Friday, January 28, 2011
When one of your legal writing professors is elected the Lieutenant Governor of the state, eventually you do have to hire someone to fill the legal writing job on a permanent basis. That's why we're currently searching for an LRW professor to begin next fall. Details are available here; please direct questions to Lawyering Skills Director Sue Liemer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
In a Chronicle Review piece titled "The Elements of Clunk," Ben Yagoda contends that student writing is becoming more awkward, partly because students don't read enough edited and published prose. Yagoda says his students do realize that certain informal expressions from texting or email are inappropriate for formal writing. However, when they try to be formal, students end up choosing "length over brevity, [and] ornateness over simplicity."
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning is holding a conference in New York City on June 1 -3, 2011, to focus on the topic of Engaging and Assessing Our Students. Legal writing professors have long experience engaging and assessing students, and so have a lot of useful information to share with the rest of the legal academy. If you are interested in sending a proposal to speak at the conference, you will find more information here. Keep in mind that the deadline for proposals is February 15, 2011.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Looking for examples of good legal writing? In its spring 2010 issue, the Green Bag published a list of "Exemplary Legal Writing" that includes court opinions, concurrences, dissents, books, and articles from 2009. I particularly like Judge Rakoff's opinion and Lani Guinier's article, but readers may find their own favorites. The journal's similar lists from past years are also rich sources of examples.
Irwin Berent, President of the Plain Writing Association, has completed a legislative history of the plain language movement, available here at the P.W.A.'s website. His research reviews the legislative process that led to passage of the Plain Writing Act and also examines the failed Senate and House bills of the previous years.
Other recent projects of the P.W.A. include a comparison of each plain language bill that has been proposed in the last 4 years; a list of links to blogs and other media that covered the plain language legislation from 2007 to 2010; and an overview of efforts to promote the use of plain-English software in government.
hat tip: Irwin Berent
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]jmls.edu.
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]jmls.edu or intlawprof[at]gmail.com.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
A couple of months ago, Ursula Wiegold, at the University of Wisconsin, polled LRW professors to find out our favorite websites to send law students to for law library resources. These websites were the favorites:
(legal research guides)
(research guides and legal research search engine)
(general and subject-specific research guides--recent and ongoing updates)
(law subject guides)
(research links for individual state materials)
hat tip: Ursula Weigold
In 2005, Stephen Gerst (Phoenix) and Gerald Hess (Gonzaga) conducted a survey of Arizona lawyers in a broad range of practices to determine which lawyering skills and values they most valued. Based on the responses of 175 lawyers, here are the results. To save you the suspense, the first three are exactly what we teach in LRW class.
hat tip: Nolan Wright