Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Something Special for Moot Court Coaches

Jessup 2014Do you coach the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition or another international law moot court competition? If so you'll want to learn about how to get the DVD of the final rounds of rhe 2014 Jessup Competition in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information.



July 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Call for Articles: Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD

Working on a new article this summer? Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD is seeking submissions for its 12th volume (Fall 2015). From the Call for Articles:

Volume 12 will include articles on the full range of topics that fall within the mission of LC&R: JALWD: to be a forum for discussion about legal writing and lawyering between academe and the practicing bar.

LC&R's mission is to advance the study of professional legal writing, broadly defined, and to become an active resource and a forum for conversation between the legal practitioner and the legal writing scholar. Traditionally, LC&R does not publish articles that are of interest to a purely academic or teaching audience. LC&R is dedicated to encouraging and publishing scholarship (1) focusing on the substance of legal writing; (2) grounded in legal doctrine, empirical research, or interdisciplinary theory; and (3) accessible and helpful to all "do-ers" of legal writing: attorneys, judges, law students, and legal academicians.

Submissions are due September 1. Check out the submission guidelines for more information!


July 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A reminder to write with care

Bryan Garner's June ABA Journal column reminds lawyers to write with care. Two of his suggestions are to avoid long words like subsequently in favor of shorter ones like later and to conform punctuation to The Chicago Manual of Style. Such careful writing, Garner says, can  lead to a win in the courtroom. For a brush-up on style, he recommends reading Theodore Bernstein's The Careful Writer and articles in the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic.


July 7, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 4, 2014

The inside scoop about the new ALWD citation guide

At the LWI conference, members got inside information about ALWD's new citation guide. It's no longer called a manual--the title of the fifth edition is the ALWD Guide to Legal Citation. Chief editor Coleen Barger and contributor Brooke Bowman explained that the new guide has eliminated the differences between it and the Bluebook. That means, among other things, that large-and-small caps are now prescribed for certain law review citations and abbreviations and citations have been standardized to comport with traditional formats.  But the new guide will be easier to use than the Bluebook. Plentiful symbols clarify when spaces are needed, and law review formats are integrated into the subject matter sections but clearly labeled by a title, an identifying marginal line, and a warning symbol.

A companion site includes exercises that students who purchase the book can access. An on-line teacher's manual will be available soon and will include comparison charts between the fourth and fifth editions and between the fifth edition and the Bluebook.

Proceeds from the guide help to fund ALWD undertakings like awards and scholarships to conferences.

Pictured below are Brook Bowman and Coleen Barger presenting the new guide.



July 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

LWI Conference Guest Blog Post: Dan Real Tells Us About Jean Sbarge's Great Presentation on "The Read Shoes"

Dan RealWe're happy to share a guest blog post from Daniel Real of Creighton University. We also welcome your guest blog posts on other conference sessions that were particularly useful.  

I also had a chance to attend the presentation by Jean Sbarge and thought it was just great, including how she filmed a law partner reading and commenting on a memorandum.


Here's the post from Daniel Real:

Yesterday was the final day of substantive presentations at the Legal Writing Institute 2014 Conference in Philadelphia (#LWI2014).  The week was filled with wonderful presentations on a variety of topics and presented attendees with many instances of having to make difficult decisions about which presentation to attend.  Fortunately, materials associated with many of the presentations have already been added to the Legal Writing Institute Website (http://www.lwionline.org), and more are sure to be added in the coming days.

One of the unfortunate aspects of any conference is that busy schedules and travel necessities often prevent many attendees from being able to see some of the final presentations.  This year I was fortunate enough to be able to stay through the end of the conference and attend presentations on the final afternoon.  Although all of the presentations I attended this week were great and reflected a lot of effort on the part of presenters, and although attendance at the final couple of afternoon sessions was good, I thought it worthwhile to jot down a few thoughts about one of these final afternoon sessions that some may not have been able to stay to see. 

Professor Jean K. Sbarge of Widener University School of Law gave a presentation titled, "The Read Shoes:  Stepping Into the Reader's Shoes Through Video, Case Illustration, Drawing, and a Model."  I found it to be a wonderfully useful presentation with some very concrete methods for assisting students with the all-important task of putting themselves into the shoes of the legal readers they are hoping to reach and using that to help craft and improve their work product. 

We all tell our students -- on multiple occasions -- how important it is to "put yourself in the position of your reader and ask yourself whether this accomplishes your purposes and is effective."  That's really important.  But it's also a difficult skill for students to master.  I've tried a variety of different exercises in the past to assist students in this regard, including some peer review work; some interactive discussions in class of a poorly crafted analysis and discussions about how the students, as first-time readers, struggle to follow it and how to improve it; etc.

I think the notion of writers putting themselves in the place of their readers is such an important concept, and I always welcome any new ideas on how to do it.  Professor Sbarge had some great ones in this presentation.  She presented four concrete exercises that can be used to help students to better understand how to put themselves in that position and use what they learn to improve their writing.  I will highlight just two of them here.

The first exercise that Professor Sbarge demonstrated is an exercise that may be familiar to students of other disciplines:  the "back-to-back drawing" exercise.  This is a simple and fun exercise that would be a great icebreaker at the beginning of a semester and would provide a basis for returning and reinforcing periodically throughout the semester.  The exercise is simple, and involves students pairing up for an exercise in thinking very carefully about how to communicate detailed directions to a listener/drawer.  The two students sit with their backs to one another, and the "instructor" student is provided with a drawing that incorporates a variety of geometric shapes.  The "instructor" student then must provide directions to the "listener" student about how to draw a replica of the provided drawing.  The "instructor" student may not look at the drawing in progress, and the "listener" student may not ask questions or seek clarification.  The exercise forces the "instructor" student to make decisions about how to organize the instructions, how to be clear and explicit, and how to lead the "listener" student to reproducing a drawing that the "listener" student has never seen -- all highly similar to a legal writer leading a legal reader through an analysis.

A second exercise that Professor Sbarge demonstrated involved asking students early in the semester to sit down and think of a "legal reader role model" that the student can envision as a specific audience for his/her work.  The role model can be a real person (one student chose Johnny Cochran) or a fictitious person (one student chose Jack McCoy from Law and Order).  The idea is for the student to really think about this "role model" and have a reason for selecting this person as the model reader.  Then, throughout the semester, the student is encouraged to consider that role model when working on legal writing assignments.  What would Johnny Cochran think of the way you have developed the theme for your client here?  Would Jack McCoy be satisfied with that level of review and editing?  Would your reader accept jumping to that conclusion without explanation of how you got there?  At the end of the semester, Professor Sbarge then asked for volunteers to reflect on the semester and how their use of the legal reader role model impacted their work. Students who volunteered answers included thoughts about being motivated to review or edit one additional time or to think in a different way about effectiveness.  Sure, the legal writing professor is always a great "role model" legal reader.  But if students take the time to think about another concrete and tangible reader, reflect on why that reader is being chosen, and use those thoughts throughout the process, there is an added dimension of understanding about the legal reader's needs.

I know I intend to find ways to implement some of these ideas, as I will with many ideas from many presentations.  It was another great week of discussions on pedagogy and scholarship, fellowship with colleagues from all over, and recharging motivational batteries.  In short, another highly successful conference -- kudos to all involved in planning, execution, and presenting this week!

Daniel L. Real
Assistant Professor of Law
Creighton University School of Law

July 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Fourth of July from the cradle of the Constitution!

As LWI members left the gala reception on Tuesday, fireworks over Philadelphia's historic section lit up the night.


July 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gala reception recognizes LWI pioneers

A show on the Constitution and exhibits on constitutional law and slavery greeted LWI members as they enjoyed a lavish dinner on Tuesday at the National Constitution Center. To celebrate LWI's thirty-year anniversary, a continuous slide show highlighted LWI members who have been in the field for thirty years or are retiring. (See the list below.) One of the slides pictured venerable professor Joe Kimble with Justice Antonin Scalia.




July 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conference's coffee sessions promote small group discussions

This year's legal writing conference included morning coffee sessions where members discussed topics in informal groups. Pictured below are Eun Hee Han and Cassandra Hill discussing how to get a book published.



July 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge and renowned appellate advocates speak at the LWI Conference

At the LWI Conference, an engaging panel on appellate advocacy included Judge Patricia Millett of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and appellate advocates Gregory Garre of Latham and Watkins and Nicole Saharsky of the Solicitor General’s office. Judge Millett said the best way for students to learn brief writing is to read good briefs and opinions, mentioning the Solicitor General's briefs and Justice Scalia'a dissents. Another suggestion from the panel was for brief writers to avoid long block quotations and lengthy repetitions of precedent cases’ facts. Pictured below (l.-r.) are Gregory Garre, Patricia Millett, Nicole Saharsky, and panel moderator Kristen Tiscione.




July 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writing Specialists Explain Special Learning Needs of International Students

Writing SpecialistsOne of the best-attended panels of this year's Legal Writing Institute Conference in Philadelphia was one on the special learning needs of international students.

Panelists of the session on "Writing Across Cultures and Languages" included Elizabeth Fajans (Brooklyn), Anne Enquist (Seattle), Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), Alissa Hartig (Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University), and Catherine Schenker (American University Washington College of Law). 


July 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thomas Jefferson at the Legal Writing Conference

Jefferson at LWIAt Sunday's opening reception for the Legal Writing Conference, Thomas Jefferson put in  an appearance. He's pictured at left with two of this blog's editors, Judy Fischer and Sue Leimer.


July 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ken Adams receives Golden Pen Award

At the Legal Writing Institute Conference on Tuesday, Ken Adams received the Golden Pen Award
for  legal writing. Adams is an internationally known expert on contract drafting who wrote A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. In his remarks, Adams noted that drafting for litigation is not the same as contract drafting, but that clarity is important for both types of writing.



July 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Social Media and the LWI Conference in Philadelphia

LWI LogoThe LWI 2014 Conference is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

If you are on Facebook, simply search for "Legal Writing Institute" or just click here.  "Like" the LWI page and browse the photos that have already been uploaded throughout the conference.  And please add your own photos from the conference. Please tag faces that you recognize as well.

LWI ConferenceIf you are on Twitter, simply search for "@LWIonline" or just click here and then search for the #LWI2014 hashtag.  If you post on your own Twitter feed about the conference, please use the #LWI2014 hashtag so others can find your conference-related posts.

If you are on Instagram, search for the #LWI2014 hashtag to see Instagram posts by LWI members related to the conference.

And if your on Linked In, please join the "Fans of the Legal Writing Institute" page.

Hat tip to Dan Real

IN THE PHOTO: The speakers from the panel on "Writing Across Cultures and Languages: Teaching ESL/EFL Students" were Elizabeth Fajans (Brooklyn Law School), Anne Enquist (Seattle University School of Law), Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), Alissa Hartig (The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law), and Catherine Schenker (American University Washington College of Law). Also on the panel but missing from the picture is Ann Nowak (Touro).


July 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Job Posting: Northern Illinois University

The Northern Illinois University College of Law anticipates having openings for two Legal Writing/Academic Success Program Instructors:

The Legal Writing and Advocacy Course is a core course in the first-year curriculum at Northern Illinois University College of Law. The four-credit, two-semester course is structured to help first-year law students acquire and refine the basic legal writing and analysis skills fundamental to the successful completion of law school and to the competent practice of law. As a secondary goal, students in Legal Writing and Advocacy are also introduced to other skills and topics important to the practice of law, including oral communication of legal issues, interviewing and counseling, professional responsibility, and motion practice.

In addition to, and in conjunction with the Legal Writing Program, Northern Illinois University College of Law assists law students in achieving their greatest potential through the Academic Success Program (ASP). There are numerous components to ASP throughout the course of the students' academic career at NIU Law. As part of ASP, select incoming lL students are required to participate in a Jump Start Orientation program the week prior to the lL Orientation. These students are instructed in basic analytical and rule development skills during a week of writing-intensive course work taught and implemented by the ASP Instructors. Further, select admitted students are invited to participate in the lL ASP based on objective criteria including undergraduate GPA and law school admission test scores. Participation is a mandatory condition of admission for students who meet certain criteria determined by the faculty. Students participating in the program attend weekly tutorials conducted by upper-level student tutors for their four doctrinal courses. 2L students with a GPA of 2.4 and below are required to participate in Upper-Level ASP, semester-long, one-hour, weekly, ungraded course taught by the ASP Instructors. The writing-intensive Upper-Level ASP focuses on exam-writing, outlining, and study skills.

The Legal Writing/ASP Instructors, together with the Co-Directors of Legal Writing and Academic Success, are responsible for the delivery of the legal writing and academic success programs at Northern Illinois University College of Law. The Legal Writing/ASP Instructors report to the Co-Directors of Legal Writing and Academic Success. This is a ten-month position within the University.

The responsibilities of a Legal Writing/ ASP Instructor include:

  • •    Teach the required Legal Writing and Advocacy Course to first-year law students
  • •    Plan and develop legal writing problems for the course
  • •    Provide individual instruction to first-year students
  • •    Grade and comment on legal writing assignments
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of programs tailored to help ASP students reach their full potential
  • •    Provide academic counseling to ASP students
  • •    Assist in the hiring, training, and oversight of upper-class students who serve as tutors for ASP students
  • •    Assist in the planning and delivery of meetings geared toward developing general study and exam skills for the entire first-year class during the fall semester
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of the week-long academic orientation program for select incoming 1L students participating in the NIU Law Jump Start Program
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of the week-long academic orientation program for the entire first-year class
  • •    Cooperate and assist with other programs involving oral and written communication skills, including the second-year moot court competition and third-year external moot court teams
  • •    Provide individual instruction to students selected to participate in upper-level ASP during fall semester
  • •    Provide individual instruction to first-year students selected to participate in the exam-writing seminar during spring semester
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of Bar programs for upper-level students and alumni
  • •    Assist in the continuing in-depth evaluation of both the legal writing and academic success programs and identify and implement program improvements
  • •    Other responsibilities that may become necessary as determined by the Deans and program directors.


A J.D. from an ABA accredited law school, a valid license to practice law, strong writing skills, strong academic credentials, and a minimum of two years of teaching and/or practice experience.


The ability to work well within a coordinated program structure, background or training in counseling or educational theory, the ability to work with a diverse student population and strong organizational skills.


Applicants please send a letter of application addressed to Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea stating qualifications, unofficial transcripts, current curriculum vitae, writing sample, and contact information for two references to Tita Kaus Administrator, Office of the Dean tkaus@niu.edu

And some more information about the job: 

This is not a tenure-track appointment. It may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. Surprisingly, persons holding this position will NOT be allowed to vote in faculty meetings. The annual salary is under $60,000, with possible additional money for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school. The salary also does not include conference travel or other professional development funds. You'll be expected to teach 31-25 students.


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Institute Conference Starts First Day of Substantive Programs

More than 500 attendees have gathered in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, to attend the 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute.  Registration and vendor exhibits are open today from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Franklin Hall A.  Sessions start at 8:45 a.m. and continue throughout the day, with about seven choices every hour of different panels to attend.


If you attend a partciularly good session with some take-away points, consider writing it up as a post and sending it to one of the blog editors. We'll put it up as a Guest Blog Post. The person you wrote about will be thrilled and readers around the world will be grateful for your contribution. Guest blog posts can be sent to me (Mark E Wojcik) at this email address: legalwritingprof [at] gmail.com. 

Thanks, and have fun today!


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Job Posting: Texas A&M University School of Law Seeks Two Professors

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to hire two faculty candidates for tenure-track or tenured positions, with rank dependent on qualifications and experience. The law school welcomes applications in all subject areas, but it particularly invites applications in:
  • (1) patent law (including related intellectual property subjects); and
  • (2) legal analysis, research, and writing.  
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. 
And here's some more information about the legal writing job. It is a tenure-track appointment that will pay between $100,000 and $109,000 (depending on experience), you'll be expected to teach 36-40 students, and you will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

Texas A&M University acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August 2013, and applications for admission have increased by over 30 percent and development has grown exponentially, including multiple seven-figure endowed chairs.  The law school is poised to build on its tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service through the extensive resources and opportunities that result from being part of a world-class public university. 

Texas A&M University School of Law is located in vibrant downtown Fort Worth.  The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living and a strong economy.

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


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New LWI Officers and Board Members Take Office

The 2014-2016 Board of the Legal Writing Institute has just taken office at the start of the 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, which opens today in Philadelphia.

Here is a full list of the officers and board members:

  • President:    Linda L. Berger (UNLV Boyd School of Law)
  • President Elect:    Kim D. Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago)
  • Secretary:    Samantha A. Moppett (Suffolk University Law School)
  • Treasurer:    Candace Mueller Centeno (Villanova University School of Law)
  • Immediate Past President:    Melissa H. Werish (Drake University Law School)

Board Members:

  • Mary Nicol Bowman (Seattle University School of Law)
  • Michael J. Higdon (University of Tennessee College of Law)
  • Cassandra L. Hill (TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law)
  • Kimberly Holst (ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law)
  • Alison E. Julien (Marquette University Law School)
  • Ruth Anne Robbins (Rutgers School of Law-Camden)
  • Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne (Mercerr University School of Law)
  • Rebecca L. Scharf (UNLV Boyd School of Law)
  • Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Georgetown University Law Center)
  • Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago)


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Candace Mueller Centeno Elected as Treasurer of the Legal Writing Institute

Candace Mueller Centeno of Villanova University School of Law has been elected as Treasurer of the Legal Writing Institute.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Samantha Moppet Elected as LWI Secretary

Samantha A. Moppett of Suffolk University Law School was elected as Secretary of the Legal Writing Institute.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kim Chanbonpin Chosen as President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute

Chanbonpin-BergerProfessor Kim D. Chanbonpin of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been elected as the President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute. The election took place on Sunday just before the opening reception of the LWI Conference.

Professor Chanbonpin will become the LWI President in 2016 when the LWI meets in Portland, Oregon for the 17th Biennial Meeting of the Legal Writing Institute. She will serve a two-year term as President-Elect, a two-year term as President, and a two-year term as Past-President.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)