Saturday, August 22, 2009
A new monograph series by the Legal Writing Institute collects and reprints significant published works on specific topics relevant to teaching, curriculum, scholarship, and professional status. Representing both recent scholarship and the classics in our field, Volume One, The Art of Critiquing Written Work, contains an impressive array of scholarship concerning professor-delivered critique of student work (both written and oral critique), peer review, and even self-critique. Authors and their articles are listed below. Visit the LWI web page to download the entire issue or any individual article, an easy way to build your professional library.
Articles on critiquing student work:
- Daniel L. Barnett, "Form Ever Follows Function”: Using Technology to Improve Feedback on Student Writing in Law School, 42 Val. U. L. Rev. 755 (2008).
- Daniel L. Barnett, Triage in the Trenches of the Legal Writing Course: The Theory and Methodology of Analytical Critique, 38 U. Tol. L. Rev. 651 (2007).
- Linda L. Berger, A Reflective Rhetorical Model: The Legal Writing Teacher as Reader and Writer, 6 Leg. Writing 57 (2000).
- Kirsten K. Davis, Building Credibility in the Margins: An Ethos-Based Perspective for Commenting on Student Papers, 12 Leg. Writing 73 (2006).
- Anne Enquist, Critiquing and Evaluating Law Students’ Writing: Advice from Thirty-Five Experts, 22 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1119 (1999).
- Anne Enquist, Critiquing Law Students’ Writing: What the Students Say Is Effective, 2 Leg. Writing 145 (1996).
- Jane Kent Gionfriddo, The “Reasonable Zone of Right Answers”: Analytical Feedback on Student Writing, 40 Gonz. L. Rev. 427 (2004-2005).
- Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Daniel L. Barnett & E. Joan Blum, A Methodology for Mentoring Writing in Law Practice: Using Textual Clues to Provide Effective and Efficient Feedback, 27 Quinnipiac L. Rev. 171 (2009).
- Jessie C. Grearson, From Editor to Mentor: Considering the Effect of Your Commenting Style, 8 Leg. Writing 147 (2002).
- Mary Kate Kearney & Mary Beth Beazley, Teaching Students How to “Think Like Lawyers”: Integrating Socratic Method with the Writing Process, 64 Temp. L. Rev. 885 (1991).
- Richard K. Neumann, Jr., A Preliminary Inquiry into the Art of Critique, 40 Hastings L.J. 725 (1989).
- Robin S. Wellford-Slocum, The Law School Student-Faculty Conference: Towards a Transformative Learning Experience, 45 S. Tex. L. Rev. 255 (2004).
Articles on peer-reviewed forms of critique:
- Linda L. Berger, Applying New Rhetoric to Legal Discourse: The Ebb and Flow of Reader and Writer, Text and Context, 49 J. Leg. Educ. 155 (1999).
- Kirsten K. Davis, Designing and Using Peer Review in a First-Year Legal Research and Writing Course, 9 Leg. Writing 1 (2003).
Article on self-critique (good for students and professors):
- Mary Beth Beazley, The Self-Graded Draft: Teaching Students to Revise Using Guided Self-Critique, 3 Leg. Writing 175 (1997).
Hat tip and thanks to the series' editor-in-chief, Jane Kent Gionfriddo (who, as you can see, also wrote a couple of the articles). Congratulations to all the authors for being selected for this inaugural issue.
Friday, August 21, 2009
It's called "Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint" by Christopher Witt and is intended for public speakers (which includes all teachers, at lease some of the time). According to the Business Writing Blog, the book concedes there are times when PowerPoint makes a presentation more effective but that, in general, it's over-used and can just as easily put an audience to sleep. One miscellaneous, helpful tip from the book is that:
'In PowerPoint, the screen will go black when you press the B key, white when you press the W key.'
I use the B key often for a black screen. But W for a white screen? This new information excites me. Here's why:
A black screen darkens the front of the room, which is often already dim to avoid washing out the slides. I love knowing how to produce a white screen, which will keep the front area, where I am presenting, bright.
Read the rest of the review here.
I am the scholarship dude.
"Yes" and "no" according to the blog Sweet Hot Justice. The bad news is that employers are detailed obsessed and thus a cover letter typo could be a deal-breaker. The "good" news - if you can call it that - is that employers (at least competitive ones) only really care about your credentials and thus may ignore the cover letter altogether and instead focus solely on the resume. Which is to say that if you're a Yale law grad with a Second Circuit clerkship applying to a NYC white-shoe firm, you've probably got little to worry about. For the rest of us - in this economy? - better use spell-check.
You can read the rest of the advice column here. But be forewarned - it contains some randy language which some readers may find offensive.
I am the scholarship dude.
Marquette Prof Lisa Mazzie has written--and revised--and polished--and published a helpful article on the wisdom of developing a system for reviewing their writing. Titled Be Wise: Revise, the article is available in the online edition of The Wisconsin Lawyer (August 2009). It includes a sample checklist. Although written for practitioners, the article has good tips for all levels of legal writers, including novices.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here's the post from the Legal Scholarship Blog:
The First-Year Legal Research & Writing program at Harvard Law School is currently hiring Climenko Fellows to teach in the program from summer 2010 to summer 2012. Climenko Fellows are aspiring legal academics who receive extensive support and mentoring for their scholarship while teaching legal research and writing. Former Fellows have gone on to tenure-track positions at Fordham, George Mason, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, the University of Toronto, and the University of Virginia, among other schools. If you are planning a career in legal academia, please consider applying for the fellowship. And please feel free to forward the attached flier to friends and colleagues who might be interested.
Professors are almost as notorious as doctors for their bad handwriting, but in our case, it is writ large on the blackboard or whiteboard or smartboard or ELMO or whatever you are using for in-class spur-of-the-moment writing. But even if your handwriting is a model of the Palmer method, can your students read it?
This story in the online edition of the Times Argus (Vermont) claims that today's millennial generation is "increasingly cursive illiterate." They can't read cursive (a "secret code" to some). They can't write it, either. But why should they, proficient as they are with computer keyboards and iPhone texting?
Maybe this is one of the reasons digital signatures were invented.
hat tip: Jessie Wallace Burchfield
An Op-Ed from today's New York Times talks about new legislation in Rhode Island that will mandate plain English for all consumer health insurance policies. Based on the Flesch-Kincaid test of readability, most language in health insurance policies is written for a graduate-school level audience whereas most Rhode Islanders, according to this Op-Ed piece, read at an eighth grade level. Consequently, the new law will require that policies issued in Rhode Island be geared to that audience.
The article also includes some good examples of "before" and "after" liposuctioned paragraphs.
Finally, the Op-Ed is critical of the proposed national health care bill because, although it requires certain portions of insurance policies to be written in plain language, it doesn't go far enough by extending this requirement to the entire policies.
You can read the full Op-Ed here.
I am the scholarship dude.
Here's a court that wasn't too happy with some sloppy citing:
Here's a court that wasn't too happy with some sloppy citing:
FN5. Counsel for Espitia cites to an unpublished case assertedly upholding a stipulated damages clause due to the difficulty of ascertaining “the exact amount of income certain vending machines would produce.” The cite provided is “ Buellesbach v. Roob, 2005 AP 160 (Ct.App.Dist.I).” Buellesbach indeed is unpublished but it has nothing to do with liquidated damage clauses or vending machines; it is a misrepresentation case brought by newlyweds against a wedding photographer. Also, “2005 AP 160” is the docket number, which we discovered only after reaching a dead end at 2005 WI App 160, 285 Wis.2d 472, 702 N.W.2d 433. At last we located the unpublished case that addresses the subject matter for which counsel cited Buellesbach: Stansfield Vending, Inc. v. Osseo Truck Travel Plaza, LLC, 2003 WI App 201, 267 Wis.2d 280, 670 N.W.2d 558. Different name, different citation, different district (District IV) but, as promised, unpublished. It is a violation of Wis. Stat. Rule 809.19(1)(e) to provide citations which do not conform to the Uniform System of Citation and of Wis. Stat. Rule 809.23(3) to cite to unpublished opinions. One reason may be that they can be time-consuming to locate. A $100 penalty is imposed against Espitia's counsel. See Hagen v. Gulrud, 151 Wis.2d 1, 8, 442 N.W.2d 570 (Ct.App.1989).
Espitia v. Fouche, 2008 WI App 160, ¶ 14 n.5, 314 Wis. 2d 507, 758 N.W.2d 224 (Ct. App. 2008) (unpublished table decision).
hat tip: Lisa Mazzie, Marquette University Law School
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Scholarship alert: "Something Judicious this Way Comes . . . The Use of Foreshadowing as a Persuasive Device in Judicial Narrative"
With the recent publication of Judge Richard Posner’s book “How Judges Think” and the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayer to the United States Supreme Court, there has been much discussion about the way in which judges decide cases. Although certainly an interesting (and important) discussion, what has so far gone largely ignored is the question of how judges, once they reach a decision, convince the legal audience that the decision is in fact correct. Thus, in my article, entitled Something Judicious This Way Comes . . ., I focus not on how judges think, but how they write. More specifically, I analyze the way in which judges craft their opinions so as to make them more palatable to a wide range of audience members: the litigants and attorneys involved in the case, higher appellate courts who might ultimately review the opinion, and, finally, the public in general.
To do this, I focus specifically on the use of foreshadowing in legal opinions. Foreshadowing, as explained in my article, is not simply a literary device, but is an extremely persuasive technique given the way in which it appeals to how human beings think and process information. Indeed, foreshadowing implicates a number of psychological theories (priming theory, schema theory, and inoculation theory), each of which has a strong impact on persuasion. Furthermore, when we look at the general psychology behind human cognition as well as the role that subtlety (a hallmark of foreshadowing) plays in persuasion, it becomes clear why judges frequently employ foreshadowing when crafting their opinions.
Appointment is at the rank of Assistant Professor of Law. NSU standards are in full compliance with ABA Standard 405(c). Professors in the program are eligible for promotion and renewable contracts. After an LSV professor’s fourth successful year of teaching LSV, he or she is promoted to Associate Professor of Law and is eligible to receive five-year renewable contracts. LSV professors have essentially the same rights as tenure-line professors. This includes the right to vote on all hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions. Service and publication requirements also apply to the LSV position. LSV professors are also eligible for summer writing grants, sabbaticals, and research assistants.
Most LSV professors teach approximately 30 students in their LSV course. In addition, each LSV professor teaches one other course yearly, with most teaching a doctrinal course. This course is chosen based on the professor’s skills and the school’s needs; our current doctrinal needs include Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Most LSV professors teach their additional course in the winter term. After approximately five years of working at NSU, each LSV professor rotates out of the LSV program for one year. In place of the LSV course, the professor teaches two non-LSV courses during that year (one in each semester or two in one semester). In addition to the availability of summer grants and sabbaticals, the year-long rotation out of LSV allows the professor to further develop his or her scholarly interests.
The first-year program integrates legal theory with practice, professionalism, and technology right from the first day of law school. The program combines instruction in legal research, writing, and analysis with other lawyering skills, such as interviewing, counseling, and negotiating. The LSV faculty work together to develop the curriculum and materials. The focus of the fall semester is on teaching objective writing, research, and negotiation using state law. The fall program also introduces the students to objective writing for transactional issues. The winter semester focuses on litigation and persuasive writing. The students produce a pre-trial motion and supporting brief using federal law. The course ends with an oral argument and a mediation.
The current starting salary for an LSV professor is in the $75,000 range, with the salary being adjusted based on experience. LSV professors are also eligible for benefits such as travel and professional development, and professional dues. All benefits are the same as those given to tenure-line professors.
Minority candidates are encouraged to apply.
Although we will review candidates until we fill any open positions, interested candidates should send a resumé and cover letter to:
Professor Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod, Faculty Appointments Committee Chair, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, 3305 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Florida 33314-7721 or via e-mail to email@example.com. AA/EOE Smoke-free campus.
We will be attending the AALS recruitment conference in November and interviewing people on campus. In your cover letter, let us know if you will be attending the AALS recruitment conference. Feel free to email Prof. Rodriguez-Dod or Professor Anthony Niedwiecki, LSV Director at NSU at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
1. The position advertised
___ a. is tenure-track.
_X_ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
___ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
___ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
___ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
___ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.
Additional information about job security or terms of employment, any applicable term limits, and whether the position complies with
successful LSV professor will be awarded a renewable five-year contract.
2. The professor hired:
_X_ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
___ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
Additional information about the extent of the professor’s voting rights: LSV professors have the identical voting rights of all other members of the faculty.
3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary
in the range checked below. (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.)
_ a. $90,000 or more
__ b. $80,000 to $89,000
X c. $70,000 to $79,999
___ d. $60,000 to $69,999
___ e. $50,000 to $59,999
___ f. 40,000 to $49,999
___ g. $30,000 to $39,999
___ h. less than $30,000
___ i. this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
___ j. this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000
Additional information about base salary or other compensation: Although the final salary for the position has yet to be set, we expect the salary range to start at $75,000; however, salary is commensurate with experience.
4. The person hired will teach legal writing, each semester, to the
total number of students in the range checked below:
_X_ a. 30 or fewer
_X_ b. 31 - 35
___ c. 36 - 40
___ d. 41 - 45
___ e. 46 - 50
___ f. 51 - 55
___ g. 56 - 60
___ h. more than 60
Additional information about teaching load, including required or permitted
teaching outside of the legal research and writing program: All LSV professors teach one additional course each year.
I am the scholarship dude.
Blogging is the "new scholarship," some say. (But some say they are "bad.") Others say, "A blog is a blog." At any rate, if you like blogs by law professors or blogs about different topics in legal education, you will enjoy browsing the catalog of blogs compiled by Colin Miller at the Evidence Prof Blog. Blogs and bloggers listed by their school affiliations:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Hollee Temple, the legal writing program director at West Virginia U., is co-author of a new blog on finding a balanced life when raising kids. Her theme is Good Enough is the New Perfect. With so many legal writing professors who are parents, we look forward to seeing her entries at memo grading crunch time. (We do know at least one legal writing professor whose child's first word was "memo.")
The fall semester is beginning, and if you're like me, you are getting ready to meet a lot of new students. The experts tell us that learning our students' names is one of the best ways to improve faculty-student and student-student interactions. How do you learn names? Here are some suggestions:
- Does your school produce a facebook (the old-fashioned kind, a pamphlet with pictures of members of the incoming class)? Photocopy the pictures of the students you will be teaching and tape them on your seating chart beside their names.
- Maybe your school has a Facebook (the new-fashioned kind), whether generated by the school itself or by the students. If you aren't afraid to read the students' comments, join the group, and get to know them. (For example, you might be able to disabuse them of the notion that not having a class until 10 a.m. Wednesday does not mean that it's okay to go drinking on Tuesday night.)
- Bring a fistful of markers to class, and distribute a sheet of cardstock to each student. Instruct students to fold the cardstock in half lengthwise, making a nameplate. Pass the markers around and ask students to write their names--large and legible. Mine have liked this idea so much they've taken their nameplates to other classes.
- Call roll the first day and ask every student (yes, even those named Smith) to pronounce his or her name (this keeps students with unusual names from feeling they are singled out). Write your own phonetic transcription for the non-Smith names on your roster.
- Devise some classroom games to break the ice and get students (and the professor) to interview each other. For example, create a "scavenger hunt" sheet that asks for not-very-private information such as "Enjoys riding bicycles," "Wore braces in the 5th grade," "Speaks French fluently," "Has bungeed-jumped and lived to tell about it." Fill up the sheet with these traits and activities (including something about yourself that students would not easily guess), give a copy to each student, and give them 10 minutes to interview and find people to match to each category.
- In a smaller class, put students in pairs or triads, and give them five minutes to talk and develop an introduction of their teammates, which they will then present to the class.
- After 2-3 days of class, test your memory of their names--out loud, in the room. "Mr. Fields? Am I right? And next to you, that's Ms. Warrick?" Yes, you are putting yourself on the spot, but you are also connecting with them. If you miss a name, ask classmates to give you a hint.
- Ask students to fill out a questionnaire the first day, and ask them to include something they really want you to know about them. When you're holding your first conference with a student, review his or her questionnaire and find a way to refer to that tidbit.
What are your favorite ways to learn students' names? Tell us in the comments.
LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY–DUNCAN SCHOOL OF LAW seeks applications for a Director of Legal Skills beginning in fall 2010. The successful candidate will be responsible for: teaching one section of Legal Skills each semester; hiring adjuncts; monitoring adjuncts; training adjuncts; creating a curriculum; and other duties associated with being a member of the faculty, including but not limited to participating in faculty governance and producing scholarship. The Director of Legal Skills reports directly to the Associate Dean and Director of the Law Library.
Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to Jonathan A. Marcantel, Chair, Director of Legal Skills Search Committee, Duncan School of Law, Lincoln Memorial University, 601 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902 or email@example.com.
1. The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
2. The professor hired: will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $80,000 to $90,000 or more.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the Director of Legal Skills will be 31 - 40.
The University of Denver Sturm College of Law anticipates hiring two or more full-time lecturer positions to begin in the 2010-2011 academic year. The positions will be in its first-year legal research and writing program called Lawyering Process. Lawyering Process is a required first-year, 2-semester (six credit) course that utilizes small classes to teach legal research and writing, document drafting, and professional practice skills. The school seeks applications from experienced candidates with excellent academic records and demonstrated teaching ability, as well as applications from entry-level candidates with excellent academic records and demonstrated potential for outstanding teaching. Applicants must have a law degree; an interest in teaching; excellent legal research, analysis, reasoning, writing and communication skills; and the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. Prior teaching experience is preferred, and at least 2 years of legal practice experience is required.
For more information or to apply for these positions, visit the website https://www.dujobs.org/. Send questions or a second copy of your materials to Catherine Smith, Chair, Appointments Committee, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 East Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80208, or ontact her assistant, Jessica Neumann by e-mail or at 303-871-6305.
ALWD/LWI disclosures: The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. The professor hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $60,000 - $69,999 range. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.) Legal Writing faculty are eligible and receive summer scholarship stipends. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41-45. Teaching outside the LP program is allowed, currently as an overload.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The University of Dayton School of Law seeks applications for a full-time Assistant Professor of Lawyering Skills to teach in the school’s Legal Profession Program beginning in the fall of the 2010-2011 academic year. Legal Profession I and II is a year-long, graded, six-credit course that introduces first-year students to legal analysis, research, and writing. The full-time teaching load consists of two sections per semester, with each section averaging around 20 students. Lawyering skills professors are eligible for long term contracts, with an initial appointment of one academic year, renewable for two additional years. Thereafter, a lawyering skills professor may apply for a three-year and then five-year appointments. Lawyering skills professors serve on committees and participate in law school governance. Each lawyering skills professor receives a research/travel budget, and is eligible for scholarship stipends on the same basis as for all law school faculty.
An applicant should have a commitment to teaching writing and research; a strong academic record (JD degree required); legal practice experience (at least two years required); excellent legal analysis, research and writing skills; and the ability to work independently and cooperatively. Legal practice experience includes teaching, practice, or judicial clerkship experience. The school prefers candidates with experience working with persons from diverse backgrounds, and qualified candidates should have a demonstrated interest in the development of the professional skills that our students will rely upon as legal practitioners with an enhanced appreciation for ethics and community service.
The University of Dayton, a comprehensive Catholic University founded by the Society of Mary (the Marianists) in 1850, is Ohio’s largest independent university and one of the nation’s ten largest Catholic universities. The University of Dayton is firmly committed to the principle of diversity and is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer. Persons of color, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Review of applications will begin on August 17, 2009, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To be considered as a candidate for this position, you must apply online. Submit cover letter, resume (including three references), and writing sample electronically on the website at the time of application. Click here for more information about the School of Law or the Legal Profession Program, or contact Professor Maria Crist, University of Dayton School of Law, 300 College Park, Dayton, Ohio 45469-2772.
Required disclosures for ALWD/LWI indicate that the advertised position may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. 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 - $60,000 range. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.) Legal Writing faculty are eligible and receive scholarship stipends at the same rate as tenure-track faculty. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41-45.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Call for Papers, Panels, and Presentations -- Global Legal Skills Conference V in Monterrey, Mexico!
The fifth Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in Monterrey, Mexico on February 25-27, 2010 at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey. This is most important conference for law professors and others concerned about international legal education, and especially Legal English and skills education.
The Call for Papers, Panels, and Presentations is now open. Proposals are being accepted until September 25, 2009.
In addition to the regular program, a Spanish-language track of programming will be available for professors, lawyers, and law students. (If you speak Spanish as a second language, this is also a good opportunity for you to come and improve your Legal Spanish.)
The conference will be amazing. Don't miss it.