Friday, October 14, 2011

Chutzpah at the Court

Chutzpah is alive and well at the United States Supreme Court--the word chutzpah, that is. As a recent piece in the ABA Journal reports, last term Justice Elena Kagan used it when she read aloud her dissent in the Arizona Free Enterprise Club case. In that suit over campaign financing, candidates claimed that "Arizona violated their First Amendment rights by disbursing funds to other speakers even though they could have received (but chose to spurn) the same financial assistance." Justice Kagan said of that argument, "Some people might call that chutzpah."

Justice Kagan was the first Jewish Justice to use the Yiddish term, but the first Justice to use it was Catholic Justice Antonin Scalia, in 1998. The ABA Journal quotes law professor Eugene Volokh's thoughts about those choices: "Scalia strives for a colorful writing style, and so does Kagan. What you are seeing here is less of an ethnic dividion and more the style of the author."




October 14, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

tenure-track LRW job in Atlanta

Request-info-JMLSAtlanta’s John Marshall Law School is seeking applicants for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position as Director of its Legal Skills and Professionalism Program.

JMLS seeks a candidate who can carry out the duties of the Director mindful of the talents and needs of the other skills faculty and who will work with his or her skills colleagues, using strong leadership, communication, and consensus-building skills. Successful candidates will have excellent academic qualifications, at least five years of practice experience, strong scholarly potential, and a strong interest in the practical training of lawyers. Successful experience in teaching, leading colleagues in an academic setting, developing course syllabi, and drafting hypothetical problems for use as writing assignments is strongly preferred. The Director should also be committed to identifying opportunities for bringing further national recognition to the school’s skills program.

Please email (no hard-copies please) your CV and letter of interest no later than October 21, 2011. The letter of interest should explain your interest in the practical training of lawyers and in leading the skills program. Send information to: Associate Professor Suparna Malempati, If you have any questions, please contact Associate Professor Malempati via email. 

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 $50,000

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal writing professor will be 36-40.


October 12, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

legal writing job on Long Island

LogoTouro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center is seeking applicants for the position of Legal Process professor.

Legal Process is a directorless program with eight full-time professors who enjoy the same level of autonomy as the doctrinal faculty, as well as the same access to travel, scholarship, and other professional development funds. Legal Process professors are involved in all aspects of law school life, including chairing and serving on major committees and serving as advisors to student organizations. They also have the opportunity to teach a variety of other courses. Legal Process professors attend faculty meetings and vote on all matters other than tenure and retention.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and references by mail to Professor Heather Melniker, Chair of Appointments Committee, c/o Marie Litwin, Secretary to the Dean, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, 225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip, NY 11722, or by email to ailto: < The Appointments Committee would like to receive all material by November 15, 2011.

1. The position advertised may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. Possible renewable 5 year contracts for scholarly publication.
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 $80,000 - $89,999.
4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research
& writing professor will be 36 – 40.


October 11, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Golden Pen Nominations

The Awards Committee of the Legal Writing Institute announced its call for nominations for the 2012 Golden Pen Award.  Any member of LWI may nominate someone for the award.  The LWI Committeee ask that you submit your nominations directly to Hether Macfarlane at hmacfarlane [at] on or before November 15, 2011. Here's more information about the award:

                The Golden Pen Award recognizes those who make significant contributions to advance the cause of better legal writing.  These contributions may take any form, such as promoting the use of clear language in public documents, improving the quality of legal writing instruction, advocating for better writing within the legal community, outstanding scholarship or journalism about legal writing, or exceptional writing in law practice.  The award is normally given to someone who is not an active member of LWI, but active members are considered in exceptional circumstances. 

                Previous recipients of the award are Arthur Levitt, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Don LeDuc, Dean of the Thomas Cooley Law School; Linda Greenhouse, Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times; the late Honorable Robert E. Keeton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Richard Wydick, Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law; the Honorable Ronald M. George, the Honorable Carol A. Corrigan, and the Honorable James D. Ward, Justices of the Supreme Court of California and the California Court of Appeal; the Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; the National Association of Attorneys General; William C. Burton, Esq.; and George Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric in the English Department at Duke University.
 The Awards Committee consists of Kirsten Dauphinais, Sue Liemer (my co-blogger), Hether Macfarlane, Sharon Pocock, Judy Rosenbaum, and Lou Sirico
Hat tip to Hether Macfarlane

October 10, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Argument in Favor of Passive Voice

The Chronical of Higher Education published an interesting piece on passive voice this month.  In it, Geoffrey Pullum argues that criticism of passive voice is overblown.  Here is a snippet:

"More generally, do the writing tutors of the world really think we should not report that a politician has been shot until we can specify the gunman? Do they honestly think it’s wrong to say that the lights are left on all night in an office building without supplying a list of the individuals who controlled the switches? We really have to get over this superstitious horror about passives. It’s gone beyond a joke."

I think that passive voice is a particular evil in legal writing because writing clearly about who did what is critical when solving a legal problem.  Any sentence structure that obscures who the actors are is problematic.


October 9, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)