Friday, July 17, 2009

liveblogging from ALWD conference

In a breakout session led by Anthony Niedwiecki (Nova), Anthony-bioparticipants are discussing ways to build relationships with faculty and administration. Session attendees are discussing ways they are improving their visibility and educating faculty colleagues about the legal writing programs.

Committee membership is a key strategy, including in particular, serving on the faculty appointments committee when the school plans to hire a new leg al writing professor, using data from the annual ALWD/LWI survey to share information with other faculty members about national trends and developments.

Some schools are asking candidates for legal writing positions to do legal-writing topical job talks to the faculty as a whole, whether in addition to doing a more traditional presentation or instead of it. Many doctrinal faculty are unaware of the existence of legal writing scholarship as a discipline, and this can be a good way to raise their awareness.

Another asks candidates to teach a legal-writing "class" to the faculty. Others point out,however, that faculty members do not make particularly good "students" and are resistant to being engaged by the presenter. (Of course, some actual students are not particularly good students, either! If a candidate can connect with the faculty, he or she may show real promise for the classroom.)

Another key strategy is  to find -- and use -- your allies in the doctrinal faculty, those professors who prize good writing, who are the products of strong legal writing programs, who empathize with your challenges, who will champion your program (particularly valuable if you cannot do so, for political reasons).

(cmb)

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