Friday, October 29, 2010

Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference

Call for Proposals

2011 Southeast Regional Legal Writing Conference 

Opening the Lens:
Re-Visions in Legal Writing Teaching, Theory, & Practice 

Mercer University School of Law
Macon, GA
April 15-16, 2011

By “opening the lens” to let in interdisciplinary theories and practice perspectives, the 2011 conference is designed to encourage legal writing teachers to look again at their teaching, scholarship, and service to the profession. The conference will focus on interdisciplinary approaches that enrich our understanding of legal interpretation and composition. Just as important, it will highlight the ways in which legal writing teachers are integrating theory and practice throughout their work.

Opening Colloquium
Mercer University School of Law is pleased to announce that the keynote speaker for the opening colloquium will be Martha Albertson Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory Law School. Professor Fineman is an internationally known law and society scholar and expert in feminist jurisprudence. She will introduce and explore the use of feminist theory as a lens through which we can “re-view” legal language. Responding to Professor Fineman’s presentation, one or two panels will discuss ways to integrate feminist theory within lawyering teaching, scholarship, and professional service.

Call for Conference Proposals
In line with the Conference theme, Opening the Lens: Re-Visions in Legal Writing Teaching, Theory, & Practice, proposals may draw on interdisciplinary perspectives or emphasize new ways to bring together theory and practice in legal writing teaching, scholarship, and service. To give just a few examples, a proposal might (1) apply feminist theory to suggest ways that lawyers and law students could more effectively frame arguments for clients; (2) draw on cognitive, narrative, or rhetoric theory as resources for teaching law students and lawyers more effective means of persuasion; (3) illustrate how the experience of law practice illuminates teaching or encourages scholarly study; or (4) explain why the use of storytelling in the classroom and the courtroom is effective.

The Program Committee encourages proposals for 25-minute individual presentations or panel discussions but anticipates that there will be a few 55-minute slots as well. Please use the following format to submit your proposal. Proposals must be submitted by email to Jennifer Sheppard, Program Committee Co-Chair, at

The deadline to submit proposals is January 21, 2011. Include the following in the proposal submission: 

  1. Title of proposed presentation or panel.
  2. Brief description of proposed presentation or panel.
  3. Time needed for presentation (25 minutes or 55 minutes).
  4. Technology needs for your presentation (please describe).
  5. Contact information                                                                                       

The conference webpage will be available soon, and registration will be open no later than February 21, 2011.

hat tip: Jennifer L. Sheppard


October 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday Fun: So You Want to Go to Law School

An attorney asks questions of a woman who is going to law school . . .


Hat tips to Deborah Borman and Stephanie Allen


October 28, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 25, 2010

the five stages of grading

Everyone knows about the psychological stages of grieving.  Well, not uncoincidentally, the stages of grading are much the same.  Click here for the full story.

hat tip:  Sarah Klaper


October 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fellows Versus Faculty

PrawfsBlog is debating legal writing fellows versus legal writing faculty. 

Click here to read the post (and to add your own comments) to that discussion.

Hat tip to Michael HIgdon


October 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Applied Legal Storytelling -- Chapter 3!

Applied Legal Storytelling Call for Proposals

LWI and CLEA are co-sponsoring the third biennial International Applied Storytelling Conference, July 8-10, 2011 at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law.  This is a very collegial and supportive conference, and they welcome proposals from people who are new to applied legal storytelling, as well as from those who have already been part of the conversation.  Proposals are due December 7, 2010.  For the link to detailed information about sending in a proposal, go to, and on the right hand side of the page you'll see the link to click on.  While there, you can also click on a link to a bibliography of articles from the first two conferences.

hat tip:  Ruth Anne Robbins




October 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

so you want to go to law school?

If you know someone contemplating going to law school, you might direct them to this link.  You may laugh, and then again, you may cry.

hat tip:  Stephanie Allen


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

Monday, October 18, 2010

International Law Moot Court

ILSA Are you coaching the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition?  Or serving as a judge?  Or maybe you participated as a  law student?

There is a group on LinkedIn for Fans of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and the International Law Students Association (which sponsors the Jessup Competition).  Click here to learn more about the group.   And click here to learn more about ILSA and this year's Jessup problem.

The LinkedIn group is open to all current, former, and future Jessup competitors -- and anyone interested in international law or moot court generally.


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

What Does the LWI Have to Say to the ABA Standards Review Committee?

The Legal Writing Institute is an organization of nearly 2,700 legal writing professionals, most of whom work in U.S. law schools.  The LWI has just submitted its views to the American Bar Association on the draft on measuring outcomes in law schools.  Would you like to see what the LWI had to say?  Click here for a copy of the letter that the LWI sent today to the ABA Section on Legal Education.  Download LWI_Letter_to_ABA_re_outcome_measures

Hat tip to LWI President Ken Chestek.

And click here to see letter submitted to the ABA on September 30, 2010 by ALWD, the Association of Legal Writing Directors.


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

"unusually high quality" was the tip-off to plagiarism

A court has sanctioned an attorney after the "unusually high quality" of his brief raised questions as to its authorship.  And sure enough, 17 of 19 pages were taken from a law review article.  The attorney admitted what he had done, refunded fees, and was required to attend an ethics course.  He said that he had reviewed many banker boxes of materials but became pressed for time when the briefs were due.


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

2nd annual Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference

Du-logo-footer The Second Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011, at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, PA.  The theme of the conference will be The Arc of Advanced Legal Writing: From Theory through Teaching to Practice

There will be six presentations.  The three lead presentations will be from nationally-renowned  scholars of advanced legal writing: Michael Smith (Wyoming), Elizabeth Fajans (Brooklyn), and Mary Ray (Wisconsin).  They will be followed by Sheila Miller (Dayton), Susan Wawrose (Dayton), Victoria VanZandt (Dayton), and Johanna Oreskovid (Buffalo), who will speak about their surveys of the bench and bar, reporting on the advanced writing skills that lawyers and judges believe new attorneys should have.  Then Julia Glencer (Duquesne), Erin Karsman (Duquesne), and Tara Willke (Duquesne) will speak about the team-taught advanced legal writing “law firm simulation” course they created, which was supported by an ALWD Research Grant.  The closing session will be a panel of law firm partners addressing how law firms can be agents of curricular change, encouraging law schools to implement advanced legal writing courses.

The Duquesne Law Review will be publishing a Proceedings Issue containing articles reflecting the presentations.  CLE credit will be available for all attendees.  Aspen Law & Business will be  the prime sponsor for the event.

A continental breakfast, buffet lunch, and closing reception will be available to all attendees.  There will be no charge for attendance.  Accommodations for Friday, March 4, and Saturday, March 5, will be available at a discounted rate at a hotel adjacent to campus, a five-minute walk to the law school.  For additional information about accommodations, Pittsburgh, travel, and other local attractions, visit the conference website for last year’s conference.

The website will be updated during the winter, well in advance of the conference.

hat tip:  Jan Levine


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

procrastination explored

Our writing specialist just shared with me a New Yorker review (October 11, 1020, "Later:  What does procrastination tell us about ourselves? by James Surowiecki) of a new book on procrastination, "The Thief of Time," edited by Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White (Oxford, $65).  Some interesting notes from the review (there are many):

* Procrastination is a basic, but costly, human impulse.

* The time gained by putting off a project is rarely spent doing something more productive.  (Evidence the haiku tradition on our listserv.  :)  )

* People who procrastinate know better, but don't make themselves do better.

* Procrastination does not cause happiness.

I encourage you to, at the very least, read the review.  And don't procrastinate.



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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

D.C. LRW conference

HERO_DC2_2010_605x316 The George Washington University Law School will be hosting the First Annual Capital Area Legal Writing Conference, February 25 - 26 in Washington, DC.  Legal writing professionals from around the country -- even around the world -- are welcome to attend.

The deadline to submit proposals to present at the conference is Sunday, October 31st.  The Proposal Submission Form is available online here

Also, registration for the conference is now available here. The deadline to register is January 15, 2011, but early registration is encouraged.  There is no registration fee, and all attendees must register whether they are presenting at the conference or not.  The registration site contains information about reserving a room at a group rate at one of the conference hotels.  Both hotels are close to GW Law School and major public transportation options.  Weekday rates are $199/night, and weekend rates are $119/night.

hat tip:  Iselin Gambert


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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Classic Essays on Legal Advocacy

I recall pretty vividly a few times in my life when an unexpected gift arrived in the mail, because they were such pleasant surprises.  Receiving a comp copy of a law book in the office mail usually does not rank up there with those gifts, but today it did.  Out of the blue, I received Classic Essays on Legal Advocacy, a book first published 50 years ago under a different name, and now re-issued by Scribes.  There is some anachronistic charm and a lot of good advice for legal advocates in the book, including tips on written advocacy.  My only complaint is that it arrived when I am in the middle of grading 1L memos and so have to put off reading it cover-to-cover.


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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

what color is your pen?

Unnamed For an article on how the color of the pen you use to grade papers makes a difference, see The pen is mightier than the word: Object priming of evaluative standards, by Abraham Rutchick, Michael Slepian, and Bennett Ferris. 

Here’s their abstract:

"Because red pens are closely associated with error-marking and poor performance, the use of red pens when correcting student work can activate these concepts. People using red pens to complete a word-stem task completed more words related to errors and poor performance than did people using black pens (Study 1), suggesting relatively greater accessibility of these concepts. Moreover, people using red pens to correct essays marked more errors (Study 2) and awarded lower grades (Study 3) than people using blue pens. Thus, despite teachers’ efforts to free themselves from extraneous influences when grading, the very act of picking up a red pen can bias their evaluations." 

hat tip:  Jan Levine 


October 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 11, 2010

more tenure-track legal writing jobs

The John Marshall Law School in Atlanta is taking applications for tenure-track faculty appointments in legal skills, to begin August 1, 2011. Applicants must meet high standards of professional accomplishment and superior academic performance, as reflected by achievements such as class standing, law review positions, Order of the Coif, judicial clerkships, published legal articles, significant practice history and/or significant teaching experience.

John Marshall seeks applications from those who would be excellent classroom teachers, strong role models of professionalism and ethics, and who demonstrate exceptional promise as legal scholars.  The Law School is committed to its historic mission, including diversity and service to traditionally underserved communities. 

Please e-mail your CV and Letter of Interest no later than October 15, 2010.  Specifically address your teaching interests and potential as a legal scholar.  Send your materials to Associate Professor Kevin Cieply,  Address questions to Professor Cieply via e-mail, too. 

1.  The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment.

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 of $80,000 - $99,999.
The potential salary range is quite broad; salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be 30 or fewer.
Professors in the legal skills department at Atlanta’s John Marshall typically teach one 1L legal research and writing course with 25 or fewer students, plus one upper division writing course with 22 or
fewer students.

    hat tip:  Scott Sigman


October 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

AALS Section Secretary Nominations Due By November 4, 2010

The AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, has announced a call for nominations for the office of Secretary for 2011

The Secretary prepares the AALS Section newsletter, which is published online twice annually.  The Secretary automatically becomes the Chair-elect of the Section the following year.  To be eligible for nomination, nominees must teach at AALS-member institutions and be members of the LWRR Section. 

Send your nominations by November 4, 2010 to Susan Thrower at  A brief statement of interest and any relevant experience will be sufficient.  The Committee encourages nominations of people of color and others with diverse backgrounds.  Don't hesitate to nominate yourself; the Committee welcomes self-nominations. 

The LWRR Section Nominating Committee:
Brad Charles
Leah Christensen
Scott Fruehwald
Shailini George
Greg Johnson
Sharon Pocock
Suzanne Rowe
David Spratt
Ed Telfeyan
Susan Thrower

hat tip:  Susan Thrower




October 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

tenure-track legal writing job

UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications to fill the tenure-track position of Director of Legal Writing. We will consider exceptionally talented applicants at either the assistant or associate professor level. Candidates must demonstrate a record of strong academic performance and excellent potential for scholarly achievement.  The position will begin in July 2011.

Experienced legal writing professionals will be given primary consideration for the position, but the Faculty Appointments Committee will consider other applicants regardless of teaching specialty, provided the applicants can demonstrate exceptional law teaching and administrative experience that would be useful in assuming the role as Director of our expanding, adjunct-based Legal Writing Program.  The mission of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is to recruit and enroll students from groups under-represented at the bar, provide a well-rounded theoretical and practical legal education that will enable students to be effective and ethical advocates, and represent the legal needs of low-income District of Columbia residents through the school’s legal clinics.

Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we will be attending the AALS recruitment conference in October and strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications by mid-October.  Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume. Contact:  Professor Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Building 38, Room 200, Washington, D.C. 20008.

1.  The position advertised is a tenure-track appointment.

2. The professor hired will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

3. The salary range for Associate Professor is $92,000 to $138,000, with a mid-point of $115,000.  The salary range for Assistant Professor is $73,533 to $110,300, with a mid-point of $91,916.

4. The person hired will teach legal writing each semester, to 30 or fewer students.

hat tip: Teri McMurtry-Chubb



October 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Scribes Book Award Goes to "The Last Lawyer"

Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers recently named The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates as the best law book of the year.
The Last Lawyer is the true story of a team of idealistic attorneys and investigators in North Carolina and their ten-year fight to overturn a client's death sentence.  The case involves the thorniest issues of death penalty law – including inadequate defense, mental retardation, mental illness, and sketchy witness testimony – and the book gives readers unprecedented journalistic access to the inner workings of a capital defense team.  The book may be used as supplementary reading for law students.  They will be inspired and educated by the work of Ken Rose, perhaps the most experienced capital postconviction attorney in the country. 
To order a desk copy, click here 
To order the book from Amazon, click here.
More information about the book can be found by clicking here.

Hat tip and congratulations to John Temple, Associate Dean at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism, West Virginia University


October 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

cell phone solution

To see one way to handle the situation when a student’s cell phone goes off in class, click here.  Apparently there’s a federal judge in the Eastern District of California who has taken the same approach.

hat tips: Karin Mika, Hether Macfarlane


October 5, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 4, 2010

new section 1983 decisions website

Info just received from UMKC: 

"In time for the opening of the Supreme Court’s new term, David Achtenberg, University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law, is rolling out the Petition to Decision website.  Petition to Decision is a comprehensive digital archive of all the available papers of the Supreme Court justices relating to selected civil rights cases.  It may be interesting to those who study the internal workings of the Court as well as to those with a particular interest in civil rights litigation.  The website, which contains as many as 1800 pages of documents per case, can be accessed at:

"Petition to Decision presents an interactive timeline of the various cases, identifying every step in the justices’ decision-making process and linking each step to digital copies the relevant internal papers.  A typical case file includes the pool memoranda regarding certiorari (together with annotations by the various justices and their clerks), notes prior to and during the cert conference, various notes and memoranda prior to oral argument, justices’ oral argument notes, justices’ records of what took place at the merits conference, miscellaneous memoranda to and from the justices discussing the case, and annotated drafts of the various opinions.  (Click here for sample documents.)  The timelines make it possible to study the Court’s handling of the cases from the filing of the petition for certiorari until announcement of the final decision. (Click here for an example of a timeline.)

"For those who prefer to review the papers without interpretation, the website also makes it possible to view the documents in archive order, i.e., arranged into digital boxes and folders that correspond to the ones in which the original hard copies are stored.   These “Archive Pages” may be particularly useful for teachers who want to give their students a feel for what it is like to do archival legal history research.  (Click here for an example of an Archive Page.)

"Additional features of the website include transcriptions of important but hard-to-decipher handwritten documents, short descriptions of the legal significance and background story of each case, and links to more readily publicly available documents such as briefs, appendices, oral arguments. 

"The website focuses on decisions in which the Supreme Court interpreted 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the principal statutory vehicle used to sue state and local officials for violations of constitutional rights.  The long range plan is for Petition to Decision to include a wide range of § 1983 cases dealing with issues such as municipal liability, official immunity, color of law, etc.  The current, pilot version of the website is limited to cases dealing with municipal liability issues.  Additional case files and features will be added on a regular basis.  

"For more information about Petition to Decision, you can reach Professor Achtenberg at"

hat tip:  Ed Richards



October 4, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)