Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

HappyThanksgivingWe wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers around the world.

The Editors





November 26, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Joint Scholars & Scholarship Workshop on Feminist Jurisprudence in New York on January 6th

If you're going to New York for the January 2016 meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, you might consider going a day early to attend a Joint Scholars and Scholarship Workshop on Feminist Jurisprudence on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Fordham Law School.

The event is co-sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD), the Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS-LWRR), and Fordham Law School.

There is no charge to attend, but the organizers ask attendees to register by December 1, 2015 to help them plan the workshop.

Click here for more information.

Hat tip to Linda Berger and ​other members of ​the planning committee: Bob ​Brain​, ​Robin Boyle, ​Kim Chanbonpin, Mel Weresh, Nantiya Ruan, Shailini George, Emily Grant, Kathy Stanchi, ​Jessica Clark, Mary-Beth Moylan, Teri McMurtry-Chubb, and Jennifer Romig.


November 22, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday Fun: Urban Dictionary Defines "Law Student"

From the Urban Dictionary . . .

Law student Someone who has no tangible skills except the ability to read a book and memorize Latin terms such as "res ispsa" and "de novo."


November 19, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Monkey See, Monkey Sue"

You have to love a motion to dismiss that starts like this:

"A monkey, an animal-rights organization and a primatologist walk into federal court to sue for infringement of the monkey’s claimed copyright. What seems like the setup for a punchline is really happening. It should not be happening. Under Cetacean Community v. Bush, 386 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 2004), dismissal of this action is required for lack of standing and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Monkey see, monkey sue is not good law – at least not in the Ninth Circuit."

For the full text, click here.

hat tip:  Brian Shannon, Texas Tech


November 11, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 6, 2015

New Word of the Week: Skaddenfreude

Above the Law reports that Skadden Arps is increasing the minimum hours for associates to be eligible for bonuses from 1600 hours to 1800 hours.

Click here to read more.


November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LWI One-Day Workshops: Tropical Miami on December 4

MiamiSeveral years ago the Legal Writing Institute started a series of one-day workshops held around the country in early December.  Hundreds of individuals have attended over the years as speakers or attendees. The national event is a fundraiser for the good work of the Legal Writing Institute. It also offers law schools an opportunity to show their commitment to legal writing and allows individual professors an opportunity to present their work. 

We'll highlight these workshops as information becomes available.

Florida International University College of Law will host a workshop in tropical Miami on Friday, December 4.  The theme will be “Teaching: Both Tried & True and Something New.”  Presentations will cover topics such as professional communication, pre-writing skills, fundamental skills, research, analogical reasoning, appellate advocacy, and learning outcomes.  There will also be a session on sharing teaching ideas.  To register, click here.

Hat tips to Dionne Anthon and Christi Hayes at FIU.


November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Vague Pronouns

I read a great "laughter" item in the November 2014 Reader's Digest about the impact of a vague pronoun.

A wanna-be apprentice blacksmith approached the village smithie about working with him.  The more-experienced man said, "Let's see how good you are.  I'll hold this horseshoe and nail up to the horse's hoof, and you take this big hammer.  When I nod my head, hit it as hard as you can."

The wanna-be apprentice did, and that's how he became the new village blacksmith.


November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Love Your Lawyer Day?

Some folks are promoting the first Friday in November as a day to celebrate lawyers.  What do you think?  The ABA's law practice division passed a resolution last month, and according to The Wall Street Journal, reaction is mixed.

What do you think? 


November 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Legal Education: New U.S. Policy Guidance on Student Loans

On November 2, 2015, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a Policy Guidance relating to its Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing, released in conjunction with the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Education. FR67389

Hat tip to the ABA Governmental Affairs Office.


November 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Don't Reinvent the Wheel: An Introduction to Compiled Federal Legislative Histories

Barbara Bavis and Robert Brammer of the Law Library of Congress write about a new Beginner's Guide for federal legislative history -- a topic that strikes fear into the hearts of first year associates and faculty research assistants.  They describe how to find legislative history documents that someone else has already done!  Sources of pre-compiled legislative histories range from finding aids that help you locate a compiled legislative history to monographs that contain the legislative history for one act.

Click here to learn more.

Hat tip (and a big thank you) to the Law Library of Congress


November 4, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nominations for AALS Section Officers

Are you interested in serving as an officer of the Association of American Law Schools 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


November 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reminder: Nominations for the Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship

A passionate advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship in law, literature, and language, Penelope J. Pether was Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law and former Professor of Law and Director of Legal Rhetoric at the American University Washington College of Law. Her own scholarship focused not only on law, literature, and language, but also on constitutional and comparative constitutional law; legal theory, including constitutional theory; common law legal institutions, judging practices, and professional subject formation. 

Beginning in November 2013, the Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship has been given annually to an article or essay published during the preceding year (September 1 to September 1) that exemplifies Penny’s commitment to law and language scholarship and pedagogy. 

The Committee selecting award recipients from among the articles and essays nominated will look for scholarship that not only embodies Penny’s passion and spirit but also has some or all of the following characteristics:

1. “[S]cholarship concerning itself with the unique or distinctive insights that might emerge from interdisciplinary inquiries into ‘law’ grounded in the work of influential theorists of language and discourse.” 

2. Scholarship that “attempts to think through the relations among subject formation, language, and law.”

3. Scholarship that provides “accounts of—and linguistic interventions in—acute and yet abiding crises in law, its institutions and discourses.”

4. Scholarship and pedagogy, including work addressing injustices in legal-academic institutions and practices, that is “[c]arefully theorized and situated, insisting on engaging politics and law, [and that] charts ways for law and its subjects to use power, do justice.”

More explanations and descriptions of these characteristics can be found in Penny’s chapter from which these quotations are drawn: Language, in Law and the Humanities: An Introduction (Austin Sarat et al. eds., Cambridge U. Press 2010).  

Nominations should be sent by November 13, 2015 to Jeremy Mullem at  You are free to nominate more than one work and to nominate work you’ve written.  Please provide a citation for each work you nominate.

The Selection Committee includes Linda Berger, David Caudill, Amy Dillard, Bruce Hay, Ian Gallacher, Melissa Marlow, Jeremy Mullem, Nancy Modesitt, and Terry Pollman.  Members of the Selection Committee are not eligible for the award.

Hat tip to Professor Jeremy Mullem of Duke University Law School in Durham, North Carolina


November 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Indiana Supreme Court Holds Oral Arguments . . . at a High School!

Bravo, Indiana Supreme Court!

The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court held oral arguments at Portage High School, witnessed by 875 students from 10 high schools. The case they heard involved the definition of "family" for purposes of a domestic battery case, affecting a felony battery charge. The justices then fielded questions from the high school students about the judicial process and about how lawyers prepare for argument.

I would not be at all surprised if many in that audience end up being lawyers themselves.

What about it, supreme courts of the 49 other states? Are you ready to bring a court case to a high school? (Click on the comments to see answers from Maine and Oregon).

More information at Amy Lavalley, Indiana Students Witness State High Court in Action, Chicago Trib., Nov. 1, 2015, sec. 1, at 10.


November 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)