Saturday, February 5, 2011

applications for legal writing scholarship grants due Monday

The ALWD/LWI Scholarship Grant Committee has announced that LexisNexis is donating $10,000 to the pool of available grant money for the 2011 Legal Writing Scholarship Grants.  Adding this contribution to the grant money supplied by LWI and ALWD brings the total grant money available close to $35,000. 

In addition to receiving grant money, authors of papers supported by the Legal Writing Scholarship Grants are guaranteed a presentation slot at either the ALWD conference or the LWI biennial conference.  Both full-time and adjunct teachers of legal writing and research are eligible to apply.  Applications must be received by 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, this Monday February 7, by emargoli@temple.eduYou may contact Ellie Margolies at that same e-mail address if you do not otherwise have access to the application form. 



February 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 4, 2011


David Austin (at California Western) took some great photos at the AALS annual meeting last month.  He has generously made access to them easy.  To see photos from the Friends of Legal Writing Luncheon, click here.  To see photos from the ALWD-LWI reception and awards ceremony, click here.

Thank you, David!


February 4, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blurring the legal standard

A recent case illustrates the importance of careful analysis and wording in legal writing.  In Perry v. AT & T Operations, Inc., a lawyer’s motion was stricken partly because it blurred the applicable legal standard.  The motion for summary judgment inappropriately argued questions of fact, stating that certain points had been "proven." The court explained that while such arguments may belong in a trial brief, they are not appropriate on summary judgment.   The lawyer’s errors in punctuation and grammar only worsened the court’s impression of her papers.


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

legal writing conference in South Africa


APPEAL has announced its next conference will take place December 8-10, 2011, at the University of Zululand's Richards Bay Campus (about 90 miles north of Durban, South Africa).  The focus of the conference will be Preparing Students for the Practice of Law: Helping Students Develop Their Ability to Read and Write in English. The conference will focus on meeting the challenges facing African academics when teaching legal writing, including large classes, lack of resources, inadequate secondary preparation, and multilingual students, to prepare African students to practice law in an increasingly global society. 

            We will post the call for proposals here when it becomes available in May.  In the meantime, you can direct questions to Mimi Samuel, APPEAL Co-President, at, or either of the co-chairs of the Conference Committee, Janet Dickson at or Olugbenga Oke-Samuel at





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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

how 2Ls and 3Ls approach a legal research & writing problem

Ever wonder how much students are able to run with what they learn in their first-year LRW courses?  Jootaek Lee has studied how upper level law students approach research problems and published the results in an article on "Legal Informatics: Metamorphosing Law Students into Legal Professionals Based on Empirical Evidence of Attorneys’ Information Seeking Behaviors"

Here's an abstract of the article:
"Law students' practical ability to seek information by researching and to organize the complex layers of legal and non-legal information will not be enhanced without the law school's special efforts to provide pedagogies of practice in their remaining two years. In other words, the lack of more practical pedagogy prevents the law students from changing and extending their cognitive maps until they have a real job, where they do research, draft documents, advocate and counsel, and negotiate.

"This study attempts to find answers to the questions by investigating the extension and enlargement of young lawyers' cognitive maps and their process to solve a difficult, uncertain situation. I believe that unraveling the mystery of their information seeking will contribute on law librarians' efforts to develop an appropriate curriculum specifically for 2L and 3L students and further, how to design the advanced legal research and upper-level writing classes."



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

Easy Reading, Hard Writing

Srowe Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote that “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Professor Suzanne Rowe reminded readers of this truth in an article in the Jaunary Oregon State Bar Bulletin.  Rowe emphasized that writing, rewriting, proofing, and accepting criticism are difficult even for professional writers.  But it’s better that the writer, not the reader, should suffer—especially when the reader is the judge who’ll rule on your case.


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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Comments on FRAP 28

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton, Chair of the Federal Appellate Rules Advisory Committee,has asked the for comments on a proposal to repeal or amend Rule 28(a)(6) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. The rule requires the appellant's brief to include a "statement of the case briefly indicating the nature of the case, the course of proceedings, and the disposition below." This requirement was added in 1998. Before that, the rule 28 required a statement of the case that included both the procedural history and the relevant facts. We understand that Judge Sutton is concerned that some lawyers unnecessarily repeat some of the same material in the statement of the case, the jurisdictional statement, and the statement of facts. He is also reportedly concerned that some lawyers include unnecessary procedural details that have no bearing on the appeal.  If you have any comments on this proposal, please email them to Steven Finell, Chair, Council of Appellate Lawyers Rules Committee. You can reach him at Finell [at]

Hat tip to Susan Hanley Duncan, Associate Professor of Law at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law of the University of Louisville


January 31, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jessup Problem Authors Sought for 2012

ILSA The International Law Students Association is now seeking proposals for the 2012 Compromis from prospective authors. The ILSA Board of Directors will consider all proposals and decide the winning submission at the end of March. Proposals should contain four principal legal issues based on realistic, cutting-edge questions of international law, as well as a one-page outline of the sub-issues raised. Proposals are due to Will Patterson at by March 1, 2011. For more information about submitting a 2012 Compromis proposal and authorial responsibilities, please click here.


January 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

job opening in Indiana

Another law school in the Midwest, Valparaiso, is also looking for a full-time legal writing professor.  This job could either have a renewable contract or be tenure track, depending on an applicant’s experience and credentials.

If you have questions about the legal writing program, contact Professor Ruth Vance at (219) 465-7862 or  

If you are interested in the position, contact the Chair of the Appointments Committee, Professor Bernard Trujillo, at Valparaiso University School of Law, 656 Greenwich Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383, or JoEllen Lind, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at (219) 465-7861,

1.  The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years or a tenure track appointment is also possible. Valparaiso’s legal writing faculty is currently made up of tenured, tenure-track, long-term contract, and visiting professors.
2. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $60,000 - $80,000. 
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41 - 50. 

hat tip:  Ruth Vance


January 30, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)