Friday, October 30, 2009

job opening in Kansas

The University of Kansas School of Law seeks applicants for a faculty position in its first-year Lawyering Skills Program.  Lawyering Skills is a full-year program which includes a two-credit course in the fall and a three-credit course in the spring.  Lawyering Skills I focuses on legal reasoning, writing, and research.  Lawyering Skills II continues to teach these skills and introduces students to other professional skills such as client interviewing, negotiation, mediation, and oral argument. 

The position is full-time during the nine-month academic year.  The faculty member will teach two sections in the Lawyering Skills Program and will also work with the Director of Academic Success and assist in KU’s academic success program.

Applicants must have a J.D. from an accredited law school, membership in the bar of at least one state or the District of Columbia, and two years of legal practice or judicial clerkship experience.  Applicants should have a strong academic record and enthusiasm for teaching.  Candidates with teaching experience or demonstrated potential for outstanding teaching are preferred.  We encourage applications from those whose background and experience would add to the diversity of the faculty.

Interested candidates should apply no later than November 20, 2009 through KU’s website at the following link:  You may also contact Pam Keller, Lawyering Skills Director,, with any questions.

1.  The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
2.  The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (with some limitations).
3.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $55,000 - $65,000.
4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 41 - 50.



October 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Professionalism alert: How not to behave in court

Here are two stories, one from Texas and the other from Pennsylvania, that are topically related, if not geographically.  The first of these comes from our good buddy Professor Mitch Rubinstein at the Adjunct Law Prof blog.  He tells us about a federal district judge in Pennsylvania who sanctioned an attorney for calling his opponent an ""ass h . . ." in open court.  The punishment?  The offending attorney has been ordered to attend a civility class as well as have dinner with the attorney he insulted.  

The second case is being reported by the online ABA Journal in which a Texas criminal defense attorney made an obscene gesture directed at his opposing counsel and was sentenced to 90 days as a result.  Although he appealed the sentence, the Texas Appeals Court denied his habeas petition stating that even though the gesture was not aimed at the judge, it was “a purposeful act of disrespect and an affront to the dignity of the court.”

The lesson?  Treat your opponents with respect unless you want to cool your heels in jail (or pick up the dinner tab for someone you really don't like).

I am the scholarship dude.


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

job openings at Hofstra

Hofstra University School of Law invites applications for one or more positions as Professor of Legal Writing and Research. This is full-time faculty position with a renewable contract potentially leading to a long-term renewable contract. Hofstra’s Professors of Legal Writing and Research serve on faculty committees and vote in faculty meetings. 
Applicants must have a J.D. degree and have demonstrated excellence in legal research, writing, and oral communication skills.  In particular, we seek applicants who have substantial experience teaching legal writing and have made recognized contributions to the field.  Experience and interest in at least one of the following would substantially enhance an application (but are not required):  leadership in a legal writing program; international or comparative law teaching (including professional scholarship in a foreign language); teaching non-English-speaking students; teaching contract drafting; teaching in or assisting with an academic support program; or teaching practice skills through externships or simulation.
Applications should be sent by email (not hard copy) to Professor Roy Simon. Please attach a cover letter, a curriculum vitae and a writing sample.  The subject line of your email should include the words “Legal Writing.”
Inquiries can be directed to Professor Simon or to Professor Richard Neumann (516-463-5881).
Hofstra University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, administrative staff and student body, and encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community.

ALWD/LWI required disclosures: The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years. 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=$99,999 range.  (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.) The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be between 30-40 (dependent on other responsibilities).


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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

job opening in Seattle

This is the time of year that we're getting word of a lot of job openings for legal writing teaching jobs that start next August.  As we have time, we'll post the announcements here.

Seattle University School of Law is currently accepting applications for two positions teaching in its Legal Writing Program.  Seattle University is looking for candidates with a strong academic record, experience working as a judicial law clerk or as an attorney, teaching experience, excellent writing skills, and excellent interpersonal skills.  The Hiring Committee will begin reviewing applications as it receives them, starting in October 2009.  The positions will close when both positions are filled.

Individuals interested in the position should send a letter of application, a resume or vitae, a writing sample that has not been edited by another person, and the names and contact information for three references either by email to  For more information about Seattle University’s writing program, see or contact Professor Laurel Currie Oates at or Professor Chris Rideout at

1. The position advertised may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
2. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range $70,000 to $79,999.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 51 - 55.

hat tip:  Chris Rideout


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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scholarship alert: "Moving from First to Final Draft: Offering Autonomy-Supportive Choices to Motivate Students to Internalize the Writing Process"

This one showed up in the 'ol scholarship dude's mailbox this a.m. so I wanted to pass it along to all of you.  The article is by Professor Carol Wallinger of Rutgers-Camden and can found at 54 Loy. L. Rev. 820 (2008).  From the introduction:

This Article discusses a year-long project I conducted during the 2006-2007 school year of nineteen first-year law students. New empirical research shows that law students who perceived more "autonomy support" from their faculty fared better psychologically while in law school and scored better on the Multistate Bar Exam after law school. The purpose of this project was to observe and document students' responses to two autonomy-supportive curricular choices, provided as part of their Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (LAWR) class.

Autonomy support theory is one of many tools available when applying the self-determination theory of human motivation.  Self-determination theory proposes that all humans have universal needs for feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness with other humans. When any of these needs are unmet, motivation suffers. Law students have been shown to suffer extreme declines in their motivation during their first    year, even though they start law school highly motivated.  My personal experience showed that first-year law students often submitted LAWR final drafts reflecting their failure to complete the writing process, despite appearing highly motivated to do so at the beginning of each semester.

Continue reading

October 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does student comprehension differ depending on whether they're reading on the screen or the printed page?

Researchers are just beginning to understand how the digital world affects both the mechanics of how we read and whether comprehension is dependant on the medium.  Here are a couple of stories that report on some of this early research.  First is an interview with Dr. Anne Mangen, "a reading specialist at the National Centre for Reading Research and Education at Stavanger University in Norway," and author of an article entitled Hypertext fiction reading: haptics and immersion published in the 2008 edition of the Journal on Research and Reading.  

Dr. Mangen concludes that reading digitally "makes us read in a shallower, less focused way" than reading a hardcopy.  Asked whether that means "screen-reading" undermines critical thinking skills, she answered:  

"This question is a too general – but very important also–and it cannot be dealt with in such a general, either/or manner, as you phrase it. The precise reading situation, context, purpose, kind of text, reader dispositions, device characteristics, and other variables, would have to be specified in order to yield any constructive and interesting answers to your question. So your question is too general, but it's an important one."

You can read a summary of the conversation published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, here.

And here's an opinion piece from the NYT called "Does the Brain Like E-Books" that solicits opinions from five experts on the subject.  Among the observations are that screen reading presents far more distractions (i.e. email, surfing, etc.) that can interfere with the reader's ability to deeply engage in the material.  In the case of young readers, "screen-reading" may prevent them from learning in the first place how to deeply immerse themselves in the material.  As Professor Gloria Mark, a member of the Department of Informatics from the University of California, Irvine, says:

Reading online is thus not just about reading text in isolation. When you read news, or blogs or fiction, you are reading one document in a networked maze of an unfathomable amount of information. My own research shows that people are continually distracted when working with digital information. They switch simple activities an average of every three minutes (e.g. reading email or IM) and switch projects about every 10 and a half minutes. It’s just not possible to engage in deep thought about a topic when we’re switching so rapidly.

You can read the rest of the NYT's piece here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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

Here's another website you might be interested in - "Grammar Girl"

Grammar Girl is blog that "provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer."

You can sign up for her newsletter or just search through the archive of past topics like this one on the ever pesky "active versus passive voice."

I am the scholarship dude.


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

kudos, Emory!

N9SCAESVDB5CAV83E9TCAO45T38CAQTR8OJCAUV72RACAKQW13ICADM0YHJCA3G1I5KCAN46N6TCAOHVOG1CA0YM8XZCA49XVUGCA5WJ9FFCA0H3ZDRCAPQ7MYJCA32MNFVCA8H55CUCAIGBP8RCA2CDB9O We can now add the legal writing faculty at Emory University to the growing list of legal writing professors who can vote at their law school faculty meetings.  Congratulations! 

hat tip:  Anne Rector


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

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mel Weresh, legal writing superstar!

Prof. Johnathan Edwards at Drake sent news of his colleague's trifecta:

Below is the link to the University’s press release with photos of Mel Weresh with the 2009 Warren E. Burger Writing Competition Prize from the American Inns of Court:  

As soon as Mel returned from DC, she was featured in the National Law Journal: 

And her most recent book written with Lisa Penland on Professionalism in the Real World: Lessons for the Effective Advocate was published a week earlier by NITA.

Congratulations Mel!



October 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday Fun - Are you a ROM Brain?

This one comes to us from Chris Wren, a legal research god who is almost singlehandedly responsible for the developing the theory and practice of process-oriented legal research instruction we all use today.  But I digress.

This is a fun website called that allows you to subscribe to their "word of the day."  Today's word?  Rom brain which means "Slang for someone who spews forth ideas and opinions but can't seem to accept any input from the outside world."

You know who you are (on second thought, you almost certainly don't).

I am the scholarship dude.


October 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good handout explaining passive voice and how to avoid it.

This one comes to us from the U. of North Carolina Writing Center.  It's published pursuant to an open source license agreement meaning you are free to use it in your classroom provided you comply with these conditions.

Here's the link.

I am the scholarship dude.


October 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Harsh language in brief becomes harsh toke for lawyer who wrote it resulting in jail time

An attorney who harshly criticized a judge and other officials in a Missouri court filing was held in contempt of court and sentenced to 120 days in the hoosegow.  According to the Associated Press:

A Douglas County jury convicted Carl Smith, 62, of Ava, of criminal contempt in August. He was sentenced Sept. 28 to 120 days in jail. He cannot appeal the sentence because the case was prosecuted under common law, as opposed to statutory law.

Smith's attorney has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to intervene, saying that while Smith's arguments may have been better expressed, the punishment is excessive.

"The key thing here is what is the appropriate sanction when an attorney overstates or inartfully drafts an argument," attorney Bruce Galloway said. "My position is that the First Amendment right of free speech would prevent the use of a criminal sanction for an attorney who oversteps in his pleadings."

I hope Mr. Smith at least had the good sense to write the nasty bits using the active voice. 

Hat tip to the online ABA Journal.

I am the scholarship dude.




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

Trends in teaching continue to focus on group work, peer-editing and multiple drafts

Although my own experience is that students don't always like group work or peer-feedback exercises (the former because of the "free-rider" effect and the latter because they haven't yet developed the judgment that enables them to evaluate another's work), their professors, at least, continue to move towards a "student-centered" approach to learning.   That's according to a recent UCLA survey of more than 22,000 college students at 372 schools nationwide.

Here are the results:

  2005 2008
Selected teaching methods
Cooperative learning (small groups of students) 48% 59%
Using real-life problems* n/a 56%
Group projects 33% 36%
Multiple drafts of written work 25% 25%
Student evaluations of one another’s work 16% 24%
Reflective writing/journaling 18% 22%
Electronic quizzes with immediate feedback in class* n/a 7%
Extensive lecturing (not student-centered) 55% 46%
Selected examination methods
Short-answer exams 37% 46%
Term and research papers 35% 44%
Multiple-choice exams 32% 33%
Grading on a curve 19%


* Not asked in the 2005 survey
Note: The figures are based on survey responses of 22,562 faculty members at 372 four-year colleges and universities nationwide. The survey was conducted in the fall and winter of 2007-8 and covered full-time faculty members who spent at least part of their time teaching undergraduates. The figures were statistically adjusted to represent the total population of full-time faculty members at four-year institutions. Percentages are rounded.

Source: "The American College Teacher: National Norms for the 2007-8 HERI Faculty Survey," University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute.

You can read the rest in the Chronicle of Higher Ed found here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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

A new tool in the war on student plagiarism

Our good buddy Professor Mitchell Rubinstein over at the Adjunct Law Prof Blog alerted me to this new anti-plagiarism service called that, for a fee, will search the web to determine if your student's paper borrowed too heavily from another source.  (This would seem to make this service better at detecting plagiarism then, say,, which only checks a suspicious paper against other works already entered into its database).  PlagiarismScanner doesn't come cheap; here's the fee structure:

 Personal - 10,000 words, $14.95

October 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New England legal writing consortium

The next regional conference of the New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers is set for December 7, 2009.  This conference will be held at the Western New England College Law
School, in Springfield, Massachusetts.  All the registration and program information is available at the WNEC law school web site.  The conference is listed there under "Speakers and Events."  

Among the fun places to visit while you're in Springfield are the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  

hat tip:  Professor Myra G. Orlen


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

LWI Workshops on December 4 for New Writing Faculty and Adjunct Professors Who Teach Writing

LWI 25 Here's the latest on the workshops that the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) is holding on December 4, 2009 in New York City and Chicago for New Legal Writing Faculty and for Adjunct Professors Who Teach Legal Writing.

You can click here to download the most recent version of the brochure for the program.  Download LWI New Teachers Workshop (Version 2.3)  The program lists the sessions for the day and the speakers for both locations.

Online registration is now open.

Here is the link to register for New York City:  The NYC program will be held at the Manhattan Campus of St. John's University School of Law.

Here is the link to register for Chicago:   The Chicago program will be held at The John Marshall Law School in the Loop.

The registration fee is $100 in advance or $120 at the door.  Partial tuition scholarships are available (see the brochure for details).

This is an exciting new program being offered by the Legal Writing Institute.  We plan to offer these programs in more locations next year (around this same time).  

Mark E. Wojcik, Board Member, Legal Writing Institute

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How one effective demand letter helped consumer get big refund from

A website called the Consumerist has republished a demand letter sent by Paul Gowder, who is identified as a "law school grad," to seeking a refund after his $400.00 Kindle broke.  A video used to advertise Kindles apparently makes the claim that the device is durable enough to survive a short drop to the ground.  When Mr. Gowder's Kindle didn't, he called Amazon's customer service to complain and was offered the chance to buy a new device for another $200.00. 

That didn't sit too well with Mr. Gowder who instead fired off this letter asking Amazon to refund his original purchase price or else he would sue under California's implied warranty of merchantability statute as well as seek punitive damages (he also suggested a class-action suit on behalf of others who have had Kindles break).  The result?  Amazon sent him a check for $400.00 and let him keep the damaged Kindle. 

Now that's a demand letter that worked (and might be a good sample to show your students in class).

Hat tip to Mitchell Nathan.

I am the scholarship dude.


October 21, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Laurel Currie Oates Selected for ALWD Award

ALWD_Logo Oates, Laurel The Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) announced that it is awarding the 2009 Marjorie Rombauer Award to Laurel Currie Oates, of Seattle University School of Law.
The award is named for Marjorie Rombauer, one of the founders of the field of Legal Writing.  Marge taught at the University of Washington School of Law for over 30 years, and, as the school's website notes, she was the first non-librarian tenured female faculty member.  Her book, Legal Problem Solving: Analysis, Research and Writing, was first published in 1970.  She was also an author of Legal Writing in a Nutshell.

The recipient of the award, Laurel Currie Oates, has had a profound impact on the teaching of legal writing in the United States and the world.  She was one of the founders of the Legal Writing Institute, and in that role she has hosted thousands of legal writing faculty at numerous LWI summer conferences at the University of Puget Sound and later at Seattle University.  It was at those conferences that the field of legal writing developed its shape and depth.  She is a co-author of The Legal Writing Handbook and numerous other texts that have been used by students around the country.  Laurel was also instrumental in the founding of APPEAL (Academics Promoting the Pedagogy of Effective Advocacy in Law).  APPEAL is dedicated to promoting the exchange of ideas, information, and resources about the teaching of legal writing and effective advocacy among academics in the United States.  Many members of our community have attended and presented at APPEAL conferences, most recently in July of this year in Pretoria, South Africa.

The ALWD award will be presented to Laurel in Macon, Georgia, this November at the Symposium hosted by Mercer Law Review and the LWI Journal.  The symposium is called The Legal Writing Institute: Celebrating 25 Years of Teaching and Scholarship, and it will be held November 5-6, 2009, at Mercer Law School.  If you are interested in attending the Symposium,click here.

This post was adapted from an email message sent by Mary Beth Beazley of The Ohio State University School of Law. 


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

Today is "National Day of Writing"

You read that correctly - The National Council of Teachers of English ("NCTE") has declared October 20, 2009 as "National Day of Writing" in recognition of "the remarkable variety of writing we engage in and [to] help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft." 

To help celebrate this special day, the NCTE has invited "students, teachers, parents, grandparents, service and industrial workers, managers, business owners, legislators, retirees" - virtually anyone and everyone who would like to participate  - to submit a writing sample to the "National Gallery of Writing."  Go to this page on NCTE's website and follow the instructions for submitting your own piece.  The National Writing Gallery is a "digital archive of samples that exhibit how and why Americans are writing every day" and will be accessible through a free, searchable website. 

I am the scholarship dude.


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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Advice for students - "How to be a great law clerk"

This article appears in the ABA's Summer 2009 Journal of the Section of Litigation which is available to members online here but most likely will be in many law school libraries should non-members be interested in taking a gander.  The article is authored by Justice David J. Richman of the Colorado Court of Appeals and chronicles his own experiences clerking for an appellate judge after graduating from law school more than 34 years ago as well his mid-career decision to become a permanent clerk for a federal district court judge beginning in 2003 (until the judge's death in 2008). 

As you might imagine, Justice Richman emphasizes the importance of clear, concise writing, meticulous research, great organizational skills and an aptitude for managing one's time well.  You might want to grab the article - found in Volume 35 (summer 2009) of the Journal at page 16 - as a good class handout for 1L's or a good handout for upper class students contemplating a judicial clerkship upon graduation.

I am the scholarship dude.


October 18, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)