February 18, 2011
Pointers about professionalism in brief writing
An appellate judge’s recent bar journal article, Ethics and Professionalism on Appeal, provides some timely pointers for students working on appellate briefs. Judge Peter D. Webster of Florida’s Court of Appeal stresses lawyers’ duty to disclose controlling adverse authority. He also reminds lawyers to treat others in the process with civility. This includes the lower tribunal, whose ruling should be discussed with courtesy and respect.
February 16, 2011
Tips for a brief's table of contents: how to outline
In recent years, I’ve found that some students don’t understand how to outline. For example, they may not realize that subsection “A” under “I” should develop the idea in “I.” Of course, this presents a problem when they start drafting their point headings and tables of contents for their briefs. So, in addition to spending some class time on outlining, I refer students to Purdue’s Online Writing Lab, which has a good explanation of outlining.
February 15, 2011
U.S. News Says it May Start Numbering Schools in its Third Tier
It is everyone's favorite subject to hate -- but why do U.S. law schools give so much power to A MAGAZINE??? As much as people complain about law school rankings, the only remedy for them is . . . more rankings. Have other magazines (Time, Newsweek, etc.) come up with law school ranking systems and that will dilute the power of U.S. News and World Report.
But in the meantime, U.S. News announced that it is thinking of changing its "third tier" schools to a format that would number each of the schools in that list. Click here to read more about that.
February 14, 2011
A Strange Five-Year Anniversary
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last asked a question during oral argument on February 22, 2006, during a death penalty case. The Sunday New York Times for February 13, 2011 notes that, according to political science professor Timothy Johnson from the University of Minnesota, in the past 40 years no other justice has gone an entire term (and much less five terms) without speaking at least once during oral arguments.
Suggestions for writing issue statements
In a new article titled Issue Statements--different kinds for different documents, Professors Wayne Schiess and Elana Einhorn of the University of Texas note that issue statements can take a variety of forms and conclude that no single form suits all kinds of legal writing. They offer specific suggestions for different types of documents and recommend that "lawyers should not hamstring themselves by trying to shoehorn an issue statement into a form that is not right for the document and its purpose.”
Librarians from several Illinois law schools (Chicago-Kent, The John Marshall Law School, Loyola, and Northwestern) have created a new website for Illinois law students. It's called Lincoln Lawgs and you can click here to have a look at it.
The website organizers say that the website is designed to answer common questions that law students will encounter in real life. It also has meeting spaces (cabins) for students to use for chat rooms. There are news feeds from various blogs of interest to Illinois law students as well.