Friday, November 3, 2006

job opening in Pittsburgh

Duquesne University School of Law has announced an opening for the Director of Legal Research and Writing:

"Director of Legal Research and Writing is a tenure-track position. The successful candidate will be responsible for all aspects of administration of the legal research and writing program, including developing legal research and writing curricula for first-year and upper-level students, and supervising legal research and writing instructors. The Director will teach at least one section of legal research and writing. The Director of Legal Research and Writing will collaborate with the Director of Bar Services to provide academic support for students.

"Requirements: The Director of Legal Research and Writing must have a Juris Doctor degree, membership in a state Bar, excellent academic credentials, and experience teaching legal writing. The successful candidate must have strong administrative skills, excellent legal reasoning, writing, and research skills, and effective interpersonal and oral communication skills. The successful candidate also must demonstrate a commitment to teaching legal research and writing and potential for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

"Duquesne University was founded in 1878 by its sponsoring religious community, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. Duquesne University is Catholic in mission and ecumenical in spirit. Motivated by its Catholic identity, Duquesne values equality of opportunity both as an educational institution and as an employer. The successful candidate must be willing to support the Duquesne University Mission Statement.

"1. The position advertised
__X_ a. is tenure-track.

"2. The person hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
__X_ a. 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_ b. $80,000 to $89,999 (depending on qualifications)

"4. The person hired will teach legal writing each semester, to the total number of students in the range checked below:
_X_ b. 30 to 44

"Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, and two writing samples to:

Professor Nicholas S. Fisfis
Recruitment Committee Chair
Duquesne University School of Law
900 Locust Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

"Application Deadline: December 1, 2006, or until position is filled."


November 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Thursday, November 2, 2006

recommended reading

Marlow I just had the opportunity to read the recently-published versions of two helpful articles by one of my legal writing colleagues here at Southern Illinois University, Professor Melissa Marlow:

Blessed Are They Who Teach an Upper-Level Course, for They Shall Earn Higher Student Ratings, 7 Florida Coastal Law Review 553 (2006).  This piece not only covers what you expect from the name, it reviews the other factors that researchers have concluded have an impact on student evaluations of their law professors.  The author also suggests what law profs can do to ameliorate the student evaluation situation.  The whole piece is a nice example too of how to present empirical work, in case you're looking for a template.

Scholarship Buddies, 56 Journal of Legal Education 56 (2006).  This article describes a practical approach to help you get going and stay the course on your own scholarship.  If you need a kick in the right direction, I can attest that Professor Marlow's method works.


November 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

?! and 's's

Over at the online site for the Chicago Manual of Style, they answer readers' questions each month. I would love to meet the Chicago editor who penned the following responses to questions in the November 2006 Q & A:

Q: [I]s it ever proper to put a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence in formal writing?

A: In formal writing, we allow both marks only in the event that the author was being physically assaulted while writing. Otherwise, no.

Q. Is there an acceptable way to form the possessive of words such as Macy’s and Sotheby’s? Sometimes rewording to avoid the possessive results in less felicitous writing.

A. Less felicitous than “Sotheby’s’s”? I don’t think so.


November 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

50 writing tools

20060629_140626_24309_1 Roy Peter Clark, of journalism’s Poynter Institute and its PoynterOnline blog, has recently (September 2006) published Writing Tools, a book of fifty essays on the essentials of better writing, many/most of which apply with equal force to legal writing. Poynter’s web site contains a blog devoted to these writing tools, periodically discussing each in greater detail. To get started, see Clark’s “quick list” of these tools; among them you’ll find memorable phrases that I think are destined to work their way into the lexicon of writing teachers everywhere.

A sampling follows:

·                     Be passive-aggressive.
Use passive verbs to showcase the "victim" of action.

·                     Let punctuation control pace and space.
Learn the rules, but realize you have more options than you think.

·                     Cut big, then small.
Prune the big limbs, then shake out the dead leaves.

·                     Get the name of the dog.
Dig for the concrete and specific, details that appeal to the senses.

·                     Climb up and down the ladder of abstraction.
Learn when to show, when to tell, and when to do both.

·                     Place gold coins along the path.
Reward the reader with high points, especially in the middle.


November 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

follow those appellate rules!

"Because Cook's brief violates the rules of appellate procedure and does not identify any legal issues, we affirm the judgment."  With language like that, how can one doubt that this Wisconsin case is a potential teaching tool?  Granted, it's a pro se appellant, but still a good lesson:  Courts care about rules and expect them to be followed.

hat tip:  Christopher Wren


October 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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.


October 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)