Saturday, December 15, 2012

re-drafting for fun & profit

ImagesProfessor Mark Cooney has written an amusing little piece in the November 2012 edition of the Michigan Bar Journal. Here's how he summarizes "Emergency!":

"A mild-mannered law-firm associate transforms into Editor Man and redrafts a dense statutory provision that has literally floored a colleague. (A short piece offering strategies for the legal drafter.)"



December 15, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 14, 2012

legal writing resources for international students

GabeGoodwin_asp05Click here to see Gabrielle Goodwin's postings of useful writing resources for international (i.e., non-U.S. native) J.D. and LLM students. A lot of her material may be equally helpful for anyone working on better legal writing.




December 14, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Twenty-five guidelines for persuading through storytelling

Van PattenStorytelling for Lawyers, a recent article by Jonathan K. Van Patten of South Dakota, stresses the value of telling a coherent story in order to persuade. “Storytelling is primal,” Van Patten argues. “We all grew up with stories.” In a legal argument, he says, persuasion should be “built from the bottom up. People should not be told what to think. They will reach the conclusion on their own and will hold on to it more firmly if they can relate it to their own life story.” The article offers twenty-five guidelines for effective storytelling. Among them are that a story is not just a collection of facts, but must have a theme, and that the theme is usually more effective if it is not stated explicitly. Read the article at 57 S.D. L. Rev. 239 (2012).


December 14, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

legal writing resolutions

ImagesDoes the fact that the Mayan calendar ends -- for all time -- a week from now give you pause? You might follow the advice here to appease the cosmic powers.

hat tip: Dean Cindy Fountaine



December 13, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS section newsletter

Professor Kim Holst has provided the Fall 2012 edition of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Newsletter for your reading enjoyment!


It’s also available on the AALS Section community site at (You need to be logged into to access the community site). 

hat tip:  Kimberly Y.W. Holst, Associate Clinical Professor, Sandra Day O’College of Law


December 13, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Legal-Writing Carol

'Tis the season for a A Legal-Writing Carol.  Mark Cooney at Cooley recently republished his sure-to-be-classic legal-writing take on Dickens' holiday favorite in the Michigan Bar Journal.  It turns out Ebenezer is haunted by ghosts that legal writing professors are sure to be familiar with:


“Who . . . what are you? Why do you dis- turb my supper this way?”

“Do you not recognize me, Ebenezer? Look. Whom do you see?”

Scribe peered more carefully into the ghostly glow and made out a familiar face, the face of his long-dead law partner, Jacob Morley. The ghost’s eyes were vacant, its ex- pression blank. Yet its torment was evident. The ghost was clenched in chains—an elab- orate network of links that bound it in eter- nal struggle. As Scribe looked closer still, he saw that the chains were made of words: save as hereinbefore otherwise stipulated... as duly executed and attested by the party of the first part...and by these presents does unconditionally grant, bargain, and sell unto the party of the second part, to have and to hold, the said chattels, goods, and ob­ jects hereof . . . 

This is a great read to send to students, or your friends in the practicing bar, over the holiday.

Earlier posts:

Ebenezer Scribe Learns a Lesson




December 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Prof Blog Makes the ABA Blawg 100! And You Can Vote for Your Favorite Legal Writing Blog!

We wanted to remind you that the Legal Writing Prof Blog has been selected to the 2012 ABA Journal Blawg 100, recognizing the top 100 blogs in the legal profession in the ABA Journal's inaugural Blog Hall of Fame.  We thank all of our readers for your support during the year.

And on that note, we want to remind you that we need your vote!  The ABA is now polling readers to recognize the top blog in each category.  Please click here to vote for us as the best Legal Research/Writing Blog of 2012.  You'll find us in the Legal Research/Writing group of blogs.  Voting is open until December 21, 2012.

We would like to recognize our editorial team for their contributions to the Legal Writing Prof Blog:


Mark E. Wojcik, Professor of Law, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago)

Sue Liemer, Professor of Law and Director of Lawyering Skills, Southern Illinois University School of Law

Nancy Soonpaa, Professor of Law and Director of Legal Practice, Texas Tech University School of Law

Judith Fischer, Associate Professor of Law, University of Louisville School of Law

Dustin Benham, Assistant Professor of Legal Practice and Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Texas Tech University School of Law

Contributing Editors:

Lori D. Johnson, Legal Writing Professor, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Kristen E. Murray, Associate Professor of Law, Beasley School of Law, Temple University

Thank you, everyone, for your support.  (Please go vote for us if you haven't already!)

(dbb and mew)

December 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Legal Skills Conference in Costa Rica

Here's a reminder that the next Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica, from March 11-13, 2013.  


December 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ralph Brill's presentation about the history of legal writing

Ralph Brill's recent talk at Willamette about the history of LRW is available on youtube: click here to view it. Ralph is pictured below with Willamette workshop participants Karin MIka, Sam Jacobson, and Professor Emerita Mary Lawrence (seated).

                                               Workshop image

hat tip: Karin Mika


December 11, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)