Saturday, August 8, 2009

job opening at Arizona State

The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, invites applications for the full-time position of Clinical Professor of Law beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year.  Responsibilities include teaching in the legal research and writing program. Applicants must have a J.D., evidence of a strong academic record, and experience that demonstrates a potential for excellence in teaching legal research and writing. Law practice experience and experience teaching legal research and writing is desirable.

To apply, submit by mail or e-mail a resume with names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two references to:  Ms. Jenny Bishop, Coordinator for Appointments Committee, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, 1100 S. McAllister Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287-7906. 

Applications will be reviewed beginning September 15, 2009; if not filled, reviews will occur on the first of the month thereafter until search is closed.

ALWD-LWI Disclosure Form summary:
The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $50,000-79,999 range. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.) Salary is dependent on experience.  Also, salary can be supplemented with summer teaching and summer research grants. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 36-40. Clinical professors generally teach three sections of first-year legal writing and one section of an advanced class each year.  For example, the professor might teach two sections of first-year writing in the fall (18 students each section), and in the spring, the professor will teach one section of first-year writing (18 students) and one section of an advanced class (15 students).

(cmb)

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

director opening at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt University Law School seeks applicants for a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty position as Director of Legal Research & Writing Program, with appropriate professorial title. Candidates should have substantial experience teaching in such a program and preferably would have experience directing such a program. 

The Director supervises 8 part-time legal writing instructors in a year-long writing curriculum for first-year J.D. students.  The class is taught in 8 sections to 190 1Ls, with small sections of about 24 students each. The director works closely with the Law Library Director, as professional librarians contribute to the teaching of the research portion of the class, and with the faculty who teach other first-year courses. 

The Director is also responsible for a required course in the School’s LL.M. program for attorneys from foreign countries: Introduction to Research and Legal Writing in the United States. Currently, approximately 30 students are enrolled each year in this program. The director teaches one section of this course, and supervises a part-time instructor who teaches a second section.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate strong teaching, administrative, and leadership skills. The Law School is committed to diversity; women and minority applicants are encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. 

Review of applications will begin upon receipt and continue until October 1st or until the position is filled.  Please send a cover letter and resume, to the Legal Writing Director Appointments Coordinator, Vanderbilt University Law School, 131 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203-1181, preferably by email.

ALWD-LWI Disclosure Form summary:
The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The law school has not disclosed its base salary range, but states that it is a "competitive salary, negotiable based on experience." The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer. Additional teaching outside the legal research and writing program may be permitted, depending on faculty member’s preferences.

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

Friday, August 7, 2009

More Friday fun - 10 rounds with Kindle versus the book

This is a really clever series of videos that pits the upstart challenger Kindle against the reigning champ, the book.  It's a scheduled 10 round bout that's now in round three.  Can the champ go the distance?  Is Kindle a bit too self-confident?  Find out how it turns out by checking back here.

Presented below for your entertainment is Round 1.  Click on this link to watch the rest of the fight.

A big hat tip to Joe Hodnicki at the Law Librarian Blog for alerting us to the videos.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Is all the talk about more "practice oriented" law schools bad for students and the profession?

Here's an interesting and provocative blog post from Professor Michael Livingston of Rutgers-Camden School of Law who argues that all the current talk about reforming the law school curriculum to focus more on practice will widen the divide between the "have" and "have not" institutions which ultimately works to the detriment of both students and the profession at large.

I simply don't buy, and have never bought, the "practical lawyering" argument. At least 90 percent of law school is devoted to teaching practical subjects, with pure theory relegated to a few advanced seminars. The difference is that the better law schools, like the better schools in any profession, try to emphasize difficult, cutting edge issues rather than easy or safe ones, and to hire professors who are cutting-edge thinkers rather than local practitioners looking for an easier life. This is why the more "theoretical" law schools almost invariably do a better job placing their students than the ones who supposedly specialized in the "real world" of law, and why many or most of the "practical" teachers use teaching materials prepared by people at these supposedly out-of-touch schools. The idea that law schools should be more practical is thus something like the statement that pitching is 75 percent of baseball: people say it, but on one acts like they really believe it.

. . . .

Continue reading

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

Another law firm hops onto the "apprenticeship" bandwagon

The law firm Day Pitney will move towards a summer apprenticeship program next year.  According to an internal firm memo, the program is intended to be 

an eight-week course designed to prepare law students for the practice of law through practical, day-to-day applications and on-the-job training. Apprentices will learn by shadowing Day Pitney lawyers and working with firm professionals in one-on-one coaching scenarios. They will also collaborate with lawyer teams handling ongoing client matters. The practice-based learning approach will be supplemented with focused training workshops and diversity and community service activities designed to teach law students about the firm's culture and key core values.

The firm memo further states that:  "The newly designed program expands beyond reading, research, and writing assignments. We want a program that revolves around the key values that we stress for our attorneys - education, career development and the importance of working as a team."

You can read the rest of the story here,at Above the Law, as well as the online ABA Journal's coverage here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Friday fun - if Facebook featured Shepards (or Keycite)

This one from Courtoons speaks for itself.  Enjoy!

Shepardizing 

Hat tip to Above the Law.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Here's an index to help you find older blog posts

We appreciate our loyal readers and recognize there's a bug in the blog platform that prevents us from offering a fully functional index for older posts.  While we continue to address this problem, here is a temporary fix - an index at USLaw.com that provides a master index to all previous posts on the Legal Writing Prof blog.  Here's the link.

Thanks for sticking with us while we get this problem resolved.

Sue, Nancy, Mark and Jim.

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

One small law firm goes paperless leading to many cost and client advantages

According to this report from Law.com's Legal Tech column, a small Delaware firm that handles hundreds of social security benefit cases found that client hard files were outpacing its storage abilities as well as turning into the firm's major overhead expense.  As a result, the firm has gone paperless by using software that scans all incoming documents and then forwards them via email to the appropriate file.

To reduce the demands on the office filing system and gain faster, electronic access to client documents, we made a bold decision: our firm was going to scan incoming mail and faxes, route them using office e-mail and work electronically. The firm turned to eCopy ShareScan document imaging software operating on our network-attached Ricoh multifunction peripheral.

Now, all incoming mail and faxes are scanned and sent directly to electronic client folders using eCopy Quick Connect, software which provides an intuitive, menu-driven approach at the MFP to store documents in a specific file location on our network and, at the same time, capture the associated metadata (information about the document that helps us find it when we search).

. . . .

Our staff has welcomed the move to a paperless office because their volume of cases is easier to manage electronically. Now, they no longer need to worry about searching for missing files. And, for the first time, the firm is getting rid of filing cabinets and reclaiming office space.

Also, having the documents in electronic formats means multiple people can access and view the same document simultaneously -- as opposed to making additional paper copies.

Perhaps more law schools need to provide more opportunities to expose students to these kind of technologies before they head into practice.

You can read the entire article here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing good cover letters for your article submissions

This one comes to us via our very good friend Raymond Ward at the (new) legal writer blog.  The original post is from Concurring Opinions which does a great job compiling advice from various academics as well as providing sample cover letters.  Among the advice is this:

Basics. Obviously, submissions must indicate author’s name and contact information (mailing address, phone, email) and article title. Unless submitted in an electronic format that transmits this information, the cover letter is the place.

Word Count. Many journals request stating the piece’s word count, including footnotes. In addition, many journals since 2005 have express word count limits or preferences, and request cover letter explanations for approaching or exceeding the guidance.

Brevity. Keep it short, usually a single page of three paragraphs, never more than two, and then only if justified by background research and context otherwise not evident from the piece.

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August 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Prof blog makes list of top 35 blogs edited by law professors

A big thank you to our good buddy Professor Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Blog for bringing this top 35 list to our attention.  And an even bigger thanks to all of you, our loyal readers!

Here's the complete list as of July 19, 2009:

Visitors

Page Views

1

InstaPundit

120,920,620

InstaPundit

125,495,827

2

Hugh Hewitt

12,270,165

Volokh Conspiracy

15,467,726

3

Volokh Conspiracy

11,427,028

Hugh Hewitt

14,836,132

4

Althouse

6,984,017

Althouse

13,079,260

5

TaxProf Blog

2,777,292

TaxProf Blog

3,683,047

6

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

2,197,064

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

3,611,730

7

Patently-O

1,810,131

Patently-O

3,532,889

8

Concurring Opinions

1,245,154

Jack Bog's Blog

2,519,341

9

Jack Bog's Blog

1,064,055

Concurring Opinions

1,887,558

10

Sentencing Law & Policy

935,378

Sentencing Law & Policy

1,590,752

11

Leiter's Law School Reports

906,937

Balkinization

1,563,694

12

Balkinization

888,625

PrawfsBlawg

1,358,322

13

PrawfsBlawg

781,735

Leiter's Law School Reports

1,290,732

14

Workplace Prof Blog

413,874

Opinio Juris

652,449

15

Discourse.net

405,150

Workplace Prof Blog

580,175

16

The Right Coast

385,240

The Right Coast

574,310

17

Opinio Juris

373,464

Discourse.net

541,133

18

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

362,926

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

532,591

19

Conglomerate

354,292

Conglomerate

509,989

20

The Faculty Lounge

281,606

The Faculty Lounge

477,125

21

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof

264,798

ImmigrationProf Blog

388,386

22

ImmigrationProf Blog

262,768

Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof

381,115

23

Religion Clause

250,742

Religion Clause

362,803

24

Sports Law Blog

225,235

Sports Law Blog

347,837

25

CrimProf Blog

199,751

Mirror of Justice

293,247

26

Mirror of Justice

194,838

Election Law Blog

293,092

27

Legal History Blog

189,068

Legal Profession Blog

270,366

28

Election Law Blog

187,223

Legal History Blog

268,227

29

Ideoblog

183,979

CrimProf Blog

263,583

30

Legal Profession Blog

178,618

Ideoblog

254,574

31

Chicago Faculty Blog

159,399

Chicago Faculty Blog

251,473

32

Empirical Legal Studies

156,736

Legal Writing Prof Blog

229,400

33

Legal Writing Prof Blog

154,953

Empirical Legal Studies

225,529

34

MoneyLaw

153,373

Antitrust & Competition

219,583

35

Antitrust & Competition

136,966

MoneyLaw

200,899

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

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

Scholarship alert: Several articles on the precedential status of unpublished opinions

My good colleague at NSU, Professor David Cleveland, has either published, or is in the process of publishing, four articles that discuss various aspects of unpublished opinions.  They've been generating a lot of cyber-buzz and we wanted you to know about them.

The first is Overturning the Last Stone: The Final Step in Returning Precedential Status to All Opinions" Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, 10 J. App. Prac. & Process 61 (2009) and can be found at  http://ssrn.com/abstract=1023691.  It advocates a return to full precedential status for all federal court decisions based on Constitutional and community-based principles. It's a very detailed look at the history of publication and precedent in the common law system, the American experiment with unpublished opinions, and the unraveling of that experiment due to technology advances and legal community demands.

The second article is Draining the Morass: Ending the Jurisprudentially Unsound Unpublication System92 Marq. L. Rev. 685 (2009) and is available at: http://law.marquette.edu/lawreview/summer2009/Cleveland-FINAL.pdf.  This one examines what the Court has ruled, what petitioners have argued, and what individual Justices have stated in scholarly writings and separately written opinions about unpublished decisions. It reveals that the Court has never accepted the circuits’ assertion that these cases lack precedential value, but neither have they granted certiorari and addressed the issue directly. It also argues that the Constitutionality of denying unpublished decisions precedential value is ripe for Supreme Court review and given the fundamental nature of the issue, litigants ought to vigorously seek certiorari and the Court should grant it.

Continue reading

August 6, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Congratulations to Ruth Vance!

RuthVance06 Ruth Vance has been named the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Award at Valparaiso University School of Law.  Ruth is an extraordinarily generous colleague, helping the field of legal writing in countless ways, large and small.  She has previously been the Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research; she was a founding member of ALWD's Board of Directors; and she is serving on the Communications Skills Committee of the ABA's Section on Legal Education.  Ruth is equally dedicated to her students and her colleagues at Valparaiso.  This award is so well deserved!  (spl)

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

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One young associate to another: "Suck it up!"

In keeping with our military theme this afternoon (below), this story courtesy of Lawjobs.com is straight out of the Lee Ermey school of management.  It's also consistent with this very popular story we recently ran about work-life balance in the age of the Great Recession. 

In this new story, a Texas law firm associate advises new lawyers to stop complaining:

Associates like to whine about irate partners who won’t listen to their ideas, criticize their appearance and heap on the work that takes them away from family time. Now an associate who has been there, done that has some advice for the complainers: Get over it.

Writing for Texas Lawyer, associate Jason Braun of the litigation and arbitration boutique Ajamie LLP says partners who yell at associates for making mistakes aren’t really so bad. 'In my opinion, those are the best partners because when you make a mistake, you will never forget it,' he says.

Lawyers are expected to sacrifice leisure and family time for clients, he says. Your children may be sick or you may be going through a messy divorce, but those things aren’t an excuse for bad results. 'Clients may sympathize, but they will do so while searching for a new firm to represent them.'

Mr. Braun's perspective is sure to provoke strong feelings as did our previous story on this issue.  So what do you think America?  Let us know in the comments below.  I am the scholarship dude.

Hat tip to the online ABA Journal  (jbl)

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August 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Marines (and NFL) ban Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

Looselips

The few, the proud, the silent - at least according to this report from Cnet.news.  Some segments of the military still feel that "loose lips sink ships" and hence have decided to make discretion mandatory in an age when most are constantly "updating people on [one's] latest moods, feelings, lovers, and hangnails."

Neither the Marines, nor some NFL teams according to the story, want anything to do with that namby-pamby social networking stuff.

Which raises an interesting question:  Will other private and government organizations that handle sensitive information, such as law firms, the SEC and DOJ, to take some examples, follow the Marines' lead and enact formal policies prohibiting employees from texting, Tweeting or blogging on or off the clock?

Hat tip to BNA Internet News.  I am the scholarship dude.  (jbl)

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

Top 100 blogs for law students

We'd previously published such a list many moons ago but since our good buddy Professor Paul Caron at the Tax Prof Blog recently saw fit to publish an undated list, we thought we'd pass it along to all of you.  Here 'tis.  Enjoy!

I am the scholarship dude.  (jbl)

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

Computers learn creative writing

Given the recent academic conference on the potential threat of artificial intelligence, can Skynet be far behind?  Maybe not according to this story from the Chronicle of Higher Ed reporting that students at New York University this summer taught computers creative writing:

After learning the basics of the programming language Python, seven graduate students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Program turned to digital writing, making their computers analyze text, mangle it, and remix it, resulting in new compositions, according to their instructor, Adam Parrish.

One student took text from news publications, including The New York Times, and had a computer turn the text into poetry. Another student created a Facebook status generator, as well as a poetry generator that "will enable you to write like the good grey poet, Walt Whitman." It uses an approach similar to that of the game Mad Libs—you insert your own words.

Please let me know when someone creates a program that allows computers to grade legal writing papers.  I am the scholarship dude.  (jbl)

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

finding balance in legal education

A32CA9C0078CAX7DFHRCA4RQ7UQCAGQCOFACAPL7H1JCAIH6EXHCATY3NS5CAEXWNRMCATU88T4CAZ2D5LJCAH6WT0PCA749NO7CAZMTDV3CAQXQRSJCA67DKDKCACI3BJMCAKNP5V9CA0ID4TICA7XIB3T Bruce Winick (University of Miami) has announced that the Association of American Law Schools has approved the petition for permanent section status for the Section on Balance in Legal Education.  As Bruce, the section's Chair, put it, the section has gone "from a dream to a permanent part of AALS."  Congratulations to everyone who helped with this initiative -- which includes two of this blog's editors, Nancy Soonpaa and Sue Liemer.      (spl)

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

Happy Birthday, Coleen Barger!

Barger, Coleen and ALWD We wish a happy birthday to blog co-editor (and citation fan) Coleen Barger!

Nancy, Sue, Mark, and Jim



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

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

APPEAL conference photo gallery

A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A8 Click on these images to see legal writing professors and others exchanging ideas at the University of Pretoria last month.

photos by Larry Cunningham & Cynthia Adams        (spl)

August 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

successful APPEAL conference


AppealsFrom July 1 to 4, the Conference on Promoting the Teaching of Legal Writing in South Africa, organized by APPEAL, and supported by ALWD and LWI, took place at the University of Pretoria.  At the conference, U.S. and African participants shared information about legal education, legal skills training, and the legal systems of their countries.  One highlight for the U.S. participants was a field trip to a local magistrate's court, to sit in on criminal, family, and civil proceedings.  Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel, from Seattle University, deserve much of the credit for making the conference happen.  Apparently a legal writing organization for South Africa is now in the works.hat tips:  Cynthis Adams, Larry Cunningham, Catherine Wasson    (spl)

August 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)