Friday, August 14, 2015
Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--shares with its membership regular tips on grammar and legal research. This week the grammar tip lists websites that collect funny grammar errors, noting that "[s]ometimes it takes a chuckle to bring a grammar error into focus."
Here are some sites collecting grammar errors -- please use the "comment" feature to tell us about other websites or your "favorite errors" from these websites, such as "Your the Best Teacher Ever!"
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
In a recent lawsuit against Peabody Energy alleging civil rights violations, attorneys for plaintiffs Thomas Asprey and Leslie Glustrom including song lyrics from John Prine's song "Paradise" in the compliant. Peabody's lawyers filed a 17-page Motion to Strike the lyrics, as they reflected poorly on Peabody's business practices.
In a beautifully-written response to the Motion to Strike, plaintiff's lawyers argued in favor of the creative use of song lyrics in legal writing, including a whole section of the response titled "N0n-Traditional Legal Writing is Good." An article on the dispute here, and the full response letter here.
Image of singer John Prine
The response makes for good reading, and serves as a great lesson in allowing our students some creative license as they progress in developing their legal writing skills.
Hat tip, Lucy Jewel
Friday, August 7, 2015
This year, SEALS offered a new track for LRW profs. The first panel that I attended covered changes in teaching LRW in the past 20 years ("New Developments in Teaching Legal Writing").
Panelists discussed changes in students (attention span, expectations, parenting styles), changes in pedagogy, the incorporation of mindfulness, teaching with a metacognitive focus, and flipping the classroom. Lots of great ideas, and a nice overview of how far we've come in 20 years.
Panelists included Professor Catherine Christopher, Texas Tech University School of Law; Professor Katrina Lee, The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law; Professor Katerina Lewinbuk, South Texas College of Law; Professor Anthony Niedwiecki, The John Marshall Law School; Professor Jennifer Rosa, Michigan State University College of Law; and Professor Pam Armstrong, Albany Law School.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Sheila Slocum Hollis is chair of the Washington, D.C. office of Duane Morris LLP, and was the office's founding managing partner, as well as the founding practice group leader for the firm's Energy, Environment and Resources Practice Group. She served on the firm's Executive Committee for more than a decade and the Partners Board for 18 years.
Ms. Hollis practices in the areas of energy transactional and regulatory law and international and administrative law before government agencies, Congress and other entities. She focuses on domestic and international energy, water and environmental matters, representing governmental bodies and the power and natural gas industries. With a long career in issues relating to infrastructure, natural gas development transportation and distribution, energy reliability, enforcement and compliance, and international energy policy, Ms. Hollis successfully represented the District of Columbia in a key electric reliability case and represents the towns of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Scriba, New York, and Oswego County in tax and related infrastructure safety, environmental protection and security negotiation matters. She served as lead investigator of a grid operator's market monitoring practices, and as lead investigator for an electric grid in a Congressional investigation of a major blackout. She also has represented numerous clients in investigations related to natural gas and oil development, trading, transportation and other energy and environmental activities.
Ms. Hollis has served twice in Federal service. She was the first director of the Office of Enforcement of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, establishing the office and its policies and procedures, serving from 1977 to 1980. Those policies and procedures remain in place today. She began her energy law career as a trial lawyer at the Federal Power Commission from 1974 to 1975, serving as lead counsel on the Pennzoil-United spinoff case. Over the course of her career, she has played a key role in the formation and implementation of energy law and policy. As a Professorial Lecturer in the Law at George Washington University School of Law, she has taught energy law for 20 years to over 600 students in the Environmental and Energy Law Program.
In 2014 and 2015, Ms. Hollis was named one of Washington, D.C.'s Top 50 Women by Super Lawyers, and is the first energy lawyer to be named to this list. Ms. Hollis was named one of the 50 Key Women in Energy Worldwide and received the 2011 Lifetime Achievement in Energy in Platt's Global Energy Awards. She is the first attorney in private practice to receive the Platt's Award. In late 2012, Ms. Hollis was elected to membership in the American College of Environmental Lawyers. In April 2012 she was awarded the Outstanding International Law Alumni Award by the Nanda Center for International Law and Policy of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver Law School and delivered a major address on international energy law at the award event. Ms. Hollis served as a delegate of the American Bar Association to the United Nations Rio+20 Conference in June. In 2009 Ms. Hollis delivered the "Dean of the Oil and Gas Bar" address at The Energy Law Institute of the Center for American and International Law in Houston, Texas. In 2010, Ms. Hollis received the Paul Nordstrom Service Award for her contributions to the legal profession and the community from the Energy Bar Association and the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association.
Ms. Hollis is chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards of the ABA from 2009-2012. She serves in the House of Delegates of the ABA as senior delegate from the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, and also on the Nominating Committee of the ABA and the Steering Committee of the Nominating Committee. She also serves on the ABA's Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs. Ms. Hollis served as the Chair of the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association's Journal from 2007-2010, and as a member of the Board from 2001-2007. She chaired the ABA's Council of the Fund for Justice and Education from 2006-2009. She is the past chair (2001-2002) of the Section of Environment, Energy and Resources of the American Bar Association, representing 11,000 ABA members. She served a three-year term as the Federal Circuit representative on the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and in that capacity was one of the two primary investigators in the nomination of Justice John Roberts. In addition, she served as chair of the Standing Committee on Environmental Law from 1997 to 2000 and served two terms as chair of the ABA's Coordinating Group on Energy Law. A member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the ABA, Ms. Hollis was the first woman to serve as president of the Energy Bar Association (1991 to 1992). She served as president of the Women's Council on Energy and the Environment (1997-2002). She is the only person to serve as both president of the Federal Energy Bar Association and chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. She is treasurer and a board member of the United States Energy Association and chaired its nominating committee. She is chair of the Federal Bar Association's Section of Energy, Environment and Resources. She also is a member of the Advisory Committee of the North American Energy Standards Board. Ms. Hollis served as a professorial lecturer in the law on the subject of energy law at The George Washington University Law School from 1979 to 1999 and was recently recognized by the school for her 20-year teaching contribution. She serves on the Board of the American Friends of the Royal Society, which is one of the oldest scientific bodies in the world. She is also on the National Sustainability Advisory Committee of KB Homes. Ms. Hollis was awarded the Cheryl Blackwell Bryson Leadership Award in 2012 from the Duane Morris Women's Initiative during the firm's Annual Retreat in Boca Raton, Florida. Ms. Hollis served on the Host Committee of the D.C. Legal Community City Year held in Washington, D.C. on November 8, 2012. The initiative of this group is to assist with high vulnerability students to stay in school and graduate from high school.
Admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Colorado, she is a member of the American Law Institute and served for decades on the Board of Trustees of the Center for American and International Law and was vice chair of its Institute for Energy Law. She was also a trustee of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation and served on the board of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia. With an extensive background in international energy law, Ms. Hollis is admitted as an honorary, international member of the Commercial Bar of England and Wales. Ms. Hollis is widely published in energy law and policy matters, having co-authored two energy law texts and numerous articles on energy policy, energy enforcement, natural gas, independent power and cogeneration, hydroelectric energy regulation and related environmental topics. She was ranked by The National Law Journal as one of the United States' top 20 energy lawyers and is listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2008-present), AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell for 25+ years, Who's Who in America (1990-present), Who's Who in the World (1990-present) and other biographical directories, including The World's Leading Oil and Gas Lawyers and The World's Leading Project Finance Lawyers. In 2011, Ms. Hollis was selected for inclusion in Who's Who Legal Directory for Oil and Gas. (The attorneys included in this publication were selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and oil and gas lawyers in private practice worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.)
A Colorado native, she is a 1973 graduate of the University of Denver College of Law and a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, cum laude in general studies, honors in journalism. She is conversationally fluent and has some reading ability in Spanish.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education describes an innovative idea for academic writing: schedule a meeting time with colleagues where you write. "No idle chatter, no workshopping manuscripts, no wasting time, just a bunch of people from different departments and disciplines who all need to log some writing hours." Jennifer Howard, The Secret to Hitting Your Writing Goals May Be Simple: Peer Pressure, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 12, 2015, at A17.
The article states that whether formal or informal, these faculty writing-accountability groups operate on two assumptions: (1) you're more likely to get writing done if you book regular time for it and (2) you find colleagues to help hold you accountable.
It's an interesting idea and we welcome your comments on it, particularly if you've participated in one of these faculty writing groups. By being held at a regular time, it seems to have the advantage of encouraging regular progress on many writing projects.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Association of American Law Schools Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers will present a panel at the 2016 Annual Meeting in New York on the topic of "Recruiting LL.M. Students: Promises, Expectations, Resources, and Realities." The program will be held on Friday, January 8, 2016, from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. We anticipate choosing two or three presenters at the session from this Call for Presenters.
You are invited to submit proposals on any aspect of this topic. The subject of recruiting students is an important topic, critical to the success of all LL.M. programs. Proposals should be comprehensive enough to allow the selection committee to meaningfully evaluate the aims and likely content of the presentation and to consider how various presentations will work together for the program.
Deadline and submission method: To be considered, proposals must be submitted electronically to Prof. Mark E. Wojcik at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Chair of the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, at email@example.com, by Monday, September 14, 2015. Presenters will be informed in October whether their proposal was selected.
Eligibility: Only full-time faculty members of AALS member or fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit proposals. Foreign, visiting (without a full-time position at an AALS member or fee-paid law school) and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit a proposal. As with other presenters at the AALS meeting, presenters chosen from this call will be responsible for paying their annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses.
For questions, please contact: Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School Chair, AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Chapter Five of the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference, hosted by Seattle Law School, concluded Thursday evening with a lovely dinner at Seattle's Rainier Club, courtesy of Seattle Dean Annette Clark. The Conference was "predictably well plotted and full of character."
Highlights included the plenary address by Seattle's Janet Ainsworth (with respondent Laurel Oates), a roundtable discussion with the Feminist Judgments Project, and insightful presentations by Christopher Rideout, Ruth Anne Robbins, Steve Johansen and many others!
Some photos from the conference:
Looking forward to Chapter 6!
Hat tip, Linda Berger & Ruth Anne Robbins
Professor Schwinn earned his B.A. from Michigan State University and his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law. He taught at the University of Maryland School of Law and George Washington University Law School and practiced in the Office of the General Counsel at the Peace Corps.
Professor Schwinn is a frequent commenter on issues related to constitutional law and human rights. He is a co-founder and co-editor of the Constitutional Law Prof Blog and an occasional contributor to other blogs and publications. He regularly writes for the ABA Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, and he directs the ABA Media Alerts project for the Seventh Circuit. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of law journals. He is also the co-author (with Amy Sloan) of the Basic Legal Research Workbook.
He litigates cases pro bono in the federal courts, and he serves on the Board of Advisors for the Chicago Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society.
He teaches Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law and Human Rights, and Lawyering Skills I. He also coordinates the Constitutional Law in the Classroom program, in which law students teach constitutional law lessons to students in the Chicago Public Schools and surrounding school districts, and he is the faculty supervisor for the African Human Rights Project.
Congratulations on your new appointment Steve!
Professor Mary Nagel, the Associate Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has been named Director of Externships at John Marshall. She will continue working with the Lawyering Skills Program in addition to this new appointment.
Following law school, Mary Nagel was a judicial law clerk for Judge Thomas E. Hoffman on the Circuit Court of Cook County and for Justice Fred A. Geiger of the Illinois Appellate Court. She was an associate at the Chicago offices of Querrey & Harrow and Bollinger, Ruberry & Garvey. From 1999 to 2001, Professor Nagel was an Illinois assistant attorney general, and from 2001 to 2003, she was chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor.
She also served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Bill Taylor and for Judge Barbara J. Disko in the Circuit Court of Cook County, drafting court rulings for motions, evidentiary issues, and trials. She had been an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School from 1999 until 2007 and now serves as Associate Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at John Marshall.
Congratulations on your new additional appointment!
Prof. Julie Spanbauer Named Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago
After receiving her B.S. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, her J.D. from Valparaiso University, and an LL.M. from Northwestern University, Julie Spanbauer clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich and U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody. Since joining the John Marshall faculty in 1990, she has published numerous articles in the areas of employment discrimination, constitutional law, and women's issues.
Professor Spanbauer was recently named a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant Recipient and she taught at the Institute of Technology Law, National Chiao Tung University in Taipei, Taiwan. Professor Spanbauer has organized and served as a panel moderator at diverse conferences involving discrimination issues. She has presented lectures at Trinity College in Ireland and in China. Professor Spanbauer has served as the program director for two programs sponsored by the International Law Institute in Washington, DC. These programs prepare international LL.M. students to enter law schools throughout the United States. She has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Friends of Battered Women and their Children, a not-for-profit organization providing counseling, advocacy, and education services for abused women and their children.
From 2004-2008, Professor Spanbauer served as director of the special admissions program at John Marshall, the Summer College for Assessing Legal Education Skills (SCALES). She teaches Employment Discrimination, Contracts, and Lawyering Skills.
Congratulations on your appointment Julie!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Professor Wendy Adele Humphrey, who teaches Legal Practice and co-directs Tech's Pre-Law Academy, has been named the inaugural Assistant Dean for Educational Effectiveness at Texas Tech.
Humphrey, who has an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, will develop strategies to implement more effective assessment methods.
She is the third Legal Practice faculty member to serve as a dean. Nancy Soonpaa, LP program director, served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and Dustin Benham, former LP professor, served as Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives.
Professor Kim Chanbonpin, President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute, has been named as the new Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. The previous director, Professor Anthony Niedwiecki, was recently promoted to be Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Professor Chanbonpin joined the John Marshall faculty in 2008. She received her bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law, graduating cum laude with a certificate in Asian-Pacific Legal Studies. After law school, she was a law clerk to the late Judge John S.W. Lim of the Intermediate Court of Appeals in Honolulu. Professor Chanbonpin also earned an LL.M., with distinction, and a Certificate in National Security Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. While in Washington, D.C., she was a Short-Term Consultant at the World Bank.
Professor Chanbonpin is a member of the State Bar of California, and has been involved in several pro bono publico cases litigating a variety of legal issues, including post-conviction relief, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, and police brutality claims. In September 2012, she was appointed to a two-year fellowship under the Illinois State Bar Association's (ISBA) Diversity Leadership Council. She sits on the ISBA's Criminal Justice Section Council. In addition to being President-Elect the Legal Writing Institute, she also serves on the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT).
Before coming to John Marshall, Professor Chanbonpin was a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. During her fellowship, she taught National Security Law and Civil Liberties, Legal Research and Writing, and Appellate Advocacy.
Professor Chanbonpin teaches Lawyering Skills, Criminal Law, Torts, Gender Race and Class, and National Security Law. She also taught Introduction to the U.S. Legal System to LL.M. students in China's State Intellectual Property Office. Her scholarly writing considers redress and reparations law, policy, and social movements in the United States. In a 2011 article, she proposed the Inclusive Model for Social Healing, a new paradigm for understanding reparations projects. This model draws on anti-subordination and narrative principles rooted in LatCrit and Critical Race Theory scholarship, and is a part of the School of the Art Institute Sullivan Gallery's 2012 exhibition, "Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture." Her work on the law's power to exclude and to include continues in her 2013 article in the U.C. Irvine Law Review.
She is a contributor to the SALT Law blog, and her scholarly work has appeared in the U.C. Irvine Law Review, the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy and the Mercer Law Review.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Anthony Niedwiecki Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago
Anthony Niedwiecki, former President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors and Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has been named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at John Marshall.
After graduating magna cum laude from Tulane Law School, Anthony was a commercial litigation lawyer with Mayer Brown's office in Houston, Texas, and a labor and employment attorney with Gardere & Wynne in Dallas. He started his academic career as a lecturer at Temple University Beasley School of Law in 1998. He also taught at Arizona State University and returned to Temple before joining the faculty at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center in 2003, where he was an associate professor and director of the Lawyering Skills and Values program before coming to John Marshall. He teaches Lawyering Skills, Employment Discrimination, and Law and Sexual Orientation.
The new director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School is Professor Kim Chanbonpin, President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Yes. An Arizona State University professor has been demoted over a repeat pattern of carelessness/plagiarism. His apology letter (included in the article linked above) would also serve as an interesting example of audience-oriented persuasive writing.
This article sets out text as he presented it and in its original form. It could serve as a series of examples in a class on plagiarism.
hat tip: Maureen Kane
Sunday, July 19, 2015
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied a lawyer's request to increase his fees, in part because of a poorly-written appellate brief. Here's the concluding paragraphs from the court's decision in Pierce v. Visteon Corp., No. 14-2542 (7th Cir. July 1, 2015), describing problems with the argument and problems with the brief:
Finally, even if it were sometimes appropriate to give a lawyer a slice of the class's recovery on top of a fee-shifting award, this would not be the case to do it in. We've mentioned two reasons: Weldy bungled the appeal, costing the class an opportunity to seek greater compensation, and his demand for fees from the class goes directly against his clients' interests, yet he did nothing to help them protect themselves. And this isn't the only respect in which Weldy has tried to undermine his client's interests. The lead argument in his brief is—that some members of the class will get too much money! Yes, Weldy asked us to remand because some of his clients have been overcompensated. Perhaps they have been: $2,500 is more than $110 a day for anyone whose notice was less than 23 days late. That might have been a reason for Visteon to appeal, but it is unfathomable that the class's lawyer would try to sabotage the recovery of some of his own clients.
That's not all. We have mentioned Weldy's failure to comply with our order to address the interaction between Rule 23(c)(3) and Rule 58 . And his brief on the merits has problems beyond those pointed out already. It presents 13 issues for decision, violating the principle that appellate counsel must concentrate attention on the best issues. (To brief more than three or four issues not only diverts the judges' attention but also means that none of the issues will be addressed in the necessary depth; an appellate brief covering 13 issues can spend only a few pages on each.) The brief's writing is careless to boot; it conveys the impression of "dictated but not read." Here are two sentences: "This Court should be entered a high daily statutory penalty in this matter. Respectfully, the award of the District Court to the contrary law and an abuse of discretion." There's more, equally ungrammatical. Weldy is in no position to contend that his compensation is too low.
Friday, July 17, 2015
President Linda Berger and the LWI Board recently announced that the new all-electronic Journal of Legal Writing is live, link here! The newest volume and archives are all available on the sleek and streamlined site, including .pdfs for the print-readers.
Many congrats to Linda and the LWI Board, as well as Journal Editor in Chief Brooke Bowman and Managing Editors Lindsay Gustafson, Kim Holst and Karen Sneddon. A job well done by the LWI Committee for an Electronic Journal led by Terry Pollman and Brooke Bowman, along with Ted Becker, Ellie Margolis, Megan McAlpin, Samantha Moppett, and Karen Sneddon.
Hat tip, Terry Pollman
Call for proposals
2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers
“Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential”
Suffolk University Law School is pleased to host the 2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference on Friday, September 18, 2015. We are now accepting proposals for presentations at the conference. The theme of the conference is “Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential.” This broad theme encompasses a wide range of interests, including topics relevant to legal writing, academic support, career and professional development, diversity, technology, and innovation.
You may submit a proposal for a 25 or 50 minute presentation, or a 30-minute workshop. We are offering a workshop format for discussion of teaching or scholarship ideas or other topics in small groups. The workshop will entail a 10-minute presentation followed by 20 minutes of discussion.
The deadline for proposals is Friday, August 21, 2015 at 5 pm EST. Please submit the following information by completing the form attached and emailing it to: email@example.com.
1). Name and contact information of presenter(s)
2). Title of presentation
3). Preference for 25 minutes, 50 minutes, or workshop
4). Brief (one paragraph) description of the presentation or workshop topic
5). Technology needs (if any) for the presentation
Writing Lockdown on Thursday, September 17, 2015, 2:00-5:00 p.m. We are offering a “writing lockdown” for anyone attending the conference who will be in town on Thursday afternoon and would like to enjoy a block of uninterrupted time for writing, while enjoying a view of the Boston Common and refreshments. Come with a writing goal in mind. Bring your writing project (an article, book, etc.) to work on as well as any materials you need (laptop, paper, writing utensil, etc.). We provide the space and location – you provide the words. No submissions are necessary as your writing can be at any stage (notes, an outline, a draft, etc.) and will not be reviewed; just let us know if you would like to attend all or part of the lockdown.
Registration is free for all presenters and attendees. Suffolk University Law School is located in the heart of beautiful historic Boston. We will provide details on accommodations and travel arrangements in the coming weeks. Please contact Professor Rosa Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Professor Kathleen Elliott Vinson (email@example.com) with any questions.
Kathleen Elliott Vinson
Professor of Legal Writing
Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108