Monday, June 21, 2010

Poster Presentation Proposals for the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco

Aalslogo When you (and more than 600 others) are attending the LWI Conference at Marco Island, you may get some inspiration for a poster to present at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research sponsors posters every year to be displayed at the AALS annual conference in January.  These posters provide a great opportunity for authors to present their research or innovative teaching ideas in an informal manner.

The deadline for poster proposals for the 2011 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco is September 3, 2010. By this date you must submit a short description of the poster and an actual copy of the proposed poster. The submission guidelines are available on the AALS website by clicking here.  

Examples of posters selected for presentation in recent years are set forth in the Section's Spring 2010 Newsletter (beginning on page 5) and in the Spring 2008 Newsletter (beginning on page 4).

Hat tip to Samantha Moppett and members of AALS Poster Committee (Susan Chesler, Kendra Fershee, Lara Freed, Andrea Funk, Nancy Modesitt, Daphne O’Regan, Myra Orlen, and Amanda Smith).


June 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Got an idea for an AALS professional development workshop?

Top_logoThe AALS Committee on Professional Development has extended the deadline to July 16, 2010 to submit a proposal for a day-long professional development program for the January 2012 Annual Meeting or a two-day program for the June 2012 Mid-Year Meeting.  
Some past workshops have included:
1) subject matter programs aimed at law faculty who teach particular subjects,
2) programs for law professors with similar interests other than course subject matter, 
3) programs that cut across subject matter lines or integrate traditional subjects,
4) programs that focus upon a type of skill or discipline,
5) programs dealing with matters of law school administration or legal education generally, and
6) programs exploring the ramifications of significant developments in or affecting the law.
AALS asks that proposals be as specific as possible, including a description of the areas or topics that might be covered and an explanation of why it would be important and timely to undertake such a program in 2012.  It encourages recommendations of women, minorities, those with differing viewpoints, and new teachers as speakers.  So surely there's a place for legal writing professors.

The workshops are administered through the AALS sections, so it's a good idea to run your idea past the Chair of the section most relevant to your workshop idea.  Most section chairs will welcome ideas and participation.  Proposing a workshop and agreeing to do the work to put it together may make you a section program committee chair.  Proposals should be submitted by e-mail to For questions, contact AALS Managing Director Jane La Barbera at

June 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Revised Third Edition of Sloan and Schwinn's "Basic Legal Research Workbook"

Sloan, Amy 2 Schwinn, Steve If you use the Basic Legal Research Workbook by Amy Sloan (University of Baltimore School of Law) and Steve Schwinn (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago), you should know that there is a revised third edition that has just become available.  This is not a complete new edition of the book but an updated version of the third edition.  Click here for more Information
Hat tip (and congratulations) to Amy and Steve


June 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wojcik Honored for Service to Bar Associations

Marks award 007 Marks award 002 Our stalwart blog co-editor, Professor Mark Wojcik, recently was honored by The John Marshall Law School for his service to various professional associations, including the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Association of American Law Schools. 

Mark has served as Publications Officer for the ABA Section of International Law and Co-Editor of its International Law Year in Review.  He was recently re-appointed as a Dvision Chair for the Middle East and the Americas.  He has served on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and was recently re-elected to a three-year term.  In the Association of American Law Schools, he was this year elected Chair of the Section on International Law and is Chair-Elect of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. 

Mark also serves on the Board of the Legal Writing Institute and the International Law Students Association, which organizes the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  He also chairs the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.

The service award was presented to him at the law school's graduation.  Congratulations Mark!
(Photos courtesy of his next door neighbor, Ananias Samuel.)


June 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ALWD Announces First Four Visiting Scholars in Rhetoric and Writing

ALWD_Logo Professor Mary Beth Beazley (Michael E. Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University) announced on behalf of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors that it had selected several Visiting Scholars in Rhetoric and Writing.  Under this program, ALWD will award up to $3,000 to each of four law schools to fund visits by legal writing scholars.  Although the program began only this year, a high number of qualified grant applications were submitted.  The applications were reviewed by an Initial Review Panel to determine compliance with the program's goals and then forwarded to the Final Review Panel. The Final Review Panel then carefully reviewed the applications in accordance with the criteria outlined on the grant guidelines. The members of the final review panel were Darby Dickerson, Raymond P. Ward, and Christopher G. Wren.  Thomas D. Cobb, Judith Stinson, and Karen J. Sneddon served as members of the Initial Review Panel.

As might be expected in a community such as ours, the final review panel faced a difficult decision. But they selected four grant applications: 
  • Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University will host Linda Berger as a Visiting Scholar.
  • The University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law will host Linda Edwards as a Visiting Scholar.
  • Vermont Law School will host Teresa Godwin Phelps as a Visiting Scholar.
  • Rutgers School of Law-Camden will host Michael R. Smith as a Visiting Scholar.

Congratulations to the grant recipients and winning schools. 

Hat tip to Mary Beth Beazley and ALWD


June 20, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Marco Island Roundtable for Faculty of Color

Chin, Bill Proessor Bill Chin of Lewis & Clark sent out a message to the Legal Writing Listserve about the Faculty of Color Roundtable in Indianapolis. He hopes that people can attend the session at Marco Island on Surviving and Thriving: The Experiences of Legal Writing Professors of Color Inside and Outside the Classroom.  The program is Wednesday, June 30, 2010, from 10:00-10:45 a.m. (Session 1 for that day) in the Capri Ballroom, Salon 1.

Panelists will talk about the challenges and rewards of teaching as legal writing professors of color in the legal academy. Our panelists are Lori Bannai (Seattle University), Charles Calleros (Arizona State University), Luellen Curry (Wake Forest University), and Bill Chin (pictured).


June 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Burton Awards 2010

Thower Davis Everhart Greene 2010 The most glamorous night in the world of legal writing is undoubtedly the Burton Legal Writing Awards held each year at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  Here is a picture from the award ceremony held on June 14, 2010. 
Pictured here are the oh-so-lovely-and-glamorous Susan Thrower (DePaul University); Kirsten Davis (Stetson University); Lisa Everhart (Catholic University of America); and Sherri Greene (University of Maryland).  Click on the photo to enlarge it and have a REALLY GOOD look at those wonderful dresses!  (You know they want you to do that!)
The Burton event is always magnificent -- this year U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg spoke on the importance of legal writing.  A number of awards were given, including to Bryan Garner, Jeffery Toobin, and Elizabeth Warren.
Professor Helene Shapo (also very lovely, but unfortunately not pictured here) won the 2010 Contributions to Legal Writing Education Award.
Click here to see photos from the 2009 Burton Awards.  William Burton, the namesake of these awards, is the recipient of the 2010 Golden Pen Award that will be presented at the opening reception at the Legal Writing Institute Conference in Marco Island.  Click here to read more about that award.
Hat tip to the lovely, talented, and super glamorous Kirsten K. Davis (Associate Professor of Law and Director of Legal Research and Writing at Stetson University College of Law).  

June 19, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Law Street Journal

Several law students created what promises to be a very entertaining and informative blog for law students and pre-law students.  Click here to visit the Law Street Journal.  They welcome contributions from law professors as well -- see the blog for more information.  Articles cover a wide range of topics from advice to personal experiences to current law news -- there is a great link there now about a law student whose efforts freed a woman who had wrongfully been in prison for almost 30 years.

Congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere!

Hat tip to the blog's creator, Allie Neil DeYoung


June 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday Fun: Librarians Do Lady Gaga

Here's a Friday Fun Video . . . students and faculty from the University of Washington Information School make a video that makes you just want to go use the library catalog (and don't forget the databases!)

Hat tips to Sonia Bychkov Green, Beth Henning, and the University of Washington Information Dancers.


June 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Congratulations to Kim Chanbonpin

Chanbonpin, Kim Professor Kim Chanbonpin of The John Marshall Law School accepted an offer to publish her article “We Don’t Want Dollars, Just Change”: Narrative Counter-Terrorism Strategy, an Inclusive Model for Social Healing, and the Truth About Torture Commission, with the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy.  It will be published in the Winter 2010 issue.

You can download a copy of the article by clicking here.


June 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New JALWD Editorial Board Announced

Ever wonder what an LWI President does when her term is up?  She becomes an editor of the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.

The new co-editors of JALWD will be Joan Magat of Duke and Ruth Anne Robbins of Rutgers-Camden.  Also new to the editorial board or to editorial board positions are Sue Painter-Thorne of Mercer, the new managing editor, and Tim Blevins of Florida A & M  and Jason Cohen of Rutgers-Camden who are new assistant editors.

Michael Smith of Wyoming, one of the founders of the Journal, s stepping down from the Editorial Board after six issues and eight years of service.

The Fall 2010 issue of J. ALWD will be available electronically this summer and in print form this fall. This Metaphor & Narrative issue is expected to be one of the best issues so far. 

Congratulations to all the new editors.

Hat tips to Ian Gallacher and Linda Berger (outgoing co-editors)


June 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hecht Writing Award Goes to Dr. Jeremy Francis

LWI 25 Francis, Jeremy The LWI Awards Committee announced that Jeremy Francis of Michigan State University College of Law was selected as the winner of the second Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award.  Dr. Francis wins this award for his article Finding Your Voice while Learning to Dance, which appeared in Volume 24, Number 1 of The Second Draft (Fall 2009).  His school is quite proud of this accomplishment and wrote up a nice press release about it, which you can read by clicking here.

The Hecht Award honors Dr. Deborah Hecht, who served as Director of the Legal Writing Center at Touro University School of Law for eight years before her untimely death in 2005.  Dr. Hecht was active in LWI and in the smaller legal writing advisors group, writing articles for The Second Draft’s column “From the Desk of the Writing Specialist.”  The award in her memory honors a legal writing specialist who writes the best article or essay, based on effectiveness, clarity, and writing style, published in The Second Draft during the preceding two-year period.

The award will be presented on Sunday evening at the opening reception of the LWI Conference.


June 15, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Professor Leah Christensen's article on relationship between LRW grade and GPA gets some play.

AALS Section sponsoring poster presentations

ImagesCAES4VGO  AALS has sent out the invitation for proposals for poster presentations for the 2011 AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.  The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research sponsors posters every year to be displayed at the AALS conference in January, providing a great opportunity for authors to present their research or innovative teaching ideas in an informal manner.


The deadline for poster proposals—including a short description of the poster and an actual copy of the poster—is September 3, 2010.  The submission guidelines are available on the AALS website. 


For questions, contact Samantha Moppett at



June 15, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scholarship alert: "Redirecting the scope of first-year writing courses: toward a new paradigm of teaching legal writing"

This one is by Soma R. Kedia, an attorney at Maryland Legal Aid.  The article can be found at 87 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 147 (2010).  From the introduction:

"Read over this file and start drafting a trial memo to the court on X. Here's some old research on the topic, but you'll have to update it as well as branch out and find some case law on Y and tie it in since Z statute was passed a few years ago. We'll want the memo to be as comprehensive as possible, because this is a new judge without much familiarity with the law in this area. Can you have a draft to me by tomorrow?"

Continue reading

June 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

a legal writing wardrobe

ImagesCAR9YVIE  While touring MIT today with offspring, I realized I was wearing my official souvenir polo shirt from the last Legal Writing Institute bi-ennial conference, held in Indianapolis in 2008.  On a college campus that is decidedly oriented towards numbers, not words, I got some quizzical looks as passersby read the logo.

After teaching legal writing for 20 years, I have a nice little wardrobe of legal writing garments, and I know from talking to other long-time colleagues that I am not alone.  The nice thing about souvenir clothing from legal writing conferences is that it comes in both men's and women's sizes, a benefit of being in a field that is 75% female, and so it actually fits those of us who are female.  Since the dress code is casual at legal writing conferences, I'm thinking I can get through the whole Marco Island event wearing souvenir ALWD and LWI polos and tee shirts and fleeces. (I could also carry a different canvas bag each day I'm there, from my large collection of souvenir bags from regional legal writing conferences, but I think I'll stick with using those at the farmers market on Saturday morning.)

And all this leaves me wondering, what sartorial addition will I receive when I check into the 2010 LWI conference in a couple of weeks?  Stay tuned.


June 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Design for the U.S. Courts Website

The website for the U.S. court system has been redesigned.  Click here for a virtual tour and lots more information. 

Hat tip to Mary Ann Robinson at Widener University School of Law


June 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Conference Information

Marco Island Rowe 3 The 14th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute opens in two weeks.  It runs from June 27 to June 30, 2010 at the Marriott Resort in Marco Island, Florida.  More than 600 persons have registered for the conference, which is just a few registrations shy of the LWI conference record set two years ago in Indianapolis.  You can still register online for the conference by clicking here.  Online registration will close at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 21. On-site registration will be available at Marco Island (but really, you WANT to do this now if you haven't already.)  The Marriott Hotel is fully booked but there may still be some rooms at the nearby Hilton.  Click here for information on how to reserve a room

Hat tip to LWI President-Elect Ken Chestek.


June 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are You Ready to Celebrate the History of Legal Writing?

The Marco Island LWI Conference represents the conclusion of the celebration of the silver anniversary of the Legal Writing Institute.  Over the past 25 years, the LWI has seen tremendous changes both in terms of the organization itself as well as in the teaching of legal writing, research, and analysis.

The Law Library Blog of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law included a post a few weeks back about the history of legal writing.  You might enjoy reading that as a lead-up to the final celebrations of the LWI silver anniversary.  Click here to have a look.

Hat tip to Karin Mika


June 13, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LWI Diversity Initiatives Committee will meet . . . on the Beach!

LWI 25 The Legal Writing Institute has formed a Diversity Initiatives Committee.  The Committee is charged with identifying ways to promote diversity and inclusion in the LWI community.

The Committee will meet at Marco Island on Monday, June 28, 2010, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Quinn's on the Beach.  (Now really, who would NOT want to be part of a committee that is smart enough to make that its first meeting spot?). This is an occasion for legal writing professionals of color to get acquainted in an informal setting and to explore initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in the LWI community.

If you cannot attend the meeting at that time, you can still stop by the LWI Committee Fair on Monday, June 28, 2010 from 3:45 to 5:00 p.m. to learn more about this important endeavor. All members of historically underrepresented groups in the legal academy are encouraged to attend, and all members of LWI are welcome.

Hat tips to Starla Williams and Teri A. McMurty-Chubb


June 13, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)