Monday, June 30, 2014

Job Posting: Northern Illinois University

The Northern Illinois University College of Law anticipates having openings for two Legal Writing/Academic Success Program Instructors:

The Legal Writing and Advocacy Course is a core course in the first-year curriculum at Northern Illinois University College of Law. The four-credit, two-semester course is structured to help first-year law students acquire and refine the basic legal writing and analysis skills fundamental to the successful completion of law school and to the competent practice of law. As a secondary goal, students in Legal Writing and Advocacy are also introduced to other skills and topics important to the practice of law, including oral communication of legal issues, interviewing and counseling, professional responsibility, and motion practice.

In addition to, and in conjunction with the Legal Writing Program, Northern Illinois University College of Law assists law students in achieving their greatest potential through the Academic Success Program (ASP). There are numerous components to ASP throughout the course of the students' academic career at NIU Law. As part of ASP, select incoming lL students are required to participate in a Jump Start Orientation program the week prior to the lL Orientation. These students are instructed in basic analytical and rule development skills during a week of writing-intensive course work taught and implemented by the ASP Instructors. Further, select admitted students are invited to participate in the lL ASP based on objective criteria including undergraduate GPA and law school admission test scores. Participation is a mandatory condition of admission for students who meet certain criteria determined by the faculty. Students participating in the program attend weekly tutorials conducted by upper-level student tutors for their four doctrinal courses. 2L students with a GPA of 2.4 and below are required to participate in Upper-Level ASP, semester-long, one-hour, weekly, ungraded course taught by the ASP Instructors. The writing-intensive Upper-Level ASP focuses on exam-writing, outlining, and study skills.

The Legal Writing/ASP Instructors, together with the Co-Directors of Legal Writing and Academic Success, are responsible for the delivery of the legal writing and academic success programs at Northern Illinois University College of Law. The Legal Writing/ASP Instructors report to the Co-Directors of Legal Writing and Academic Success. This is a ten-month position within the University.

The responsibilities of a Legal Writing/ ASP Instructor include:

  • •    Teach the required Legal Writing and Advocacy Course to first-year law students
  • •    Plan and develop legal writing problems for the course
  • •    Provide individual instruction to first-year students
  • •    Grade and comment on legal writing assignments
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of programs tailored to help ASP students reach their full potential
  • •    Provide academic counseling to ASP students
  • •    Assist in the hiring, training, and oversight of upper-class students who serve as tutors for ASP students
  • •    Assist in the planning and delivery of meetings geared toward developing general study and exam skills for the entire first-year class during the fall semester
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of the week-long academic orientation program for select incoming 1L students participating in the NIU Law Jump Start Program
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of the week-long academic orientation program for the entire first-year class
  • •    Cooperate and assist with other programs involving oral and written communication skills, including the second-year moot court competition and third-year external moot court teams
  • •    Provide individual instruction to students selected to participate in upper-level ASP during fall semester
  • •    Provide individual instruction to first-year students selected to participate in the exam-writing seminar during spring semester
  • •    Assist in the planning, development, and delivery of Bar programs for upper-level students and alumni
  • •    Assist in the continuing in-depth evaluation of both the legal writing and academic success programs and identify and implement program improvements
  • •    Other responsibilities that may become necessary as determined by the Deans and program directors.


A J.D. from an ABA accredited law school, a valid license to practice law, strong writing skills, strong academic credentials, and a minimum of two years of teaching and/or practice experience.


The ability to work well within a coordinated program structure, background or training in counseling or educational theory, the ability to work with a diverse student population and strong organizational skills.


Applicants please send a letter of application addressed to Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea stating qualifications, unofficial transcripts, current curriculum vitae, writing sample, and contact information for two references to Tita Kaus Administrator, Office of the Dean

And some more information about the job: 

This is not a tenure-track appointment. It may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years. Surprisingly, persons holding this position will NOT be allowed to vote in faculty meetings. The annual salary is under $60,000, with possible additional money for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school. The salary also does not include conference travel or other professional development funds. You'll be expected to teach 31-25 students.


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Institute Conference Starts First Day of Substantive Programs

More than 500 attendees have gathered in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, to attend the 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute.  Registration and vendor exhibits are open today from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Franklin Hall A.  Sessions start at 8:45 a.m. and continue throughout the day, with about seven choices every hour of different panels to attend.


If you attend a partciularly good session with some take-away points, consider writing it up as a post and sending it to one of the blog editors. We'll put it up as a Guest Blog Post. The person you wrote about will be thrilled and readers around the world will be grateful for your contribution. Guest blog posts can be sent to me (Mark E Wojcik) at this email address: legalwritingprof [at] 

Thanks, and have fun today!


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Job Posting: Texas A&M University School of Law Seeks Two Professors

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks to hire two faculty candidates for tenure-track or tenured positions, with rank dependent on qualifications and experience. The law school welcomes applications in all subject areas, but it particularly invites applications in:
  • (1) patent law (including related intellectual property subjects); and
  • (2) legal analysis, research, and writing.  
Candidates must have a J.D. degree or its equivalent.  Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills. 
And here's some more information about the legal writing job. It is a tenure-track appointment that will pay between $100,000 and $109,000 (depending on experience), you'll be expected to teach 36-40 students, and you will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

Texas A&M University acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August 2013, and applications for admission have increased by over 30 percent and development has grown exponentially, including multiple seven-figure endowed chairs.  The law school is poised to build on its tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service through the extensive resources and opportunities that result from being part of a world-class public university. 

Texas A&M University School of Law is located in vibrant downtown Fort Worth.  The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living and a strong economy.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M University welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the law school’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Timothy Mulvaney, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at  Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Mulvaney at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509. 


June 30, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

New LWI Officers and Board Members Take Office

The 2014-2016 Board of the Legal Writing Institute has just taken office at the start of the 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, which opens today in Philadelphia.

Here is a full list of the officers and board members:

  • President:    Linda L. Berger (UNLV Boyd School of Law)
  • President Elect:    Kim D. Chanbonpin (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago)
  • Secretary:    Samantha A. Moppett (Suffolk University Law School)
  • Treasurer:    Candace Mueller Centeno (Villanova University School of Law)
  • Immediate Past President:    Melissa H. Werish (Drake University Law School)

Board Members:

  • Mary Nicol Bowman (Seattle University School of Law)
  • Michael J. Higdon (University of Tennessee College of Law)
  • Cassandra L. Hill (TSU Thurgood Marshall School of Law)
  • Kimberly Holst (ASU Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law)
  • Alison E. Julien (Marquette University Law School)
  • Ruth Anne Robbins (Rutgers School of Law-Camden)
  • Suzianne D. Painter-Thorne (Mercerr University School of Law)
  • Rebecca L. Scharf (UNLV Boyd School of Law)
  • Kristen Konrad Tiscione (Georgetown University Law Center)
  • Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School--Chicago)


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Candace Mueller Centeno Elected as Treasurer of the Legal Writing Institute

Candace Mueller Centeno of Villanova University School of Law has been elected as Treasurer of the Legal Writing Institute.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Samantha Moppet Elected as LWI Secretary

Samantha A. Moppett of Suffolk University Law School was elected as Secretary of the Legal Writing Institute.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kim Chanbonpin Chosen as President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute

Chanbonpin-BergerProfessor Kim D. Chanbonpin of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been elected as the President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute. The election took place on Sunday just before the opening reception of the LWI Conference.

Professor Chanbonpin will become the LWI President in 2016 when the LWI meets in Portland, Oregon for the 17th Biennial Meeting of the Legal Writing Institute. She will serve a two-year term as President-Elect, a two-year term as President, and a two-year term as Past-President.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Linda Berger is the New President of the Legal Writing Institute

Professor Linda L. Berger of the UNLV Boyd School of Law has just become the new President of the Legal Writing Institute, assuming office from now immediate-past President Melissa H. Weresh of Drake University Law School.

Congratulations Linda and thank you Mel for your service to LWI. Mel continues as a member of the LWI Board in the role of past president.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Writing Institute Conference Opens in Philadelphia

The 16th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute Biennial opens tonight in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

More than 500 law professors from around the world are attending the conference, a larger number than the organizers expected. Registration has just opened and vendor exhibits will be on display tonight until 9:00 p.m.


June 29, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The spring 2014 AALS section newsletter is out!

The spring 2014 newsletter for the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research is now available on the section's community site.  (You will need your AALS login information to access the site.)

The newsletter contains an article about Jan Levine's receipt of the section award at the January AALS Annual Meeting. The then-chair of the section, Judy Rosenbaum of Northwestern,  extolled Jan's many pioneering accomplishments, including  forming the Association of Legal Writing Directors and obtaining better status and salaries for legal writing teachers at the schools where he worked. See the full issue for other news, including reports of members' recent accomplishments and summaries of the legal writing presentations at the AALS meeting.


June 25, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Countdown to the LWI conference!

CentenoThe 2014 Legal Writing Conference starts next weekend, on June 29, in WallingerPhiladelphia. Conference co-chairs Candace Centeno (pictured at left) and Carol Wallinger (at right) have offered some tips for participants:    

"1. The dress code?  For those new to the conference, there is no set dress code for the conference.  Most people wear comfortable clothes, although you will also see some people in suits (particularly for presentations).  For the gala, business casual is appropriate.
"2. Weather in Philadelphia?  Although it is too early to predict Philadelphia’s always changing weather, the ten-day weather forecast calls for temperatures in the high 80s from Monday through Wednesday, along with a chance for showers/thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Pack an umbrella (just in case!) for ventures outside of the hotel, including the brief walk to the Gala on Tuesday.
"3. What else to pack?  If you want to do some walking around Philadelphia, pack some comfortable walking shoes.  Many of the historical sites are within walking distance."  

          Veteran conference participant Sue Liemer emphasized on the listserv that the dress code really is casual. She wrote, "Starting with the first LWI conference, the pioneers of our field made a point of wanting everyone to feel comfortable at the conference, and they encouraged a no-dress-code tradition. If you want to wear jeans and a t-shirt, even when you give your presentation, you won’t be the only one."

         Regarding transportation, the chairs explain, "The regional rail is particularly convenient because there is a stop right next to the Marriot hotel (the Market East stop).  Alternatively, taxis are plentiful, and . . . Internet research revealed a flat rate of $26.25 from the airport to downtown Philadelphia."

          See the conference website for more detailed information, including the conference program.

hat tips: Candace Centeno, Carol Wallinger, Sue Liemer



June 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study compares legal research in print and electronic media

KriegerProfessors Stefan Krieger and Katrina Fischer Kuh of Hofstra have published a Kuhstudy comparing the results of legal research in print and electronic media. Their article, Accessing Law: An Empirical Study Exploring the Influence of Legal Research Medium, presents a study of law students’ research. The authors found that the choice of medium can influence outcomes, and they conclude, “This Article strongly supports calls for the legal profession and legal academy to be more attentive to the implications of the shift to electronic research.”

Hat tip: Scott Fruehwald


June 23, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Teaching research in both print and online sources

Brigham Young law librarian Dennis Sears recently analyzed ways to teach students the benefits Sears_300and drawbacks of both print and online resources.  His article, The Pedagogical Value of an Integrated Approach to Legal Research Instruction: Overcoming Student Resistance to the Use of Print Sources and Striking a Balance That Instills an Appreciation of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Both Print and Online Sources, was published at 33 Legal Reference Services Quarterly 38 (2014).


June 21, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Anne Enquist receives Burton Award

In a black-tie celebration at the Library of Congress on June 9, Seattle professor Anne Enquist received this year's Burton Award for legal writing. Anne was a founder of the Legal Writing Institute and has authored numerous materials about teaching legal writing, including Just Writing, a book on writing and style co-authored with Laurel Currie Oates. Pictured below are Anne Enquist, Laurel Oates, and Dean Annette Clark of Seattle, with Jay Leno, who entertained at the event. View Anne's acceptance speech here.

Photo credit: Karin Mika


                                         Leno Seattle 2

June 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dining Out, Philly Style

IMG_9672Planning to come to Philadelphia for the LWI Conference at the end of the month? Philly's a great restaurant town, and you might want to start to think about hitting up one of Philly's hot spots for your non-conference meals.

The conference committee has put together a helpful restaurant guide for conference-goers. Personal favorites within a short wandering distance of the hotel include Federal Donuts, Barbuzzo, Sampan, Amis, Zavino, and El Vez.  

(Photo: some out-of-this-world rigatoni I had recently at Amis.)


June 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Controlling Crowded Sentences

In his recent article Controlling Crowded Sentences, rhetorician George Gopen shows how to make Gopen the most of stress positions. He starts with a sample thirty-six word sentence and then revises it six different ways. Some revisions are a bit longer than the original, but Gopen emphasizes that “I do not hold with those who advise ‘to make it better, make it shorter.’” Each revision has a different purpose: one places a person in a subordinate role, and another builds empathy for her.

The article appeared in the spring 2014 issue of Litigation. If you're not a member of the ABA Litigation Section, ask your librarian to help you get a copy of the full article.


June 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Good Article to Recommend for Law Journal Editors and Students Authors

When a Rose Isn't 'Arose' Isn't Arroz: A Student Guide to Footnoting for Informational Clarity and Scholarly Discourse

Professor William Mock has authored an article meant to help students cite more sensibly. The article begins with welcome advice: "Not every proposition in a law review articles requires citation, nor does every footnote require cited authority." (And in case you're worried already, that sentence has two footnotes in the orginal!).

It is the kind of article that should be given to incoming law journal editorial boards to help student editors (and research assistants) understand the distinctions among different types of footnotes.

You can share this link for students to download a copy of the paper from SSRN.

(With students, we recommend giving the link rather than the document itself so that students will also learn how to do research on SSRN--a source that gives them information not found on Westlaw or Lexis or Bloomberg).

If law journals adopt more sensible rules for citations rather than strict mathematical formulas (such as 1.8 pages of footnotes for each page of text), law reviews have a chance to increase their readability and usefulness to readers.


June 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eliminate zombie nouns

Garner“Eliminate zombie nouns,” advises Bryan Garner in the May 2014 issue of the Student Lawyer. Garner refers to what many call “nominalizations,” that is, verbs changed into cumbersome noun forms. He calls them “zombie nouns” because they are “essentially both dead and deadening.” For example, “make a contribution” is less lively than “contribute,” and “have a discussion about the issues” is clunkier than “discuss the issues.” Garner urges, “To liven up the sentence, give it action.” He also advises students to minimize the passive voice, offering  guidelines on how to identify it. He then provides an example heavy with zombie nouns and the passive voice, which he then revises it to make it more readable.


June 5, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 2, 2014

How to cite without distracting the reader

First-year law students struggling with citations may want to consult Suggestions for Citing Authority  Hazelwood without Distracting the Reader, by University of Kentucky Professor Kristin Hazelwood. Two of its tips are to keep citations at the end of the sentence and to use explanatory parentheticals only for additional information, not to replace text. These and the article’s other suggestions are available at page 16 of the May 2014 issue of the Kentucky Bench and Bar Magazine.


June 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)