August 26, 2010
You know you're not the target market when ....
The other day I received this e-mail:
"Wanted to let you know that from now till Labor Day, if you show your SIU ID at the Little Caesars in Carbondale. You can get 5 or more Large 1 toppings for $5 each. Great way to feed people for meetings!
"As always we appreciate your business and look forward to serving for this up coming school year."
State-Specific Legal Research Texts
Here is a list of state-specific legal research texts published by Carolina Academic Press. If you teach legal research, you can order a complementary review copy through the publishers' website.
If you are a librarian, the complete collection of state legal research guides would be an important addition to any law library. Here is a list of states for which these state-specific research manuals are now available. Additional states (such as Wisconsin) are in the pipeline.
- Arizona: Tamara S. Herrera, Arizona Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
- Arkansas: Coleen M. Barger, Arkansas Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- California: Hether C. Macfarlane & Suzanne E. Rowe, California Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
- Connecticut: Jessica G. Hynes, Connecticut Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2009).
- Florida: Barbara J. Busharis & Suzanne E. Rowe, Florida Legal Research (3d ed., Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- Georgia: Nancy P. Johnson, Elizabeth G. Adelman, & Nancy J. Adams, Georgia Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- Idaho: Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff & Suzanne E. Rowe, Idaho Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
- Illinois: Mark E. Wojcik, Illinois Legal Research (2d ed., Carolina Academic Press 2009).
- Kansas: Joseph A. Custer & Christopher L. Steadham, Kansas Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
- Louisiana: Mary Garvey Algero, Louisiana Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2009).
- Michigan: Pamela Lysaght, Michigan Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2006).
- Missouri: Wanda M. Temm & Julie M. Cheslik, Missouri Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- New York: Elizabeth G. Adelman & Suzanne E. Rowe, New York Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
- North Carolina: Scott Childs, North Carolina Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2010).
- Ohio: Katherine L. Hall & Sara Sampson, Ohio Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2009).
- Oregon: Suzanne E. Rowe, Oregon Legal Research (2d ed., Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- Pennsylvania: Barbara J. Busharis & Bonny L. Tavares, Pennsylvania Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- Tennessee: Sibyl Marshall & Carol McCrehan Parker, Tennessee Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2007).
- Texas: Spencer L. Simons, Texas Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2009).
- Washington: Julie A. Heintz-Cho, Tom Cobb, & Mary A. Hotchkiss, Washington Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2009).
August 25, 2010
Teachers' Manual Available for Illinois Legal Research
If you are using the second edition of Illinois Legal Research published by Carolina Academic Press, you should know that the new Teachers' Manual is now available. Contact the publisher or the author for more information. Click here for more information.
State-specific research guides are also available for a number of other states. They are a useful and inexpensive supplement (or even substitute) for other legal research texts.
Nominations for the Golden Pen Award
The Awards Committee of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) announced its call for nominations for the 2011 Golden Pen Award. Any member of LWI may nominate someone for the award. The committee asks that you submit your nominations directly to Susan Thrower at sthrower [at] depaul.edu on or before September 15, 2010.
The Golden Pen Award recognizes those who make significant contributions to advance the cause of better legal writing. These contributions may take any form, such as promoting the use of clear language in public documents, improving the quality of legal writing instruction, advocating for better writing within the legal community, outstanding scholarship or journalism about legal writing, or exceptional writing in law practice. The award is normally given to someone who is not an active member of LWI, but active members are considered in exceptional circumstances.
Previous recipients of the award are Arthur Levitt, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Don LeDuc, Dean of the Thomas Cooley Law School; Linda Greenhouse, Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times; the late Honorable Robert E. Keeton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Richard Wydick, Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law; the late Joseph Williams, author of Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace; the Honorable Ronald M. George, the Honorable Carol A. Corrigan, and the Honorable James D. Ward, Justices of the Supreme Court of California and the California Court of Appeal; the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; the National Association of Attorneys General; and William C. Burton, Esq.
The Awards Committee thanks you and looks forward to receiving your nominations. Members of the committee are Leah Christensen, Sonia Bychkov Green, Hether MacFarlane, Lou Sirico, Susan Thrower, and Christopher Wren.
August 24, 2010
Ralph Brill Has Been Teaching Legal Writing for 50 Years
This week Ralph Brill of the Chicago-Kent College of Law marked the 50th anniversary of teaching. Ralph is one of the most important figures in the legal writing community. He has played a critical role in enhancing the professionalism of teaching legal research and writing. His contributions are profound and we are all tremendously grateful for his leadership, inspiration, friendship, and support.
In the picture on the right, Ralph is pictured with Joe Kimble and Terri LeClercq. Terri was the first distinguished visitor at Chicago-Kent in connection with that school's first chair, which was named for Professor Ralph Brill. Click here to read more about that honor.
In a message to the Legal Writing Listserve, Ralph shared the following thought:
As I repeatedly have pointed out, there are no better people than the members of this field – always willing to help one another, always thinking of better ways to teach and to help their students learn. It has been a joy to be one of you for this long. You all are the heart and soul of the legal education of law students today.
Congratulations to Ralph (and to his lucky students and colleagues). The legal writing world is much richer because of your contributions to the field.
Hat tip to J. Lyn Entrikin Goering
August 23, 2010
National Punctuation Day Is Only One Month Away!
Those who celebrate National Punctuation Day include Professor Gail Stephenson (Southern University Law Center), who gives her students punctuation cookies (sugar cookies decorated with punctuation marks). She gives a fun punctuation quiz (not for a grade), and the top scorers get to pick which cookie they want. Gail tells us that the winners seem to like the exclamation point cookies! (Click on the photo to enlarge it and see which cookie YOU would pick!)
August 22, 2010
comparing apples to case briefs
The other day I baked an apple crisp for the first time. I followed a cookbook’s basic recipe. The suggested variations sounded interesting, but I wanted to try to make a basic apple crisp first. It came out okay and was eaten up quickly. I asked family members what they thought of it and what they thought of the cookbook’s suggested variations. In the end I thought my first apple crisp came out okay, but I would do things a little differently the next time.
And then it struck me: making my first apple crisp was just like being a new 1L writing her first case brief. The first time, she follows the basic format, from a textbook or a professor’s handout, which is like following the basic recipe in a cookbook. That first case brief probably comes out okay. And then the professor or teaching assistant gives the student a little feedback, suggesting variations that might be helpful. Likely the new 1L comes to realize that her first case brief was okay, but she too would do things a little differently the next time.
I explained this analogy to my new legal writing students last week. I told them I’m going to make my second apple crisp this weekend, and they’re going to write their second case briefs, and we’ll both try things a little differently and likely have even better results. They seemed relieved.
Peter Friedman on Plagiarism in Law School and Legal Practice
Following up on our earlier post (and Norwegian video) on the subject of plagiarism, Peter Freidman at Case Western Reserve University School of Law sent me a link to his interesting essay on plagiarism in law school and in legal practice. If you submit a brief to a court and the court uses part of that brief in its opinion without attribution, is that plagiarism? No, and furthermore you as the lawyer would probably be happy to have the court lifting sections of your brief because it would likely mean that you won the case.
Here's an excerpt from Peter's essay:
In law school, plagiarism is the use of the words or ideas of others without attribution. It is a grave offense that can lead to harsh discipline and even might threaten the student’s ability to someday be certified to practice law. Strict compliance with the need to attribute words and ideas drawn from others is deemed necessary because the point of the academic process is to teach students to put together and convey ideas clearly and to assess their capacity to do so. Thus, using words or ideas of others without attribution is tantamount to fraud — the reader of those words and the ideas they convey is misled into believing they are the product of the student’s intellectual processes alone, and the reader conducts an activity central to the academic process — grading those words — in reliance on that belief. If I were to read Scott Greenfield’s words under the mistaken belief they were the words of a student whose paper I was grading, I would give him a much better grade than he would earn if I knew he were just quoting Greenfield.
In legal practice, however, it is only the quality of the words that matter. Whether contract language originated with the lawyer who drafted the contract or a paragraph in a brief explaining a line of authority relevant to the brief’s argument was cut-and-pasted from a brief the lawyer who submitted the brief found online doesn’t matter. What matters is the effect of the words themselves. And, in fact, lawyers almost always begin drafting contracts by cannibalizing other contracts and forms. Yet they never cite to or otherwise acknowledge those sources. There is no reason for them to do so. And, as the passage from Hyde above makes clear, judges cut-and-paste from lawyers’ briefs. In fact, the entire arena of legal writing in practice is rife with unacknowledged borrowing.