July 26, 2011
Writing to Persuade
Utah lawyer Bryan J. Pattison’s recent article Writing to Persuade includes some good tips for legal writers. He sets the stage by asking the reader, “What were you thinking about the last time you wrote a brief or trial court memorandum? Sticking it to opposing counsel ? . . . Impressing your client?” If the answer is yes, Pattison says, “hit reset,” because the only goal should be to persuade the judge. The article includes a judge’s list of five things not to do—for example, don't “develop a reputation as a ‘churner’—an attorney who files unjustified motions for ulterior motives.” That will damage a lawyer’s reputation with the court.
July 25, 2011
A Preview of Legal Writing Events at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington DC
The Association of American Law Schools will hold its next annual meeting in Washington DC from January 4-8,2012. The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research will be holding a large number of activities of interest to legal writing professors. Registration is now open. Click here and follow the links to register for thw 2012 AALS Annual Meeting.
Plan to arrive in DC on Wednesday, January 4th so that you are ready to leave at 9.15 the next morning for the section field trip to the Law Library of Congress. (This is a ticketed event that we expect will sell out. When you register for the AALS annual meeting, be sure to register also for the Section field trip.) It is going to be an amazing day -- we get to poke around in parts of the library that are not open to the public. We will have special meetings with the legal specialists and with the librarians who design amazing resources that many of us teach to our students (such as the THOMAS website for tracking federal legislation). The ticket price came in a little higher than we expected (I think it is going to be $110) but when you think that a section lunch at the hotel would cost $65 it isn't that much more for the field trip. We also hope to present the section awards at the luncheon that at the law library. Register early for the field trip to avoid disappointment.
On Thursday evening we will have a separate section business meeting for legal writing professors. This is a special opportunity to present your ideas for section activities and AALS programs. You'll also get to meet many other section members and friends.
The section will sponsor posters again this year. These posters usually convey a great amount of information of interest to legal writing professors. The posters will be on display at the conference hotel in Washington DC.
On Friday, January 6, the section will have a program from 10:30 am - 12:15 pm called "In the New Millennium, What Are the Best Practices in Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research?" Presenters will be selected from a call for papers.
On Saturday, January 7, the section is co-sponsoring a panel with the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers. The topic of that panel is "Legal Research and Writing for Non-U.S. Lawyers: What Resources Do Law Schools Need to Provide?" Presenters for that program will be selected from a call for papers. This program will be of particular interest to those of us who have students who speak English as a second language.
And on Sunday morning, January 8, we have an additional three-hour session on "Legal Writing in the 21st Century: Practical Teaching Tips for Legal Skills Professors." Presenters for that program will also be selected from a call for papers. That program will run from 9 a.m. until noon so keep that in mind when you are making arrangements for your return travel.
The calls for posters, papers, and section award nominees are all being made soon. Registraton for the 2012 AALS Annual Meeting (including the field trip) is open now.
Mark E Wojcik, Chair, AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research
The Great Law School Debate
There seems to be a lot of discussion this summer about whether law school is worth the investment of time, energy, and money. Here are several additional views that were published in the New York Times, including some comments about whether the writing requirements for law students are rigorous enough. Click here.