Saturday, July 7, 2012
The WAC requirement at Southern Illinois University's law school has resulted in a co-ordinated effort to teach written legal analysis throughout the 1L curriculum. Suzanne Schmitz and Alice Noble-Allgire have published an article describing this approach, in Reinvigorating the 1L Curriculum: Sequenced "Writing across the Curriculum" Assignments as the Foundation for Producing Practice-Ready Law Graduates, 36 S. Ill. U. L.J. 287 (2012), available here.
Friday, July 6, 2012
It is always a pleasure to announce a legal writing professor's receipt of tenure. This spring Drexel granted tenure to long-time legal writing professor, Emily Zimmerman. She previously taught at Villanova, then joined the inaugural faculty at Drexel's law school in 2006. Congratulations, Emily!
For the first series of concurrent sessions, I attended a presentation by Professors Jamie Kleppetsch and Mary Nagel of The John Marshall Law School and Hillary Burgess of Charlotte School of Law.
Professors Kleppetsch and Nagel discussed how to enhance students' learning in Civil Procedure by assigning a fact pattern that students work through during the semester, prosecuting or defending a civil lawsuit and filing pleading and motions, arguing before a "court," and conferencing with opposing counsel--to get a feel for how civil procedure works in real litigation life.
Professor Burgess discussed her application of Bloom's Taxonomy to legal learning, focusing on the conflict between the levels we teach at (1-2-3) and the levels we typically test at (4-5-6). She then offered examples of guided exercises to help students to move up the learning ladder.
Yesterday's Atlantic foresees the end of U.S. law reviews in print. It's not a new prediction, but it's aimed at a wider audience than the legal academy this time. And the stats on tiny print circulations are quite revealing. You can read it here.
hat tip: Doug Lind
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Those who like to use films as examples in class will enjoy a new book, Advocacy to Zealousness: Learning
Lawyering Skills from Classic Films, by Creighton’s Kelly Lynn Anders. Anders organizes twenty-six films according to an alphabetical list of the lawyering traits. She chose to restrict her choices to films made before the 1968 movie rating system was adopted, because later films may not be suitable for student audiences. Her list of classic films—all available on DVD—contains plot summaries and interesting nuggets of information about the films.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Perhaps the most unsung heros in the legal writing field are the writing specialists, typically English PhD's hired by law schools to work with law students on their basic writing skills and processess. So it is fitting to have an award that allows us a moment to stop and appreciate all that the writing specialists do for our field.
This summer, the winner of the 2012 Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award, given by the Legal Writing Institute, is Lurene Contento’s article, Freeing Students to Write More Effectively – Taking the Fear Out of Plagiarism. This award is given every two years to the best From the Desk of the Legal Writing Specialist column published in The Second Draft. Lurene is the Director of the Writing Resource Center at John Marshall in Chicago.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Fastcase is bringing advance sheets into the 21st century in a new, free e-book format. This is great news for those of us who miss getting the softbound books delivered to our firm or law school offices. From the Fastcase website:
The term “advance sheet” has been used for more than a hundred years to describe the paperback drafts mailed to lawyers and libraries before the printing of paper books. Subscriptions to the advance sheets alone cost upwards of $850 per year, for each of nine or ten series of reporters – the final books cost even more. Lawyers in years past would thumb through advance sheets from their jurisdiction, looking for decisions of interest in their field.
Fastcase has replaced the heavy, voluminous, redundant caselaw reporter with modern eBooks that are slim, light, and beautiful. Fastcase’s Advance Sheets are more comprehensive than traditional paper tomes, because they include all decided cases – even “unpublished” opinions that won’t be printed in the books (but which are precedential in many courts, and often contain persuasive authority).
The advance sheets are available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad, along with other e-book compatible readers.
It’s hard not to notice that legal writing professors receive a lot of awards:
Jason Cohen was honored by the Rutgers-Camden graduating law students, who chose him to read their names as they graduated this spring.
In light of the various presentations at the LWI Conference concerning how to prepare students for practice, and whether and how LRW professors should teach our students grammar, the ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter has provided some interesting commentary. See the article here.
According to the article, it seems that legal employers, among others, are becoming “sticklers” with regard to proper grammar, usage and punctuation. Just some food for thought as we begin to plan and update our syllabi for the upcoming semester.