Thursday, October 4, 2012

Improving student writing by teaching conjunctions

AtlanticAn article in the October 2012 Atlantic Magazine contains both bad news and good news. The bad news is that author Peg Tyre confirms what some of us suspected: many K-12 schools are not teaching grammar, sentence structure, and lucid writing. The good news is that one high school turned around its students’ performance after discovering a weakness of poor student writers: they did not know how to use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. Once its teachers focused on expository writing skills, including the appropriate use of conjunctions, the students’ performance improved dramatically.

This may prompt some of us to redouble our attention to connectors in legal writing.

Hat tip: Anne Kringel


October 4, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Undergraduates want more handholding

A college writing instructor recently commented that undergraduates want more handholding these days. In the September 21 Chronicle of Higher Education, Lynda Lambert wrote that she has seen a noticeable change over her seventeen years of teaching. Students, she said, now believe faculty members should be “essentially giving them the answers to the questions we pose.” Students “expect assignments with finite parameters, clear grading paths, and a checklist of things they can tick off to get an A.” But, she wrote, giving students a map “does not teach them how to drive.” Instead, they should be challenged to engage in analysis. That point is particularly relevant in the law school setting.  


October 3, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bluebook for iPad

For everyone who is addicted to iPad or iPhone and uses The Bluebook, rejoice.  The Bluebook is now available for both devices via Rulebook, an app dedicated to legal rules.  One of the best things about iPad is that it allows you to carry a library of materials in one tablet.  This app means one less book to carry when I travel. 

While I still have an affinity for the paper version, not having to carry it around makes the electronic version worth it.  Also, the same app makes The Bluebook available on your iPhone for a quick citation answer anywhere.  Downside:  The iPad Bluebook costs around $40 bucks (the same price as the print version).


October 2, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Help for misplaced and dangling modifiers

Are your students writing misplaced and dangling modifiers? Phillip Sparks of Northern Kentucky Sparkes University’s Chase College of Law has written a helpful article on the topic in the September 2012 Kentucky Bench and Bar Magazine. You might want to refer your students there for a lucid explanation and examples.  


October 1, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DSC_2556Elon University School of Law invites applications for a full-time faculty appointment to join its growing Legal Method & Communication (LMC) program. The successful candidate will teach one section of the 1L course every year, and an additional course selected in consultation with the Dean on the basis of the professor's interest and background and the needs of the law school. 

Applicants must have a J.D. from an accredited law school, a strong academic record, and excellent legal research and writing skills. A minimum of three to five years practice experience and recent experience teaching legal writing are strongly preferred. The school seeks applicants who are committed to legal writing teaching, and willing to work collaboratively with a successful team of four full-time and two part-time professors to continue to build the curriculum.

Submit your application to Professor Peter T. Hoffman, Chair, Faculty Recruiting Committee, Elon University School of Law, 201 North Greene Street, Greensboro, N.C.  27401 or Include a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. Some preliminary interviews will be scheduled at the AALS faculty recruiting conference in October, but applications from qualified candidates will be considered until October 31, 2012, or until the position is filled. 

1.   The position advertised:
       X    a.  is a tenure-track position.
     X    b.  may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
Nature of the appointment will depend upon the background and experience of the successful candidate, and on the resources available for hiring this year. Two members of the current LMC faculty are on the tenure-track; policies and procedures for 405(c) contracts are being developed.  

2.   The professor hired  will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
Voting rights on some personnel matters may depend on the nature of the appointment.

3.   The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $70,000 - $110,000.

4.   The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 24 - 41+ (if second course is not a writing-intensive course).
Approximately 25-36 in two sections of the 1L course, or approximately 12-17 students in one section of the 1L course, plus a variable number of students in a second course. 


October 1, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

call for proposals for Rocky Mountain conference

Clear Law-School-8.CUphotoThe next Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference will be held on March 22 and 23, 2013, at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, Colorado. The Program Committee is inviting proposals for conference presentations. Although presentations may be on any subject of interest to those teaching legal writing and research, past conference attendees have indicated that they particularly appreciated presentations on teaching techniques, including teaching tools that can be implemented in the classroom. 

You may submit a proposal for a 25-minute presentation or for a 50-minute panel presentation (for two or preferably more presenters). The deadline for proposals is Thursday, November 8, 2012. To submit a presentation proposal, please send the following information to both Andrew Carter and Susie Salmon:

1) Contact information for all of your co-presenters,
2) the title of your presentation, 
3) a one-paragraph description of the presentation,
4) the time needed for your presentation (25 minutes or 50 minutes), and
5) your technology needs for the presentation.

For more information about the conference, including driving directions, special hotel rates, and things to do in and around Boulder, visit the conference website, or contact conference site co-chairs Derek Kiernan-Johnson or Natalie Mack.

Registration is free, but you will need to register so the school has an accurate head count for food, beverages, and space. The Program Committee will make decisions on proposals no later than December to provide enough time for presenters to make travel plans.

hat tip: Susie Salmon


September 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)