Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kudos to Emory Law for a Wonderful Transactional Law & Skills Conference

Emory Law’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice hosted the biennial conference on teaching transactional law and skills earlier this month. This year, the conference was titled “Method in the Madness: The Art and Science of Teaching Transactional Law and Skills.” Chaired by Sue Payne, the Steering Committee consisted of George Kuney, Katherine Koops, Lori Johnson, and David Gibbs. The conference drew a healthy mix of full-time writing teachers, adjuncts and clinicians, making for some enriching dialogue.

Picture 1

An energizing keynote address by outgoing Dean Martin Katz and Professor Phoenix Cai from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law raised thought-provoking questions about the roles of deans and faculty in encouraging skills education in this new era of ABA emphasis on experiential education.

Highlights (among many others) included presentations by: Cynthia Adams of Indiana University on the benefits and challenges of teaching contract drafting in an online format; Yale Law School fellow Jonathan Brown’s discussion of teaching corporate finance to law students through clinical client work; Denver's Rachel Arnow-Richman discussing the pros and cons of four different iterations of teaching transactional skills; and Cardoza adjuncts Jillian Gaultier and Vicki Kobak’s interactive discussion of hands-on exercises in simulated deal work.


Finally, the conference was incredibly well organized thanks to Emory’s coordinator Kelli Pittman. Attendees were greeted with wonderful food, including a group dinner featuring an “open mic” session asking attendees to share thoughts about learning outcomes. The dinner concluded with the announcement of the inaugural Tina Stark Award to be presented at the next conference.

Lunch Picture 2

Kudos to Emory and the Steering Committee -- looking forward to 2018!!


June 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Famous Bench Slaps -- The 15th Anniversary of Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp.

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the district court bench slap to counsel in Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corporation, 147 F. Supp. 2d 668 (S.D. Tex. 2001). Here's an excerpt from that scathing decision:

Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston [Texas], an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact—complete with hats, handshakes and cryptic words—to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed. Whatever actually occurred, the Court is now faced with the daunting task of deciphering their submissions. With Big Chief tablet readied, thick black pencil in hand, and a devil-may-care laugh in the face of death, life on the razor's edge sense of exhilaration, the Court begins.

Click here to read the full decision.




June 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Save the Date: 2017 Applied Legal Storytelling Conference in Washington D.C.

The next Applied Legal Storytelling Conference will be held at American University Washington College of Law from July 11-13, 2017.

Hat tip to LWI President Linda Berger.


June 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Product for Drafting Profs

After a very successful conference at Emory's Center for Transactional Law & Skills (thanks, Sue Payne and Committee!), it seems everyone has contract drafting on the brain.  Here's an interesting new product that may have some potential for instructing law students in contract drafting. 
Soon-to-be Golden Pen winner Ross Guberman recently launched Contract Catch, which is intended to "flag possible errors" in contracts, including "everything from issues with defined terms to the questionable drafting of rights and obligations."  This could be a good new tool to allow students to see drafting errors reflected in a "real world" technology aimed at practitioners.  At the very least, should be fun for contract drafting profs to give it a spin!

June 21, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Colombia Beats Canada in Final Round of WTO Moot Court Competition

Law students from around the world gathered in Geneva from 7 to 11 June for the final oral round of a competition involving simulated World Trade Organization panel proceedings organized by the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA), with the support of the WTO and its legal divisions. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, emerged as the winner, with the team from Queen’s University, Canada, the runner-up.

The ELSA Moot Court Competition is a simulated WTO dispute involving exchanges of written submissions and adversarial hearings before panelists on international trade law issues. This year teams of interested students from all over the world sent in written submissions of a fictitious case dealing with subsidies for the production of renewable energy equipment and for the purchase of renewable energy, written by Professor Andrew Lang of the London School of Economics.

After the regional rounds in Germany (Passau), Canada (Kingston), Singapore, South Africa (Grahamstown) and Czech Republic (Brno), the best 20 teams came to Geneva to plead in the Final Oral Round. Teams drawn from 16 countries on six continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America, and Europe) competed against each other at a level similar to what might be seen in an actual WTO dispute. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, emerged as the winner, with the team from Queen’s University, Canada, the runner-up. Congratulations are also due to the semi-finalists from National Taiwan University, Chinese Taipei, and KU Leuven, Belgium, as well as to all the teams that participated in the event in Geneva.

The competition included students of diverse backgrounds working hard to produce high-quality legal arguments on cutting-edge issues of WTO law. The Final Oral Round is an opportunity for them to meet their fellow students from all over the world but also to see trade law in action and to see all the opportunities available for a career in trade law. It is one of the aims of the competition to encourage and develop the next generation of WTO experts.

The WTO has been a technical sponsor and partner in the ELSA competition on WTO law since its inception 14 years ago. This is an example of the WTO’s broad support for capacity building focusing not just on government officials but also on students and academics who can take WTO law into the future. The WTO sends legal experts on technical assistance missions to act as panelists in the regional rounds. WTO staff members also advise ELSA on the academic aspects of running the competition and are integral in planning the Final Oral Round held in Geneva.

During the week participating students not only competed against the top teams from around the world but met with practitioners in law firms, delegations and the WTO Secretariat. Students were also able to participate in the British Institute on International and Comparative Law’s annual conference on WTO law which was held simultaneously with the moot court.

WTO staff members from several divisions of the Secretariat volunteered in the organization of the event and shared their experiences with young students. Colleagues from the Legal Affairs, Rules, and Council and Trade Negotiations Committee divisions, the Appellate Body Secretariat, and the Office of the Director General assisted in all aspects of the moot court.

It is not only the WTO Secretariat that sees the value in the ELSA moot court on WTO law. Private law firms (Van Bael & Bellis, King & Spalding, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, Mayer Brown, Sidley Austin, Steptoe & Johnson, and Whtie & Case),  the Society for International Economic Law (SIEL), and the World Trade Institute all made contributions towards sponsoring the global competition. Furthermore the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Akin Gump, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), along with several local sponsors, all made significant contributions towards the smooth running of the African Round. Academic institutions provided support by offering prizes to the winning teams (the World Trade Institute, the Graduate Institute and IELPO at the University of Barcelona) and by hosting the preliminary rounds of the finals (the Graduate Institute). The entire trade law community embraces the value of this competition.

The Grand Final took place on Saturday 11 June with a Final Bench of distinguished panelists chaired by Appellate Body member Ricardo Ramirez-Hernandez. Deputy Director-General Karl Brauner served as the Master of Ceremonies and handed out the prizes. The winning team was announced by Aegyoung Jung, Legal Advisor to the Director-General.

(WTO Press Release)

June 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Global Legal Skills Awards -- Here's the Full List of Who Has Won Them!

The first Global Legal Skills Awards were presented in 2012 in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the Seventh Global Legal Skills Conference. The most recent awards were presented in May 2016 at the Eleventh Global Legal Skills Conference, held at the University of Verona Department of Law. Here is a cumulative list of GLS Award Winners from 2012 to 2016. Winners are from Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

GLS Award Winners

Individual Winners

This category recognizes individuals around the world who have made significant contributions to the promotion and improvement of global legal skills.

  • Dr. Amrtia Bahri, Head of Global Legal Skills and Common Law Program, ITAM University, Mexico, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to the promotion of global legal skills. [2016 Winner]
  • Prof. Heidi Brown, New York Law School (New York, USA), was recognized for her work with students to reduce extreme fear of public speaking and increase performance in classrooms, oral arguments, and client-centered legal skills activities. [2014 Winner]
  • Prof. Juli Campagna, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University (New York, USA) and Adjunct Professor of Law, Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey (Mexico), was recognized for developing English Immersion Training Programs and for exceptional devotion to meeting the needs of international students around the world. [2014 Winner]
  • Dean Marion Dent, ANO Pericles, Moscow, Russian Federation, was recognized for her work in higher education in Russia and for her work to bring the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition to Russia. [2014 Winner]
  • Prof. Laurel Currie Oates, Seattle University School of Law, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education, including work in Afghanistan and Africa. [2016 Winner]
  • Prof. Robin Palmer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education in Africa and New Zealand [2016 Winner].
  • Dr. Shelley Saltzman, Associate Director for Curriculum and Assessment and Senior Lecturer for the American Language Program (ALP) at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies (New York, USA), received the Global Legal Skills (GLS) Award for Outstanding Contributions to International Legal Skills Education for 25 years of innovation. [2015 Winner]
  • Prof. Mimi Samuel, Seattle University School of Law, in recognition of her demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education, including work in Afghanistan and Africa. [2016 Winner]
  • Elena Trosclair, Associate Professor, Ural State Law University, Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation, was recognized for her dedication to teaching English to law students in the Russian Federation and for promoting scholarship in global legal skills. [2015 Winner]

Scholarship and Book Awards

This category recognizes exceptional books and articles that advance the teaching of global legal skills, including new casebooks and texts for lawyers and law students.

Law Firms and Other Institutional Winners

This category recognizes companies, professional associations, law firms, and other organizations around the world that give special support for global legal skills. The names of persons accepting these law firm and institutional awards are in parentheses.

  • Arias and Muñoz, Costa Rica (José Antonio Muñoz F.), was recognized for innovative skills training for its lawyers and in thanks for its active support of holding the Global Legal Skills Conference in Central America. [2012 Winner]
  • BarWrite and BarWrite Press, New York, USA (Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher), for the company's early and thoughtful recognition of the special bar exam preparation needs needs of lawyers and law students from other countries. [2014 Winner]
  • Fondazione Floresta Longo, Catania (Sicily), Italy (Prof. Antonino Longo), in recognition of its dedicated commitment to improving the quality of legal services by teaching global legal skills to lawyers and law students. [2015 Winner]
  • Lawbility Professional Language Program, Zurich, Switzerland (Jean-Luc Delli), in recognition of its innovative programming, publications, and demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education. [2016 Winner]
  • The Legal Writing Institute Global Legal Writing Skills Committee (Professors Cara Cunningham of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Sammy Mansour of the Michigan State University College of Law), was recognized for its support and active encouragement of global legal skills. [2014 Winner]

Law School Winners

This category recognizes law schools around the world that give special attention to and support for global legal skills.

  • Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey, Mexico, was recognized for its innovative educational leadership in requiring its graduates to have taken classes in three languages, for successfully bringing the Global Legal Skills Conference to its first international destination, for hosting the GLS Conference two times in Mexico, and for other efforts to promote the study of Legal English and comparative law. [2012 Winner]
  • Pacific McGeorge School of Law was recognized for innovations in its legal research and writing program that introduce students to cross-cultural awareness, comparative law, and international law. [2015 Winner]
  • University of Verona Department of Law, Italy, in recognition of its demonstrated commitment to excellence in global legal skills education and in appreciation of hosting the 2014 and 2016 Global Legal Skills Conferences. [2016 Winner]

Nominations for the 2017 GLS Awards, which will be presented during the 2017 Global Legal Skills Conference, can be submitted to Professor Mark Wojcik at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.


June 7, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 6, 2016

UNLV Tenure-Track Hiring Announcement!

See below for the announcement and disclosure form posted by Terrill Pollman on the LWI and DIRCON Listservs:

UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS—WILLIAM S. BOYD SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications from entry-levels and laterals. The Boyd School of Law is a leading public law school with a reputation for a strong commitment to scholarship and teaching.  The law school’s state-of-the-art facilities are located in the center of the UNLV campus.  UNLV is the state’s largest comprehensive doctoral degree granting institution, including a new medical school.  Applicants for law school faculty positions should submit a letter of interest along with a detailed resume, at least three professional references, and cites or links to published works. We anticipate hiring as many as three new faculty colleagues, although of course the number of available positions is contingent on funding. We invite applications from scholars in all subject areas, and are especially interested in deepening our strengths in the areas of Criminal Law, Business/Commercial Law, Health Law, and Legal Writing. We are also especially interested in hearing from professors who are interested in teaching a clinic. With respect to our clinics and legal writing program, please note that UNLV has a unified tenure track; accordingly, professors who teach clinics or legal writing have all of the privileges and scholarly expectations that are associated with tenure. Applications are considered on a rolling basis, and appointments would likely begin with the 2017-2018 academic year.

Contact:  Please send application materials to the Appointments Committee Coordinator, Ms. Annette Mann, Faculty Appointments Committee, UNLV—Boyd School of Law, 4505 South Maryland Parkway – Campus Box 451003, Las Vegas, NV  89154-1003 or by email to Members of the Appointments Committee are Thomas Main (chair), Michael Kagan, Terry Pollman, Jeff Stempel, Jean Sternlight, and Stacey Tovino.  

UNLV is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity educator and employer committed to excellence through diversity.

Disclosure form: 

1.  The position advertised:
_X_   a.   is a tenure-track appointment.
      b.   may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
__   c.   may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__   d.  has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__   e.  is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__   f.   is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.

Additional information:  The UNLV position is the same tenure or tenure-track status as all the faculty at UNLV.  It includes all the benefits of tenure including a three course load. 

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:
       Full voting rights. 

  1.  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; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.)
    _X_   over $120,000
    _X_   $110,000 - $119,999
    ___   $100,000 - $109,999
    __   $90,000 - $99,999
    ___$80,000 - $89,999

 ___$70,000 - $79,999
___$60,000 - $69,999$50,000 - $59,999
__   less than $50,000
__   this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
__   this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

Additional information about base salary or other compensation:
        Commensurate with experience, including in teaching/legal writing instruction. We will be considering both lateral and entry level candidates. Faculty at UNLV also receive a travel/research grant and or eligible for summer research stipends. 

4.  The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing
professor will be:
_X_   a.   30 or fewer
_X_   b.   31 - 35
_X_  c.   36 - 40
__   d.   41 - 45
__   e.   46 - 50
__   f.    51 - 55
__   g.   56 - 60
__   h.   more than 60

Additional information about teaching load, including required or permitted teaching outside of the legal
research and writing program:
      This varies.  UNLV professors have a three course load.  Our position will most often include teaching two sections of the basic legal writing courses each year.  For the third course the prof will negotiate with the administration and can be in another area or an advanced writing course of your choosing.    Our basic legal writing courses are divided into sections of around 14-19.  Thus, you could have semesters where you teach at a 1-38 ratio---but most semesters writing courses will be at around a 1-16 ratio.  You could also teach a course like Business Associations or Employment Law and be at a 1-65 ratio.



June 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

summer article submission offer

FSU Law Review Exclusive Review

The Florida State University Law Review will be conducting exclusive article reviews over the next few weeks. Any article submitted to the Law Review between now and June 15th will be evaluated for publication purposes by June 22nd.  By submitting an article the author agrees to immediately accept a publication offer with the Review should one be extended.  The author is not required to withdraw any article previously or contemporaneously submitted for consideration elsewhere.  However, the author may not accept an offer of publication from another journal  for any article submitted to the Law Review’s exclusive review process unless the Review indicates that the submitted article will not receive a publication offer. Author requests to further expedite the exclusive review process will be accommodated to the extent practicable. Any articles accepted through this exclusive review process will be published in the Review's third and fourth issues, which are slated for publication in summer of 2017.   If you have an article you would like to submit, please e-mail Jazz Tomassetti a copy of the article and your CV at with the subject line "Exclusive Article Review." We look forward to reading your submissions.

Mary Ziegler

Stearns Weaver Miller Professor of Law

Florida State University College of Law


June 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Summary of the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy

GLS-11 Closing PhotoThe eleventh Global Legal Skills Conference was held in Italy on May 24-26, 2016 at the University of Verona Department of Law (Universitá di Verona Dipartimento di Scienze Giuridiche). GLS-11 had more than 130 presenters and attendees from 16 countries.

Attendees included many well-known names in legal writing, including Professors Charles Calleros, Linda Edwards, Laurel Oates, Helene Shapo, Mimi Samuel, Grace Calabrese Tonner, and many others.

The GLS-11 Conference opened with welcomes from the Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Stefano Troiano (University of Verona Department of Law) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School, and founder of the GLS Conference Series). Welcomes were also made by the GLS-11 Conference Program Co-Chairs, Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law in San Diego) and Professor Lurene Contento (The John Marshall Law School). Professor Lidia Angeleri (University of Verona Delegate for Internationalization), Professor Maria Caterina Baruffi (University of Verona Department of Law), and Professor Stefano Fuselli (University of Verona College of Law) also extended greetings to attendees at the opening session.

The GLS-11 Conference was supported by the cooperation of many other organizations and entities. Professor Bob Brain, Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, gave welcoming remarks on behalf of various AALS Sections with leaders attending the GLS Conference. Professor William B.T. Mock gave welcoming remarks on behalf of the American Bar Association Section of International Law. Other supporting organizations included the American Society of International Law, the International Law Students Association (which organizes the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition), Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, and the Teaching International Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Professor Kim Holst, Immediate Past Chair of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research, introduced the opening plenary speaker, Professor Charles Calleros, who had arranged for Ivan Caburlon, a flamenco guitarist from Verona, to help give instructions on classical flamenco dance rhythms. The unsuspecting audience joined in the exercise, which reminded participants how disorienting first semester legal writing courses can be to new students.

The next days of the conference offered thirty different panels and roundtables with speakers from around the world. Speakers and participants came from Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other speakers who had been expected from Russia and Singapore were unfortunately unable to attend the conference. The full schedule of speakers and topics can be viewed by clicking here. Persons interested in any particular topic can contact speakers directly for more information about their presentations.

Verona Arena and OrganizersThe opening conference reception was held in Piazza Bra in Verona, directly across from the Arena, the Roman amphitheater built in the first century and still in use. (Adele gave a concert in that theatre during the week of the GLS Conference.) The law school reception featured singer Daniela Austin and an exceptional jazz quartet. American singer Mark Campbell also made a surprise guest appearance to entertain the audience. Reception attendees also received a special conference gift of hand-painted candle-holders.

GLS Awards were presented during the conference to individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions to the promotion and development of global legal skills education. Award recipients this year were Dr. Amrita Bahri (Mexico), Professors Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel (United States), Professor Robin Palmer (New Zealand), Legal English book authors Alison Riley and Patricia Sours (Italy), the Lawbility Professional Language Program (Switzerland), and the University of Verona Department of Law (Italy). Prior winners of GLS awards presented the 2016 GLS Awards, which have become global award to recognize innovation and excellence in legal skills education. A cumulative list of the GLS Award Recipients can be found by clicking here.

The speaker in the closing session was Professor David Austin (California Western School of Law), whose popular and entertaining presentation introduced the intersections of law, literature, and art in medieval Padua and served as a prelude to the post-conference day trip to explore the city that Shakespeare described in The Taming of the Shrew as a “nursery of arts.”

Participants visited the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, the world’s first botanic garden, the second oldest law school in Europe, the classroom where Galileo taught for more than a decade, the historic surgical operating theatre in the medical school of Padua, the medieval law courts of Padua, and one of the most important masterpieces of Western Art -- the magnificent frescos of the Scrovegni Chapel painted by Giotto between 1303 and 1305. A farewell dinner in Rovolon in the romantic Euganean hills completed the day.

This was the second time that the GLS conference had been held in Verona, Italy. Other GLS conferences have been held in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Mexico, and Costa Rica. The next GLS conference will be held in 2017, with a location and dates still to be announced.

Members of the GLS-11 Program Committee (Comitato Scientifico) included Professors Paolo Butturini (University of Verona), Juli Campagna (Hofstra University), Kimberly Holst (Arizona State University), William B.T. Mock (The John Marshall Law School), and John Thornton (Northwestern University). The GLS-11 Communications Officer was Tommaso Lecca of the University of Cagliari in Sardinia. Student volunteers from the University of Verona Department of Law assisted with registration and ensured that all of the conference participants could fully enjoy the conference.

June 6, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lawbility of Switzerland is a Winner of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award

Lawbility GLS 2016The Swiss firm Lawbility, based in Zurich, was named among the winners of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award, presented on May 26, 2016 at the University of Verona Department of Law as part of the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference.

Lawbility is a firm that offers specialized courses in Legal English, courses on practical legal skills, and preparation for bar examinations. In 2013 it also published The Legal English Manual which, as many of the award nominators noted, is "an indispensible tool for teaching legal English in Switzerland."

The Legal English Manual published by Lawbility was co-authored by four lawyers and Legal English teachers: Alison Wiebalck, Clemens von Zedwitz, Richard Norman, and Kathrin Weston Walsh. The book covers 14 specific areas of law and has been well received by reviewers, course participants, and students who speak English as a second language.

The GLS Award was signed by the Co-Chairs of the GLS Conference, Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law (pictured at left), and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School, who was the founder of the GLS Conference Series. The award was accepted by Lawbility's founder, Jean-Luc Delli of Switzerland. The award was presented to him by a previous GLS Award Recipient, Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher of New York, who is the President and Founder of BarWrite and BarWrite Press.

Other winners of GLS awards presented at the University of Verona Department of Law in May 2016 were:

The full list of GLS Award Recipients is available by clicking here. The next GLS Awards will be presented in 2017.


June 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel are Winners of 2016 Global Legal Skills Awards

Legal writing legends Laurel Oates and Mimi Samuel of Seattle University School of Law are winners of 2016 Global Legal Skills Awards that were presented on May 26, 2016 at the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference in Verona, Italy. They have promoted global legal skills around the world by conducting training programs in Afghanistan, India, Uganda, South Africa, and elsewhere.

Professor Laurel Oates was the Director of Seattle University’s Legal Writing Program until 2012. She was a co-founder of the Legal Writing Institute, helped establish the LWI newsletter known as The Second Draft, and helped organize and host seven national LWI conferences, including the 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 conferences. She is the co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its sixth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and a Practice Book.

During the last seven years, Professor Oates has taught workshops on legal writing in Afghanistan, Botswana, China, India, South Africa, and Uganda and has hosted programs for both students and lawyers in South Africa. In June 2007, Professor Oates received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.; in October 2009 she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing. In October 2012 she received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service. And now in 2016, she is also a recipient of a Global Legal Skills Award.

Mimi Samuel GLS 2016Mimi Samuel is an Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program at Seattle University School of Law. She embraces opportunities to work with law students, lawyers, and judges around the world. In 2003, she taught the foundations of the American legal system to Russian law students at Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok. In 2007, Professor Samuel and Laurel Oates conducted a series of workshops in India, Uganda, and South Africa. She also co-organized the Conference on the Pedagogy of Legal Writing for Academics in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought academics from the U.S. together with academics from East Africa. At the end of the conference, the participants decided to form a new organization ("APPEAL") dedicated to promoting the teaching of legal writing and the exchange of information among academics in the U.S. and Africa. Professor Samuel was the first U.S. co-president of that organization. Professor Samuel has also taught in Seattle University’s Global Justice Advocacy Program in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The GLS Awards were signed by the GLS-11 Conference Co-Chairs, Professor Stefano Troiano of the University of Verona Department of Law (where the conference was held) and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago (the founder of the GLS Conference Series). The awards were presented to Professors Oates and Samuel by two prior GLS award winners, Professor Hether Macfarlane of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in California (in the photo, she is the one holding the award for Mimi Samuel) and Professor John Thornton of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago.

Other winners of GLS awards presented at the University of Verona Department of Law in May 2016 were:

Click here for more information about the GLS Awards and to see the full list of award recipients.


June 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Professor Robin Palmer of New Zealand is a Winner of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award

Palmer New ZealandProfessor Robin Palmer, a Clinical Professor in New Zealand, was named among the winners of a 2016 Global Legal Skills Award for his work in Africa and New Zealand. You can read more about him and the award by clicking here.

The GLS Awards were presented during the 11th Global Legal Skills Conference held at the University of Verona Department of Law in Verona, Italy.

Other winners of GLS awards presented in May 2016 were:

Click here for more information about the GLS Awards and to see the full list of award recipients.


June 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Building the Legal Writing Discipline: Reasons to Attend the Rhetoric Society of America Conference

Please welcome a guest post from Kirsten K. Davis below:


The 17th Biennial Rhetoric Society of America Conference is wrapping up in Atlanta: 1600 participants, 500 sessions, a countless number of intriguing ideas about words, symbols, and meaning. And I'm awash in thoughts about the future of legal writing teaching and scholarship.

In the community of law school faculty with research interests in legal writing, we are in the middle period, I believe, of developing the field of legal writing as an academic discipline. We are creating a canon of legal writing, theorizing our practices and pedagogy, testing our assumptions, engaging in scholarly debates, and turning a critical eye upon the acts and artifacts of legal writing. It's an exciting time. Being at the RSA Conference reminded me that faculty whose academic homes are in composition, technical writing, English, and human communication can offer much in the continued discipline-building process. Their work, sophisticated and rich, can prompt us to expand and explode our boundaries, learn new methods, and ask both the big and small questions of legal writing.  

In her conference talk entitled The Fifth Persona, Katie Langford of Texas Tech explored how Justice Kennedy in his Obergefell opinion used his insider status to assume the role of an outsider and give voice to same-sex couples when the political attempts to gain voice had failed. This made me think about patterns of legal writing:   How do we identify when other judges and lawyers are writing from this insider/outsider position? Does this style of legal writing suggest a sub-genre? What other sub-genres might we identify?

In a session entitled run_progynasmata: The Training of a Rhetorical Device, William Hart-Davidson of Michigan State, James Brown of Rutgers-Camden, Kevin Brock of the University of South Carolina, and Ryan Omizo, of the University of Rhode Island blew my mind with their work at the intersection of rhetoric, writing, and machine learning. Their computer application, Hedge-O-Matic, uses machine learning to identify hedging language in documents. As an aid the rhetoric researcher, the machine analyzes written texts on a scale and at a speed that humans cannot accomplish. And it does this by being shown examples of hedges and then applying its own reasoning to find instances of hedges in new documents.

I think this project is of double importance to the legal writing community. First, it provokes new questions about the future of legal writing and what it might hold. We've been interested in reading on the screen, mobile technologies, and visual images as part of legal writing's future. But what about machine learning in legal writing? If machines can take over part of the legal writing process, should they? Which aspects of writing are suitable for machines? And, should we be teaching legal writers how to train their machine writing partners? What will we lose or gain if machines reason through parts of the legal writing process for lawyers?

Second, legal writing researchers can ask how machine learning can help us study legal writing and legal texts. What components of legal writing could we train machines to recognize? What would we learn from that process? For example, if we used Hedge-O-Matic to identify instances of hedging in judicial opinions, briefs, or, perhaps, even contracts, what would we learn and what could we theorize?

On a panel that addressed Rhetorical Education as Legal Education, Elizabeth Britt of Northeastern University presented her research on rhetorical listening in clinical legal education. Britt's ethnographic study observed law students interviewing—but not giving legal advice to—victims of domestic violence. The results showed how rhetorical listening, the act of listening to learn the other's point of view, is an essential precursor to the "legal" listening that lawyers do. Dr. Britt's study made me wonder whether rhetorical listening should be part of legal writing education. How would we teach it? How does rhetorical listening relate to legal writing? In what other contexts would we observe rhetorical listening in the law and study it?

Finally, Brian Larsen of Georgia Tech in his talk, Le Meme Chose: Lawyers Use of Exemplary Reasoning in Legal Writing, used argumentation theory and technical writing research methods to examine case-based legal argument in court briefs and opinions. Dr. Larson applied exemplary-argument schema by coding briefs and opinions for different kinds of case references. His pilot study showed that none of the texts used a case reference to expressly claim the relevance of precedent cases to the client facts. Hmmm. So, what's going on here? If this step of argument is missing from briefs and opinions, is legal writing as a course failing to teach it? How might we know? If Dr. Larson's full study yields the results of the pilot, should we rethink best practices in legal writing? How else might we test the structure of lawyers' arguments, and what would we learn?

(Side note: You can hear Dr. Larson talk about this project at the LWI Conference in Portland in July!)

I am thoroughly energized from my time at the RSA Conference. My mind was opened to new ideas and new directions for legal writing research. And I found a welcoming community of colleagues and collaborators. The next RSA Conference is in 2017: Hope to see you there!

{ldj - via guest poster Kirsten Davis}



June 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)