Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hein Online research videos on YouTube

Looking for new ways to teach legal research in electronic media? You will like Hein Online's YouTube channel, featuring videos that demonstrate how to access and effectively use Hein's online collections.

One of the recent videos demonstrates a fast way to find a Public Law number in the Statutes at Large:

You'll find this and twenty-three other videos on the Hein channel display, including such gems as

Finally, to keep up with new releases, registered YouTube users can subscribe to the HeinOnline channel and receive e-mail notification when the new videos are posted.

hat tip: Mark Wojcik (who's back in the U.S.A. again)


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May 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 25, 2009

no questions, please!

Somanyquestions I have always taught my appellate advocacy students to welcome the Court's questions, for such questions give them an opportunity to clarify their positions and put the judges' minds at ease. Now comes a study (reported by Adam Liptak in the May 26 edition of The New York Times) indicating that when justices ask questions, it's time to worry.

When she was still a Georgetown law student, Sarah Levien Shullman hypothesized that "the party who gets the most questions is likely to lose." Her study was published in 2004 by the Journal of Appellate Practice and Process. Mr. Liptak reports that Chief Justice Roberts found similar data when he conducted his own private research based on Shullman's work.

The latest study to tackle the question of questions is titled, Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Do Justices Tip Their Hands with Questions at Oral Argument in the U.S. Supreme Court? Authors Timothy R. Johnson, Ryan C. Black, Jerry Goldman, and Sarah Treul tested the same hypothesis, and they came up with the same answer. Their article is scheduled to be published in Volume 29 of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy. The SSRN abstract is here.

I am still wondering what to make of Justice Clarence Thomas's inquisitorial complacency.


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May 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Law Institute -- Summer Classes for Law Students Who Speak English as a Second Langugage

The International Law Institute in Washington D.C. has announced two courses for its 2009 Summer Orientation program.  This year’s program has been revised to include more subjects and has also been redesigned to provide a more interactive training.  The program now consists of two segments:

Intro to Legal English Introduction to Legal English and Writing (July 6-17, 2009). The seminar is both: an intensive course on Legal English, describing the basic institutions of American Common Law; and a Workshop on Legal Research and Writing.  This seminar is a highly participatory course in which students engage in a process of active learning that will improve their skill sets required in the legal practice. The seminar is designed to improve the law practitioners and student’s command of legal English, research and legal drafting abilities. Participants will develop a writing project along the seminar.

 Orientation in the US Legal System (July 20 - August 7, 2009). The seminar concentrates on both the legal methods and the major areas of substantive law that foreign lawyers are most likely to encounter when conducting business in the United States or with American clients abroad.  Furthermore, the program will cover the role of Common Law in international and supranational organizations such as the WTO, the EU, and other similar institutions. Focusing on the US legal system, we will illustrate how understanding Common Law legal methods is important for all lawyers working with any of these organizations. The seminar now also integrates subjects such as corporate governance, Law of the Cyberspace, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

For more information on the program visit theILI’s Summer Orientation webpage by clicking here. 



May 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congratulations to Deborah Mann at Albany Law School

Deborah Mann (Albany Law School) won Albany Law School's teaching award. The law school announced the award at the law school’s graduation ceremonies in May 2009. Professor Mann is the first Lawyering Professor to win that honor at Albany Law School.

Hat tip to Evelyn Tenenbaum.


May 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

newest issue of the LWI Journal

 The latest issue of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute is hot off the presses.  Here's the contents:

Editor’s Note, Kristin B. Gerdy

In Memoriam, Stephanie Feldman Aleong, James B. Levy

Remembering Debbie Parker, Steve Johansen

Golden Pen Award Acceptance Remarks of the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert, Ruggero J. Aldisert

Untold Stories: Restoring Narrative to Pleading Practice, Elizabeth Fajans and Mary R. Falk

Voice, Self, and Persona in Legal Writing, J. Christopher Rideout

Introducing Persuasive Legal Argument Via The Letter from a Birmingham City Jail, Mark DeForrest

Learning Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act: The Conundrum of Dyslexia and Time, Suzanne E. Rowe

Using Dowry Death Law to Teach Legal Writing in India, Marilyn R. Walter

Writing Across the Curriculum: Professional Communication and the Writing That Supports It, Andrea McArdle

Legal Storytelling: The Theory and the Practice—Reflective Writing Across the Curriculum
Nancy Levit

What Will I Do on Monday, and Why Aren’t We Doing It Already?: Reflecting on the Value of Expressive Writing in the Law School Curriculum, Carol McCrehan Parker

hat tip:  Kristin Gerdy


May 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thomas Blackwell Award Nominations

Reminder: The 2009-2010 Blackwell Awards Committee invites nominations for one of the most prestigious awards in legal writing, the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award  for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing.  The deadline for submitting nominations is June 15, 2009.  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 Tom's school, Appalachian Law School.




A. Criteria:


            Honoring the life of Thomas F. Blackwell for his personal and professional qualities as a Legal Writing educator, the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors give this award to recognize a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of Legal Writing by demonstrating:

·         an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence;

·         a willingness to help other Legal Writing educators improve their teaching skills or their Legal Writing Programs; and

·         an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating Legal Writing educators and students.


B. Submission Instructions and Deadline:


1.  Nomination materials should support as fully as possible the listed criteria as well as any other information the nominating person believes would help the Committee in its selection process.

2. If you wish to re-nominate a candidate you previously nominated, please note that the Committee does not retain nominations from earlier years.  You should submit a new nomination with supporting materials.

3. The deadline for submitting nominations is close of business (5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time) on June 15, 2009.

4. Nominations are confidential. Send nominations directly to the attention of Coleen Barger, Chair of the Committee, using one of the methods listed below.

·         E-mail: Coleen Barger

·         Fax: (501) 324-9992

·         U.S. mail:    Prof. Coleen Barger

                        University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law

                        1201 McMath Avenue

                        Little Rock, AR 72202

5. Previous winners, members of the Blackwell Award Committee, and current and newly elected members of the LWI and ALWD governing boards are not eligible for this year’s award.  The names of those persons are listed in the chart below (some are listed more than once due to multiple bases for ineligibility).

Former Winners

Current and Incoming ALWD Officers and Directors

Current and Incoming LWI Officers and Directors

Blackwell Award Committee

Richard Neumann (2003)

Pamela Lysaght (2004)

Ralph Brill (2005)

Mary Beth Beazley (2006)

Lou Sirico (2007)

Diana Pratt (2008)

Linda Edwards (2009)

Judy Stinson (Current President)

Terrill Pollman (Immediate Past President)

Mary Beth Beazley (President-Elect)

Kristen Gerdy (Secretary)

Grace Wigal (Treasurer)

Mary Garvey Algero

Linda Berger

Kirsten Davis

Nancy Lawler Dickhute

Lyn Goering

Lisa McElroy

Anthony Niedwiecki

Suzanne Rabe

Judy Rosenbaum

John Mollenkamp

Susan Thrower

Kathy Vinson

Ruth Anne Robbins (LWI President)

Susan Hanley Duncan (Immediate Past President)

Kenneth D. Chestek (President-Elect)

Linda Berger (Host School representative)

Michael J. Higdon (Treasurer)

Robin Boyle

Anne Enquist

Tracy L. McGaugh

Judy Rosenbaum

Suzanne Rowe

Terry Jean Seligmann

Michael R. Smith

Melissa H. Weresh

Mark E. Wojcik

Clifford S. Zimmerman

Coleen Barger

Linda Edwards

Diana Pratt

Ruth Anne Robbins

Lou Sirico

Judith Stinson

C. Process:


1.  The Award shall be presented at the annual January meeting of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS).

 2.  By May 31st of the year preceding the January presentation, the Award Committee shall have solicited nominees for the Award from the members of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD).  The Committee shall request that nominations for the Award be sent privately to the Award Committee Chair.

3.  The Award Committee, consisting of seven experienced legal writing professionals, shall be jointly appointed by the LWI and ALWD governing boards.

4.  The Award Committee may consider a variety of factors related to the Criteria to select an Award recipient.  These factors may include, among others, efforts to improve the status and security of Legal Writing educators; scholarship that is published or is presented at professional meetings; and efforts made to support and encourage other Legal Writing educators.

5.  By July 31st of the year preceding the January meeting, the Award Committee will recommend a recipient to LWI and ALWD governing boards for their approval.  The governing boards will vote to accept or reject the nomination and instruct the Committee as to the Award’s presentation.  No person serving as a member of the governing boards or as a member of the Award Committee may be a recipient of the Award.

6.  The Award shall be in the amount of $1,000.00.

May 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the storytelling aspect of legal writing

New schStoryteller2olarship by Bret Rappaport, Tapping the Human Adaptive Origins of Storytelling by Requiring Legal Writing Students to Read a Novel in Order to Appreciate How Character, Setting, Plot, Theme, and Tone (CSPTT) Are as Important as IRAC, 25 T.M. Cooley L. Rev. 267-302 (2008). 

DePaul adjunct prof Rappaport uses the recent best-seller The Kite Runner to illustrate "how a non-legal novel used as part of a legal-writing class can stimulate the innate legal writer."

I hope to pick up some good ideas for my summer class in persuasive legal writing.


May 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)