Saturday, August 1, 2009
Scribes Presents a Special Award to the Legal Writing Institute to Celebrate the LWI Silver Anniversary
The 2009 Brief Writing Award went to Bridget Burke, Stephanie Holcombe, and Justin Jenson of the South Texas College of Law. South Texas College of Law has won three times over the past 15 years that Scribes has given this brief writing award, which is quite an impressive accomplishment.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael B. Hyman presented the 2009 Scribes Book Award, which went to "The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight Over Presidential Power" by Jonathan Mahler.
Joseph Kimble presented the Legal Writing Institute with a special award to recognize the LWI's 25th Anniversary. LWI Board Members (pictured here from left to right) Mark E. Wojcik, Kenneth D. Chestek, and Judy Rosenbaum accepted the scroll on behalf of the LWI. Mark Wojcik made brief remarks on behalf of the LWI Board, and founding LWI Board Member Ralph Brill then spoke on the history of legal writing education.
A video was played during which Bryan Garner presented the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who spoke about the importance of good legal writing and writing tips that she shares with her law clerks. (The 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award went to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.)
Hat tip to Joe Kimble. Photo courtesy of Robert Galloway of the South Texas College of Law. (mew)
Lynda Edwards, a reporter (not Linda Edwards the legal writing professor) covering the annual meeting of the American Bar Association, wrote that panelists at one session yesterday declared that it is almost impossible to find accurate texts of some laws. Although the federal and state governments post many laws online, there is no national or international body to verify that those postings are accurate or updated with amendments.
The ABA panelists discussed a survey done in 2007 by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) that discovered that eight states and the District of Columbia refer lawyers and judges to official sources so different that versions conflict. Additionally, states that post laws online only had no consistent way of maintaining older versions of an amended law or showing errors had been corrected.
The ABA meeting continues through Tuesday in Chicago. Today Scribes holds a luncheon at which it will recognize the 25th anniversary of the Legal Writing Institute. (mew)
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)