Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Sure, you've advised your visual learners to create a flow chart of their legal analysis. Maybe you've analyzed a legal problem using a flow chart yourself. Now no less of an authoritative source than The Onion brings us the President's flow chart on whether to pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. Note the edits. And enjoy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
Justice Antonin Scalia recently offered some suggestions for appellate advocacy at the Appellate Judges Education Institute in New Orleans. "Be brief" was his first suggestion. His second was to be "unfailingly accurate." He explained, "I'm listening to you because you're an expert--so you must know the law and the facts." Inaccurate statements taint the whole of the lawyer's presentation and even future presentations to the Court. He also urged lawyers to "use the English language" and to avoid cliches. Opposing arguments, he dryly observed, are always "fatally flawed," never just "wounded."
I was at the conference to speak about writing issue statements.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
As students approach the final memo deadline, Jennifer Romig (Emory) had a great piece in last year's Georgia Bar Journal on legal writing checklists. She wrote the piece to a practicing audience, but some of her ideas are great for students as well. From the abstract:
Lawyers may wish for their writing to be more powerful and efficient, but not know what to change or how to implement changes. One solution that speaks to each phase of the writing process and every writing situation is this: a checklist. Actually, the solution is not just one single checklist, but the method of using checklists throughout the writing process as well as in broader conversations about effective legal writing.
Inspired by Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (2009), this column in the Georgia Bar Journal reviews the types of checklists lawyers may use to improve their writing process and their written work product. It provides short sample checklists and encourages lawyers to critically assess their own writing strengths and weaknesses and construct personalized writing checklists for better legal writing.