Monday, June 30, 2014

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] 

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  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)

Linda Berger is the New President of the Legal Writing Institute

Professor Linda L. Berger of the UNLV Boyd School of Law has just become the new President of the Legal Writing Institute, assuming office from now immediate-past President Melissa H. Weresh of Drake University Law School.

Congratulations Linda and thank you Mel for your service to LWI. Mel continues as a member of the LWI Board in the role of past president.


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

Legal Writing Institute Conference Opens in Philadelphia

The 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute Biennial opens tonight in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

More than 500 law professors from around the world are attending the conference, a larger number than the organizers expected. Registration has just opened and vendor exhibits will be on display tonight until 9:00 p.m.


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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The spring 2014 AALS section newsletter is out!

The spring 2014 newsletter for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research is now available on the section's community site.  (You will need your AALS login information to access the site.)

The newsletter contains an article about Jan Levine's receipt of the section award at the January AALS Annual Meeting. The then-chair of the section, Judy Rosenbaum of Northwestern,  extolled Jan's many pioneering accomplishments, including  forming the Association of Legal Writing Directors and obtaining better status and salaries for legal writing teachers at the schools where he worked. See the full issue for other news, including reports of members' recent accomplishments and summaries of the legal writing presentations at the AALS meeting.


June 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Countdown to the LWI conference!

CentenoThe 2014 Legal Writing Conference starts next weekend, on June 29, in WallingerPhiladelphia. 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



June 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study compares legal research in print and electronic media

KriegerProfessors Stefan Krieger and Katrina Fischer Kuh of Hofstra have published a Kuhstudy 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


June 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Teaching research in both print and online sources

Brigham Young law librarian Dennis Sears recently analyzed ways to teach students the benefits Sears_300and 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).


June 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Anne Enquist receives Burton Award

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


                                         Leno Seattle 2

June 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dining Out, Philly Style

IMG_9672Planning 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.)


June 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Controlling Crowded Sentences

In his recent article Controlling Crowded Sentences, rhetorician George Gopen shows how to make Gopen 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.


June 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Good Article to Recommend for Law Journal Editors and Students Authors

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.


June 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eliminate zombie nouns

Garner“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.


June 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 2, 2014

How to cite without distracting the reader

First-year law students struggling with citations may want to consult Suggestions for Citing Authority  Hazelwood 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.


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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Global Legal Skills Award Winners Announced

Verona BridgeMore 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

Individual 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.

Book Awards

  • Deborah B. McGregor and Cynthia M. AdamsThe 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-JacquesInternational 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.

Institutional Winner

  • 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).


May 31, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Supreme Court opinions aren’t as final as they may seem

LazarusA 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


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