August 29, 2009
the narrative of argument
Linda Edwards has written a very thoughtful article on Once Upon a Time in Law: Myth, Metaphor, and Authority, which you can get to just by clicking on the title here. Here's her abstract:
"We have long accepted the role of narrative in fact statements and jury arguments, but in the inner sanctum of analyzing legal authority? Surely not. Yet cases, statutes, rules, and doctrines all have stories of their own. When we talk about legal authority, using our best formal logic, we are actually swimming in a sea of narrative, oblivious to the water around us. As the old Buddhist saying goes, 'we don’t know who discovered the ocean, but it probably wasn’t a fish.'
"This article teases out several familiar archetypes hidden in discussions of cases and statutes. In the midst of seemingly routine law talk are stories of birth and death, battle and betrayal, tricksters and champions. These stories are simultaneously true and false, world-shaping yet always incomplete. Their unnoticed influence over the law’s development can be powerful. But we so seldom question familiar narratives, and these archetypes practically run in our veins. We should learn to recognize and interrogate these stories, attuned to their truths, alert to their limitations, and ready when necessary to seek other more accurate and complete stories for the law."
hat tip: Terri Pollmann
Jessup Moot Court Rules for 2010 Now AvailableMany readers of this blog are coaches of moot court teams competing in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) has just released the rules for the 2010 Jessup Competition. Among the changes are a new rule on the consequences of plagiarism in a memorial, a rule that clarifies who can help a team proofread its memorial, and a rule that sets a disqualification date if a team's memorial is more than two weeks late. Click here for more information about the new Jessup rules. ILSA has also extended the deadline for early Jessup registration to September 18, 2009.
Mark E. Wojcik
Member of the Board of the International Law Students Association
August 28, 2009
thriving in law school
Professor Susannah Pollvogt has started a blog about Thriving in Law School, i.e., succeeding academically while maintaining some balance in life. Check it out (scroll down to the cartoons), leave a comment, and then send your students there.
By now most readers of this blog likely have read Lynne Truss's book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. And many of you have read and contributed to reviews of the book, with varying opinions about it. Now comes the illustrated version of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, with absolutely charming cartoons, featuring pandas and commas and colons, thanks to the artwork of Pat Byrnes, a New Yorker cartoonist. If you are a grammar geek, you will not be able to flip through the illustrated version of this book without laughing outloud.
August 27, 2009
New Edition of Illinois Legal Research
The second edition of Illinois Legal Research is now available!
The second edition of Illinois Legal Research shows how to find and stay current with Illinois cases, statutes, regulations, and local court rules. Focusing on state materials, it can be used as a supplement to national research texts or on its own to learn legal research. This book also explains how to locate secondary materials specific to Illinois law. Although the text was designed primarily for law students, seasoned attorneys will also appreciate the many secrets of Illinois legal research disclosed in this text. The book includes materials on citing Illinois law sources under the Bluebook (for both law review formats and practice documents), the ALWD Manual, and local court rules. It is an essential book for any Illinois law library and includes many research secrets of Illinois law.
Click here to read more about the new edition of Illinois Legal Research. The link also includes a link that shows the table of contents. The book is only $25.00 and the website is now offering a 10 percent discount. The website also has a link for legal writing professors to order review copies.
Illinois Legal Research is part of a series of state research texts published by Carolina Academic Press. Other states in the series are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.Click here for more information about the Carolina Academic Press state legal research series. The series editor is Suzanne Rowe, professor of law and Director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Oregon School of Law.
August 26, 2009
job opening at Missouri-Columbia
The University of Missouri School of Law invites applications for a full-time, non-tenure track, nine-month appointment in its Legal Research and Writing program for the 2010-2011 academic year. The successful applicant will be responsible for teaching two sections of Legal Research & Writing (LR&W) during the fall semester (20 or fewer students per section) and two sections of Advocacy & Research (A&R) during the winter semester (20 or fewer students per section), plus two additional courses to be determined by curricular needs and the legal writing faculty member’s interests. Although legal writing faculty agree on overall course design (such as course goals, number of major writing assignments and grading standards), teachers are free to decide how to structure and teach their own classes.
The initial appointment to a legal-writing-track position will ordinarily be at the rank of legal writing associate professor of law. The one-year appointment can lead to successive three-year contracts. Legal writing faculty members are eligible for and expected to participate in applicable faculty governance activities.
Applicants must have a J.D. from an accredited law school, a strong academic record, excellent legal research and writing skills, and experience in the practice of law. The ideal candidate would also have at least two years experience teaching legal research and writing.
The University of Missouri School of Law is a full-time J.D. and LL.M.-granting institution located in Columbia, Missouri, and is home to 32 full-time faculty and approximately 450 students. Columbia has a population of 100,000 and is regularly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the United States.
Application Procedure: Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is hired. Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and list of three references (with their contact information) to Robin Nichols, University of Missouri School of Law, 27 Hulston Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-4300.
For additional information about the Legal Research and Writing program, contact Melody Daily, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of Legal Research and Writing, MU School of Law, 203 Hulston Hall, Columbia, MO 65211, (573) 882-7244) .
ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. Voting is allowed on every issue except promotion of tenured or tenure-track professors. 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. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 36 to 40 total in legal writing courses plus additional students in a third course. Each semester the teaching load will be two sections of legal writing (Legal Research and Writing in the fall and Advocacy and Research in the spring) plus one additional course to be determined by curricular need and faculty interests. Typically each section of LR&W or A&R has 18 to 20 students. Enrollment in the third course varies.
more grammar resources--Grammar Girl podcasts
Speaking of grammar lessons, another great free resource is the subscribable podcasts by Grammar Girl (alter ego for Mignon Fogerty), motto "To Infinitives and Beyond!" (You can also become a Facebook fan of Grammar Girl. If you want to spend money, however, she's got an affordable book.)
I am presently redesigning (and improving, I hope) some of my standard legal-writing course pages on TWEN (which is a whole 'nother topic I'll address soon). Links to these podcasts are going to be featured in the Writing Resources document page.
Recent topics include:
- Verbs sandwiched between singular and plural nouns
- Are you annoying redundant?
- How many spaces after a period?
- How to use parallel construction correctly
updated CALI lesson on grammar, punctuation
If you recommend CALI (Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) tutorials to your students--or require them-- you will be glad to learn that its Punctuation and Grammar Basics lesson (authored by University of Texas prof and legal writing blogger Wayne Schiess) has recently been updated. This lesson, which can be completed in 50 minutes, reviews the most common writing errors committed by law students and presents the rules that apply to them.
Call for Papers - Global Legal Skills Conference V - Monterrey Mexico, Feb. 25-27, 2010
Click here for the call for papers for the fifth Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be held February 25-27, 2010 in Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey. Download Global_Legal_Skills_Conference_V_CFP
August 25, 2009
Second discimination suit this year by a legal writing prof
Back in May, we reported on the case of a St. Mary's School of Law LRW prof who was suing the Texas school for alleged age and gender discrimination when it failed to renew her contract. Now comes this story courtesy of the Law Librarian Blog (yet another reason to subscribe to it) about a University of Iowa LRW prof candidate who is suing the school alleging she was denied the job due to her conservative political beliefs. A copy of the complaint can be found here as well as a more detailed account of the case here courtesy of fire.org. The applicant in question, Teresa Wagner, had previously been offered a tenure track job at Ave Marie School of Law before its move from Michigan to Naples, Florida (and also had prior experience as an adjunct LRW prof at George Mason).
In addition to being the second discrimination suit brought by a LRW prof in the past four months, it's the second employment discrimination suit brought against the U. of Iowa School of Law in the past couple of weeks.
Here's a description of Ms. Wagner's claim courtesy of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
In the fall of 2006, Wagner applied for one of two openings at the College of Law for a full-time Writing Instructor position, for which "prior successful law school teaching" experience was listed as a qualification. According to her complaint, prior to Wagner's second faculty interview for this position, she was advised by the Associate Dean of the law school to "conceal her affiliation" with Ave Maria School of Law from voting faculty members. Despite having the necessary teaching experience in her background, as well as the fact that her interview and presentation to faculty were complimented by several faculty members, Wagner was passed over for the full-time position. As alleged in Wagner's complaint, there may have been some impermissible reasons for this:
Associate Dean Carlson informed Plaintiff Wagner that Professor Randy Bezanson had been the one to speak against her appointment as the Writing Instructor during the faculty appointments meeting. ... Professor Bezanson was a law clerk to former United States Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, author of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion and which Plaintiff Wagner's career has protested. Professor Bezanson was Justice Blackmun's law clerk during the term that Roe v. Wade was written.
Wagner was allegedly informed by Dean Carlson that Bezanson "had not liked" her presentation and had mentioned her class rank and grade point average as alleged disqualifying factors for the first time, despite the fact that these, unlike prior teaching experience, were not listed criteria. When Wagner subsequently applied for an Adjunct Writing Instructor position, she again was passed over for similar reasons:
Associate Dean Carlson informed Plaintiff Wagner that Professor Bezanson had again spoken out against her candidacy and that a minority of voting faculty can block appointments. ...
The law faculty had hired three Writing Instructor Adjuncts with no prior law school teaching experience, including one who had just graduated from law school, Steven Moeller.
As it turns out, Moeller was a research assistant for the same Professor Bezanson.
To make matters even worse, the candidate who had been offered the full-time position, Matt Williamson, had no prior law school teaching experience before being hired as an adjunct at Iowa, had never practiced law, had no published works, and even admitted to Wagner and others that he was not qualified to be a writing instructor. In fact, he offered to resign after his first semester of full-time teaching and did resign after his second semester. Wagner, meanwhile, was allegedly told by Dean Carlson, despite her qualifications, that she "should no longer apply for open full-time or Adjunct Writing Instructor positions."
I am the scholarship dude.
August 24, 2009
job opening at La Verne (Ontario, California)
The University of La Verne College of Law invites applications for one or more full-time, tenure-track positions in its directed legal writing program, beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. The school may have interests in other areas, including property, though its needs in other areas are uncertain at this time. La Verne seeks candidates with a strong commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service to the legal profession. Its mission is to educate ethically sensitive, practice-ready lawyers dedicated to community service.
La Verne Law is committed to its continued development as a vibrant, research-active academic community and excellence in scholarship is highly valued. Teaching for at least one year at an ABA-approved law school is preferred, though the school is interested in hearing from both entry-level and lateral candidates. It values faculty who are able to use their practice experience to innovate in the classroom and beyond. The rank of Assistant, Associate, or Professor depends upon qualifications and experience.
For information about La Verne Law, visit its website. La Verne Law is provisionally approved by the ABA and plans to apply for full ABA approval in the 2009-2010 academic year. La Verne Law is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications that will enhance the diversity of the faculty.
To apply, mail or e-mail a cover letter describing teaching and scholarship interests and curriculum vitae, in Word or PDF format only, to Professor Juanda Daniel, Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, 320 East D Street, Ontario, California 91764. Representatives of the school will be attending the AALS recruitment conference in November and interviewing people on campus. In the cover letter, indicate whether you will be attending the Conference.
ALWD/LWI required disclosures: 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 $80,000 to $89,999 range. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.
job opening at Charleston
Charleston School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track Director of Legal Research and Writing position, beginning in the 2010 academic year.
The Director is responsible for administering the first-year legal writing program, and reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Director teaches one section of Legal Research and Writing each semester and makes hiring recommendations for the program’s adjunct and full-time faculty. The Director is responsible for training and supervising the program faculty, and supervising grading. The Director works with the Library Reference Staff to ensure the delivery of legal research training for students and legal writing faculty. The Director will be expected to develop and conduct writing skills workshops; develop web-based resources for students; advise the faculty on trends in Legal Research and Writing; and advise the faculty on curriculum design. Scholarship in areas related to legal education and/or research and writing pedagogy is strongly encouraged, as is leadership in state and professional associations. The Director serves on faculty committees as requested by the Dean, and has full voting rights. The Director will be expected to work closely with the Assistant Dean for Academic Support and the Director of Academic Support Programs on integrating academic support pedagogy in the legal writing program.
Candidates should have an outstanding academic record, as well as experience and demonstrated excellence in teaching, leadership, and administrative skills. Candidates should also have at least five years experience teaching legal writing or as a writing specialist in a law firm. Salary and faculty rank of Assistant, Associate or Professor depends on qualifications and experience.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply, mail or e-mail a letter of application that addresses the qualifications identified above and a current curriculum vitae with references to Professor Sheila B. Scheuerman, Chair, Legal Writing Director Search Committee, Charleston School of Law, P.O. Box 535, Charleston, SC 29402.
ALWD/LWI required disclosures: 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 $70,000 to $90,000+ range (salary commensurate with experience). The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.