November 6, 2009
calling all Yankee LRW profs
If you plan to attend, it's time to sign up for the next conference of the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers. The conference will take place at Western New England College School of Law, in Springfield, Massachusetts, on December 7th. The topic for the day is The Changing Landscape of Legal Writing Programs. For the instructions for registering, click here.
(You don't actually have to be a Yankee to participate in this conference. The definition of just who is a Yankee depends a lot on where you live anyway. In New England, it's anyone from New England. In the southeastern U.S., it's anyone from north of the MasonDixon line. In Europe, it's anyone from the U.S.)
hat tip: Myra G. Orlen
November 5, 2009
preparing for oral argument
In an interview in the Chicago Tribune, a 4th year associate explains how he's preparing for his first oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. It's worth forwarding to law students preparing for 1L oral arguments or moot court competitions.
hat tip: Sheila Simon
tenure-track job opening at University of Montana
The University of Montana School of Law anticipates hiring a full-time tenure-track professor beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year to teach in the area of legal writing, research and related courses with additional responsibilities in academic success. The law school integrates theory with practice and thus especially values substantial practical experience in the areas to be taught.
Primary duties include teaching, scholarship and service, as set forth in the University of Montana School of Law Faculty Handbook. The position may include legal writing, research and related courses and academic success responsibilities.
● JD degree from an ABA accredited law school
● a superior academic background
● substantial relevant practical experience
● potential for effective teaching
● potential for scholarship
● the ability to work collegially with students, staff, faculty, and external constituencies of the law school
● creativity, resourcefulness, fairness, compassion, and initiative
Applicants should submit cover letters specifically addressing their interest in teaching and how their experience qualifies them to teach in each area addressed; an official law school transcript; a resume; and, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references.
The law school prefers to receive application materials in electronic format sent to this address. If you are unable to send materials electronically, please submit them to Professor Cynthia Ford, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, The University of Montana School of Law, 32 Campus Drive #6552, Missoula, MT 59812-6552. Screening begins 10/23/2009; applications accepted until position is filled.
Required ALWD/LWI disclosures: The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment. The person hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings, but not on all matters. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $70,000-79,999 range. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be in the range of 41-45.
job opening at CUNY
The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law seeks applicants with a demonstrated commitment to its social justice mission for a full-time teaching position. The Law School Instructor hired in this cycle will primarily teach First-Year Lawyering Seminar, the foundational course in the lawyering curriculum, with particular focus on the training development of public interest/public service lawyers. The Law School's First-Year Lawyering Seminar teaches legal analysis, legal writing, professional responsibility, and other lawyering skills by integrating clinical methodology with substantive, theoretical, and doctrinal material. Using simulation exercises and hypothetical cases, students role-play lawyers, clients, judges, and/or legislators confronted by legal issues arising from material in their other first-year courses.
The instructor may, in accordance with the law school’s needs, teach additional lawyering seminars, a doctrinal course, and/or provide academic skills instruction or other program support. This position is full-time and the instructor will be expected to teach and/or assist with the design and development of curriculum materials during the summer.
The Law School Instructor will also be responsible for committee work and such administrative, supervisory, and other functions as assigned. In their first two years of service, Law School Instructors may opt into participating in faculty meetings, pursuant to the CUNY School of Law Governance Plan. Instructors may assume other faculty governance responsibilities and serve on committees as appointed by the Dean or Committee on Committees. Upon reappointment for three or more years of continuous service, Law School Instructors may participate in governance activities without an annual opt-in process. Law School Instructors will perform other related duties as necessary or as directed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
For appointment as Law School Instructor, the candidate must have demonstrated outstanding qualities of personality, character, legal ability, and commitment to public service or public interest law, with a minimum of five years’ practice experience, excellent writing skills, and substantial experience teaching in the areas of legal writing, lawyering, and legal analysis/legal methods. Additional doctrinal teaching experience is a plus, particularly in the area of commercial law. The candidate must show a willingness to cooperate with others for the good of the institution and must have a J.D. or LL.B. from an accredited law school.
To apply, send a cover letter and resume to Maureen McCafferty, Coordinator of Faculty Recruitment. Please indicate the position for which you are applying. Review of resumes will begin November 9. Direct questions about the position to Susan Markus, Director of Legal Writing Center, Instructor Search Committee.
Required ALWD/LWI 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. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in a range of $39,832-$86,595, commensurate with experience. (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.) The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.
November 4, 2009
November 3, 2009
writing centers workshop
Law schools with PhD writing specialists on staff in particular may be interested next year's joint conference of the International Writing Centers Association and the National Conference on Peer Tutoring, to be held on November 4 - 6, 2010, in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel, just a few blocks from Baltimore's scenic Inner Harbor.
The conference will provide writing centers and composition communities an opportunity to congregate and share the latest theories, trends and practices in writing centers, writing studies and writing programs. The conference call for proposals for presentations and additional information are available on the conference website. The proposal submission deadline is March 15, 2010.
hat tip: Ben Opipari
November 2, 2009
What the research tells us about the path to writing expertise
Here is the second installmentin an occasional column Inside Higher Ed is running on how to become a competent academic writer. We blogged about the first installment here which pertained to the myths about the process of scholarly writing and the habits of effective authors. And although these columns are directed at PhD candidates working on their dissertations, the advice applies equally well to all serious writers including our students.
This month's column focuses on what the research tells us about developing expertise as a writer:
[Here are] two of my favorite journal articles to address the research on expert performance and on writing. I first read these two articles in graduate school and since then they have influenced my writing and my teaching on the writing process. The first of these two articles is titled “Expert Performance: Its Structure and Acquisition” by K. Anders Ericsson and Neil Charness. While it is an older article (published in 1994 in the American Psychologist), its information is as timely as ever. Ericsson and Charness wrote an extensive literature review on the factors that influence the development of expert performance. These factors include starting at an early age, having highly accomplished teachers or coaches, and often having at least one parent sacrifice his or her career for the child’s development. The factor that interests me the most, and the one most relevant to academic writers, is what they termed deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is sustained engagement that takes full concentration. This sustained engagement occurs regularly — daily — and for several hours every day. A result of deliberate practice is not a linear increase in knowledge; something happens along the way and psychological and cognitive adaptations occur that catapult one into a higher plane of performance.
One of the results of engagement in deliberate practice is enhanced pattern recognition. Ericsson and Charness present research showing that pattern recognition differentiates expert from novice chess players. In one study they cite, a chess game was set up mid-game and expert and novice players were given a moment to study the board. Then, both groups were asked to remember the location of the pieces. The experts exhibited enhanced recall of the location of the pieces compared with the recall of the novice players. But, and this is an important but, this superior performance in recall only occurred when the chess pieces were in a meaningful pattern on the board. When the pieces were randomly placed on the board, the recall was about equal.
This result tells us that experts look at the configuration of pieces as a whole and examine it from a broader perspective. They recognize meaningful patterns and by focusing on the patterns, they are able to remember better the location of the individual pieces. Novice players view the configuration of pieces as individual items and examine it from a narrower perspective. Although when the pieces were randomly placed on the board and no meaningful patterns existed, the experts’ previous advantage was stripped away and both groups were relying on straight recall. So, what differentiates the expert chess players is their ability to examine a board from a broader perspective and their ability to recognize meaningful patterns on the chessboard.
What does this mean for dissertation writers? Or any writer for that matter? Novice writers tend to focus on the word or the sentence as the unit of creation or as the unit of analysis. Expert writers focus on the whole and on the paragraph as the smallest unit of creation or analysis. I can completely understand this concept because I have experienced it. When I used to sit down to write, I would spend a lot of cognitive energy on word retrieval and word order. Now, since I focus on the overall meaning, I no longer worry if I have the perfect word or introductory sentence. I can now focus more on meaning and intent. A wonderful unexpected benefit of this transformation is that it prevents my perfectionism from kicking in. Since I am focusing on the meaning, I feel free to type in "blank" when I can’t think of the right word while writing an early draft. Then when I have the meaning set, I replace "blank" with an appropriate word. Notice I used the word "appropriate" -- I no longer think there is always the "perfect" word.
You can read the rest of the column here.
I am the scholarship dude.
The Last Lawyer
That intriguing title graces the cover of a new book about N
That intriguing title graces the cover of a new book about North Carolina attorney Ken Rose. The new book chronicles Rose’s decade-long defense of Bo Jones, a North Carolina farmhand convicted of a 1987 murder. It’s the most frustrating case Ken encountered in his 25 years as a capital appeals attorney, a landmark legal case that until now has received little attention.
The book follows Ken through a decade of setbacks and triumphs, as he gradually unearths the evidence he hopes will save his client’s life. At the same time, Ken also single-handedly builds a nonprofit law firm that becomes a major force in the death penalty debate. The Last Lawyer gives readers access to the inner workings of a capital defense team; no other nonfiction book has told this kind of story from the lawyer’s point of view.
The book is based on four-and-a-half years of behind-the-scenes reporting by journalism professor John Temple (who also happens to be the husband of Hollee Temple, the legal writing director at West Virginia University). At John's website, you can arrange for him to visit and talk to your law students.
November 1, 2009
job opening in North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law is inviting applications for a full-time clinical faculty appointment for a director of its first-year legal research and writing program (Research, Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy) beginning in the 2010-11 academic year.
Candidates should have outstanding academic records, the ability and desire to work collaboratively, leadership and administrative skills, and demonstrated excellence in teaching, legal research, and legal writing. Applications must be made electronically at http://jobs.unc.edu/1002044. For this position, be prepared to electronically submit your curriculum vitae, letter of application, and contact information for four references. Confidential inquiries are welcome, to Faculty Appointments Committee Chair, Professor Charles Daye, 919-962-7004, email@example.com, or to Professor Ruth Ann McKinney, Assistant Dean for Legal Writing & Academic Success, 919-962-5385, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The position advertised may be offered as a tenure-track appointment or 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 depending on the experience and skills of the successful candidate and on whether the position is negotiated as a 9-month or a 12-month appointment.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer (spring semester) and 36 - 40 (fall semester).