October 29, 2011
two intriquing articles
Last spring's Second Colonial Frontier LRW Conference, held at Duquesne, resulted in some intriquing law journal articles. You can read the two to be most recently published in the Duquesne Law Reivew's 49th volume:
Mary Barnard Ray, Writing on the Envelope: An Exploration of the Potentials and Limits of Writing in Law
Elizabeth Fajans, Legal Writing in the Time of Recession: Developing Cognitive Skills for Complex Legal Tasks
hat tip: Jan Levine
October 27, 2011
got a proposal for the Capital Area Legal Writing Conference?
If you get it in this weekend, you'll still make the deadline for sending a proposal to speak at the Second Annual Capital Area Legal Writing Conference, to be held on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, March 9-10, 2012, at The Georgetown University Law Center. Out of town participants are welcome. And there will be no conference fee.
The deadline to submit proposals is October 30, 2011. The proposal submission form can be downloaded from http://www.lwionline.org/other_conferences.html. Completed forms should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
hat tip: Kristen K. Tiscione
October 26, 2011
your visit to New Hampshire in December
1) see the beauty of a New England winter without the extreme cold later in the season,
2) get in some early season skiing or snowboarding before the crowds, and
3) attend a fun and exciting one-day conference on practice-ready LRW assignments.
Here's the skinny:
Creating Practice-Ready Assignments and Exercises Legal Writing Conference
December 16, 2011
UNH School of Law, Concord, NH
FREE and OPEN to Everyone
RSVP today to attend or submit a proposal for a presentation at:
hat tip: Amy Vorenberg
(spl -- who has climbed Mt Monadnock, in the photo)
October 24, 2011
Smileys: Professional Writing Scourge:( or Boon:)?
I have noticed a steady increase in my colleagues' use of smileys in professional email correspondence lately. While I remain officially undecided on whether this is appropriate, The New York Times effectively lays out the arguments regarding the smiley's impact on the quality of modern writing. On one hand, smileys allow a writer to set the tone they want to set in email. On the other hand, setting a tone using smileys feels like force feeding to some readers. Some highlights from The NYT:
Lisa M. Bates, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia, has lately embraced the smiley — as have her academic colleagues, albeit “sparingly and strategically,” she said. “Basically, I’m often sarcastic and in a hurry, and a well-planted smiley face can take the edge off and avoid misunderstanding,” Dr. Bates wrote in an e-mail. “I figure they have saved me some grief from misconstrued tone many times.”
[One] harsh critic...Marsha Farinet [writes] “To me, it’s like bad moviemaking, where as soon as Dad grabs the puppy, the shot immediately goes to Junior’s teary face — like the director does not trust the audience to have an appropriately developed emotion by itself,” Ms. Farinet wrote in an e-mail. “That’s what emoticons do. PLEASE don’t ‘show’ me that I should be happy-faced or sad-faced or that you are sad-faced or happy-faced.
“Can you imagine,” wrote Ms. Farinet, “reading the end of ‘The Great Gatsby’
like that?: So we beat on, boats against
the current, borne back ceaselessly into
the past :-( ”
How are legal writing professors addressing the use of smileys and other emoticons in class? What does the existence of the issue say about the impact of electronic communication on professional writing? Does anyone think we should use more smileys on the blog?;) Or should we ban them completely and impose fines for smiley use?:(
Ideas for covering rule synthesis
In a new article, Paul Figley presents some practical ideas for teaching rule synthesis. Teaching Rule Synthesis with Real Cases, 61 J. Leg. Educ. 245 (Nov. 2011). He begins by explaining why rule synthesis is important: a writer who simply discusses and applies cases one by one is not engaging in legal analysis. Figley next offers a homespun example, “Crabby Mrs. McGinty’s Garden Hose,” to illustrate how a rule might be synthesized. He then presents a series of excerpts from Massachusetts slip-and-fall cases to show how students might synthesize and apply a rule. These exercises may be especially helpful to newer teachers looking for effective ways to cover rule synthesis.
LRW profs on the move
Washburn has hired two experienced professors for its tenure-track legal writing positions. They'll be joining two already-tenured professors and one who is applying for tenure this semester.
Joseph P. Mastrosimone is former Chief Legal Counsel for the Kansas Human Rights Commission and senior counsel to the National Labor Relations Board. He also practiced with the Washington, D.C., law ﬁrm of Cowell & Moring and the Kansas City law ﬁrm of Stinson, Morrison & Hecker. Professor Mastrosimone has also taught legal writing at the University of Kansas and the George Washington University law schools.
Emily Grant is former Senior Court Counsel for the Pulau Supreme Court and a former judicial clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Central District of Illinois and the District of Kansas. She has also taught legal writing at the University of Kansas and University of Illinois law schools.
hat tip: Tonya Kowalski
October 23, 2011
Reminder About LWI Golden Pen Nominations
The Awards Committee of the Legal Writing Institute announced its call for nominations for the 2012 Golden Pen Award. Any member of LWI may nominate someone for the award. The LWI Committeee ask that you submit your nominations directly to Hether Macfarlane at hmacfarlane [at] pacific.edu on or before November 15, 2011. Here's more information about the award:
The Golden Pen Award recognizes those who make significant contributions to advance the cause of better legal writing. These contributions may take any form, such as promoting the use of clear language in public documents, improving the quality of legal writing instruction, advocating for better writing within the legal community, outstanding scholarship or journalism about legal writing, or exceptional writing in law practice. The award is normally given to someone who is not an active member of LWI, but active members are considered in exceptional circumstances.