Saturday, March 6, 2010

Global Legal Skills Conference

100_7821 The fifth Global Legal Skills Conference was held February 25-27, 2010 in Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.  Click here to see some photos and press coverage from this very successful conference.


March 6, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The National Law Review Law Student Writing Competition

A publication called "The National Law Review" (is that a major typo I spy on the homepage?) which, according to its website, "consolidates practice-oriented legal analysis from a variety of sources for easy access by lawyers, paralegals, law students, business executives, insurance professionals, accountants, compliance officers, human resource managers, and other professionals who wish to better understand specific legal issues relevant to their work" is sponsoring a student writing competition.  You can get the full details on the competition webpage, here, but the salient points are as follows:

The NLR Law Student Writing Competition offers law students the opportunity to submit articles for publication consideration on the NLR Web site.  No entry fee is required. Applicants can submit an unlimited number of entries each month

Content Guidelines must be followed by all entrants to qualify. It is recommended that articles address the following monthly topic areas:

  • April 2010 Feature: Health Care and Labor Law (Submission deadline: March 25, 2010)
  • May 2010 Feature: Tax Law (Submission deadline: April  23, 2010)
  • June 2010 Feature: Banking & Financial Law(Submission deadline: May 24, 2010)

Articles covering current issues related to other areas of the law may also be submitted. Entries must be submitted via email to your law school’s NLR Marketing Coordinator by 5:00 pm Central Standard Time on the dates indicated above.

Articles will be judged by NLR staff members on the basis of readability, clarity, organization, and timeliness. Tone should be authoritative, but not overly formal. Ideally, articles should be straightforward and practical, containing useful information of potential interest to legal and business professionals.

The editors of this blog do not endorse this competition, we are merely passing along the information.

I am the scholarship dude.


March 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The secrets of brief writing rock-stardom

Here's an article by Ross Guberman of Legal Writing Prothat seeks to divine the brief writing secrets of SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts who many considered "one of the best, if not the best, advocates in the nation" before ascending to the bench.  Bruce Carton of the LegalBlogWatch calls Guberman's article "terrific."

Guberman boils CJ Roberts's secrets into the following five tips:

  • Let your facts "show, not tell."
  • Add speed through short and varied transitions.
  • Add elegance and clarity through parallel constructions.
  • Add interest through short sentences, examples and figures of speech.
  • End with a bang.

You can read the full article via a pdf available here.  And read Bruce Carton's review here.

I am the scholarship dude.


March 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

legal researchers beware

Images Michael Whiteman, at Northern Kentucky University, has written an article on "The Death of Twentieth-Century Authority".  Before calling in the CSI team, you might want to peruse his abstract: 

"The case of Bush v. Gore stands out as the seminal decision that decided the disputed election of 2000, and arguably set the course of the nation for the next eight years; for legal researchers it was a herald of a different sort. With the citation in the Per Curiam opinion to an online newspaper article, Bush v. Gore fired the fatal salvo in the death of twentieth-century authority. Whereas in the past, courts relied on a stable, select group of print resources, today’s attorneys and judges are moving towards a much more free form, open research universe.

"This article will explore what the title suggests as the death of Twentieth-Century authority. This article will trace the shift away from traditional authority, outlining some of the emerging problems associated with this shift, including the disappearance of online sources, after their use, and the trouble with the authentication of online legal materials. An examination of what these new authorities are, as well as the growing use of these new sources follows, including the positive and negative reactions from the courts. A troubling pattern of courts taking judicial notice of these sources will be examined, and this article will conclude with a look at the positive impact reliance on these new sources of authority is having on the judicial system as a whole."


March 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

lifetime achievement award

This May, Stetson University College of Law will recognize Associate Dean Barbara E. Bergman, New Mexico School of Law, with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching Advocacy.   Associate Dean Bergman’s contributions to the field include:

- working for the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C.
- a year as associate counsel to President Jimmy Carter
- work on the defense team in the State of Oklahoma v. Terry Nichols
co-authoring Wharton's Criminal Evidence., 15th ed., & The Every Trial Criminal Defense Resource Book
serving as
a past President of the National Aasociation of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- receiving the Robert C. Heeney Award, the highest honor given by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and
- being honored by the Roscoe Pound Foundation with the Richard S. Jacobson Award for excellence in teaching of trial advocacy.

The award will be presented as part of Stetson's Educating Advocates: Teaching Advocacy Skills Conference, May 26-28, 2010.  

hat tip:  Stephanie Vaughan


March 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Texas Tech Legal Practice Program honored

The Legal Practice Program at Texas Tech University School of Law has been awarded the Tech Teaching Academy's Departmental Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award is given annually to a department that demonstrates a culture of teaching excellence through both its commitment to students and its facilitation of teaching excellence throughout the department.

The Legal Practice Program was selected from a campus-wide group of nominees that included large departments such as Agricultural and Applied Economics, Communication Studies, and Human Development and Family Studies.

The LP Program faculty includes director Nancy Soonpaa, Kim Phillips, Dale Jones, Wendy Humphrey, Jennifer Horn, visitor Peter Hall, Rosemary Dillon (on leave), adjunct Shery Kime-Goodwin, writing specialist Natalie Tarenko, and library liaison Sharon Blackburn.


March 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mary Lawrence honored

Mlawrence In the days before there even was an academic field of legal writing, Mary Lawrence was a pioneer in the professional teaching of legal writing.  Now Professor Emerita at the University of Oregon, she has been selected to receive that university's Meritorious Service Award.  She will be recognized at graduation this year for her "extraordinary contributions" to legal education.  For the full story, click here.

hat tip:  Suzanne Rowe


March 2, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Call for proposals--AALS Sections on Balance in Legal Education and Academic Support

Aalslogo From Emily Randon, UCDavis:


Association of American Law Schools

Annual Meeting January 5-9, 2011


A Joint Program of the Sections on Balance in Legal Education and Academic Support

Co-Sponsored by the AALS Section on Student Services

Theme:  “Beyond Humanizing:  Can – and Should – Law Schools Strive to Graduate Happy Students?”

Students often enter law school with goals of helping others, improving peoples’ lives, and making the world a better place.  By the time they graduate, however, other considerations have supplanted students’ pro-social inclinations.  Their aspirations succumb to more extrinsic values, such as prestige and money, and are often faced with the realities of time pressure and the dehumanizing effects of legal education.  Despite the prestige associated with being an attorney, the profession is not ranked in the top ten for job satisfaction or happiness.  In fact, one recent study revealed that a majority of practitioners would not recommend law to a young person.

Three AALS Sections, Balance in Legal Education, Academic Support, and Student Services will be hosting a program in which we explore the causes of lawyer distress, the role legal education plays in producing unhappy law students and lawyers, and the concrete steps law schools are currently taking or could take to combat those causes.  The Program Committees invite proposals that provide concrete demonstrations of ways doctrinal, clinical, legal writing, and academic support professors and student services professionals are addressing these concerns.

The Program Committees will give preference to presentations designed to actively engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the interactive methods to be employed.  In addition, we would like to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and will look for variety in presentations and presenters.  Based on participant numbers for the last several years, we anticipate over 150 people will be attending the program.  To assist the presenters in the interactive piece, the program committee members and other volunteers will be on hand to act as facilitators with audience members.

Proposals must be one page and include the following information:

1.  A title for your presentation.

2.  A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.

3.  A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.

4.  The amount of time allocated for your presentation and for the interactive exercise. No single presenter should exceed 45 minutes in total time allowed.  Presentations as short as 15 minutes will be welcomed.

5.  If warranted, a detailed description of how the presentation will be interactive.

6.  Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.

7.  Your school affiliation, title, courses taught and contact information (include email address and telephone number).

Optional and on a separate page:  A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional conferences, or other academic conferences.  (The committees are interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)  Any articles or books that you have published describing the technique(s) you will be demonstrating.


Send proposals by March 15, 2010 via email (preferably in a Word Document) to Prof. Emily Randon, University of California, Davis School of Law, at elrandon[at]  Phone number:  530-752-3434.

Questions?:  If you have questions, contact Emily Randon, Program Chair for the Academic Support Section, Andrew Faltin, Program Chair for the Balance Section, at andrew.faltin[at] or Catherine Glaze, Student Services Section at cglaze[at]


March 1, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Is it time to hand over the law school keys to skills profs?

That's part of the message in this post from the Law Librarian Blog:

According to Karen Sloan in her NLJ article entitled Holding schools accountable, "[t]he proposed [learning outcome accreditation] standards would help solidify a philosophical shift that is taking place throughout legal education that emphasizes the responsibility of law schools to teach students to be lawyers, not just to think like them." Think like who? Practicing lawyers or law profs? Theses plenty of literature pointing to the "think like law profs" answer. It might be confirmed by Sloan's article. She writes

Perhaps the thorniest question the ABA and law school administrators now face is how to identify the skills law students should have upon graduation and to decide how specific the new standards should be in requiring the achievement and measurement of those skills.

They Don't Know What Skills? Don't look to the typical law prof for an answer to the What Skills? question. It's probably beyond their comprehension. Might be time to hand over the administration of the legal academy to legal skills profs, clinicians and adjuncts. Weren't those the sort of folks who replaced the apprenticeship model with more rigorous instruction in how to enter the profession in the first place?

Please continue reading here for a historical perspective on "skills" versus "theory." 

Big hat tip to Joe Hodnicki.

I am the scholarship dude.


February 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scholarship alert: "Writing at the Master's Table: Reflections on Theft, Criminality and Otherness in the Legal Writing Profession"

This article is by Professor Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb, the Director of Legal Writing at La Verne College of Law.  It is available in 2 Drexel L. Rev. 41 (2009) and can be accessed online here.

From the author:

This article discusses possible causes, problems and solutions concerning the low numbers of legal writing professors of color. It is of particular interest to legal writing program directors who wish to address minority retention and recruitment issues.  The article is the first to address this topic in legal writing scholarship. I hope that it begins a meaningful and productive conversation in our community.

I am the scholarship dude.


February 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

want to be a legal writing director?

The University of Wisconsin Law School is seeking a Director for its Legal Research and Writing Program.  Information about the law school’s legal research and writing program, the director position, and the application process is posted on the LWI website at  The official position description, including the application process, is posted on the University of Wisconsin’s employment website at  The contact person for the search is Kathryn Hendley, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, who may be reached at  To ensure consideration, apply by May 1, 2010.  The anticipated start date is July 1, 2010.

1.  The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3.  The school anticipates paying an academic year base salary in the range $50,000 - $59,99. (The salary listed in the official position description is only the minimum and may be higher based on qualifications.  The position is a 12-month appointment, not an academic year appointment.  The salary shown in response to question 3 is what the minimum 12-month salary would be if it were converted to an academic year salary.)
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.  (Note that the Director’s duties do not currently include teaching.)   

hat tip:  Mary Anne Polewski


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