Saturday, July 16, 2011

writing for generalist judges

Images Doug Abrams has written a short article that may help law students better understand the audience they are writing to when that audience is a judge.  In Effective Written Advocacy before Generalist Judges: Advice from Recent Decisions, he uses judges' own perspectives and words to explain what is helpful (and not helpful) for them.  The article is published in the Spring 2011 issue of Precedent, the Missouri bar's quarterly magazine.



July 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday fun

Images Legal writing professors have been known to argue at length about appropriate fonts.  (Just sayin', not naming any names.)  And more and more, we are seeing helpful, serious scholarship on point.  But since it's about to be a mid-summer weekend, we'd like to share with you perhaps the oddest font seen yet, the llama font.

hat tip:  Deborah Borman





July 15, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A "Dirty Dozen" tips about brief writing

Jim McEhlaney's column in the June ABA Jurnal offers more of his no-nonsense tips about brief writing. ABA J  This time he offers a "dirty dozen" ways to write a bad brief, starting with "Make it a 'long,' not a brief." Other briefing faux pas include "Load up the citations" and "Quote like crazy." "Flunk the giggle test" seems especially helpful for beginning legal writers like our students. That tip counsels against "arguing wild impracticalities or ignoring a body of useful, well-established law."


July 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

googlizing legal research

Lisa Kinzer at the University of Texas has collected data that confirms what many of us think we've been seeing: law students are quickly adopting WestlawNext for legal research.  Lisa was able to show that the majority (~56%) of first-year J.D. students at the University of Texas School of Law reported using WestlawNext more often than Westlaw or Lexis.  As she says, "This is particularly remarkable when you consider that the students were required to participate in Westlaw and Lexis training, but were not required to learn WestlawNext."

Just click on the article title to read the full draft of her report,The 'Next' Generation: Measuring First-Year Student Response to WestlawNext.


July 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

job opening at Chapman

SideAngle Chapman University School of Law is seeking applications for the position of Assistant/Associate Professor of Legal Research & Writing.  Applicants must be admitted to at least one state Bar and have a superior law school academic record, legal practice experience, and demonstrable writing abilities.

The Assistant/Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing will be responsible for teaching legal research and writing courses, including courses designed to assist those students who need more focused attention on writing skills.  The individual will also be expected to assist with the development of writing projects, and the implementation of writing and advocacy competitions for first-year law students.  The successful candidate will have a full-time, non-tenure track appointment at the Assistant Professor or Associate Professor level, depending on his or her experience and qualifications.   Final candidates will be required to undergo a background check.

Please send letters of interest to:
Professor Celestine Richards McConville
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
Chapman University School of Law
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866

1.  The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
For personnel issues:  May vote on contract faculty personnel issues for candidates at or below the individual’s rank.  May not vote on personnel issues involving tenure track or tenured faculty.
3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $80,000 - $89,999.
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41 - 45.
Typical teaching load is two classes per semester, approximately 20-22 students in each class.

hat tip:  Nancy Schultz


July 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

save the date

The University of New Hampshire will be hosting the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers' conference on December 16, 2011. Although it's technically a regional conference, legal writing professors everywhere are invited. We'll let you know more details here as they're available. And yes, most years you can ski in New Hampshire by December 16th, so you could combine this conference and an uncrowded ski trip.

hat tip: Amy Vorenberg


July 13, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Diane Veteran legal writing professor, Diane Edelman, who teaches at Villanova, has been tapped to be the next Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP).  Among Diane's many accomplishments, she teaches a 1L LRW courses that includes instruction and practice using international law sources.  Congratulations on your appointment, Diane!






July 12, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scholars' Forum at Lavender Law in Los Angeles

The Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair being held this year in Los Angeles (from September 8-10) includes this year a Junior Scholar's Forum.  For those of you writing on legal issues relating to sexual orientation (including gender identity), this forum gives you an opportunity to present your work to an audience working in the field. To submit a proposal for consideration, please send it to <<scholars [at]>> with a copy to Professor Elizabeth Glazer at Hofstra University <<elizabeth.glazer [at]>>.  In both of those emails, replace the [at] with a @.  The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2011.


July 11, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

what not to do

How bad has legal writing gotten? Well, a former student recently sent a legal writing professor this horrendous example from an actual contract:

"The terms defined therein and not otherwise defined herein being used herein as therein defined."

(A currently practicing law firm produced the contract, so we think it best to protect the identity of both the professor and former student.)


July 10, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)