Friday, August 31, 2007

tips on using a dictionary

Professor Kurt Metzmeier has written a helpful short piece with points to consider when turning to a dictionary to aid statutory interpretation. You Can Look it Up: The Use of Dictionaries in Interpreting Statutes appears in the July 2007 Louisville Bar Briefs.


August 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

help for your thesis sentences

UNLV Professor Michael Higdon's most recent article in his state's bar journal, the Nevada Lawyer, is called The Legal Reader, the Legal Writer and the All-Important Thesis Sentence.  It gives helpful advice that might enrich a lesson plan or classroom handout.



August 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ALWD unveils redesigned website

Prof. Debra Green, chair of the Association of Legal Writing Directors' website committee, has announced the opening of ALWD's redesigned, updated, and reconfigured website. In addition to familiar content, the website is set to provide two additional new features:  a “forums” link for members and a “search” function.


August 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

conference on rhetoric and law

Prof. Terry Godwin Phelps of American University, Washington College of Law has announced that school's hosting of a conference titled “How Legal Rhetoric Shapes the Law,” scheduled for Friday, November 2, 2007. The keynote address will be delivered by James Boyd White. To register, go to There is no charge to attend.


August 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

visiting position at Missouri-Columbia

The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law is seeking applications for a nine-month appointment as a Visiting Assistant Legal Writing Professor for the 2008-2009 academic year. For information about the school's Legal Research and Writing program, contact Melody Daily, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of Legal Research and Writing, MU School of Law, 203 Hulston Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. To apply, send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and list of three references (with their contact information) by the October 1, 2007, deadline to Associate Dean Thom Lambert, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law, 231 Hulston Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-4300.


August 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

free Internet access to case law

A press release from Columbia University announces free Internet access to U.S. judicial decisions, coming soon to a wireless connection near you.

hat tip:  Professor James Duggan, Southern Illinois University


August 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 27, 2007

job openings at John Marshall (Chicago), North Dakota, and Stetson

The John Marshall Law School-Chicago invites entry-level and experienced faculty to apply for possible tenure-track, long-term contract, or visiting faculty appointments beginning the 2008-09 academic year, in several subject matter areas, including lawyering skills. Applicants should e-mail or send a letter of application and resume by October 10, 2007 to Professor Mark E. Wojcik, Chair, Selection and Appointments Committee, The John Marshall Law School, 315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60604.

The University of North Dakota School of Law seeks applications for for the position of tenure-track Assistant Professor of Law to teach in the school's Lawyering Skills program beginning in August 2008.  Applicants should mail a cover letter, resume, the names of three references, and a writing sample to Kathryn R. L. Rand, Associate Dean, University of North Dakota School of Law, 215 Centennial Drive, Mail Stop 9003, Grand Forks, ND 58202. Questions regarding the position can be directed to Kirsten Dauphinais, Director of Lawyering Skills.

Stetson University College of Law has announced an opening for the position of Assistant Professor of Legal Skills, a position with a three-year renewable contract. To apply, send a cover letter and current curriculum vitae by September 10 to Professors Michael Allen and Timothy Kaye, Co-Chairs, Faculty Appointments Committee, Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707. Most initial screening interviews will be conducted during the AALS 2007 Faculty Recruitment Conference in Washington, DC on October 25-28, 2007. For more information about the position, contact Professor Kirsten Davis, Director of Legal Research and Writing (727-562-7877).


August 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Diana Pratt named winner of Blackwell Award

Diana_pratt This year's winner of the Thomas Blackwell Award is Professor Diana Pratt. The award recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of legal writing by demonstrating

  • the ability to nuture and motivate students to excellence;
  • the willingness to help other Legal Writing Educators improve their teaching skills or their Legal Writing Programs; and
  • the ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating Legal Writing educators and students.

Professor Pratt will be honored at a joint ALWD and LWI reception at the AALS conference on Thursday, January 3, 2008 from 6:30-8:30at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, in the Imperial Ballroom East.


August 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

the cutting edge of legal scholarship

Check out William J. Aceves, James M. Cooper, Alejandro Gonzalez, & Pedro Egana Marshall, The Orthodoxy of Format:  Some Sketches on Legal Scholarship, 56 Journal of Legal Education 656 (2006).  Saying anything more would ruin it for you.


August 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

the price of clarity . . .

"The price of clarity, of course, is that the clearer the document the more obvious its substantive deficiencies.  For the lazy or dull, this price may be too high."  Reed Dickerson, Professor of Law, Indiana University; taken from the Plain Language website.


August 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Global Legal Skills Conference III

Everything you might possibly need to know about the upcoming Global Legal Skills Conference III is now easy to find on its website, including how submit a proposal.  And the information is available in both English & Espanol.   


August 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 24, 2007

time to sign up for the Central Region legal skills conference

From Professor Wanda Temm:

Law Have you registered yet? It's almost here. The Central Region LRW/Lawyering Skills Conference will be held October 5-6, 2007, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. Registration is free!!!! All you will have are your travel expenses.

Our program committee, headed by Alison Julien of Marquette, has done a great job of organizing an outstanding program for our conference. Our plenary speaker will be the Honorable Duane Benton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, a dedicated proponent of legal writing.

You can register online at

Our conference hotel is the Embassy Suites on the Country Club Plaza, just north of the law school. Be sure to ask for the Central Legal Writing Conference rate. Our block of hotel rooms will be freed up on September 5th. If you have any trouble with your hotel reservations, please let me know right away. We will be providing shuttle service from the hotel to the law school thanks to Aspen. Our reception and lunch will be hosted by LexisNexis and Westlaw. Just a reminder that presenters need to register, too. That way we'll be able to have the right count for meals/breaks.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Kansas City in October.


August 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

tenure-track job opening

Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, seeks applicants for a tenure-track position in its legal writing program beginning in Fall 2008. To apply, mail or e-mail a cover letter and resume to Anders Kaye, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 2121 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110.


August 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

aals poster deadline approaches

The AALS Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Section Poster Committee advises that September 1 is the deadline for poster submissions for the upcoming AALS conference. For information about submission requirements, go to this page on the AALS website. To see examples of AALS posters for the LWRR section, go here. For some great tips on putting together a poster presentation, see Nancy Soonpaa's article.


August 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

for legal writing professors in New England

Professor Tracy Bach sends this announcement:

"Please mark your calendars for the regional conference of the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers (NECLWT), to be held on Friday, December 7, 2007 at the Vermont Law School.  Registration starts at 9am, the first of the day's two rounds of concurrent panels and workshops begins at 10:30am, and the last round of panels concludes at 3:15pm, followed by a closing reception.

"The luncheon will feature Professor Chris Jernstedt,  Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College and Director of the college's Center for Educational Outcomes.  He specializes in human learning, educational technology, and evaluation research, and frequently lectures about learning and teaching, potentials of the human mind, educational technology, and institutional and program assessment and development."


August 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

our 1-L's

According to Beloit College, these are characteristics of our 1-L students (assuming 4 years of undergrad and then entering law school):

  1. Ricky Nelson, Richard Burton, Samantha Smith, Laura Ashley, Orson Welles, Karen Ann Quinlan, Benigno Aquino, and the U.S. Football League have always been dead.
  2. They are not familiar with the source of that "Giant Sucking Sound."
  3. Iraq has always been a problem.
  4. "Ctrl + Alt + Del" is as basic as "ABC."
  5. Paul Newman has always made salad dressing.
  6. Pete Rose has always been a gambler.
  7. Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.
  8. An automatic is a weapon, not a transmission.
  9. Russian leaders have always looked like leaders everyplace else.
  10. The snail darter has never been endangered.
  11. There has always been a screening test for AIDS.
  12. Gas has always been unleaded.
  13. They never heard Howard Cosell call a game on ABC.
  14. The United States has always had a Poet Laureate.
  15. Garrison Keillor has always been live on public radio and Lawrence Welk has always been dead on public television.
  16. Their families drove SUVs without "being fuelish."
  17. There has always been some association between fried eggs and your brain.
  18. They would never leave their calling card on someone’s desk.
  19. They have never been able to find the "return" key.
  20. Computers have always fit in their backpacks.
  21. Datsuns have never been made.
  22. They have never gotten excited over a telegram, a long distance call, or a fax.
  23. The Osmonds are just talk show hosts.
  24. Undergraduate college athletes have always been a part of the NBA and NFL draft.
  25. They have always "grazed" for food.
  26. Three-point shots from "downtown" have always been a part of basketball.
  27. Test tube babies are now having their own babies.
  28. Stores have always had scanners at the checkout.
  29. The Army has always driven Humvees.
  30. Adam and PC Junior computers had vanished from the market before this generation went online.
  31. The Statue of Liberty has always had a gleaming torch.
  32. They have always had a PIN number.
  33. Banana Republic has always been a store, not a puppet government in Latin America.
  34. Car detailing has always been available
  35. Directory assistance has never been free.
  36. The Jaycees have always welcomed women as members
  37. There has always been Lean Cuisine.
  38. They have always been able to fly Virgin Atlantic.
  39. There have never been dress codes in restaurants.
  40. Doctors have always had to deal with "reasonable and customary fees" and patients have always had controls placed on the number of days they could stay in a hospital.
  41. They have always been able to make photocopies at home.
  42. Michael Eisner has always been in charge of Disney.
  43. They have always been able to make phone calls from planes.
  44. Yuppies are almost as old as hippies.
  45. Rupert Murdoch has always been an American citizen.
  46. Strawberry Fields has always been in New York.
  47. Rock and Roll has always been a force for social good.
  48. Killer bees have always been swarming in the U.S.
  49. They have never seen a First Lady in a fur coat.
  50. Don Imus has always been offending someone in his national audience.

In all fairness it should be understood that students entering college this fall do have a few items on their own lists that will separate them from many of their mentors:

  1. For many of them today, it’s all about the "bling, bling."
  2. They know who the "heroes in a half shell" are.
  3. Peeps are not a candy, they are your friends.
  4. They have been "dissing"and "burning" things all their lives.
  5. They can expect to get a ticket for "ricing out their wheels."
  6. They knew how to pop a Popple and trade a Pog.
  7. They can still sing the rap chorus to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the theme song from Duck Tales.

hat tip:  Tracy McGaugh, Touro


August 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS section newsletter deadline

Have any news for the AALS section newsletter?  Here's how to get it to the right person:

What kinds of news might I submit? 

1.  News and Accomplishments:  If you have personally changed schools or received a promotion (title or contract changes) since the last newsletter, please e-mail  If your news is a promotion or status change, please be as specific as possible, for example, the nature of the promotion, the type of status change, etc. Please also send information about any advances your school's program has made since the winter/spring newsletter was published.

2.  Publications.  If you have published an article or book since the last newsletter, please send me the name of the article or book as well as its citation.

3.  Q and A:  There are plans for a Q & A page in the newsletter.  Its success is up to you.  Here's the question:

What unique or interesting ways have you found to engage students in learning what they might otherwise perceive to be a dry skill or topic (small-scale organization or research, for example)?   

Please email your answer to this question to  Space permitting, it will be published.  Charts and diagrams are welcome if they do not take up too much space.

4.  Conferences:  Please e-mail information about any upcoming regional conferences if you would like me to include that information in the newsletter.

The DEADLINE is September 15, 2007. (Earlier e-mails are more than welcome!) 

(from Rachel Croskery-Roberts, AALS Section Secretary)


August 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

look out Lexis?

For the scoop on the latest contender trying to bring legal data bases to the public, see:

hat tip:  Dean Darby Dickerson


August 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

bringing some wizardry into the legal writing classroom

I've persuaded my husband to go see the latest Harry Potter movie with me this afternoon, so pardon me for having Harry on the brain (and no, I haven't read the last book yet; I was traveling all summer, so I had my copy mailed to my son and daughter-in-law; I won't get it until I drive to Chicago to visit them next month). But I know a lot of you have thought about ways to bring a little wizardry into your classes this fall. Here are a couple of things you might enjoy:

U. of Memphis Professor Andrew McClurg's website of legal humor, which is presently displaying a column he wrote for the ABA Journal a few years ago: Hogwarts Torts (hurry to read this one, as he rotates the content every month).

Rugers's Prof. Ruth Anne Robbins' article, Harry Potter, Ruby Slippers and Merlin: Telling the Client's Story Using the Characters and Paradigm of the Archetypal Hero's Journey, 29 Seattle U. L. Rev. 767 (2006).


August 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

job openings at Temple

A job notice from Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law announces that the school is expanding its legal writing faculty and seeking applicants for non-tenure-track positions in its directorless program. To apply, send a resume to Professor Alice G. Abreu, Chair, Faculty Selection and Recruitment Committee, Temple University Beasley School of Law, 1719 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.   E-mail:; fax: 215-204-2008. If you have questions about the positions or the program, contact Ellie Margolis at


August 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)