Saturday, September 30, 2006

Online Style Guides

One of my colleagues on the faculty asked whether to include an apostrophe in the phrase “bachelor’s degree.” (Yes.) Being an academic (and a legal writing teacher), I wanted to cite an authoritative source for that answer. I pulled out my trusty orange volume of The Chicago Manual of Style, but didn’t find the precise answer in its pages. So I went online and immediately found several authoritative academic style guides—including an answer in the online version of the CMoSgiving what I needed. Perhaps one of them will come in handy for you:


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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Weresh receives award

Professor Mel Weresh, Assistant Director of Legal Writing at Drake University Law School, has been awarded Drake University's Distinguished Community Service Award.



September 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

recommended reading

Weresh Professor Melissa Weresh, at Drake University Law School, has written an article on Form and Substance:  Standards for Promotion and Retention of Legal Writing Faculty on Clinical Tenure Track.  It's not slated to be published until the winter, but you can access it now via Expresso's Preprint Series, at  Here's the abstract:

"This article compares standards for promotion and retention of legal writing faculty on a clinical tenure track. The article provides a brief history of legal writing professionals and examines specific employment criteria such as teaching, service, and scholarship. The article makes recommendations regarding those criteria based upon an assessment of institutional realities and the historical development of the profession."

This article will be very helpful for any law school contemplating changes to the terms of employment and contractual operating documents of non-tenure-track legal writing professors.



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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

“Alex, I’ll take ‘Red Lights’ for 10.”
“The answer is, 'If you use a signal, it may help to use this as well.'”
“What is an explanatory parenthetical?”

Did someone say that learning citation isn’t fun? Now you and your students can play ALWD Jeopardy, 3d edition. Darby Dickerson’s lively powerpoints—not just the Jeopardy game but many, many more citation instruction powerpoints (e.g., lessons on citing statutes, books and treatises, using signals, punctuating and editing quotations, even comparison tables for ALWD and Bluebook)—are available as free downloads from Aspen’s new web site for the ALWD Citation Manual.


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

Welcome Professor Barger!

Here at the legal writing professors blog, we are delighted to welcome a new co-editor, Professor Coleen Barger from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law. Professor Barger is a veteran legal writing professor, who has been active in our field at the national level for many years.  You can read more about her by clicking here.  Once the manager of the law prof blogs returns (i.e., after the weekend), Professor Barger's contact information will appear on the left-hand side of the screen here.



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

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

rules and analysis exercise?

The "cute overload" website has an interesting drawing of the guidelines that Warner Bros. uses in creating cute cuddly cartoon characters.  You could probably build a fun analysis/rule creation class around the drawing.  Go to and scroll a wee bit down the page.


September 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

reference "books"

sources of teaching ideas

Proving that inspiration for teaching legal writing can be found almost anywhere, Professor Peter Friedman of Case Western Reserve University refers us to both comic books and Jorge Luis Borges:


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

Monday, September 25, 2006

filing a motion when a brief is more appropriate

In a very recent case, the Seventh Circuit (specifically, Judge Easterbrook) does not take kindly to a party's attempt to evade brief length limitations by presenting some of its points as an "absurd" motion to strike portions of the opposing party's brief rather than address them in the reply brief.  The sanction?  Take the number of words in the problematic motion, double it, and subtract that from the permitted length of the reply brief wherein the points should have been made in the first place.

hat tip:  Molly Lien, The John Marshall Law School - Chicago


September 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

statutory interpretation and legislative intent

A recent North Dakota Supreme Court opinion analyzes the state's recreational use statute and the legislative intent behind it (the dissenting opinion addresses specifically the majority's focus "on the user's use of the property rather than the owner's purpose in making the property available" and which focus is appropriate).

This is a good, easy-to-understand case for 1-L's to use in discussing statutes and statutory interpretation.


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

Sunday, September 24, 2006

oral argument as conversation

For a helpful way for law students to think about oral argument, click on:

hat tip:  Professor Diane Murley, Southern Illinois University


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

Saturday, September 23, 2006

the seven deadly sins

In the middle of grading?  Want some confirmation it's not just your students?  See this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

hat tip:  Professor Trish McCubbin, Southern Illinois University


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

AALS dance card

Items a legal writing professor might want to add to her dance card for the AALS annual meeting:

Friday, January 5, 2007
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Legal Writing Institute and Association of Legal Writing Directors Golden Pen and Blackwell Awards and Reception
Lincoln West, Concourse Level, Hilton Washington & Towers

Saturday, January 6, 2007
10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Scribes - The American Society of Legal Writers
Program: Jury Instructions in Plain English -- A Conversation with the California Justices (and Others) on Guidelines and Process
Hoover Room, Mezzanine Level, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

hat tip:  Professor Mark Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago)


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

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"Human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when all the time we are longing to move the stars to pity."

- Gustave Flaubert

hat tip:  newsletter of the Southern Illinois Writers Guild


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

possible position in Oregon

The University of Oregon School of Law seeks candidates for a possible full-time Legal Research and Writing (LRW) position beginning July 16, 2007.

Applicants for this position should have a strong record of academic achievement, excellent skills in legal writing and oral communication, a J.D. or its equivalent, and at least two years of post-law school legal experience. Applicants should have a demonstrated potential for excellence in teaching and a commitment to teaching LRW. The successful candidate must have a demonstrated potential to work successfully in a program that requires a high level of coordination and collaboration. The successful candidate will have the ability to work effectively within a diverse population of faculty, staff and students.

LRW is a required, two-semester course taught in the first-year curriculum. The course is awarded two credits each semester and is fully graded. The LRW curriculum integrates research, analysis, and writing as well as other professional skills that complement the core curriculum. The full-time teaching load consists of two sections per semester; LRW sections average 22 students each. LRW faculty teach the same students in both semesters. The director leads the LRW faculty in planning and coordinating the course, though individual teachers have flexibility in designing their assignments within the overall structure set by the director.

The base salary for this position is for a standard nine-month contract; however, LRW professors are also paid for one additional month of preparation work just before the start of the academic year. (Salary range is therefore $50-59,999). Each teacher receives a professional development stipend, which can be used for travel and research assistance. LRW professors serve on faculty committees and vote on all matters except those related to promotion and tenure. During the sixth year of appointment, an LRW professor can request promotion to senior instructor, which brings longer contracts, a salary increase, and the possibility of a paid sabbatical.

Eugene is frequently included in lists of the most livable places in the US. It is a mid-sized city that combines the offerings of a large, multi-cultural city with a relaxed, small-town atmosphere. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Pacific Ocean is about an hour’s drive west; the Cascade mountain range is about the same distance east.

Applications should be sent to Professor Suzanne Rowe, Director of Legal Research and Writing, University of Oregon School of Law, 1221 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1221. Applications should include a letter of interest, a resume, a list of three references, and a law school transcript. The appointments committee will begin reviewing applications in October, though submissions will be accepted until any openings are filled.

The University of Oregon is an EO/AAA employer committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the ADA.

hat tip:  Suzanne Rowe


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

positions availabe in NY

hat tip:  Pat Rooney, Associate Professor Legal Process, Touro Law Center,

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, located on New York 's Long Island, invites applications for two faculty members to teach in our Legal Process program starting in August, 2007.

The successful candidates will each teach two sections of Legal Process, a required, first-year, two semester, six credit course focusing on instruction in legal research, analysis and writing, and introduction of practice related skills, including interviewing, client counseling, and oral advocacy.  We expect the size of each section to be 15-17 students. Although the final salary for the two positions has yet to be set, we expect the salary to range from $70,000 a year to $89,000 a year, based on teaching experience and demonstrated excellence in the Legal Writing/Legal Research area.

All faculty members at Touro College Law Center are expected to participate in faculty governance and other service activities. Legal Process Professors have a vote on all matters other than tenure. After two years of teaching, Legal Process Professors are eligible for long term contracts.

In October 2006, Touro Law Center will relocate to a newly constructed state of the art facility located in Central Islip, New York. The new building is adjacent to federal, state, and county courthouses. We are in the process of revising the curriculum to allow students to utilize access to the courthouses in furthering their legal education.

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.

Applicants should submit a cover letter; a current resume; and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references. Applications sent via e-mail are preferred and should be sent to Professor Deborah Post, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee,  Hard copy applications may be sent to Professor Post at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, 225 Eastview Dr., Central Islip, NY 11722.  For more information on the Legal Process program contact Professor Heather Melniker at (631) 421-2244 ext. 369 or

The Appointments Committee will review applications when received, and will continue to review applications until the positions are filled.

Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center has a strong commitment to the principle of equal employment opportunity and to the objective of having a diverse faculty. In furtherance of these commitments, we welcome applications from women and minorities.


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

Monday, September 18, 2006

no more West headnotes in Shepard's

(from Law Dawg Blawg,

LexisNexis has announced that, as of September 1, 2006, it no longer provides coverage of West headnotes for most case law in Shepard's Citations. See "New Enhancements" section of the current LexisNexis Info Pro for Legal Information Professionals <>. LexisNexis also began removing "historic headnote analysis" from Shepard's Citations on September 1, 2006. The company cites the steady decline of print subscriptions to Shepard's and states that "we can no longer justify the resources required to keep up the labor-intensive process of performing analysis for headnotes that we do not have online."


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

job opening in Chicago

THE JOHN MARSHALL LAW SCHOOL in Chicago, Illinois invites applications for a faculty appointment with primary teaching responsibilities in the field of Lawyering Skills. This position will be a tenure-track appointment that carries full faculty status and teaching responsibilities in both the Lawyering Skills Program and in doctrinal courses.  John Marshall has a comprehensive Lawyering Skills Program, which includes a minimum of four semesters of courses focusing on analysis, legal method, objective writing, legal and factual research, persuasive writing, appellate advocacy, and both general practice and specialized legal drafting courses.  Applicants should have:

excellent academic records;
strong and effective communications skills:
the ability to work with others;
an interest in teaching and mentoring students;
experience teaching in a legal writing program; and,
a record of scholarship or a strong commitment to producing high quality scholarship.

The tenure-track appointment will require the successful applicant to teach one section of Lawyering Skills to approximately 25 students each semester. The professor will also teach a doctrinal course each semester.  The doctrinal assignment can be tailored to the candidate’s interests, but the law school currently has special needs in the areas of contracts, criminal law and procedure, commercial law, patent law, corporations, securities law, and professional responsibility.

In order to support faculty scholarship, John Marshall provides generous summer stipends to tenure-track faculty members. In addition, Lawyering Skills professors are excused from teaching Lawyering Skills one out of every six semesters so that they can focus on scholarship.  During that semester, each faculty member will teach only doctrinal classes. 

John Marshall is located in the heart of Chicago’s loop, close to the federal and state courthouses, museums, theaters, Orchestra Hall, and public transportation. Faculty members very much enjoy working in Chicago.  The metropolitan area and Chicago ’s excellent mass transit system offer a wide variety of city, suburban, and rural living options.  Chicago is also the home of multiple world-class symphony orchestras, professional sports teams, and resident opera and ballet companies.

John Marshall encourages diversity in its faculty, staff, and student populations, and actively seeks candidates from diverse backgrounds.  Minority candidates are encouraged to apply. All members of the John Marshall faculty share a strong commitment to institutional and public service.

For information about the Lawyering Skills Program, please contact Professor Molly Lien, Director, at 312-987-2379, or Interested candidates should submit applications to:  Professor Karen Halverson Cross, Co-Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, The John Marshall Law School, 315 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago, IL 60604. Electronic submissions are welcome and may be sent to

1.  The position advertised:
    _X   a.   is tenure-track.
     __   b.   can lead to long-term contracts.
     __   c.   has neither of these forms of job security.

2.  The person hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

     _X   a.   true
     __   b.   not true

3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below.  (A base salary does NOT include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.)          

     _X   a.   $90,000 or more (depending on qualifications)
  _X   b.   $80,000 to $89,999 (depending on qualifications)
     __   c.   $70,000 to $79,999
     __   d.   $60,000 to $69,999
     __   e.   $50,000 to $59,999
     __   f.    $40,000 to $49,999
     __   g.    less than $40,000

4.  The person hired will teach legal writing, each semester, to the total number of students in the range checked below:

     _X_ a.   less than 30
     __   b.   30 to 44
     __   c.   45 to 59
     __   d.   more than 59

hat tip:  Professor Molly Lien, The John Marshall Law School


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

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's here!

The long-awaited second edition of the American Bar Association's Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs is now available.  It covers pretty much every aspect of a legal writing program that a law school may be wrestling with or wanting to tinker with.  This new edition also includes information about upper level writing courses in law schools and information on teaching legal writing to ESL students.  The dean of every ABA accredited law school should have already gotten or be getting shortly 3 copies in the mail:  one for the dean, one for the law school library, and one for the legal writing program.  Additional copies are available directly from the ABA soon via its on-line store, for $19.

Easton_2 Professor Eric Easton at Baltimore University School of Law was the ever-patient editor of this volume.

full disclosure:  Both of the editors of this blog were among the authors of this second edition of the Sourcebook.


September 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 15, 2006

a long week

It's the end of a long week.

Did you make a difference in someone's life?  Did you allow someone to make a difference in yours?

Did you reach out to a student or colleague who seemed to need support or kindness?  Did you allow yourself to accept support or kindness extended to you?

Did you live, fully and greedily, arms outstretched to both give and receive, this week?


Brendan Murray, 22, a second-year law student at Tech, passed away early Wednesday morning.



September 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)