Tuesday, October 31, 2006

using metaphor

Yesterday I received an announcement of a symposium that will take place soon at a law school.  I get many such announcements every week.  After glancing at the title or topic, if I'm reading the announcement on my computer, I usually hit "delete."  If I'm reading the announcement in print by the faculty mailboxes, I usually just throw it in the recycling bin, before leaving the mailroom.  But the announcement I received yesterday I saved.  For two reasons:

First, it's a symposium about legal writing that I had not heard about on the legal writing professors' listserve, so I wanted to be sure to give readers of this blog a heads up:

The symposium is about Using Metaphor in Legal Analysis and Communication.  It takes place Friday, November 10, 2006, 9:40 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at the Mercer University School of Law.  It's free to attend.  Mercer is in Macon, Georgia, an easy highway drive an hour south of Atlanta.  (Macon makes a nice weekend getaway, with historic ante-bellum buildings, interesting restaurants, a national historic park, etc.) 

The speakers for the symposium include:

  • Mark Johnson, Knight Professor of Philosophy, University of Oregon
  • Steven Winter, Walter S. Gibb Professor of Constitutional Law, Wayne State University School of Law
  • Michael Smith, Professor of Law, University of Wyoming
  • Linda Berger, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
  • Dr. Michael Goldberg, Vitas Hospice
  • David Ritchie, Associate Professor of Law, Walter F. George School of Law (Mercer)

And that list leads me to the second reason I saved the postcard:  I know that Michael Smith, Linda Berger, and David Ritchie are legal writing professors, but nothing in their titles above would indicate that.  And that's excellent!  Just like professors of Contracts or Torts or Environmental Law, we finally have legal writing professors who are Professors of Law (or Associate or Assissant Professors of Law).  This might seem like a small thing to non-academics.  As someone who spent five years teaching in a law school full-time as a Visiting Assistant Professor and another five years at another school as an Acting Assistant Professor, I can attest that having legal writing professors who are regular Assistant, Associate, and full Professors of Law is a huge step forward for the field of legal writing.  And of course, professionalizing the teaching of legal writing works directly to enhance the legal writing education that students receive as they prepare to be lawyers.

Now if only I could get to Macon on November 10th, for some of that genuine Southern hospitality that Mercer rolls out for visitors.  I guess I'll have to settle for reading the symposium issue of the Mercer Law Review, which is slated for future publication.



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