Tuesday, October 11, 2016

conference on formative assessment

While legal writing profs are quite familiar with formative assessment, they might consider attending this workshop of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning:


 Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law

Spring Conference 2017

 “Compliance with ABA Standard 314: Formative Assessment in Large Classes” is a one-day conference for law teachers and administrators who want to learn how to design, implement, and evaluate formative assessment plans.  The conference will be interactive workshops during which attendees will learn about formative assessment techniques from games to crafting multiple choice questions to team-based learning.  Participants will also learn ways to coordinate assessment across the curriculum.   The conference workshop sessions will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Emory University School of Law.

Conference Content:  Sessions will address the following topics:

Why Assess: Empirical Data on How it Helps Students Learn

Games as Formative Assessments in the Classroom

Formative Assessment with Team-Based Learning

Creating Multiple Choice Questions and Ways to Using Them as Formative Assessment

Coordinating Formative Assessment Across the Curriculum

Conference Faculty:  Workshops will be taught by experienced faculty: Andrea Curcio (GSU Law), Lindsey Gustafson (UALR Bowen), Michael Hunter-Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Heidi Holland (Gonzaga) and Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga)

 Who Should Attend:  This conference is for all law faculty and administrators.  By the end of the conference, attendees will have concrete and practical knowledge about formative assessment and complying with Standard 314 to take back to their colleagues and institutions. Details about the conference will be available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law. 

Registration Information:  The registration fee is $225 for the first registrant from each law school.  We are offering a discounted fee of $200 for each subsequent registrant from the same school, so that schools may be able to send multiple attendees. 

Accommodations:  A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for $159/night; at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown, Decatur for $99/night; and at the Decatur Holiday Inn for $159/night.  Reservation phone numbers are : Emory Conference Center Hotel: 1-800-933-6679; Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Decatur:  www.marriott.com or 1-404-371-0204; Holiday Inn Hotel Decatur 1-888-HOLIDAY.


October 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 10, 2016

New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers (NECLWT) Conference on October 21st in Boston

Here's a reminder that the annual New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers (NECLWT) will be held next week at Boston University School of Law on Friday, October 21, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Click here for more information about the conference, hotels, and information on how to register for the conference.


October 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Visitor Opening at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Position Opening for Visitor in Legal Analysis and Writing for 2017-18 Academic Year

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law invites applications for a Visiting Professor of Legal Analysis and Writing for the 2017-2018 Academic year. This is position is for a one-year term. The School of Law may conduct a search for a full-time permanent Legal Analysis and Writing faculty position to begin in the 2018-2019 academic year. The Visiting Professor will be welcome to apply for that position, but must compete with other candidates in a national search.

The Visiting Professor will teach two small sections of Legal Analysis and Writing in both the fall and spring. Each small section is 2 credits (for a total of 4 credits each semester). The Visiting Professor should be willing to collaborate closely with our other Legal Writing faculty and be eager to engage with students in and out of the classroom.

The successful applicant for the Visiting Professor position must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, excellent writing skills, an outstanding academic record, and experience teaching Legal Analysis and Writing. Law practice experience or a judicial clerkship is also preferred.

The University of Pittsburgh is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, veteran status, disability, national origin, creed, marital status, age, gender identity or sexual orientation in its hiring. In furtherance of our strong institutional commitment to a diverse faculty, we particularly welcome applications from minorities, women, and others who would add diversity to our faculty. Recruitment is subject to approval by the University’s Provost.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, resume, writing sample, and a list of three references to: Anthony C. Infanti, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 3900 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Email: visitorlaw-appointments@pitt.edu. Email submissions are preferred. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2016.

October 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 7, 2016

appealing with fewer words

Lawyers will have to cut 1,000 words from their arguments in federal appeals briefs

According to How Appealing and David Sellers, a public affairs officer for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts,
the word count for appellate briefs is being decreased from 14,000 to 13,000.
A proposed 1500-word decrease was opposed by many appellate attorneys, who perhaps didn't stop to calculate that a
appeals judge might read filings for 1200 cases per year.  Multiply it out:  the opening brief, opposition brief,
and reply brief could contain up to 35,000 words, meaning that the average judge would read about 42 million words
a year. (See the DealBook blog at the NYTimes website.)



October 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Teaching for Our Times: 31st Annual Midwest Regional Clinical Legal Education Conference

The University of Tulsa College of Law is this week welcoming clinical legal faculty and staff to the 31st Annual Midwest Regional Clinical Legal Education Conference to share ideas to engage and inspire today’s law students and tomorrow’s lawyers. The conference is being held from October 6-8, 2016. We congratulate the organizers and wish each of the participants a successful conference.

October 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hiring at St. Mary's University School of Law

St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, invites applications to become its next Director of Legal Research and Writing.  Candidates should have outstanding academic credentials, experience teaching Legal Research and Writing, and strong leadership, administrative, and interpersonal skills.  Preference will be given to candidates with a demonstrated interest in pedagogy but with a developed scholarly commitment in a substantive field of law. 

The Director will be responsible for developing the first-year legal writing curriculum and supervising a group of instructors that is in transition from an adjunct model to a full-time instruction model of professional staffing.  The Director will coordinate curriculum and instruction with both the full-time scholarly faculty and with St. Mary's Law Success Program instructors, who teach legal skills and methods.  The Director will also teach in the legal writing program.

Depending on the applicant’s experience and interests, the position will be either tenure-track or a tenure-equivalent, long-term contract with participation in faculty governance.   

The school is committed to diversity and strongly encourage women and persons of color to apply.  Please submit materials to Prof. Mark Cochran at mcochran@stmarytx.edu

 The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment or may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (on matters except those pertaining to hiring, tenure, and promotion). The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary of $90,000 to $109,999. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research and writing professor will be 30 or fewer.


October 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers (NECLWT) Conference on October 21st in Boston

The annual New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers (NECLWT) will be held at Boston University School of Law on Friday, October 21, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Click here for more information about the conference, hotels, and information on how to register for the conference.



October 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Hiring at Georgetown

Georgetown Law, and the Law Center's Language Center, are hiring another fellow. More information about that position and other legal writing jobs is available by clicking here.
Hat tip to Almas Khan.

September 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mel Weresh Named as the 2017 Recipient of the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing

Mel WereshThe Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute are proud to announce that Professor Mel Weresh of Drake University Law School is the winner of the 2017 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing.

This Blackwell Award is one of the most prestigious awards in legal writing. The Boards of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) jointly created this distinguished award to honor the life of Thomas Blackwell, a professor at Appalachian Law School who was one of three people murdered at the law school in 2002 by a deranged student. To honor Tom's memory and his commitment to legal writing education, the award is presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of legal writing by demonstrating:

  •  an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence;
  • a willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or their legal writing programs; and
  • an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.

IMG_8513Mel Weresh is a professor of law and Director of the Legal Writing Program at Drake University Law School.  She has always been known by readers of this blog as a "Legal Writing Superstar."  She is a past president of the Legal Writing Institute and a Past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Teaching Methods.

She is also the 2009 winner of the Warren E. Burger Prize of the  American Inns of Court, a writing competition designed to promote scholarship in the areas of professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence.

Iowa Legal Research 2d ed Legal Writing WereshHer publications include Iowa Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed. 2016) and Legal Writing: Ethical and Professional Considerations (also published now by Carolina Academic Press).

The Blackwell Award Reception will be held during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law School, at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, from 8 to 10 p.m.

The previous winners of the Blackwell award are:

  • 2016 - Coleen Miller Barger, University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law
  • 2015 - Helene Shapo, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • 2014 - Jan Levine, Duquesne University School of Law
  • 2013 - Judy Stinson, Arizona State University
  • 2012 - Suzanne Rowe, University of Oregon 
  • 2011 - Carol McCrehan Parker, University of Tennessee
  • 2010 - Steve Johansen, Lewis & Clark
  • 2009 - Linda Edwards, Mercer Law
  • 2008 - Diana Pratt, Wayne State
  • 2007 - Louis Sirico, Villanova Law School
  • 2006 - Mary Beth Beazley, Ohio State
  • 2005 - Ralph Brill, Chicago-Kent
  • 2004 - Pam Lysaght, Detroit Mercy
  • 2003 - Richard K. Neumann, Hofstra University

LightbulbThomas Blackwell was particularly fond of lightbulb jokes. For example:

"How many legal writing professors does it take to change a lightbulb?" Answer: "We wish that we had the resources to change the lightbulb."

Hat tips to ALWD President Wanda M. Temm (University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law) and LWI Presdient Kim D. Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School). And congratulations to Professor Weresh!



September 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

SALT Teaching Conference at The John Marshall Law School Features Many Legal Writing Professors and Panels

The Society of American Law Schools 2016 Teaching Conference officially starts tomorrow at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, bringing hundreds of educators from around the country. The program includes a tremendous number of legal writing programs and professors, including panels on "Legal Writing, Clinical Teaching, and Social Justice" and "Social Justice and the Legal Writing Classroom."

IF YOU'RE ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE please write up a short description of the legal writing panels you attend. We'll be happy to post it here to share with the broader legal writing community.

IF YOU'RE NOT ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE, well, why aren't you? :)


September 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Legal Writing Professors at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

JMLS LS Faculty 2016Here's a photo of the full-time Lawyering Skills Faculty at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, including Legal Writing Institute President Kim Chanbonpin, Scribes Vice President Mark E. Wojcik, and other members of the legal writing faculty.

Front row (from left to right): Professors Hugh Mundy, Lurene Contento (Director of the Writing Resource Center and a past winner of the Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Award), Kim Chanbonpin (Directer of the Lawyering Skills Program), Joanne Simboli Hodge (Associate Director of the Moot Court Honors Program) and David Sorkin (Director of the Hybrid JD and Distance Education Program and Faculty Advisor to the Journal of Information Technology and Privacy Law).

Back row (from left to right): Professors Mary Nagel (who also serves as Director of Externships at The John Marshall Law School), Maureen B. Collins (Editor-in-Chief of The Scrivener and Faculty Advisor to the Review of Intellectual Property Law), Mark E. Wojcik (Vice President of Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers, a Board Member of the Legal Writing Institute, an editor of the Legal Writing Prof Blog, a Past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, founder of the Global Legal Skills Conference Series, and member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress), Cynthia Bond, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Anthony Niedwiecki (former Director of the Lawyering Skills Program and Past President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors), Steven D. Schwinn (an editor of the Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Director of the Community Legal Clinics, and Co-Director of the International Human Rights Clinic), Maureen Kordesh (another Past President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors and also a former Director of the Lawyering Skills Program), and Ardath Hamann (Director of the Moot Court Honors Program).


September 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shall Means "Must." Unless it Means "Should."

Legal writers would do well to abandon the use of the ambiguous word "shall" that we find so often in statutes, regulations, contracts, and other documents. It should be removed and replaced by other words such as "must" or "will" or "should" or other words that would more readily communicate whether a provision was mandatory or merely a suggestion or a directive. Professor Joe Kimble of the Thomas Cooley Law School did this with the Federal Rules, taking out every instance of the word shall (except for one that got put back in because the drafters could not decide whether it was mandatory or merely a suggestion).

One recent example comes now from the Illinois Supreme Court decision People v. Geiler, 2016 IL 119095, 405 Ill. Dec. 123 (Ill. July 8, 2016) where the court rule directing transmission of traffic citations to the circuit court clerk within 48 hours of being issued was found to be directory, rather than mandatory.

If we ever counted how many hours and how much money has been spent litigating over the meaning of the word "shall," we would quickly abandon further use of that word in our legal writing. We shall see.


September 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Another Stupid Bluebook Rule

In past editions of the Bluebook, the Illinois Appellate Court was abbreviated as "Ill. App." In recent editions, it's abbreviated now as "Ill. App. Ct."

In past editions of the Bluebook, the Indiana Court of Appeals was abbreviated as "Ind. App." And yes, we knew it was a court without having "Ct." as part of that abbreviation. The abbreviation now for the Indiana Court of Appeals is now "Ind. Ct. App."

So we have "Ill. App. Ct." and "Ind. Ct. App." today where we would have previously just had "Ill. App." and "Ind. App."

Do the Bluebook editors think that we don't know that the Illinois Appellate Court is a court? Why do we need "Ct." as part of the abbreviation? It adds nothing substantively to the citation. It wastes time of countless lawyers and law students who have to look up each state individually to see if "Ct." goes before or after "App." It's another stupid Bluebook Rule.


P.S. Guest rants against the Bluebook are welcome. Send us your favorite stupid Bluebook Rule.


September 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Marjorie Rombauer, the "Founding Mother" of the Field of Legal Writing Education, has Died

Marjorie RombauerProfessor Emeritus Marjorie Rombauer of the University of Washington School of Law, an icon in the field of legal research and writing education who has been described as the "Founding Mother" of Legal Writing Education, passed away on Friday, as reported by Professor Karin Mika in a post to the Legal Writing Listserve.
Marjorie Rombauer had a stellar career in service to the law community, legal education, and the justice system. She was a faculty member at the University of Washington School of Law for more than 30 years and served as acting dean in 1991. She was a prolific scholar whose works on legal problem solving, research, writing, and analysis informed generations of law students. Upon her retirement in 1994, an award was established in her name to honor her contributions to the legal writing field, presented annually to a person in the field by the national Association of Legal Writing Directors. In 2000, she was named one of the ten outstanding teachers in the first 100 years of the School of Law.
In her post to the Legal Writing Listserve, Professor Mika shared these thoughts about the legacy of Professor Rombauer and her important work for the field of legal writing education:
As most people in the profession know, our profession is a rather new one in terms of the history of legal education and was established initially by virtue of a handful of people fighting tirelessly for respect and credibility.  
Rombauer Legal Problem SolvingMarjorie Rombauer was one of these individuals, if not THE first person who dedicated her career to the profession.  Marjorie began teaching at the University of Washington in 1960, and by the time the first wave of "newbies" began the true development of Legal Writing in 1980, Marjorie was the matriarch to whom most people entering the field turned for advice and support.  She was omnipresent in every Legal Writing organization, and often provided the foundation on which so many conference panels were based.  
She was the first person to self-publish a book explaining how to teach Legal Analysis -- a book that West Publishing would not publish because they did not believe there was much demand for it.  [West later changed its mind about the importance of textbooks for legal writing.]
She was also the person who helped convince the Association of American Law Schools that our Section name should contain the description of "Reasoning" so that others did not think we taught skills that should be separated out from legal thought or analysis.
. . .
Legal Problem Solving Rombauer Legal Writing Bahrych RombauerMarjorie Dick Rombauer would eventually get her work published. Her books included Legal Problem Solving (pictured at left) and Legal Writing in a Nutshell (with Lynn Bahrych).
Professor Mika wrote further about her own good fortune of becoming friends with Marjorie during these past seven or eight years.  She shared these personal thoughts about her:
Marjorie was about as down to earth and humble as a person could possibly be.  She never felt that anything she did was much of a big deal, and was thrilled at the successes of those who followed in her footsteps. She was a lover of cats, and someone who, at the age of 75, could be found fixing the roof on her house.  She was extremely dedicated to family, and especially cherished the memory of her husband Edgar Rombauer, a notable attorney in his own right and who, interestingly enough, was the son of Irma Rombauer, author of the Joy of Cooking.  Marjorie told me the story about how Edgar disappointed his mother by deciding to be a photographer in the west rather than initially going into the legal profession in St. Louis. Fate brought Edgar into Marjorie's life as she was attempting to golf her way across the country starting from her home in North Dakota. She said she stayed in Seattle because she "ran out of money." Aside from law and golf and fixing things, Marjorie was an accomplished accordion player and spoke fluent Japanese.

For those who wish to know Marjorie a bit better, here is a link to an article written by Professor Mary Lawrence.

Here is also a video of Marjorie's remarks in 2011 upon accepting the 2011 Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing Education.

As Karin Mika wrote, "Marjorie Rombauer, legend and friend, will be greatly missed." We extend our sympathy to her colleagues, family, friends, and former students who were lucky enough to have her as a teacher.

Hat tip to Karin Mika


Here are some additional stories about Marjorie Rombauer:

Click here for the funeral home obituary.

Click here for a story from the University of Washington School of Law.

September 26, 2016 in Film | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hiring Faculty at Texas A&M University School of Law

Since Texas A&M University School of Law acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August of 2013, the law school has embarked on a program of investment that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; hired nineteen new faculty members, including thirteen prominent lateral hires; improved its physical facility; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff.

The school is again hiring additional faculty. Texas A&M University School of Law now seeks to expand its academic program and its strong commitment to scholarship by hiring multiple exceptional faculty candidates for contract, tenure-track, or tenured positions, with rank dependent on qualifications and experience.  Candidates must have a J.D. degree or its equivalent.  Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills.  Successful candidates will be expected to teach and engage in research and service.  Although the law school welcomes applications in all subject areas, it particularly invites applications from:

1)      Candidates who are interested in expanding and building on our innovative Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic (with concentrations in both trademarks and patents), or in one of our other acclaimed clinical areas, including Family Law and Benefits Clinic, Employment Mediation Clinic, Wills & Estates Clinic, Innocence Clinic, and Immigration Law Clinic; and

2)      Candidates with an oil and gas law and/or energy law background, either domestic U.S. or international, who are interested in interdisciplinary research, teaching, and programmatic activities.

3)      Candidates with strong classroom skills and scholarly achievement interested in teaching in its Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program.

Although the law school is primarily interested in entry-level candidates for the above positions, more experienced candidates may be considered to the extent that their qualifications respond to the law school’s needs and interests.

In addition, the law school welcomes lateral and highly experienced professionals for the following positions:

1)      Candidates with experience in IP licensing and technology transfers, with relevant academic and/or professional science background, and who are interested in working and building synergies with the Texas A&M University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

2)      Candidates in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service, and with an interest in building our nationally ranked dispute resolution program;

3)      Candidates in any field with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service;

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member.  The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures.

Texas A&M School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country.  The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living, a strong economy, and access to world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at appointments@law.tamu.edu.  Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.




September 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nominations for 2017 AALS Section Award to Honor a Significant Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Legal Writing and Research

AALS LogoThe Awards Committee for the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research is pleased to solicit nominations for the 2017 Section Award. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the field of legal writing and research. The award was formally created at the AALS Section Business Meeting in January 1995 and conferred for the first time in January 1996 at the AALS Annual Meeting. The award has sometimes been described as a Lifetime Achievement Award in Legal Writing Education.

The 2017 AALS Section award
will be presented at the AALS  Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, January 5, 2017, during the section luncheon. 

Past winners of the AALS Section Award include:

  • 2016 - Suzanne Rowe (Oregon)
  • 2015 - Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago)
  • 2014 - Jan Levine (Duquesne)
  • 2013 - Terrill Pollman (UNLV) and Jill Ramsfield (Hawaii) [two winners that year]
  • 2012 - Susan Brody (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) and Mary Barnard Ray (Wisconsin) [two winners that year]
  • 2011 - Elizabeth Fajans (Brooklyn)
  • 2010 - Joe Kimble (Thomas Cooley)
  • 2009 - Richard K. Neumann, Jr. (Hofstra)
  • 2008 - Eric Easton (Baltimore)
  • 2007 - Anne Enquist (Seattle)
  • 2006 - Terri LeClerq (Texas)
  • 2005 - Marilyn Walter (Brooklyn)
  • 2003 - Laurel Currie Oates (Seattle)
  • 2002 - Helene Shapo (Northwestern)
  • 1997 - Ralph Brill (Chicago-Kent)
  • 1996 - Mary Lawrence (Oregon)

(We know that some years are missing from this list -- please contact us if you are able to fill in the names of winners for the missing years.)

Please submit nominations before October 15, 2016. There is no particular form required to nominate someone. A simple letter or email message naming the person and describing some of his or her work should be enough. (If it isn't, we'll contact you for more information.) You can also submit additional letters of support, but the nomination form by itself is enough.

Send nominations to Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School-Chicago, mwojcik@jmls.edu. Please also copy the Award Committee Co-Chair, Professor Rosario Schrier, at rschrier@fiu.edu Please put "AALS Section Award Nomination" in the re line.


September 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stupid Bluebook Rules

The 20th edition of the Bluebook requires a citation to a Restatement to include "American Law Institute" in the parenthetical with the year of publication. For example:

  • Restatement (Third) of Unfair Competition § 3 (Am. Law Inst. 1995).

(If you're citing this in a law review footnote, the "Restatement (Third) of Unfair Competition" and "Am. Law Inst." would be in large and small caps).

In previous editions, lawyers and other legal researchers somehow magically knew that the Restatements were published by the American Law Institute. It wasn't necessary to include "Am. Law Inst." The year was enough. And under that same rule, if you're citing the Uniform Commercial Code, you have to put "Am. Law Inst. & Unif. Law Comm'n" in the parenthetical. All of this can be found in Rule 12.9.4 of the 20th edition of the Bluebook. And that's what happens when law students write the citation rules instead of professors, practitioners, or judges.

We're happy to publish your rants about other "Stupid Bluebook Rules." Please send them to us, and we'll post them. And who knows, maybe some future Bluebook editors will read it and adopt instead a more sensible rule. The "Uniform System of Citation" shouldn't be an "Uninformed System of Citation."


September 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Moot Court Competition Announcement

If anyone who serves double-duty as a Moot Court Advisor is looking for a new competition for your students, please see the below announcement of UNLV Boyd School of Law's Second Annual Frank A. Shreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition.  
2nd Annual Frank A. Schreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition
March 31, 2017 - April 2, 2017
The William S. Boyd School of Law’s Society of Advocates Moot Court Board and UNLV Gaming Law Journal invite your school to compete in the Second Annual Frank A. Schreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition.  The competition problem focuses on emerging issues at the intersection of gaming law and regulation. This competition provides the opportunity for law students from around the country to advocate in front of federal and state judges, as well as prominent attorneys in the gaming industry.
For more information, please visit the competition website at https://www.law.unlv.edu/frank-schreck-gaming-law-moot-court-competition or submit any questions you have to the Competition Chair, Valerie Gray, at schreckmcc@law.unlv.edu.
Important Dates:
  • Early Registration: September 19, 2016 through November 1, 2016
    • Fees: 
      • 1 Team: $450
      • 2 Teams: $800
  • Late Registration: November 2, 2016 through December 5, 2016
    • Fees:
      • 1 Team: $500
      • 2 Teams: $1,000
  • Problem ReleasedJanuary 9, 2017, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Brief Submission Due OnFebruary 20, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
  • Competition DatesMarch 31, 2017 through April 2, 2017

September 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Legal Writing Director Position at Elon

Elon University School of Law seeks applicants for the tenure-track or contract position of Director of the law school’s First-Year Legal Method & Communication Program. The ideal applicant will be an excellent teacher and scholar who is prepared to lead through collaboration with a faculty and staff committed to curricular innovation.  Experience directing a legal writing program is preferred.

During the past two years Elon Law has launched an innovative 2.5-year curriculum that is consistent with its mission to be the preeminent law school for engaged and experiential education in law. Central to that mission is an expanded role for communications across the curriculum:  in addition to the required 1L Legal Method & Communication sequence, all Elon Law students must also take a communication course in every upper level term, including a full-time residency-in-practice during their 2L year.  As the current director shifts her attention to development of the upper-level curriculum, we seek an innovative teacher who will further integrate the law school’s 1L writing curriculum with other first-year courses to create a unified first-year experience for students and who will work with the current director to build a comprehensive communications curriculum that extends from matriculation to graduation. 

The law school’s first-year LMC program is taught in six sections of approximately 22-23 students. In addition to working with other faculty to integrate the first-year curriculum, the director of the first-year program will work closely with Elon’s research librarians, who teach a one-credit legal research course to first-year students, and with Elon’s Writing Specialist.  The program is housed in the newly-opened Center for Excellence in Legal Analysis and Communication, with classroom, faculty offices, and common spaces designed to facilitate collaboration among faculty and provide a supportive environment for student learning.  

Applicants for the position must hold a J.D. or equivalent degree. An equitable, inclusive and diverse campus and curriculum are critical to our educational mission. Therefore Elon Law is committed to enhancing equity, inclusion and diversity, including our capacity for teaching students from all backgrounds. Recruitment is subject to approval by the University’s Provost. Please send your application or any inquiries regarding this position to Professor Andrew Haile, Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Committee, at ahaile@elon.edu


Legal Research & Writing Faculty Teaching Position Job Posting Disclosure Form


  1. The position advertised: is a tenure-track appointment. OR may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.

The position will be a contract OR a tenure-track appointment.

  1. The professor hired: will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

A professor hired on a contract may not vote on the promotion and tenure of tenure-track professors.


  1. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.)

X         over $120,000

X         $110,000 - $119,999

X         $100,000 - $109,999

X         $90,000 - $99,999

Salary depends on qualifications and experience. Professor is also eligible for professional development funds and summer research grants. 

  1. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:


            X         a.   30 or fewer in a legal writing class

Professors teach four classes per year. The three-trimester Legal Method & Communication class averages 20-24 students per section. LMC professors may also teach an additional class during one trimester, with enrollments ranging from approximately 12-24 students in a writing course or small seminar, to approximately 30-50 in a traditional upper level course.  Course relief in recognition of administrative responsibilities may be subject to negotiation.

September 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fifth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference

The Fifth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference

Saturday, December 3, 2016 

“Drafting Statutes and Rules: Pedagogy, Practice, and Politics”

Hosted by the Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, PA

Sponsored by LexisNexis with additional support from Wolters Kluwer Legal Education

Practicing attorneys frequently engage in statutory, regulation, and rule drafting whether it be drafting corporate governance documents, crafting legislative initiatives for non-profit clients, or engaging with highly regulated industries.  Despite increasing need for such skills in law practice, the drafting of statutes, ordinances, regulations, and rules (for public laws or governance of non-governmental entities) remains one of the least common law school subjects. Commonly, instruction focuses on the repercussions of poorly written statutes or rules, on the courts’ efforts at application and interpretation of statutory language, and on scholarly criticism of statutes.  Instead, law schools should teach students and practitioners how to better draft statutes and similar documents to avoid confusion, ambiguities, disagreements, and litigation. 

Duquesne University School of Law's 2016 legal writing conference offers attendees an opportunity to hear from academicians who teach how to write statutory materials, practitioners who craft statutes and similar rules, and other scholars who study all forms of legislation.  Lawyers representing corporate and non-profit clients, as well as those practicing in highly regulated areas of law, will find this program helpful in developing both skills in the art of statutory and rule drafting, and in learning about resources available to clients in need of such drafting.  

Here is the list of presentations:

  • Prof. Richard Neumann, Hofstra, & Prof. J. Lyn Entrikin, Arkansas Little-Rock – Teaching the Art and Craft of Drafting Public Law: Statutes, Rules, and More
  • Prof. Lisa Rich, Texas A&M – One-Pagers, Testimony, and Rulemaking Comments, Oh My!  Teaching Public Policy Drafting Techniques in a Law School Setting
  • Prof. Olivia Farrar, Howard – From Self-Determination To Self-Regulation: Teaching Legal Drafting Through Negotiating And Writing Class Rules
  • Profs. Dakota S. Rudesill & Terri Enns, Ohio State, Legislative Drafting Exercises: Design Decisions and Experiential Experiments
  • Governor Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania) & Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (Pennsylvania), with Prof. John Rago, Duquesne (Moderator) – From Chaos to Creation: A Look Behind the Curtain on the Flow of Policy-Making Powers Between Pennsylvania's Executive and Legislative Leaders
  • Prof. Jamie Abrams, Louisville – Teaching Legislation in the Era of Trump
  • Prof. Charles Trost, Belmont – The Government Relations Clinic
  • Prof. Rex Frazier, McGeorge – The Capital Lawyering Concentration & Courses
  • Prof. Heidi Brown, Brooklyn – Misprision of a Felony? Using State and Federal “Failure to Report a Felony” Statutes to Illustrate Language Choices in Legislation
  • Prof. Ann Schiavone, Duquesne – Writing the Law:Promoting Community Engagment and Social Justice Through  Statutory And Rule Drafting 

Attendance at the one-day conference, on Saturday, December 3, 2016, will be free for presenters, Duquesne faculty, and $50 for non-presenters with an academic or government affiliation; other attendees will be charged $125 for the full-day conference or $50 for those attending only the afternoon sessions. We anticipate offering continuing legal education credit of four hours for attorneys attending the entire conference; attendees may also register for the afternoon sessions for two hours of credit. Duquesne will provide free on-site parking to conference attendees.  

Pittsburgh is an easy drive or short flight from many cities.  To accommodate persons wishing to stay over in Pittsburgh on Friday or Saturday evenings, Duquesne is arranging for a block of discounted rooms ($144 per night) at the Marriott City Center hotel adjacent to campus, within walking distance of the law school and downtown Pittsburgh.  We will also provide attendees with information about the Pittsburgh area’s attractions, including our architectural treasures, museums, shopping, and sporting events.  To register for the conference and review the conference agenda, information about hotel accommodations and other materials, please visit the conference webpage at http://law.duq.edu/events/drafting-statutes-and-rules-pedagogy-practice-and-politics.

hat tip:  

Jan M. Levine

Professor & Director, Legal Research & Writing Program

Duquesne University School of Law 

e-mail: levinej@duq.edu 

telephone: 412.396.1048


September 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)