Friday, November 29, 2013

legal writing job opening

LawlibraryConcordia University School of Law School is hiring an Assistant Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. This position is tenure track with full voting rights, and service and scholarship expectations. Concordia University is a private, non-profit university with its main campus in Portland, Oregon. In 2012, it opened its law school in Boise, Idaho.

Successful candidates will be able to 1) work collaboratively with the Director to create teaching materials related to major assignments and specific curricular goals in the first-year LRW program, 2) engage and encourage the students as they solve increasingly complex legal problems, and 3) coordinate the development of the advanced writing courses and implementation of writing across the curriculum. In addition, the successful candidate will have both practice and teaching experience.

Concordia encourages applications from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Concordia University does not discriminate in the employment of individuals on the basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, familial status, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation or age; Concordia University reserves the right to give preference in employment based upon religion to further the religious objective of the institution and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

To apply, send via e-mail: a resume, letter of interest, writing sample, contact information for three professional references, and a Faculty Employee Application, to Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff, J.D., Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program, Concordia University School of Law, at The application deadline is January 17, 2014.


November 29, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teaching Legal Writing: A Monograph

LWI recently published Volume 3 of the Legal Writing Institute Monograph Series.  The Volume focuses on teaching legal writing.  What a tremendous resource for veterans and newcomers alike.  From LWI's description:

Our goal for Volume Three is to bring together key articles related to the theory of teaching legal writing. These articles illuminate why we moved from a product orientation to a process one.We have included representative foundational articles, which remain critically important for understanding the development of legal writing as a field. The articles are presented chronologically to facilitate the reader’s understanding of the growth and development of the field. We limited ourselves to work with a focus on the theory of teaching novices, leaving many wonderful articles on other aspects, like writing across the curriculum and upper level writing, to future volumes. We hope that this volume will be helpful to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of why we do what we do.

Great holiday reading!


November 26, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 22, 2013

tenure for two

Collins-maureen Chanbonpin-kimThe John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been a leader for decades in giving its legal writing professors the same rights, responsibilities, and career paths as its other law professors. The John Marshall faculty voted this week to grant tenure to two more of our legal writing colleagues, Kim Chanbonpin and Maureen Collins, both of whom have been generous contributors to our field. Congratulations all around!

hat tip: Anthony Niedwiecki


November 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

new appellate advocacy blog

ImagesThere's a newcomer to the neighborhood: the Appellate Advocacy Blog has joined the network of law professor blogs. Click in and take a look.

hat tip: David Cleveland


November 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

win a prize for your narrative

FStory13_2.258BMany law professors, especially legal writing professors, are talented narrative writers. There is a contest with a submission date of November 30th that might be of interest to you, the Fall 2013 Story Contest of Narrative Magazine. Take a look at the link and see if you have something appropriate to submit.




November 21, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chief Judge Easterbrook's advice about brief writing

EasterbrookSeventh Circuit Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook recently offered his advice about brief writing in the Friedman Lecture in Appellate Advocacy. He reminded lawyers that “Good exposition means not writing like a lawyer, with arcane terms, plentiful acronyms, and lots of jargon. That might work well for an audience of specialists, but it is a disaster for an audience of generalists.” And he advised against using intensifiers like “clearly”: “'Clearly' signifies that some question has just been begged. If you must say that something is clear, it usually isn't.” For more tips, check the reprinted lecture at 23 Federal Circuit Bar Journal 1 (2013).


November 20, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Michael Burger wins the Penny Pether award

The winner of the Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship is Michael Burger of BurgerRoger Williams University School of Law for his article Environmental Law/Environmental Literature.  40 Ecology L.Q. 1 (2013) .  The award will be presented this Friday at the West Coast Rhetoric Scholarship Workshop at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.

The award is named for Penny Pether, a respected member of the legal writing community who had a parricular interest in language and literature. 

hat tip: Jeremy Mullem


November 13, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This quote landed in my in-box today. Thank you to whoever sent it.

Images"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself...."

~ Abraham Maslow


November 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Clarence Darrow’s writing and speaking style

Randall Tietjen's discovery of previously unknown letters by Clarence Darrow led him to writeDarrow In the Clutches of the Law: Clarence Darrow’s Letters. In a recent interview with Bryan Garner for the ABA Journal, Tietjen summarized  Darrow’s writing style: “His mature style of writing was unpretentious. He wrote what he would call ‘simple and unadorned’ sentences.”  For oral argument, Darrow believed in “a clear, forceful, eloquent and convincing style.”  Today's law students would benefit from emulating the style of the master.


November 11, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 8, 2013

LWI One-Day Workshops

Once again, the Legal Writing Institute will host one-day workshops at sites around the country in early December. This year's workshops are to be held in Arizona, California, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

You can find out more information here, and register for a workshop near you here.


November 8, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Short Video Explains New Citation System for Illinois Cases

A short video produced by The John Marshall Law School explains the new citation system for Illinois cases.  




November 7, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Legal Writing Memos Can Help You in Your Daily Life

It's been a while since it was made, but many of you will remember a video produced at Drake Law School to help promote legal writing. The video was a project of the Media Committee of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research.  In this video, a new law student uses his new skills in writing memoranda to help with the problems of daily life: how to choose a restaurant, pick the best football player, help your brother with his computer, and, well, we won't disclose the last scenario.  

This is well worth a watch.  Legal writing professors may want to show this video in class (or share the link to this post) as an end-of-the-semester treat on the importance of legal writing.  Congratulations to Mel Weresh and her team at Drake for producing the video.


Click here for the earlier post.


November 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Summer Job Success

From Quo Vadis (the Rutgers Camden Law Library Blog), comes this summary of a panel discussion about How Legal Research, Writing, and Oral Communication Skills Can Help You Succeed in Your Summer Job. Each of the speakers on the panel "attributed their individual success to the skills that they acquired in their legal writing courses."

h/t Sarah Ricks


November 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Plagiarism Lesson

Looking for a high-profile example of potential plagiarism to use in class?  Look no further than the new accusations against Senator Rand Paul.  From the Huffington Post:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was busted in what may have been another incident of plagiarism on Monday.

As first reported by BuzzFeed, there are unmistakable similarities between an opinion piece Paul wrote for The Washington Times on drug sentencing in September, and an article written by Dan Stewart of The Week a week earlier.

The first allegations of plagiarism against Senator Paul (which he denies) involve accusations that he lifted parts of speeches from Wikipedia. 




November 5, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tips for success on exams

Legal writing professors who cover exam writing will want to check an article in the November National Jurist Magazine that will probably reinforce their exam tips. Author Andrew Ayers suggests, among other things, that students should read exam questions carefully and plan their answers well. Ayers also advises students to review model exam answers to determine whether particular professors want in-depth discussions of reasoning and policy.


November 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Student ratings cause harm

“When Students Rate Professors, Standards Drop,” says a headline in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. In the accompanying opinion piece, English professor Lyell Asher argues that student ratings lead to relaxed standards. Asher suggests that administrators don’t want to acknowledge, let alone solve, the problem. “They’re focused on retention and graduation rates, both of which they assume might suffer if the college required more of its students.” Asher says universities should vow to do no harm and should “decouple faculty wages and job security from student opinion.”

I made the same points ten years ago in an article reporting my survey of legal writing professors. But little has changed, probably for the reasons Asher identifies. 

 Hat tip: Ralph Brill


November 1, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)