Friday, April 25, 2008

job opening at University of San Diego

The University of San Diego School of Law invites applications for full-time as well as part-time instructors in its directorless legal research, writing, and analysis program, Lawyering Skills I (LSI), to begin in the fall of 2008. The Instructors’ responsibilities include teaching classes, preparing problems, critiquing assignments, and counseling individual students. Instructors teach in both our day and evening programs, depending on need. Instructors attend faculty meetings and may serve on faculty committees.  Instructors are hired to work from August through May with the possibility of annual reappointment. The starting salary for the Full-Time Instructor, who will teach two sections, is approximately $58,000 to $60,000.  The starting salary for the Part-Time Instructor, who will teach one section, is $29,250 and does not include benefits. 

Applicants for these positions must have a strong academic record, excellent writing skills, and either aptitude for or experience in teaching.  Experience as a practicing attorney is highly desirable. 

Applicants should submit a cover letter discussing the applicant’s qualifications for the position, reasons for wanting to teach LSI, and desire to teach full or part-time; resume; law school transcript with class rank; a ten- to thirty-page sample of the applicant’s legal writing; and names and telephone numbers of three references. Submit application materials by May 15 ,2008, to the Lawyering Skills I Program, University of San Diego School of Law, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492. For additional information about the positions, contact Lisa Cannon at or 619-260-8890.


April 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

does everybody in Canada agree with their Department of Justice?

Canadian20flag News on the grammar front. The Canadian Department of Justice (le Ministère de la Justice) has endorsed use of the pronoun "they" to refer to a singular indefinite noun. Linguists often use the term "epicene," or genderless, to refer to this use of the pronoun. (One wonders whether the French-speaking citizens of Canada have a similar linguistic problem.)

The Justice Department website declares that the generic pronoun is "useful to drafters in a legislative context to eliminate gender-specific language and heavy or awkward repetition of nouns," justifying its use by declaring that "[m]ost dictionaries and grammars deal with the singular usage of 'they' and its other grammatical forms ('their', 'them', 'themselves' or 'theirs')."

In further justification, the Justice Department points to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage and its examples dating back to Chaucer and Shakespeare (and check out Wikipedia's examples), as well as to the Attorney-General's Department of the Commonwealth of Australia, which also has endorsed use of the pronoun in the Corporations Law Simplification Program.


April 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A New Form of Legal Writing? Comic Books on the Justice System


The National Center for State Courts is launching a new series of "illustrated novels" that are designed "to educate the public about how the courts work, how judges make decisions, and how courts are accountable to the law."


The first in the series tells the story of a college freshman who is charged with theft for downloading music, and the girl's unfortunate grandmother, whose house is about to be taken by the city through eminent domain.


Want to buy a copy?  If you go to the website for National Center for State Courts, you'll find out that that you can order 5,000 copies at $1.29 a copy (for a total price of $6,435).  But for that price you can get it customized with your court or state seal.


This comic book was featured in the electronic version of the ABA Journal under the title, Holy Cross-Claim Batman!  One of the comments posted on that site wonders whether the series is being funded by the RIAA. Another comment wonders if the comic books will contain pocket parts so that the law can be updated . . .



April 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Scholarship and Tenure Standards

The Law School Innovation Blog has a new posting on the anguish of tenure standards and the expectations to produce scholarship.

Mark Osler writes that he sees three groups involved in the process: the teaching faculty, the deans/department chairs, and upper administration (provost/president).  Professor Osler says that as long as these three groups have the same expectations for scholarship, tenure considerations seem to go relatively smoothly.  Trouble arises when these three groups do not share common expectations.

Hat tip to Mark Osler at the Law School Innovation Blog


April 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Conference - Did You Book a Hotel Room?

Indianapolis We hear that hotel rooms are no longer available at the Hyatt in Indianapolis.  The Legal Writing Institute has secured a block of rooms at the Omni Severin, which is about two blocks south of the Hyatt.  A special rate of $150 is available if you book your room before May 1.  Call 1-888-444-OMNI and ask for the "Legal Writing Institute" rate.

Remember to register for the LWI Conference as well!  Go to this website here for conference registration information.  The registration fee is $460.00 until April 30th, 2008, when it goes up to $495.00

Hat tip to Joel Schumm for information about the additional hotel rooms


April 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

great standards of review outline

Here's a post from another blog that could be helpful in teaching standard of review.  I wasn't familiar with the Ninth Circuit Outlines, but I will be using this next year!!

hat tip:  Mark Herrmann, blog editor, Drug and Device Law


April 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Texas Supreme Court hears arguments at Texas Tech

Looking for oral arguments online?  Today Texas Tech celebrated its fabulous new 34,000-square-foot addition with the Texas Supreme Court sitting in the new "courtroom of the future" to hear oral arguments.

Video of the arguments is available, as are summaries (Download texas_supreme_court_case_summaries) and briefs (Kerlin v. Saucedo, Phillips v. Bramlett) of the cases.

For more info about the Mark and Becky Lanier Professional Development Center, you can visit our website.  Mark Lanier is a Texas Tech Law alumnus of the Class of 1984. He was recognized as the nation's top oralist in the American Bar Association's moot court competition. By 2006, the National Law Journal called the Houston lawyer one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America and one of the nation's Top 10 Trial Lawyers.  The courtroom in the Center is named in honor of Mark's moot court coach, Don Hunt.


April 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Congratulations, Ruth Ann McKinney and Scott E. Childs!

Mckinney_ruth_ann Childs_scott Ruth Ann McKinney took on a co-author for the fifth edition of her book, Legal Research: A Practical Guide and Self-Instructional Workbook, published by Thomson/West.  Ruth Ann is a Clinical Professor of Law and director of the Writing and Learning Resources Center at the University of North Carolina Law School.

Her new co-author is Scott Childs, Deputy Director of the Law Library and Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina Law School.

Flanarysmith_amy And even more news . . . in addition to the new edition of the book, there is also a supplement called Legal Research Online.  That supplement is written by Ruth Ann, Scott, and Amy S. Flanary-Smith, Clinical Assistant Professor and Interim Deputy Director of the Writing Learning Resources Center at UNC Law School.


April 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 21, 2008

lead article award for Jane Kent Gionfriddo

Gionfriddo_jane Congratulations to Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Associate Professor of Legal Reasoning, Research & Writing, Boston College Law School, who recently won a Texas Tech Law Review lead-article award for her piece titled "THINKING LIKE A LAWYER: THE HEURISTICS OF CASE SYNTHESIS."  It can be found at 40 Texas Tech. L. Rev. 1 (2007).


April 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Debate on Electronic Course Materials?: Faculty are Urged to Sign Up for the Affordable Textbook Campaign; A University is Sued for Electronically Distributing Copyrighted Materials

The Law School Innovation Blog describes a campaign for affordable textbooks.  The campaign is collecting names (online, of course) to promote online textbooks that students can access for free, or that could be printed in various formats at low cost. 

With only a small number of exceptions, the cost of textbooks (especially in the legal field) has risen greatly in the past few years.   

This campaign for affordable textbooks is not directed at law professors or legal writing professors, but all members of the academy.

Professors who sign up with the campaign promise to consider selecting open source textbooks when selecting books for their classes, and that they will "[g]ive preference to a low or no cost educational resource such as an open textbook over an expensive, commercial textbook if it best fits the needs of a class."  They also state their intent to "[e]ncourage institutions to develop support for the use of open textbooks and other open educational resources."

The same posting about the movement for affordable textbooks on the Law School Innovation Blog also has a link to the Law Librarian Blog, noting that some publishers have filed a federal lawsuit the U.S. district court in Georgia against Georgia State University.  The publishers allege “systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works” by the Georgia State University.  Here's a link to the complaint

Hat tip to Joe Hodnicki at the Law School Innovation Blog and the Law Librarian Blog. 


April 20, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

job opening at Idaho

The University of Idaho College of Law invites applications for the position of Legal Research and Writing Instructor for the 2008-09 academic year. The position is a one-year, full-time, contract position. The Legal Research and Writing course is a two-semester, five-credit, required first-year course. Three Legal Research and Writing Instructors are responsible for developing the course collaboratively.  In addition to shared responsibility for course development, each instructor is responsible for the direct instruction of a section of 35-37 students.  After an initial year of transition to the position, Instructors may teach a seminar that fits their interests and the needs of the institution.

Applicants must hold a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school or the equivalent.  Applicants should have a distinguished academic record and post-J.D. practice, clerking, or teaching experience, and they should demonstrate excellent legal research and writing abilities and the ability to work collaboratively with others. 

To apply, send a letter of application, a resume listing three references, and a writing sample to Elizabeth B. Brandt, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of Idaho, College of Law, P.O. Box 442321, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2321, by April 22, 2008.

For more details on this and other current openings for legal writing positions, check the LWI website job posting page.


April 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

J. ALWD call for articles on best practices in persuasion

Jalwd_currentissues The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (J. ALWD) invites submission of articles for its Fall 2009 Best Practices in Persuasion issue. The Journal encourages authors to submit articles addressing the "best practices" theme as well as articles on other topics that fit within the mission of the Journal.

The Journal's mission is to advance the study of professional legal writing and to become an active resource and a forum for conversation between the legal practitioner and the legal writing scholar. The Journal is dedicated to encouraging and publishing scholarship (1) focusing on the substance of legal writing; (2) grounded in legal doctrine, empirical research, or interdisciplinary theory; and (3) accessible and helpful to all "do-ers" of legal writing: attorneys, judges, law students, and legal academicians.

The Journal encourages submissions from law professors, practicing lawyers, and judges as well as from academics, researchers, and specialists in other disciplines. The final deadline for submission of articles for the Fall 2009 issue is September 15, 2008. Article selection will be completed by November 15, 2008. 

The Fall 2009 issue marks the beginning of annual print production of the Journal, thanks to the support of West, A Thomson Business, which prints the Journal, and ALWD, which supports distribution of the Journal by mail to some 3,200 practicing lawyers and judges; law school libraries, deans, and professors; and others interested in the field of legal writing. The Journal is available electronically on the ALWD website and from Westlaw, SSRN, HeinOnLine, and H.W. Wilson Company. J. ALWD has been published biennially since 2002; annual electronic publication began with the Fall 2007 issue (which will be distributed in hard copy as part of the Fall 2008 issue).

  • Topic ideas

For the Fall 2009 Best Practices in Persuasion issue, the Journal editors envision articles that explain and apply theories and research from the law and other disciplines to lawyers¹ practices of persuasion. So, for example, articles might be constructed around classical and contemporary rhetorical theory; metaphor, narrative, and archetype theories; psychological theory and research; cognitive science studies; learning theory and research; communications theory and research; social research; cultural anthropology; critical theory; or empirical research focusing on legal audiences.

The Journal also will select articles and practice notes for the Fall 2009 issue that do not specifically address the theme but fit within the mission of the Journal. The Fall 2009 issue will include the proceedings of the 2009 AALS Annual Section Program on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research.

Questions about potential articles are welcome and should be directed to

  • Submission of Articles

Submissions are due on or before September 15 of the calendar year before an upcoming issue. Most issues bring together "best practices" articles on a particular subject, but the editors welcome articles on any topic that falls within the mission of the Journal: to develop scholarship focusing on the substance and practice of professional legal writing and to make that scholarship accessible and helpful to practitioners as well as to legal academics. Without compromising analytical rigor and the necessary theoretical and research foundation, the Journal's goal is to publish articles that are readable and usable by the broader audience of professional legal writers. Journal editors are looking for clear, concrete, direct writing; strong, interesting, intelligent voices; and a style that uses the text for substance and the footnotes to provide support, sources, and references for additional study.

Potential authors may wish to consult articles published in past issues of the Journal as well as the more specific information for authors available at the ALWD website.

  • Exclusive submission

The Journal prefers exclusive submission of manuscripts. If an author has submitted the manuscript elsewhere or wishes to do so, the author should inform the Journal at the time of submission and notify the Journal immediately should the author accept another offer of publication.

  • Technical requirements

Manuscripts should be accompanied by (1) a cover letter summarizing the article and (2) the resume of the author, including telephone number and e-mail address. For major articles, the Journal will consider manuscripts from 30 to 50 typewritten pages (7,500 to 12,500 words). For practice notes, the Journal recommends manuscripts from 5 to 15 typewritten pages. All manuscripts should be prepared in Microsoft Word, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, 12-14 point font, and footnotes (not endnotes). Hard copies should be submitted on 8-1/2 x 11 paper, printed on one side only. Citation format should adhere to the current edition of the ALWD Citation Manual.

  • How to submit

Electronic submissions (via e-mail) are preferred, but authors may elect to mail hard copies to Professor Linda L. Berger, Chair, J. ALWD Editorial Committee, at one of the following addresses, depending on the date of submission:

(before July 1) Thomas Jefferson School of Law, 2121 San Diego Ave., San Diego, CA 92110

(July 1 and later) Mercer University School of Law, 1021 Georgia Ave., Macon, GA 31207

Authors will receive e-mailed acknowledgment of their submissions.


April 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Congratulations, Tom McDonnell!

Mcdonnell_thomasThomas McDonnell, Chair of the Criminal Law/Legal Writing Program at Pace Law School, was elected as a Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law (ASIL)Teaching International Law Interest Group (TILIG).  He replaces . . . me!   I served as a co-chair of TILIG for the past three years, and I am extremely pleased to see that Tom was elected as one of the new co-chairs.  He will certainly bring the interest group and its activities to a new level.  If you're a member of the ASIL, you can join TILIG for no additional charge -- just sign up on the website at  The American Society of International Law has members from around the world, and a brilliant annual meeting held each Spring in Washington D.C.  Interest groups carry on activities throughout the year, including a post-AALS TILIG meeting each year for law professors who teach international law or who are interested in doing so.

Tom, congratulations on becoming one of the co-chairs of this Interest Group!  Have a wonderful term!  He's joined in the new position by fellow Co-Chairs Professor Cindy Galway Buys of Southern Illinois University and Professor Rhee Sang-Myon of Korea.

Many legal writing professors have assumed important leadership roles in organizations not directly related to legal writing.   


April 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Congratulations, Richard Neumann and Sheila Simon!

Sheila_simonNeumann_richard Richard K. Neumann, Jr. (Hofstra University) and Sheila Simon (Southern Illinois University) are co-authors of a new legal writing book called, oddly enough, Legal Writing.  It is published by Aspen Publishers (part of Wolters Kluwer Law & Business).  It looks great.  The features in it that I didn't expect to see are short chapters (for example, chapters of only 6 or 8 pages) that I think many students will find quite easy to read (and re-read).

I got my copy in the mail yesterday, just before boarding a train from Chicago to Carbondale (so that I could do some more spying on Sue Liemer while she is on sabbatical!).  And now I have a copy signed not only by Sheila, but by her daughters Reilly and Brennan to whom Sheila dedicated the book.

The book is impressive, and I think that it will find many classroom adoptions in the coming year.  Congratulations again to Richard and Sheila.  Click here for more information.

Here's the table of contents:

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Writing and Professional Work

Part I: Legal Rules and Their Sources
Chapter 2. Inside a Rule of Law
Chapter 3. More About Rules (Including Where They Come From)
Chapter 4. Inside a Statute and Outlining One
Chapter 5. Inside a Case (a Judicial Opinion)
Chapter 6. Briefing a Case
Chapter 7. Policy and Why Courts Care About It
Chapter 8. Selecting the Most Appropriate Cases, Statutes, and Other Authority
Chapter 9. Working with Cases
Chapter 10. Working with Statutes

Part II: The Process of Writing
Chapter 11. Getting to Know Yourself as a Writer
Chapter 12. Inside the Process of Writing
Chapter 13. How Professional Writers Plan Their Writing

Part III: Office Memoranda
Chapter 14. Office Memorandum Format
Chapter 15. Predictive Writing in an Office Memorandum

Part IV: Organizing Analysis
Chapter 16. CREAC: A Formula for Organizing Proof of a Conclusion of Law
Chapter 17. Varying the Sequence and Depth of Rule Explanation and Rule Application
Chapter 18. Advanced CREAC: Organizing More Than One Issue
Chapter 19. Working with CREAC in First Drafts and in Later Drafts

Part V: Working Effectively with Details
Chapter 20. Organizing a Paragraph
Chapter 21. Writing an Effective Sentence
Chapter 22. Effective Style: Clarity, Vividness, and Conciseness
Chapter 23. Citing Authority
Chapter 24. Quoting Effectively

Part VI: The Shift to Persuasion
Chapter 25. What Persuades a Court?
Chapter 26. Writing a Motion Memorandum

Part VII: Telling the Client’s Story
Chapter 27. The Statement of the Case in a Motion Memo or Appellate Brief
Chapter 28. Developing a Persuasive Story
Chapter 29. Telling the Story Persuasively

Part VIII: Making the Client’s Arguments
Chapter 30. The Argument in a Motion Memo or Appellate Brief
Chapter 31. Point Headings and Subheadings

Part IX: Appellate Briefs and Oral Argument
Chapter 32. Appellate Practice
Chapter 33. Writing the Appellate Brief
Chapter 34. Making Policy Arguments
Chapter 35. Questions Presented
Chapter 36. Oral Argument

Appendix A Sample Office Memorandum
Appendix B Sample Motion Memorandum
Appendix C Sample Appellate Brief


April 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Congratulations, Mimi Samuel!

Samuel_mimi_2 Mimi Samuel of Seattle University has won the Bronson-Dillehay Award for Research, Scholarship, and Education in Procedural Justice.  She won the award for her forthcoming article in the Brooklyn Law Review, called "Focus on Batson: Let the Cameras Roll."   Congratulations, Mimi!

Hat tip to Laurel Oates.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

roundtable lunch planned for legal writing profs of color

Bill_chinlewisclark Faculty of color attending this summer's Legal Writing Institute conference in LoribannaiseattleIndianapolis, Indiana, are invited to attend a roundtable lunch on Tuesday, July 15, 2008. The goals of the roundtable are to build
community, to exchange ideas, and to start discussions about issues of common concern. Roundtable organizers Bill Chin (Lewis & Clark) and Lori Bannai (Seattle) ask that those interested pick up LWI-provided box lunches and meet from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in Room 245 of Inlow Hall, the law school building in which most of the conference sessions will be held.

Potential topics for discussion could include any of the following:

  1. strategies for increasing diversity among faculty who teach legal writing;
  2. whether potential barriers to increased diversity exist in recruitment/hiring processes;
  3. retention, pay, status, and related concerns;
  4. sharing ways to connect issues of race and race awareness to course content; or
  5. any other issues that folks wish to discuss.

Anyone interested in these issues is welcome to join the group. You are invited to spread the word to others who may be interested. Let Bill or Lori know if you are interested in coming or if you have suggestions for discussion topics.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

University of Denver revamps upper-level writing program

The faculty of the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law have voted to accept the recommendations of consultants and professors Ralph Brill of Chicago-Kent and Karin Mika of Cleveland-Marshall to not only revise its upper-level writing (ULW) curriculum, but also to move to a different faculty model. The revamped program will feature the following:

  • A requirement that all law students take a three-credit advanced writing course in the second year, based on the skills model currently being used in the Upper Level Writing course, with the courses to offer a variety of skills experiences, including non-litigation skills.
  • A requirement that the proposed ULW course be taught exclusively by ULW faculty trained to teach legal writing, who shall receive long-term contracts with governance rights commensurate with existing ULW faculty. 
  • A commitment to undertake the gradual transformation of the Upper Level Writing faculty positions into tenure-track positions (tenured in the writing program with full faculty governance rights), subject to the faculty's approval of the terms and description of the tenure track position and, where required, by the University.

Congratulations to the University of Denver for approving this forward-thinking proposal!

hat tip: Timothy Hurley, Director, ULW Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law


P.S.  Karen Mika wanted to acknowledge also the contributions of former director K.K. DuVivier and Associate Dean Jay Brown.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

more on and/or

A few days ago, we posted links to a couple of judicial opinions addressing the ambiguities Trashcan_2 created by the "and/or" conjunction. For the writing expert's take on the topic (and you can discern his position from the title), read Joe Kimble's article in the Michigan Bar Journal, To the Trashcan with And/Or.

hat tip: Scott A. Meyer


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

opening for visitor at Denver

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law invites applications for a one-year visitor teaching position in its first-year legal research and writing program, known as Lawyering Process, to begin in the 2008-2009 academic year. The opening is classified as visiting lecturer position. Lawyering Process is a required first-year, 2-semester, 6-credit course that utilizes small classes to teach legal writing, research and analytical skills, document drafting, and professional practice skills.

Applicants must have a law degree as well as a strong academic record, an interest in teaching, excellent legal research, analysis, reasoning, and written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. A minimum of 2 years of legal practice experience is preferred.  For more information or to apply for a posted position, visit the University of Denver's job website. Send questions about the position or submit your application, including a resume with the names of three references, by May 15, 2008, to Nancy Ehrenreich, Chair, Lawyering Process Appointments Subcommittee, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 2255 E. Evans Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80208, 303-871-6256.


April 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More than 80,000 visits to the Legal Writing Prof Blog

A short time ago the Legal Writing Prof Blog had its 80,000th visit.  Wow.  Watch out, Tax Prof Blog!  (And happy 4th year anniversary to you as well from the Legal Writing Prof Blog!)


April 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)