Saturday, May 28, 2011

So why do the Rutgers-Camden LRW profs get so many grants?

There's a very flattering press release about Pam Jenoff and her summer legal writing grant, available here. Kudos to the Rutgers-Camden p.r. department for spotlighting legal writing professors!

hat tip: Sarah Ricks


May 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

more promotion news

Texas Wesleyan has promoted the following faculty members to the professional-skills-tenure track beginning in fall 2011: Mark Burge, Dennis Kelly, John Murphy, Tanya Pierce, and Neil Sobol. (In the fall, the school also expects to post positions for at least two additional professional-skills -tenure track slots, to start in the fall of 2012. We'll report the details here when available.)

The University of Michigan Law School faculty voted to authorize long-term, ABA Standard 405(c), "clinical tenure-track" contracts for Legal Practice Program legal writing faculty. LP faculty under such contracts will also receive faculty voting rights, except on tenure matters. (Michigan will also be hiring this fall for a position under the new standards starting in 2012, and we'll post details here when they're available.)

IU-Indy has announced that Allison Martin has been promoted to Clinical Professor of Law.

And effective August 1, there will be a new Legal Writing Director at Tennessee - Michael Higdon.



May 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 27, 2011

legal writing conference in South Africa

Zebras 4


Conference on Preparing Students for the Practice of Law:
Helping Students Develop Their Ability to Read and Write in English

December 7-9, 2011

Mtunzini, South Africa 

APPEAL and the University of Zululand have announced a conference on Preparing Students for the Practice of Law, which will be held from the evening of December 7 through the afternoon of December 9, 2011, at the Tradewinds Country Inn in Mtunzini, South Africa, located about 90 minutes north of Durban.

The conference will focus on:
- teaching multilingual students
- working with students with an inadequate secondary education
- designing legal writing programs in universities with limited resources
- teaching legal reading
- teaching writing in large classes
- teaching writing in clinical programs
- diagnosing writing problems and commenting on student work
- learning theories
- teaching methods

If you are interested in presenting at the conference, please send a proposal to Laurel Oates, chair of the Program Committee, at no later than July 1, 2011. The Program Committee expects to make decisions on proposals and issue invitations by September 1, 2011. Registration materials for the conference will be circulated in September 2011.

For questions regarding the conference, please contact one of the Conference Co-chairs, Janet Dickson at or Olugbenga Oke-Samuel at

hat tip: Mimi Samuel


May 27, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sardonic comment on using authority

Justice Scalia’s concurrence in a recent case illustrates the importance of supporting legal arguments withScalia_s  authority. NASA  v. Nelson, 131 S. Ct. 746 (2011) (Scalia & Thomas, JJ., concurring in the judgment). Although the plaintiffs asserted a constitutional right to privacy, Scalia pointed out that their brief contained “not a single citation to the sole document we are called upon to construe: the Constitution of the United States.” He then sardonically called the lack of a citation “refreshingly honest”—because in his view no such constitutional right exists.


May 27, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dean Darby's going to Texas Tech

Darby_biopic It's just been announced that Darby Dickerson is moving from the deanship at Stetson to Texas Tech. Now the rest of the legal academy may think of Darby as a long-time dean, but those of us who have been teaching legal writing for awhile remember her humble beginnings as a legal writing director. She was generous with her smarts and talents way back then, too, and became -- and remains -- the primary author of the ALWD Citation Manual.

Happy moving Darby!

hat tip: Coleen Barger




May 26, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

teaching legal research without a textbook

Apparently, not everyone assigns a textbook for the legal research component of LRW class. Nancy Johnson explains this approach in her article on "Should You Use a Textbook to Teach Legal Research?"

Here's a summary of what she discusses in the article:

Legal research professors have struggled with the question of assigning and using a text in class. Since there are many excellent legal research texts available, instructors may feel their students need a safety net of a printed textbook. For professors who decide to use a textbook, this article includes reviews of selected current legal research texts. On the other hand, professors may believe that many students do not read their legal research texts and prefer teaching without a textbook. Instead, they may use a series of web sites, PowerPoint slides, tutorials, podcasts, and electronic texts. The article also discusses student reaction to a legal research class at Georgia State University College of Law that does not use a textbook."


May 25, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Briefs are more important than oral argument

S Ct Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito told a St. Louis law day gathering that lawyers' briefs are more important than their oral arguments before the court. “Oral argument is a relatively small and, truth be told, a relatively unimportant part of what we do," Alito said. He also offered this interesting statistic: the justices spoke 40% of the words at Supreme Court oral arguments last year.

Hat tip: Ralph Brill


May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the Supremes on writing well

The New York Times had an interesting article the other day about the Supreme Court Justice's own writing and their views of lawyers' writing. The article includes links to transcripts of full interviews with the Justices, about writing.

hat tip: Sarah Ricks


May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Harvard Law Review goes digital

Over on the Law Librarian blog, there's an announcement about Harvard Law Review going digital. Harvard Law Review issues are being produced digitally in multiple eBook formats by Quid Pro Books starting with vol. 124, no. 7 (May 2011).

hat tip: Nolan Wright


May 23, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)