Saturday, October 17, 2009

congratulations, Oregon!

Homebanner2
Suzanne Rowe, legal writing director at the University of Oregon, reports that their faculty just voted to add a legal writing position to their faculty.  Given the state of public university budgets, this is quite an extraordinary feat.  When a formal job announcement is available, we'll post it here.

(spl) 

October 17, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scholarship alert: "Law firm legal research requirements for new attorneys"

We haven't had an S.A. in a while so let's break the silence with this article from Patrick Meyer an Associate Library Director and Adjunct Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.  Law Firm Legal Research Requirements for New Attorneys can be found at 101 Law Lib. J. 297 (2009).  From the abstract:

Mr. Meyer conducted a survey of law firm librarians in 2007 that identified the most important research tasks in the law firm setting and the proper format or formats in which those tasks should be performed. In addition to analyzing the results of that survey, he considers previous studies and surveys and concludes with some recommendations for the content of law school research courses.

The article is available on Lexis, Westlaw and Hein Online.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

October 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a gold mine for teaching legal drafting and transactional skills

Sign_contract Have you started thinking about next spring's courses? Is your school looking for ideas for incorporating more skills education into the legal education curriculum? Whether you teach (or want to teach) an entire course on drafting, or teach drafting in connection with a clinical or doctrinal course, or whether your basic legal writing curriculum includes some drafting components, you need to get your hands on a special issue of Transactions, the Tennessee Journal of Business, Teaching Drafting and Transactional Skills: The Basics and Beyond, 2009 Transactions 1 (click preceding link to download the entire issue). The issue represents proceedings of the May 2008 conference hosted by Emory
University School of Law's Center for Transactional Law and Practice, “Teaching Drafting and Transactional Skills—The Basics and Beyond.”
Devoted in its entirety to the teaching of drafting and transactional skills, the issue features the following presentations by experts in the field. There is something here for everybody.
  • George W. Kuney, Introduction to the Special Report, 2009 Transactions 1.
  • Tina L. Stark, Conference Introduction: My Fantasy Curriculum & Other Almost Random Thoughts, 2009 Transactions 3. 
  • Robert C. Illig, Therese H. Maynard, Cherie O. Taylor & Irene Kosturakis, Teaching Transactional Skills through Simulations in Upper-Level Courses: Three Exemplars, 2009 Transactions 15.
  • Wayne Schiess, Craig Smith, Pamela Wilkins, Danton Berube & Irene Segal Ayers, Teaching Transactional Skills in First-Year Writing Courses, 2009 Transactions 53.
  • Anthony J. Luppino, George W. Kuney & Jamison Wilcox, Pedagogic Techniques: Multi-Disciplinary Courses, Annotated Document Review, Collaborative Work & Large Groups, 2009 Transactions 73.
  • Praveen Kosuri, Daniel Jaffe, Jeff Leslie & James F. Hogg, You Too Can Create a Simulation Exercise (or Even a Course), 2009 Transactions 101.
  • Travis Dale Jones, Rosemary Dillon, Lisa Penland & Sue Payne, How to Create Contract Drafting Exercises, 2009 Transactions 127.
  • Tina L. Stark & George W. Kuney, Transactional Skills Training: Contract Drafting--the Basics, 2009 Transactions 139.
  • Phillip Knott, Thinking Like a Lawyer: An English Interpretation, 2009 Transactions 179. 
  • Tracy L. McGaugh, Pedagogic Techniques: Using Collaborative Writing Technology to Teach Contract Drafting, 2009 Transactions 189. 
  • Serge Martinez & Robert Statchen, Teaching Transactional Skills in a Clinic, 2009 Transactions 203.
  • Susan M. Chesler, Karen Sneddon, Elizabeth August & Mark Need, Teaching Multiple Skills in Drafting & Simulation Courses, 2009 Transactions 221.
  • Scott J. Burnham, Larry A. DiMatteo, Kenneth A. Adams & J. Lyn Entrikin Goering, Transactional Skills Training: Contract Drafting--Beyond the Basics, 2009 Transactions 253.
  • Robin A. Boyle, David Epstein & Sue Payne, How to Critique & Grade Contract Drafting Assignments, 2009 Transactions 297.
  • Christina L. Kunz, Debra Pogrund Stark, Richard K. Neumann, Jr. & Cynthia M. Adams, Incorporating Transactional Skills Training into First-Year Doctrinal Courses, 2009 Transactions 331.
  • Douglas Godfrey, Charles Fox & Edward C. Harris, Transactional Skills Training: All about Due Diligence, 2009 Transactions 357.
  • Rachel Arnow-Richman, Lisa Bliss, Sylvia B. Caley & Michael A. Woronoff, Teaching Transactional Skills in Upper-Level Doctrinal Courses: Three Exemplars, 2009 Transactions 367.
  • Leslie Larkin Cooney, Judith Karp, Maggie Finnerty & Howard E. Katz, More Pedagogic Techniques: Online Exercises & Integrating Skills into Different Kinds of Courses, 2009 Transactions 389.
  • Charles R. Beaudrot, Jr., Transactional Skills Training: Opinion Letters, 2009 Transactions 405.

(cmb) 

October 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Top 10 mistakes when writing an appellate brief

The Adjunct Law Prof Blog has reprinted a list compiled in the August, 31, 2009 edition of the New York Law Journal (free registration required) that includes the following:

1. Failing to take full advantage of respondents' and reply briefs.

2. Failing to explain why the trial or motion court should be reversed.

3. Failing to pick up on the procedural issues that can undercut your opponent's argument.

4. Failing to focus on the key facts and spending too much time on the irrelevancies.

5. Failing to carefully choose and effectively cite cases.

You can read the rest of the list here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

 

October 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Join the Small Group Discussion on Legal Writing at the AALS Hiring Conference

Aalslogo Levine, Jan The Association of American Law School holds an annual recruiting conference that is familiar to many of us as “the meat market.”  Each year there is a small group discussion for candidates who are interested in legal research and writing.  This year’s session will start at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 5, 2009, just after the candidate’s workshop. 

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The small group discussion session usually goes for about an hour.  If you are a member of your school's recruiting committee, if you otherwise happen to be in Washington, D.C., or if you will be at the conference to search for a new position, please join this interactive and interesting discussion.  Professor Jan M. Levine, Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program at Duquesne University School of Law, will lead the discussion group.

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Candidates find this program to be very good and it is well received every year.  Jan does a great job leading this discussion, and we thank him for taking the lead on this again this year. 

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(mew)

October 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When writing gaffes are the icing on the cake

While not directly related to legal writing, let's call this post "Friday Fun - one day early."  It's a New York Times story about a blog called Cake Wrecks that chronicles confections that "go horribly, hilariously wrong."  Ace of Cakes it ain't.

The blogger behind it all, Ms.Jen Yates, isn't interested in documenting mistakes by mere amateurs or home hobbyists.  That would be too easy.  Rather, she showcases screw-ups by the pros:

Think of them as epic fails, with frosting. There are Hello Kitty cakes that look more like gerbils with glandular problems, fondant ribbons gnarled into hideous nests, and squishy inscriptions that read, “Happy 3th Birthday, Evan.” As Ms. Yates, 31, defines it, a Cake Wreck is “any cake that is unintentionally sad, silly, creepy, inappropriate — you name it.”  

Here are some examples we thought you might enjoy - think of them as desserts for the eye:

Cake-nothing

Cake1

Cake-blank

Cake-olympic 

You can read the rest of the story here, along with viewing a nifty slide show with more images of good cakes gone bad.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

October 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

newest issue of "Thanks & Congrats" newsletter

Sampson, Kathryn University of Arkansas Professor (and LWI listserv chair) Kathy Sampson has compiled the second of the Legal Writing Institute's new electronic newsletter, "Thanks & Congrats!" While the listserv remains an important means of communication within the legal writing community, the newsletter functions as a more permanent clearinghouse for the latest news and achievements in our field.

Click the following link to download and read the October 2009 issue, newly updated to reflect the latest happenings in legal writing: Download October2009Thanks_and_Congrats_101409

Thanks, Kathy, and your committee members Michelle Cue and Allison Ortlieb (DePaul) and Daphne O'Regan (Michigan State) for putting together this great publication. We at the Legal Writing Prof Blog are happy to host the newsletter.

(cmb)

October 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mark Wojcik Nominated as Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research; Kathleen Vinson Nominated as Secretary

Aalslogo The Nominating Committee of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research announced the nominees for the 2010 Section offices of Secretary and Chair-elect.

DSCF6503 Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago) is the nominee for Chair-elect.  He is currently serving as Section Secretary.  Mark has been in legal academia since 1992 and has wide experience across AALS Sections, legal writing organizations, and ABA sections.  His collaboration with people from many sectors of legal education well-positions him to assist incoming Chair Martha Pagliari in managing the business of the Section.

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Vinson, Kathleen Kathleen Vinson is the nominee for Secretary.  Kathy is the Director of the Legal Practice Skills Program at Suffolk, where she has taught for fourteen years.  Her experience in the legal writing field is both deep and broad in that she has served on committees and on the Boards of Directors of both LWI and ALWD.  Her experience on our Section’s Media Committee and her experience publishing The Second Draft and the LWI Monograph Series, both online publications, will enable her to hit the ground running as she takes over the publication of our Section’s online newsletter.  

The election of this slate will take place at the Section’s business meeting during the upcoming annual AALS meeting in New Orleans.  The business meeting will occur at the conclusion of the Joint Program of the Sections on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and Teaching Methods, which is scheduled for Thursday, January 7, 2010 from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

The AALS Section nominating committee consisted of Leah Christensen, Greg Johnson, Jim Levy, Samantha Moppett, Sharon Pocock, Judy Rosenbaum, Susan Thrower, and Christine Venter.

(spl)

October 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Updated Information on the December 4 LWI Workshops for Adjunct Professors and New Legal Writing Professors

LWI 25 The Legal Writing Institute is holding workshops in Chicago and New York on Friday, December 4, 2009 for adjunct professors and new legal writing professors. 

The revised version of the brochure now includes hotel information -- there is strong interest in these workshops and people are coming from across the country (and Canada) to attend.

Download LWI New Teachers Workshop (Version 2.2)

Online registration is now also available (see details on page 4 of the brochure).

(mew)

October 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Any time" versus "Anytime"

So what's the difference?  Lynn Gaertner-Johnston at the Business Writing blog provides an answer:

Do you wonder about the word anytime at any time? Anytime I stop to think about a word before I write it, wondering whether it is one word or two, it seems like a good topic to write about. If it takes me any time to think about it, I assume you may be thinking about it too.

That paragraph illustrates the use of anytime and any time.

Any amount of time = any time.

Do you have any time to review this piece?
We spent hardly any time in Dallas.
He doesn't have any time for us now that he has a girlfriend.

Whenever, at any time = anytime.

Call me anytime.
Anytime this happens, let me know.
I can meet anytime on Friday.

The correct choice after the preposition at is always the two-word form. Or leave out the preposition and use the one-word form. (Leaving out the at seems to be an American habit.)

I can meet with you at any time. (Compare: I can meet with you anytime.)
Did you talk with him at any time? (Compare: Did you talk with him anytime?)
I am free at any time between 1 and 4 p.m. (Compare: I am free anytime between 1 and 4 p.m.)

You can read the rest of Ms. Gaertner-Johnston's super-helpful blog right here.

I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

October 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Prof Blog wins most improved player award

I received a nice email from Law Professor Blog Network overlord Professor Paul Caron telling me that this blog had seen the greatest percentage increase in traffic over the past 12 months of any of the top 35 blogs edited by a law prof with a publicly available SiteMeter.  (Granted, that's a lot of qualifiers but we'll still take it).

From today's TaxProf Blog

Here are the largest percentage increases (page views and traffic) among the Top 35 blogs from the prior 12-month period: 

 

Blog

Page Views

Blog

Visitors

1

Legal Writing Prof Blog

+175.0%

Legal Writing Prof Blog

+193.6%

2

Althouse

+100.4%

Althouse

+85.0%

3

Mirror of Justice

+70.0%

Mirror of Justice

+67.1%

4

Antitrust & Competition

+67.1%

Legal History Blog

+58.8%

5

Legal History Blog

+41.5%

Antitrust & Competition

+49.7%

6

InstaPundit

+39.3%

TaxProf Blog

+46.4%

7

Legal Profession Blog

+28.8%

InstaPundit

+42.1%

8

TaxProf Blog

+27.8%

Legal Profession Blog

+32.1%

9

Religion Clause

+26.8%

Religion Clause

+31.8%

10

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

+21.7%

Patently-O

+30.1%

We also moved up a few slots in terms of total traffic during the past 12 months.  Again, courtesy of the TaxProf Blog:

Below are the updated quarterly traffic rankings (page views and visitors) of the Top 35 blogs edited by law professors with publicly available SiteMeters for the most recent 12-month period (Oct. 1, 2008 - Sept. 30, 2009).  In a new feature, I have included the percentage change in traffic from the prior 12-month period:

 

Blog

Page Views

Change

1

InstaPundit

131,797,851

+39.3%

2

Volokh Conspiracy

15,280,786

+8.6%

3

Althouse

13,027,558

+100.4%

4

Hugh Hewitt

12,205,544

-25.0%

5

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

3,779,106

+21.7%

6

TaxProf Blog

3,647,217

+27.8%

7

Patently-O

3,464,367

-4.2%

8

Jack Bog's Blog

2,506,306

+8.2%

9

Concurring Opinions

1,741,459

-10.7%

10

Sentencing Law & Policy

1,628,497

-2.0%

11

Balkanization

1,398,761

-28.7%

12

PrawfsBlawg

1,347,354

+3.6%

13

Legal Insurrection

1,314,949

n/a

14

Leiter's Law School Reports

1,282,155

+8.1%

15

The Faculty Lounge

657,954

n/a

16

Opinio Juris

652,102

+4.9%

17

Workplace Prof Blog

547,734

-3.6%

18

The Right Coast

504,022

+2.9%

19

Discourse.net

486,543

-23.1%

20

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

477,818

-19.0%

21

Conglomerate

436,147

-24.7%

22

ImmigrationProf Blog

386,794

+15.5%

23

Wills, Trusts & Est. Prof Blog

386,731

+9.3%

24

Religion Clause

349,770

+26.8%

25

Sports Law Blog

343,756

-24.3%

26

Mirror of Justice

304,045

+70.0%

27

Election Law Blog

284,721

+20.5%

28

Legal History Blog

281,429

+41.5%

29

Dissenting Justice

279,633

n/a

30

Ideoblog

265,123

+5.8%

31

Legal Profession Blog

263,029

+28.8%

32

Legal Writing Prof Blog

253,006

+175.0%

33

CrimProf Blog

245,734

+4.1%

34

Chicago Faculty Blog

240,224

-8.5%

35

Antitrust & Competition Policy

235,022

+67.1%

 

Blog

Visitors

Change

1

InstaPundit

127,465,424

+42.1%

2

Volokh Conspiracy

11,258,376

+11.4%

3

Hugh Hewitt

10,032,180

-24.0%

4

Althouse

6,842,476

+85.0%

5

TaxProf Blog

2,805,176

+46.4%

6

Leiter Reports: Philosophy

2,307,771

+23.4%

7

Patently-O

1,784,076

+30.1%

8

Concurring Opinions

1,161,039

-10.0%

9

Jack Bog's Blog

1,088,062

+18.6%

10

Legal Insurrection

1,009,480

n/a

11

Sentencing Law & Policy

955,533

+3.6%

12

Leiter's Law School Reports

894,639

+7.1%

13

balkinization

810,948

-28.4%

14

PrawfsBlawg

757,612

-4.4%

15

The Faculty Lounge

392,727

 n/a

16

Workplace Prof Blog

388,449

-4.0%

17

Opinio Juris

383,095

+5.9%

18

Discourse.net

365,779

-22.1%

19

White Collar Crime Prof Blog

333,150

-16.1%

20

The Right Coast

325,011

-8.2%

21

Conglomerate

299,117

-25.5%

22

ImmigrationProf Blog

265,473

+16.2%

23

Wills, Trusts & Est. Prof Blog

265,384

+7.3%

24

Religion Clause

240,917

+31.8%

25

Sports Law Blog

224,748

-17.1%

26

Dissenting Justice

203,611

 n/a

27

Legal History Blog

199,949

+58.8%

28

Mirror of Justice

198,916

+67.1%

29

Ideoblog

195,246

+9.4%

30

CrimProf Blog

184,037

-6.0%

31

Election Law Blog

182,404

+22.6%

32

Legal Profession Blog

173,569

+32.1%

33

Legal Writing Prof Blog

173,237

+193.6%

34

Chicago Faculty Blog

152,599

-11.0%

35

Antitrust & Competition Policy

146,318

+49.7%

Must be the donuts.

As always, I am the scholarship dude.

(jbl)

October 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 12, 2009

facing Facebook (& Twitter)

Law professors of a certain age may well think of Facebook as inconsequential to legal education, but at the Central States LRW conference, a few presenters disabused us of that notion.  Sonia Green (at John Marshall) and Tracy McGaugh (at Touro) gave an insightful presentation on An Inconvenient Obsession: Facebook in Law School.  And then Jim Dimitri (at Indianapolis) filled in additional details and also spoke about Twitter, in his presentation on Tweeting Isn't Just for the Birds: Using Twitter & Facebook.

So here's the take away:  Law students are checking their e-mail less and less, while communicating more and more via Facebook.  Some of them basically live on Facebook these days.  (When you think they are typing notes in class, they may well be sending a message via Facebook to a classmate or participating in a game.)  To reach law students via Facebook, law professors can set up a group and limit it to just their class members.  Then they can use the messaging function much like e-mail.  Don't worry, if you set it up right, you can do this without sharing with your students your vacation photos or the name of your high school boyfriend.  But you can tell them you've posted something elsewhere for class that they need go look at.

You can use Twitter much the same way, to send brief messages to students.  The only problem is that few of the people using Twitter regularly are in the age group of most U.S. law students.  So a few will get your messages there, but not many. 

Some law professors do use both Facebook and Twitter for professional networking, creating a professional profile on-line, and personal communications.  That part of course is up to you.  Ignoring the fact that your students are getting more and more of their communications via Facebook, however, apparently puts a professor in the category of professors that students these days consider less in touch.

(spl)

October 12, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Congratulations to Marquette University School of Law

Julien, Alison Kearney, Joseph Marquette University School of Law in Milwaukee hosted an ALWD Scholars' Forum the past Friday and the Central Region Legal Writing Conference on Friday evening and Saturday.  I attended only the end of the ALWD forum, which was targeted to new legal writing professors.  It was an enthusiastic group who seemed to have gotten quite a lot out of the programs that day.  

The Central Region Legal Writing Conference that started Friday evening and continued all day Saturday was a great event all around.  It was nicely organized and very well run, and the presentations were first rate.  Congratulations to Professor Alison Julien (photo left), Melissa Greipp, Rebecca Blemberg, Lisa Mazzie, Jessica Slavin, Jill Hayford, and the rest of the team at Marquette.  Thanks also to the conference planners from other schools who helped select the presentations and plan the program.

Thanks also to Marquette Dean Joseph Kearney for his support of the workshop and conference.  (He's in the blue shirt in the picture with me.)  There were more than 100 attendees from all across the country, and a full day of interesting programs.  The individual sessions were well attended and audience participation quite strong.

Hat tip for the photo of Dean Kearney and me to Administrative Assistant Beverly Franklin.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

October 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)