entertained, and you'll gain a useful perspective on the needs of and challenges for today's practicing legal writers. (Click here for a .pdf with the book's Table of Contents.)

Herrmann was recently interviewed by Mister Thorne for his blog, Set in Style. Thorne asked Hermann a wide-ranging set of questions about writing, editing, and law practice. You may find this set of particular interest:

You have lots of experience working with newly-minted attorneys. Given your experience, if you could change one thing about the law school curriculum, what would that be?

At this point, I’m pretty far removed from the law school experience. I understand, however, that there are still a few schools that employ third year law students to teach legal writing to first year students. That’s a bad idea. Law schools should spend the money to hire actual legal writing professors. Writing is one of the key skills for successful lawyers, and law schools should devote serious effort and resources to teaching students that skill.


October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

save the date for 2009 Rocky Mountain conference

Tempe_palms The popular Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference will be held on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14, 2009. Host for this year's event is the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Tempe, Arizona. Plenary speaker for the conference is Professor Linda H. Edwards (Mercer/UNLV). Linda was recently named as winner of the Thomas Blackwell Memorial Award

When the call for proposals and more conference details are available, we will post them here.

hat tip: Amy Langenfeld


October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

to boldly go?

Ljhca3fucpscaeq7lfqcahmnhwecapmc4sd If you were despairing of being the last person in the cosmos who knows what a split infinitive is, you may be interested in reading a recent N.Y. Times Blog post about split infinitives.  The comments, too, will reassure you that there are still plenty of grammarians left on the planet.

hat tip:  Professor Michael Higdon, UNLV


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

nobody knows the tribbles I've seen

Public radio has featured one of our own, Hether MacFarlane (Pacific McGeorge), who respondedMacfarlane_2007 to a story about the new Google G1 phone. To listen to the story, visit the "Letters" section for the American Public Media program Marketplace, broadcast October 28, 2008:

hat tip: Richard K. Neumann, Jr.


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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ALWD call for proposals

The upcoming biennial conference of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) will be held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 16-18, 2009.   The conference theme is "Professionalization of Legal Writing Programs," kicked off by a plenary session featuring directors who have had different lengths of experience and who have directed different types of legal writing programs, including Kirsten Davis, Lisa Eichhorn, Suzanne Rowe, and Marilyn Walter.

A survey following the last ALWD conference identified the following topics as those which most interest ALWD members:

  • Directing a program with contract professors or tenure-track professors
  • How to convert a program to 405(c) or tenure track
  • Academic freedom versus programmatic norms
  • Are directorless programs really a good thing?
  • Problems and issues with reviews and evaluation of LRW professors
  • Beyond technology and technique: what it takes to be a good teacher
  • Long-range and short-term planning
  • Advancing a program: which way is up?  What does improving or advancing mean?
  • Creative teaching techniques to enhance the classroom experience
  • Implementing ABA standards and handling site visits
  • Promoting consistent evaluation of student work product

ALWD members are invited to submit applications and proposals for participating in the conference in one of three ways: (1) as a leader of a breakout group following the plenary session; (2) as a leader of a roundtable discussion; or (3) as a presenter of a concurrent session.

  • Leaders of breakout groups will work with the Program Committee to choose a specific issue related to the plenary discussion and will facilitate a one-hour discussion of that issue following the panel. 
  • Leaders of roundtable discussions will lead one-hour discussions on topics of interest to ALWD members, perhaps as identified in the survey results, and will supply materials as appropriate.
  • Presenters of concurrent sessions will supply materials and present ideas on topics related to the theme of Professionalization of Legal Writing Programs, as well as on other topics that would be of special interest to ALWD members.  Proposals for concurrent sessions should include a bibliography of related sources. Concurrent sessions will last approximately forty-five minutes.

The Program Committee may ask applicants to combine their proposals with other similar proposals. To submit a proposal or apply to lead a breakout group or roundtable discussion, applicants are requested to read, download, and complete the form for the particular type of session; email the completed form as an attachment to Program Committee Chair Susan Thrower at no later than December 1, 2008. If you have questions, please email Susan, or call her at (312) 362-5347.

You may download the CFP by clicking here (Microsoft Word version) : Download ALWD_CFP_2009.doc
or here (WordPerfect version): Download ALWD_CFP_2009.wpd

Members of the Program Committee are Mary Garvey Algero (Loyola-New Orleans), Chris Coughlin (Wake Forest), Diane Dimond (Duke), Deborah Paruch (Detroit-Mercy), Judy Rosenbaum (Northwestern), Judy Stinson (Arizona State), and Susan Thrower (DePaul).


October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

AalslogoThe Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research has published its fall newsletter.  Click here, and then click on "current newsletter."  Hat tip and thanks to Joan Malmud of the University of Oregon School of Law, who serves as the AALS Section Secretary.

Not sure who handles the "Upcoming Conferences" section of that webpage, but it needs to be updated.  Among the upcoming conferences of interest is the Fourth Global Legal Studies Conference, which will be held in June 2009 at Georgetown University Law Center.


October 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Codified Canons and the Common Law of Interpretation

Our friend Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog advises us about a new article on the canons of statutory construction.  He suggests that the article would make a good reading assignment for an advanced legal research class.  Here's an excerpt from his post, which includes an excerpt from the abstract of the article:

In Codified Canons and the Common Law of Interpretation (NELLCO), Jacob Scott (Yale Law School. Yale Law School Student Prize Paper Series) argues that the the legal community has missed the significance of understanding canons of interpretation as nothing more than interpretive common law. Many scholars and jurists use canons—interpretive “rules of thumb”—to draw meaning from statutes, but do not inquire whether those methods are consistent with how legislatures want their statutes to be interpreted. Scott's paper examines the interpretive preferences of each legislature in the United States and compares those preferences with the common law canons. From the abstract:

My theory of the common law of interpretation and the codified canons suggests that the prevailing interpretive toolbox should be revised and recalibrated. Some canons that are controversial in the judiciary and academy, such as recourse to legislative history, are not so controversial in the eyes of legislatures. I also suggest that other judicially well-settled canons, such as expressio unius, are in fact unsettled because legislatures reject them in their codes. Finally, I show that textualism has a discontented relationship with the positive law because textualism’s embargo on extratextual sources conflicts with widely codified legislative preferences.

An excellent article for an Advanced Legal Research course reading assignment.

Hat tip to Joe Hodnicki and the Law Librarian Blog.


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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

kudos due in Indy!

MartinadKchestekJddimitrLegal writing professors Allison Martin and Ken Chestek have been awarded long-term contracts at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. In addition, Jim Dimitri (who already had a long-term contract) and Ken Chestek were promoted by vote to full clinical professors. Congratulatons to Allison, Ken, and Jim! 

hat tip: Prof. Cynthia Matson Adams


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

proposed changes in ABA Standards

Last week in my law school snail mail box, I received the Syllabus, the newsletter of the ABA's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.  Tucked away on page 4, there's an article explaining a proposal to delete all the Interpretations to Standards 402-1 and 402-2.

I've been thinking about what deleting all these Interpretations might mean for legal writing professors.  Among the Interpretations that would be deleted are those that specify a desired faculty-student ratio for a law school and how to calculate it. On the plus side, no more would legal writing professors who are not in a tenure line or 405(c) positions have to count as 7/10ths of a faculty member, despite their very full-time faculty work. On the negative side, that counting system did cause some law schools to upgrade their legal writing professors' jobs, so the schools could count them each as one full faculty member when calcuating faculty-student ratios.  If all the Interpretations specifying faculty-student ratios are deleted, that would allow schools to pile on the students in a legal writing class, with no clear disincentive in the accreditation process not to do so.

Written comments about these proposed changes to the accreditation process have to be submitted to the Section's Standards Review Committee (SRC) by December 1st.  And, if you would like to address the SRC at its January meeting, in a hearing to be held in conjunction with the AALS annual meeting, you now also have to submit a request to speak by December 1st.  (You used to be able to just show up.) The contact person is Becky Stretch, the ABA's Assistant Consultant on Legal Education, at


October 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (2)

Monday, October 27, 2008

congratulations to Mary Garvey Algero!

Terry Pollman of UNLV anounces the following news:

Mary_garvey_algeroloyolano I am delighted to share the good news that Loyola New Orleans has named Mary Algero the Warren E. Mouledoux Distinguished Professor of Law.

Congratulations, Mary, for this well deserved recognition--it's so good to know that your school values your contributions nearly as much as we do!

October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

writers block

Spratt David Spratt has launched a new, regular column in the Virginia Bar Association News Journal, called the Writer's Block.  Most appropriately, his first column explores the problem of writer's block and offers several helpful suggestions for overcoming this maladie.  He describes one creative approach that I've never heard before:  assign each step of the writing process to a character in your mind, such as the architect who drafts a blueprint or the carpenter who builds the rough framing, and allow each character time to do the discrete task at hand.


October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

director opening in Charleston, S.C.

This announcement comes from Professor Sheila Scheuerman:

Charleston School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track Director of Legal Research and Writing position, beginning in the 2009 academic year.

The Director is responsible for administering the first-year legal writing program, and reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  The Director teaches one section of Legal Research and Writing each semester, and makes hiring recommendations for the program’s adjunct and full-time faculty.  The Director is responsible for training and supervising the program faculty, and supervising grading.  The Director works with the Library Reference Staff to ensure the delivery of legal research training for students and legal writing faculty.  The Director will be expected to develop and conduct writing skills workshops; develop web-based resources for students; advise the faculty on trends in Legal Research and Writing; and advise on curriculum design.  Scholarship in areas related to legal education and/or research and writing pedagogy is strongly encouraged, as is leadership in state and professional associations.  The Director serves on faculty committees as requested by the Dean, and has full voting rights.  The Director will be expected to work closely with the Assistant Dean for Academic Support and the Director of Academic Support Programs on integrating academic support pedagogy in the legal writing program.

Candidates should have an outstanding academic record, as well as experience and demonstrated excellence in teaching, leadership, and administrative skills.  Candidates should also have at least five years experience teaching legal writing or as a writing specialist in a law firm.  Faculty rank of Assistant, Associate or Professor depends on qualifications and experience. 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Please submit a letter of application that addresses that qualifications identified above, and a current curriculum vitae with references to Professor Sheila B. Scheuerman, Chair, Legal Writing Director Search Committee, Charleston School of Law, P.O. Box 535, Charleston, SC 29402.

1.   The position advertised:
_X_     a. is a tenure-track appointment.

2.         The professor hired:
_X_     a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

3.         The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. 
_X_     a. $90,000 or more
_X_     b. $80,000 to $89,999
_X_     c. $70,000 to $79,999
(Salary commensurate with experience.) 

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
_X_     a. 30 or fewer


October 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)