Saturday, June 1, 2013

New Article Alert: Overcoming Writer's Block

Meehan Rasch (USC) and David. A. Rasch recently published an article on a too-familar topic for some law professors, Overcoming Writer's Block for Attorneys, Law Students, and Law Professors.  It's a good summer read when you're looking for something to help you put off writing.  From the abstract:

Law is a particularly writing-heavy profession. However, lawyers, law students, and law professors often struggle with initiating, sustaining, and completing legal writing projects. Even the most competent legal professionals experience periods in which the written word just does not flow freely. This article provides a guide for legal writers who are seeking to understand and resolve writing blocks, procrastination, and other common writing productivity problems. 

While much of the advice presented applies broadly, lawyers, law students, and law professors each have their own unique writing challenges. This article highlights some of the complexities of the writing process, offers an overview of common writing productivity issues, and provides a series of tools for improving legal writing productivity. Whatever kind of legal writer you are, we hope this article will help point to issues at the heart of your own writing challenges and will help you identify how best to make productive changes.


June 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 31, 2013

UMKC moves to a directorless format

The University of Missouri at Kansas City has joined the trend toward directorless legal Temm-edwriting programs. Like professors in other fields, UMKC's writing faculty, whose combined experience totals more that 60 years, will now be autonomous. The former director, Wanda Temm (pictured at right), says this change will allow them “to be even more creative and innovative” in their teaching.


May 31, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

AALS Section Newsletter AVAILABLE HERE

The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research has recently put out the Section’s Spring 2013 newsletter.  It is available here Download AALS Spring 2013 Newsletter.  The newsletter includes stories about the programs and activities at last January’s AALS Annual Meeting.  It also includes news about the promotions, publications, presentations, honors and awards received by LRW faculty during the past six to eight months.  There is also information about program changes and LRW conferences, both upcoming and recently concluded.

Many hours of hard work go into the preparation of the newsletter which continues to look better and better each year.  Many thanks go to Section Secretary and Editor of the newsletter, Jennifer Murphy Romig of Emory University School of Law for her efforts in mastering the publication skills necessary to produce such a high quality product, her improvements to the format and style and method of submitting news, and her long hours of work preparing it.   As those of us who have worked on the newsletter in the past can attest, sometimes preparing the newsletter can seem like more of a full time job than our LRW jobs.

Thanks also to Kimberly Holst, Chair-Elect, Kathleen Elliott Vinson, Immediate Past Chair, and Bob Brain, Executive Committee member for their assistance in proofreading the newsletter to make it as “error free” as possible.

Judy Rosenbaum and the leadership of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research hope you enjoy reading it and celebrating the LRW community’s accomplishments over the past year.


May 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Law Student Writing Competition Where the School Can Also Win A Thousand Bucks

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2013 College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Law Student Writing Competition.  Note to Law School Deans/Professors (extra incentive to distribute flyer/encourage entries): An additional $1,000 to the winning student’s law school scholarship fund.

TOPIC:  The scope of permissible topics is broad, i.e., any aspect of workers’ compensation law.  Students are encouraged to present:

  • a public policy issue;
  • a critique of a leading case or doctrine; or
  • a comment on a statute or the need for a statutory modification.

ELIGIBILITY:   All students currently enrolled in accredited law schools in the United States and all those recently graduated from them (graduation on or after May of 2013).


First prize - $1,500, plus $1000 to winner’s law school scholarship fund       

Second prize - $1,000.00

Third prize - $500.00

The winner’s article will also be considered for publication in the Workers’ First Watch, The Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) magazine, and the ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Section Law Journal.  The winner will also be invited (expenses paid) to the Annual College Induction Dinner to be honored during the program.

The College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers 2013 Law Student Writing Competition Rules

Articles must be original from the applicant and limited to one entry.  Articles must not presently be under consideration for any other publication or written as part of paid employment. All articles are to be submitted in the following format:

  • Submitted by email (no author name in body of article, only in cover letter) to (Please reference “Writing Competition” in the subject line.);
  • All articles are to be submitted by Jan. 15, 2014;
  • Double-spaced, on 8 ½ inch by 11 inch paper, 1 inch margins;
  • Entries should be between 10 and 20 pages in length (including  bottom of page footnotes);
  • Citations are to conform to “A Uniform System of Citation” (The Bluebook). 

If published by the College, the articles become the property of the College.  No submitted article may be published elsewhere until after announcement of the winners of the competition.  Announcement of the winners will be made at least 30 days in advance of the Annual College Induction Dinner, Spring 2014.

Include a cover letter with your entry stating your name, mailing address and phone number (both school and permanent), name of school and year of graduation.

Applicant must be currently enrolled in an accredited law school or submit entry within 60 days of graduation. 


The evaluation standards will be organization, quality of research, depth, originality of analysis, clarity of style and readability.  The College reserves the right not to award or to reject any submission. 

Hat tip to Elizabeth Theine


May 30, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scribes Annual Luncheon

Here's a reminder that the Scribes Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony will be held in San Francisco on Friday, August 9, 2013 during the annual meeting of the American Bar Association.  

Scribes is the American Society of Legal Writers.  Many law schools are institutional members of Scribes.  And many of you are individual members of Scribes.  (Perhaps you are even an individual member working for an institutional member. Bravo!)  More information about Scribes is available by clicking here.

The Scribes luncheon is one of the major events of the year for Scribes.  At this luncheon awards are presented for best briefs, articles, and books on legal subjects.  Other awards are also presented.  Past luncheons have included U.S. Supreme Court Justices and other distinguished speakers.  Attendees include many law school deans, judges, and distinguished legal writers.  It's a great event.
Mark E. Wojcik, Scribes Board Member and Scribes Treasurer


May 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Theodore Roosevelt as a model for legal writers

OseidProfessor Julie Oseid of Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas School of Law has added a new article to her continuing series about the writing of U.S. Presidents. Her abstract explains that this latest article presents Theodore Roosevelt “as a role model for the importance of zeal in persuasion. . . . His moral certainty and belief in action led him to write and speak with conviction. Finally, his love of stories inspired him to use vivid language.”


May 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 27, 2013

source of authority for today

General Order No. 11
Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic

Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868

Gen. John A. Logan

General John A. Logan
[Photo courtesy Tom Bell, Director of
Media Services & Telecommunications,
John A. Logan College,
Carterville, Illinois]

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice of neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation's gratitude, -- the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III . Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

By order of


Adjutant General


May 27, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)