April 19, 2012
Tina Stark to receive Burton Award for legal writing education
When the Burton Awards are presented in June, expert drafting professor Tina Stark will receive the award reserved for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education. Tina is retiring from her position as Professor of the Practice of Law at Boston University School of Law. She pretty much wrote the book on teaching transactional legal writing. Kudos!
hat tip: Anne Kringel
Save the Date: 2013 Global Legal Skills Conference in Costa Rica
The eighth Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica from March 11-14, 2013. That's Spring Break for a lot of professors and law students. And it's a good time of year to visit Costa Rica even if you don't have a Spring Break!
We expect to hold the Global Legal Skills Conference twice next year -- once in Costa Rica (in March 2013) and once in northern Italy (in late May or June 2013, to be confirmed).
April 18, 2012
Hopefully, you concur.
If you disagree with the use of "hopefully" in the title sentence above, you apparently are now in the minority in the U.S. The broader acceptance of the word is reported here. Since legal writing tends to lag popular writing, most legal writing professors should be safe in continuing to mark this use of "hopefully" as inappropriate for the intended audience.
hat tip: Ben Oppipari
Lurene Contento is the Winner of the 2012 Hecht Award
The winner of the 2012 Hecht Memorial Award is Professor Lurene Contento, Director of the Writing Resource Center at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She was selected for her article, “Freeing Students to Write More Effectively -– Taking the Fear Out of Plagiarism.”
Lurene will receive her award at the 15th Biennial Conference of The Legal Writing Institute at the Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert, California.
The Hecht Award is names for Deborah Hecht, who served as the Director of the Legal Writing Center at Touro University School of Law for eight years. During that time, she worked to develop Touro’s Legal Resources Center, including developing a website. She was also active in the Legal Writing Institute and in its smaller legal writing advisors group, writing articles for the LWI Newsletter (The Second Draft) for the advisors’ page “From the Desk of the Writing Specialist.” Deborah died on November 4, 2005. To honor her memory and her contributions to the legal writing profession, the legal writing advisors created the Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award. The award is given every two years to the best “From the Desk of the Legal Writing Specialist” column published in The Second Draft since the last time the award was given.
Hat tip to Ken Chestek, and congratulations to Lurene Contento.
April 17, 2012
New Thoughts on the Comma
(illustration credit: Peter Arkle)
Professor Ben Yagoda has a great piece on commas in the NY Times. The article, Fanfare for the
Comma Man, discusses current student comma trends and how those trends may one day become standard punctuation. Some highlights:
As a professor at the University of Delaware, I read a lot of writing by college students, and in it a strong recent trend is reversion to comma-by-sound. I attribute this not so much to students’ love of the Constitution and the classics but to the fact that they don’t read much edited prose (as opposed to Facebook status updates, tweets and the like). Two things that you really need to read a lot to understand are punctuation and spelling. (Not coincidentally, spelling is the other contemporary writing disaster.)
As far as comma use goes, my students play it by ear. I see this most dramatically in sentences that start with conjunctions like “And,” “But” and “So.” (Your junior high school English teacher may have told you never to start a sentence with a conjunction. To the extent that was once true, it isn’t anymore.)
This brings up a key question: Who decides when and how punctuation rules change? The short answer is, no one. The longer answer is that presumably and eventually, the editors of “The Associated Press Stylebook” and “The Chicago Manual of Style,” and the worthies who decide such matters for The New York Times, the Modern Language Association and a few other enterprises reach a consensus on these matters, and their decisions filter down to the rest of us.
April 16, 2012
Stinson wins award!
Judy Stinson may now be the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Arizona State's law school, but we knew her when she was still mostly a legal writing professor. Now she's won ASU's 2012 Outstanding Faculty Member Award. Congratluations!
hat tip: Tamara Herrera
April 15, 2012
ALWD election results
President-elect: Kathleen Vinson
new members of the Board of Directors: Teri McMurtry-Chubb, Mary-Beth Moylan, Richard Neumann, Terry Pollman
Congratulations all around!
hat tip: Diane Dimond