Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Memo Rules


From SMU's Student Follies.

hat tip:  Elizabeth Megale


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

Sunday Morning Presentations at the AALS Meeting

The annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools will be in Washington DC in January 2012.  This year the program features a huge number of legal writing presentations.  In addition to the full dayfield trip to the Law Library of Congress (including our section lunch and award presentations), our Friday section program, and our two joint programs on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, we have a Sunday morning program with 16 additional speakers making 12 individual presentations.  The Sunday morning program will last from 9 a.m. to noon, so when you are making your return travel arrangements from Washington, D.C. please pick something after 2 p.m.

Presentations were chosen by the program committee, which was magnificently chaired by Professor Lurene Contento of The John Marshall Law School. The presentations below were selected on an anonymous basis, based only on the quality of the submission.  I'm really looking forward to this panel of Sunday Morning Superstars.

Here's the list of presenters chosen for Washington D.C., together with tentative working titles for the papers.  Congratulations to everyone whose proposal was selected.  Thank you, also, to the others who submitted but we weren't able to use.  We were blessed this year with an abundance of submissions.

Sunday, January 8, 2012
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research
Delaware Suite A, Lobby Level, Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

Legal Writing in the 21st Century:
Practical Teaching Tips for Legal Skills Professors

This special three-hour panel presents practical exercises and teaching tips for professors of legal writing, reasoning, and research. A total of 16 selected speakers in 12 different presentations will share their experiences and ideas for innovative and engaged teaching. Attendees can expect to take away materials and ideas that they can use for teaching in the spring semester and beyond. Audience members will be encouraged to share additional teaching tips and ideas,

Part 1:  Teaching Digital-Age Students

  1. Kristen Konrad Tiscione, Georgetown University Law Center -- “Digital Media”
  2. Sarah J. Morath, University of Akron, C. Blake McDowell Law Center -- “Mini Email Memo”
  3. Elena Margolis and Kristen E. Murray, Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law -- “Information Literacy”
  4. Lisa A. Penland and Melissa H. Weresh, Drake University Law School -- “Pro E Communication”

Part 2:  Student Assessment Tools

  1. Carrie Sperling, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law -- “Meaningful Assessment”
  2. Lisa Black, California Western School of Law -- “Reflective Writing”
  3. Hilary Stirman Reed and Mireille Butler, Pepperdine University School of Law -- “Clearing the Bar: Methods and Benefits of Teaching the Bar Exam Performance Test”
  4. Jenean M. Taranto and Rosemary Queenan, Albany Law School -- “Meeting with the Partner: Learning to Organize and Draft Meaningful Legal Arguments in the Objective Memo Through Oral Discussion.”

Part 3:  Fun and Useful Exercises

  1. Amy R. Stein, Hofstra University School of Law -- “All the News to Print”
  2. Jodi S. Balsam, New York University School of Law -- “Material Facts Game”
  3. Louis J. Sirico, Jr., Villanova University School of Law -- “Back Story”
  4. Heidi Brown, New York Law School -- “Casey Anthony Vignette”


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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LWI One-Day Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia

LWIThe Legal Writing Institute is holding One-Day Workshops on Friday, December 2, 2011, at 13 locations around the country.  Here's a message about the program being held that day in Atlanta, Georgia:  
We hope you will consider attending the LWI One-Day Workshop at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. We are really excited about our line-up of experienced and newer faculty members who will be presenting on legal writing, research, advocacy, upper-level drafting, and professional development topics. 
Early winter is a wonderful time to experience Atlanta and the weekend of December 1-4, 2011 is no exception.  Within walking distance of our school is the High Museum of Art, which has an amazing modern art exhibit up – from Picasso to Warhol.  The Atlanta Symphony is across the street from the High Museum; there is a performance of Handel’s Messiah on Thursday evening (December 1) and a gospel performance on Friday (December 2).  Also during this time, The Fox, our historic downtown theater, is hosting performances of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Other things to do include seeing the holiday lights at our Botanical Gardens, ice skating at Centennial Olympic park, and riding the pink pig (a quaint holiday tradition at our flagship Macy’s department store).  And don’t forget that Atlanta is the foodie capital of the South.  We have some of the best restaurants and chefs in the country, with a burgeoning focus on farm-to-table dining. The Woodfire Grill, Bacchanalia, Miller Union, and Holeman & Finch Public House are just a few of the outstanding restaurants Atlanta has to offer.
Also keep in mind that traveling to Atlanta is usually inexpensive, given that we are a hub destination for many airlines. We have set up a conference rate of $109-$119 a night at the Artmore Hotel, a boutique hotel just steps away from the law school.  To reserve a room, please call Jessi Ford at 404-201-7555 and mention that this is an AJMLS event. We hope to see you in Atlanta! 

Hat tip to Lucille Jewel from Atlanta's John Marshall Law School.

There are 13 locations available on December 2, 2011:

Please register using the online links for each location listed at  Registration is $100, which is a donation to the Legal Writing Institute.


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

Comma, comma, who's got a comma?

I sometimes think students believe it doesn’t matter where they place commas. But that’s not so for Apple, which stated in a recent pleading, "Apple denies that its correct name is Apple, Inc. The correct name of Respondent is Apple Inc." The company has prided itself on attention to detail, and I'm sure careful thought went into deciding whether to include a comma in its name. Students could take a cue from Apple's success!

Hat tip: Jan Levine


November 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

"Clearly" is clearly too weak

CooneyAs I grade memos, I find instances of a common problem: use of the word “clearly” to modify a point that has little or no support. A recent article by Professor Mark Cooney of Thomas M. Cooley Law School explains why the word is so ineffective: it’s overused, and to sophisticated legal readers, it signals a gap in the writer’s logic.  Cooney recommends putting “because” in the sentence instead. That will prompt the writer to back up the point with specific support.


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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LWI One-Day Workshops for Legal Writing Faculty

The Legal Writing Institute will hold one-day workshops at various locations around the country on Friday, December 2, 2011Registration is now open.  Here is a list of the locations:

  • California:  Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
  • Florida:  University of Miami
  • Georgia:  Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School
  • Illinois:  Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Massachusetts:  Northeastern University School of Law, Boston
  • Minnesota:  Hamline University School of Law
  • Missouri:  University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
  • New York:  Brooklyn Law School
  • Ohio:  The Ohio State University
  • North Carolina:  Campbell University Wiggins School of Law, Raleigh
  • Pennsylvania:  Temple University Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia
  • Tennessee:  University of Memphis Humphreys School of Law
  • Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia:  George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, Virginia
The topics covered in the workshops have been expanded to include four areas during the day.  Some locations will have slightly different topics or times.  The program in Minnesota will include a field trip to West Publishing.
1.  Teaching Legal Writing [9:00 to 10:20 a.m.] (including topics such as creating problems, grading, selecting materials, conducting paper conferences, and including other assignments as part of the research and writing course). 
2.  Teaching Persuasive  Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Moot Court [10:40 to noon] (including materials, practice sessions, and guidelines for moot court practices and competitions).
3.  Legal Research Update [2:00 to 3:20 p.m.] (including updates on new research methods and materials that you and your students need to know).
4.  Other Innovations [3:40 to 5:00 p.m.] (a potpourri panel that will differ at each location, where individual speakers and faculty roundtables can discuss classroom teaching innovations, scholarship opportunities, effective use of researh assistants, and other subjects of interest to legal research and writing faculty).
The workshops have been a great opportunity for legal writing faculty around the county to meet and share new ideas.  Adjunct faculty who are often unable to travel have found the sessions to be particularly valuable, but as you can see from the topics they are now designed for all legal writing faculty.  The programs have also been of interest to persons who are thinking about entering the legal writing academy as teachers. Those presenting at the workshops have found them to be a great speaking opportunity too.
The one-day workshops are a fundraiser for the Legal Writing Institute to allow it to continue its many fine and important programs.  Attendees are asked to pay a $100 registration fee, which will be donated to the LWI.  As in past years, scholarships for attendees will be available to persons who cannot pay the registration fee.  Law schools who host these generously donate the facilities and often also donate coffee and lunch to make the day particularly wonderful for us. 

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

save the date -- 2012 Western Regional LRW Conference

Homepagebanner_fall2011The University of Oregon School of Law we will be hosting the 2012 Western Regional Conference for legal writing professors on August 10th and 11th. As more information about presenting and attending becomes available, we will post it here. For now, you can mark your calendar for a trip to beautiful Eugene.

hat tip: Liz Frost and Megan McAlpin



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