Friday, November 14, 2008
But am I completely removed from the world of legal writing? Hardly.
This morning I got to watch Professor Arnold Siegel of Loyola University in Los Angeles (pictured in the photo) teach a legal writing class (in English) to LLM students here at the University of Bologna. Fascinating, and wonderful. Did Helene Shapo ever suspect her book would be used to teach legal writing in Italy? Arnie did a great job, and the students here are working just as hard as any U.S. legal writing classroom I have ever visited.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
A poem by Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry, describes teaching students to read poetry. But it also holds well as an analogy for teaching 1Ls to read cases. Click on the linked poem title, think "cases" where it says "poetry" as you read, and you'll see the point.
hat tip: Prof. Linda Edwards, visiting at University of Nevada Las Vegas
(spl & cmb)
I've been conferencing with students over the past couple of weeks, and I'm here to attest to the joy of the lightbulb moment. To see if others share my experience, I did a web search and found this review of a book that looks great (Self Development and College Writing, by Nick Tingle). The review of it begins with an overview of lightbulb moments, then discusses the book, which looks at a writing pedagogy based on psychoanalytical theory. The review then says,
"Using examples of student writing developed from his course assignments, Tingle advocates for a theoretical stance and instructional strategies designed to help students experience light bulb moments, provoking larger intellectual transitions. His examples help to remind us—whether in our hallway conversations when we lament about the messiness of student work or moments of frustration when we respond to student papers—that we need to be sensitive to the intellectual hills that students climb as they progress through course work. His text serves as a reminder that messiness is normal as students move through steep learning curves."
While the review suggests that much of the text is geared towards un undergraduate composition course, I'm going to ask our library to order it. If you've read it and have reactions to share, please do so!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The how-to wiki on surviving your first year of law school includes many helpful tips, some of which of course will be more helpful to some than others. It's nice that it includes advice to "do a good job" in LRW class, even if it's pass/fail, noting that "these practical classes are extremely important come write-on, moot court and interviewing season."
hat tip: Professor Rachel Jay Smith, University of Cincinnati
For those who read this blog and do not work in academia, if you want a window into what our lives are really like, please take five minutes to read this essay on Gender, Contigent Labor, and Writing Studies, by Deirdre McMahon and Ann Green. Where you see their references to universities, just substitute law schools, and you'll have a clear picture of what many of us who teach legal writing deal with every day. Then ask yourself if this is the best solution to the poor writing skills of so many law students and law school graduates.
Monday, November 10, 2008
For those who haven't seen it yet, the Chronicle of Higher Education has published a great essay on Writing Is Not Just a Basic Skill. This one is worth forwarding to your students.
My favorite part: "Writing is not the expression of thought; it is thought itself. Papers are not containers for ideas, containers that need only to be well formed for those ideas to emerge clearly. Papers are the working out of ideas. The thought and the container take shape simultaneously (and develop slowly, with revision)."
hat tip: Professor John Edwards, Drake University
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Professor Jane Schukoske is an advisor to the Jindal Global Law School, which is being established in Sonipat, Haryana, India, about an hour outside of Delhi. She has announced that the school anticipates enrolling 200 three-year LL.B. students (like a J.D., post Bachelor's degree) in September, 2009. And the school is offering an opportunity to develop its legal writing program. You can find information on the school's academic positions available for the 2009-2010 school year on its website.
The Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods is soliciting articles related to teaching for the next issue of the section's electronic newsletter. Also invited are recommendations regarding new books, articles, videos, or websites related to law teaching. Articles should be approximately 500 words. Please send your submission (electronically) to Melissa H. Weresh, Professor of Law and Director of Legal Writing at Drake University Law School. Click here to send her an email.
Many of our readers are also writers. If you have an article to publish in an area of international law, the Florida Journal of International Law invites submission of articles for possible publication. Click here to contact the journal, or click here to contact the Editor in Chief, Mohammed Jazil, or click here to contact the Managing Editor.
Hat tips to Berta Esperanza Hernandez-Truyol at the University of Florida and to Tracy L. McGaugh at Touro Law Center.
Many of our readers are also writers. The Santa Clara Journal of International Law invites submissions for its spring issue. There is no particular theme, so papers are welcome on any area of international law. For details on deadlines, length, and all of that other fun stuff, contact the Senior Articles Editor, Anthony Stanitsas by clicking here. Hat tip to Ann Marie Ursini, Editor in Chief of the Santa Clara Journal of International Law