Saturday, February 2, 2008

workshop on the bar examination

On Thursday, March 6, the University of Baltimore School of Law will host a one-day workshop where the National Conference of Bar Examiners and law faculty from various schools can share information relating to the bar examination. The event is designed to provide an opportunity for the faculty who teach the students and the organization who then assesses student competence to meet and ask questions and learn more about the process and about each other.

For more information, go to the law school's website.


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

O, be some other name!

In a recent case, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had “no qualms” about editing 30 U.S.C. § 1276(a)(1), which invests the “United States District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit” with subject-matter jurisdiction over certain regulatory matters, for “there is no such court within the federal judiciary.” The court of appeals neatly excised the reference to “circuit,” relying upon what surely must have been Congress’s intent.

hat tip: Jeremy Counsellor and the Civil Procedure Prof Blog

(cmb, with apologies to the Bard)

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

effect of writing exercises on exam performance

A recently published article discusses whether law students do better on exams when they are given the opportunity to practice beforehand, via writing exercises and other techniques. The not-so-surprising answer is “Yes.” For details, see Andrea A. Curcio, Gregory Todd Jones, & Tanya M. Washington, Developing an Empirical Model to Test Whether Required Writing Exercises or Other Changes in Large-Section Law Class Teaching Methodologies Result in Improved Exam Performance, 57 J. Legal Educ. 195 (2007).


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

LWI initiates monograph series

The Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute has announced its plans to develop and publish a monograph series on topics related to teaching, curriculum, scholarship, and status issues. The goals and benefits of the new series are many:

  • support new legal writing teachers in learning their craft
  • help new teachers avoid “reinventing the wheel”
  • provide new and experienced easy access to articles with different points of view about the same topic
  • serve as a basic reference tool and a foundation for further scholarship in the same or related areas
  • offer significant “PR” about the intellectual depth of the legal writing community to faculty and administrators in legal education generally
  • give publication and republication opportunities for legal writing professionals

Jane Gionfriddo will serve as editor-in-chief for the first volume, which will focus on giving feedback on student work.

Monograph committee members include Co-Chairs, Steve Johansen (Lewis & Clark) & Jane Kent Gionfriddo (Boston College); Members, Susan DeJarnatt (Temple), Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Suffolk), and Allison Julien (Marquette).

hat tip: Susan Hanley Duncan (Louisville)


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

visitorships at Louisville

The University of Louisville's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law anticipates hiring one or more visiting professors of legal writing for the 2008-09 academic year.  Entry level and experienced professors are invited to apply. Inquiries and applications should be directed to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Timothy S. Hall, University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, 2301 South Third St.; Louisville, KY40292; or by phone at (502) 852-6361.


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

Friday, February 1, 2008

newest issue of LWI Journal available online

Want something more interesting to read this weekend than student briefs (fascinating though they may be)? The Legal Writing Institute has just released Volume 13 of the LWI Journal, and the articles and essay are all publicly available online--in other words, for free. Much good reading here, as evidenced by this list of authors and titles:

  • Susan E. Thrower, Teaching Legal Writing through Subject-Matter Specialties: A Reconception of Writing across the Curriculum
  • Laurie C. Kadoch, The Third Paradigm: Bringing Legal Writing “Out of the Box” and into the Mainstream: A Marriage of Doctrinal Subject Matter and Legal Writing Doctrine
  • Mitchell Nathanson, Dismantling the “Other”: Understanding the Nature and Malleability of Groups in the Legal Writing Professorate’s Quest for Equality
  • Sophie Sparrow, Practicing Civility in the Legal Writing Course: Helping Law Students Learn Professionalism
  • Cara Cunningham & Michelle Streicher, The Methodology of Persuasion: A Process-Based Approach to Persuasive Writing
  • Stefano Moscato, Teaching Foundational Clinical Lawyering Skills to First-Year Students
  • Sanford N. Greenberg, Legal Research Training: Preparing Students for a Rapidly Changing Research Environment
  • Ted Becker & Rachel Croskery-Roberts, Avoiding Common Problems in Using Teaching Assistants: Hard Lessons Learned from Peer Teaching Theory and Experience
  • George D. Gopen, CCISSR: The Perfect Way to Teach Legal Writing

hat tip: Jim Levy (with additional applause for his co-editor-in-chief Kristin Gerdy, managing editor Brooke Bowman, and all the members of the Editorial Board)


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

legal writing position with ABA Rule of Law Initiative

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative is currently seeking experienced judges, attorneys, and law professors with a minimum of five years of relevant experience, a high level of energy and initiative, strong interpersonal skills, and expertise in the substantive areas required by the relevant position. International experience and foreign language skills are preferred, but not required. One of the positions presently being advertised is that of Legal Education Reform Specialist. Here is the job description:

The Legal Education Reform Specialist will be responsible for implementation of legal education reform activities with the University of Pristina – in both Pristina and Mitrovica. Pending the outcome of final discussions with funding agencies on areas of work, the Legal Education Specialist in cooperation with the resident staff, will assist with: the development of the Legal Methodology course, a one semester mandatory credited course; the development and piloting of a new course in Ethics and Professional Responsibility; and the development of a potential Research and Writing course. The Legal Education Specialist will also support the expansion of an on-going simulation legal clinic, as well as a currently piloted Trial Advocacy course and live-client clinic. Additionally, the Specialist will assist in the expansion of a “street law” style program called, TeenLaw. Course development and teaching, and clinical legal education teaching experience is a must. Experience teaching Ethics and writing courses is also preferred. The incumbent should also possess excellent staff management skills. Sense of humor a must. Other requirements include five years relevant work experience, prior experience in formal university legal instruction and/or administration and prior experience in clinical settings (teaching practical skills). Prior knowledge of the legal system and legal education system in Kosovo would be preferred. The Legal Specialist will be required to travel within the country and conduct work with two universities.

For more information about the program, click here and here.


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

2 openings at Loyola-LA

Loyola Law School-Los Angeles invites applications for two new full-time, non-tenure track positions as an Associate Clinical Professor for the 2008-09 academic year (joining 8 existing faculty).  Associate Clinical Professors teach the legal writing component of two sections of required first-year Legal Research and Writing and one section of Ethical Lawyering.  Ethical Lawyering, a required upper-division course, teaches legal ethics, client interviewing and counseling in an innovative, integrated format using video and live client simulations. Legal research is taught by the law librarians as a part of the overall LRW course.

The initial appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor is for two years and may be renewed for unlimited successive five-year periods. Applicants must have a degree from an ABA/AALS accredited law school, an outstanding academic record along with excellent written and oral skills.  Practice experience in legal writing and drafting and interviewing and counseling clients is required.  Prior law school teaching in legal writing, professional responsibility, or interviewing and counseling is strongly preferred.

Send resumes and names of two references by March 3, 2008, to: Loyola Law School Human Resources or FAX: 213-386-6966.


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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

legal writing podcasts from Suffolk

Early_podcastsThe Legal Practice Skills Faculty at Suffolk University Law School has just launched a weekly legal writing tip podcast series, publicly available on iTunes U.  Subscribers can automatically download these podcasts when new content becomes available and listen to them anywhere or anytime.
hat tip: Kathleen Elliott Vinson

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

position at Howard University School of Law


Legal Writing Instructor

Howard University School of Law seeks applicants for the position of Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing (LRRW) Instructor, commencing in August 2007. Howard instructors become part of a long tradition of academic excellence and social justice.


Legal Writing Instructors teach one section of LRRW I and one section of LRRW II. LRRW I is a full-year course worth two credits per semester.

In LRRW, first-year students learn the basics of analysis, research, predictive and persuasive writing, and oral argument. Class size for each LRRW section is usually around 30 students. The instructors and the director generally cooperate to formulate a common syllabus and common writing problems for all LRRW sections.

In both the Fall and Spring, instructors teach one section of LRRW II, a one-semester course worth two credits. In LRRW II, second-year students further hone the skills learned in LRRW by working on a relatively sophisticated appellate problem. Class size for each LRRW II section is usually around 15 students. Instructors have substantial freedom to design their own syllabi and their own appellate problems for LRRW II.

Legal Writing Instructors are integrated into the life of the law school. They serve on faculty committees and vote at faculty meetings on all matters except appointments and tenure.

Legal Writing Instructors receive renewable contracts of one to three years. Due to a university rule, instructors may not continue at Howard longer than seven years. The current salary is $58,710.


Howard seeks individuals who are, or have the potential to be, excellent legal writing teachers. Applicants should have superior legal writing skills and academic records (including a J.D. or its equivalent).

Teaching experience, scholarship, and practice experience as a lawyer are viewed favorably.


The application period will be open until any positions are filled.

Applicants should email a cover letter and resume to:

Professor e. christi cunningham

Legal Writing Director

Howard University School of Law

Howard University is committed to justice and equality. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Howard encourages applications from women, minorities, and members of all historically disadvantaged groups.


Which of the following best describes the position you wish to advertise?

Position is tenure-track:  No

May lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years: No

May lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years: Yes

Has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed: Yes

Will the person hired be permitted to vote in faculty meetings?  Yes (on all matters except appointments and tenure)

The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range: (A base salary does NOT include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)

$50,000 to $59,999

The person hired will teach legal writing each semester to a total number of students in the range:

46 to 50


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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

forget the article--what's the title?

Eyes_of_bette As writers, we want to be read. To reach our audiences, we need to be published (or perhaps, just blog, but that's another thread). Both of these considerations drive an author's selection of a title for the work.

A recent study by Julie Oseid and Leah Christensen shows that when law review student editors are deciding what to publish, the "catchiness" of an article's title is more attractive to third- and fourth-tier law reviews than to their higher-tier cohorts.

One of my faculty colleagues, a former editor-in-chief of a top tier review, told me that the buzz he's hearing these days is that when it comes to titles, "short is the new long."

One of the things I like about longer titles is that they give me a sense of what's inside. I don't know what to make of a title like this one: Unlaw, published at 55 Buff. L. Rev. 841 (2007).

My favorite law review article title of all time was fine with the editors of the Columbia Law Review--but that was back in 1990. The title? She's Got Bette Davis['s] Eyes: Assessing the Nonconsensual Removal of Cadaver Organs under the Takings and Due Process Clauses, published at 90 Colum. L. Rev. 528 (1990).


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

writing conference at Howard

Send in a paper and mark your calendar for an interesting conference scheduled for this spring in DC, the Writing and Legal Writing Teachers, Instructors, and Professors of Color and/or Progressive Orientation Conference (which assigns itself the acronym WLWTIPCPOC). To be held at Howard University on May 17-18, 2008, the conference is geared to a diverse and large cross-section of the teaching academy, “any person who has an interest in and concern for teaching writing at any of its levels and in any of its forms, from early childhood to graduate and professional programs.  The conference is particularly designed to bring together writing teachers of color, writing teachers who are progressively oriented, and writing teachers who teach a significant number of students of color.”

The conference theme is “From Grammar School to Graduate and Law School: Building to Bridge the Achievement Gap.” Organizers invite proposals for presentations on the following topics:

                   Teaching writing to students of color

                   Writing and social change and engineering

                   Building coalitions among faculty: grammar to graduate/professional schools

                   Literacy in immigrant communities

                   Literacy in urban communities

If you are interesting in presenting a paper on one of these topics, or if you would like to propose a panel topic, present a work in progress, comment on a work in progress, contact Professor e. christi cunningham. The deadline is March 1, 2008.


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

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Global Legal Skills Conference III - Monterrey Mexico

It is snowing in Chicago, so my thoughts have turned toward next month's legal writing and skills conference in Monterrey Mexico. If you are interested in attending the conference, look for details at


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

New York Workshop in February for Academic Support Professionals (and their Friends)

Professors Kris Franklin (New York Law School) and Linda Feldman (Brooklyn Law School) announced on the Legal Writing List that they are organizing a full-day New York Area Academic Support workshop at New York Law School on Friday, February 22, 2008. They expect only a small gathering of academic support professionals and other colleagues. Although the gathering may be small in numbers of attendees, it promises to be rich in content. Contact them directly for more information.

Prof. Kris Franklin
Director, Academic Skills Program
New York Law School
47 Worth Street
New York, NY
(212) 431-2353

Linda Feldman
Director of Educational Services
Brooklyn Law School
250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 780 7929


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

Lack of Remorse or Explanation for Law School Plagiarism Keeps Student from Being Admitted to the Bar

It seems that a second year law student in Georgia didn't need to spend his third year in law school after all. The Georgia Supreme Court recently affirmed the determination of a hearing board that plagiarism committed by the student in an advanced Torts class (when he was a second year student) was enough to keep him from becoming a lawyer.

Hat tip: I learned about the case from a posting on the Legal Profession Blog, where it was posted by Michael S. Frisch, Ethics Counsel for the Georgetown Law Center.

The Georgia Supreme Court opinion focused on the student's failure to acknowledge to take any personal responsibility for the plagiarism:

A majority of the Board told White directly or by clear implication that
they did not believe his account of how and why he had submitted a paper at the
end of his second year of law school that was a virtually verbatim reproduction
of sections of five previously published sources, none of which was cited in the
paper. The Board gave White multiple opportunities to provide a fuller and
more convincing explanation for his conduct, but he declined to do so. The
Board voted tentatively to deny White certification of fitness to practice law.
White requested a formal hearing, and a hearing officer was appointed to
review the matter. At the hearing, White again failed to offer any credible
explanation for his plagiarism. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the
contrary, White was either unwilling or unable to admit that he deliberately took
sections of five previously published works, typed them word-for-word into his
computer, made minute changes in citations and wording, and then printed out
the resulting 35-page paper with 211 footnotes and submitted it to his professor
as his own work.

The hearing officer submitted a written report and recommendation to the
Board. The hearing officer specifically found that White’s explanation of the
plagiarism incident was not credible, that he had not yet accepted full
responsibility for his actions, and that he did not currently possess the character
and fitness required of a prospective member of the State Bar. The hearing
officer recommended final denial of White’s application for certification of
fitness to practice law, and the Board adopted White’s recommendation.

And the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the denial of his admission to the bar.

Print out a copy of the full opinion for your students (or better yet, make it a research exercises). It could very well be one of the most powerful handouts they will ever receive on plagiarism.

Posted by Mark E. Wojcik, filling in for Sue Liemer

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

New Resources for Statutory Construction

The Statutory Construction Blog has updated its list of resources on statutory construction. You might find some of these resources to be quite helpful when teaching students about statutes.

Mark E. Wojcik, filling in for Sue Liemer


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

Writing Assignment Idea (for Advanced Writing Classes)

Professor Ellen S. Podgor, who is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Distance Education at Stetson University College of Law, posted on the Law School Innovation Blog about her experience in having students write amicus briefs for pending U.S. Supreme Court cases. (The briefs were a class project, not to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.) Read more about her experience.

The idea of having students do amicus briefs for pending cases could also be done with other state and federal appellate courts. There are lots of possibilities here for advanced writing classes.

Mark E. Wojcik, filling in for Sue Liemer

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

Monday, January 28, 2008

how much did your school want you?

OK, when a law school somewhere recruits a legal writing prof and pays for that prof's pricey living quarters, then we will have arrived!! 


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

British and U.S. Legal Systems and several other sources are reporting on a program held last Thursday at Georgetown University Law Center with Baroness Brenda Hale, the first female Law Lord in the British House of Lords, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Here is an audio link to the program, which includes some interesting perspectives on their experiences and on deciding cases.

This event was sponsored by the Supreme Court Fellows Program Alumni Association and the Georgetown Law Supreme Court Institute. 


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