July 24, 2010
LRW promotions at Cooley
Once the Board of Directors formalizes these promotions, Cooley’s legal writing faculty will include four full professors with tenure, five associate professors, and one assistant professor, all in tenure-line positions. Well done Norm and Tammy – and Cooley!
hat tip: Eileen Kavanagh
July 23, 2010
fix up your verbs
Back in 2001, I wrote a little advice column for the Illinois Bar Journal, on how to clean up your legal writing by focusing on the verbs. This week I got a request from a professor at another school for a copy of it, to replace his now damaged copy. When I realized it’s not available elsewhere on-line, I added Verbs Are It to my SSRN page, where you can download it for free. A lawyer or law student who struggles with passive voice verbs or nominalizations – or is not quite sure what those are – might find the advice helpful.
July 22, 2010
faculty status for law school librarians
Carol A. Parker (New Mexico) has written an article explaining "How Law Schools Benefit When Librarians Teach, Hold Faculty Status, and Contribute to the Development of Curricula of Legal Research Instruction".
As her abstracts describes it:
"This work in progress explores how law schools benefit when non-director academic law librarians teach legal research skills, hold faculty status and have opportunities to attain tenure or continuous appointments. Principles of shared governance entitle library faculty to contribute to the development and delivery of programs of legal research instruction. This does not mean librarians must be the exclusive teachers of legal research skills; rather that at minimum, law faculties should consult with librarians in the development of programs of legal research instruction. Librarians hold graduate degrees in research methodology and have expertise in both the development and delivery of a pedagogy of legal research instruction. Initiatives to reform legal education curricula, spurred on by the Carnegie Report, should lead to greater support among law teaching faculties for librarian involvement in the educational process. Recognizing law librarians as participants in the shared governance of law schools should also lead to opportunities for more librarians to hold faculty status and attain tenure and other forms of continuous appointment. The author welcomes comments while she continues to refine this work in progress."
writing to loseAs the librarian who forwarded this to me said, "Who can resist this title:"
Writing Bad Briefs: How to Lose a Case in 100 Pages or More"
New York State Bar Association Journal, Vol. 82, No. 4, p. 64, May 2010
This is the latest entry in New York judge Gerald Lebovits's helpful column.
hat tip: Nolan Wright
July 21, 2010
but, did you get it in writing?
We may be teaching legal writing, but apparently not enough people are following through, because Neil Joel Dillof at the University of Baltimore has written "Get it in Writing: A Litigator's Perspective" .
As Neil explains:
"A basic principle in both the business and legal worlds is violated on a daily basis by well-meaning people as well as those who are not so well-meaning. Notwithstanding the mantra of get it in writing, presumably sophisticated business people, executives, and the audience for this article - lawyers - still fail to confirm in writing important conversations, agreements, dates and events. The objective of this article is to encourage both attention to and compliance with this cardinal principle."
and the Silver Gavel goes too ...
Some of our readers may know legal writing professor Lisa McElroy (at Drexel) for her work on the Plain English feature over at Scotusblog. That blog has just received a 2010 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. In conferring the award, the
Congratulations Lisa! Congratulations scotusblog!
hat tip: Chris Coughlin
July 20, 2010
Save the Date: The LWI Conference in 2012!
The 2012 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute will take place at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Desert Springs, California, from May 29 to June 1, 2012. That's the week just after Memorial Day, so be sure to make appropriate travel plans when the time comes. Click here for information about the resort,
July 19, 2010
A Fragment on Shall and May
Nora Tillman and Seth Barrett Tillman have authored a short (8 pages, lots of footnotes, VERY quick and easy to read) article called "A Fragment on Shall and May." It will be published in a future issue of the American Journal of Legal History.
They examine the Constitution's use of the verbs "shall" and "may" (and "will") and suggest that the American English of the founding generation was a more capacious language than its modern successor. As they explain in the article, where a word once had multiple meanings, but only one variant is now remembered and understood, we may be seriously mistaken when we ascribe near certainty to our understanding of how a constitutional term was used.
Do the 5 Step.
If your lawyering skills courses include an introduction to ADR, take a look at the online ADR ethics resources from the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution. These free resources are outlined in Marnie Huff’s article Do the 5 Step: ABA ADR Ethics Resources. Marnie is an adjunct legal research and writing professor, teaching pre-law students at Middle Tennessee State University.