Sunday, April 30, 2006

job opening on Long Island

Hofstra University School of Law is seeking a Visiting Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing, to teach full-time for one year, including some evenings and summer time.  To apply, send a resume and writing sample to:

Professor Roy Simon
c/o Joanne Masci
Hofstra University School of Law
121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549-1210

1.  The position advertised is for a one-year contract.
2.  The professor hired will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range of $60,000 to $69,999.
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41 - 45.


April 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

riding a horse while intoxicated

For an entertaining analysis of whether a state's drunk driving law applies to a person riding a horse while intoxicated, see Com. v. Noel, 857 A.2d 1283, 1289 (Penn. 2004)(analyzing whether a statute extending the rights and duties of a driver to one on a horse applies in the context of DUI laws). 

Of special note is Justice Eakin's dissent, which begins as follows: 

"A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse

He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.

He's always on a steady course. Talk to Mr. Ed.

Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, Mr. Ed, (CBS, 1961-1966).

Mr. Ed would know which sections of Part III do not 'by their very nature' apply to his rider, and I attribute the equivalent horse sense to the ordinary reasonable person."

Justice Eakin's dissent "trots along" with equine imagery throughout.


April 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 28, 2006


Vickie Rainwater, the Director of Legal Writing and currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, has been granted tenure.  Directing the writing program, serving as Associate Dean, and writing scholarship for tenure all at once -- surely Vickie is way ahead of the scientists in mastering time relativity!


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

kudos to Clark!

Congratulations to Diana Clark, who has won the Adjunct Professor of the Year Award at the University of Tulsa College of Law.  Diana teaches 3 sections of Tulsa's Legal Reasoning, Analysis and Writing course, a total of 50 students.  That quite a large teaching load for an adjunct professor, making the students' recognition of her work all the more remarkable.


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

writing tickets?

For a creative solution to students' weak writing skills, see The Real Reasons Students Can't Write by Laurence Musgrove.  Given the legalistic bent of most law students, it might just work.

hat tip:  Dean Darby Dickerson, Stetson University College of Law


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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

recommended post-modern reading

The information below arrived today in an e-mail update from SSRN. I had no idea that all along we legal writing professors have been post-modernists trying to make our way in an academy full of modernists. That explains a lot. (spl)

Neither Dead nor Dangerous: Postmodernism and the Teaching of Legal Writing
Contact: ADAM G. TODD
Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Author page:
Full Text:

This article explores postmodernism and its relation to the teaching of legal writing. Postmodernism is an undeniably important theory in literary criticism, composition, and rhetoric and has provoked much debate in areas of legal scholarship, but it has seldom been addressed directly by legal writing scholars. Legal writing has been greatly affected by postmodernism and can be characterized as a "postmodern" class in what is otherwise a modernist academy. Legal writing teachers generally teach in a modernist paradigm which seeks to normalize the law and create unitary meaning from the morass of texts and ideas which is considered "the law". They have, however, simultaneously, a rather benignant postmodernist bent when it comes to teaching writing and have to engage a number of postmodern paradoxes as part of their profession. It is the postmodern components of their work that provide strength to the profession and help prepare law students for both the "modern" and "postmodern" world.  This article directly contradicts legal scholars who claim postmodernism is dead, dangerous, or irrelevant to the law and has no place in the legal academy.

The article begins by defining postmodernism and its contribution to the legal academy in general. The article continues by examining how postmodernism has affected the teaching of legal writing specifically. Postmodernism underlies the theories of process and post-process writing pedagogy, deconstruction, and story-telling, which can all be found in many legal writing classrooms. In addition, the legal writing class embodies certain postmodern attributes or characteristics not found in much of the other, more modernist, parts of the legal academy. The article concludes by arguing that the postmodern components of legal writing classes are a source of legal writing's strength, growth and relevance in and outside of law schools. Postmodernism, in this context, is neither dead nor dangerous but rather vital and relevant to legal education.

The topic of this article was competitively selected to be awarded a grant from the Association of Legal Writing Directors and parts of the article were presented at the Third Annual Rocky Mountain Region and the 2005 Central States Legal Writing Conferences.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

say it /spell it

At a committee meeting, members were asked to approve the minutes of a prior meeting.  The first item of the minutes read as follows:  "Mr. X made a motion that the minutes be approved pending the correction of type-O's."

Is that a bonified* spelling error?  :)


*one of my all-time favorite real-life examples.

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

recommended reading

Sure, you already may have some sense that they do things differently at Temple.  You may have picked up some clues from Temple's LRW profs' posts on the legal writing listserve, or from their conference presentations, or from the nature of their previous scholarship.  But if you want to know what they're really doing in that part of Philly, see the latest article by Ellie Margolis and Susan DeJarnatt, Moving Beyond Product to Process:  Building a Better LRW Program, 46 Santa Clara L. Rev. 93 (2005).  It is full of thought-provoking ideas about effective ways to teach legal research and writing.  In this article, any given LRW professor is likely to find some familiar things, some new things, something impossible given your situation, and a few things you might just want to try. 


April 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

test your vocabulary against that of a judge

Judge Ferdinand Francis Fernandez of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates an astonishing breadth of vocabulary in his opinions.  Who among the readers of this blog can define canorous, epopt, or haruspex?

If you pride yourself on your vocabulary, then challenge yourself with this quiz based on words used in his opinions.


April 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

recommended -- and quotable -- reading

Everyone responsible for training the next generation of lawyers should read the latest article by Chief Judge Edward D. Re, Increased Importance of Legal Writing in the Era of "the Vanishing Trial," 21 Touro L. Rev. 665 (2005).  If you teach legal writing, be patient through the introductory remarks.  You will find much to cheer and highly quotable material throughout the article.


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

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rhode Island writer

LRW Professor Tony Simpson, at Roger Williams University School of Law, has recently published Rhode Island Civil and Appellate Procedure.  His co-authors include Robert B. Kent, former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert G. Flanders, and attorney David Wollin.  This book updates Kent's 1969 edition.


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

new Section newsletter

The spring newsletter of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research has just been released. Our newsletter is better than ever, thanks to the work of our secretary Lou Sirico.

This issue contains:

* stories from the January conference in Washington, DC,

* news of promotions, moves, accomplishments, and publications

* announcements for Section leadership and the Section award

* committee assignments for the Section's ongoing work

* and more!

The newsletter is posted at, compliments of Tom McDonnell and Pace University.

You can also go to the Section's website at

Thanks to Lou and Tom for their outstanding contributions to our Section!

- Suzanne Rowe
  Section Chair

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

Friday, April 21, 2006

Homer honored

Homer_1 LRW Professor Steven Homer, at the University of New Mexico School of Law, recently won a teacher-of-the-year award for non-tenure track faculty.  Only three such awards were given out university wide.


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

Boston Legal and Star Trek

If you're a closet (or proudly public!!) fan of both series, check out "Boston Legal Themes and Allusions in Comparison with Star Trek."


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

Thursday, April 20, 2006

legal fiction competition

Today's earlier posts prove that in law fact is often stranger than fiction.  But if you've got what it takes to write great legal fiction, you may be interested in the 5th Annual National Legal Fiction Competition for Lawyers.  Got 2,500 words worth of a short story or novel just lying around?  You'll need to submit it by June 30th.  (spl)

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

"What, fisty-cuffs?"

There was some discussion earlier today on the legal writing professors' listserve about a motion requesting a court to order a fist fight.  The document is available at

Perhaps the movant's success will depend on the exact wording of the provision prohibiting dueling in the state's criminal code?  Such provisions, BTW, are often excellent fodder for statutory construction exercises in legal writing class.


P.S.  The quote in this post's title is from the song I'd Do Anything For You in the musical Oliver.

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

Is a cow a motor vehicle?

Is a cow a "land motor vehicle" as required for coverage under an insured's uninsured motorist provision in an automobile insurance policy?  An Ohio appeals court answers that burning question in Mayor v. Wedding.


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

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ralph Brill to be honored

On June 12, Ralph Brill of Chicago Kent College of Law will receive the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education.  George Will, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, will first speak at the Great Hall in the Library of Congress; then Professor Brill will be presented the award as one of the "Legends in Law."



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

Dayton update

Wawrose Professor Susan Wawrose received a unanimous vote for a five-year contract from the faculty at the University of Dayton School of Law.  Before beginning that contract though, she will be enjoying a two-year stay in Luxembourg with her family.

In the fall the Dayton legal writing faculty will also be welcoming two new professors, Kristen Safier and Julie Zink.


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

ALWD announces election results

Kristen Gerdy (Brigham Young), the President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), has announced the following election results:

Terrill Pollman (Nevada-Las Vegas)

new members of the Board of Directors:
Nancy Dickhute (Creighton)
Lisa McElroy (Southern New England)
Judy Rosenbaum (Northwestern)

They will be joining:

Incoming President:
Craig Smith (Vanderbilt)

Grace Wigal (West Virginia)

Corporate Secretary:
Molly Lien (John Marshall)

continuing members of the Board of Directors:
JoAnne Durako (Stetson)
Eric Easton (Baltimore)
Diane Penneys Edelman (Villanova)
Hether MacFarlane (McGeorge)
Mary Barnard Ray (Wisconsin)
David Romantz (Memphis)
Judy Stinson (Arizona State)


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