Friday, December 9, 2011
In a recent Practical Lawyer column, Villanova professor Michael G. Walsh collected some amusing terms from legal opinions. Walsh’s list of obscure words includes exlex, meaning outlaw, found in a nineteenth-century New York case, and dunny, referring to an outhouse, found in Kirkland v. United States, 930 F. Supp. 1443, 1448 (D. Colo. 1996). Walsh's Grammatical Lawyer column is titled Forgotten English (Part 2); check it out to read about courts' use of other obscure terms, including gavelkind, woad, and bung your eye.
We read reviews of court decisions. We read reviews of law journal articles. Well, now we've received a review of a font. A font called Equity, designed by Matthew Butterick, just for lawyers. You can read all about it here.
hat tip: Gabriel Teninbaum
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Dan Martin at California State U. has written an interesting article oon "Culture and Unethical Conduct: Understanding the Impact of Individualism and Collectivism on Actual Plagiarism." Although his focus is on business students, and he specifically compares Asian and Caucasian students, you can extrapolate some interesting ideas potentially applicable to the work of teaching legal writing to a diverse group of U.S. law students.
Here's the abstract:
"This criterion study examined the impact of the cultural dimensions of individualism and collectivism on actual plagiarism in working business students. Given globalization of business and recent business scandals, furthering our understanding of international ethics remains critical. Business students are the potential employees, managers and leaders of organizations in the future. In this study we focus on one form of unethical conduct by business students, i.e. actual plagiarism, and seek to determine the link between this behavior and cultural values of individualism/collectivism and associated stereotypes of Asian/Caucasian students. Our findings suggest that individualists plagiarize more than collectivists, and that no significant differences in plagiarism exist between Asian and Caucasian students, contrary to popular beliefs. The implications of these findings for scholars and managers are discussed."
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Scott Fruehwald recently posted a persuasive writing article, Responding to Opposing Arguments and Distinguishing Cases in Persuasive Writing, on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Legal writing involves learning a number of "miniskills." To become an expert in legal writing, a student must learn case analysis, case synthesis, analogical reasoning, rule-based reasoning, small-scale organization, etc. Among these miniskills is the ability to respond to the opposition’s arguments, including the miniskill of distinguishing cases. These miniskills are vital to an expert brief.
In this paper, I will discuss how to respond to the otherside’s arguments and how to distinguish cases. Part II of the paper will examine when and where to respond to opposing arguments. It will explain where in the litigation to put counterargument and where in the brief. Part III will present ways to counter opposing arguments and unfavorable cases. This part will cover general ways to respond to opposing arguments, how to distinguish cases, and how to use rule-based reasoning. The final part will discuss persuasiveness in counterarguments.