Wednesday, September 30, 2015

job opening: Boston College

Boston College Law School invites applications for full-time Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing faculty to teach Law Practice I and Law Practice II, a new two-semester course sequence that replaces its current first-year LRR&W course.  Law Practice I, a graded three-credit course, uses simulated problems to teach professional skills in legal problem solving, including legal analysis, legal research, fact analysis, and oral and written communication. Law Practice II, a graded two-credit course, focuses on development of legal writing skills.  

Candidates must have a degree from an accredited law school, excellent writing and analytical skills, a strong academic record, and experience in law practice or a judicial clerkship.  Teaching experience is preferred.  The position, which will begin August 1, 2016, may lead to a form of security reasonably similar to tenure.  A tenure track appointment may be possible, depending on qualifications and experience of the successful candidate. 

Boston College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or any other classification protected under federal, state or local law.  The College strongly encourages women, minorities and others who would enrich the diversity of our academic community to apply. To learn more about how BC supports diversity and inclusion throughout the university please visit the Office of Institutional Diversity at Boston College Law School, part of a Jesuit, Catholic university, is located in Newton, Massachusetts, just outside Boston. 

To apply, please send a statement of interest and resume with three references by email to Professor Mark Spiegel at  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. 

1. The position advertised:

 __ a. is a tenure-track appointment.

 X b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.

Additional information about job security or terms of employment, any applicable term limits, and whether the position complies with ABA Standard 405(c):   

At Boston College Law School, long-term faculty contracts are for three years.  Following the first two reviews, after six years of service, subsequent renewals do not require committee review, and the full faculty views the position as providing “a form of security reasonably similar to tenure” (see ABA Standard 405(c)). A tenure track appointment may be possible for this position, depending on qualifications and experience.


2. The professor hired:

X a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

__ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.


Additional information about the extent of the professor’s voting rights:  

At Boston College Law School, contract faculty are entitled to participate fully in faculty meetings, except that contract faculty in the initial three-year contract do not vote. Contract faculty holding subsequent three-year contracts may vote on all matters except matters concerning appointments and promotions of tenure track faculty, contract renewals of contract faculty senior to them, changes in the status of the contract faculty positions, and conversions of contract faculty positions.


3. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; nor does a base salary include conference travel or other professional development funds.) 

X a. $90,000 or more

__ b. $80,000 to $89,999


Additional information about base salary or other compensation: 

Salary will depend on qualifications and experience of the professor.  The professor will be eligible for funds for research and travel and for a summer research stipend.


4. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:

__ a. 30 or fewer

__ b. 31 - 35

X  c. 36 - 40


Additional information about teaching load, including required or permitted teaching outside of the legal research and writing program: 

The professor is being hired to teach within the legal reasoning, research, and writing program. A professor may in addition teach a course outside the legal writing program with approval of the Dean of Faculty.

hat tip:  Joan Blum



September 30, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Faculty Job Opening: Wake Forest

Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina anticipates hiring one tenure-track Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Professor to begin in the 2016-2017 academic year.  The Faculty Appointments Committee seeks applications from entry-level candidates with excellent academic records and demonstrated potential for exceptional teaching and scholarly achievement.  They also welcome applications from lateral candidates who possess outstanding academic credentials, including demonstrated teaching ability and a record of distinguished scholarship. The Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program at Wake Forest University School of Law is a six-credit, three-semester course.  Students receive two credits in the fall semester of their first year (LAWR 1), followed by two credits in the spring semester of their first year (LAWR 2), and two credits in either the fall or spring semester of their second year (LAWR 3).  Professors in the Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program teach one section of approximately 20 students for LAWR 1 and 2 for the full academic year, and one section of approximately 23-26 students for LAWR 3 for one semester.  The Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program currently includes six full-time professors. 

In addition to teaching in the program, there is an expectation of scholarship. The Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research professors are, however, provided the same opportunities and support for research, scholarship, and other professional development as doctrinal faculty, including summer research stipends and research assistants. In addition, at Wake Forest University School of Law, the Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research professors are involved in all aspects of law school life, including chairing and serving on faculty committees and serving as advisors to students and student organizations. Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research professors attend faculty meetings and vote on all matters other than tenure, promotion, and retention.

Salary, benefits, and research support are nationally competitive. Applicants must have a law degree; a long-term commitment to the Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research program; an interest in teaching and scholarship; excellent legal research, analysis, reasoning, writing and communication skills; and the ability to work both independently and cooperatively. Prior teaching experience is preferred, and legal practice experience is required. Wake Forest seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce to maintain the excellence of the University, and to offer students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning. They are strongly dedicated to the pursuit of excellence by including and integrating individuals who represent different groups as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, age, disability, national origin, religion, and veteran status.  

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and references by mail to: Professor Kami Simmons, Wake Forest University School of Law, P.O. Box 7206, Winston-Salem, NC  27109.  The Appointments Committee would like to receive all material by October 9, 2015.  Confidential inquiries are welcome.  If you have questions, or would like to inquire more about the position, please feel free to contact Professor Laura Graham, Associate Director, Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research, at grahamlp[at] or by phone at 336-758-1995.




September 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Worth a Read: Four Edits Never Made

An article on Above the Law lists four edits that the author never made to briefs.  We agree.  Click here to have a look.


September 29, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Gaming Law Moot Court Competition at UNLV

UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law will be hosting the inaugural Frank A. Schreck Gaming Law Moot Court Competition on April 1 – 3, 2016.   The competition will be judged by prominent jurists and gaming practitioners in the gaming (a/k/a gambling) capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Early registration opened on September 21, 2015, late registration begins Monday, November 2, 2015, and registration closes on December 7, 2015.  Competition rules will be posted online and the problem will be released in January 2016. 

If your students are feeling lucky - they can register here.



September 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nominations Open for AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research

Call for Nominations for AALS Section Officers and Executive Committee


Are you interested in serving as an officer of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research?  Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague for an officer position (Secretary) or an Executive Committee officer-at-large position. You may nominate yourself and you may have others join with you in nominating someone, but the person you nominate should know that they are being nominated. 


We are asking for nominations for the office of Secretary and for Executive Committee officers-at-large. The Secretary produces multiple issues of our Section newsletter. The newsletters are

to be completed in the spring following the annual meeting and the fall before the next annual

meeting. The Secretary becomes Chair-Elect of the Section. The members of the Executive

Committee assists the Section officers and serves as liaisons to the Section’s committees.


The Nominations Committee will review the submissions and make recommendations to the

Executive Committee. That Committee will nominate a slate of officers for approval at the

Section’s Business Meeting on January 9, 2016 in New York City.


Please send nominations to Lou Sirico, Chair of the Nominations Committee, at, by November 9, 2015.   The nomination should provide the nominee’s name, contact information, a brief statement about why the nominee would like to serve, and a statement of the nominee's qualifications.


Under AALS rules, the Section may appoint only individuals from AALS member schools. Officers must be faculty at regular member law school of the AALS, listed here:  Associate members at other law schools may participate in all activities of the Section except holding office and voting. 


Nominations from the floor during our business meeting on January 9th are also permitted.


For your reference, the current Chair is Jennifer Romig of Emory University.   The current Chair-elect is Bob Brain of Loyola Law School Los Angeles. The current Secretary is Sabrina DeFabritiis of Suffolk University Law School.  Kim Holst of ASU is the immediate past Chair. Current members of the Executive Committee are: Mary Garvey Algero, Loyola University New Orleans; Grace Hum, University of San Francisco; Lucy Jewel, University of Tennessee; and Wendy Adele Humphrey, Texas Tech University School of Law. Current Executive Committee members may be nominated for another term.


Nominations Committee

Lou Sirico, Chair

Suzanna Moran

Mark E. Wojcik

Kathleen Elliott Vinson

Grace Hum, Executive Committee Liaison




September 21, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Best Picture We Have of Coleen Barger, Recipient of the 2016 Blackwell Award

In truth, we have many pictures of Coleen Barger, who has just been named as the recipient of the 2016 Blackwell Award. But this picture is my favorite.



September 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coleen Barger to Receive 2016 Blackwell Award

The Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Legal Writing Institute have announced that the recipient of the 2016 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing is Coleen Miller Barger, the Altheimer Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

This prestigious award is presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of Legal Writing by demonstrating:

  • an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence;
  • a willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or their legal writing programs; and
  • an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students.

Those nominating her and the Blackwell Award Committee agreed that Coleen exemplifies these qualities. The award will be presented at the Blackwell Award Reception at 8 p.m. on January 6, 2016, during the Association of American Law Schools' Annual Meeting in New York.

Coleen is an editor emeritus here at the Legal Writing Prof Blog and we congratulate her on being named to receive this award.


September 16, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Celebration of Constitution Day, Live from the Library of Congress

On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates signed the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. In anticipation of this year's Constitution Day, the Law Library of Congress announced the following event:

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Place: Library of Congress, James Madison Building, Montpelier Room (LM-619), 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540

In commemoration of Constitution Day, the Law Library of Congress will host a discussion about the importance of religious liberty in America and its historical connection to the U.S. Constitution with Princeton University professor of jurisprudence Robert P. George and Supreme Court correspondent Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal.

This public event will serve as the Law Library's annual commemoration of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day - a U.S. federal observance to commemorate the signing of the Constitution, and "recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens." Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787.

For those not able to attend the program, the Law Library of Congress will have a member of its staff live tweet the event via Twitter @LawLibCongress, using #ConstitutionDay. A webcast of the event will be posted after the video has been processed.

Look for more information about this and other events via our social media outlets:

In Custodia Legis, < >
Twitter, < >
Facebook, < >.


September 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Molly Lien, Former Legal Writing Director at Chicago-Kent and John Marshall, Has Died

Molly LienWith great sadness we report the news that Molly Lien, former director of the legal writing programs at Chicago-Kent College of Law and The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, died on September 11, 2015 at the age of 67.

Molly had been a leader in the field of legal writing for many years, both in the United States and abroad.  Her teaching included work in Singapore and Russia.

She had been born in Chicago in 1948 and grew up in Homewood, Illinois. She attended the Interlochen Arts Camp and the Interlochen Arts Academy, graduating in 1966 with a major in voice. She attended the University of Michigan in her freshman year and transferred to the University of Miami, where she graduated with a degree in music. She attended Emory University School of Law in Atlanta where she was a law review editor, President of the Women's Law Student Association, and a member of Order of the Coif.

After receiving her degree from Emory, Molly Lien clerked for the Honorable Wilbur F. Pell Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She spent ten years in private practice, and in 1986 she joined the faculty at IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she directed the legal writing program from 1993-2001.

Professor Lien was trained in technical legal Russian and taught frequently in Russia, including summers from 2000-2003 teaching in the University of San Diego's program in Moscow. From 1999-2001, she directed Project Ukraine for Chicago-Kent, where she administered a U.S. Department of State grant to purchase equipment for DNA testing for the University of Internal Affairs in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

In 2001, she left Chicago-Kent in a well-publicized departure. She had been voted teacher of the year and an overwhelming majority (22-1) of the Chicago-Kent faculty had voted to give her tenure, but the dean of the law school at the time, Henry Perrit, took exception to a law review article that she wrote and denied her tenure. He was a fan of having more computers in the classroom, but in her article Molly (quite correctly) warned that laptop computers were not necessarily a blessing for classrooms because they produced students who disengaged from the class either by web surfing or by becoming something like court reporters who simply transcribed class discussions instead of participating in them. The action of that dean was widely criticized by law faculty across the country. At the graduation ceremonies following the dean's denial of her tenure, most of the Chicago-Kent graduates wore blue ribbons in support of Professor Lien and to protest the denial of tenure.

Professor Lien left Chicago-Kent and went to The John Marshall Law School, where she was named director of the Lawyering Skills Program  in 2004. There she taught Lawyering Skills, Civil Procedure II, Public International Law, International Trade, and Comparative Law. She participated in many legal writing conferences and presentations, and she was a board member of the Legal Writing Institute. At a presentation on legal writing for the Black Women Lawyers' Association, she "focused on the importance of making one’s writing 'accessible' to the reader through organization, clarity and meticulously following grammatical rules."

In 2008 she announced that she was stepping down as director of The John Marshall Law School Lawyering Skills Program and also retiring from the John Marshall faculty.  She wrote that it "did not seem right to use the word 'retire,' because this community will always be a part of me, but I am looking forward to what Anne Enquist so artfully termed 'the peak years.'"

Glsiii_plenary_3 Molly was a wonderful colleague at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and I enjoyed working with her on the Global Legal Skills Conferences held in Chicago and in Mexico.  She's pictured here on the stage of the auditorium of the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.

In a post to the Legal Writing Prof Listserve at the time of her retirement, she wrote:

"In the end, we all strive to do the greatest good.  Sometimes pursuing the good means leaving dear friends to focus on other areas of life, including family, friends, community, and causes.

"Please know that I am grateful beyond words for the support of the many, many wonderful colleagues in this organization.  You are the absolute best, and I will treasure these friendships forever.  God bless you all, and I hope to give many hugs  [at the Legal Writing Institute Conference] in Indianapolis."

In 2008, the Legal Writing Institute awarded its first LeClercq Courage Award to Molly Lien and Ralph Brill as co-recipients. Today, in a Facebook post about her death, Professor Brill of Chicago-Kent College of Law shared these thoughts about Molly Lien:

I am so sad today. My dear friend, Molly Lien, died this morning during surgery. Molly was a colleague of mine at Chicago Kent for many years, succeeded me as director of the Legal Writing program, was a wonderful teacher, and the epitome of a caring, loving individual, concerned about her students and others. She went on to direct the program at John Marshall and taught there, before she retired to Traverse City Michigan a few years ago. . . . She was one of the kindest, most generous, loving persons I have ever known. She will be greatly missed.

Maureen Collins, a colleague at The John Marshall Law School and former director of the Legal Writing Program at DePaul University College of Law, wrote that "Molly was a brilliant and generous colleague.   She was a lovely and gracious woman.  Many of us benefited from her wisdom and kindness."

Molly was indeed a tremendous teacher, mentor, and friend. May she rest in peace and may her kindness and friendship live on in our memories. 

Molly is survived by her husband John and her son Hank.  A visitation will be held at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral home in Traverse City, Michigan, between 4 pm and 8 pm on Friday, September 18, 2015. A funeral service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City on September 19, 2015, at 11 am., with visitation starting at 10 am. The Very Reverend Father Daniel Richards will officiate the service.

Memorial gifts may be directed to Interlochen Arts Academy, 4000 Highway M-137, Interlochen, MI 49643, the Traverse City Symphony, 300 East Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684, AC Paw, P.O. Box 94, Acme, MI 49610 or Grace Episcopal Church, 341 Washington St., Traverse City, MI 49684.

Mark E. Wojcik

September 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Texas Tech: the new Scribes headquarters!

Texas Tech University School of Law is proud to announce that on August 1, 2015, it became the new headquarters of Scribes—the American Society of Legal Writers. Texas Tech Law is also the law school where long-serving Scribes board member and August 2012–2015 President Darby Dickerson serves as Dean and W. Frank Newton Professor of Law.
Texas Tech Law is one of only 20 law schools with legal-writing professors who are primarily tenured or tenure-track. They present at national and regional conferences, author highly placed scholarship, and hold decanal, administrative, and AALS Section positions.
Texas Tech University and the School of Law are thrilled to welcome this respected legal organization to their campus.


September 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Psychology of Persuasion Conference

The University of Wyoming College of Law is co-hosting this conference on September 18 and 19.  For more information, go to the conference website at


September 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Latest Issue of The Scrivener is Now Online

The Scrivener is the newsletter for Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers.  The latest issue is now online. Click here to have a look.

The cover article is by Professor Lurene Contento of The John Marshall Law School. It's called: "Way Beyond Grammar: What Today's Legal Writing Specialist Can Do For You." Lurene is the current Chair of the Association of Legal Writing Specialists.  Another article of interest is a review by Professor Maureen Collins of the Twentieth Edition of the Bluebook.

The editorial board of the Scrivener recently moved from the Thomas Cooley Law School to The John Marshall Law School.  This issue also introduces members of the new editorial team: Professor Maureen Collins, Professor Lurene Contento, and Associate Dean Julie Spanbauer. 

Another article in the issue also announces that the Executive Office of Scribes is moving from Thomas Cooley (the longtime institutional home of Scribes) to Texas Tech University School of Law.


September 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Law School -- The Music Video

One of our favorite music parody videos for law students.


Hat tip to Bianca Wright


September 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)