Saturday, May 29, 2010

Newsletter for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

Aalslogo Did you get a copy of the Spring 2010 Newsletter for the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research?  Click here for more information (including links to some prior issues).

Click on the link below to download the Spring 2010 issue.  

Download AALS Legal Writing Newsletter Spring 2010


May 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Fun: Videos on the Importance of Legal Research and Writing Instruction

    The Media Committee of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research unveiled a video project in 2009 – videos demonstrating the importance of legal research and writing instruction in legal education.  One video is meant to be relatively humorous, while the other is designed to be more formal and serious.  Both communicate the importance of strong legal research and writing instruction to prospective law students.  Here are the two videos. The first video shows (humorously) how you can use your legal writing skills to tell your girlfriend which restaurant you're going to visit tonight, or to win an argument with your friends about who is the best football player:





The Media Committee plans to make the videos available to law school admissions and undergraduate career counseling personnel. 

Hat tips to Melissa H. Weresh (Drake University), Danton Berube (Universtiy of Detroit, Mercy), Kirsten Dauphinais (University of North Dakota), Pamela Keller (University of Kansas), Jonathan Marcantel (Charleston), Gabe Teninbaum (Suffolk University), and Kathleen Vinson (Suffolk University).


Hat tip to Mel Weresh.


May 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

LWI Conference at Marco Island - Day 1 Preview (Awards Being Presented at the Opening Reception)

LWI 25 For those of you who will be at the LWI Conferece on Marco Island this summer, you should paln to arrive in time to attend the opening reception on Sunday, June 27th at 6:00 p.m.  Several awards will be presented at that reception, including:

  • the Golden Pen Award (to William C. Burton),
  • the Courage Award (to Teresa Godwin Phelps),
  • the Deborah Hecht Memorial Award (to Jeremy Francis), and
  • the LWI and ALWD scholarship grants (to a variety of our colleagues).

In addition, LWI president Ruth Anne Robbins, will re-confer this year’s Blackwell Award on Steve Johansen so that those of you who were unable to attend the LWI-ALWD reception at AALS in January will be able to congratulate Steve on this honor.  We anticipate a festive atmosphere in Marco Island as we celebrate all of our award-winning colleagues on the opening night of the LWI conference! 

Hat tips to the LWI Awards Committee members (Leah Christensen, Kirsten Davis, Sonia Bychkov Green, Hether MacFarlane, Lou Sirico, Susan Thrower, and Chris Wren)

Do you still need to register for the LWI Conference?  Don't miss out on the early bird registration rate.  Click here more more information


May 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Some Rooms Still Available Near the LWI Conference Hotel

LWI 25 The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort has agreed to extend its reservation date for the 14th Biennial Conference of The Legal Writing Institute to June 4. (The previous cut-off date for the conference rate of $149/night was May 27.)  The Hilton requires payment at the time of registration and that reservations at that hotel are non-cancelable except if a family emergency prevents you from attending the conference.

A link to the Hilton reservation page is at the LWI conference website.  Use the reservation code “LWI” when registering in order to get the group rate.

If you haven't registered yet for the conference, the early bird rate expires on June 1.  The LWI Conference will be held at the Marriott Hotel on Marco Island.

Hat tip to LWI President-Elect Ken Chestek



May 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Joe Kimble Receives Award from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

From our photo archives!Aalslogo Kimble, Joe Award Professor Joseph Kimble of the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law received the Section Award from the Assocication of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research in January 2010.  Joe is pictured here with the 2009-2010 AALS Section Chair, Professor Rachel Croskery-Roberts at the AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans.   

Photo courtesy of Prof. David Austin of California Western School of Law


May 26, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

two more legal writing teaching openings

Western State University College of Law has just given the green light for applications for two full-time legal writing faculty positions for the 2010-2011 academic year. The new legal writing faculty members will each teach two sections (about 40 students total) of the first-year legal writing and research classes each semester. Along with the Director and Assistant Director, the new faculty members will collaborate in the curricular design and creative process involved in putting together the Professional Skills program, including developing course materials and writing problems. The positions may also involve oversight of the Honors Moot Court Team or the Externship Program.

Candidates must have a J.D. degree, strong academic credentials, excellent analytical, writing, and research skills, superior interpersonal skills, and a commitment to teaching legal research and writing. A minimum of two years of legal practice and at least one year of teaching experience is highly preferred.

The position offers an initial one-year contract, after which the faculty member is eligible for successive renewable contracts. The salary will be between $70,000 - $80,000, depending on experience.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and a list of three references to Lori A. Roberts at We will begin reviewing applications immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. The application deadline is June 30, 2010.

hat tip:  Lori Roberts


May 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Department of Education Seeks Public Comments on Forms

The U.S. Department of Education announced a request for public comment on an emergency approval of forms relating to the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program.  Under this program, civil legal assistance attorneys who meet certain qualifications can have part of their federal student loans repaid by the Department of Education based on qualifying full-time employment.  

The Federal Register notice announcing the request for comments is badly written.  Parts of it will make you want to cringe.  If not that, it will at least remind you why the federal government has so much trouble collecting public comments on important public issues.  Click here to see the Federal Register notice.  Grab a cup of coffee first though.

Now buried within that notice is an explanation on how to see copies of the proposed "information collection request" (which I think is the Education Department's way of saying the word "form"). 

It essentially says to do the four steps below (after you read the Federal Register Notice).  You might enjoy this just as an exercise in seeing how the government does this these days.

  • Click here or go to
  • Scroll down until you see this: (04309) 1845-NEW-v.1 Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program.  Look for that number 4309 (that's the easiest way to find it) 
  • Click on "Download Attachments"
  • Browse that list of documents to your heart's content. I would suggest You might skip down and start at "Att_CLAA Empl Cert.Final Emerg Cl Draft.05-07-2010.doc"

Send in your comments on the forms, even if it is nothing more than "hey, great form!"

Hat tip to the ABA Government Affairs Office (which apparently has a higher tolerance for reading Federal Register notices than most other mortals.

And a special (not-so-private) note to the Department of Education:  Hey, you're the Department of Education!  Dust off those Plain Language Regulation Requirements and learn how to write! 


May 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who me? A law professor?

ImagesCATQ90ZE Law schools would like to diversify their faculties. (In 2007-8, e.g., 45% of law professors were from just 10 schools.)  To help become more inclusive, Southern Illinois University School of Law is presenting a workshop, focusing on the law school hiring process.

“Who Me?  A Law Professor?” will be presented Thursday, June 24, 6:30-8 pm, at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch (former Adams Mark) Hotel, at 315 Chestnut St. in St. Louis, Mills Studio 2, 4th floor.

 Learn what is involved in becoming a law professor, what schools want in candidates, how to apply, and related topics.  There will be time for questions as well.  Come if you are interested or encourage someone else to come.  This workshop is held during the Illinois State Bar Association meeting but you need not be a member nor register for the ISBA meeting to attend this workshop.  

There is no fee for this workshop and there is no registration required.  Questions, please contact Suzanne Schmitz at  For more information, see


May 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

what should legal writing scholarship be about?

Jack Lee Sammons at Mercer University has written a noteworthy article on "Legal Writing Scholarship, Making Strange, and the Aesthetics of Legal Rhetoric".  As he states:

"Some of the central issues addressed in the Mercer Law School Symposium on Legal Writing involved questions about the scholarship potential of the discipline of legal writing. Those on the fringe of the academy, as legal writing professors are now and as clinicians were in the sixties, often offer the clearest perspective on it, and, in the case of the legal academy, on the practice itself. What scholarship, I wondered as I listened to the speakers, would best take advantage of this privileged perspective and of legal writing’s necessary focus on rhetoric? There are at least two ways of approaching this question, both of which I want to use here, and these two ways can be related one to the other as I will try to do here as well. The first is to wonder what subjects for the discipline are most naturally generated by teaching it. Here, I will pursue this approach immodestly by trying to display how my own recent scholarship could have naturally arisen (and to some extent it did naturally arise) from teaching an Advanced Legal Writing section as part of the Legal Writing Certificate Program at Mercer. The second approach is normative: What subjects should legal writers contribute to the academy and why? For the first I will ask you to join me in an imagined internal monologue as I wonder about what to say to my students in my Advanced Legal Writing section. For the second I will offer an argument that what emerges from this internal monologue, and, I believe, would also emerge from the similar internal monologues of other legal writing professors, can offer a central perspective for legal writing scholarship, a perspective that could define it. It is a perspective much needed, I will argue very briefly in conclusion, by both the legal academy and the practice. Perhaps it would not be an exaggeration to say: desperately so."


May 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Last Week for Early Bird Registration for the LWI Conference!

LWI 25 The deadline for early bird registration for the Legal Writing Institute Conference is June 1, 2010.

Early registration (full conference access): $495 (paid on or before June 1, 2010)
Late registration (full conference access): $540 (after June 1, 2010)

Click here for registration information.  There is also a one-day workshop for practitioners.

Click here for general information about the conference.

Click here for the conference schedule.


May 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Congratulations to (Dean!) Robin Boyle Laisure

Boyle, Robin Robin Boyle Laisure (St. John's University School of Law) has been teaching legal research and writing full time for 15 years.  In 2005, she received her university's award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement. 

Five years ago, Robin also started academic support in addition to teaching legal writing. This week, the dean at St. John's announced that Robin was being promoted to Assistant Dean of Academic Success.

Robin will now be splitting her time equally between legal writing writing and academic support. She will continue to teach legal writing and remain with the title of Professor of Legal Writing in addition to her new decanal title.

Robin is a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute and currently serves as the LWI Secretary.  She is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute and previously chaired the LWI Scholarship Outreach Committee.  She organized the New York part of the LWI workshops held last December for new legal writing professors and adjunct professors of legal writing. 

Robin also chairs the Association of American Law Schools Section on Academic Support. 

Congratulations, Robin, on your appointment as Assistant Dean of Academic Success! 


May 23, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)