Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Call for Presenters: AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers

The Association of American Law Schools Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers will present a panel at the 2016 Annual Meeting in New York on the topic of "Recruiting LL.M. Students: Promises, Expectations, Resources, and Realities." The program will be held on Friday, January 8, 2016, from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. We anticipate choosing two or three presenters at the session from this Call for Presenters. 

You are invited to submit proposals on any aspect of this topic. The subject of recruiting students is an important topic, critical to the success of all LL.M. programs. Proposals should be comprehensive enough to allow the selection committee to meaningfully evaluate the aims and likely content of the presentation and to consider how various presentations will work together for the program.  

Deadline and submission method: To be considered, proposals must be submitted electronically to Prof. Mark E. Wojcik at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Chair of the AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, at, by Monday, September 14, 2015. Presenters will be informed in October whether their proposal was selected.    

Eligibility: Only full-time faculty members of AALS member or fee-paid law schools are eligible to submit proposals. Foreign, visiting (without a full-time position at an AALS member or fee-paid law school) and adjunct faculty members, graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit a proposal. As with other presenters at the AALS meeting, presenters chosen from this call will be responsible for paying their annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses.  

For questions, please contact: Prof. Mark E. Wojcik, The John Marshall Law School Chair, AALS Section on Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, 


July 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Applied Legal Storytelling Conference Updates & Photos!

Chapter Five of the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference, hosted by Seattle Law School, concluded Thursday evening with a lovely dinner at Seattle's Rainier Club, courtesy of Seattle Dean Annette Clark.   The Conference was "predictably well plotted and full of character."  

Highlights included the plenary address by Seattle's Janet Ainsworth (with respondent Laurel Oates), a roundtable discussion with the Feminist Judgments Project, and insightful presentations by Christopher Rideout, Ruth Anne Robbins, Steve Johansen and many others! 

Some photos from the conference:




Ruth ann

Looking forward to Chapter 6!

Hat tip, Linda Berger & Ruth Anne Robbins


July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prof. Steve Schwinn Named Director of the Clinical Program at The John Marshall Law School

SchwinnProfessor Steve Schwinn has been named as Director of the Clinical Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Professor Schwinn earned his B.A. from Michigan State University and his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law. He taught at the University of Maryland School of Law and George Washington University Law School and practiced in the Office of the General Counsel at the Peace Corps.

Professor Schwinn is a frequent commenter on issues related to constitutional law and human rights. He is a co-founder and co-editor of the Constitutional Law Prof Blog and an occasional contributor to other blogs and publications. He regularly writes for the ABA Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases, and he directs the ABA Media Alerts project for the Seventh Circuit. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of law journals. He is also the co-author (with Amy Sloan) of the Basic Legal Research Workbook.

He litigates cases pro bono in the federal courts, and he serves on the Board of Advisors for the Chicago Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

He teaches Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law and Human Rights, and Lawyering Skills I. He also coordinates the Constitutional Law in the Classroom program, in which law students teach constitutional law lessons to students in the Chicago Public Schools and surrounding school districts, and he is the faculty supervisor for the African Human Rights Project.

Congratulations on your new appointment Steve!



July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prof. Mary Nagel Named Director of Externships at The John Marshall Law School

NagelProfessor Mary Nagel, the Associate Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has been named Director of Externships at John Marshall. She will continue working with the Lawyering Skills Program in addition to this new appointment.

Following law school, Mary Nagel was a judicial law clerk for Judge Thomas E. Hoffman on the Circuit Court of Cook County and for Justice Fred A. Geiger of the Illinois Appellate Court. She was an associate at the Chicago offices of Querrey & Harrow and Bollinger, Ruberry & Garvey. From 1999 to 2001, Professor Nagel was an Illinois assistant attorney general, and from 2001 to 2003, she was chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Labor.

She also served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Bill Taylor and for Judge Barbara J. Disko in the Circuit Court of Cook County, drafting court rulings for motions, evidentiary issues, and trials. She had been an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School from 1999 until 2007 and now serves as Associate Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at John Marshall.

Congratulations on your new additional appointment!


July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prof. Julie Spanbauer Named Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

SpanbauerProfessor Julie Spanbauer has been appointed as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

After receiving her B.S. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, her J.D. from Valparaiso University, and an LL.M. from Northwestern University, Julie Spanbauer clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judge  Andrew P. Rodovich and U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody. Since joining the John Marshall faculty in 1990, she has published numerous articles in the areas of employment discrimination, constitutional law, and women's issues.

Professor Spanbauer was recently named a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant Recipient and she taught at the Institute of Technology Law, National Chiao Tung University in Taipei, Taiwan. Professor Spanbauer has organized and served as a panel moderator at diverse conferences involving discrimination issues. She has presented lectures at Trinity College in Ireland and in China. Professor Spanbauer has served as the program director for two programs sponsored by the International Law Institute in Washington, DC. These programs prepare international LL.M. students to enter law schools throughout the United States. She has also served as a member of the board of directors of the Friends of Battered Women and their Children, a not-for-profit organization providing counseling, advocacy, and education services for abused women and their children.

From 2004-2008, Professor Spanbauer served as director of the special admissions program at John Marshall, the Summer College for Assessing Legal Education Skills (SCALES). She teaches Employment Discrimination, Contracts, and Lawyering Skills.

Congratulations on your appointment Julie!


July 24, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SEALS starts next week, with a legal writing track

The annual SEALS (Southeastern Association of Law Schools) conference starts on Sunday with a track devoted specifically to legal writing.  Stay tuned for blog posts about those sessions and more!


July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wendy Adele Humphrey named inaugural Assistant Dean for Educational Effectiveness at Texas Tech

Wendy-humphreyProfessor Wendy Adele Humphrey, who teaches Legal Practice and co-directs Tech's Pre-Law Academy, has been named the inaugural Assistant Dean for Educational Effectiveness at Texas Tech.

Humphrey, who has an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, will develop strategies to implement more effective assessment methods.

She is the third Legal Practice faculty member to serve as a dean.  Nancy Soonpaa, LP program director, served as Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and Dustin Benham, former LP professor, served as Assistant Dean for Strategic Initiatives.




July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kim Chanbonpin Named New Director of Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School

ChanbonpinProfessor Kim Chanbonpin, President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute, has been named as the new Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  The previous director, Professor Anthony Niedwiecki, was recently promoted to be Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Professor Chanbonpin joined the John Marshall faculty in 2008. She received her bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law, graduating cum laude with a certificate in Asian-Pacific Legal Studies. After law school, she was a law clerk to the late Judge John S.W. Lim of the Intermediate Court of Appeals in Honolulu. Professor Chanbonpin also earned an LL.M., with distinction, and a Certificate in National Security Law at the Georgetown University Law Center. While in Washington, D.C., she was a Short-Term Consultant at the World Bank.

Professor Chanbonpin is a member of the State Bar of California, and has been involved in several pro bono publico cases litigating a variety of legal issues, including post-conviction relief, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, and police brutality claims. In September 2012, she was appointed to a two-year fellowship under the Illinois State Bar Association's (ISBA) Diversity Leadership Council. She sits on the ISBA's Criminal Justice Section Council. In addition to being President-Elect the Legal Writing Institute, she also serves on the Board of Governors for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT).

Before coming to John Marshall, Professor Chanbonpin was a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. During her fellowship, she taught National Security Law and Civil Liberties, Legal Research and Writing, and Appellate Advocacy.

Professor Chanbonpin teaches Lawyering Skills, Criminal Law, Torts, Gender Race and Class, and National Security Law. She also taught Introduction to the U.S. Legal System to LL.M. students in China's State Intellectual Property Office. Her scholarly writing considers redress and reparations law, policy, and social movements in the United States. In a 2011 article, she proposed the Inclusive Model for Social Healing, a new paradigm for understanding reparations projects. This model draws on anti-subordination and narrative principles rooted in LatCrit and Critical Race Theory scholarship, and is a part of the School of the Art Institute Sullivan Gallery's 2012 exhibition, "Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture." Her work on the law's power to exclude and to include continues in her 2013 article in the U.C. Irvine Law Review.

She is a contributor to the SALT Law blog, and her scholarly work has appeared in the U.C. Irvine Law Review, the Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy and the Mercer Law Review.


July 23, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anthony Niedwiecki Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

NiedwieckiAnthony Niedwiecki, former President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors and  Director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has been named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at John Marshall.

After graduating magna cum laude from Tulane Law School, Anthony was a commercial litigation lawyer with Mayer Brown's office in Houston, Texas, and a labor and employment attorney with Gardere & Wynne in Dallas. He started his academic career as a lecturer at Temple University Beasley School of Law  in 1998. He also taught at Arizona State University and returned to Temple before joining the faculty at Nova Southeastern University's Shepard Broad Law Center in 2003, where he was an associate professor and director of the Lawyering Skills and Values program before coming to John Marshall.  He teaches Lawyering Skills, Employment Discrimination, and Law and Sexual Orientation.

The new director of the Lawyering Skills Program at The John Marshall Law School is Professor Kim Chanbonpin, President-Elect of the Legal Writing Institute. 


July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joe Kimble to Receive Legacy Award from the State Bar of Michigan

KimbleThe great Joe Kimble will receive the State Bar of Michigan's John W. Reed Lawyer Legacy Award in October, at the State Bar's annual meeting.  The Reed Lawyer Legacy Award is "[g]iven periodically to an educator from a Michigan law school whose influence on lawyers has elevated the quality of legal practice in our state." 
Joe is an emeritus writing professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. He is the author of many articles for the Michigan State Bar and books called Writing for Dollars, Writing to Please and Lifting the Fog of Legalese, both published by Carolina Academic Press. His twitter account says that he is committed to plain language, but it doesn't say that he personally rewrote the federal rules to prove that. For example, click here for an earlier blog post about how Joe fixed the Federal Rules of Evidence.  That post has links to two of his articles from the Michigan Bar Journal.
Joe has been active in many legal writing organizations including Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers, and Clarity. He's also been recognized by the Legal Writing Institute and the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and has been a regular presenter at legal writing conferences across the United States.
The awards ceremony will be on October 7, in Novi, Michigan. Click here to read more about other awards from the Michigan State Bar.
Hat tip to Professor Mark Cooney, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Applied Legal Storytelling Conference Underway in Seattle

The Applied Legal Storytelling Conference is underway in Seattle.  Please send us your reports from there and photos you want to share. The conference takes place from July 21-23, 2015.


July 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

does plagiarism matter?

Yes.  An Arizona State University professor has been demoted over a repeat pattern of carelessness/plagiarism.  His apology letter (included in the article linked above) would also serve as an interesting example of audience-oriented persuasive writing.

This article sets out text as he presented it and in its original form. It could serve as a series of examples in a class on plagiarism.

hat tip: Maureen Kane


July 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Seventh Circuit Bench Slap

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied a lawyer's request to increase his fees, in part because of a poorly-written appellate brief.  Here's the concluding paragraphs from the court's decision in Pierce v. Visteon Corp., No. 14-2542 (7th Cir. July 1, 2015), describing problems with the argument and problems with the brief:

Finally, even if it were sometimes appropriate to give a lawyer a slice of the class's recovery on top of a fee-shifting award, this would not be the case to do it in. We've mentioned two reasons: Weldy bungled the appeal, costing the class an opportunity to seek greater compensation, and his demand for fees from the class goes directly against his clients' interests, yet he did nothing to help them protect themselves. And this isn't the only respect in which Weldy has tried to undermine his client's interests. The lead argument in his brief is—that some members of the class will get too much money! Yes, Weldy asked us to remand because some of his clients have been overcompensated. Perhaps they have been: $2,500 is more than $110 a day for anyone whose notice was less than 23 days late. That might have been a reason for Visteon to appeal, but it is unfathomable that the class's lawyer would try to sabotage the recovery of some of his own clients.

That's not all. We have mentioned Weldy's failure to comply with our order to address the interaction between Rule 23(c)(3) and Rule 58 . And his brief on the merits has problems beyond those pointed out already. It presents 13 issues for decision, violating the principle that appellate counsel must concentrate attention on the best issues. (To brief more than three or four issues not only diverts the judges' attention but also means that none of the issues will be addressed in the necessary depth; an appellate brief covering 13 issues can spend only a few pages on each.) The brief's writing is careless to boot; it conveys the impression of "dictated but not read." Here are two sentences: "This Court should be entered a high daily statutory penalty in this matter. Respectfully, the award of the District Court to the contrary law and an abuse of discretion." There's more, equally ungrammatical. Weldy is in no position to contend that his compensation is too low.


July 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 17, 2015

All-Electronic Journal of Legal Writing is Live!


President Linda Berger and the LWI Board recently announced that the new all-electronic Journal of Legal Writing is live, link here!  The newest volume and archives are all available on the sleek and streamlined site, including .pdfs for the print-readers.

Many congrats to Linda and the LWI Board, as well as Journal Editor in Chief Brooke Bowman and Managing Editors Lindsay Gustafson, Kim Holst and Karen Sneddon.  A job well done by the LWI Committee for an Electronic Journal led by Terry Pollman and Brooke Bowman, along with  Ted Becker, Ellie Margolis, Megan McAlpin, Samantha Moppett, and Karen Sneddon.

Hat tip, Terry Pollman 


July 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boston conference in September

Call for proposals

2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers

 “Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential” 

Suffolk University Law School is pleased to host the 2015 New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference on Friday, September 18, 2015.  We are now accepting proposals for presentations at the conference.  The theme of the conference is “Maximizing Student and Faculty Potential.” This broad theme encompasses a wide range of interests, including topics relevant to legal writing, academic support, career and professional development, diversity, technology, and innovation. 

You may submit a proposal for a 25 or 50 minute presentation, or a 30-minute workshop.  We are offering a workshop format for discussion of teaching or scholarship ideas or other topics in small groups.  The workshop will entail a 10-minute presentation followed by 20 minutes of discussion.

 The deadline for proposals is Friday, August 21, 2015 at 5 pm EST.  Please submit the following information by completing the form attached and emailing it to:                                      

1).        Name and contact information of presenter(s)

2).        Title of presentation

3).        Preference for 25 minutes, 50 minutes, or workshop

4).        Brief (one paragraph) description of the presentation or workshop topic

5).        Technology needs (if any) for the presentation


Writing Lockdown on Thursday, September 17, 2015, 2:00-5:00 p.m.  We are offering a “writing lockdown” for anyone attending the conference who will be in town on Thursday afternoon and would like to enjoy a block of uninterrupted time for writing, while enjoying a view of the Boston Common and refreshments.  Come with a writing goal in mind.  Bring your writing project (an article, book, etc.) to work on as well as any materials you need (laptop, paper, writing utensil, etc.).  We provide the space and location – you provide the words.  No submissions are necessary as your writing can be at any stage (notes, an outline, a draft, etc.) and will not be reviewed; just let us know if you would like to attend all or part of the lockdown.  

Registration is free for all presenters and attendees.  Suffolk University Law School is located in the heart of beautiful historic Boston.  We will provide details on accommodations and travel arrangements in the coming weeks.  Please contact Professor Rosa Kim ( or Professor Kathleen Elliott Vinson ( with any questions.

Kathleen Elliott Vinson
Professor of Legal Writing
Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA  02108


July 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

commas: they matter!

from Brian Sites at Barry:

An Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals ruled that a village couldn't tow away a woman's pickup truck due to a missing comma in a parking ordinance.

The decision reverses that of the Madison County Municipal Court, which found Andrea Cammelleri guilty of violating an ordinance banning parking on a street for 24 straight hours, the court reported.

The ordinance states that it's illegal to park on a village street "any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle for a continued period of twenty-four hours."

Appellate Judge Robert Hendrickson, in writing for the court, said "if the village desires a different reading, it should amend the ordinance and insert a comma between the phrase 'motor vehicle' and the word 'camper.'"


July 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"the pile 'o crap syndrome"

A recent post on Above the Law offers an interesting analysis of the unhelpful writing technique called "the pile 'o crap syndrome."  First-year law students use it because they don't know what's important.  Busy lawyers use it because they lack time, among several reasons (another being that perhaps a judge won't notice there's no substance at all in the pile).

What other unhelpful writing techniques have you seen?

hat tip:  Dustin Benham, Texas Tech




July 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Jeffrey Shulman of Georgetown Selected for Flegel Award

Jeffrey Shulman of Georgetown University Law Center received this year's Frank F. Flegel award—Georgetown’s top honor for teaching excellence.Jeffrey received this honor in recognition of “his inspiring and engaging teaching, his tireless commitment to his students and to the part-time section in particular, and his role behind the scenes as a mentor to students and colleagues alike."

Jeffrey is a Professor of Legal Research and Writing at Georgetown. Read more about him by clicking here.

Hat tip to Rima Sorota


July 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Scribes Awards Luncheon in Chicago

Lord WoolfScribes—The American Society of Legal Writers—will hold a special award luncheon in Chicago on Saturday, August 1, 2015 during the ABA Annual Meeting.

A lifetime achievement award will be presented to Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 2000 until 2005. Under the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, Lord Woolf was also the first Lord Chief Justice to be President of the Courts of England and Wales. When he served as Master of the Rolls (the third most senior judge in England and Wales), Lord Woolf brought forth legal reforms that have been described as “the most fundamental reform of the civil justice system of the 20th century.” Lord and Lady Woolf will be present at the award luncheon.

Keynote Speaker Bryan Garner will speak on “The Biggest Secret for Clear and Persuasive Writing.” Garner has written several books about English usage and style, including Garner's Modern American Usage and Elements of Legal Style. He is the editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary and he has coauthored two books with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (2008) and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (2012). He is the Founder and president of LawProse, Inc. and serves as Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University School of Law.

The event will also include presentations of the prestigious Scribes Book Awards and Brief-Writing Awards.

The luncheon will also mark a change in leadership for Scribes. Darby Dickerson, Dean of Texas Tech University School of Law, will finish her term as President. The new President is Justice Michael B. Hyman of the Illinois Appellate Court. Justice Hyman is a former President of the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association, and the Decalogue Society.

The Scribes Luncheon will be held during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on Saturday, August 1, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Swissotel, 323 Upper Wacker Drive, in the Edelweiss I Room on the 43rd Floor. Tickets are $75 per person with a special rate of $50 for judges, government employees, young lawyers, law professors, and law students. RSVP to with your choice of lunch entrée: (chicken or vegetarian). For more information visit the Scribes website at or call (806) 834-5792.

Please RSVP by July 17th.  Thanks, and see you there!

For more information about Scribes (including how to join if somehow you're not already a member), visit

Mark Wojcik

Scribes Treasurer


July 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Melissa Henki Promoted to Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing

Melissa Henke ws promoted to Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing. Melissa has been the LRW Director at the University of Kentucky College of Law since 2011.


July 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)