Tuesday, May 17, 2016
We bring the sad news of the death of Professor Richard C. Wydick of the University of California at Davis School of Law. His book, Plain English for Lawyers, published by Carolina Academic Press, sold more than a million copies and was a standard text for many American lawyers and law students.
Professor Wydick joined the UC Davis Law School faculty in 1971, and was a fixture at King Hall until his retirement in 2003, teaching Evidence, Antitrust Law, Professional Responsibility, Advanced Legal Writing, and “what’s now called Intellectual Property, though it used to be called Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and Unfair Competition,” he said.
In recognition of his contributions to legal writing, Professor Wydick received the Golden Pen Award from the Legal Writing Institute and a lifetime achievement award from Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers.
He was a Board Member of Scribes and a member of the American Law Institute.
Professor Wydick died on May 11, 2016. We extend our sympathy to his family, friends, former students, and colleagues.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016
The next Global Legal Skills Conference is being held in Verona, Italy from May 24-26, 2016 at the University of Verona Department of Law, in cooperation with The John Marshall Law School of Chicago. Registration is still open. More information about the conference, including the conference schedule and speakers, is available by clicking here.
The conference is supported by a number of organizations, including the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association Section of International Law, the International Law Students' Association, and Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers. Speakers also include the chairs and past chairs of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Friday, May 6, 2016
Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954) was Solicitor General of the United States (1938-1940), the Attorney General of the United States (1940–1941) and an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1941–1954). He is the only person in U.S.history to have held all three of those offices. He was also the chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
Justice Jackson is widely considered as one of the greatest legal writers of all time. In a concurring opinion in McGrath v. Kristensen, 340 U.S. 162, 176-78 (1950), Justice Jackson wrote to explain why he joined the opinion of the Supreme Court when it was contrary to an Attorney General opinion written under his name just 10 years earlier. He wrote: "I am entitled to say of that opinion what any discriminating reader must think of it -- that it was as foggy as the statute the Attorney General was asked to interpret."
He then stated that there was no lack of precedent "for ways by which a judge may recede from a prior opinion that has proven untenable and perhaps misled others." He noted that Baron Bramwell had "extricated himself from a somewhat similar embarrassment by saying, 'The matter does not appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then.'" 340 U.S. at 233 (Jackson, J., concurring)(citing Andrew v. Styrap, 26 L.T.R. (N.S.) 704, 706).
And after citing other examples from Justice Story and Dr. Johnson, Justice Jackson quoted Lord Westbury, who, it was said, "rebuffed a barrister's reliance on an earlier opinion of his Lordship" by stating "I can only say that I am amazed that a man of my intelligence should have been guilty of giving such an opinion." Justice Jackson said that if there were "other ways of gracefully and good naturedly surrendering former views to a better considered position," he invoked them all.
Hat tip to Robert Epstein.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
In an interesting post for those of us who teach contract drafting, Golden Pen Awardee and legal writing expert Ross Guberman explores the prescriptivist versus descriptivist dilemma facing the contract drafting community. In an attempt to "bridge the gap" between how transactional lawyers do write, and how some drafting pundits think they should write, Guberman ponders the adoption of a "rebuttal presumption." Guberman posits if "more than 75 percent of seasoned corporate lawyers adopt a certain practice in contract drafting," it can be presumed such practices arise from more than mere inertia and fearful adherence to jargon. An interesting hypothesis -- see this legal writing prof's response in the comments!
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications for one or more Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Writing positions in its J.D. program, beginning in the fall of 2016. The visiting professor will teach two sections (totaling approximately 36-45 students) of Legal Analysis, Research & Writing I & II. (This is a 3-credit course in the fall semester, and a 2-credit course in the spring semester.) A candidate hired as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Writing will be given a one-year contract. We plan on conducting searches for one or two long-term Legal Writing faculty positions later this year with a start date of fall 2017.
Candidates should have strong academic records (including a J.D. or its equivalent) and experience in law practice. They should be able to show a strong interest and competency in teaching legal research and writing. Teaching experience is preferred.
The University of Akron School of Law is a public, mid-size law school of approximately 450 students located in the Akron/Cleveland metropolitan area. Akron Law prides itself on outcomes including our high bar passage rate (first in Ohio for the Feb. 2015 exam), award-winning clinical programs, national championship trial team program and various areas of excellence.
Akron Law is committed to achieving a diverse faculty and staff by including individuals from varied backgrounds and characteristics, including age, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background. We are also committed to offering competitive salary and benefits packages to qualified candidates.
Applicants must complete an on-line application and submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a writing sample, the names of three references, and teaching evaluations (if available) through the University website (see below) Job # 9540. For additional information, please feel free to direct any inquiries to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Bill Jordan, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will begin immediately. http://www.uakron.edu/hr/jobs.dot Go to "My Activities" link and upload the required documents under the “my Cover Letters and Attachments” section. Applicants should fully describe their qualifications and experience with reference to the minimum and preferred qualifications. This is the information on which the initial review of materials will be based. For assistance with your application or attachments please call 330-972-8431.
The University of Akron is an equal education and employment institution. It is the policy of this institution that there shall be no unlawful discrimination against any individual in employment or in its programs or activities at The University of Akron because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information or status as a veteran. The University is also committed to the principles of affirmative action and acts in accordance with state and federal laws.
Save the Date: The Fifth “Colonial Frontier” Legal Writing Conference -- Drafting Statutes and Rules: Pedagogy, Practice, and Politics
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Professor Glencer, a native of Pittsburgh, holds a B.A. in English from Carlow College (with a concentration in literature & philosophy) and a J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law. She spent six years as a judicial law clerk, serving the Honorable Joseph F. Weis, Jr. and the Honorable D. Michael Fisher, both on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and more recently, a judge on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Professor Glencer also practiced law for five years with the national law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis LLP, where she concentrated in appellate litigation and governmental affairs.
The teaching award recognizes "a professor who has made outstanding contributions in teaching." "Candidates must demonstrate the ability to engage students actively in the learning process through teaching that is intellectually rigorous and innovative. Other criteria include: knowledge about the subject matter, well-organized lectures, assignments and course work load; enthusiasm regarding teaching and learning, interest in the students, sensitivity to the learning environment, and innovation of instruction." Congratulations, Julia!
Hat tip to Jan Levine
The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) announced that Ross Guberman is the recipient of the 2016 Golden Pen Award. The author of three books, Point Made, Deal Struck, and Point Taken, Guberman is known around the world as an expert and advocate for better legal writing. The award will be presented during the 2016 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, July 10-13, 2016, in Portland, Oregon.
The LWI Awards Committee recommended Guberman for the 2016 Golden Pen to recognize his significant contribution to advancing the cause of legal writing. In addition to his books, he gives legal writing seminars around the world. Guberman’s nominator noted that his “work is . . . targeted at improving the writing of everyday lawyers. Ross’s techniques aren’t esoteric; they’re easy to understand, they can be implemented quickly and easily, and they greatly improve the quality of writing.” The members of the LWI Awards Committee have used his books in their teaching, and know many other legal writing teachers who have done the same. The LWI Board unanimously approved this recommendation.
The Golden Pen Award honors those who make significant contributions to advance the cause of better legal writing. These contributions may take any form, such as promoting the use of clear language in public documents, improving the quality of legal writing instruction, advocating for better writing within the legal community, outstanding scholarship or journalism about legal writing or legal topics, or exceptional writing in law practice. The award is normally given to someone who is not an active member of LWI, but active members are considered in exceptional circumstances.
In the ABA’s Appellate Issues on-line magazine, Wendy McGuire Coats wrote that in Point Made, “Guberman has assembled example after example of creative, clever, clear, common-sense legal writing. He’s compiled in one book the great writing that will cause a legal writer to sigh, ‘I wish I'd written that.’ But he did not stop there. Guberman has written a useable handbook that will aid the writer in crafting similar envy worthy moments of argument . . . Guberman’s techniques provide immediate ways to improve, tighten, and enliven the language and persuasive force of your prose.”
Guberman is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School, where he teaches a seminar on drafting and writing strategy. He also provides seminars throughout the United States and internationally.
Previous recipients of the Golden Pen award are Arthur Levitt, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Don LeDuc, Dean of the Thomas Cooley Law School; Linda Greenhouse, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times; the late Honorable Robert E. Keeton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Richard Wydick, Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law; the Honorable Ronald M. George, the Honorable Carol A. Corrigan, and the Honorable James D. Ward, Justices of the Supreme Court of California and the California Court of Appeal; the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; the National Association of Attorneys General; William C. Burton, Esq.; George Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric in the English Department at Duke University; Jeffrey Rosen, Professor of Law at The George Washington University and President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center; Ken Adams, author; and Judge Michael A. Ponsor of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The LWI Awards Committee in identifying nominees includes Chair Susan Bay and members Anne Enquist, Myra Orlen, and Kathy Vinson. Hat tips to LWI President Linda Berger and LWI President-Elect Kim D. Chanbonpin.
Kent Streseman, the Director of Appellate Advocacy at Chicago-Kent College of Law, was chosen as Professor of the Year by the Student Bar Association at Chicago-Kent. This marks the fourth time the SBA has selected him for that award. Congratulations!
Hat tip to Professor Elizabeth De Armond
Professor Lou Sirico is the 2016 Recipient of the Burton Award for Contribution to Legal Writing Education
Professor Louis J. Sirico, Jr. of Villanova University School of Law is this year’s recipient of the Burton Award for Contribution to Legal Writing Education. He will receive his award at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on May 23, 2016.
His nomination letter described him as a “giant in the legal writing community.” His books include Persuasive Legal Writing (4th ed. 2015) (with Nancy Schultz), Legal Writing and Other Lawyering Skills (6th ed. 2014) (with Nancy Schultz), and Judging: A Book for Student Clerks (2003). He was the Technical Editor for Roy Stuckey’s Best Practices for Legal Education (2007), he sits on the Academic Advisory Panel for Black’s Law Dictionary, and he has written many articles both inside and outside our field. For decades, he has supported the scholarship of other members of our community—both as a generous mentor and in the more formal role of serving on the editorial boards of Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing and Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. For seven years, he served on the Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute; he was a member of the Executive Committee from 2000 to 2002. He chaired the AALS Section on Teaching Methods and the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. He served on numerous committees, penned many editorials, advised the Plain English Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar, and offered limitless wisdom to our community at conferences and through the LWI listserv. In recognition of Lou’s career-long, outstanding service to the legal writing community, LWI and ALWD awarded him the Thomas Blackwell Award in 2007.
Hat tip to Noah A. Messing
Thursday, April 21, 2016
- Robert D. Brain, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
- Iselin Gambert, The George Washington University Law School
- Samantha A. Moppett, Suffolk University Law School
- Jason Palmer, Stetson University College of Law
- Judith A. Rosenbaum, Northwestern Pritzger School of Law
Above the Law announced six finalists in its annual Law Revue Video Contest. Paul Caron of the Tax Law Prof Blog picked "Give Me My Grades Today" as his favorite (from the University of Texas). Here's the link where you can view the six finalists and vote for your favorite.
The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) will hold its 2016 Teaching Conference in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School. The conference, "From the Community to the Classroom: Teaching and Advancing Social Justice," will be held on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, 2016.
Proposals for the SALT Teaching Conference are due by June 15, 2016. Click here for more information.
Additionally, the 10th Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop organized by LatCrit, Inc. and SALT will be held on Thursday, September 29, 2016. The Faculty Development Workshop is intended to familiarize junior faculty with Lat Crit and SALT and to support faculty in their scholarship, teaching, and service.
The 11th Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in Verona, Italy from May 24 to May 26, with an optional day trip to Padua (Padova) on May 2th. The conference schedule (including panels, speakers, and additional information) is available by clicking here.
Registration is still open and available for the GLS-11 conference.
Photo by David Austin
The Central States Law Schools Association Scholarship Conference will be held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, North Dakota. 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 working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature 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.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Memorial Service for Molly Lien, Former Director of the Legal Writing Programs at Chicago-Kent and John Marshall
Molly Lien, the former Director of the Legal Writing Programs at Chicago-Kent College of Law (1993-2001) and The John Marshall Law School (2004-2008), died last September 11, 2015 at the very young age of 67. She had been recognized as a leader in legal writing in the United States and also for her work in Russia and Singapore. A memorial service is being held today at the Chicago Bar Association in Chicago to honor her memory.
When Molly retired from The John Marshall Law School in 2008, she shared this message with the Legal Writing Professors' Listserve:
In the end, we all strive to do the greatest good. Sometimes pursuing the good means leaving dear friends to focus on other areas of life, including family, friends, community, and causes.
Please know that I am grateful beyond words for the support of the many, many wonderful colleagues in this organization. You are the absolute best, and I will treasure these friendships forever. God bless you all, and I hope to give many hugs [at the Legal Writing Institute Conference] in Indianapolis.
At that conference in 2008, Molly Lien and Professor Ralph Brill of Chicago-Kent College of Law received the Terry LeClercq Courage Award from the Legal Writing Institute.
Molly was a tremendous teacher, mentor, and friend. Her kindness and friendship live on in our memories.
Mark E. Wojcik
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--will present a CLE program this Friday, April 15, 2016, at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. The CLE program will be followed by a presentation of the Scribes Book Award to Wil Haygood, author of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America. That presentation will then be followed by a conversation led by Bryan Garner (editor of Black's Law Dictionary) and Judges Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judges Easterbrook and Posner will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from Scribes.
Here is the program for Friday:
Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers
2016 CLE Program
“Legal Writing: From Basics to Application”
The John Marshall Law School -- Goldberg Courtroom, 4th Floor -- Chicago, IL 60604
Friday, April 15, 2016
1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
1:00 p.m. Registration
1:15 p.m. Welcome – Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School, Vice President of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers
1:20 p.m. Welcome – The Honorable Michael B. Hyman, Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court (First District), President of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers
1:30-2:25 p.m. Ethics and Writing Panel
- The Honorable Thomas Donnelly, Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Moderator)
- Kevin L. Hopkins, The John Marshall Law School
- Chief Justice Kem Thompson Frost, Texas Court of Appeals (Houston)
- Dennis Rendleman, Lead Senior Counsel for Ethics, American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility
2:30-3:25 p.m. Storytelling for Lawyers Panel
- Darby Dickerson, Dean and W. Frank Newton Endowed Professor of Law, Texas Tech University School of Law (Moderator)
- Jill Patterson, Texas Tech University Department of English and Case Storyteller for the Texas Regional Public Defender’s Office for Capital Cases
- Lisa McElroy, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law—Philadelphia
3:30-4:25 p.m. Opinion Writing Panel
- The Honorable Kevin G. Ross, Minnesota Court of Appeals (St. Paul) (Moderator)
- The Honorable Mary Jane Theis, Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court
- The Honorable David Ellis, Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court (First District), award-winning author of multiple fiction novels, and member of the Mystery Writers of America
- The Honorable A. Benjamin Goldgar, Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois
4:30-5:15 p.m. Basic Writing Tips
- Mark Cooney, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Editor-in-Chief, The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing
- Kim Chanbonpin, Director of Lawyering Skills, The John Marshall Law School, and President-Elect, Legal Writing Institute
5:15 p.m. Reception
5:30 p.m. Presentation of the Scribes Book Award to Wil Haygood, author of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America (Alfred A. Knopf 2015).
5:45 p.m. Vote on Scribes Constitution and Bylaws
6:00 p.m. Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards and Q&A
- Bryan Garner (Presenter), Founder and President of LawProse, Inc., Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, author of more than two dozen books on legal writing, and editor of Black’s Law Dictionary
- The Honorable Frank H. Easterbrook, Judge and former Chief Judge (2006-2013), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- The Honorable Richard A. Posner, Judge and former Chief Judge (1993-2000), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Late registration is still available. The seminar is free for members of Scribes and its institutional members. Visit www.scribes.org for more information.