Friday, December 31, 2010
We would be remiss if we allowed the old year to slip away without posting the excellent news of additional promotions of legal writing professors. So, hearty congratulations to:
Sue Chesler, at Arizona State, who received a unanimous vote from the law faculty for tenure and promotion.
Kathy Stanchi, at Temple, whose faculty voted to promote her to the rank of Professor of Law.
Kristen Murray, also at Temple, who received a faculty vote for promotion to a long-term, presumptively renewable contract.
Sue Painter-Thorne and Karen Sneddon, at Mercer, both whom received votes of approval for tenure from their faculty.
Aida Alaka and Jeff Jackson, both at Washburn and both nominated for tenure and promotion to the rank of Professor of Law.
Heather Baum and Theresa Clark, at Villanova, where the law faculty voted to promote them to the rank of Associate Professor of Legal Writing, a rank that comes with a three-year contract.
Michael Cedrone, at Georgetown, where the law faculty has also voted to award him a three-year contract, after which he'll be eligible for a renewable seven-year contract.
Iselin Gambert and Karen Thornton, at George Washington, appointed to the full-time faculty as Associate Professors of Legal Writing.
A happy New Year indeed!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) have announced the 2011 Legal Writing Scholarship Grants for teachers of legal research and writing. Full details are available here. Applications are due by 5 p.m. East Coast time on February 7, 2011.
If you have an article idea, or are working on an article, or are thinking of expanding a shorter piece, or would like to turn a presentation or conference proposal into an article - this is a good opportunity to apply for funding for your writing process.
hat tip: Sarah Ricks (Rutgers-Camden) and Ellie Margolis (Temple), Co-Chairs, The Joint ALWD-LWI Scholarship Committee
The Capital Area Legal Writing Conference Planning Committee is planning what seems to be a pretty great conference to be hosted at the George Washington University Law School on February 25 - 26, 2011. The conference will features 65 presenters from over 25 law schools in 20 States.
Dr. George D. Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric at Duke University, and the 2011 recipient of the Legal Writing Institute’s Golden Pen Award, will deliver the Keynote Address. In addition, a plenary session will feature Professor Teresa Godwin Phelps of American University’s Washington College of Law, and winner of the 2009 Terri LeClercq Courage Award.
The deadline to register is January 15, 2011. There is no registration fee, and all attendees must register whether or not they are presenting at the conference. To register, please visit:http://capitallegalwriting.eventbrite.com/ The registration site contains information about reserving a room at a group rate at one of the conference hotels, within walking distance to GW Law. Space is limited, so please book your room now! If you have any questions, please contact the organizers at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the (rather amazing) List of Presenters:
- Scott Anderson, Capital University Law School (Columbus, OH)
- Donna Bain Butler, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Mary Ann Becker, DePaul University College of Law (Chicago, IL)
- Genevieve Boarman, University of Denver, Sturm College of Law (Denver, CO)
- S. Paige Canfield, Saint Louis University School of Law (St. Louis, MO)
- Jessica Clark, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- David Cleveland, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center (Ft. Lauderdale-Davie, FL)
- Jason Cohen, Rutgers School of Law - Camden (Camden, NJ)
- Julia Colarusso, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Lurene Contento, The John Marshall Law School, Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Susan DeJarnatt, Temple University Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA)
- Diana Donahoe, Georgetown University Law Center (Washington, DC)
- Toby Dorsey, United States Sentencing Commission (Washington, DC)
- Olympia Duhart, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center (Ft. Lauderdale-Davie, FL)
- Katie Earnest, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York, NY)
- Lisa Eichhorn, University of South Carolina School of Law (Columbia, SC)
- J. Lyn Entrikin Goering, William H. Bowen School of Law (University of
Arkansas at Little Rock) (Little Rock, AR)
- Denise Field, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law (St. Louis, MO)
- Paul Figley, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Iselin Gambert, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Cynthia Godsoe, Brooklyn Law School (Brooklyn, NY)
- Marcia Goldsmith, St. Louis University School of Law (St. Louis, MO)
- Timothy Goodman, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Katie Rose Guest Pryal, University of North Carolina School of Law (Durham, NC)
- Victoria Hadfield Moshiashwili, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Washington, DC)
- Rebecca Hagen, Faulkner University / Jones School of Law (Montgomery, AL)
- Nicole Evan Harris, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Pam Jenoff, Rutgers School of Law - Camden (Camden, NJ)
- Phillip Kaplan, Suffolk University Law School (Boston, MA)
- Aliza Kaplan, Brooklyn Law School (Brooklyn, NY)
- Alison Donahue Kehner, Widener University School of Law -- Delaware (Wilmington, DE)
- Elizabeth Keith, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Rosa Kim, Suffolk University Law School (Boston, MA)
- Camille Lamar, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center (Ft. Lauderdale-Davie, FL)
- Terri LeClercq, University of Texas (St. Austin, TX)
- Susan Lynch, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Leigh Mello, Suffolk University Law School (Boston, MA)
- Karin Mika, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Cleveland, OH)
- Hugh Mundy, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center (Ft. Lauderdale-Davie, FL)
- Kristen Murray, Temple University, Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA)
- Michael Murray, Valparaiso University School of Law (Valparaiso, IN)
- Richard Neumann, Hofstra Law School (Hempstead, NY)
- Elan Nichols, Michigan State University College of Law Housing Law Clinic (East Lansing, MI)
- Anthony Niedwiecki, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago, IL)
- Mark Rahdert, Temple University Beasley School of Law (Philadelphia, PA)
- Julie Reiley, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Heather Ridenour, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Ruth Anne Robbins, Rutgers School of Law - Camden (Camden, NJ)
- Lori Roberts, Western State University College of Law (Fullerton, CA)
- Mary Ann Robinson, Widener University School of Law -- Delaware (Wilmington, DE)
- Sheila Rodriguez, Rutgers School of Law - Camden (Camden, NJ)
- Christine Rollins, Saint Louis University School of Law (St. Louis, MO)
- Sara Sampson, Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown Law Library (Washington, DC)
- Jean Sbarge, Widener University School of Law -- Delaware (Wilmington, DE)
- David Sorkin, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago, IL)
- David Spratt, American University Washington College of Law (Washington, DC)
- Amy Stein, Hofstra University School of Law (Hempstead, NY)
- Karen Thornton, The George Washington University Law School (Washington, DC)
- Adam Todd, University of Dayton School of Law (Dayton, OH)
- Todd Venie, Georgetown University Law Center & Georgetown Law Library (Washington, DC)
- Kathryn Webber, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center (Ft. Lauderdale-Davie,FL)
Congratulations to the organizers and presenters.
Hat tip to Christy H. DeSanctis
The sixth Global Legal Skills Conference will take place on May 5-7, 2011 at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Persons interested in making a presentation or organizing a panel for the conference should submit proposals to the Planning Committee by January 31, 2011, by sending it to 7wojcik[at]jmls.edu.
You will be notified as to whether your proposal has been accepted by the middle of February. There is no particular format for proposals. Some proposals may be quite detailed, while others might have just the title of the proposal, a brief description (unless it is clear from the title), and contact information for presenters. You might propose an entire panel, or just an individual presentation that we might combine with others. Submissions are welcome on all aspects of international legal skills education, with a special (but not exclusive) focus on teaching students who speak English as a second language. Previous conferences also included presentations on Legal Spanish, on teaching Trial Advocacy in Ireland, on legal translations, and on other aspects of international legal education. However, most
presentations will focus on the special educational aspects of teaching students trained in other languages and other, frequently non-common law, legal traditions.
In your proposal, please let us know how much time you will need. Please choose 20 or 50 minutes. Please also let us know where your proposal fits within the following categories:
1. How to teach: Tips for those who teach international students either here or abroad.
2. How to do: Tips by and for U.S. and foreign practitioners who have global practices.
3. Curricular development: Presentations on what schools offer, or should be offering, their foreign students.
4. What it's all about: Lessons on law/culture/practice in other countries.
5. Developing Materials: Ideas on developing materials for class.
6. Other: Anything that does not fit within the other categories.
Please send any questions to Mark Wojcik by email at mwojcik[at]jmls.edu or intlawprof[at]gmail.com.
The Eleventh Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference will be held on March 25-26, 2011 at The University of Nevada Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Program Committee invites participants to submit proposals for conference presentations. Presentations may be on any subject of interest to those teaching legal writing and research. Presenters have two options regarding time:
1. Presenters are encouraged to suggest ideas for 25-minute slots. These are often practical presentations on teaching methods or assignments that have been especially successful for you. Many of these slots are available.
2. There's also a few slots open for 50-minute presentations.
The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, January 12, 2011. To submit a presentation proposal, please send the following information to Sara Gordon (at sara.gordon [at] unlv.edu) and Jean Whitney (at jean.whitney [at] unlv.edu):
- Contact information for all presenters and co-presenters
- Title of presentation
- Brief (one-paragraph) description of the presentation
- Time needed for presentation (25 minutes or 50 minutes)
- Technology needs for the presentation
Hat tip to Sara Gordon
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
The Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference has issued a call for proposals for its conference on April 15-16, 2011 in Macon, Georgia. The conference theme will be “Opening the Lens: Re-Visions in Legal Writing Teaching, Theory, & Practice.” The deadline for conference proposals is January 21, 2011.
The conference intends to focus on interdisciplinary approaches that enrich understanding of legal interpretation and composition and highlight the ways in which legal writing teachers integrate theory and practice. Proposals may draw on interdisciplinary perspectives or emphasize new ways to bring together theory and practice in legal writing teaching, scholarship, and service. The Program Committee encourages proposals for 25-minute individual presentations or panel discussions but anticipates that there will also be a few 55-minute slots.
Proposals must be submitted by email to Jennifer Sheppard, Program Committee Co-Chair, at Sheppard_jl [at] law.mercer.edu. The deadline to submit proposals is January 21, 2011. Please include the following in the proposal submission:
- Title of proposed presentation or panel.
- Brief description of proposed presentation or panel.
- Time needed for presentation (25 minutes or 55 minutes).
- Technology needs for your presentation (please describe).
- Contact information:
- Name(s) and title(s) of presenter(s)
- Email address(es)
- Mailing address(es)
- Telephone number(s)
Hat tips to Jennifer Sheppard and Karen J. Sneddon
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
For some encouragement and advice on teaching law students to write outside the litigation context, whether you just introduce the idea in a 1L course or teach an entire tranactional drafting course, there is a helpful article by Susan Chesler on "Advocating for Teaching Students about the Role of Lawyer as Counselor – Winning Isn't Always Everything", 16 The Law Teacher 6 (2009). As she explains:
"From the very first day of law school, students learn about the law through the lens of litigated cases and through the eyes of a lawyer in the role of advocate – a lawyer that is supposed to argue for a particular position or a cause. However, lawyers serve crucial roles that do not focus on making arguments or 'winning,' but on planning, advising, and counseling their clients on a wide variety of matters, such as risk assessment, avoidance of potential legal problems, and the resolution of disputes without resorting to litigation. This is true for many different types of lawyer, but especially for the transactional lawyer who negotiates and drafts contracts. This article explains how to design a transactional drafting course that introduces students to the role of lawyer as counselor, and provides suggestions for introducing students to the role of lawyer as counselor in all of their first year required courses, without the need for abandoning the use of appellate cases."
hat tip: Nolan L. Wright
The deadline to apply for the Legal Methods teaching job for next year at Widener University School of Law's Wilmington, Delaware, campus is January 15, 2011. Widener’s program in legal analysis, writing, and research is a collaboratively developed three-semester sequence of required courses.
Candidates for this position should have superior research and written and oral communication abilities. Candidates with relevant teaching experience will be strongly preferred. To apply, please send your cover letter, c.v., and writing sample to Mary Ellen Maatman, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Legal Methods on the Delaware campus of Widener University School of Law. You may send your materials by email to email@example.com, or by regular mail to 4601 Concord Pike, P.O. Box 7474, Wilmington, DE 19803. Shortly after January 15th, selected candidates will be invited to the campus to interview with the Legal Methods and doctrinal faculty, and to give a presentation.
To learn more, visit http://law.widener.edu/Academics/LegalMethods.aspx or call Mary Ellen Maatman at (302) 477-2198.
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 $60,000 - $69,999.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught will be 41 - 50.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Just in time for the impending new year, Scribes - The American Society of Legal Writers has announced activation of its redesigned website.
Annually, Scribes presents two awards to recognize high-quality legal writing by law students: the Law-Review Award, which honors the best student-written article in a law review or journal, and the Brief-Writing Award , which honors the best student-written brief. Note that for this year's Law-Review Award competition, submissions are due by January 14, 2011. UPDATE FROM SCRIBES: Submissions to the Law-Review competition are due by January 21, 2011.
The National Order of Scribes also recognizes high-quality legal writing by law students. Any law school that's a current institutional member of Scribes may nominate up to five graduating law students who excel in legal writingfor induction into the National Order of Scribes .
hat tip: Chris Wren
Our blog co-editor Nancy Soonpaa commented on an earlier post on this blog about the International Negotiation Competition. She wrote that next year's competition will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Get those passports ready!
Nancy (pictured at right) and a colleague (Wendy Humphrey) coached their team from Texas Tech University School of Law to victory in 2010 when the competition was held at Bond University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Contact Larry Teply at Creighton or Nancy Schultz at Chapman for more information about the competition.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Having finished grading memos, for the first time I caught a TV show called Auction Hunters, where the contents of abandoned self-storage units are auctioned off. During the auction, when the door to a unit is opened up, the potential buyers have only a few minutes to try to see what's inside. They can't walk into the storage unit, and they can't touch anything. They bring flashlights, stand at the door, and try to take a good look at what they can see inside. And then they have to assume, based on what's visible, what the value of the unseen items might be. Based on that quick look and speculation, they figure out what price they're willing to bid on the contents of the storage unit.
So it occured to me, peeking in the storage unit for a few minutes is a bit like skimming a student's memo during a legal writing conference. Legal writing professors who have fifty or more students may only be able to meet with each student for ten or fifteen minutes. In that situation, all too familiar to many of us legal writing professors, there's just not enough time to give each draft a careful read. An experienced professor can skim the paper to make sure it meets the technical requirements (no sections missing, etc.) and follows the expected analytical structure (IRAC or CREAC or whatever). Well-prepared students who show up with a list of questions can help the professor home in on particular problems. And the professor can offer many helpful suggestions for filling research gaps, strenghtening the organizational scheme, and keeping the analysis appropriately focused.
But when the professor sits down to read carefully the final, submitted papers, it's a bit like the auction buyers sorting carefully through the partially-seen stuff they just bought. There are always some surprises, some things that disappoint and something that turns out better than you expect. The auction buyer may find a box full of odds-and-ends with little value, and the legal writing professor may find a paragraph of conclusory arguments that still lack detailed support and explanations. The next box the auction buyer opens, however, may contain valuable antique items, while the next paragraph the legal writing professor reads may contain a really creative argument supported by the facts and the law in an unexpected and highly effective way. There are always interesting surprises as we dig through student memos!
Friday, December 24, 2010
So it's Friday, and it just happens to be the day Santa flies around the globe. Thanks to NORAD (yes, the alliance responsible for aerospace security over Canada and the United States), you can track Santa's progress all day today. You can also see photos and videos of a lot of little-known places around the globe, making for a good geography lesson or a preview of your next vacation destination.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Research Grant Program funds research on a wide variety of topics related to the mission of the LSAC. Specifically included in the program's scope are projects investigating precursors to legal training, selection into law schools, legal education, and the legal profession. To be eligible for funding, a research project must inform either the process of selecting law students or legal education itself in a demonstrable way.
The program welcomes proposals for research proceeding from any of a variety of methodologies, a potentially broad range of topics, and varying time frames. The next application deadline is February 1. At the LSAC website, you can see the wide range of topics previously funded. They are not all topics about law school admissions; if you are thinking of a project related to legal education or the legal profession, it may well qualify.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
A law review article by legal writing professor Maria Crist (University of Dayton) is cited in a story in the December ABA Journal Tech Report.
Very telling is the comment afterwards by a courthouse staff attorney, who reports that multi-line headings in all caps are hard to read. That attorney blips right over such headings and catches up with the argument where the regular text starts again. I always tell my students that the text of a document must make sense when read without the headings; the headings don't replace text. Often you need to say essentially the same thing in the first sentence after the heading as you say in the heading. And keep those headings short. A short one or two line heading may end up being read, even if it is in all caps.
hat tip: Gail Stephenson
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
"Lawyers can avoid committing many common brief writing errors if they are more able to put themselves in the place of their intended readers, the busy judge and the often inexperienced law clerk. Understanding recurring brief writing misconceptions and errors can assist lawyers in assessing the effectiveness of a brief from the perspective of the intended reader."
hat tip: Nolan Wright
The American Bar Association's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a diverse group of committed lawyers promoting leadership and economic opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse lawyers within the ABA and the legal profession. The Commission announced that it will be presenting awards to a number of individuals on February 12, 2011 during the ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Among those being honored will be Professor Charles Calleros of the Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law at Arizona State University. Also being honored is his colleague, Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, who is also a professor at ASU. They are the fourth and fifth professors from the ASU College of Law to receive the award in its 16-year history. Click here for more information about the award and the list of other 2011 award recipients.
Hat tip to Ralph Brill.
And hey, want to know a secret? Unlike the ABA Annual Meetings, registration for ABA midyear meetings is FREE!!! Click here for more information about the ABA Midyear Meeting in Atlanta. If you're going (or live near there), stop by to honor our colleague!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Peter Tiersma has written an interesting book chapter as an overview of the interaction between the way we write, physically, and what we end up writing as lawyers. Here's his summary of his introduction to Parchment, Paper, Pixels: Law and the Technologies of Communication:
"This ... introductory chapter ... discusses the impact that technological revolutions (in particular, writing, printing, and the Internet) have had on civilization in general and our legal system in particular. Wills, for instance, are quintessentially written text. The legal profession has developed distinct literary conventions regarding the drafting and interpretation of wills, often to the befuddlement of individual testators. If the textual practices of willmaking are often too strict, those relating to contracts may sometimes be too lax. Electronic contracting has taken off with vengeance and, while convenient, can sometimes make it too easy to "agree" to terms hidden under a computer icon. Statutes, like wills, are highly textual. The rule of law has been promoted by having them written down or, in modern times, being made widely available in printed form or on the Internet. Yet what they gained in stability they have lost in flexibility. Finally, judicial opinions or judgments, which were once considered a type of unwritten law, are rapidly becoming textualized, especially in the United States, but also to a lesser extent in England. As a result, legal reasoning may eventually be supplanted by close reading of the text, a trend likely to be exacerbated by accessing opinions online.
"It therefore matters - sometimes a great deal - whether a law or legal transaction is chiseled into stone, written on parchment, printed on paper, or embedded in pixels on a computer screen."
Well here's something to ask the West Publishing reps about when you see them at the AALS exhibit hall. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a federal jury in Philadelphia has ordered the West Publishing Corporation to pay $2.5-million in punitive damages (and $90,000 in actual damages) to Professors David Rudovsky (University of Pennsylvania) and Leonard N. Sosnov (Widener University).
West had put their names on a supplement to a criminal procedure book, but the professors had not worked on that book since 2008, when West cut their fee from $10,000 to $2,500. Instead of paying them the full amount, West instead simply used their names to help sell the supplements. The professors said that doing so damaged their reputations when readers discovered that the supplements contained little new material. West said it will likely appeal.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent) turned 75 yesterday! A surprise party was held for him yesterday in Chicago, including birthday greetings from more than 150 legal writing professors around the country and videos of LWI workshop participants singing "happy birthday."
We extend our own birthday wishes again to Ralph Brill -- a man who has done so much to advance the cause of legal writing and its teaching. Have you ever seen his entry in Wikipedia? Click here!
(Cake photo courtesy of Karin Mika)