Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reminder to students to research statutes

Neverss_300In a short, accessible reminder for students, Brigham Young librarian Shawn G. Nevers recently advised them to look for statutes when researching a legal issue. Because so much law is codified now, Nevers wrote, “There’s a good possibility that a statute applies to your issue.” He suggested beginning with a subject-based source like an index or a table of contents. After locating a relevant statute, the student should check surrounding sections, which may be part of an overall scheme. Nevers explained that printed codes may be easier to skim for this purpose than on-line sources are. His October Student Lawyer article is available here.


December 3, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 2, 2011

More than 400 Persons Participate in LWI Workshops

LWIThe Legal Writing Institute organized one-day workshops at thirteen locations around the country.  Reports are coming in from the various locations LWI C-K Workshop(and also a photo or two, such as this photo from Ralph Brill at Chicago-Kent College of Law -- go ahead, see if you can name everyone in the picture!)

More than 400 persons are attending these workshops, which benefit the programs of the Legal Writing Insitute.  We appreciate all of the donations from the law schools who are supporting the workshops themselves as well as the ability of our colleagues to attend.


December 2, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LRW profs moving up!

Schwinn-steven Chanbonpin-kimTwo professors in the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago have recently received positive votes from their faculty to move up in the world. The faculty voted to recommend tenure for Steve Schwinn and a promotion to Associate Professor of Law for Kim Chanbonpin. Congratulations!

hat tip: Anthony Niedwiecki



December 2, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a boost for your legal scholarship

ImagesWhether you're required to write legal scholarship for your job or you just want to, whether you were on a law journal as a student or not, getting started can be daunting. Mary Whisner has written an essay on "Writing Buddies", 103 Law Library Journal 677 (2011), with advice that seems particularly helpful for those trying to get started or needing an extra boost in their scholarly output.

Here's the abstract:
"Using quotations from a variety of authors, this essay offers some observations about writing for publication. Section headings are: Write to Connect; You Get to Sound Better Than You Do in Everyday Life; But Don’t Think You Have to Be Perfect; Cultivate Relationships That Sustain You; Get Feedback from People You Trust and Respect; While You Might Write to Connect with Others, Remember That You Don’t Have to Connect with Millions."


December 1, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A short article on plagiarism

Some helpful guidelines about plagiarism appear in Mary Dunnewold’s recent article Plagiarism: ProceedDunnewold,-Mary with Caution. The piece includes some suitably cautionary anecdotes, like the story of a law graduate who plagiarized his graduation speech and may find his bar admission compromised as a result. Dunnewold includes two different definitions of plagiarism, one from Princeton University’s website, which says plagiarism is “the use of any source, published or unpublished, without proper acknowledgement.” One of the article’s suggestions is that students put an original aside before beginning to paraphrase it, thus eliminating the temptation to copy language without quotation marks. Dunnewold’s article is short and aimed at students, who may find its concise explanations useful. It’s available in hard copy in the September 2011 Student Lawyer magazine or, with a password, from the ABA website.


November 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Posner Takes a Swing

The 7th Circuit issued an opinion last week that married the bench slap to the photo-opinion.  Judge Posner called out an attorney, by name, for failing to cite controlling precedent in both his opening and reply brief (the WSJ Blog has the attorney's response here).  Posner showed no mercy to counsel, writing that "The ostrich is a noble animal, but not a proper model for an appellate advocate."  The opinion went on to include photo illustrations of the concept:


I posted earlier this year about the use of photographs in motions and asked if their use was effective or gratuitous.  I pose the same question about Posner's use of photographs in this opinion.

Another question Posner's opinion raises is whether calling counsel out by name in an opinion reflects poorly on the judiciary as well as the offending lawyer.  If the error is egregious enough, perhaps memorializing the misconduct forever in the pages of the Federal Reporter is appropriate.  If you read between the lines of Posner's opinion, you can see that he reserves the "naming" treatment for who he deems the worst offender.  Another attorney is let off the hook. 

The very real possibility of being called out by name by Richard Posner doubtless has a deterrent effect on attorneys practicing in front of the 7th Circuit.  Perhaps this is good for the public and the professsion so long as the shaming is meted out with appropriate judicial temperment and caution.  It also has the potential to derail careers if used inappropriately.  I asked earlier this year whether bench slap orders were a good or a bad thing.  My opinion is that it depends on the order and the circumstances giving rise to it.  But with the great power that comes from the abiltiy to publish potentially viral orders on the internet, comes great responsiblity in deciding who, and how hard, to bench slap.

hat tip for passing the order along: Joseph Mastrosimone


November 29, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

another LRW job opening

LawbuildingThe University of Kentucky College of Law invites applications for two newly-created, full-time faculty positions to teach in the legal research and writing program beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year. A successful candidate will teach two or more sections of the legal research and writing course for first-year law students. The course is a year-long, four-credit course that introduces first-year law students to legal writing, analysis, and research. Law librarians teach the research component of the course, which is approximately 1 of the 4 credits. Thus, the new faculty members must be able to work collaboratively with other faculty involved in the legal research and writing program.

The positions offer an initial contract as Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing (clinical title series) for a term not to exceed three years. After the initial appointment period, the successful candidate will be eligible for renewable, five-year appointments. The salary will be commensurate with experience. The appointment is a nine-month, academic year appointment. 

Qualified candidates will have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school, a distinguished academic record, strong analytical, writing, and research skills, and substantial legal-practice experience (a minimum of two years is strongly preferred). Candidates must also possess a commitment to students and to teaching in the legal writing field, which involves significant student interaction and evaluation of students’ written work.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, C.V. or resume, writing sample, and at least three references to Professor Rutheford B. Campbell, James & Mary Lassiter Professor of Law, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, at the University of Kentucky College of Law, 235 Law Building, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0048, or at  Applications should be received by January 18, 2012. 

For further information, please contact Professor Melissa Henke, Director of Legal Research & Writing, at or (859) 257-0481.

1.  The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (with some limitations).
3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $60,000 - $89,999.
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 31- 50.      

hat tip: Melissa Henke



November 29, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI One-Day Workshops this Coming Friday

LWIMore than 300 persons will be attending one of the Legal Writing Institute workshops at various locations around the country this Friday, December 2, 2011.  There is still time to register and attend a program near you!  Here is a list of the workshop 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. 
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.  Click here to register.

November 29, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 28, 2011

LRW job opening

Law-school-frontHofstra University School of Law invites applications for a position as an assistant/associate professor of legal writing.  This is a  full-time faculty position with renewable contracts potentially leading to eligibility for presumptively renewable five year contracts.  

Applicants must have a J.D. degree and have demonstrated excellence in legal research, writing, and oral communication skills.  Hofstra is particularly interested in applicants with previous experience teaching legal writing, though this is not a requirement.  
Interested applicants may send via email only a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and references to the attention of the secretary to the hiring committee, Ryan Duck, In the subject line, include the words “Legal Writing.”  Applications will be received until January 11, 2012.

1.  The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. Position complies with ABA Standard 405(c). 
2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings on all matters except appointments, reappointments, and promotion. 

3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $70,000 - $89,999.

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41 - 45.

hat tip: Amy Stein



November 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LRW profs are everywhere

Mcelroy.ashxTo read Lisa McElroy, legal writing professor at Drexel, being quoted in a New York Times article on whether U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments should be televised, click here.

hat tip: Sarah Ricks


November 28, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)