Saturday, December 6, 2008

Three Section Posters Selected for Display at the AALS Annual Meeting

Burgess_hillary_2Mcelroy_lisa_3 Wellford_slocum_robin_2Stephenson_gail_2The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research announced the names of the section's poster presenters at AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego this January.  The AALS started doing posters a couple of years ago -- they highlight academic work in a poster format rather than in a presentation. 

It is an honor to have a poster selected by the Section for presentation.  These posters will be seen by hundreds (maybe thousands) of law professors attending the conference.   

The AALS committee selected three posters to represent the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.

  1. Aalslogo Hillary Burgess will have a poster on “Flowcharts Facilitate Learning Law.”
  2. Lisa McElroy & Robin Welford Slocum will have a poster called “Building Capable Lawyers: Five Effective Strategies to Help Students Scale the Ladder of Learning.”
  3. Gail Stephenson will have a poster on “Why Should Law Schools Take Concrete Steps Toward Diversity?” 

The posters will be on display at the San Diego Marriott Hotel during the AALS conference.  Congratulations to those whose posters were selected, and congratulations to the members of poster committee:  Samantha Moppett (Chair), Lisa Penland, Jeanne Kaiser, Ann Santos, Aida Alaka, Joan Malmud, Gabe Teninbaum, Karen Sneddon, and Sabrina DeFabritiis.


Hat tip to Samantha Moppett, chair of the poster committee



December 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ALWD Also Opposes Abolishing Interpretations 402-1 and 402-2

The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) has also submitted comments on the proposed elimination of Interpretations 402-1 and 402-2 of the ABA Standards for the Accreditation of Law Schools. 

Click here to read the ALWD Letter to the ABA.  Download alwd_comments_re_interpretations_4021__4022_november_2008.pdf


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

Legal Writing Institute Opposes Abolishing Interpretations 402-1 and 402-2 of the ABA Standards for Accrediting Law Schools

AbaLegal_writing_institute_logo_2 There is a proposal to abolish Interpretations 402-1 and 402-2 of the ABA Standards for the Accreditation of Law Schools.  What are those?  In part, they say that if you teach legal writing and are not on the tenure-track or its equivalent, your law school has to use a special formula when calculating its student-faculty ratio.  The interpretation is thought to encourage law schools to put their writing (and clinical) faculty on the tenure-track (because this gives law schools a more favorable student-faculty ratio).

When there is a proposal to eliminate something that helps legal writing professors (and their students), it is natural for professional associations and groups to step forward and voice their concern. 

The Legal Writing Institute has sent such a letter of protest to the ABA Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, stating four objections to the proposal:

  1. the recommendation to eliminate the Interpretations may have unintended consequences, none of which appear to have been fully examined;

  2. the recommendation will deprive students of information on the student-faculty ratio;

  3. the recommendation does not consider how eliminating the interpretations would affect the transparency and consistency of ABA site evaluations; and

  4. the recommendation fails to appreciate the reliance that law schools have placed on the interpretations.

Click on this link to read the LWI letter, which explains each of these points more fully.  Download LWI_letter_to_ABA_Nov_20_2008.pdf

Hat tips to Ruth Anne Robbins, Melissa Weresh, and Susan Duncan.

Mark E. Wojcik (a member of the LWI Board)

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

Law and Rhetoric Conference on January 6, 2009 in San Diego

Mercer_workshopMercer University Walter F. George School of Law will hold a workshop called "Legal Writing Through a Rhetorical Lens" on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 in San Diego, California.  It's on the day before the first full day of the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools.  The workshop is being supported by Mercer University and the Legal Writing Institute.  (Mercer is the host school of the Legal Writing Institute.)

Lwi_logo Click here to read more about the workshop . . . AND to see the first website to congratulate the Legal Writing Institute on its 25th Anniversary!

You can also click here to see a list of faculty who will be presenting at the workshop.

Hat tip to Ruth Anne Robbins, President of the Legal Writing Institute and one of the presenters at the workshop.


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

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

tips for writer's block and procrastination

Recently on a listserve Natalie Tarenko, Writing Specialist at Texas Tech University School of Law, recommended two books:  Neil Fiore's The Now Habit and Al Secunda's The 15 Second Principle.  Excerpts of interviews with each author, each with a helpful tip, can be found at:

Interview with Neil Fiore:

Interview with Al Secunda:


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

another take on storytelling

The article summarized in the author's abstract below explains another helpful perspective on the importance of storytelling to the law:

"Politics, Privilege, and the Profession: Adventures in Lawland, Chapter 1: The Decline of Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann"

"This article develops a theory of fact intensive legal scholarship that stresses the importance of people and their stories in our legal and political processes. My article argues for better writing, indeed writing that actually engages the legal scholar in a story, and more generally a narrative legal discourse. It is, after all, the facts and the stories behind our legal opinions, theories, and articles that make law interesting. All too often this is forgotten in legal scholarship and law schools where the differences in opinions' language is parsed, but passing attention is paid to the facts that require such hair-splitting.

"The substantive legal material covered herein includes analysis of the Ohio Supreme Court's recognition of a gubernatorial communications privilege. The article takes a critical stance on the Ohio Supreme Court's decision to recognize an overly expansive gubernatorial communications privilege as exhibited in the Dann v. Taft trilogy of cases. Little attention has been paid to these decisions in scholarship and where it has, the results have tended toward a positive treatment of the decisions."


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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interesting and entertaining new book to add to your "writer's bookshelf."

As recently reported in this New York Times Sunday book review, humorist and NPR personality Roy Blount Jr. has just published "Alphabet Juice:  The Energies, Gists and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof" by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  Royblount1

Described as a guide to Blount's "personal lexicon, usage manual, writers' guidebook, [and] etymological investigation," the NYT's reviewer enthusiastically recommends the book to anyone interesting in adding another valuable and fun resource to their writer's bookshelf.

According to Alphabet Juice, writing "needs to be quick, so it's readable at first glance and also worth lingering over."  Ah, that's the trick, isn't it?

More reviews, courtesy of, are collected here.

I am the scholarship dude.


November 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Garner on Language and Writing

  Garner_on_language_and_writing_2 Picture_125_3 The ABA website is promoting a new book by Bryan Garner called Garner on Language and Writing.  The foreword was written by Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  The book is being published by the American Bar Association.

We haven't seen the book itself yet, but I'm sure one of us here on the blog will come across a copy of it soon enough.  If YOU happen to have seen a copy, please share your thoughts about it here with us.  Thanks.


Photo of Bryan Garner courtesy of Scribes and Professor Joe Kimble.  Garner appeared with Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at the Scribes luncheon in New York last during the ABA Annual Meeting. 

November 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)