Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Capital Area Legal Writing Conference was a great success!

IMG_0208On March 9 and 10, Georgetown Law School hosted a conference filled with fascinating talks. I found myself taking pages of notes so I could remember the speakers’ remarks in detail. Kudos to Kristin Tiscione, pictured here, who chaired the flawlessly organized event, and to the other Georgetown professors who helped put it together. They even ordered beautiful spring weather and flowers!


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March 10, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 9, 2012

ALWD-LWI scholarship deadline March 15!

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If you've been thinking of applying for an ALWD summer scholarship grant for your latest writing project, keep in mind that the deadline is fast approaching. Get the details you need to apply here.

In a nutshell, ALWD, LWI, and LexisNexis are supporting the 2012 Legal Writing Scholarship Grants for teachers of legal research and writing. Applications are due by 5 p.m. East Coast time on March 15, 2012. If you have an article idea, are working on an article, are thinking of expanding a shorter piece, or would like to turn a presentation or conference proposal into an article - this is a good opportunity to apply for funding for your writing process. If you saw a good presentation at a regional or national conference, please encourage the presenter to apply.

hat tip: Sarah Ricks


March 9, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Global Legal Skills Conference in Costa Rica

Pura Vida!  Flag-GlobeGran Hotel Costa RicaThe seventh Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from Monday, March 12 to Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Lawyers and law professors from around the world will gather to discuss the latest ideas in legal skills education, Legal English, Legal Spanish, continuing legal education, skills for mediation and arbitration, contract drafting, publishing, and other topics.  Confirmed participants include presenters from Costa Rica, Mexico, the United States, Japan, Russia, Singapore, and other countries.  Participants include the leading experts on international skills education. 

In addition to the sessions on legal skills, other essions will include discussions of international legal research, international courts and tribunals, and sessions for Costa Rican law students about international moot court competitions and on how to pursue an LL.M. degree in the United States.

Costa-rica-national-theaterOn Monday and Wednesday the conference sessions will be held at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. 

On Tuesday morning, there is a walking tour of San Jose.

On Tuesday afternoon the conference sessions will begin at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law.  One track of programs at the University of Costa Rica will be held in Spanish.

Click here for the Global Legal Skills website.  There is information there about the conference program, conference hotels, registration, and tips on travel to Costa Rica.  

Even if you're not able to attend this upcoming GLS conference, you can still visit the website to join the international community interested in Legal English and other aspects of global legal skills education. 



March 7, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Good example of a bad argument

Today in class we listened to a quintessentially bad oral argument. The argument in U.S. v. Johnson has been mentioned on this blog before, but it's worth another mention for newer professors. The short real-life argument before the Seventh Circuit provides some comic relief (it's so bad!) while illustrating serious points about oral argument. Among his other missteps, defense lawyer Scacchetti made an argument that had recently been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in Illinois v. Caballes. The Assistant U.S. Attorney's argument that follows is also a good illustration--of knowing when to sit down. Scacchetti, by the way, was later disciplined by the Ohio Supreme Court for a different offense. The opinion in U.S. v. Johnson can be found at 123 Fed. Appx. 240 (2005).


March 7, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

getting yourself to get started writing already

Images For lots of tips on getting yourself to get started writing--and to keep on writing--click here. Be sure to read the comments, too. And share liberally with your students.

hat tip: Sarah Ricks




March 6, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Law Reviews Continue Decline in Subscribers

Ross Davies recently published an annual review of law review circulation numbers.  As expected, paid subscriber numbers continued to decline:

In 2011, for the first time since the U.S. Postal Service began requiring law reviews to track and report their circulation numbers, no major law review had more than 2,000 paying subscribers. The Harvard Law Review remains the top journal, but its paid circulation has declined from more than 10,000 during much of the 1960s and ’70s to about 5,000 in the 1990s to 1,896 last year.

With Westlaw, Lexis, and Hein Online subscriptions accounting for most lawyers’ access to law reviews, are paid subscriptions a relevant metric?  They are probably becoming less so with the advent of free download services like SSRN.  In any event, it is interesting to consider that even the most popular law reviews are sent to less than 2000 people.


March 5, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

scholars' forum deadline today

Legalwriting-2This is a last minute reminder that the deadline is TODAY, March 5, 2012, to apply to participate in the ALWD Scholars' Forum being held in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference. The Forum will take place on Sunday, March 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in sunny Tempe, Arizona.

If you are a professor who has legal-writing scholarship in the works – from idea stage to full-blown article - this forum is for you. The Forum will give you an opportunity to present your scholarship idea in a supportive environment. Non-tenured legal writing faculty are especially encouraged to apply, but anyone with an idea in need of development is welcome. Although scholarship ideas should relate to topics in our field, our field is wide-ranging.

At the forum, you will be put in a small group with roughly similar topics. An experienced legal scholar will lead each group. You will present your topic and receive feedback from the experienced scholars and the others in the group. The experienced scholars will be:  Linda Berger, Professor of Law, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV, and Suzanne Rowe, James L. and Ilene R. Hershner Professor, University of Oregon School of Law. 

There is no fee to participate, but enrollment is limited to 12 participants. To participate in the Rocky Mountain ALWD Scholars’ Forum, e-mail Professor Carrie Sperling at, including "ALWD Scholars’ Forum" in your subject line and a one paragraph description of your work in progress or scholarship idea in the message itself.

hat tip: Carrie Sperling


March 5, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Unethical writing becomes an obstacle to bar admission

As the ABA Journal recently reported, Stephen Glass “fabricated dozens of stories” while he worked as a journalist before attending law school. After he graduated, he applied for admission to the California Bar—but he admitted to only some of the made-up articles.  Having thus created an unsavory impression of his character, Glass proceeded to profit from a book about his transgressions. The California Committee of Bar Examiners denied his application on moral character grounds, and the matter is now before the California Supreme Court. The case provides a cautionary tale for students who are tempted to be less than professional in their written work.


March 5, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)