Friday, May 1, 2009

Ode to the mediocre professor

This is an essay called the Mediocre Professor  from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that I really like and, actually, find quite touching.  In the essay, an English professor at a small, liberal arts college confesses his limitations as a teacher but soldiers on nonetheless, trying to help his students as best he can.  I bet many of us can relate. 

It also reminds us how closely our experience as teachers fighting self-doubt about whether we have the ability to effectively teach our students likely parallels their own struggles about whether they, too, have the ability to succeed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The ways legal academics have contributed to tech innovations useful to the practice of law

Here's a story from Law.com describing a number of technological innovations originating in law school that have had impact on the practice of law such as a bankruptcy case tracking system begun by St. John's University School of Law and and an online IP case clearinghouse database launched by Stanford.  Read about those and other innovations here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It's Law Day - did you forget?

I confess - I did.  Fortunately, the President didn't as evidenced by this proclamation from the White House which begins:

In 1958, President Eisenhower established Law Day as 'a day of national dedication to the principles of government under law.' Each year on Law Day, we celebrate our commitment to the rule of law. That great commitment is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, and has been reaffirmed by the words and deeds of great Americans throughout our Nation's history.

You can read the rest of the proclamation here while the online ABA Journal is offering an interactive map here that shows activities scheduled throughout the country in celebration of Law Day (but by now,  you've missed all of them anyway so do be sure to mark your calendar now for next year).

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

More on USNWR rankings - the discussion continues

Thanks to Terri LeClercq and two others who contributed to the discussion we tried to start (here, here and here) about the wisdom and impact of the legal writing specialty program rankings.  Four years has now passed since USNWR first began ranking legal writing programs and thus it's a good time to reflect on the meaning and significance of it all.  Now comes Bob Morse of USNWR who's jumping on the post-ranking discussion bandwagon with yesterday's column called "The Law School Rankings Debate Rages On."

In that very same column, Mr. Morse singled out three of our best buddies in the 'ol blogosphere - the TaxProf Blog, the Law Librarian Blog and Above the Law - as additional, excellent sources of commentary and critique about the rankings.  So pay them a visit real soon, 'ya hear! 

And we're happy to keep the party going by having you continue to comment below, if you like.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Amazon offers free cloud computing services to educators

To the extent Westlaw's TWEN and Lexis' Blackboard (along with GoogleDocs, among others) are already forms of cloud computing, I'm not sure whether Amazon's service has any advantages that would cause law profs to forego those in favor of this.  For the time being, Amazon is offering up cloud computing access for free and some of you may indeed discover advantageous ways to use it in the legal writing classroom.  Unlike Twitter, which IMHO still needs to prove itself, cloud computing is for real (at least until that too proves wrong).

Kick the tires here.

Hat tip to the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

job openings at University of San Diego

The University of San Diego School of Law will hire two Instructors to teach the legal research, writing, and analysis course--Lawyering Skills I--for the 2009-2010 academic year. These are full-time, non-tenure track faculty positions in a directorless program, whose faculty members collectively share responsibility for the program by rotating as the Department Chair. The program therefore seeks individuals who wish to work in a collaborative atmosphere with others who are committed to excellence in teaching.

The Instructor’s responsibilities include teaching classes (total student load of 41-45 students), preparing problems, critiquing assignments, and counseling individual students. Instructors teach in both day and evening programs, depending on need. They attend faculty meetings (but do not vote) and may serve on faculty committees. 

Instructors are hired to work from August through May, with the possibility of annual reappointment. Starting salary is $58,000 to $60,000, depending upon prior experience, and instructors may apply for summer grant funding. Applicants for the position must have strong academic records, excellent writing skills, and either aptitude for or experience in teaching.  Experience as a practicing attorney is highly desirable. 

Instructions for applying are set out after the jump.

Continue reading

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday video fun - how not to do a PowerPoint presentation

Under the rubric of Friday fun falls this YouTube video poking fun at the common mistakes and pitfalls more commonly known as "death by PowerPoint."

Enjoy!

Hat tip to Deborah McGovern - Nova law librarian extraordinaire.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Summer job tips to pass along to your students

The Young Lawyers Blog is offering up the following advice to summer law clerks: 

  1. Communicate.  This is probably the most important tip.  If you have questions about a project, ask questions.  You are not expected to know everything, but you are expected to ask if you need clarification.  Be sure to communicate regularly with your advisor(s).  They can help you learn firm culture, get projects in areas you want and answer questions you have about your work.  
  2. Be sure you pay attention to deadlines.  Attorneys will often set deadlines for their projects based on real deadlines they are facing on a client matter.  Missed deadlines for no given reason are a red flag on summer associate evaluations.  If you think you will not be able to make a deadline, follow up with the attorney in charge of the project. 
  3. Don’t hide in your office.  You need to meet as many people as possible while you are at your firms.  If the firm culture allows it, leave your office and introduce yourself.   
  4. Attend the events.  This one is self explanatory.  The events are planned for you, so go! 
  5. Have fun!  Work hard but don’t forget to have fun, too.

There's nothing earth-shattering here but perhaps this would still make a much appreciated link to send to your students before they head off to their summer jobs (assuming, of course, they've been lucky enough to find one).

A big 'ol hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

send in your LWI conference proposals

The website at which you can submit proposals to speak at the 2010 LWI Biennial Conference is live Legal_writing_institute_logo as of today.  At that site, you can review the Call for Proposals, see a sample proposal, read about poster presentations, and submit your proposal.   The deadline for submissions is June 15.  Other information about the conference is located on the main conference page.

hat tip: Alison Julien

(spl)

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

J. ALWD Call for Articles -- The Use of Metaphor and Narrative in Interpreting and Composing Legal Texts

The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) invites submission of articles for its Fall 2010 Metaphor & Narrative issue. In addition to articles that address the theme, the Journal encourages authors to submit articles on any topic that fits within the mission of the Journal.

Current research and scholarship have focused attention on metaphor and narrative as cognitive processes that structure perception and expression. In this issue, J. ALWD plans to publish articles examining the use of metaphor and narrative in interpreting and composing legal texts. In other words, we are looking for
(1) articles that discuss the effects on the law-making process of metaphoric concepts (for example, frameworks, models, images, symbols) and narrative elements (plot, character, conflict, setting, and so on) and (2) articles that propose effective methods for lawyers and judges to use these processes to persuade and to reach understanding.

Questions about potential articles are welcome and should be directed to
jalwd@alwd.org.

Information about the Journal's mission and submission guidelines is set out after the jump.

Continue reading

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blackwell Award--Call for Nominations

Colleagues and friends of legal writing are invited to submit nominations for one of the most prestigious awards in our field, the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award  for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing.

The 2010 winner will be announced in mid-summer, and the award will be presented at the 2010 AALS meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. A plaque, listing the winners, is on display at Appalachian Law School.

The criteria for the award, submission instructions, and other important information concerning this award are set out below the jump. The deadline for submitting nominations is June 15, 2009.

Continue reading

May 1, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Have wikis, those paradigms of collaborative publishing, lost their mojo?

According to one commentator- yes they have.  Although Wikipedia is well-established, some analysts argue that the use of wikis in general have lost steam:

Just a few years ago, it seemed nearly everyone, in academe and out, was hailing the wiki as the next great transformative technology — or, at the very least, a tool worth getting a bit excited about. Fast forward to 2009, though, and much of the enthusiastic talk has died down.

It’s worth noting that plenty of wiki-friendly concepts and innovations have been absorbed into other formats, as anyone who’s participated in group editing via Google Docs can attest. But there are other reasons that wikis never took the world by storm, according to some analysts. 'I always thought they were the nerdiest of the social tools,' says one social-media guru, 'and the one that requires the most established … oversight.'

Hat tip to the Chronicle of Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Number of law school applicants up 3.8% according to LSAC

This is a story we've been reporting on herehere and here, through all its up and downs.  While the number might change, yet again, as of today, this is where it stands.  Five schools have reported increases of at least 40%.

As we reported on Tuesday, one poll of law school applicants found that almost half of them have applied to avoid looking for a job.

Hat tip to the ABA Journal blog.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl).

Bookmark and Share

April 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More letter writing advice - this time it's how to write the killer cover letter

Students, especially, take note - these 5 tips come to us from the Let's Talk Turkey blog written by a former headhunter and present resume consultant.  This is a good one to pass along to your students during the last class. 

A big 'ol hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The best and worst college rejection letters

This blog is devoted to effective writing, right?  Well, the Wall Street Journal is running a story that collects the best and worst examples of college rejection letters.  Read on to learn how to do it right, or wrong, as the case may be.

Here's one example of how the author's intent and the reader's perception can be like ships passing in the night:

To students who have family ties to the [Boston University], its [rejection] letter begins: 'We give special attention to applicants whose families have a tradition of study at Boston University. We have extended this consideration in the evaluation of your application, but I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission.' Consideration of family legacies is common practice at many universities. But Rob Flaherty, 17, a North Reading, Mass., recipient, said he felt the wording in BU's letter translated to 'we made it even easier for you and you STILL couldn't get in.'

Read the rest of the best, and worst, here.

Hat tip to Inside Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Ferris Bueller's crime spree

Ferris-Bueller-p04 The film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Paramount Pictures 1986) continues to provide inspiration for law professors'  legal writing assignments and exams. David Dirgo contributed a great Bueller-inspired insurance-law memo problem to the Legal Writing Institute's Idea Bank in 2004 (including (1) whether Cameron was "occupying" the vehicle for purposes of an insurance policy's medical payments provision, when he was injured kicking the front end of the car and (2) whether the vehicle's damage was caused by the insured, within the meaning of a policy exclusion, when Cameron killed the car).

Now a post on AskMetaFilter asks contributors to list each crime against Illinois law (if committed by an adult) that Ferris and his buddies committed. Enjoy the responses, and add your own thoughts. Might be a good source for writing a memo or brief problem next fall.

hat tips: Millennial Law Prof and Faculty Lounge

(cmb)

Bookmark and Share

April 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

not just Garner's nightmare

from Courtoons (check it out):

Garner 

(cmb)

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Professor Lisa McElroy receives favorable mention on PrawfsBlawg

For her article From Grimm to Glory: Simulated Oral Argument as a Component of Legal Education's Signature Pedagogy, 84 Ind. L.J. 589 (2009).  Read the full post here

Hat tip to Professor Marci Rosenthal.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How to make your class lectures more interactive

Here's some very good advice from Inside Higher Ed.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Are lawyers using Craigslist to find clients?

That's the ABA Journal blog's question of the week.  Reader comments are posted here.  Presumably, the blog will post the best/most representative comments next week.  We'll be sure to let you know when they do.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

Bookmark and Share

April 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)