Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blackwell Award Nominations

The Legal Writing Institute and the Association of Legal Writing Directors sponsor a joint award in honor of the late Professor Thomas F. Blackwell of the Appalachian School of Law. Previous winners are Richard Neumann, Jr., Pamela Lysaght, Ralph Brill, Mary Beth Beazley, Lou Sirico, Diana Pratt, Linda Edwards, Steve Johansen, and Carol McCrehan Parker.  Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on July 8, 2011.  Contact Coleen Barger at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law for more information -- she's the chair of the LWI-ALWD Committee.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Talk About Legal Writing

We want to remind you about our earlier post praising Bryan Garner and Scribes for the incredible treasure in the current issue of Scribes.  Bryan interviewed justices of the U.S. Supreme Court about their views on legal writing and advocacy.  The transcripts are amazing -- you will learn things about the justices, and about legal writing and advocacy.  Click here for more information

If you're not a member of Scribes, seeing this issue of its journal should alone be enough to get you to join!


June 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

nice news from Nova!

The legal writing professors at Nova Southeastern teach a course called Lawyering Skills and Values (LSV). 

Charlene_Smith1 This year, full professor Charlene Smith, who teaches both LSV and Torts, received the University’s 12th Annual Student Life Achievement Award (STUEY), as Co-Curricular Advisor of the Year. The  STUEYs are university-wide awards presented annually to members of the Nova Southeastern community to recognize excellence in scholarship, leadership, involvement, service, commitment, integrity and inclusion. The award recipients in ten different categories were selected by a University committee based on nominations from each of the University’s 17 graduate and undergraduate program centers.  Charlene was nominated by the Law Center in recognition of her involvement as the Executive Director of the Inter-American Center for Human Rights

Heather Baxter Web1 And Assistant Professor Heather Baxter, who teaches LSV and Criminal Procedure, received the Stephanie Aleong Impact Award. The  Law Center’s Student Bar Association created the award in 2009 in memory of Professor Aleong, following her sudden death after a difficult battle with cancer. This unusual award consists of two parts: First, the Law Center faculty selects one student each year who is well-rounded and exemplifies the ideals of compassion, involvement in school and community activities, hard work, and dedication.  Then that student selects the faculty member who had the greatest impact during his or her law school career. 

Congratulations to Charlene and Stepanie!

hat tip: Elena Langan


June 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

tenure granted!

Rose The law faculty at Golden Gate University School of Law has granted full ("regular") tenure to legal writing  professor Leslie Rose in a unanimous vote. Congratulations Leslie!

hat tip: Cathren Koehlert


June 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

summer solstice -- a good time for law

032_32th A millennium ago or so in Iceland, people took advantage of the longest days of the year to conduct legal matters. You can click here to learn how the Icelandic Parliament used to meet in the natural ampitheater partially pictured here, during the two weeks surrounding the solstice, to hear law cases. A man learned in the law, the Law Speaker, stood on Law Rock, about where you see the flag in the picture, to recite the law. He also made legal decisions, which were then voted on by some three dozen chieftains.

So, here's hoping you can put today's extra daylight to equally good use. Have a bright day!





June 21, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Core Grammar for Lawyers

Cgl_logo If you know a lawyer or law student who struggles with grammar and other basic mechanics of legal writing, a helpful, new, online resource for them is Core Grammar for Lawyers.  It starts with a diagnostic test (which my students, teaching assistants and writing professors beta-tested last fall).  Some of what's tested is just standard American usage, making it easy to identify gaps in knowing how to use the basics of grammar, punctuation, etc.  Some of what's tested is unique usage for American lawyers, so don't expect new 1Ls to get more than about half the test correct.  Once they know where to focus, test takers can do the exercises and access the answers and explanations, as well as additional practice exercises. I'm thinking of having our whole 1L class use it this fall.  (And no, I don't get a penny from the publishers.)


June 20, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

research tips for summer associates

Shawn Nevers has written a short article for Student Lawyer with practical tips on how to approach legal research in a law student's first summer law job."Observations for Summer Research Success" would be a good handout for the last LRW class in the spring, for law school libraries to have in a stack of near the door for students to help themselves, or for law offices to include in summer orientation materials.


June 20, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a checklist manifesto?

Take a look at Jennifer Romig's book review, "The Legal Writer's Checklist Manifesto". In it she explains:

"Saving money, saving time, and saving lives: these are the accomplishments of the 'humble' checklist outlined in Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (Metropolitan 2009). The Checklist Manifesto explores various types of checklists and their benefits for professionals working in
various fields such as medicine, aviation, and construction. This book review focuses on checklists’ potential benefits for lawyers - and more specifically, for lawyers engaged in the task of legal writing. Widely available checklists provide excellent tools for new lawyers to check their work and nternalize common stylistic practices of legal writing. These same checklists can also help experienced lawyers to edit their work efficiently and to notice and change bad writing habits they may have acquired. Yet the benefits of checklists extend beyond the individual writer laboring to complete an assignment. The Checklist Manifesto also explains the benefits of process-based checklists, which require members of a team simply to check in with one another at specified intervals. These process-based checklists could help teams of lawyers to work together more efficiently and produce more effective written work product. Process-based checklists also contribute to a healthy and open
working dynamic in which all members of a team have robust opportunities to participate. The Checklist Manifesto makes a compelling case for the benefits of checklists in various industries. Legal writing - as one concrete embodiment of law practice itself - stands equally to gain."


June 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)