Friday, July 31, 2009
This one comes to us from Professors Gerald Hess of Gonzaga and Stephen Gerst from Phoenix School of Law. It can be found at 43 Val. U. L. Rev. 513 (2009). From the introduction:
An old story about life: A grandparent was teaching a grandchild about our inner lives. “A struggle is going on inside of me, you, and everyone else. It is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is anger, envy, regret, greed, guilt, lies, resentment, and superiority. The other wolf is joy, humility, love, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.” “But which wolf will win?” asked the grandchild. Answered the grandparent, “The one you feed.”
I must confess, i hadn't heard of these two service before reading this article. I'm assuming they are both commercial (i.e. pay to play) services but the article doesn't make that 100% clear.
Enjoy! I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
Here's a list of recent examples of typos in legal documents that not only put the lawyers involved in hot water, but may also cost the client a lot of money.
1. Incorrect date in real estate document could cost developers millions and NYC law firm might be on the hook according to this New York Times article.
2. The case of the misplaced comma that may cost a client $1 million (since it's Canadian dollars, perhaps the offending law firm can convince the client it's not such a big deal after all).
3. "Pubic" rather than "public," may cost county $40k - ouch!
4. Second and Third Circuits make the same doggone mistake!
5. Student newspaper editor screws up to the tune of 20,000 copies.
6. The biggest blunder so far? The $57 million typo.
Thanks to Above the Law and me. I am the scholarship dude. (jbl)
According to this editorial from the New Jersey Law Journal:
Legal writing is all about groupings -- sets and subsets, and categories. These are the building blocks of logic. Accurate sets and subsets (accurate categories) increase the efficiency with which information is delivered, and the process of shaping sets and subsets forces a writer to confirm that the message is on point. Regrettably, the kind of precise grouping that typically takes place late in the editing process (e.g., rearranging items in sentences and short paragraphs) is sometimes skipped in the rush to get product out the door.
Read the rest here. I am the scholarship dude - back in action! (jbl)
UCLA School of Law and Brigham Young University Law School have announced that their second conference on the pedagogoy of interviewing and counseling will take place on October 16 & 17, 2009, at UCLA. If you are interested in participating as a panelist or group leader, contact Susan Gillig, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Summer Rose, Conference Administrator, email@example.com. As conference information becomes available, it will be posted at http://www.law.ucla.edu/conferences/clinical/. (spl)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Janet Metzger is an actress and adjunct law professor who teaches lawyers how to use theater techniques to improve their oral communications. She presented some easy techniques at the applied legal storytelling conference, and has posted one of those on her blog. (spl)
The Legal Writing Institute's banner greeted conference participants.
LWI Prez Ruth Anne Robbins & ALWD Prez, Mary Beth Beazley.
Six LWI presidents toasted us. (pictured: Ruth Anne Robbins, Chris Rideout, Mary Beth Beazley, Ken Chestek, Steve Johansen)
Chris Rideout presents Aristotle Meets Sherlock Holmes: Truth, Probability, and Narrative Coherence.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This news comes from Editor Linda Berger:
The Fall 2009 issue of J. ALWD (Vol. 6) is now available on the J. ALWD website. The issue focuses on "best practices" in persuasion and includes general articles as well. The print version will be distributed by mail to about 3,500 lawyers, judges, academics, law school deans, and law school libraries, and is scheduled to arrive around Labor Day.
Got Issues? An Empirical Study about Framing Them
Judith D. Fischer
The Power of Brevity: Adopt Abraham Lincoln’s Habits
Julie A. Oseid
The Poetry of Persuasion: Early Literary Theory and Its Advice to Legal Writers
Stephen E. Smith
Persuasion: An Annotated Bibliography
The Narrative Construction of Legal Reality
Richard K. Sherwin
Characterization and Legal Discourse
Laura E. Little
Legal Writing and Disciplinary Knowledge-Building: A Comparative Study
Douglas M. Coulson
“The Play of Those Who Have Not Yet Heard of Games”: Creativity, Compliance, and the “Good Enough” Law Teacher
Mary R. Falk (spl)
13th Annual ASLCH Conference The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistic legal scholarship. It will be accepting proposals for panels, roundtables, papers, and volunteers for chairs and discussants from July 15th until October 15th 2009. To submit proposals, go to the online submission site. Additional information about accommodations and other conference matters will be posted as they become available. If you have questions, contact Linda Meyer (Linda.Meyer @ quinnipiac.edu).
March 19-20, 2010
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities is an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistic legal scholarship. It will be accepting proposals for panels, roundtables, papers, and volunteers for chairs and discussants from July 15th until October 15th 2009. To submit proposals, go to the online submission site. Additional information about accommodations and other conference matters will be posted as they become available. If you have questions, contact Linda Meyer (Linda.Meyer @ quinnipiac.edu).(spl)
The review invites current law students and recent graduates (2006 or later) to submit stories. Winning submission(s) will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of the UMKC Law Review, and the first place winner will receive a $500 prize.
· Non-fiction stories about the first year experience
· 1,000 - 5,000 words, including footnotes
· Footnotes are discouraged—we are looking for stories, not conventional law review articles or notes
· Open to current law student s and recently graduated law students (2006 or after)
· Send to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Law Stories Submission” in subject line
· MS Word or PDF formats only
· Submission deadline October 23, 2009
hat tip: Wanda Temm & Nancy Levit (spl)
The second of two videos created by the Media Committee of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research, titled "The Case for Legal Writing," focuses on the importance of legal writing to law practice. The other video, "Benefits of Learning Legal Writing," was featured here on July 27, 2009.
Watch the videos, and then send your comments and suggestions concerning distribution of the videos, or content of the videos, to the committee chair, Professor Melissa Weresh (Drake). Other members of the committee are Professors Danton Berube (Detroit Mercy), Kirsten Dauphinais (North Dakota), Pamela Keller (Kansas), Jonathan Marcantel (Charleston), Gabe Teninbaum (Suffolk), and Kathleen Vinson (Suffolk).
Monday, July 27, 2009
The Media Committee of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research has recently released two videos demonstrating the importance of legal research and writing instruction in legal education. The first appears below. The committee plans to make the videos available to law school admissions and undergraduate career counseling personnel. Prior to that distribution, the committee requests feedback from the legal writing community. If you have suggestions or recommendations regarding the content of the videos, or with respect to their distribution, send them to the committee chair, Professor Melissa Weresh of Drake University.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Although the excellent applied Legal Storytelling conference has ended, there is still much to report, as time allows. Robert McPeake, from The City Law School in London, presented a paper he is working on with Marcus Soanes, asking Why Isn't the English Legal Profession Interested in Storytelling? Their main thrust is searching for mechanisms that will help lawyers in England and Wales become more reflective about their work, so they will seek ways to continually improve in their work as advocates. From the perspective of a U.S. law professor, a particularly interesting aspect of McPeake's presentation was his background explanation of the current system of training and licensing soliciters and barristers in England. Advocacy before their courts is mostly oral advocacy. Only recently have written "skeleton reports" been allowed, and as one judge reminded English advocates, "NOT AMERICAN STYLE BRIEFS" (emphasis original). Their assessment for licensing reflects this oral tradition, and a system to assess all candidates in skills like negotiating, client interviewing, and oral argument is already in use. Perhaps this system could provide a useful model for the ABA, as it seeks to implement outcome measures in U.S. legal education, instead of the current ABA standards that measure inputs. (spl)
Friday, July 24, 2009
Those of us attending the Applied Legal Storytelling conference were sworn to secrecy until it could be announced on the legal writing listserves first, but now that's done, we can announce here the recipient of the 2010 Blackwell Award: Steve Johansen, our conference host here at Lewis & Clark. The award, presented in memory of Tom Blackwell, is the most prestigious award given in legal writing to one of our own. Steve was a friend of Tom's and rendered almost speechless by the announcement. (spl)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Senate Judiciary Committee should have been at LWI's Applied Storytelling Conference today. In the opening plenary session, Ruth Anne Robbins and Steve Johansen presented This Is Your Brain on Stories. They first gave us a working definition of the word "story" (as opposed to "narrative"), then gave an overview of the relevant science on how human brains function, and finally suggested some implications. We learned that for a human being to make a decision, the brain must employ both logic and emotion. It is physically impossible to make a decision if the two areas of the brain most responsible for each function are not working well and communicating with each other. Stories activate both the memory and sensory functions of the brain, including emotions. Human brains naturally take in information and form it into stories; if there are gaps in a story, our brains use past experience to fill in those gaps. In other words, all humans with healthy brains base decisions, in part, on past experience. (It works the same for U.S. Senators and for U.S. Supreme Court nominees.) With more story telling, law students also could have better comprehension and retention of the material they're learning, and also sharpen their analytical, writing, and oratory skills. (spl)
The Attorney General of Oregon, John Kroger, opened the Applied Legal Storytelling conference in Portland last night, telling a few stories from his book, Convictions. He used to work as a federal prosecutor, and if you have ever stood in a courtroom, have ever taught or mentored people who will one day stand in a courtroom, or just enjoy amazing stories that happen to be true, you might want to find some time during lunch hour to get to the library or bookstore and find this book. John doesn't just tell the stories of the cases, he tells the stories of the ethical decisions he faced during his cases, essentially the story of an attorney maturing within his profession. I could go on and on about his excellent presentation, but then I'd miss the shuttle bus from beautiful downtown Portland to the Lewis & Clark law school for today's conference presentations. (spl)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Or maybe not, according to a recent study by an educational psychologist who found that "how academics dress for a lecture doesn't affect how students perceive them —at least in the long run."
Yasmine L. Konheim-Kalkstein, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology, grouped four sections of an introductory psychology course she taught last fall into two "casual" classes and two "formal" classes, each of which were held at different times and on different days.
The data showed that Ms. Konheim-Kalkstein's clothing made a small difference in perceptions of her on the first day of class, with those students in the "formal" classes finding her more qualified and approachable than did those in the informal classes. But four weeks into the semester, wearing less-formal clothes had about the same effect on student perceptions as wearing formal clothes.
You can read the rest of this story from the Chronicle of Higher Education here.
I know that (several) others have studied whether the way in which professors dress affects student perceptions but I can't remember whether this new study in consistent with the other research. Since I'm headed out the door to the UNLV rec center, I'm not inclined to find out at the moment. If you know, please post in the comment section below.
I am the scholarship dude.