Saturday, July 13, 2013

Is the legal memo alive and well?

Kirsten Davis at Stetson has written a timely article as legal writing professors start preparing syllabi and assignments for the fall semester: "'The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated': Reading and Writing Objective Legal Memoranda in a Mobile Computing Age" .

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Here is the abstract:
"Is there any reason for lawyers to write legal memoranda, particularly when some lawyers report that they no longer value the 'traditional' legal memo? Does the legal memorandum – a common first writing project for law students – have any application whatsoever beyond the first year of law school? Does the usefulness of the memo decrease when it is read on a mobile device?

"This article takes issue with the idea that the 'traditional' legal memorandum is dead. It challenges lawyers, law faculty, and law students to think more deeply about the purposes of the legal memo, its role in modern legal practice, and its readability in a mobile computing world. And it offers a view of the legal memo that draws upon not only legal practice traditions but also upon the rules of ethics, rhetorical theory, cognitive science, and on-screen readability studies."

July 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The meaning of "Conclusory"

Kochan_DWhen I comment on student papers, I often use the word conclusory to refer to an unsupported conclusion. But I have noted that Microsoft Word’s spell checker does not recognize the word.

Now Professor Donald J. Kochan has written an analysis of conclusory, focusing on its history and use.  He notes that many dictionaries do not include the word and that its definition is elusive. After presenting extensive data about courts’ use of the word, especially concerning pleading standards in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, Kochan concludes that conclusory has become “even more difficult to define than ever.”

I'll keep using it, though. I'll just be sure to define it.


July 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona Italy (May 21-23, 2014)

Save the dates!  The next Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in Italy at the University of Verona Faculty of Law.  The conference will begin with an opening reception on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 and continue with two full days of programs on May 22 and 23, 2014.

This will be the ninth time that the Global Legal Skills Conference is being held, and the first time in Europe.  Previous conferences were held in Chicago, Washington DC, San Jose Costa Rica, and Monterrey Mexico.  The conference began at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Persons traveling to Verona can fly directly into Verona (VRN) or to other airports in Milan or Venice.  Train transportation to Verona is easy.  Post-conference activities are being planned for Venice and Vicenza.

Mark E. Wojcik

July 9, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Some venerable advice about writing to courts

The Green Bag's spring 2013 issue contains some old but still valid advice about writing to courts. In an addressPaxson delivered in 1888, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice (and later Chief Justice) Edward M. Paxson advised lawyers, "As you grow older . . . you will learn that a clear, compact argument is the greatest aid to a Court in disposing of a case."


July 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)