Monday, July 31, 2017

Bhutan Opens its First Law School

David and Mark in Gho (Bhutan)At a formal ceremony attended by many dignataries, the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law (JSW Law) in Bhutan presented its first batch of 25 students at its temporary academic campus at Taba, Thimphu on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

The ceremony marked the start of the five-year undergraduate programme in law and the completion of the bridging course that began on July 3, 2017. The Class of 2022 consists of 25 students, who were selected from 499 applicants. The students were chosen according to a process that included of their Grade XII BCSEA national examinations, their score on a custom-designed law school admission test (LSAT), and their score in a personal interview with members of the JSW Law faculty.

There are 13 women and 12 men in the class and they hail from 15 of Bhutan's twenty Dzongkhags. They also represent 19 of Bhutan's 58 Higher Secondary Schools and Central Schools.

The formal opening ceremony was graced by the Law School’s Honorable President, HRH Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck. Guests included the Venerable Vairochana Rimpoche and Yonten Lopon, members of the Law School’s Governing Council, officials from the Royal Government of Bhutan, and foreign dignitaries and donors.

The students were presented to the Honorable President, followed by Zhudrey Puensum Tshogpa. The event concluded with Tashi Lebey and the blessing of the campus by the Vairochana Rimpoche.

Upon the Royal Command of His Majesty The King, the nation’s first law school, JSW Law, was founded as an independent, autonomous tertiary educational institution. His Majesty granted the Royal Charter for the institution on February 21, 2015, envisioning JSW Law as a world-class law school that promotes Bhutanese culture, traditions, and customs and complements wider efforts to develop long-term legal capacity and institutions in the Kingdom of Bhutan. JSW Law is supported by the Royal Government of Bhutan, the Government of India, the international law firm White & Case LLP, the U.S.-based Karuna Foundation, and the Austrian Development Agency. The U.S.-based Fulbright Commission has also sent two Fulbright specialists to the campus.

The first-year curriculum includes a course in Legal Composition and Rhetoric, part of a three-semester legal skills program at the new school.

(Adapted from a JSW Law School Press Release).

PHOTO: Legal writing professors David Austin (California Western School of Law) and Mark E. Wojcik (The John Marshall Law School-Chicago) in traditional dress, in a photo taken after the ceremony to formally open the school. Professors Austin and Wojcik are Fulbright Specialists working at the law school until October. Photo by Judy Stark.

July 31, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Congratulations, ALWD!

The Association of Legal Writing Directors ("ALWD") finished a great conference this past weekend at Minnesota Law School. Congratulations to Professors Megan McAlpin (chair), Anne Mullins (program chair), Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff (site chair), Chris Soper and Brad Clary (site hosts), and the amazing committee of Professors Chris Coughlin, Michelle Falkoff, Ellie Margolis, Bonny Tavares, Rosi Schrier, Tanya Bartholomew, Joe Mastrosimone, Shakira Pleasant, Alyssa Dragnich, Sam Moppett, Norman Plate, Mary Algero, Greg Johnson, Scott Fraley, Anne Ralph, David Kerch, and Amy Vorenburg (board liaison).

Conference photos are available by clicking here. You can also search social media posts for #ALWD2017.

Hat tip to legal writing cheerleader Suzanne Rowe.


July 24, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Western Regional Legal Writing Conference at Seattle University School of Law

Registration is now open for the Western Regional Legal Writing Conference to be held at Seattle University School of Law on August 25 and 26, 2017.  Although there is no registration fee, the organizers need a headcount, so please register here.

The theme for the conference is “connections” including the following:

  • connecting your legal writing classes with students' other foundational courses;
  • connecting and collaborating with other faculty to improve your students' ability to transfer what they have learned to clinics, externships, and jobs;
  • connecting legal writing classwork with clinics or external nonprofits;
  • connecting with alumni and practitioners;
  • connecting with other legal scholars; and
  • connecting with others to help improve legal writing faculty status.

Those themes will be explored in 24 sessions involving presenters associated with 17 law schools across the country. In addition, making the connection to practice and to current events, attendees will hear from Washington State Deputy Solicitor General Anne Egeler, who will give us an insider's view into the Washington v. Trump et al. litigation. Attendees will also hear from local practitioners at the Microsoft Corporation with their views on the skills that law graduates need for successful entry into practice.

You can find a detailed program for the conference here. Information about hotel accommodations and  on-campus dorm rooms is available on the conference website.

Hat tip to Mimi Samuel.



July 17, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers--Is Moving Its National Headquarters to The John Marshall Law School in Chicago

Scribes LogoScribes -- The American Society of Legal Writers -- will be moving its national headquarters from Texas to The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Since 2015, its executive office has been located in Texas at the Texas Tech University School of Law. Before that, it was located in Michigan at the Western Michigan University Thomas Cooley Law School.

The national legal writing organization has strong connections in Chicago to support a successful move to that city. Darby Dickerson, the new Dean of The John Marshall Law School, was the longest-serving President of Scribes. She is now the organization's immediate past president. The current Scribes President is the Honorable Michael Hyman, a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court and a past president of the Chicago Bar Association. He is also a past president of the Illinois Judges Association and the Decalogue Society. The President-Elect is Professor Mark E. Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School. The editor of The Scrivener, the newsletter for Scribes, is Professor Maureen Collins of The John Marshall Law School. The new Executive Director of Scribes will be Philip Johnson, Student Services Librarian at the Louis L. Biro Law Library of The John Marshall Law School.

Scribes is dedicated to encouraging legal writers and improving legal writing throughout the entire legal community. Founded in the 1950s, Scribes is the oldest organization of its kind. It has almost 2,700 members, including state and federal judges, practicing lawyers, law-school deans and professors, and legal editors. As written in its Constitution, Scribes's goals are:[

  1. to foster a feeling of fraternity among those who write about the law, and especially among its members;
  2. to create an interest in writing about the history, philosophy, and language of the law and about those who make, interpret, and enforce it;
  3. to help and encourage people who write about the law; and
  4. above all, to promote a clear, succinct, and forceful style in legal writing.

Scribes confers a variety of awards to recognize excellence in legal writing, including awards for books, law review articles, and moot court briefs. It also confers a lifetime achievement award whose recipients include: Federal Circuit Court Judges Richard Arnold, Guido Calabresi, Frank Easterbrook, and Richard Posner; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and John Paul Stevens; and the Right Honorable Harry Woolf, former Master of the Rolls and Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Scribes has both individual and institutional members (including law schools and courts). There are also (so far) two Student Chapters of Scribes -- one at Texas Tech University School of Law and the other at The John Marshall Law School. In 2007, Scribes created the National Order of Scribes to honor graduating law students who excel in legal writing. Each year, every law school that is an institutional member of Scribes may nominate law students to be inducted into the National Order of Scribes. 

The John Marshall Law School, the new institutional home of Scribes, has long been regarded as having one of the strongest legal writing programs in the United States. The Lawyering Skills Program is chaired by Professor Kim Chanbonpin, the current President of the Legal Writing Institute. Professor Wojcik, the President-Elect of Scribes, is also a member of the Board of the Legal Writing Institute and a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. Professor Maureen Straub Kordesh, another member of the JMLS Lawyering Skills Faculty is also a former board member of the Legal Writing Institute and a former president of the Association of Legal Writing Directors.


July 16, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Save the Date: The New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers

The New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers will hold its annual conference on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the University of Connecticut School of Law, in Hartford.  


July 11, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Guest Blog Posts Invited from the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference

If you're attending the Legal Writing Institute's Applied Legal Storytelling Conference this week at American University Washington College of Law, we invite your summaries of interesting panels and presentations to share with readers of this blog. We know that you know how to tell stories, so tell us yours!

Congratulations to the conference presenters and organizers.


July 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

No-Host Happy Hour at the Applied Legal Storytelling Conference

The Legal Writing Institute New Member Committee and the Association of American Law Schools Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Rearch Outreach Committee have planned a no-host Happy Hour this week in Washington D.C. at Nando’s Peri Peri Tenleytown on Wednesday, July 12 at 5:15 p.m.


July 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ALWD Conference

Registration for the 2017 ALWD Conference, Acknowledging Lines: Talking About What Unites and Divides Us, will be held at the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from July 19-21, 2017. Speaker details and a link to the registration page are available on the conference website.


July 10, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Washburn is Hiring an Assistant Director of Academic Support and Bar Readiness.

The Washburn University School of Law invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support and Bar Readiness. This is a full-time, twelve-month, nontenure-track position designed to support the Director of Academic Support and Bar Readiness.  (The official job posting can be found by clicking here).

  • With respect to the Academic Support program this position will support and/or teach in academic success courses, work one-on-one with students on academic probation or at academic risk to help them develop habits and methods to improve their academic performance, and design and implement periodic assessments of academic support programs to identify program facets that offer opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • With respect to the Bar Readiness program, this position’s duties include coordinating and providing instruction during the winter and summer bar preparation initiatives, coaching and supporting students and alumni as they prepare for the bar exams, offering active learning workshops on bar essay writing and on multiple choice test taking skills, and reading and critiquing student practice essays.

The Washburn campus is located in the heart of Topeka, Kansas, blocks from the state capitol. Recently, the Topeka and Shawnee County Library was named the 2016 Library of the Year, the highest honor for libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Topeka has previously been named a Top Ten City in Kiplinger’s magazine. Topeka features affordable housing and beautiful, historic neighborhoods filled with well-maintained parks. It is also the home of the Brown v. Board of Education historical site.

Required Qualifications: Juris Doctor degree from an ABA approved law school, with a strong academic record, and successful completion of a bar exam. Background demonstrating a potential for excellence in academic support. Understanding of legal pedagogy including current trends. Strong oral presentation skills and ability to remediate complex legal rules. Excellent written communication and legal writing skills. Ability to manage multiple tasks and meet deadlines. Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse student body and work collaboratively with faculty and staff. Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint. Must have passed a state or uniform bar exam and hold a current license to practice law.

Preferred Qualifications: Experience running a law school academic support program or other relevant teaching or tutoring experience. Law practice experience. Experience using TWEN, D2L, and Banner.

Application Procedures: Submit a letter of interest, resume, Resume Supplement form (available at //, copy of unofficial transcript(s) for highest level of postsecondary education (official transcript for all levels of postsecondary education may be requested upon hire), and names and phone numbers of three professional references to or to Washburn University Human Resources, 118 Morgan Hall, 1700 SW College, Topeka, Kansas 66621. Applicants are encouraged to submit complete applications by July 17, 2017. Applications will continue to be reviewed until interviews are scheduled.  

Salary is upper $60,000 to lower $70,000 commensurate with qualifications. Washburn provides an excellent fringe benefits package. Employment at Washburn University will be conditioned upon satisfactory completion of a background check.

Hat tip to Associate Dean Joseph Mastrosimone.


July 9, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 3, 2017

First Law School in Bhutan Opens Today

Congratulations to the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law, the first law school in the history of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The law school is welcoming 25 fortunate law students from all across Bhutan. They begin their orientation classes today, Monday, July 3, 2017.
Opening the first law school in any country is a tremendous accomplishment. Special congratulations to the visionary Bhutanese leaders and lawyers who are supporting this new school, and to Michael Peil and Judy Stark, who have devoted several years to making this special day possible.
For those of you who would like to know  more about the school, the New York Times did a story about the law school back in October 2016.
The law school's website is

July 3, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)