Thursday, May 12, 2011
The Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research has a Diversity Committee that organizes quite successful events during the AALS Annual Meeting. Here is the 2011 committee roster of members and leaders:
Chair: Kim Chanbonpin (John Marshall-Chicago)
Vice Chair: Maria Perez Crist (Dayton)
Secretary: Cassandra Hill (Thurgood Marshall)
Immediate Past Co-Chair: Starla Williams (Widener)
Dionne Anthon (Widener)
David Austin (California Western)
Stacy Blasko (Capital University)
Cara Cunningham (Detroit Mercy)
Rosa Kim (Suffolk)
Lisa Mazzie (Marquette)
Teri McMurtry-Chubb (LaVerne)
Amanda Smith (Widener)
Melissa Woods (Charlotte)
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This week the law faculty at Seattle University overwhelmingly voted to allow their current legal writing professors to apply for tenure and to advertise their new legal writing hires as tenure-track positions.
Hearty congratulations to Anne, Laurel, Mary, Sara, Janet, Connie, Mimi, Lori, Deirdre, and Chris!
They walked like ducks and talked like ducks for decades (literally decades for some of them), and finally their other colleagues looked around and realized, they are ducks just like us.
Let's hope this is like the end of the Soviet bloc or Mideastern dictators: when one goes, it starts an unstoppable process.
The fiftieth anniversary issue of the Washburn Law Journal focuses on “Excellence in Legal Writing.” The issue starts with federal Judge J. Thomas Marten's views on the subject. The featured articles then explore a range of topics. Under the intriguing title "The Lady or the Tiger," Linda Berger of Mercer writes about metaphor and narrative in legal writing. Georgetown’s Kristen Robbins-Tiscione's article recommends teaching classical rhetoric in the legal writing classroom. Wayne Schiess and Elana Einhorn of the University of Texas analyze issue statements and conclude that they should be tailored for particular types of documents. My discussion of “Rambo Run Amok” examines judges’ reactions to increased incivility in lawyers’ documents. Almas Khan of LaVerne then provides a helpful “Compendium of Legal Writing Sources.”
Thanks to the Washburn Law Journal for providing this in-depth discussion of topics related to our field.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Some quick tips for writing plain English appear in a recent bar journal article. Plain English for Lawyers’ Redux 2011, For the Defense 68 (April 2011). Among his other suggestions, New York practitioner Albert J. D’Aquino reminds readers to avoid compound prepositions and use familiar, concrete words. These reminders will be helpful for students needing a short brush-up on plain English.
Monday, May 9, 2011
I am working my way doggedly through reading, critiquing, and grading a stack of 47 appellate briefs. Each one takes me about an hour and a half. I was sitting here wondering how many more years I can do this work, and if I might more successfully apply my skills in some other job -- a thought process I go through every time I grade papers -- and then I received an e-mail from one of my graduating TA’s, alerting to me this blog post he wrote over on the beyond hearsay blog: http://www.beyondhearsay.com/2011/04/05/uncovering-secret-allies-how-humility-can-lead-to-great-relationships/. (And my apologies for the clunky URL, but sometimes the link insertion feature on this blog platform doesn't work.)
So, if you are similarly struggling through a stack of papers that need to be graded, rest assured, some former student of yours out there is thinking the same thing about you, but just hasn't had a chance to blog about it -- yet.