Monday, June 23, 2014
The 2014 Legal Writing Conference starts next weekend, on June 29, in Philadelphia. Conference co-chairs Candace Centeno (pictured at left) and Carol Wallinger (at right) have offered some tips for participants:
"1. The dress code? For those new to the conference, there is no set dress code for the conference. Most people wear comfortable clothes, although you will also see some people in suits (particularly for presentations). For the gala, business casual is appropriate.
"2. Weather in Philadelphia? Although it is too early to predict Philadelphia’s always changing weather, the ten-day weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high 80s from Monday through Wednesday, along with a chance for showers/thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday. Pack an umbrella (just in case!) for ventures outside of the hotel, including the brief walk to the Gala on Tuesday.
"3. What else to pack? If you want to do some walking around Philadelphia, pack some comfortable walking shoes. Many of the historical sites are within walking distance."
Veteran conference participant Sue Liemer emphasized on the listserv that the dress code really is casual. She wrote, "Starting with the first LWI conference, the pioneers of our field made a point of wanting everyone to feel comfortable at the conference, and they encouraged a no-dress-code tradition. If you want to wear jeans and a t-shirt, even when you give your presentation, you won’t be the only one."
Regarding transportation, the chairs explain, "The regional rail is particularly convenient because there is a stop right next to the Marriot hotel (the Market East stop). Alternatively, taxis are plentiful, and . . . Internet research revealed a flat rate of $26.25 from the airport to downtown Philadelphia."
See the conference website for more detailed information, including the conference program.
hat tips: Candace Centeno, Carol Wallinger, Sue Liemer
Professors Stefan Krieger and Katrina Fischer Kuh of Hofstra have published a study comparing the results of legal research in print and electronic media. Their article, Accessing Law: An Empirical Study Exploring the Influence of Legal Research Medium, presents a study of law students’ research. The authors found that the choice of medium can influence outcomes, and they conclude, “This Article strongly supports calls for the legal profession and legal academy to be more attentive to the implications of the shift to electronic research.”
Hat tip: Scott Fruehwald
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Brigham Young law librarian Dennis Sears recently analyzed ways to teach students the benefits and drawbacks of both print and online resources. His article, The Pedagogical Value of an Integrated Approach to Legal Research Instruction: Overcoming Student Resistance to the Use of Print Sources and Striking a Balance That Instills an Appreciation of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Both Print and Online Sources, was published at 33 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 38 (2014).
Friday, June 13, 2014
In a black-tie celebration at the Library of Congress on June 9, Seattle professor Anne Enquist received this year's Burton Award for legal writing. Anne was a founder of the Legal Writing Institute and has authored numerous materials about teaching legal writing, including Just Writing, a book on writing and style co-authored with Laurel Currie Oates. Pictured below are Anne Enquist, Laurel Oates, and Dean Annette Clark of Seattle, with Jay Leno, who entertained at the event. View Anne's acceptance speech here.
Photo credit: Karin Mika
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Planning to come to Philadelphia for the LWI Conference at the end of the month? Philly's a great restaurant town, and you might want to start to think about hitting up one of Philly's hot spots for your non-conference meals.
The conference committee has put together a helpful restaurant guide for conference-goers. Personal favorites within a short wandering distance of the hotel include Federal Donuts, Barbuzzo, Sampan, Amis, Zavino, and El Vez.
(Photo: some out-of-this-world rigatoni I had recently at Amis.)
In his recent article Controlling Crowded Sentences, rhetorician George Gopen shows how to make the most of stress positions. He starts with a sample thirty-six word sentence and then revises it six different ways. Some revisions are a bit longer than the original, but Gopen emphasizes that “I do not hold with those who advise ‘to make it better, make it shorter.’” Each revision has a different purpose: one places a person in a subordinate role, and another builds empathy for her.
The article appeared in the spring 2014 issue of Litigation. If you're not a member of the ABA Litigation Section, ask your librarian to help you get a copy of the full article.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
When a Rose Isn't 'Arose' Isn't Arroz: A Student Guide to Footnoting for Informational Clarity and Scholarly Discourse
Professor William Mock has authored an article meant to help students cite more sensibly. The article begins with welcome advice: "Not every proposition in a law review articles requires citation, nor does every footnote require cited authority." (And in case you're worried already, that sentence has two footnotes in the orginal!).
It is the kind of article that should be given to incoming law journal editorial boards to help student editors (and research assistants) understand the distinctions among different types of footnotes.
You can share this link for students to download a copy of the paper from SSRN.
(With students, we recommend giving the link rather than the document itself so that students will also learn how to do research on SSRN--a source that gives them information not found on Westlaw or Lexis or Bloomberg).
If law journals adopt more sensible rules for citations rather than strict mathematical formulas (such as 1.8 pages of footnotes for each page of text), law reviews have a chance to increase their readability and usefulness to readers.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
“Eliminate zombie nouns,” advises Bryan Garner in the May 2014 issue of the Student Lawyer. Garner refers to what many call “nominalizations,” that is, verbs changed into cumbersome noun forms. He calls them “zombie nouns” because they are “essentially both dead and deadening.” For example, “make a contribution” is less lively than “contribute,” and “have a discussion about the issues” is clunkier than “discuss the issues.” Garner urges, “To liven up the sentence, give it action.” He also advises students to minimize the passive voice, offering guidelines on how to identify it. He then provides an example heavy with zombie nouns and the passive voice, which he then revises it to make it more readable.
Monday, June 2, 2014
First-year law students struggling with citations may want to consult Suggestions for Citing Authority without Distracting the Reader, by University of Kentucky Professor Kristin Hazelwood. Two of its tips are to keep citations at the end of the sentence and to use explanatory parentheticals only for additional information, not to replace text. These and the article’s other suggestions are available at page 16 of the May 2014 issue of the Kentucky Bench and Bar Magazine.
Saturday, May 31, 2014
More than 180 persons from over 20 countries around the world participated in the ninth Global Legal Skills Conference, which was held from May 21-23, 2014 at the University of Verona Faculty of Law (Italy). The conference included presentation of GLS Awards in the following categories: (1) individuals; (2) books; and (3) institutions.
Announcement of the 2014 GLS Award Winners
- Prof. Heidi Brown, New York Law School (New York, USA), nominated and recognized for her work with students to reduce extreme fear of public speaking and increase performance in classrooms, oral arguments, and client-centered legal skills activities.
- Prof. Juli Campagna, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University (New York, USA) and Adjunct Professor of Law, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), recognized for developing English Immersion Training Programs and for exceptional devotion to meeting the needs of international students around the world.
- Dean Marion Dent, ANO Pericles, (Moscow, Russian Federation), recognized for her work in higher education in Russia and for her work to bring the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition to Russia.
- Deborah B. McGregor and Cynthia M. Adams, The International Lawyer's Guide to Legal Analysis and Communication in the United States (Wolters Kluwer 2008).
- Anthony S. Winer, Mary Ann E. Archer, and Lyonette Louis-Jacques, International Law Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press 2013), a book designed to enrich international law courses by showing students how to research sources of international law, and to help law schools create stand-alone courses in international law legal research.
- BarWrite and BarWrite Press, New York, USA (Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher), for its early and thoughtful recognition of the special bar exam preparation needs needs of lawyers and law students from other countries.
Congratulations to all of the winners. GLS Awards will be presented again next year in Chicago at the tenth Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be co-hosted by The John Marshall Law School-Chicago and the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico).
Photo of Verona by Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law).
Thursday, May 29, 2014
A recent article by Harvard Professor Richard Lazarus shows that U.S. Supreme Court opinions aren’t as final as they may seem. New Supreme Court decisions always carry the caveat that they are subject to revision for “typographical or other formal errors” before publication in United States Reports. But sometimes it takes several years before the Court issues its “‘final’ and ‘official’ opinion.” And Justices sometimes make significant substantive changes in the interim, as in the recent cases Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), and Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P, 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014). Lazarus’s article discusses what constitutes a “formal” change, whether notice of changes is or should be provided, and what problems the Court’s current process creates.
hat tip: Ralph Brill
Friday, May 23, 2014
Law students and graduates working for judges this summer will find some helpful tips on writing opinions in a recent article by Judge Samuel A. Thumma. Observations of a Rookie Appellate Judge presents Judge Thumma’s views following his first year on the Arizona Court of Appeals. He points out that writing an appellate opinion differs from writing a brief because the audience for a published opinion is broader and more diverse. He also emphasizes the importance of a “short, tight, clean introduction,” the benefits of headings, the value of omitting unimportant details, and the need to specify what relief is granted. For more tips, see the full article in the winter 2014 issue of the Judges’ Journal.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Former Legal Writing Institute president Susan Duncan has been named to a three-year term as Dean of the University of Louisville's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Susan's involvement in the legal writing field has been extensive. She has also chaired the AALS Section on Legal Research, Writing and Analysis, and her scholarship includes How Judges, Practitioners, and Legal Writing Teachers Assess the Writing Skills of New Law Graduates: A Comparative Study, co-authored with David Ritchie.
Monday, May 19, 2014
On Tuesday, June 1 (during the LWI Biennial Conference), new legal writing professors have the opportunity to participate in a critiquing workshop. This workshop is based on Dan Barnett’s Triage in the Trenches, 38 U. Toledo L. Rev. 651 (2007). The workshop is split into four sessions and introduces new teachers to critiquing student work. Participants must register in advance. Click this link to register and receive materials that you'll need to read in advance.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Christine Pedigo Bartholomew was named Professor of the Year at SUNY Buffalo Law School. She received her B.A. from San Francisco State University in 1997 and her J.D. from the University at California, Davis, in 2000. Upon graduation, Bartholomew worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as an attorney, practicing in the areas of antitrust and consumer protection. In 2004, she helped open a branch office of a Washington, D.C.-based class action boutique law firm. During her career in legal practice, Professor Bartholomew worked on several significant antitrust actions, including Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corp. She was a member of the Law School’s adjunct faculty, teaching Private Antitrust Suits, Complex Civil Litigation and Antitrust.
Hat tip to Patrick Long.
Friday, May 16, 2014
The ninth Global Legal Skills Conference is next week in Verona, Italy. The conference is organized by The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and hosted this year at the University of Verona Faculty of Law.
Registration spots are still open if you are able to join us May 21-23, 2014 in Verona. We are expecting more than 160 participants from over 30 countries around the world.
Unfortunately the field trip to Vicenza has sold out (but there is a wait list).
If you are attending the conference and want information about arriving at the airports in Verona (VRN) or Venice (VCE), click here for a post on The International Law Prof Blog and download the document linked there.
This is the largest GLS Conference ever, with experts on international legal education from around the world.
Mark E. Wojcik, Founder and Co-Chair, Global Legal Skills Conference
But not the kind you're expecting. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that an associate professor of English at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) was approved for a promotion this week by the state’s Board of Regents for Higher Education while he was in prison for a probation violation.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
A new edition of Ross Guberman’s book on advocacy, Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates, has just arrived. The second edition adds eight new model lawyers, including Solicitor General Don Verrilli and criminal defense attorney Judy Clarke, to the first edition’s fifty. The new edition includes more examples, more commentary on specific style points, a new list of fifty power verbs, an expanded list of transitional phrases, and fifty writing challenges keyed to the book’s fifty techniques. I’ve been recommending the first edition of Point Made to my advocacy students for several years now. Its emphasis on colorful wording and a confident tone help the students achieve a vibrant persuasive writing style.
Friday, May 9, 2014
In the latest issue of the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, Bryan Garner continues his series of interviews with judges. This time he talks with five United States Court of Appeals judges to collect some inside information about brief writing and oral argument. Here are some of the judges’ pithy quotes:
Judge (and former Chief Judge) Frank Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit said a lawyer should know why the court has jurisdiction. He imagines having a button he could press to send a lawyer out to the street if the lawyer can’t explain the basis for appellate jurisdiction. “Because if we don’t have jurisdiction, why are we here?”
Judge Pierre Leval of the Second Circuit said the first thing he looks at in a brief is the argument headings “to get a sense of what’s involved.” Then he can read the facts in context.
Chief Judge Sandra Lynch of the First Circuit said many lawyers look “frozen” when a judge asks a question. But instead, they should think, “This is a great way that I can hit a few more balls out of the park; I can help my case.”
Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit likes briefs written in “simple, clear sentences.” And he likes “a story that flows so you can tell what it’s about and why . . . something I can follow easily.”
And Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit finds it “common to see a brief that is frustrating because you have a feeling you’re on a treasure hunt. You get some idea what the lawyer is trying to say, but the lawyer isn’t presenting the point as clearly as he or she should. And it takes a while to ferret out what you think the real point is.”
For the full interviews, see Volume 15 of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing. It’s not up on line yet, but hard copies are available.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014