Tuesday, February 28, 2006

trading places, moving on

Lots of news about the legal writing community today.

Bethcohen01 1.  The faculty at Western New England College School of Law has promoted Beth Cohen, Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, to the rank of Associate Professor of Law.


2.  Professor Sharon Foster, who has taught in U-A/Fayetteville's LRW program for the past five years, has been appointed a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the law school and will be teaching Contracts and other commercial courses starting next year.  She has a J.D. from Loyola L.A. and an LLM in International Law from the University of Edinburgh. 

Seligmann_1 3.  Terry Seligmann, after nine years at U-A/Fayetteville, has accepted the position of Director of Legal Writing at the new Drexel University College of Law in Philadelphia beginning this summer.  She will be helping to plan their legal writing curriculum, which will be taught by all tenure-track faculty.

Best to all in these newly elevated positions and new ventures!!


February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 27, 2006

good news about one of the blog editors

Sue Liemer, my co-editor on this blog, has received the stamp of approval for tenure at the law school from the central administration at Southern Illinois University.

Congratulations, Sue!!


February 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

the use of sensory detail for persuasive purposes

This week in class we discussed persuasive writing, and one of the techniques that I focused on was the use of sensory detail to help the reader experience and become part of the story.  The case I used as an example is one that stayed with me for over 15 years from the first time I read it to my use of it in class on Friday.  In a somewhat overwritten recitation of facts that drew me into and let me recall parts of the story for over a decade, the court detailed the abduction of a man and his mother and the mother's murder.  The opinion included (DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU'RE SQUEAMISH) the following:




The man listened to his mother's murder and then "heard his mother's bowels and bladder give in the relaxation of death."

Osborn v. State, 672 P.2d 777, 783 (Wyo.1983).

Powerful stuff.

February 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Good news from St. John's!

In 2005, St. John's University School of Law approved three new ranks for legal writing professors:  Assistant, Associate, and full Professor -- of Legal Writing.  Last week, the St. John 's faculty voted and promoted six former Assistant Legal Writing Professors to these newly created ranks. Their contracts now automatically renew annually on a rolling basis and are presumptively renewable.

The following people were promoted to the rank of Professor of Legal Writing, which entitles them to a seven-year contract:
Robin Boyle
Jay Facciolo

The following people were promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Legal Writing, which entitles them to a three-year contract:
Patricia Grande Montana
Akilah Folami
Elyse Pepper
Robert Ruescher

Congratulations!  (spl)

February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

celebrating bad writing

As your students are learning how to write facts persuasively, you might find more bad examples of over-writing than you ever wanted at the website for the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.   Last year's winner (from my home state of North Dakota!!) wrote the following:

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual."  (penned by Dan McKay of Fargo, ND).

Want to enter?  The deadline is soon (or not)--sometime between April 15 and June 30, according to the rules.


February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congrats to Rutgers-Camden!

In 2005, the faculty at Rutgers-Camden voted to create 405(c) clinical faculty positions for those teaching legal writing.  The Law School then conducted a national search to fill the newly created positions.   

On February 1, 2006, long term contracts were awarded to 3 current faculty members: Sarah Ricks (Clinical Associate Professor of Law & Co-Director of the Pro Bono Research Project); Carol Wallinger (Clinical Associate Professor of Law) and Jason Cohen (Clinical Assistant Professor of Law).  In the fall, Rutgers-Camden will welcome Sheila Rodriguez as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, too.  Sheila currently teaches legal writing at Pacific McGeorge School of Law and Golden Gate University School of Law.  (spl)

February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Milani Award

Adam Milani was a wonderful teacher of legal writing and also a well-known disability law scholar.  Milani20005_1 After his death, the Adam A. Milani Disability Law Writing Competition was established to honor and advance his work. The competition is sponsored jointly by Mercer University School of Law and by the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law.
The competition is unusual because it allows for entry of briefs and office memos -- the kind of writing Adam taught.  For papers written originally for a legal writing class, two papers can be submitted from among a professor's students from that semester.
Prizes will range from $300 to $500, depending on how many prizes are awarded.  Submissions must be postmarked by June 15, 2006.  Entry and eligibility information can be found on the Legal Writing Program page of Mercer's website, www.law.mercer.edu

February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

recommended reading

My friend and colleague, Joe Kimble, would never toot his own horn, but I wanted to share his good news with this community. Carolina Academic Press has published Joe's book, Lifting the Fog of Legalese: Essays on Plain Language. It was released in December, and he's already had two local book signings, one at a local branch of Barnes & Noble.

We're extremely fortunate to have him as Chair of our department, and I know many of you know Joe's tireless work to promote plain language through Scribes and Clarity, and to promote the status of teachers of legal writing. So if you want to find out more about the book, check out Carolina's web site:


Eileen Kavanagh
Thomas M. Cooley Law School

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UNLV job opening

The William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas, NV, invites applications for a visitor in the Lawyering Process Program, to begin in August of 2006. Responsibilities include teaching in a three semester program that provides substantial instruction in legal analysis, legal research, legal writing, and professional responsibility.  The program also provides introductory instruction in other lawyering skills.  Applicants must have a J.D., evidence of a strong academic record, and experience that demonstrates a potential for excellence in teaching legal research and writing. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

Please submit a letter of application, a resume with names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three references, and a writing sample to:

Terrill Pollman
Ralph Denton Professor of Law
William S. Boyd School of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, Nevada 89154-1003

The visitor will be eligible to apply for a more permanent position.
The professor hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $50,000 to $59,999.
The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 36 - 40.

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

RFP for CALI conference



What: 16th Annual Conference for Law School Computing

When: Thursday - Saturday, June 15-17, 2006

Where: Nova Southeastern Shepard Broad Law Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL

submit proposal ideas at http://www.cali.org/conference
registration soon at http://www.cali.org/conference
$395 - CALI member
$695 - law school/non-members
$995 -non law school attendees
hotel information at http://www.cali.org/conference


Are you ...

law faculty,
law librarian or
IT staff
with experience using, installing, supporting or building IT-based systems for teaching at your law school?

Are you an...
administrative systems developer,
help desk staffer,
instructional designer,
graphic artist/flash programmer, or
a/v/classroom technology guru?

If so, you have real-world experience to share as a SPEAKER at this conference. Speaker registration fees are discounted $395, though you will have to cover your own transportation and hotel costs.  If several people propose similar topics, I may group them into a panel-o’-presenters. If you are interested in becoming a speaker or panelist, let me know. If you want to speak, but can’t decide on a topic, send me an email with your areas of expertise and I will try to accommodate you.

This is YOUR conference, help me to make it GREAT!

In the past, I have included a list of possible session titles. I am going to break from tradition and see what comes flying in over the transom. Get your creative juices flowing.


John P. Mayer
Executive Director
Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction
565 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60661
312-906-5307 - voice
312-906-5338 - fax

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

new article on the appellate process

Amy Sloan, an associate professor of law at University of Baltimore School of Law, has written a just-published article, "Appellate Fruit Salad and Other Concepts:  A Short Course in Appellate Process."  The piece is very teaching-friendly and includes copyright permission and hypotheticals for use in class.  You can find it on Westlaw; it's at 35 U. Balt. L. Rev. 43 (foreword) and 45 (article).


February 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

kudos to Brooklyn's legal writing program!

Congratulations to Marilyn Walter, Betsy Fajans, and the rest of the Brooklyn Law School legal writing program for their excellent symposium last Friday, on Teaching Writing and Teaching Doctrine: a Symbiotic Relationship?  It was an extremely interesting and useful afternoon of theoretical and practical insights on integrating legal writing training into doctrinal and lawyering courses.

Marilyn Walter moderated the program, which included:

Carol Parker (Tennessee), Writing Across the Curriculum: Theoretical and Practical Justifications;

Pamela Lysaght (Detroit Mercy), Developing Writing Skills in a Doctrinal Course;

Eric Goldman (Marquette), Teaching Drafting Skills in a Specialized Context, specifically, contracts;

Claire Kelly (Brooklyn), Teaching Scholarly Writing;

Philip Meyer (Vermont), Teaching Narrative Skills to Enhance Advocacy; and

Betsy Fajans (Brooklyn), Adding a Writing Practicum to a Doctrinal Course.

I understand that the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute plans to publish the papers, and I look forward to reading them. This was a very effective way to celebrate the writing program’s twenty-fifth anniversary.

Bill Dunlap
Quinnipiac University School of Law
275 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, Connecticut 06518

February 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

students and e-mailing: erasing desirable boundaries?

If you like and want to be accessible to your students, but also want them to learn professional boundaries, this article will be of interest: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/education/21professors.html?ex=1141189200&en=5101027d00284aa7&ei=5070&emc=eta1.  It talks about students' all-too-easy use of e-mail.


February 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 20, 2006

a great article for legal writing students

An article chock full of advice to law students about the realities of legal writing can be found at http://www.abanet.org/lsd/studentlawyer/may04/get-real.html.  The author, Professor Mark Cooney, addresses and debunks students' misperceptions about legal writing and the practice of law.


February 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"rigorous" writing experiences

The American Bar Association's Standards for Approval of Law Schools now require "at least one rigorous writing experience in the first year and at least one additional rigorous writing experience after the first year."  See Standard 302(a)(3). A new interpretation of the standards, Interpretation 302-1, makes it clear what "rigorous" means in this context:

"Factors to be considered in evaluating the rigor of writing instruction include:  the number and nature of writing projects assigned to students; the opportunities a student has to meet with a writing instructor for purposes of individualized assessment of the student's written products; the number of drafts that a student must produce of any writing project; and the form of assessment used by the writing instructor."

While there are no specific numbers given, this interpretation means the ABA Accreditation Committee will be considering whether both 1L and upper division writing courses require multiple and varied writing experiences; one-on-one conferences; multiple drafts, rewrites, and editing; and some assessment of the writing itself.  Particularly in upper division courses, in some schools some professors historically have focused on the substantive law content of seminar papers rather than the writing process, and they may need to change their syllabi and approaches in those courses to be in compliance with the ABA standards. (spl)

February 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

14th National Legal Research Teach-In

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is holding its Teach-In 2006 during National Library Week, April 2nd to 8th.  The Teach-In Committee has created a Resource Kit to help you host training events during that week, or at other times during the year.  The Resource Kit includes  instructional materials that integrate both traditional and electronic legal resources.  To receive a kit contact Anita Carr before April 2nd, providing your name, address, institution, and phone number.  One kit per institution is available free of charge.  Teach-In kits from previous years back to 1995 are available for $10, by sending a check to AALL, 53 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 940, Chicago, IL 60604.  (spl) 

February 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

unhappy, stressed-out students?

If any of you has students who are feeling unhappy, you might want to refer them (or yourself) to the booklet “Hidden Sources of Law School Stress  -- Avoiding the Mistakes That Create Unhappy and Unprofessional Lawyers.”  To see the booklet, please go to http://www.law.fsu.edu/academic_programs/humanizing_lawschool/booklet.html.


February 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

good news from Oregon

Suzanne Rowe, Director of Legal Research and Writing at University of Oregon School of Law, has just announced that "[t]he faculty at Oregon just voted to create the rank of Senior Instructor for our LRW colleagues. They can be considered for this promotion in their sixth year. Promotion would bring an increase in salary, eligibility for sabbatical, and longer contracts."  LRW faculty at Oregon include Joan Malmud, Kate Weatherly, and Rebekah Hanley.

Congratulations to all!!


February 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2006

law-related humor

For a varied assortment of law-related humor in the form of articles and songs, go to http://www.lawhumor.com/.  And if you want to plan ahead for next Christmas, there are three--count 'em, three!--albums of holiday music with law-themed lyrics.


February 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

don't hit "send" too quickly!!

For a cautionary lesson in professionalism and e-mailing, refer students to the following story:



February 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)