Saturday, January 22, 2011

nominations sought for Burton Awards

Logo The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement recognize excellence in legal writing. For the past seven years, the Burton Awards have included an award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education.

The award is given annually to an individual or group that has made an outstanding contribution to the education of lawyers in the field of legal analysis, research, and writing, whether through teaching, program design, program support, innovative thinking, or writing.

The contributions considered may be significant single achievements or the accumulated achievements of a career. The previous recipients have been Dean Kent Syverud of Vanderbilt, Dean Darby Dickerson of Stetson, Professor Ralph Brill of Chicago-Kent, Professor Laurel Oates of Seattle University, Professor Mary Beth Beazley of Ohio State, Professor Richard Neumann of Hofstra, and, last year, Professor Helene Shapo of Northwestern.

Nominations are now being accepted for the Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education Award. Nominations should describe the contributions of the nominee and should be forwarded to one of the selection committee members by e-mail: Anne Kringel,; Grace Tonner,; or Nancy Schultz,  

Nominations are due by February 12, 2011.  

hat tip: Anne Kringel 



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

Friday, January 21, 2011

One-Spacers vs. Two-Spacers

A fierce Internet debate is raging about whether writers should insert one space or two between sentences.  While the discussion gives new meaning to Seinfeld's catch phrase “a show about nothing,” it has aroused strong feelings on both sides.  Farhad Manjoo’s vehement argument for one space on has generated 2144 comments as of this posting.  Manjoo argues that the two-space practice is archaic, a hangover from the monospaced fonts of typewriter days, and that current style guides prescribe a single space.  Proponents of the two-space approach say it enhances readability. 

Two major style manuals on legal writing adhere to the one-space approach.  See Matthew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers at 41 and Bryan Garner’s Redbook Rule 4.12.

When the subject came up recently in my legal writing class, the students were almost evenly divided on the topic, and many were firmly entrenched in their views.  I told them I’ll accept either practice. 

If the computer doesn’t tamper with my spacing, readers of this post will see that I still favor the two-space approach for my own writing.


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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ALWD Scholars Workshop

Every year, the Association of Legal Writing Directors funds writing workshops for legal writing professors, in conjunction with regional legal writing conferences held throughout the U.S.  The next such ALWD-funded opportunity for scholars in the field of legal writing to assist each other with works-in-progress will take place on Sunday, March 27 in Las Vegas, in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing conference.  The workshop will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include a continental breakfast and a box lunch.

Participants will work in groups of 6-8. Each participant will read and comment on each paper in the group. Forty-five minutes will be allotted for each paper.  The moderators/mentors will be Linda Edwards, Judy Stinson and Terry Pollman.  Your paper can be in the early stages of development or nearly ready for publication. The topic does not have to be related to legal writing. Outlines are acceptable, but should be in enough detail to make the process worthwhile for participants.

If you are accepted as a participant your draft will be due by Friday, March 11, electronically to  To apply, you need to send an e-mail with one paragraph describing your wish to participate, the topic of your paper, and the stage of development you expect the paper to be in on March 11.  Applications are due on February 14.

This workshop has been described as "what you thought your life would be like when you decided to be a professor -- sitting around drinking coffee and talking about ideas."  If you have a work-in-progress, it is a great way to make progress towards publication.  BTW, the money to support these workshops comes directly from sales of the ALWD Citation Manual.

hat tip:  Terry Pollman



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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

summer research grants for legal writing professors


The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) have announced the Legal Writing Scholarship Grants for teachers of legal research and writing for 2011.

Each year, ALWD & LSI award several research grants to legal research and writing teachers, to enable them to spend the summer exploring scholarly ideas of interest to them and to produce scholarship that will assist others in the field. In the past, the grants have varied from $2000 to $5000. Papers supported by these grants may will be guaranteed a presentation slot at either the bi-ennial ALWD or LWI conference. Royalties from the ALWD Citation Manual are the primary source of ALWD funding each year.   

Mentors are available to assist applicants; the mentors are not involved in awarding the grants. Application mentors for the 2011 application process are: Christine Venter (Notre Dame); Julie Oseid (St. Thomas); Aida Alaka (Washburn); and Sarah Ricks (Rutgers-Camden). If you would like mentoring on applying for a grant, please contact Sarah Ricks, sricks@camden.rutgers.

The Legal Writing Scholarship Grants are available to both full-time and adjunct teachers of legal writing and research. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. East Coast Time on February 7, 2011, at:




January 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Yes, Punctuation Rules Do Exist

Kraft photo-os

Are commas just “personal things”?  Diane Kraft of the University of Kentucky rebuts that common but erroneous belief in the November 2010 issue of the Kentucky Bench & Bar magazine.  Explaining that English punctuation does follow rules, she lists ten of them.  Her short article provides a quick, helpful brush-up on common punctuation problems.




January 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Global Legal Skills Conference in Chicago

The sixth Global Legal Skills Conference will take place on May 5-7, 2011 at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  Persons interested in making a presentation or organizing a panel for the conference should submit  proposals to the Planning Committee by January 31, 2011, by sending it to 7wojcik[at] 

You will be notified as to whether your proposal has been accepted by the middle of February.  There is no particular format for proposals.  Some proposals may be quite detailed, while others might have just the title of the proposal, a brief description (unless it is clear from the title), and contact information for presenters.  You might propose an entire panel, or just an individual presentation that we might combine with others.  Submissions are welcome on all aspects of international legal skills education, with a special (but not exclusive) focus on teaching students who speak English as a second language.  Previous conferences also included presentations on Legal Spanish, on teaching Trial Advocacy in Ireland, on legal translations, and on other aspects of international legal education.  However, most
presentations will focus on the special educational aspects of teaching students trained in other languages and other, frequently non-common law, legal traditions.  

In your proposal, please let us know how much time you will need.  Please choose 20 or 50 minutes.  Please also let us know where your proposal fits within the following categories:

1.      How to teach:  Tips for those who teach international students either here or abroad.
2.      How to do:  Tips by and for U.S. and foreign practitioners who have global practices.
3.      Curricular development:  Presentations on what schools offer, or should be offering, their foreign students.
4.      What it's all about: Lessons on law/culture/practice in other countries.
5.      Developing Materials:  Ideas on developing materials for class. 
6.      Other:  Anything that does not fit within the other categories.

Please send any questions to Mark Wojcik by email at mwojcik[at] or intlawprof[at] 


January 17, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Deadline is Friday for Proposals for the Southeast Regional Writing Conference

The Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference has issued a call for proposals for its conference on April 15-16, 2011 in Macon, Georgia.  The conference theme will be “Opening the Lens:  Re-Visions in Legal Writing Teaching, Theory, & Practice.”  The deadline for conference proposals is January 21, 2011.

The conference intends to focus on interdisciplinary approaches that enrich understanding of legal interpretation and composition and highlight the ways in which legal writing teachers integrate theory and practice.  Proposals may draw on interdisciplinary perspectives or emphasize new ways to bring together theory and practice in legal writing teaching, scholarship, and service.  The Program Committee encourages proposals for 25-minute individual presentations or panel discussions but anticipates that there will also be a few 55-minute slots. 

Proposals must be submitted by email to Jennifer Sheppard, Program Committee Co-Chair, at Sheppard_jl [at]  The deadline to submit proposals is January 21, 2011. Please include the following in the proposal submission:

  1. Title of proposed presentation or panel.
  2. Brief description of proposed presentation or panel.
  3. Time needed for presentation (25 minutes or 55 minutes).
  4. Technology needs for your presentation (please describe).
  5. Contact information:
  • Name(s) and title(s) of presenter(s)
  • Institution(s)
  • Email address(es)
  • Mailing address(es)
  • Telephone number(s)                                      

Hat tips to Jennifer Sheppard and Karen J. Sneddon


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