Saturday, February 9, 2008

share your tips for teaching statutory interpretation & analysis

The Fall 2008 issue of the Legal Writing Institute’s newsletter, The Second Draft, is soliciting short articles (no more than 650 words) on techniques for teaching statutory interpretation and analysis to law students. Authors are requested to review the newsletter’s submission guidelines prior to submitting an article. E-mail your submissions to no later than June 2, 2008.

hat tip: Kathleen Elliott Vinson


February 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS call for proposals

The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research requests your proposals for the 2009 Section Program, which will take place at the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting, to be held January 6-10, 2009, in San Diego, California.

The Program Committee encourages programs relating to topics of broad academic interest, such as matters pertaining to plagiarism, wrongful collaboration, and adoption and enforcement of honor code issues.  Other topics of interest include innovative teaching methodologies to encourage collaboration that does not run afoul of course policies.  Although proposals are not limited to these topics, the committee encourages and prefers topics that will appeal to a wide audience at the AALS conference, and it will look favorably on programs that encourage interaction among panelists and that provide for significant audience participation.

Samples of past program proposals are on the Section's website. The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (JALWD) has agreed to publish the proceedings of the 2009 Program. Submit your proposal by email to Melissa Weresh no later than February 15, 2008. The program will be selected by early March 2008.  If you have questions, contact any member of the Program Committee:


February 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

job opening for Cleveland State LW directorship

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University seeks applicants for the full-time position of Director of Legal Writing. The person hired is eligible for an initial five-year appointment of annually renewable eleven-month contracts. The Director reports directly to the dean; members of the legal writing faculty are active in faculty governance, including committee service, and are voting members of the law faculty for all issues not concerning tenure, promotion, or the hiring of tenure-track faculty. The Director’s responsibilities include the development, coordination, and implementation of the program in legal writing and research education at Cleveland-Marshall. The director has primary responsibility for the first-year Legal Writing Program, as well as additional upper-level legal writing courses offered currently or in the future. The Director will teach one first-year section (15-20 students).

Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, a minimum of three years experience teaching Legal Writing, and a serious commitment to students. Successful experience in leading colleagues in an academic setting is strongly preferred. Salary will be competitive and based on the successful applicant’s experience and qualifications.

The school’s Legal Writing Director search committee will begin reviewing applications as they are received, and the position will remain open until filled. Applicants who submit materials on or before March 15, 2008, will be assured of receiving full consideration. Send a letter of interest and resume (including the names and contact information of at least three (3) references, one of whom should be from a colleague outside the home institution) to Professor Heidi Gorovitz Robertson, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, LB 138, Cleveland, OH 44115. E-mail applications are also accepted; send them to Ms. Holli Goodman.


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

final details available for Rocky Mtn LW Conference

Here is some news for those planning to attend the 2008 Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, hosted by the University of Utah on March 21-22, 2008. Details on the scheduled presentations, registration, and accommodations are available on the conference website. Sponsors request that those planning to attend register by March 12, 2008. A block of rooms is being held at the conference rate at the University Guest House until March 1, and at two local Marriott hotels until February 20 (links to hotels are on the conference website). 


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

six-word memoirs

A recent post in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog takes note of a new book inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who when challenged to write a story in six words, came up with “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” The book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, includes this entry by a lawyer in North Carolin a: "Angry guy gets law license, sues." (The entries were collected by Smith magazine, which continues to collect for the next edition.)

The WSJ blog invited its readers to submit their own six-word memoirs. We will do the same--but ask readers to share memoirs relating to the teaching of legal writing. Here are a couple of mine, reflecting life at very different points in the semester:

  • Lecture, demonstrate, practice, grade, sigh, repeat.
  • Class gets it! Jump for joy.


February 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

job opening at Golden Gate

Golden Gate University School of Law invites applications for the long-term contract position of assistant professor in the Advanced Legal Writing Program, beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year.  The core of the Advanced Legal Writing Program is Appellate Advocacy, required in the second year, and offered in every semester, including summers; this course introduces students to persuasive writing and oral argument and culminates in an internal moot court competition. The advanced program also includes several electives. 

The person hired will teach one section of Appellate Advocacy and one advanced elective in both the fall and spring semesters, and he or she will also assist the Director of Advanced Legal Writing Programs with various administrative tasks, including  organizing the oral argument portion of the Appellate Advocacy course and supervising the moot court board in all three semesters.  Teaching in the summer program is encouraged, but not required. 

You are invited to contact Leslie Rose for more information about the position. Individuals interested in the position should send a cover letter, a resume, a writing sample, and contact information for three references by February 27, 2008, to Associate Professor Eric C. Christiansen, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Golden Gate University School of Law,   536 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-2968.


February 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

opening for director at Wayne State

Wayne State University Law School seeks an experienced (at least two years preferred) legal educator to direct its Legal Research & Writing Program, which includes four other full-time legal research and writing instructors.  The person hired will play a leading role in helping Wayne’s faculty choose from among various proposals to update the program in the next several years, including proposals for expansion of the program beyond the first year of law school, integration of legal research and writing instruction with instruction in other first year subjects, and adding instruction in professional skills other than legal research and writing to the required first year course.

The Director trains new legal writing faculty; organizes the Orientation program for first-years; prepares syllabi for Orientation and the first-year course; develops the common writing problems used by all sections; chairs meetings of the research and writing faculty; handles student issues related to the research and writing program; arranges visits by trial and appellate courts; coordinates the first-year moot court program; and oversees the selection of legal writing award recipients. In addition, the Director usually teaches one section of the two-semester legal writing course for first-year law students and one section of the upper level Advanced Legal Writing course.

The Director serves on Law School committees and participates in faculty meetings.  As an ex officio member of the Law School’s Legal Research & Writing Committee, the Director participates in evaluating the performance of research and writing faculty and in screening candidates for research and writing instructor positions.  It is expected that the Director will engage in professional advancement activities suitable to the position, such as participating in conferences, publishing articles, and performing service outside the University in the legal writing community.

To apply, send a CV and cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position, by e-mail (preferred) or in hardcopy,  to
Christopher J. Peters, Chair, Legal Research & Writing Committee, Wayne State University Law School, 471 West Palmer, Detroit, MI  48202.


February 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

All About Law School - A New DVD for Law Students

A new DVD about law school includes a chapter on IRAC among its 20 chapters.  I haven't seen the movie, but the trailer for it looks interesting.  The DVD is called "All About Law School," and it's about, well, law school.  If one of you has seen the movie, please share your thoughts about it with us.

Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, filling in for Sue Liemer.


February 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 4, 2008

considering a career in teaching legal writing?

Professor_gThere are many ways in which law schools advertise for faculty positions in legal writing, but one of the most popular is via the listservs for members of the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors. Law school ads on the listservs are not posted, however, unless the school provides information about several key aspects of the job:

  • the faculty status assigned to the position (tenure-track; long-term contracts of 5 years or more; short-term contracts of 1-4 years; capped (appointment limited to a certain number of years, with no renewal); fellowships of 1-2 years; part-time; or year-to-year adjunct);
  • the faculty member's ability to participate in faculty governance, i.e., whether the person hired for the position will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings;
  • the base salary range (excluding stipends for activities such as moot court coaching, summer school teaching, teaching other courses, or travel/development funds); and
  • the anticipated total number of students enrolled each semester in the courses the person hired will teach.
    • When these announcements appear on the listservs, we try to let you know about them on this blog. (We've barely begun the year, and already, we've had a bevy of announcements--see here and here and here and here and here and here.) For all the details on a given job, it's best for interested applicants to contact the persons listed in the announcements.

      Another valuable source to check is the job search page at the website of the Legal Writing Institute, particularly as it sometimes has ads that are not posted on the listservs (but still must answer the key questions).


      February 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

      Public Comments on Federal Rules, and Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure

      Many legal research and writing professors may have missed an interesting development in federal rulemaking:  Public comments on proposed rules are now easily accessible on the internet.

      For example, take the Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure.  You can find each of those proposed rules at this website.  If you scroll down to the end of that page, you can see another link to comments submitted on those proposed federal rules.  There you can view comments already submitted (and get information on how to submit your own comments).

      What does this mean?

      First, I think it is an interesting future research source for our students.  If they are affected by a change in a federal rule, they can more easily research the public comments that went into making the rule.  Sure, this information was available earlier if you had the time to go visit the agency headquarters, but these public comments are now easily available just with a few clicks.  Will such research be persuasive to a court?  That question remains to be decided, but at a minimum knowing who said what to the agency will be helpful information to many readers.

      Second, I think that it will encourage the submission of more comments.  Perhaps this is a good thing, perhaps not -- that would depend on the quality of the comments submitted. 

      Third, drafting comments on proposed federal rules might become a useful class exercise for legal writing.  Students could analyze proposed rule changes,  research existing law, and draft comments that they could then submit (or not) to the agency.

      The public comment procedure is available for federal government agencies and for proposed changes to the court rules.  Comments are due on those proposed rule changes by February 15, 2008.  Have a look at the website links above -- maybe you (or your students) will have some comments of your own to submit.

      Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago


      February 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

      Ode to the Law Library

      A first-year law student has created a number of videos documenting his experiences during his first (and now second) semester of law school.  One of these videos is his Ode to the Law Library.  It's just over a minute long.  Enjoy.

      Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago


      February 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

      Sunday, February 3, 2008

      Spying on Sue Liemer

      Sue_liemer Sue Liemer, one of the three regular blog editors listed in the left-hand column, is on sabbatical this semester.  Her sabbatical includes not only a break from her regular duties at Southern Illinois University School of Law (where she is the Director of the SIU Legal Writing Program), but also a break from contributing posts to this blog.  I am filling in for her this semester on the blog.  [She is not prohibited from posting on the blog, but her electronic sabbatical relieves her of the intense blogging pressure that all bloggers must normally otherwise feel!]

      It is a natural concern of colleagues to be sure that those who enjoy sabbaticals do so in ways that are both restful and productive.  So many of us have been wondering about how Sue Liemer is spending her sabbatical.  Is she writing?  Reading?  Researching?  Resting?  Maybe a little bit of each of those?  Is she enjoying a break from classroom teaching, student conferences, and committee work?  There is no authoritative source to locate answers to these pressing questions, so I hopped on a train from Chicago to Carbondale  . . . to go and spy on Sue Liemer!  Just how IS she spending her sabbatical?

      Before disclosing the answer, a word about Sue Liemer for those of you who might not know her.  She received a B.A. in comparative literature from Princeton, and a J.D. from Virginia.  She's worked as a writer in advertising and marketing.  She served as counsel to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission.  Her law practice included administrative hearing, appellate work, and liaison work with the public, government employees, the press, and the legislature.

      She taught at Western New England College of Law, the University of Mississippi School of Law, and Southern Illinois University where she is now director.  She was president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors sometime in the last century (ok, it was 1999-2000), and she is on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute.  Her scholarship interests include both legal writing and art law.

      Just returning from this mission, I am happy to report that Sue is doing well.  She is enjoying her sabbatical and doing some interesting original research (in English and French) on intellectual property law issues.  This furthers her previous scholarship on copyright and other intellectual property law issues.  We had breakfast in Carbondale at Sue’s favorite breakfast place, Harbaugh’s Café (just across the street from the SIU campus).  Another SIU professor, Cindy Buys (who is also on sabbatical this semester from teaching international and constitutional law at SIU) joined us.  Cindy and Sue compared notes on their sabbaticals so far (it has only been a month – barely even long enough to realize that you are on sabbatical I think), and exchanged encouragement and support.  We talked about scholarship, teaching, and productive uses of sabbatical time.  Bottom line?   She’s doing great.

      Although I told Sue that the purpose of my visit was to spy on her, Professor Cindy Buys had arranged for me to speak to the International Law Society at SIU on careers in international law.  [I have made it a habit to go down to SIU about once a year to talk to the students there about international law careers.]  Professor Buys also arranged meetings for me with the gay and lesbian law student group at SIU, and we had some serious substantive discussions on issues such as civil unions, same-sex marriage, federal non-discrimination legislation, and repealing the military’s prohibition on gay and lesbian servicemembers.  [All of which make great subjects for legal writing problems by the way.]

      Sheila_simon I also had a chance to see the singing legal writing professor, Sheila Simon.  You may remember that she wrote “The Martha Stewart Blues” and recorded that on a CD with her band, Loose Gravel (the name of the band is not a reference to the failed Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel).  I had dinner with Sheila and her family, where we discussed pressing issues of concern to all legal writing professors.

      I also stopped in the SIU Law Library, where I was pleasantly surprised to find Laurel Wendt.  I thought she had retired, and, in fact, she had.  Nevertheless, there she was, filling in and helping library patrons find materials in the SIU Law Library.  It just goes to show how dedicated some people can be.

      So all is well in Carbondale, Illinois.  If your own travels take you there this semester or this summer, stop in to visit Sue Liemer and the other legal writing and research professionals at SIU.  In fact, if you are travelling anywhere, why not contact the legal writing folk where you are going and invite them out to lunch?  We’re a community of friends already, and they’ll be happy to see you.

      Mark E. Wojcik, spying on Sue Liemer


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