Thursday, June 11, 2015
Keynote Speaker Bryan A. Garner will share The Biggest Secret for Clear and Persuasive Writing at the 2015 Scribes Awards Luncheon in Chicago. Bryan Garner has written several books about English usage and style, including Garner's Modern American Usage and Elements of Legal Style. He is the editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary and he has coauthored two books with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (2008) and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (2012). He is the Founder and president of LawProse, Inc. and serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University School of Law.
The luncheon will also feature a special presentation of the Scribes Lifetime-Achievement Award to The Rt. Hon. the Lord Woolf, with comments by Lord Woolf. Lord Woolf was Master of the Rolls from 1996 until 2000 and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2000 until 2005. The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 made him the first Lord Chief Justice to be President of the Courts of England and Wales. He has also been a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong since 2003.
The French Association of Law Professors in Business Schools – the Association des Professeurs de Droit des Grandes Ecoles (“APDGE”) -- will hold its Third Conference Toulouse Business School in Southwestern France on December 3-4, 2015. The theme of the conference is “Governance and Compliance in Companies: Constraints or Opportunities.”
Papers submitted will be reviewed double-blind and the authors of the best papers will be asked to present their papers in Toulouse, with a later publication anticipated. Participants or their institutions must bear their own travel expenses unfortunately, but then again you do end up in Southwestern France so just find a way to make that happen if your proposal is selected.
Proposals: June 30, 2015
Full Text: September 1, 2015
Author Notification by the Scientific Committee: October 12, 2015
Hat tip to Greg Voss
We are big fans of both the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress. Both are national (and international) treasures that make so much information and so many resources available to researchers around the world.
James H. Billington has been the Librarian of Congress for the past 28 years. On Wednesday he announced that he will retire on January 1, 2016, at the age of 86. He is the 13th librarian of Congress. He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama will nominate his successor, who must also be confirmed by the Senate.
And for a post on the Law Library of Congress, click here.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The Burton Legal Writing Awards is beyond doubt the most glamorous legal writing event anywhere. Held annually at the Library of Congress, this remarkable event celebrates exceptional legal writing and its teaching.
This year's celebration -- to be held this coming Monday -- will include a joint presentation by US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Notable attorneys Jay Sekulow and Robert A. Long will stage a mock argument on the Affordable Care Act Subsidies. And if that isn't entertainment enough, Broadway Diva Kristin Chenoweth will also be performing that evening.
Various awards are to be presented that day. Professor Marilyn Walter of Brooklyn Law School will receive the 2015 Burton Award for Contribution to Legal Writing Education. She will receive her award at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on June 15, 2015.
Professor Walter joined the LRW community in 1976 when she taught legal writing at New York University. In 1980, she became the director of the legal writing program at Brooklyn Law School. She has been a leader in the field of legal writing for nearly four decades.
Her book (coauthored with Professors Helene Shapo and Elizabeth Fajans), Writing and Analysis in the Law, is a widely used first-year legal writing text. She is also the co-author of the first edition of the Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs. She recieved the 2005 Association of American Law School Legal Writing Award in recognition of her “pioneering leadership, extraordinary vision, and outstanding service.” She has been a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute, a members of the ABA’s Committee on Communication Skills, an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. In spring 2008, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Delhi Law School.
Many congratulations to Professor Walter on this prestigious award. Previous winners include Ralph Brill, Darby Dickerson, Anne Enquist, Joe Kimble, Mary Lawrence, Richard K. Neumann, Laurel Oates, Marjorie Rombauer, Helene Shapo, and Tina Stark.
Hat tips to Noah A. Messing and Ralph Brill.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The next Congress.gov webinar offered by the Law Library of Congress will be on June 11, 2015 from 2:00-3:00 EDT. Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. This orientation will give a basic overview of the site and show how to search legislation, Congressional member information attached to the legislation, and new features of Congress.gov.
To register, call +1-202-707-9801 or complete the form at http://www.loc.gov/law/opportunities/congress-form.php. Provide your name, contact information, and the class you wish to attend. You must submit an email address for confirmation and to receive instructions for joining the Web conference.
Hat tip to the Law Library of Congress.
Monday, June 8, 2015
With bittersweet feelings, I am saying goodbye to my position as an editor of this blog. I'll be retiring from the University of Louisville at the end of June, and since I won't be as involved in the profession, it seems appropriate to retire from the blog as well.
I've loved working on the blog, and I am grateful to Sue Liemer, who started the blog and later asked me to be an editor. Thanks, Sue. I'm also grateful to my fellow blog editors--we've had a great time working together. And to our readers, the legal writing community, I simply say, "You're the best!"
Here's a photo of my retirement party, where Dean Susan Duncan (well known as a leader in the legal writing community) unveiled a portrait that will hang with those of our law school's emeritus professors. Many thanks to Susan, to the University of Louisville, and to my students for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful profession.
I'll be staying in Louisville for the foreseeable future. Keep in touch!
Sunday, June 7, 2015
The Global Legal Skills Conference is the world's largest conference dedicated to the teaching of legal skills around the world, including teaching "Legal English" to lawyers and law students who speak English as a second language. The conference is held annually in different locations around the world. Most recently it was held in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School (where the conference began) and at Northwestern University School of Law. The GLS-10 was also co-sponsored by the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, which itself previously hosted the conference twice.
The 11th Global Legal Skills Conference will return to a popular location, the University of Verona Faculty of Law in Verona, Italy. The conference will be held from Tuesday, May 24, 2016 to Thursday, May 26, 2016. Optional activities will be organized for before and after the conference.
William Zinsser, the author of On Writing Well, Writing Places, and other books on writing, died on May 12 in New York at the age of 92. According to an obituary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Zinsser went to be a writing instructor at Yale University in the 1970s after a long career as a journalist. He was going to teach a Nonfiction Workshop Course for 15 students but received more than 170 applications from students wanting to take the course. According to the Chronicle, Zinsser attributed the strong interest in his course the need of students for "basic writing tools." He believed that the rules of writing "only get learned when a student's failure to observer them is pointed out in his or her writing." Anais Strickland, Obituary [William Zinsser]: Influential Writing Coach, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 29, 2015, at A18.
His book On Writing Well grew out of that course at Yale and has sold more than 1.5 million copies. There's probably a copy of it on your bookshelf right now. Go ahead, pull it out, and spend a few minutes remembering William Zinsser and his contributions to writing.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Professor Marilyn Walter of Brooklyn Law School was announced as the 2015 recipient of the Burton Award for Contribution to Legal Writing Education. She will receive her award at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on June 15, 2015.
Professor Walter joined the LRW community in 1976 when she taught legal writing at New York University. In 1980, she became the director of Brooklyn Law School’s program. She has been a leader in the field of legal writing for nearly four decades.
Her book (coauthored with Professors Helene Shapo and Elizabeth Fajans), Writing and Analysis in the Law, is a widely used first-year legal writing text. She is also the co-author of the first edition of the Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs. She recived the 2005 Association of American Law School Legal Writing Award in recognition of her “pioneering leadership, extraordinary vision, and outstanding service.” She has been a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute, a members of the ABA’s Committee on Communication Skills, an Editorial Committee member of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. In spring 2008, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Delhi Law School.
Many congratulations to Professor Walter on this prestigious award.
Hat tip to Noah A. Messing
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Computer-research vendor Lexis-Nexis recently conducted a study of 300 hiring partners and supervising attorneys to determine what they seek in newly-hired lawyers. Among the study’s findings are that 66% of the respondents want new lawyers to have good writing skills--especially the ability to draft motions, briefs, and pleadings. The study also found that newer attorneys spend 40% – 60% of their time conducting legal research. These findings, along with the study’s other conclusions, highlight the importance of topics covered in legal research and writing courses.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The GLS-10 Scholars' Forum is continuing with presentations on secrets of foreign and international law research. Presenters pictured here are Clare Gaynor WIllis (Chicago-Kent College of Law) and Anne Abramson (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago). The program includes useful international and foreign law legal research resources, including many legal research secrets.
The Scholars' Forum is being held in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference, being held in Chicago at The John Marshall Law School and Northwestern University School of Law. The Facultad Libre del Derecho de Monterrey is an additional co-sponsor of the GLS conference. The Scholars' Forum being held in advance of the GLS Conference is sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors.
Paulina E. Wilson of Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland is among the presenters speaking today at the GLS-10 Scholars Forum, in advance of the Global Legal Skills Conference. Her presentation is on the subject of “Comparative Legal Skills in the Context of Criminal Justice: A Call for Interdisciplinarity." Her presentation explores differences in how criminal statutes are construed in different countries, including close readings of statutory examples from the Criminal Codes of Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The Scholarship Forum is sponsored by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and is being held at The John Marshall Law School in advance of the 10th Global Legal Skills Conference being held this week at John Marshall and Northwestern University.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
The University of Pennsylvania Law Review announced a competition for student-authored submissions for its first annual public-interest essay competition. The author of the first-prize paper will receive $3,000, and the winning article will be published in volume 164 of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Here's what you need to know about it.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION
JUDGING PROCESS AND WINNER NOTIFICATION
These guidelines and the link to the online submission portal are accessible through the Public Interest tab on the website of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Hat tip to Eleanor Barrett, Associate Dean for Legal Practice Skills, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Job Posting: Associate Director for Distance Education Programs at Texas A&M University School of Law
Texas A&M University School of Law is seeking to employ an Associate Director for Distance Education Programs. Seven years of progressively responsible management experience, including three years with Course Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard/Webcourses), webinar systems (e.g. FUZE, WebX, GoToMeeting) and multi-media production (e.g. Echo 360) in an online teaching environment.
Preferred post-graduate degree in law, such as J.D., L.L.M. or equivalent Masters degree in subject matter, such as risk management or wealth management. Licensed attorney.
Hat tip to William Byrnes
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
As someone who has publicly stated it is time to "Say Goodbye to the Books," I was pleased to see Lawyerist's suggestions for "Better Things than Law Books to Take Your Picture in Front Of."
Friday, May 8, 2015
A project overseen by Seattle legal writing professor Sara Rankin has been causing a lot of buzz in Seattle. The Human Rights Advocacy Project revealed that "It’s often difficult or impossible for homeless people not to break . . . laws" against activities like sleeping in public. Rankin's students became engaged with the topic by writing about it.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
A recent article in the New York Times notes an increase in quantitative analysis of U.S. Supreme Court opinions. It cites forthcoming scholarship by Daniel Rockmore, Keith Carlson, and Michael Livermore as showing that the Court's current opinions are “sprawling, accessible and testy.” Illustrating the latter two traits, the article quotes a pointed response by Chief Justice John Roberts in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, a recent judicial ethics opinion. Dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the judicial canon against judges’ campaigning has “nothing to do with the appearances created by judges’ asking for money.” Writing for the majority, Roberts’ rejoinder was one word: “Nothing?”
Hat tip: Terrill Pollman
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
"[G]ood briefs demand little physical or mental effort from the reader." So writes Bryan Garner in his latest ABA Journal column. Garner also cites Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman about the "halo effect"--the idea that a good first impression creates credibility, while even small errors can make a reader think poorly of the writer. And Garner reminds brief writers that "less is more," a point supported by Kahneman's science.
Sunday, May 3, 2015