June 12, 2010
Hey, Print This Out! It's the Grid for the Sessions at the LWI Conference!
The LWI Conference at Marco Island is just two weeks away. Whether this is your first or fourteenth conference, I would recommend that you take a few minutes NOW to plan out the sessions you'll be attending at the conference. You'll have a better sense of how the conference is organized and you will be more likely to get to the sessions that are of most interest to you. (And you'll know when you have beach time!)
Click here to download the LWI Conference Grid. Print it out and make your choices.
There may still be some changes between this grid and the final one you'll get at Marco Island, but this one is pretty close to final.
Hat tip to Joan Rocklin
ICW is Updated for New Editions of Bluebook, ALWD
Professor Tracy McGaugh of Touro Law Center has let us know that this year's edition of the Interactive Citation Workbook (ICW) has been updated for both the 19th edition of the Bluebook and the 4th edition of the ALWD Manual.
And how is that ICW to use in your legal writing course? A legal writing professor from New York posted a message on the legal writing listserve to say that she used the ICW last year for the first time and found it to be a terrific time saver. She said that the students could cover a great deal of material on their own and that they seemed to enjoy the online citation exercises (now if that isn't saying something special about teaching citation, I don't know what is!) She highly recommended the ICW to other professors, and particularly those teaching the Bluebook.
June 10, 2010
Grumpy Ed Honored
Ed Telfeyan (better known as "Grumpy Ed" to those on the Legal Writing Prof Listserv) received the University of the Pacific’s Podesto Award on May 14, 2010. This university-wide award “recognizes outstanding educators who directly touch and enrich the lives of Pacific students.”
Ed's colleagues in the Global Lawyering Skills program at Pacific McGeorge are very proud of him for receiving this honor, which they see as evidence of the warm teacher and mentor that they know Ed to be. Really, with a smile like this, can Ed really be all that Grumpy?
Please congratulate Ed when you see him at Marco Island And ask him about the Grammar Bee while you're at it.
Hat tip to Mary-Beth Moylan
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
LWI Monograph Series, part deux
The Legal Writing Institute is gradually publishing a monograph series that should prevent legal writing professors from perenially recreating the wheel. The new Editorial Board for the Monograph Series has been announced:
- Linda Berger (Mercer)
- Michelle Brown Cue (DePaul)
- Betsy Fajans (Brooklyn)
- Cassandra Hill (Thurgood Marshall)
- Steve Johansen (Lewis & Clark)
- Alison Julien (Marquette)
- Mehmet Konar-Steenberg (William Mitchell)
- Kathy Vinson (Suffolk)
Susan DeJarnatt (
Jane Gionfriddo (Boston College)—Out-going Editor-in-Chief
Beginning this summer, the new Editorial Board will begin working on Volume Two of the Series, which will be The New Teacher’s Deskbook.
hat tip: Jane Kent Gionfriddo
Moot Court Committee Wants to Help Create Problems at the LWI Conference (It's not what you think . . . or is it?)
Continuing our preview of the LWI Conference at Marco Island
On Tuesday, June 29, 2010 from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., the LWI Moot Court Committee will host a roundtable discussion at the LWI Conference. The discussion will focus on moot court-related issues and will be led by Professors Melissa Greipp of Marquette University Law School, fellow blogger Coleen Barger of UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, and Allison Martin and Jim Dimitri of Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis.
The discussion will focus on three topics:
- recruiting and managing judges;
- motivating and training students for national competitions; and
- creating moot court problems.
All LWI conference attendees are welcome to attend, especially those involved in their school’s moot court program. The room will be posted at the conference. Or maybe you'll all just meet by the pool?
Hat tip to Jim Dimitri
June 9, 2010
Poorly written email and other grammatical errors cause law student to lose out on job.
Under the best of circumstances, it's vital that law students proof their correspondence with prospective employers. In this job market, if you don't, you might lose out on a job opportunity like this Massachusetts law student. It's not clear to me whether the student had already been hired on a trial basis or whether the hiring partner was reviewing writing samples the student had submitted but here are the reasons she gave for not offering him a "permanent" job:
The things that caused me pause are:
1. I have checked the rules and with two other attys, your use of “by its attorney” in your pleadings was incorrect. It should be used when you are referencing a company, for an individual, it would be his or her attorney.
2. The nice to meet you email you sent me appeared to be cut and pasted as you wrote, “it was nice to meet you yesterday”. You sent it the same day we met.
In addition, the student had sent the hiring partner the following email which contained a grammatical mistake that certainly didn't help his job prospects:
I can do any type of Motion, and research. I do not think a 30 day trial period is necessary. I would prefer bring me on full time to show you my capabilities.
We all make typos. But when you're applying for a job in a horrendous market, take the extra time to proof-read. Unfortunately, the typos weren't this student's only problem - he then got into an email row with the hiring partner which has now gone viral. Ouch.
You can read the rest of the story at Above the Law, here.
I am the scholarship dude.
empire state legal writing conference, post 2
For the second session, I chose to attend two sessions on research: David Epstein (NY Law School), "Guiding Research in Progress," and Nicole Raymond Chong (Penn State Dickinson), "Wrapping Up Fall Semester."
Professor Epstein discussed using structured feedback systems, including wikis and discussion boards, to monitor students' research progress. Instead of waiting until the students are "done," only to tell them that they didn't find the right information or used an inefficient process, he has students submit interim reports so that he can offer tips along the way--that a search term might be changed, that there is indeed a case out there, that a rejected case should be reconsidered, etc.
Professor Chong discussed an end-of-semester research exercise that can be completed in one class period. She divides students into groups and has one group do a research project using provided books, another using Westlaw, another using LEXIS, and possibly next time 'round, another using free online sources. The groups then report on their success, including what worked and what didn't, and she found that the students are often amazed that in some circumstances, the books work best!
June 8, 2010
Wisconsin appellate court chastises attorney for violating rules of appellate procedure regarding brief format
The case is Cottonwood Financial v. Estes, from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, District III, dated May 25, 2010. In the decision which involves review of an arbitration decision for unconscionability, the court notes in paragraph 25 that the appellant's (Este's) brief:
violated the rules of appellate procedure by failing to provide proper citation to the appellate record or to the relevant case law. While not bothering to properly cite within it, Estes also submitted an excessively long, 230-page appendix. Including nearly the entire record in the appendix defeats the very purpose of an appendix. Further, her brief’s table of authorities fails to comply with WIS. STAT. RULE 809.19(1)(a), which requires “reference to the pages of the brief on which [the authorities] are cited.” It is unacceptable to merely indicate “passim,” without indicating even the first page at which an authority appears in the brief. Nor is it acceptable to list in the table nine chapters of the Wisconsin statutes as a single authority, or, for that matter, a single chapter, or an entire code, or multiple sections of a federal act—all of which Estes did here, and all of which direct us only to “passim.”
The court goes on to criticize the appellant for filing a one page "letter" instead of a formal reply brief. As a result, the court fined appellant's counsel and barred the appellant from recovering costs associated with the appeal. You can read the full decision here.
A big hat tip to Chris Wren.
I am the scholarship dude.
the ever growing arc of legal writing schlolarship
Linda Berger, Linda Edwards, and Terri Pollman have written a new article on "The Past, Presence, and Future of Legal Writing Scholarship: Rhetoric, Voice, and Community" . For those of us in the legal writing field for some time, it's remarkable that we now have a body of literature to study in this way. Here's what the authors have to say about their work:
"This Article welcomes a new generation of legal writing scholars.
"In the first generation, legal writing professors debated whether they should be engaged in legal scholarship at all. In the second generation, assuming that they should be engaged in scholarship, legal writing professors discerned and defined different genres of and topics for the scholarship in which some or all of us were or should be engaged.
"In this Article, we map the contours of a third generation of legal writing scholarship - one that integrates the elements of our professional lives and allows us to engage more effectively with our professional communities, both in legal education and in law practice.
"The core of such study and practice is rhetoric, and in particular, the rhetorical concept that meaning is constructed out of the interaction of reader and writer, text and context. The study and practice of law as rhetoric is a thread that can run through the fabric of a professional life, weaving together the legal writing professor's work in scholarship, teaching, and professional service."
Is the Internet making our students shallower thinkers?
If you teach legal writing, you know the frustration of recieving a paper that has "no there there." One cause may be a lifetime of internet surfing, according to the research on the effects of the internet on the brain, as reported in Wired magazine.
hat tip: Joan Malmud Rocklin
June 7, 2010
drafting better e-mail
For some interesting tips on drafting more helpful e-mail messages, tips worth passing on to your legal writing students or associates, click here.
hat tip: Candle Wester-Mittan
June 6, 2010
Congratulations to Nancy Schultz and Lou Sirico
Nancy L. Schultz (Chapman University School of Law) and Louis J. Sirico Jr. (Villanova Law School) have published the fifth edition of their book, Legal Writing and Other Lawyering Skills. Perhaps Aspen sent you a review copy? If not, contact them and ask for one. Or just go out and buy a copy -- I'm sure that Nancy and Lou (and Aspen) wouldn't mind that one bit.
Congratulations to you both on the new edition of your classic work.