February 17, 2012
Are law review articles worthwhile?
An article in the February ABA Journal concludes that law review articles do have value. Its author, Richard Brust, reiterates Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent criticism that law review articles are unhelpful. But then Brust cites a recent study by Professors Lee Petherbridge of Loyola of Los Angeles and David Schwartz of Chicago-Kent, which showed that 32.21% of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the years 1929-2009 cited legal scholarship. Brust concludes that “legal scholarship is more useful than many judges suspect.”
February 16, 2012
Shud We Do Away With Propur Spellin?
Anne Trubek has an interesting article in Wired Magazine, Proper Spelling? Its Tyme to Let Luce. Trubek defends the claim that proper spelling is overvalued:
English spelling is a terrible mess anyway, full of arbitrary contrivances and exceptions that outnumber rules. Why receipt but deceit? Water but daughter? Daughter but laughter? What is the logic behind the ough in through, dough, and cough? Instead of trying to get the letters right with imperfect tools, it would be far better to loosen our idea of correct spelling.
The piece has invoked the ire of some in the grammar-nerd community. Grammar Girl responds that standard spelling has its benefits:
Sure, English spelling is often confusing and seems illogical, but proper spelling serves many good purposes.
Clarity. As Trubek conceded in her article, proper spelling "enables readers to understand writing, to aid communication and ensure clarity," and those seem like awfully good reasons for keeping it to me.
Understandable Contracts. ... accepting loose spelling could be a nightmare in legal contexts, where clear and precise meanings are essential. We should definitely stick to standard spelling for laws and contracts.
I could not agree with you more, Grammar Girl. Contractual ambiguity is enough of an ongoing legal issue without unnecessarily multiplying spellings of the same term. And I'm not sure I see the downside of proper spelling. Sure we commit time to learning to spell as children and adults, and we spend time proofreading for spelling errors. But the cost of this time does not exceed the confusion and headaches that would attend a more flexible system. I already have a hard enough time understanding text messages. Let me at least keep formal writing as one forum free of indignities like L8R and B4.
February 15, 2012
Global Legal Skills Conference
Here is an information packet for persons attending the seventh Global Legal Skills Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica. Download GLS-VII Info Sheet (Version 2.0)
The conference is being held at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica and at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law. This is the seventh time that the conference is being held and the first time in Costa Rica.
Here is also a link to the conference website. That page also has a link to the conference registration page.
February 14, 2012
Congratulations Professor DeArmond!
Elizabeth DeArmond has been teaching legal writing at Chicago-Kent since 2003. Now she has been promoted to Professor of Legal Writing and Research (from Associate Professor of Legal Writing and Research), effective July 1, 2012. She also teaches Privacy Law and does scholarship on Consumer Protection Law. Kudos!
hat tip: Mary Rose Strubbe
February 13, 2012
Doonesbury offers grading help
The February 12 Doonesbury comic strip provides a helpful response to students who think they should receive higher grades. The strip has a professor explaining some low grades this way: "The real world demands results. It doesn't much care whether you hold yourself in high regard. That era is over."
teaching legal writing in the Windy City
Northwestern University School of Law invites applications for the position of Clinical Assistant Professor of Law in its Communication and Legal Reasoning (CLR) Program. The faculty member would be hired to teach Communication and Legal Reasoning, the first-year JD legal analysis, research, and writing course. In addition, the faculty member might, in the future, teach Common Law Reasoning, a required legal research and writing course for LLM students. In addition, CLR faculty from time to time serve on Law School and University committees. The CLR faculty is encouraged to produce scholarly work, and to attend and present scholarly work at regional and national conferences.
Candidates should have excellent academic records, outstanding writing and editing skills, and experiences that demonstrate their potential for excellence in classroom teaching. A successful applicant must have a JD degree and strong post law school practical experience as an attorney or judicial clerk, preferably at least three years’ legal practice experience, as well as prior teaching experience.
The search committee will consider applications through March 5. Applicants should direct a cover letter, resume, and five page legal writing sample to the attention of the search committee chair, Grace Dodier, and the interim director of the CLR Program, Margaret Curtiss Hannon. Please submit all materials via email to Program Assistant Hannah Mae Marlin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. The position advertised may lead only to successive on year contracts.
2. The professor hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $50,000 - $59,999.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research and writing professor will be 30 - 35.