Thursday, December 4, 2014
The Fall 2014 newsletter of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research is now available. Its inside information about legal writing speakers and topics at the AALS Annual Meeting in January will be especially helpful to those thinking of attending the meeting. It also announces that the legal writing community will have greeters available there for those who want to connect with others. And it reminds readers not to miss the luncheon for the section award, which will go to Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School (pictured at left), and the reception for the Blackwell Award, which will go to Professor Helene Shapo of Northwestern University School of Law (pictured at right).
Download LWRR Newsletter 2014 for short articles and more news, including information about colleagues’ publications.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Place: Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Coolidge Auditorium, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.
Scholars, historians and contemporary thinkers will discuss how Magna Carta's political and legal traditions have carried into our current times at a Library of Congress symposium on Dec. 9. The symposium, "Conversations on the Enduring Legacy of the Great Charter," is being held in conjunction with the Library's exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor."
The afternoon program, "Contemporary Conversations on Magna Carta," is open to the public and starts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9, in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground level of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The symposium, organized by the Law Library of Congress, is free. Tickets are not needed.
A highlight of the program is an interview by David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, with Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Stephen G. Breyer. The interview, "American Law and the Great Charter," begins at 2:05 p.m.
The Library of Congress exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor," which runs through Jan. 19, 2015, celebrates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and illustrates the great charter's influence on laws and liberties throughout the centuries. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the 1215 Magna Carta, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England, one of only four surviving copies issued in 1215. The exhibition features 76 items drawn from the collections at the Library of Congress.
Featured Speakers for the Afternoon Program
Opening remarks by Deputy Librarian of Congress Robert Dizard Jr.
"American Law and the Great Charter"
David Rubenstein conducts an interview with Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer
"Drafting Modern Constitutions"
Participants: A.E. Dick Howard, White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs, University of Virginia School of Law; Cornelius Kerwin, president of American University; and David Fontana, Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School. Moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, president and chief executive officer, National Constitution Center
"Rule of Law in the Contemporary World: Civil Liberties and Surveillance"
Participants: Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations; Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Member, Committee on the Judiciary, and Member, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Moderated by Orin Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School
"Proportionality Under the Eighth Amendment"
Participants: Vicki Jackson, Thurgood Marshall Professorship of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School; Craig Lerner, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, George Mason University Law School. Moderated by Carrie Johnson, justice correspondent, National Public Radio
"The Enduring Value of Magna Carta"
Participants: Jonathan Jacobs, director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; William C. Hubbard, president, American Bar Association, and partner with Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP. Moderated by Roberta I. Shaffer, former Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress.
"An International Perspective"
Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee
David S. Mao, Law Librarian of Congress
The Library's exhibition "Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor" is made possible by The Federalist Society and 1st Financial Bank USA. Additional support comes from the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, BP America, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, White and Case LLP, The Burton Foundation for Legal Achievement, the Office of the General Counsel of the American University, and other donors as well as contributions received from Thomson Reuters, William S. Hein and Co., Inc., and Raytheon Company through the Friends of the Law Library. The Library also acknowledges the support and assistance provided by the British Council. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The deadline for submitting proposals for the 2015 Applied Legal Storytelling Conference is December 15, 2014. The call for proposals is on the Legal Writing Institute web site, under “Related Conferences,” or by clicking here. That pages also includes a bibliography of articles on Applied Legal Storytelling (a preview of the bibliography that will be published in Volume 12 of Legal Communication and Rhetoric: JALWD in Fall 2015).
The conference will take place from July 21-23, 2015, at Seattle University School of Law. The conference is jointly sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute, the Clinical Legal Education Association, and the Seattle University School of Law.
If you miss the deadline, you can probably come up with a good story as to why they should accept your late proposal. (I'm not sure that they'll do that, so do it properly and get your proposal in on time!).
Hat tip to Christopher Rideout.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Many legal writing professors also have an interest in teaching international law, coaching international law moot court teams (such as Jessup, Niagara, Space Law, and the Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition), and in advising law students about possible carrers in international law. So many professors will be happy to be reminded that the American Bar Association Section of International Law has published a popular book on "Careers in International Law," and that you can recommend it to students.
Mark Wojcik (one of the editors on this blog) is one of the contributing authors on the book. He's pictured here with another co-author, Jeff Golden, who is an American lawyer living and working in London, England. They each authored chapters in the book.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Burton Awards for Excellence in Legal Writing is, without a doubt, the single most glamorous evening for legal writing. That's been true for years, and next year's award ceremony promises to continue that trend. It will be held at 4:45 p.m. on Monday, June 15, 2015 in the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Awards will be given for public interest, public service, "Legends in Law," distinguished legal writing awards, outstanding journalist in law, and an award for "Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education." Entertainment will be provided that evening by Kristin Chenoweth, the Emmy and Tony Award winning superstar. It's a black tie event and tickets can be pricey, but the value of the evening makes it all worthwhile.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The events in Ferguson Missouri have focused much needed national and global attention on race issues. Although the following guest blog post is not about legal writing, we are pleased to share the insights and challenges from writer Leonce Gaiter.
A Writer’s Racialization, and Keeping Black Writers in Their Ethnic Places
I am black and in my latest novel, all the main characters are white.
My previous novels portrayed black principals and almost all-white supporting casts. They received admiration from publishing houses, but few takers. Publishers told me that they could not see a route to commercial success for my books. I soon learned what that meant.
There remains in publishing a very Jim Crow notion of what black authors should write. We are supposed to write about “The Black Experience.” That means we can write about slavery and the civil rights movement; we can write protest fiction of one sort or another; we can write victimized characters who take the world’s abuse and turn it self-destructively inward.
And black writers know this. That’s why self-censorship enters the picture. We know what kind of books will gain mainstream acceptance, and we know what kinds of books will receive the polite publishing industry ‘no thank you’ regardless of merit.
Partly due to the boundaries mainstream publishing erects around black letters, I wrote a book with white principal characters. Then I discovered a writer who had done the same over 50 years ago, and his example shows how little has changed when it comes to African-Americans and American mainstream publishing.
I learned about Frank Yerby from Troy Johnson of the African-American Literature Book Club (aalbc.com). I contacted Troy about marketing my new white-charactered book to his mainly black audience. Troy mentioned how rare it is for black writers to ‘write white’ and mentioned Yerby as a one who had done so starting back in the 40s, and whose reputation suffered for it. Per the New George Encyclopedia:
“Yerby was often criticized by blacks for the lack of focus on or stereotypical treatment of African American characters in his books. Thus, ironically, while Yerby held the distinction of being the first best-selling black novelist, he also became one of the most disparaged for his lack of racial consciousness.”
Further research led me to an essay on Yerby by A.J. Aronstein in Bookslut. In it, Aronstein discusses Yerby’s first and breakthrough novel, “The Foxes of Yarrow.”
“For the last forty years, defenders of Yerby have attempted to justify the fact that he wrote romance novels, suggesting that he dodged confrontations with racial issues in order to publish on his own terms. According to these readings, the value of Yerby's work arises mainly from his rejection of expectations imposed upon his generation of African-American writers. But a reading of The Foxes of Harrow presents an opportunity for rethinking Yerby's handling of racial themes, and suggests that we should reconsider the importance of his work among mid-century African-American writers like Wright, Hurston, and Ellison.”
Kudos to Aronstein for working to resurrect a writer he finds underrated; however, it’s interesting that the grounds on which he attempts to resurrect him are the very well-worn fields of the African-American race novel—a soil Yerby spent a great deal of his career purposefully sidestepping. Discussing his indifference toward typical racial themes in a 1981 interview, Yerby called the ‘race novel’ “an artistic dead end,” from which he said, “I’m glad to have escaped.” Nonetheless, Aronstein insists in stuffing him into a category the author himself minimized. It’s as if Aronstein knows that publishing only admits black writers through a particular back door, so that’s the one through which he tries to slip Yerby.
Aronstein wrote, “Yerby did write romance novels. But genre snobbery risks brushing aside his significant accomplishments in the publishing industry, and ignores the way race actually operates in his books.”
Aronstein rests Yerby’s literary significance on his incorporation of race into his novels, as if that is the only standard by which a black author could or should be judged. Perhaps, like Wilkie Collins or Marion Zimmer Bradley, he produced a genre masterpiece that deserves in-print status through eternity. But Yerby is black, so that cannot be the basis for his reconsideration. He has to be made ‘a credit to his race’ instead.
Publishing seems desperate to keep ethnic writers neatly sealed in racial Zip Lock bags. The underlying idea is that writers write novels. Black writers write Black Novels, a decidedly separate and unequal subset.
The hope is that more black writers will exploit our exhaustive intimacy with the American mainstream to cast our eye and voice upon that world, and so put the lie to the idea that our range, ambitions, or abilities should ever be limited.
Leonce Gaiter is a prolific African American writer and proud Harvard Alum. He's contributed articles to theNYTimes, NYT Magazine, LA Times, Washington Times, and Washington Post, and has written two novels. His newly released novel, In the Company of Educated Menis a literary thriller that highlights racial and socio-economic themes.
Hat tip to Stephanie Armiger
The Legal Writing Institute's One Day Workshops offer a fantastic national opportunity for legal writing professors to gather and exchange information not only on the day-to-day topics that confront us in the classroom but also on the larger issues for all legal writing professionals.
San Diego, California, is one of the host cities this year, where an LWI one-day workshop will be hosted by California Western School of Law on Friday, December 5, 2014.
Speakers there will include:
- Dean Niels Schaumann (California Western School of Law)
- David Austin (California Western School of Law)
- Elizabeth Carroll (USC Gould School of Law)
- Maureen Johnson (Loyola Los Angeles)
- Joanne Merino (Stanford Law School)
- Lisa Black (California Western School of Law)
- Charles Calleros (Arizona State University)
- Joe Kimble (Western Michigan University Thomas Cooley Law School) [Winner of the 2010 Lifetime Contribution Award from the AALS Section on Legal Writing Reasoning and Research]
- Julie Ryan (USC Gould School of Law)
- Fiona McKenna (Golden Gate University)
- Tim Casey (California Western School of Law)
- Lance Long (Stetson University College of Law)
- Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) [Winner of the 2015 Lifetime Contribution Award from the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research]
Registration for the One-Day Workshop is an extremely reasonable $45.00 (with discounts for speakers and host school attendees). Click here for more information and for the registration link.
The Sheraton Four Points, 1617 First Ave., San Diego, CA 619-239-9600 · 866-716-8133, is located one block from California Western School of Law. Discounted rooms are available for this conference, please reference California Western when making your reservation. The room rate is $99 per night (plus 12.5% tax and fees) Thurs., Dec. 4th & 5th. A free airport shuttle to and from the hotel is available daily from 7:00 am to 10:00 p.m., and the hotel is then only a three-minute walk from the school.
The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave., San Diego, CA 619-238-1818· 800-221-3802, is located in the heart of downtown San Diego near the Gaslamp nightlife area, approximately four blocks from the Law School. Discounted rooms are available by using the reference California Western and the number 308649 when making your reservation. The room rate is $149 per night (plus 12.5% tax and resort fees) (10 minute walk from the school).
Other hotels are of course available, including one on Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach (not far from where the picture above was taken).
Hat tips to the Legal Writing Department at California Western School of Law
One-Day Workshop at the University of Detroit Mercy, co-hosted by the University of Windsor, on Friday, December 5, 2014.
Theme: Reaching, Teaching, and Employing Today’s Evolving Law Student
The Premise: Students in the “Millennial” and “Next Gen” generations approach the world, collaboration and social interaction, and the use of technology differently than previous generations. On the one hand, these characteristics may have a positive influence on their capacity to learn and on the practice of law. On the other hand, some behavior is equally likely to create challenges for these students. Either way, this generational shift invites us to explore how we might adjust our teaching approaches for Millennial and Next Gen students.
Special Conference Opportunities: In addition to a series of thoughtful presentations from our colleagues, you can
1. Consider the topic from several unique perspectives:
- *Undergraduate writing professors who can foreshadow what is to come
- *Judges and employers with insight into the impact Millennials are having on the practice of law and the challenges they may face
- *International speakers from Canada and Qatar;
2. Participate in an interactive roundtable discussion where participants explore how they might adjust their teaching approaches in light of the day’s presentations;
3. Celebrate Detroit, at the beautiful and historic conference setting, UDM’s Dowling Hall, which was built in1890 and restored just in time for UDM Law’s 100th anniversary in 2012, and enjoy a special outing to the Detroit Institute of Arts and its “Friday Night Live”; and
4. If this wasn’t sufficient reason to share the day in Detroit, please bid a fond farewell to Pamela Lysaght, who is retiring from UDM next spring. She will be honored (including a Skype appearance by LWI President Linda Berger) during the conference luncheon for her many contributions, including her leadership as a former President of ALWD, her work with the LWI and LWI Journal of Legal Writing, and her active role with the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and membership on its powerful Accreditation Committee. In addition to all of this, however, Pam may be most respected by her UDM colleagues as the Program Director who led the charge on security of position. As a result of Pam’s efforts over the course of more than ten years, UDM Law shifted from an adjunct program, to a program with one-year renewable contracts, then to clinical tenure, and, finally, in 2007, to a tenure and tenure-track program.
For all of these reasons and more, the workshop organizers hope you will join them on December 5. Please visit our conference page for registration and other logistical information:
Saturday, November 22, 2014
John Marshall's Mark Wojcik has been selected by the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research as the Section Award Winner for 2015. The Section Award is given to an individual who has made "a significant lifetime contribution to the field of legal writing, reasoning, and research."
Mark is known for his many contributions to the field, including spearheading international conferences, working with the Library of Congress, and contributing as an editor of this blog.
Section chair Kim Holst announced that the award will be presented on Saturday, January 3, 2015, at the section luncheon at the Association of American Law School's Annual Meeting in Washington.
Congratulations, Mark! He joins this list of past winners of this award:
- 1993: Marjorie Rombauer
- 1994: Ralph Brill
- 1996: Mary Lawrence
- 2002: Helene Shapo
- 2003: Laurel Oates
- 2005: Marilyn Walter
- 2006: Terri LeClercq
- 2007: Anne Enquist
- 2008: Eric Easton
- 2009: Richard Neumann
- 2010: Joe Kimble
- 2011: Betsy Fajans
- 2012: Susan Brody/Mary Barnard Ray
- 2013: Terrill Pollman/Jill Ramsfield
- 2014: Jan Levine
- 2015: Mark E. Wojcik
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Applied Legal Storytelling Conference will be held July 21-23, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The 2015 Conference is co-sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute, the Clinical Legal Education Association, and Seattle University School of Law). The deadline for proposals is December 15, 2014.
One of the most overlooked resources in a library is the professional library staff. The Law Library of Congress--the largest law library in the world--is no exception. Pictured here with me (I'm the guy on the left) are some of the professionals who make the magic happen at the Law Library of Congress.
From left to right (after me) are Robert R. Newlen (Assistant Law Librarian for Legislative and External Relations), David Mao (the Law Librarian of Congress), and Nathan Dorn (Rare Book Curator and Curator of the Magna Carta Exhibit). They were among the attendees at a recent meeting of the American Bar Association's Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. I was recently appointed to that Commission along with Associate Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Just more proof that it pays to get involved with bar associations!)
Mark E. Wojcik, Professor, The John Marshall Law School
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Law Library of Congress has organized a magnificent exhibit of the Magna Carta for the 800th Anniversary of that document. If you're going to the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, plan to get over to the Jefferson Building to see that exhibit. Connected to the exhibit are many side events at the Law Library of Congress, including this conversation with David Mao (the Law Librarian of Congress), Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the recently-retired Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Judge.
Hat tip to the Law Library of Congress
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Peter W. Martin, the Jane M. Foster Professor of Law (Emeritus) at Cornell, has a website called "Citing Legally: Occasional Observations Concerning the Citation of Legal Authorities by Lawyers and Judges." That blog, we're told, is a byproduct of the annual revision of "Introduction to Basic Legal Citation," an online resource that looks to be not only pretty darn good but also one that invites serious discussion of legal citation.
The Citing Legally Blog contains a detailed and analytical response to a post we had earlier noting that the Westlaw "Copy with Reference" feature for ALWD copies to the fourth, rather than the fifth, edition of the ALWD Manual. His practical and useful suggestion to fix that was to simply delete the ALWD option because, as he correctly notes, the citations in the new edition of the ALWD manual produce exactly the same citations as the Bluebook. (I think I'm going to start calling the new edition of ALWD "the fantastic fifth edition.")
Please visit that website and have a look at the other treasures it offers. Congratulations Professor Martin on the serious study of citation you share with us all.
Mark E. Wojcik (mew)
Thursday, November 13, 2014
[a] respected and compassionate jurist as well as an exceptional writer, teacher, and mentor. . . . He has engaged the judiciary, current and future lawyers, and the public in a much-needed dialogue about two major challenges facing the criminal justice system: the death penalty and the extremely high rates of incarceration in the United States.
The November issue of the Journal of Legal Education contains a thought-provoking piece by UNLV's Linda Edwards titled The Trouble with Categories: What Theory Can Teach Us about the Doctrine-Skills Divide. Edwards identifies flaws with the usual classification of law school courses into skills courses on the one hand and doctrinal, podium, or casebook courses on the other. As she explains, that division can send inaccurate messages, because the difference between the categories is not so clean; for example, both kinds of courses cover doctrine. In order to meet the challenges currently facing legal education, Edwards proposes that law schools use the new categories of “foundation,” “bridge,” and “capstone” courses. The full article is available at 64 Journal of Legal Education 181.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Scribes, the American Society of Legal Writers, is a national organization of legal writers promoting a clear, succinct, and forceful style in legal writing. Founded in 1953 by New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Arthur T. Vanderbilt, Scribes creates an interest in legal writing by awarding annual writing awards, conducting writing seminars, and publishing a quarterly newsletter and the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.
My fellow blog editor, Mark Wojcik of Chicago's John Marshall Law School, has been appointed to the prestigious ABA Advisory Commission to the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. There he joins some very influential people, including Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court. Congratulations, Mark!
hat tip: Anthony Niedwiecki
The Charlotte School of Law is hosting an LWI One-Day Workshop on December 5. The theme at that location will be “Preparing Practice-Ready Students: What Every Legal Writer Needs to Know Before Putting Pen to Paper,” and the day will include the following LWI apeakers:
- Laura Graham (Wake Forest University School of Law), First Things First: How to Build Foundational Pre-Writing Lessons Into Your Legal Writing Class
- Lucy Jewel (University of Tennessee College of Law) and Alexa Chew (University of North Carolina School of Law), Categories and Conventions: Teaching Students to Critically Assess Boundaries
- Anne Burr (University of Michigan Law School), Cultural Exchange: Teaching Pre-Writing Skills to International Law Students
- Suzanne Rabe (The University of Arizona James E. Rogers School of Law), Use of Oral Presentations and Client Interviews to Help Reach a Variety of Learners in a Legal Writing Class
- O.J. Salinas (University of North Carolina School of Law), Think, Talk, Listen, Learn: Using Oral Exercises to Teach Case Analysis and Writing Fundamentals
Breakfast and lunch are being provided by BNA and Lexis.
Hat tips to Mandana Vidwan and Heather Davis.
The Legal Writing Institute's One-Day Workshops are coming up in December. These events, spread across the country, create a great gathering space for legal writing professors, law librarians, writing specialists, and others interested in teaching legal writing.
UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law is one of the places hosting a One Day Workshop on Friday December 5, 2014. Our Workshop will explore the theme of "Developing and Implementing Upper-Level Legal Writing Courses," and will feature some wonderful speakers, including several current LWI Board Members. At UNLV they are planning several interactive features, including "Lunch with Practitioners" and a "Speed Mentoring" session. More information on the program and how to register for it is available by clicking here.
Should the Legal Writing Institute formalize what was known as the Pink Ink Caucus? That was the group of LGBT legal writing professors and allies. It met a couple of times (but not recently). Should LWI bring it back and foramlize it into an LWI committee?