Monday, August 31, 2009

job opening at South Texas (Houston, TX)

South Texas College of Law invites applications for one or more full-time, tenure-track positions beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. In particular, South Texas is seeking to hire two individuals to teach Legal Research and Writing. The Legal Writing program at South Texas is directorless and is taught by tenure-track professors. The school seeks candidates with a strong commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service to the legal profession. Its mission is to provide an accessible legal education, distinguished by its excellence, to a diverse body of students committed to serving their communities and the profession. Students start classes in both the fall and spring and take classes during the day or evening.

South Texas is located in the heart of one of the largest legal and international business communities in the country.  Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, offers students unlimited opportunities to learn in the classroom and in the workplace while interning, clerking, or volunteering within blocks of the college.  In addition, the school is within walking distance of many of the cultural opportunities that Houston has to offer, including the theater district, baseball stadium, basketball arena, and numerous restaurants and concert venues.

To apply, send a cover letter and curriculum vitae (preferably by email) to Professor Tim Zinnecker, Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, 1303 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77019. For information about South Texas College of Law, visit the school's website. The school will be attending the AALS recruitment conference in November. In your cover letter, please indicate whether you will be attending the Conference.

ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $80,000 to $89,999 range. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 46-50.


August 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

the narrative of argument

Linda Edwards has written a very thoughtful article on Once Upon a Time in Law:  Myth, Metaphor, and Authority, which you can get to just by clicking on the title here.  Here's her abstract:

"We have long accepted the role of narrative in fact statements and jury arguments, but in the inner sanctum of analyzing legal authority? Surely not. Yet cases, statutes, rules, and doctrines all have stories of their own. When we talk about legal authority, using our best formal logic, we are actually swimming in a sea of narrative, oblivious to the water around us. As the old Buddhist saying goes, 'we don’t know who discovered the ocean, but it probably wasn’t a fish.'

"This article teases out several familiar archetypes hidden in discussions of cases and statutes. In the midst of seemingly routine law talk are stories of birth and death, battle and betrayal, tricksters and champions. These stories are simultaneously true and false, world-shaping yet always incomplete. Their unnoticed influence over the law’s development can be powerful. But we so seldom question familiar narratives, and these archetypes practically run in our veins. We should learn to recognize and interrogate these stories, attuned to their truths, alert to their limitations, and ready when necessary to seek other more accurate and complete stories for the law."  

hat tip:  Terri Pollmann


August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Jessup Moot Court Rules for 2010 Now Available

Many readers of this blog are coaches of moot court teams competing in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. 

The International Law Students Association (ILSA) has just released the rules for the 2010 Jessup Competition.  Among the changes are a new rule on the consequences of plagiarism in a memorial, a rule that clarifies who can help a team proofread its memorial, and a rule that sets a disqualification date if a team's memorial is more than two weeks late.  Click here for more information about the new Jessup rules.  ILSA has also extended the deadline for early Jessup registration to September 18, 2009.  

Mark E. Wojcik

Member of the Board of the International Law Students Association

August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 28, 2009

thriving in law school

98ECAF4M79CCA0G95YICA3STFT5CAILJ5DXCAWOQ1Q0CASLX026CAKGSOK6CAXHGWB5CA1SB1HLCAZELX9FCA15B6ZRCACY140DCASPU92OCAHT7QB6CAD375PHCAUOLWLTCAJ1MKQLCA7T0353CAJ94S1A  Professor Susannah Pollvogt has started a blog about Thriving in Law School, i.e., succeeding academically while maintaining some balance in life.  Check it out (scroll down to the cartoons), leave a comment, and then send your students there.



August 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

illustrious punctuation

Eats-shoots-leaves_l By now most readers of this blog likely have read Lynne Truss's book on punctuation, Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  And many of you have read and contributed to reviews of the book, with varying opinions about it.  Now comes the illustrated version of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, with absolutely charming cartoons, featuring pandas and commas and colons, thanks to the artwork of Pat Byrnes, a New Yorker cartoonist.  If you are a grammar geek, you will not be able to flip through the illustrated version of this book without laughing outloud. 


August 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Edition of Illinois Legal Research

Illinois Legal Research 2d ed The second edition of Illinois Legal Research is now available! 

The second edition of Illinois Legal Research shows how to find and stay current with Illinois cases, statutes, regulations, and local court rules. Focusing on state materials, it can be used as a supplement to national research texts or on its own to learn legal research. This book also explains how to locate secondary materials specific to Illinois law. Although the text was designed primarily for law students, seasoned attorneys will also appreciate the many secrets of Illinois legal research disclosed in this text. The book includes materials on citing Illinois law sources under the Bluebook (for both law review formats and practice documents), the ALWD Manual, and local court rules. It is an essential book for any Illinois law library and includes many research secrets of Illinois law.

Click here to read more about the new edition of Illinois Legal Research.  The link also includes a link that shows the table of contents.  The book is only $25.00 and the website is now offering a 10 percent discount.  The website also has a link for legal writing professors to order review copies.  

Illinois Legal Research is part of a series of state research texts published by Carolina Academic Press.  Other states in the series are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. 

Click here for more information about the Carolina Academic Press state legal research series.  The series editor is Suzanne Rowe, professor of law and Director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Oregon School of Law.


August 27, 2009 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

job opening at Missouri-Columbia

The University of Missouri School of Law invites applications for a full-time, non-tenure track, nine-month appointment in its Legal Research and Writing program for the 2010-2011 academic year. The successful applicant will be responsible for teaching two sections of Legal Research & Writing (LR&W) during the fall semester (20 or fewer students per section) and two sections of Advocacy & Research (A&R) during the winter semester (20 or fewer students per section), plus two additional courses to be determined by curricular needs and the legal writing faculty member’s interests. Although legal writing faculty agree on overall course design (such as course goals, number of major writing assignments and grading standards), teachers are free to decide how to structure and teach their own classes.

The initial appointment to a legal-writing-track position will ordinarily be at the rank of legal writing associate professor of law. The one-year appointment can lead to successive three-year contracts. Legal writing faculty members are eligible for and expected to participate in applicable faculty governance activities. 

Applicants must have a J.D. from an accredited law school, a strong academic record, excellent legal research and writing skills, and experience in the practice of law. The ideal candidate would also have at least two years experience teaching legal research and writing. 

The University of Missouri School of Law is a full-time J.D. and LL.M.-granting institution located in Columbia, Missouri, and is home to 32 full-time faculty and approximately 450 students.  Columbia has a population of 100,000 and is regularly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the United States. 

Application Procedure: Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is hired.  Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and list of three references (with their contact information) to Robin Nichols, University of Missouri School of Law, 27 Hulston Hall, Columbia, MO  65211-4300.

For additional information about the 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, (573) 882-7244) .

ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. Voting is allowed on every issue except promotion of tenured or tenure-track professors. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $50,000-$79,999 range.  (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.) Salary is dependent on experience.  Also, salary can be supplemented with summer teaching. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 36 to 40 total in legal writing courses plus additional students in a third course. Each semester the teaching load will be two sections of legal writing (Legal Research and Writing in the fall and Advocacy and Research in the spring) plus one additional course to be determined by curricular need and faculty interests. Typically each section of LR&W or A&R has 18 to 20 students.  Enrollment in the third course varies.


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

more grammar resources--Grammar Girl podcasts

Grammargirl Speaking of grammar lessons, another great free resource is the subscribable podcasts by Grammar Girl (alter ego for Mignon Fogerty), motto "To Infinitives and Beyond!" (You can also become a Facebook fan of Grammar Girl. If you want to spend money, however, she's got an affordable book.)

I am presently redesigning (and improving, I hope) some of my standard legal-writing course pages on TWEN (which is a whole 'nother topic I'll address soon). Links to these podcasts are going to be featured in the Writing Resources document page.

Recent topics include:


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

updated CALI lesson on grammar, punctuation

If you recommend CALI (Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction) tutorials to your students--or require them-- you will be glad to learn that its Punctuation and Grammar Basics lesson (authored by University of Texas prof and legal writing blogger Wayne Schiess) has recently been updated. This lesson, which can be completed in 50 minutes, reviews the most common writing errors committed by law students and presents the rules that apply to them.


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers - Global Legal Skills Conference V - Monterrey Mexico, Feb. 25-27, 2010

Click here for the call for papers for the fifth Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be held February 25-27, 2010 in Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.  Download Global_Legal_Skills_Conference_V_CFP

Click here for more information and a link to a video about the Global Legal Skills Conference.


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Second discimination suit this year by a legal writing prof

Back in May, we reported on the case of a St. Mary's School of Law LRW prof who was suing the Texas school for alleged age and gender discrimination when it failed to renew her contract.  Now comes this story courtesy of the Law Librarian Blog (yet another reason to subscribe to it) about a University of Iowa LRW prof candidate who is suing the school alleging she was denied the job due to her conservative political beliefs.  A copy of the complaint can be found here as well as a more detailed account of the case here courtesy of  The applicant in question, Teresa Wagner, had previously been offered a tenure track job at Ave Marie School of Law before its move from Michigan to Naples, Florida (and also had prior experience as an adjunct LRW prof at George Mason). 

In addition to being the second discrimination suit brought by a LRW prof in the past four months, it's the second employment discrimination suit brought against the U. of Iowa School of Law in the past couple of weeks

Here's a description of Ms. Wagner's claim courtesy of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:

In the fall of 2006, Wagner applied for one of two openings at the College of Law for a full-time Writing Instructor position, for which "prior successful law school teaching" experience was listed as a qualification. According to her complaint, prior to Wagner's second faculty interview for this position, she was advised by the Associate Dean of the law school to "conceal her affiliation" with Ave Maria School of Law from voting faculty members.  Despite having the necessary teaching experience in her background, as well as the fact that her interview and presentation to faculty were complimented by several faculty members, Wagner was passed over for the full-time position. As alleged in Wagner's complaint, there may have been some impermissible reasons for this:  

Continue reading

August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 24, 2009

job opening at La Verne (Ontario, California)

The University of La Verne College of Law invites applications for one or more full-time, tenure-track positions in its directed legal writing program, beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year. The school may have interests in other areas, including property, though its needs in other areas are uncertain at this time. La Verne seeks candidates with a strong commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service to the legal profession. Its mission is to educate ethically sensitive, practice-ready lawyers dedicated to community service.

La Verne Law is committed to its continued development as a vibrant, research-active academic community and excellence in scholarship is highly valued. Teaching for at least one year at an ABA-approved law school is preferred, though the school is interested in hearing from both entry-level and lateral candidates. It values faculty who are able to use their practice experience to innovate in the classroom and beyond. The rank of Assistant, Associate, or Professor depends upon qualifications and experience.

For information about La Verne Law, visit its website. La Verne Law is provisionally approved by the ABA and plans to apply for full ABA approval in the 2009-2010 academic year. La Verne Law is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications that will enhance the diversity of the faculty.

To apply, mail or e-mail a cover letter describing teaching and scholarship interests and curriculum vitae, in Word or PDF format only, to Professor Juanda Daniel, Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, 320 East D Street, Ontario, California 91764. Representatives of the school will be attending the AALS recruitment conference in November and interviewing people on campus. In the cover letter, indicate whether you will be attending the Conference.

ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $80,000 to $89,999 range. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.


August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

job opening at Charleston

Charleston School of Law invites applications for a tenure-track Director of Legal Research and Writing position, beginning in the 2010 academic year.

The Director is responsible for administering the first-year legal writing program, and reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Director teaches one section of Legal Research and Writing each semester and makes hiring recommendations for the program’s adjunct and full-time faculty. The Director is responsible for training and supervising the program faculty, and supervising grading. The Director works with the Library Reference Staff to ensure the delivery of legal research training for students and legal writing faculty. The Director will be expected to develop and conduct writing skills workshops; develop web-based resources for students; advise the faculty on trends in Legal Research and Writing; and advise the faculty on curriculum design. Scholarship in areas related to legal education and/or research and writing pedagogy is strongly encouraged, as is leadership in state and professional associations. The Director serves on faculty committees as requested by the Dean, and has full voting rights. The Director will be expected to work closely with the Assistant Dean for Academic Support and the Director of Academic Support Programs on integrating academic support pedagogy in the legal writing program.

Candidates should have an outstanding academic record, as well as experience and demonstrated excellence in teaching, leadership, and administrative skills. Candidates should also have at least five years experience teaching legal writing or as a writing specialist in a law firm. Salary and faculty rank of Assistant, Associate or Professor depends on qualifications and experience. 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply, mail or e-mail a letter of application that addresses the qualifications identified above and a current curriculum vitae with references to Professor Sheila B. Scheuerman, Chair, Legal Writing Director Search Committee, Charleston School of Law, P.O. Box 535, Charleston, SC 29402. 

ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the $70,000 to $90,000+ range (salary commensurate with experience). The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.


August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

LWI publishes monograph on art of critiquing

Legal_writing_institute_logo A new monograph series by the Legal Writing Institute collects and reprints significant published works on specific topics relevant to teaching, curriculum, scholarship, and professional status. Representing both recent scholarship and the classics in our field, Volume One, The Art of Critiquing Written Work, contains an impressive array of scholarship concerning professor-delivered critique of student work (both written and oral critique), peer review, and even self-critique. Authors and their articles are listed below. Visit the LWI web page to download the entire issue or any individual article, an easy way to build your professional library.

Articles on critiquing student work:

  • Daniel L. Barnett, "Form Ever Follows Function”: Using Technology to Improve Feedback on Student Writing in Law School, 42 Val. U. L. Rev. 755 (2008).
  • Daniel L. Barnett, Triage in the Trenches of the Legal Writing Course: The Theory and Methodology of Analytical Critique, 38 U. Tol. L. Rev. 651 (2007).
  • Linda L. Berger, A Reflective Rhetorical Model: The Legal Writing Teacher as Reader and Writer, 6 Leg. Writing 57 (2000).
  • Kirsten K. Davis, Building Credibility in the Margins: An Ethos-Based Perspective for Commenting on Student Papers, 12 Leg. Writing 73 (2006).
  • Anne Enquist, Critiquing and Evaluating Law Students’ Writing: Advice from Thirty-Five Experts, 22 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1119 (1999).
  • Anne Enquist, Critiquing Law Students’ Writing: What the Students Say Is Effective, 2 Leg. Writing 145 (1996).
  • Jane Kent Gionfriddo, The “Reasonable Zone of Right Answers”: Analytical Feedback on Student Writing, 40 Gonz. L. Rev. 427 (2004-2005).
  • Jane Kent Gionfriddo, Daniel L. Barnett & E. Joan Blum, A Methodology for Mentoring Writing in Law Practice: Using Textual Clues to Provide Effective and Efficient Feedback, 27 Quinnipiac L. Rev. 171 (2009).
  • Jessie C. Grearson, From Editor to Mentor: Considering the Effect of Your Commenting Style, 8 Leg. Writing 147 (2002).
  • Mary Kate Kearney & Mary Beth Beazley, Teaching Students How to “Think Like Lawyers”: Integrating Socratic Method with the Writing Process, 64 Temp. L. Rev. 885 (1991).
  • Richard K. Neumann, Jr., A Preliminary Inquiry into the Art of Critique, 40 Hastings L.J. 725 (1989).
  • Robin S. Wellford-Slocum, The Law School Student-Faculty Conference: Towards a Transformative Learning Experience, 45 S. Tex. L. Rev. 255 (2004).

Articles on peer-reviewed forms of critique:

  • Linda L. Berger, Applying New Rhetoric to Legal Discourse: The Ebb and Flow of Reader and Writer, Text and Context, 49 J. Leg. Educ. 155 (1999).
  • Kirsten K. Davis, Designing and Using Peer Review in a First-Year Legal Research and Writing Course, 9 Leg. Writing 1 (2003).

Article on self-critique (good for students and professors): 

  • Mary Beth Beazley, The Self-Graded Draft: Teaching Students to Revise Using Guided Self-Critique, 3 Leg. Writing 175 (1997).

Hat tip and thanks to the series' editor-in-chief, Jane Kent Gionfriddo (who, as you can see, also wrote a couple of the articles). Congratulations to all the authors for being selected for this inaugural issue.



August 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 21, 2009

New book on effective PowerPoint presentations and a helpful tip

It's called "Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint" by Christopher Witt and is intended for public speakers (which includes all teachers, at lease some of the time).  According to the Business Writing Blog, the book concedes there are times when PowerPoint makes a presentation more effective but that, in general, it's over-used and can just as easily put an audience to sleep.  One miscellaneous, helpful tip from the book is that:

'In PowerPoint, the screen will go black when you press the B key, white when you press the W key.'

I use the B key often for a black screen. But W for a white screen? This new information excites me. Here's why:

A black screen darkens the front of the room, which is often already dim to avoid washing out the slides. I love knowing how to produce a white screen, which will keep the front area, where I am presenting, bright.

Read the rest of the review here.

I am the scholarship dude.


August 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Question from student: "Does a typo in my job application cover letter kill my chances?"

"Yes" and "no" according to the blog Sweet Hot Justice.  The bad news is that employers are detailed obsessed and thus a cover letter typo could be a deal-breaker.  The "good" news - if you can call it that - is that employers (at least competitive ones) only really care about your credentials and thus may ignore the cover letter altogether and instead focus solely on the resume.  Which is to say that if you're a Yale law grad with a Second Circuit clerkship applying to a NYC white-shoe firm, you've probably got little to worry about.  For the rest of us - in this economy?  - better use spell-check.

You can read the rest of the advice column here.  But be forewarned - it contains some randy language which some readers may find offensive.

I am the scholarship dude.


August 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

wisely revising

Hatlen_Lisa_Mazzie Marquette Prof Lisa Mazzie has written--and revised--and polished--and published a helpful article on the wisdom of developing a system for reviewing their writing. Titled Be Wise: Revise, the article is available in the online edition of The Wisconsin Lawyer (August 2009). It includes a sample checklist. Although written for practitioners, the article has good tips for all levels of legal writers, including novices.


August 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Job opening - Harvard is hiring Climenko teaching fellows for 1L legal writing course

Here's the post from the Legal Scholarship Blog:

The First-Year Legal Research & Writing program at Harvard Law School is currently hiring Climenko Fellows to teach in the program from summer 2010 to summer 2012. Climenko Fellows are aspiring legal academics who receive extensive support and mentoring for their scholarship while teaching legal research and writing. Former Fellows have gone on to tenure-track positions at Fordham, George Mason, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, the University of Toronto, and the University of Virginia, among other schools. If you are planning a career in legal academia, please consider applying for the fellowship. And please feel free to forward the attached flier to friends and colleagues who might be interested.

Continue reading

August 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

that cursed cursive!

Cursive Professors are almost as notorious as doctors for their bad handwriting, but in our case, it is writ large on the blackboard or whiteboard or smartboard or ELMO or whatever you are using for in-class spur-of-the-moment writing. But even if your handwriting is a model of the Palmer method, can your students read it?

This story in the online edition of the Times Argus (Vermont) claims that today's millennial generation is "increasingly cursive illiterate." They can't read cursive (a "secret code" to some). They can't write it, either. But why should they, proficient as they are with computer keyboards and iPhone texting? 

Maybe this is one of the reasons digital signatures were invented.

hat tip: Jessie Wallace Burchfield


August 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The "Plain English" movement thankfully comes to health insurance policies

An Op-Ed from today's New York Times talks about new legislation in Rhode Island that will mandate plain English for all consumer health insurance policies.  Based on the Flesch-Kincaid test of readability, most language in health insurance policies is written for a graduate-school level audience whereas most Rhode Islanders, according to this Op-Ed piece, read at an eighth grade level.  Consequently, the new law will require that policies issued in Rhode Island be geared to that audience. 

The article also includes some good examples of "before" and "after" liposuctioned paragraphs.

Finally, the Op-Ed is critical of the proposed national health care bill because, although it requires certain portions of insurance policies to be written in plain language, it doesn't go far enough by extending this requirement to the entire policies.

You can read the full Op-Ed here.

I am the scholarship dude.


August 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)