Friday, January 9, 2009

another rhetoric conference quote

"Students don't realize how radically reductive a casebook really is."

~~Kate O'Neill, University of Washington


January 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

law and rhetoric conference

Here's a good take-away thought from Mercer's Law and Rhetoric Conference on Tuesday (a nice precursor to AALS). 

"Law students often can't see the difference between what is logically plausible and what is logically probable."

--Francis J. Mootz III, UNLV


January 9, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

on building a pillar

S39caz601oicanvd35zca4pwh8ycahbu8fe Over on the Millennial Law Prof blog, Tracy McGaugh asks well:  But Are They Willing to Pay for It?  After all, there are real costs involved in building a pillar, and some are sturdier than others.


January 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

yes, we're a pillar!

PillarsAt first glance, the article at appears to be about law student laptop use.  But read down, and you'll see it's more generally about student engagement in the law classroom and students' level of satisfaction with their legal educations.  When surveyed, some students expressed a desire for more writing experiences and feedback.  And that's where the article refers to legal writing as "a pillar of the law school curriculum."

If you're reading this blog, you probably already knew that legal writing courses provide important foundational elements in a law student's education.  But it's nice to receive affirmation in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

hat tip:  Professor R.J. Robertson, Southern Illinois University


January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Law & Rhetoric Workshop

Congratulations to Mercer University School of Law and the Legal Writing Institute!  By all accounts, the Law & Rhetoric Workshop: Legal Writing Through a Rhetorical Lens, held yesterday in San Diego in conjunction with the AALS annual meeting, was a big success.

Apparently those in attendance who are not usually part of the legal writing community caught onto the cooperative approach of our field.  One was overheard to say, "I was so impressed with the generosity of spirit shown by both the speakers and the audience. It was as if they really wanted to talk with one another!"


January 7, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

AALS Legal Writing Dance Card

Aalslogo Law professors have been arriving by the score in San Diego, where the AALS Annual Meeting begins this evening.  The first legal writing event begins this morning,  January 6, 2009 -- it's the Law & Rhetoric Workshop sponsored by Mercer University School of Law with the support of the Legal Writing Institute.  It is at the Hilton San Diego, Santa Rosa Room, 401 K Street, San Diego, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  If you're going to that workshop you have been sent the details already in many emails, letters, and other forms of communication.  You may want to know that dress for the day is described as "Legal Writing Casual," which makes me think we might need to start a whole new blog on legal writing fashion.  Dinner that evening is "on your own" in various Gaslamp restaurants, so even if you're not going to the workshop look around that part of town for legal writing colleagues who will be happy to see you.

Robbins_ruth_anne_2Wednesday, January 7, 2009

8:45 to 9:10 a.m.

Remarks by the President of the Legal Writing Institute

Why We Are Not Meeting at The Manchester Grand Hyatt - Did the AALS Win a Gold Medal by Moving to the Marriott?
Solan A, South Tower/Level 1, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina

LWI President Ruth Anne Robbins (pictured at right) will describe the LWI letter sent to the AALS about holding the AALS Annual meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.  She is one of three panelists during the scheduled time.  The other speakers are (1) a representative from SALT - the Society of American Law Teachers, and (2) the chair of the AALS Section on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues (who happens to be Mark Wojcik)


9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Teaching to the Entire Class: Innovative and Effective Instruction to Engage Every Student

Marina Solon G, South Tower/Level 3, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina

The AALS Sections on Teaching Methods and Acadmic Support present a joint workshop on Teaching to the Entire Class.  Presenters and moderators include Robin Boyle (St. John's), Michael Hunter Schwartz (Washburn), David Nadvorney (City University of New York), Kris Franklin (New York Law School), Emily Randon (University of California at Davis), Vinita Bali (Santa Clara), Alison M. Nissen (Rutgers-Camden), David Simon Sokolow (Texas), Ruthan Robson (City University of New York).


10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Legal Research, Legal Writing, and Moot Court: Pink Ink and Beyond


Warner Center, South Tower/Level 4, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina

Moderator: Kim Chanbonpin (of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, pictured at left).  Speakers: Gregory A. Johnson, Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Anthony S. Niedwiecki, Brad Sears, Robert Volk, Nancy A. Wanderer, and Ronald Wheeler.  They'll discuss issues of sexual orientation and gender identity in legal research, legal writing problems, and moot court competitions.  It's part of a full-day program on sexual orientation and gender identity issues across the curriculum; this part focuses on legal writing, research, and moot court.



6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Reception in Honor of Richard Neumann

Hofstra Law School holds a reception in honor of Richard Neumann, who will receive the LWRR section's award. The invitation goes out to many groups, including the Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  I'm not sure what room its in, but that will give you a chance to exercise your research skills.  Hofstra asked for rsvp affirmative replies to Joanne Masci at (516) 463-4547 or by email by clicking here.   I suspect that they should increase their food order . . . Richard has a lot of fans!



Friday, January 9, 2009

Mcelroy_lisa Burgess_hillary 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Wellford_slocum_robinStephenson_gailPosters Sponsored by Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research

West Lobby Lounge Area, Lobby Level, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina 

Posters by Lisa McElroy, Hillary Burgess, Gail S. Stephenson, and Robin S. Wellford Slocum.  Click here to read more about their posters.  The posters will be up during the entire conference, but the AALS program book tells me that the legal writing presenters will be there during this hour to discuss their work.


10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research Program

Enquist_anneFajans_elizabeth Zimmerman_cliffMarina Salon D, South Tower/Level 3, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina

Assessing Acts of Collaboration and Plagiarism and Exploring Techniques that Move Students from Forbidden to Extolled

(Program to be published in Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors). 

The program begins with a video called Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Collaboration: Where is the Line? Anne Enquist reminds everyone to arrive on time so that you don't miss that video. After that, discussion!  Here's the panel description:

The ability to collaborate and the ability to utilize resources are two key skills that students will need when they practice law. However, students must not become overly dependent on the skills or resources of others. Given these competing concerns, how do we teach students the boundaries of proper collaboration and appropriate consultation? How do we ensure best practices in their reliance on resources? These questions concern not only legal writing professors, but also professors who assign papers or encourage teamwork, clinicians who engage in the practice of law from inside the realm of academia, and administrators who create codes of conduct or contemplate disciplinary action. Our diverse panelists will engage the audience in an interactive discussion of these issues from a legal writing perspective, as well as from the viewpoints of clinicians, practitioners, and administrators. Using hypothetical scenarios, the panelists and the audience will explore ways to minimize the risks of forbidden collaboration and wrongful reliance while preparing students for the practice of law

The panelists will be:

  • Lurene Contento, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, Adjunct Professor and Writing Resource Center Director;
  • Anne Enquist, Seattle University School of Law, Writing Advisor and Associate Director of Legal Writing
  • Elizabeth Fajans, Brooklyn Law School, Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Writing Specialist
  • Deborah Moritz, University of Wisconsin Law School, Lecturer in Legal Writing; Wisconsin Court of Appeals, Staff Attorney
  • Meredith Schalick, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
  • Cliff Zimmerman, Northwestern University School of Law, Associate Dean, Dean of Students, and Clinical Associate Professor of Law
    • 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

      Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research Luncheon (Award Presentation and Section Business Meeting) (Ticketed Event)Neumann_richard

      Lou_sirico Marriott Hall Salon 2, Marriott Pavilion/Lobby Level, San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina.  Presentation of the AALS Section Award to Richard Neumann (pictured at right), with remarks from Susan ThrowerThrower_susan  on behalf of the award committee, and some introductory remarks from Ralph Brill about baseball, life, and Richard Neumann.  At some point they'll also hold the election of new section officers.  Lou Sirico (pictured at left) turns leadership of the section over to Croskeryroberts_rachel Rachel Croskery-Roberts, who will become Chair of the Section.  Martha PagliariPagliari_martha  has been nominated to be Chair-Elect of the section and Mark Wojcik (hey, that's me!)Wojcik_mark_red  has been nominated to be Section Secretary. 

      IF YOU ARE NEW to the field of legal writing, or if you just want to PRETEND that you're new, you should know that the legal writing Welcoming Committee invites you to stop by the luncheon room at noon on Friday, the 9th, so that we can have the opportunity to meet you before the luncheon starts. We will also be at the evening reception if we miss you at the luncheon.  Remember to look for the "legendary pink dots" on their name tags! 



      7:00 to 9:00 pm

      Edwards_linda Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) Golden Pen Award/Thomas H. Blackwell Memorial Award Ceremony, and Kickoff of the LWI's 25th Anniversary!Lwi_logo

      Alwd_logo The New Children's Museum, 200 West Island Avenue, San Diego.  Presentations of awards to the fabulous Linda Edwards (pictured at right) and the National Association of Attorney Generals.  Click here to read more.  Go to your law school's reception at 6:30 p.m. and then walk on over to the Children's Museum.  The award ceremony itself should not start before 7:30 p.m. at the earliest.  You will also get a chance to see the LWI anniversary logos (and vote for your favorite).



      January 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

      ABA Law Student Division Seeks Judges for Negotiation Competition

      AbaThe American Bar Association Law Student Division seeks judges for the 2008-09 Negotiation Competition National Finals, which will be held during the ABA Midyear Meeting February 13-14, 2009 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.  In November, 223 teams from law schools all over the United States and Canada competed in the 10 regional competitions. The top 24 teams qualified to compete in the National Finals. The topic of this year's competition is Elder Law.  Previous competition judging experience is NOT REQUIRED. The competiton is looking for practicing attorneys, law professors, and judges who are interested in objectively evaluating the negotiation skills of these top law students and giving them useful feedback. Judges may earn CLE credit if their state CLE Board provides for credit via judging competitions. Rounds will be held on Friday, February 13th and Saturday, February 14th. Judges are asked to serve for only one of the four rounds. 

      • Round 1: Friday, February 13th (8:30 am to 12:30 pm)
      • Round 2: Friday, February 13th (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm)
      • Semifinal Round: Saturday, February 14th (8:30 am to 12:30 pm)
      • Championship Round: Saturday, February 14th (2:00 pm to 6:00 pm)

      If you are willing to serve as a judge, please click hereIf you have questions about the competition, contact Peggy Pissarreck at 312.988.5621 or click here to send an email.


      January 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

      Monday, January 5, 2009


      Here's a quote for the start a new year of writing efforts:

      "If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes."
      -- Mickey Spillane


      January 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)