Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rhetoric Society of America to Hold 2017 Summer Institute and Workshops

The Rhetoric Society of America will hold its 2017 Summer Institute in Bloomington, Indiana, from Monday, May 22 through the morning of Thursday, May 25, and workshops from the afternoon of Thursday, May 25 through noon on Saturday, May 27, 2017. To attend the Institute you must apply (and be accepted) into a seminar, workshop, or both. Because they do not overlap, you may apply to both seminars AND workshops

Applications can be found online at The application deadline is October 1, 2016. Acceptances will be announced by December 2016. The registration deadline will be April 1, 2017.

The eight seminars will investigate the racial contract (Mark McPhail and Keith Miler), the new materialism (Diane Davis and Thomas Rickert), rhetoric’s affect and the affect of rhetoric (Joshua Gunn and Jenny Rice), digital rhetoric beyond the screen (James Brown, Casey Boyle, and Steph Ceraso), in/visible bodies and human rights (Wendy Hesford and Wendy Kozol), post-cold war presidential rhetoric (John Murphy and Mary Stuckey), the rhetorical spaces of memory (Carole Blair and Greg Dickinson), and queer archival immersion—to be held in the world famous Kinsey Institute and working with its collections (Charles Morris, E. Cram, Eric Darnell Pritchard, K.J. Rawson, and Jennifer Tyburczy).

The Institute Workshops will feature a workshop on academic publishing led by the immediate past editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech and the current editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and a wide array of topical workshops on argumentation, the archive, animal rhetoric, computational rhetoric, decolonizing rhetoric in the 21st century, disability rhetorics, rhetoric and environmental justice, rhetoric and the scientific object, rhetoric and sport, non-western rhetorical traditions, cinema and social movement, sonic rhetoric and much more.

Spring is a beautiful time of the year in Bloomington. The Indiana University campus is a short walk from Kirkwood Avenue where Bloomington features a wide array of ethnic cuisines. The Art Museum, designed by I. M. Pei holds an incredible collection of art, and the Lilly Rare Book library holds a wide collection of rare books and special holdings, including a Gutenberg Bible (you can actually touch it you like!), the original manuscript for Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and some of Kenneth Burke’s letters (for you Burkophiles out there).

Hat tip to Brian Larson, Georgia Institute of Technology

For more information you can visit the website or contact John Louis Lucaites, Director of the RSA Summer Institute, at


August 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Does Anyone Use Juritool?

Juritool-logoWe've been asked to review Juritool ( to see how it compares to other legal research tools. Do any of you who use Juritool have thoughts to share about your experience? 


August 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Your Scrabble Word of the Day: Syzygy

"Syzygy" is a straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies within the same celestial system, such as during a solar or lunar eclipse. It's pronounced /siz-ә-jee/.

Hat tip to Bryan Garner.


August 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AALS 2017 Annual Meeting

Early bird registration is now open for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools in San Francisco in January. Visit for more information and to see the full dance card of events.


August 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Approximations in Legal Writing

In a nice little post on Above the Law earlier today, contributor Mark Herrmann nicely summarized a skill that so many students tend to struggle with -- the degree of approximation necessary (and appropriate) when dealing with facts in court documents. I've often found it difficult to explain to students why the middle initial of the plaintiff is not necessarily a relevant detail in most circumstances (but could be in others).  Herrmann's post provides a quick, concise insight into the problem. I look forward to directing students struggle with fact relevance to this post in the future!! 

{ldj} Hat tip, Mark Herrmann

August 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What's a Researcher to Do?

Many legal researchers got a surprise earlier back in April when Thomson Reuters sent an email informing its subscribers that Thomson Reuters had erroneously omitted text from some 600 judicial decisions published since November 2014.
Here's the message that Thomson Reuters sent to its customers and posted on its website:
To our customers:

As part of our commitment to transparency, I wanted to alert you to some errors related to publishing cases in Westlaw® and our print volumes that we have now corrected.

In March, Thomson Reuters became aware that small portions of text were missing in a number of new cases posted to Westlaw due to the introduction of an upgrade to our PDF conversion process in November 2014. We immediately conducted an investigation, which revealed that approximately one-half of one percent (0.5%) of total decisions added to our collection during this period were affected by these issues. We have now corrected those cases on Westlaw and we will be shipping replacement print volumes to all affected customers as soon as possible. We will work closely with those customers to minimize any disruption.

Our analysis of the cases found that none of these issues resulted in any change to the meaning of the law. To provide clarity, we are posting examples of the issues, as well as a listing of all corrected cases, here. We will post all affected cases with corrections highlighted within the text.

Additional details and answers to common questions can be found here. If you have questions, please contact your sales representative or Thomson Reuters Customer Service at 1-800-249-9378.

We are very aware of our crucial role in supporting the U.S. legal system, and there is nothing more important to us than delivering the best possible solutions and customer service to you. Please accept our apologies for our errors. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.
Although this message was undoubtedly embarrassing for Thomson Reuters, we commend their investigation of the problem, the openness of their message, and their ultimate response: to correct the electronic versions of cases and to print replacement volumes of the reporters.
Hat tip to Ann Schwing.


August 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

U.S. Senate Confirms Carla Hayden as 14th Librarian of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register create works of authorship at

Last month the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Carla D. Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. She was approved for a renewable 10-year term. The vote was 74-18.

Dr. Hayden was nominated by President Barack Obama in February. She was the longtime chief executive of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore and a former president of the American Library Association. She's also the first woman and the first African-American to head the Library of Congress.

"This is truly a great honor to be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the nation’s library, the Library of Congress," Dr. Hayden said. "It has been my privilege to serve the citizens of Baltimore for 23 years and help restore the Enoch Pratt Free Library as a world-renowned institution. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the Library of Congress. I will be honored to build on the legacy and accomplishments of my predecessors in this position, to be part of a continuing movement to open the treasure chest that is the Library of Congress even further and to make it a place that can be found and used by everyone."

Dr. Hayden takes the helm from Acting Librarian David S. Mao, who has served since the retirement of Dr. James H. Billington on September 30, 2015.

Dr. Hayden has recently overseen the renovation of the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, a four-year, $112 million project, and has also led $40 million in renovations to other units within the 22-branch Pratt system. The system is named for the businessman and philanthropist who financed its founding in 1886.

She took the helm of the Baltimore system in 1993, winning strong praise for her work to ensure that the city’s library system offers a broad array of services to assist citizens from all walks of life, from access to books and other learning materials to computer access and job information. A program of outreach into neighborhoods served by the Pratt libraries included after-school centers for teens, offering homework assistance and college counseling; a program offering healthy-eating information for residents in areas with insufficient access to high-quality food; programming in Spanish; establishment of an electronic library, and digitization of the Library’s special collections.

Dr. Hayden won high praise, during recent civil unrest in some Baltimore neighborhoods, for keeping library branches open citywide to continue service and provide citizens with safe havens.

Dr. Hayden first served as a children’s librarian in the Chicago Public Library system, eventually rising to the post of deputy commissioner and chief librarian in that system. She also taught Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She received Library Journal’s 1995 Librarian of the Year Award, and served as president of the American Library Association 2003-2004.

Dr. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.

(Adapted from a press release from the Library of Congress)


August 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Editors for Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute

The Editorial Board of the Legal Writing Journal published by the Legal Writing Institute announced that the following editors joined Journal’s Editorial Board last month at the 2016 LWI Biennial Conference in Portland:
  • Prof. Elizabeth Inglehart (Northwestern)
  • Prof. Lori Johnson (UNLV)
  • Prof. Lisa Mazzie (Marquette)
  • Prof. Sarah Mortah (Akron)
  • Prof. Kath Vinson (Suffolk)
Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute is now published online. You can find the previous 20 volumes (and much more) by clicking here.

August 9, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Job Opening in San Diego

California Western School of Law (CWSL) invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support.

Summary Description: Under the general direction of the Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement, the Assistant Director of Academic Support provides academic support to law students, particularly those at academic risk. The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for supervising the tutoring program, presenting skills workshops, and working with first-year students who are facing academic difficulty. The Assistant Director teaches the Academic Achievement Workshop for second-year students and assists alumni who are studying for the California bar exam.

About the School: California Western School of Law is a not-for-profit, independent law school located in downtown San Diego, with approximately 800 students. San Diego’s oldest law school, CWSL was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1962 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1967. In addition to its strong JD and LLM programs, California Western offers dual and joint degrees with UC San Diego and San Diego State University and administers numerous clinical programs including the California Innocence Project, Community Law Project, and several programs focused on improving the rule of law in Latin America.

Qualifications: Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school; successful passage of California Bar exam; at least one year of law teaching experience in an academic support or bar preparation program required. Experience in course planning, classroom presentations, and one-on-one tutoring; experience in learning theories and effective pedagogy, including formative and summative assessment; and knowledge of California Civil Procedure preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Candidates must be self-starters, able to prioritize and complete multiple tasks of varying complexity and urgency in a timely and efficient manner. This individual will be joining a great Academic Achievement team that consistently collaborates and reinforces each other’s efforts in furtherance of a truly supportive learning community for our students. The individual must have a firm commitment to provide exemplary services in a demanding and challenging environment, while understanding processes and compliance requirements necessary to execute academic success programming. Demonstrating good judgement is key. The applicant must have a demonstrated ability to speak effectively to groups. The individual must have poise, tactfulness, diplomacy and professionalism when dealing with staff, faculty, students and outside constituents. The candidate must also demonstrate a passion for working with students – particularly those who struggle academically – and have a track record of developing robust relationships with students.

Salaries are commensurate with qualifications and experience. The institution offers competitive benefits, including 403(b) and flexible spending plans.

Interested individuals should provide a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the position, salary requirements, and resume to: Human Resources at by August 1, 2016. The search will continue until the position is filled.

Start Date: Ideally September 2016 to facilitate transition into the fall trimester and prior to the kick-off of student tutor programming.

The institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to affirmative action and to excellence through diversity. The institution provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants with disabilities upon request.

h/t Leslie Culver


July 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 22, 2016

LWI Conference Guest Post: Two Minutes for Professional Status in Legal Writing

Please welcome a guest post from Stetson's Kirsten Davis, reflecting on last week's wonderful LWI Biennial Conference in Portland!


From Kirsten:

Two Minutes for Professional Status in Legal Writing

I had the great pleasure of speaking on what I’ll call a “pop-up panel” (a short panel at the end of longer conference session that featured other speakers on the same topic) at the Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference last week in Portland, Oregon. Each panelist had two minutes to speak on the subject of professional status for legal writing faculty. My friend, Brian Larson of Georgia Tech, also on the pop-up, posted his two minutes here.

Here are my two minutes:

As professors who teach legal writing in law schools, our collective professional status depends on three choices we can make in imagining and talking about ourselves.

First, we should imagine ourselves as subject matter experts who study and teach “legal communication”--not just “legal writing”—but also legal speaking and legal symbolism. Perhaps this imagining doesn’t require much work at all; our scholarship and our teaching have almost always extended beyond the boundaries of legal writing. But, I think it's time that each of us, supported by our national organizations, name ourselves as legal communication experts.

Second, our value in law schools goes well beyond the labor of our red pens; our value is not just as lawyers who pass on the received wisdom of the profession through intensive student interaction. Instead, we should recognize that we are valuable for our new ideas, our insights, and our knowledge-generating research in the field. And we should tell the world about them.

Finally, we should imagine ourselves as critical scholars of legal communication. We are not limited to teaching and research about whether legal communication is effective; instead, we can take normative positions on the value, ethics, morality, and social impact of legal messages. Our expertise and position within the academy empower us to judge legal communication for its impact on political participation, marginalized communities, wealth distribution, community violence, perpetuation of exclusion, perceptions of difference, hateful speech, and access to justice. Perhaps there is no other moment in our history that more passionately calls for us, as legal communication scholars, to critically evaluate legal and quasi-legal messages and to speak publicly about them.

What are your two-minutes on professional status in legal writing?

{ldj} Thanks to Kirsten Davis!

July 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Word That Only Lawyers and Judges Could Love: Defalcation

"Defalcation" is "a word that only lawyers and judges could love," according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In re Jahrling, No. 15-2252, Slip Op. at 5 (7th Cir. Mar. 18, 2016). Congress first used the term in a federal bankruptcy statute enacted in 1867 shortly after the end of the Civil War, and "legal authorities have disagreed about its meaning ever since." Id. (citing Bullock v. BankChanpaign, 133 S. Ct. 1754 (2013).

The Jahrling case involved a claim not for fraud, but for defalcation -- something less than fraud or embezzlement but something greater than negligence or mistake. In Jahrling, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a bankruptcy court ruling that a legal malpractice judgment was not dischargeable in bankruptcy because the judgment was for a "defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity." The lawyer had prepared closing documents for a real estate transaction for a 90-year-old man who sold his $106,000 home for just $35,000 on the understanding that he would keep a life estate in the property. All well and good, but the lawyer forgot to include the life estate for the man when he drafted the documents. The man spoke only Polish and could not read the closing documents. When the buyers tried to evict the man after the sale, he sued for legal malpractice but died before that case went to trial. The estate pursued the action and obtained a malpractice judgment against the lawyer, who tried to have it discharged in bankruptcy.

The Supreme Court said that defalcation requires proof of "a culpable state of mind . .  . involving knowledge of, or gross recklessness to, the improper nature of the relevant fiduciary behavior." 133 S. Ct. at 1757. The Supreme Court also said that defalcation can also be used "to refer to nonfraudulent breaches of fiduciary duty." Id. at 1759.

The bankruptcy court refused to discharge the debt because the judgment was for a "defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity." The Seventh Circuit affirmed that ruling, and affirmed that "defalcation" was a word that "only lawyers and judges could love."


July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Registration Open for CSLSA Conference

Registration is now open for the Central States Law Schools Association 2016 Scholarship Conference, Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24& at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Law faculty from across the country (and, hey, let's be honest, they'll probably take a Canadian professor too) to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress. CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More seasoned scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend. 

Please click here to register. The deadline for registration is September 2, 2016.  

Hotel rooms are now available for pre-booking. The conference hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. The hotel phone number is (701) 775-6000. When booking, identify yourself as part of the “UND School of Law” block to receive a daily rate of $89. Conference participants are responsible for all of their own travel expenses including hotel accommodations.

Hat tip to the 2016 CSLSA Board


July 19, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Coleen Barger, Mark Wojcik, and the ALWD Manual

Barger Wojcik ALWDPhoto caption contest?














July 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Kim Chanbonpin is the New LWI President; Kristen Tiscione is the new LWI President-Elect; Kim Holst is the New LWI Secretary; Candace Centeno Continues as LWI Treasurer

LWI OfficersThe Legal Writing Institute Board of Directors held elections on Sunday for the officers for the 2016-2018 Term.

Professor Kim Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago) has become the new President of the Legal Writing Institute. She will serve a two-year term as President. She follows Professor Linda Berger (University of Nevada at Las Vegas), who is now the Immediate Past President.

Professor Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Georgetown University Law Center) was chosen as President-Elect and will become president in 2018. Professor Kim Holst (Arizona State University) was elected as Secretary and Professor Candace Mueller Centeno (Villanova University School of Law) was re-elected as LWI Treasurer.

Pictured here (from left to right) are: Outgoing LWI Secretary Professor Samantha A. Moppett (Suffolk University Law School); incoming LWI Secretary Kim Holst, LWI Treasurer Candace Centeno; LWI President Kim Chanbonpin; Immediate Past President Linda Berger; and LWI President-Elect Kris Tiscione.



July 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Members of the 2016-2018 Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute

LWI Board 2016-18Here's a photo of the 2016-2018 Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute, which is holding its Biennial Conference this week in Portland, Oregon.

Front row (from left to right): Cassandra Hill (TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law); LWI President-Elect Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Georgetown University Law Center); LWI Secretary Kimberly Holst (Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law); and Rebecca L. Scharf (University of Nevada at Las Vegas Boyd School of Law).

Second row (from left to right): LWI Immediate Past President Linda L. Berger (University of Nevada at Las Vegas Boyd School of Law); Iselin Gambert (The George Washington University Law School);   LWI President Kim Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago); Mary Nicol Bowman (Seattle University School of Law); and Judith Rosenbaum (Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law).  

Back row (from left to right): Samantha A. Moppett (Suffolk University Law School); LWI Treasurer Candace Mueller Centeno (Villanova University School of Law); Alison E. Julien (Marquette University Law School); Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago); Bob Brain (Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles); and Jason Palmer (Stetson University School of Law).



July 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LWI Spouses Enjoying Portland

LWI SpousesWhile we're hard at work in the sessions of the 2016 Legal Writing Institute Conference, some LWI Spouses are enjoying Portland without us.  

Hat tip to Anne Enquist.



July 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kim Chanbonpin and Linda Berger

Kim Chanbonpin and Linda BergerProfessor Linda Berger of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas completed her term as President of the Legal Writing Institute and turned over the gavel to incoming President Kim Chanbonpin of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

They are both pictured here at the Monday Luncheon at the Biennial LWI Conference in Portland, where approximately 500 professors from the United States and Canada are meeting this week.



July 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Stephanie Juliano Wins the 2016 Hecht Memorial Writing Award

Stephanie Juliano Hecht AwardLegal writing specialists and past winners of the Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Award congratulate Stephanie Juliano of the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, winner of the 2016 Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Award. #LWI2016.

The award is presented by the Legal Writing Institute in honor of Deborah Hecht, who served as the Director of the Legal Writing Center at Touro University School of Law for eight years. During that time, she worked to develop Touro’s Legal Resources Center, including developing a website. She was also active in the Legal Writing Institute and in its smaller legal writing specialists group, writing articles for The Second Draft’s “From the Desk of the Writing Specialist” column. Deborah died on November 4, 2005, and she is greatly missed by all in the legal writing community, particularly the members of the Association of Legal Writing Specialists. To honor her memory and her contributions to the legal writing profession, the legal writing specialists received approval from the Legal Writing Institute Board of Directors to create the Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Award. The award is given to the writing specialist who writes the best article for The Second Draft during a two-year period. The award is presented during the LWI Biennial Conference.

Stephanie Juliano received the award for her article, "Everything Old is New Again: Using IRAC to Teach Basic Writing Skills."

In her acceptance remarks, Stephanie mentioned that winning the award had special meaning because just outside her own office is a memorial plaque for Deborah Hecht.

Congratulations to Stephanie and thank you to all of the legal writing specialists who help us promote better legal writing. Also included in this photo are two previous winners of the Hecht Award: Jeremy Francis (Michigan State University College of Law) and Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago).


July 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Save the Date: 2017 Applied Legal Storytelling Conference in Washington D.C.

The next Applied Legal Storytelling Conference will be held at American University Washington College of Law from July 11-13, 2017. 


July 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Flying to Portland for LWI?

You can take the MAX from Portland Airport to the conference hotel for just $2.50. Get off at the "Pioneer Courthouse Square" stop and it's just a three-minute walk from there to the Portland Hilton and Towers.


July 10, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)