Saturday, January 28, 2012

ever been called the "grammar cop"?

This cartoon is joining the collection on my office door.

hat tip: Chris Wren



January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

legal writing opening in Arkansas


PLEASE NOTE: We've been informed that U. Arkansas received a good response to this announcement and is no longer accepting applications.

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, has an opening for a visitor to teach in the LRW program for the 2012-13 academic year. The position consists of teaching a total of 32 to 35 first year students divided into two sections of 16 to18 students each. The program teaches predictive writing in the fall and persuasive writing in the spring semesters.

Telephone interviews are being set up over the next week or two. If you are interested in the position or would like further information, you should contact Ann Killenbeck at

A search will begin next fall to fill the position with a full-time tenure-track professor.

position type: visitor for 2012-13 academic year
faculty vote: no, not as a visitor
salary: negotiable
students per semester: maximum of 40, will be closer to 32-35

submission deadline: rolling; will remain open until filled.

hat tip: Ann M. Killenbeck


January 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Issue of the LWI Second Draft Now Available

LWIA new issue of The Second Draft, the flagship newsletter of the Legal Writing Institute, is now available.  Click here to download a copy.


January 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

more LRW pics from AALS

AALS logoWe previously posted links to pictures of LRW events at the AALS annual meeting, which took place earlier this month. Now, thanks to Prof. Suzanne Rowe at U. Oregon, here's another link to additional photos of our legal writing colleagues at the Law Library of Congress and at the Blackwell Reception.


January 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the dangers of cutting and pasting

The ABAJournal reports on a malpractice suit over claimed cut-and-paste work done on patent applications.  The client claims that patent application approval was delayed due to the inclusion of unrelated material from another client's filings.

Even if the material were boilerplate, as the law firm claims, this situation is a good real-life lesson for our students, who grapple with originality and ownership of the entire contents of their documents.  Taking refuge in the tried-and-true by cut-and-paste still requires care.


January 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New blog covers circuit splits

A blog covering splits in the federal circuits was recently started by Texas lawyer Nicholas J. WagonerCircuit Splits will be a helpful resource for professors seeking topics for research and writing assignments.

hat tip: Jim Dimitri


January 24, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Curtail wordiness, judge says

        Recently, a federal judge in Indiana rebuked a lawyer for submitting verbose and irrelevant documents. On a summary judgment motion, instead of being helpful, the lawyer’s “Statement of Material Facts in Dispute” only complicated the court's job:

Rather than identifying potential factual disputes in a concise fashion, Plaintiff’s counsel unfurled an 18-page narrative that is replete with argument and a 154-page surreply that is no better as it contains a great deal of immaterial information.  

       The lawyer’s rambling documents largely failed to persuade the court. Most of his client’s claims were dismissed. Williams v. Lovchik.


January 23, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

E-Casebooks On The Horizon?

In a move that represents a double play for the future of legal education, or at least its textbooks, Apple announced its plans to enter the e-textbook market.  Apple plans to release several high school textbooks in electronic form.  Students will be able to read these textbooks on an iPad after they present a redemption code purchased by their high schools from Apple.  Apple being a player in the textbook market is big news for all levels of education. 

But an earnest transition to e-textbooks in the law school market could create momentum that reshapes the more general legal text market.  If students are trained to read legal writing solely in electronic form, the transition to a paperless legal text environment will accelerate.  Some might argue that the transition to electronic text has already effectively occurred with services like Westlaw and Lexis dominating the legal research market and traditional paper libraries, in both firms and counties, being disassembled.  The current reality, however, is one where students read paper casebooks. 

The paper casebook is the last real bridge between the digital age student and reading in traditional print.  Eliminating this link could make it more difficult to get students to browse traditional print secondary sources that are currently, in my opinion, superior in paper form.  And some writers have seriously questioned the wisdom of putting the law book market in the hands of Apple, a company that is notoriously closed and proprietary.  Near the time of the advent of the iPad, Greg Lambert observed:

The biggest problem with legal publishers relying on the iPad as their platform for electronic publishing is that they are really locking themselves into a partnership with a company that is extremely proprietary --closed systems vs. open.

Whichever company ultimately ends up building the device that replaces the classic casebook, the change is coming, and it will redefine the way the next generation of law students consumes legal content.


January 22, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

non-fiction writing competition for doctors & lawyers

SEAK, Inc. is sponsoring the 2012 National Fiction Writing Competition for Physicians and Lawyers.   The purpose of the competition is to encourage physicians and lawyers to become more interested in and adept at writing fiction.

FORMAT: A short story or novel excerpt, fiction, typed, not exceeding 2,500 words.

DEADLINE: August 1, 2012

JUDGING: The submissions will be judged on originality, quality of writing, and the potential of the author.

SEAK, Inc. — Fiction Writing Competition
ATTN: Steven Babitsky
P.O. Box 729
Falmouth, MA 02541

1. The competition is open to any licensed physician or attorney in the United States and its territories.
2. The physician or attorney’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address should be contained in the submission.
3. Only one entry should be submitted by each physician or attorney.

PRIZES: Prize winners will be notified by email. A press release announcing your award will be sent to New York Literary Agents.


JUDGING: The judging will be done by a panel of judges at SEAK, Inc. No employees or relatives of employees of SEAK, Inc. are eligible to enter the competition. The decision of the judges is final and not appealable.

COPYRIGHT: All authors will maintain the original copyright to their materials.


January 22, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)