Friday, April 8, 2011

Congratulations to Sonia Green at John Marshall-Chicago

Sonia Bychkov Green of The John Marshall Law School was granted tenure today by a vote of the law school's board of trustees following a vote of approval by the tenured faculty.  Congratulations Sonia!


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

more promotion news!

The UNH (formerly Franklin Pierce) Law faculty voted on March 17th to give Amy Vorenberg "Alternative Security," which is that law school's version of clinical tenure.  Congratulations to Amy!


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Empired State Legal Writing Conference

Second Annual Empire State Legal Writing Conference
Teaching Legal Writing Effectively to Prepare Students for Practice
Friday, May 13, 2011
Hosted by St. John’s University School of Law
to be held at 101 Murray Street, Manhattan (downtown) 

ALWD Scholars’ Forum
May 12, 2011

For the May 12th forum, ALWD is looking for participants to present their scholarship ideas or works-in-progress to legal writing scholars.  Robin Boyle, Lisa Eichhorn, and Marilyn Walter will be providing critique during the workshop.  Lisa Eichhorn is Professor of Law and Director of the Legal Writing Program at University of South Carolina School of Law.  She serves as a Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.  Marilyn Walter is Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and Director of the Legal Writing Program.  She was the 2005 recipient of the AALS Legal Writing Award.  She also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Association of the Legal Writing Directors.  Robin Boyle is the Assistant Dean for Academic Success and Professor of Legal Writing at St. John’s.  She currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute and on the Board of Directors for the LWI.  PLEASE SEND ALWD SCHOLARS’ SUBMISSIONS TO ROBIN BOYLE:

The Friday, May 13th, Second Empire State LW Conference will focus on creative teaching ideas  attendees can implement immediately in their own classroom.  The keynote speaker, Professor Tina Stark, will illuminate key points in teaching transactional drafting.  The conference will feature over 50 presenters from around the country. Various themes will be intertwined throughout the day, including ethics, professionalism, and plagiarism; reaching today’s millenials; grading efficiently; perspectives from the bench, bar, and clinical programs; experiential techniques; polishing drafts; oral presentations; lessons from international law; and current-day e-mail memos.  

Registration:  Registration is free for both the Empire State Conference as well as the Scholars’ Forum.  Participants can register on-line here.  

Conference Hotel:  Millenium Hilton Hotel/55 Church Street/New York. NY 10007
Rates: $299 for Double/$279 for King
Conference presenters and participants can call Hilton reservations at 1-888-273-0734 and refer to the St. John's Law School or group code JLS to obtain the group rate.  You must call on or before April 20, 2011 for the special group rate. 

Times of the events:
The ALWD Scholars’ Forum will begin on Thursday, May 12th at 11:30 AM and end by 5:00.
The Empire State Conference on Friday, May 13th will open with Registration and Continental Breakfast at  8:15 AM.  The Dean’s Welcome is at 9 AM. The first session will begin at 9:30 AM.  The last session will conclude by 5:20 PM.  There will be six 50-minute sessions with four simultaneous presentations.  Lunch and coffee breaks will be provided. 

hat tip:  Robin Boyle


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rocky Mountain report #4

After Terry Phelps's plenary talk on the ethics of storytelling, I was fortunate to share a timeslot with John Mollenkamp and Michelle Whelan of Cornell, who spoke on worst-case scenario survival tips:  how to deal with no-show guest speakers (technology, back-up speakers, panels instead of solo speakers, etc.), recalcitrant technology (hotline to the IT folks, back-up plan, back-up technology, etc.), and the like.

I spoke on being a perfectionist:  recognizing and diagnosing perfectionism and identifying areas where 100% is important (class preparation, complete research b'4 assigning a fact pattern) and areas where 90% will do (minute details of a fact pattern, amount of comments on a draft).


April 8, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

time for Milani Award nominations

Adam Milani was a well-known legal writing professor, and also an expert in disability law, who passed away way too young. To remember Adam, Mercer University School of Law annually hosts the Milani Award, for the best briefs on topics of substantive law that were of great interest to Adam.

It’s time to start thinking about inviting your students to compete for the Milani Award this year.  It is one of the few student competitions for briefs – not academic papers.   Prizes can be as high as $1,000. 

This year’s topics are:
-disability law,
-the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
-Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,
-the Age Discrimination in Employment Act,
-the Family and Medical Leave Act, or
-a state statute or municipal ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 

The deadline for submission is June 1, 2011.  Further information is posted on the Mercer website at

hat tip: Sue Painter-Thorne


April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blasting the Bluebook

A recent blog post by Josh Blackman blasts the Bluebook as “an absolute waste of time” that produces Bluebook little benefit for the time investment it requires. Blackman cites Judge Richard Posner's 2011 Yale Law Journal article that takes the same position. The ALWD Manual doesn’t fare any better than the Bluebook in Posner’s piece.


April 7, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

legal writing profs garner awards

Now that the end of the spring semester is in sight at U.S. law schools, we're heading into award season.  And legal writing professors are receiving their fair share:

HigdonMichael At the University of Tennessee School of Law's honors banquet, Michael J. Higdon was presented with the W. Allen Separk Award.  This award recognizes "outstanding legal scholarship by a member of the law faculty published the previous year".  The award went to Michael for his article on school bullying, which will be published by the Indiana Law Journal and is already available here.


The students at the Southern University Law Center, in Baton Rouge, voted to give Linda Fowler their award for Evening Division Professor of the Year.  Linda previously taught legal writing at LSU (Louisiana State U.), but was lured away to Baton Rouge seven years ago to help Southern establish its evening division.

Rabe At the Rocky Mountain Region Legal Writing Conference last month, Suzanne Rabe, who teaches at the University of Arizona, received the Rocky Mountain Award.  She was honored for her many contributions to the field of legal writing, including establishing the Rocky Mountain conference as a way to get legal writing professionals together without frills or pretentions.

Congratulations to our accomplished colleagues!

hat tips:  Ruth Anne Robbins, Gail Stephenson, Terry Pollman


April 5, 2011 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court condemns copying from Wikipedia

A court recently took a lawyer to task for both plagiarism and citing Wikipedia as authority. U.S. v. Sypher, Criminal Action No. 3:09-CR-00085, 2011 WL 579156 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 9, 2011). In that case, a lawyer copied his discussion of the law from the Internet encyclopedia. The court condemned the copying as professional misconduct and reminded the lawyer that Wikipedia is not appropriate legal authority.


April 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Monday, April 4, 2011

lots of promotions!

For a few weeks now, news of all sorts of promotions for legal writing professors has been coming in, just when we blogging legal writing professors have been too busy with grading and student conferences to blog much.  We don't want to overlook an opportunity to let you know who's moving up in legal writing -- and beyond:

At the University of Louisville, Susan Duncan will become the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Faculty Development on July 1st.  Yes, that's the same Susan Duncan who served as President of the Legal Writing Institute.

At Washburn University, a legal writing professor will also become the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Aida Alaka will take over that job this summer, and she will be receiving full tenure.  Also at Washburn, Jalen Lowry will be the new Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

At Suffolk University, Shailini George and Stephanie Hartung have received clinical tenure.  And Kathy Vinson has been granted a sabbatical for the fall semester. 

Meanwhile Arizona State University has moved to a directorless legal writing program.  The professors there will take turns year-by-year serving as the Coordinator of the Legal Writing Curriculum.  Tamara Herrera will be the first to serve in that position, starting on July 1st.  On that same day, Judy Stinson will become the Associate Dean for Professional Development and Legal Practice.

The law faculty at Stetson University has voted to give both Linda Anderson and Jeff Minneti programmatic tenure and to promote them to the rank of Professor of Legal Skills.  The law faculty also voted to promote Jason Palmer to Associate Professor of Legal Skills.

At the University of DaytonVicki VanZandt has been promoted to full Professor of Lawyering Skills, with a presumptively renewable five-year contract.  She has been very active in law school assessment of student learning and has contributed to her school's Bench and Bar Outreach Project.

Nancy Daspit, Jenn Mathews, Jennifer Romig, and Julie Schwartz have all been awarded five-year contracts under Emory's new security of position policy for non-tenure-track personnel.  This is the first year any of the legal writing faculty were eligible for their school's longest-term contract, and they were all four unanimously approved by their faculty's Promotions Committee. 

At Marquette University, Alison Julien was promoted to the rank of Professor of Legal Writing last August, and this August she will be receiving a five-year presumptively renewable contract.

Congratulations, one and all!




April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Footnote of the Day . . . All Month Long!

Professor Ruthann Robson, a co-editor of the Constitutional Law Prof Blog and University Distinguished Professor at City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, is doing a series called "footnote a day" for April.  She tells me that she's doing this in lieu of a poem a day for National Poetry Month.  Here's one example -- it's the "operatic" installment, which has an interesting taxonomy of judicial footnotes and some interesting interactions between Justices Scalia and GInsburg.  Click here to enjoy the opera skirmish.

Hat tip to Ruthann Robson.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew)

April 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

LWI Writers' Workshop

The Legal Writing Institute announced that the eighth LWI Writers’ Workshop will take place on July 11-13, 2011 at the Colorado Chautauqua at the foot of Boulder’s Flatiron Mountains.  The workshop will give up to twelve Legal Writing faculty the opportunity to spend time working on their academic writing projects and improving their scholarly skills. 

The Workshop will take place immediately after the Applied Storytelling Conference at the University of Denver Law School.  Workshop participants will leave Denver on the morning of Monday, July 11 and return to Denver on the morning of Wednesday, July 13, 2011.  All members of the Legal Writing Institute are eligible to apply for the Workshop.  You must have a scholarly writing project well underway and beyond the initial stages of performing the initial research and drafting a tentative outline. You must at least have some sort of partial draft.  You should arrive with a substantial work product.  In most cases, a scholarly writing project should result in a law review article. 

Participants make presentations on their projects to small groups of three and receive feedback.  Each session runs about ninety minutes.  They also may take part in several guided discussion groups, each on a different topic.  Participants will also have time to work on their drafts.  Facilitators for the Workshop will be Steve Johansen (Lewis & Clark), Jill Ramsfield (Hawaii), Chris Rideout (Seattle), and Lou Sirico (Villanova). 

Participants will pay approximately $300 as a registration fee plus their transportation to and from Denver.  LWI will cover transportation to and from Chautauqua, the cost of the facility, and all meals on July 11 and 12 plus breakfast on July 13.  For more information, contact Lou Sirico by email:   Sirico [at]

Hat tip to Lou Sirico


April 3, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)