Saturday, May 30, 2020

Susie Salmon Wins the 2020 Edith Sayer Auslander Established Visionary Award

Professor Susie Salmon of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law has been selected by the Arizona State University Commission on the Status of Women, Equity, and Mentoring workgroup as a recipient of the 2020 Edith Sayer Auslander Established Visionary Award.

This award honors leaders who exemplify the vision set out by the original Arizona Board of Regents Commission in 1990. Vision Award recipients cultivate diversity and actively advance CSW goals relating to campus climate, career and professional development, and issues of equity and inclusion.

Hat tip to Professor Tessa L. Dysart


May 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bluebook Rule on Citing Movies

While we all wait patiently for the new, 21st edition of the Bluebook to appear next month, here's an essay to enjoy by Rafi Reznik on the burning subject of whether Bluebook Rule 18.6 is really the best way to cite movies.

Hat tip to Andrew Kerr.


May 30, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What Should Law Schools Do Now to Plan for the Fall Semester: Guest Blog Post from Mary Garvey Algero -- A Response to Professor Josh Blackman's "Typical University Day in the COVID-19 Era"

Professor Josh Blackman is a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and the President of the Harlan Institute. Professor Blackman recently posted an essay on the Volokh Conspiracy regarding what our law schools would look like in fall 2020 if we are on the ground. At the end of his essay, "A Typical University Day in the COVID-19 Era," he admits it "was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek" but that he hoped to convey that "Nostalgia for 'in-person' classes may distort judgments about what this experience will look like in the fall."
Mary Garvey AlgeroDean Mary Garvey Algero wrote a response to Professor Blackman's essay, and we're publishing it here on the Legal Writing Prof Blog. Dean Algero is the Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Academic Affairs, the Philip and Eugenie Brooks Distinguished Professor of Law and the Warren E. Mouledoux Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.
Here is Dean Algero's response:

What Should Law Schools Do Now to Plan for the Fall Semester

Inspired by Josh Blackman’s essay of 5/22

by Mary Garvey Algero

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” (An English proverb of unknown origin, meaning that ingenious solutions often come from difficult situations.)

Imagine if law schools had given up in March 2020 when the pandemic was imminent, and we had simply told students we would resume law school once we had a vaccine or even a cure for Covid-19.  We could have said that only classes that faculty had previously designated as online classes would be able to continue and finish out the spring semester in April or May 2020; the rest would be on hold.  We could have justified that decision by pointing to the following: 1) ABA Standard 306, which limits hours earned by law students through distance education (online); 2) our own law school rules about distance education, such as rules that courses to be taught in an online format must be approved in advance of the semester by the full faculty; and 3) the reality that many of our faculty not only had never taught online, but they did not even know how or where to start and what platform to use. 

We did not do that.  We worked hard to figure out a way to complete the semester.  Moreover, we figured this out in an extremely short timeframe.  We brainstormed with ABA officials to work on waiving rules that stood in the way of teaching out the semester online.  We brainstormed with each other and with our faculty, staff, and students to figure out ways to continue the semester and complete classes from a distance.  We met with our university administrations to ensure they had contracts with platforms that allowed large online video meetings/classes and to ensure that all professors had licenses to use these services.  We scrambled to get technology in the hands of the people who needed it—faculty, staff, and students.  Some faculty had to upgrade desktop or laptop computers or purchase cameras or microphones to be ready to teach online.  Students had to do the same.  We found funds to purchase laptops, tablets, and “hotspots” to deliver to students. 

We gathered people from across our universities who either knew how to use the technology or were willing to devote the time to learn the technology so that we had a team of people who were “experts.”  These experts instructed faculty on how to use the technology to teach and function successfully online.  These experts held workshops for faculty, they met with faculty individually, and we even assigned them to assist particular faculty members as they taught until they were comfortable.  In large part, we counted on our students to figure out the technology, but we also offered them assistance from our group of experts if they needed it.  We held meetings online, both one-on-one and in large groups to reassure students, to answer their questions, and to find out what their concerns were so that we could try to respond to them. 

We held many faculty meetings.  Not only were these meetings focused on responding to individual questions or needs, but also these meetings were key to developing policies about grading and attendance and other issues that needed to be decided because of our changed circumstances.

All of this was done in an extraordinarily short time period because it had to be.  Because we, as law school administrators, faculty, and staff, were committed to providing our students with the rich education they deserve.

So, now we face decisions about the fall semester and what our law schools will look like.  We owe it to everyone involved, and especially our students, to think through all of the issues we could face with offering an on-ground experience, to prioritize the things we value most about that on-ground experience, and to determine what we can do successfully.  The Blackman essay points out some real concerns and issues that law schools face for the fall.  I appreciate the sobering reality of it all.  However, rather than resigning ourselves to the obvious difficulties of education in person before a vaccine, I think we owe it to all involved to think creatively about what can be--to think creatively through the pros and cons; to consider the issues and how we might solve for them. 

For example, if we value providing 1L students with an on-ground experience because we want them to get to know each other and us in person and feel a part of the law school community, we can work through issues of their presence on campus to provide that experience because we decide it is worth it.  We might stagger class start times so that we limit the number of students moving through the building at any given time.  We could consider dividing students into small cohorts who attend some classes in a compressed schedule only on certain days of the week, while attending other classes online.  These students could have assigned seats in only one or two classrooms for the days they are in the building, thereby limiting their need for movement and contact.  Perhaps we assign each cohort a faculty member and a staff member to be their contact with the school should issues arise.  We might have various members of the law school community visit these small cohorts throughout the semester, before or after classes, to address them on law school matters, to introduce them to the school, and to help them feel that they are a part of the larger law school community. 

Yes, if we do this we must figure out stairway traffic, restroom availability, and many other logistical issues that might seem impossible at first blush.  However, we would solve for these issues because we would have decided that this on-ground experience was valuable enough to our students and our law schools that it was worth the extra work and resources. 

What we did in March and April was not easy, but we did it.  Had someone told us at the AALS Annual meeting in January that we would move all of our courses and programs online over the course of a week or two in March with little warning, we would have laughed and rejected the possibility.  We now sit with a few months (not just a few days) to plan for a fall semester.  I suggest that law schools immediately identify what we value for us and our students in terms of on-ground experiences, we identify what we can do well at a distance, and we work to make those things happen successfully, knowing the obstacles.  Not only will providing successful on-ground experiences require ingenuity, expertise, and contingency planning, but successful distance teaching will require these same things. 

The planning for the fall 2020 semester is and will continue to be intense.  It will also likely provide us with some new ways of doing things we may choose to continue even beyond a pandemic.  So, push up your sleeves and think creatively about what your law school values, what you do well, and how you can best deliver those things.  Engage experts and stakeholders in your discussions so that you consider the many sides of the issues under consideration and figure out what is actually possible.  And, write in pencil so that you can make changes when your plans must be adjusted because of new or different circumstances.                

Mary Garvey Algero

May 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Vance Legal Writing Competition on Customs and International Trade Law

Miami Law is now hosting the Andrew Vance Memorial Essay Competition in cooperation with the Customs and International Trade Bar Association (CITBA).  The competition awards cash prizes to two students, and there's  a publication opportunity in the Miami International and Comparative Law Review. Students can be in a J.D. or LL.M. program.

This year's deadline is May 22, 2020, which is probably too soon for most students. But you never know who might have a paper ready to submit. Click here for the details.

Hat tip to Kathleen Claussen at the University of Miami School of Law


May 16, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Congratulations to Jeremy Francis

Jeremy FrancisProfessor Jeremy Francis at Michigan State University College of Law was awarded the Donald F. Campbell Outstanding Teaching Award from the faculty at Michigan State University.

Professor Francis works in tandem with MSU Law's Research, Writing & Analysis instructors to reinforce first-year students' grammar and punctuation skills and to teach students the conventions of legal style. His workshops, optional seminars, and one-on-one instruction sessions help prepare students to pass a required proficiency test by the end of their first year.

He taught prospective English teachers through Michigan State University's Teacher Education and English departments before joining the MSU College of Law in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in Critical Studies in the Teaching of English from MSU in 2007 and an M.A. in Education from the University of Denver in 2003.

Professor Francis won the Legal Writing Institute's Deborah Hecht Memorial Writing Contest Award in 2010 for his article "Finding Your Voice While Learning to Dance" and again in 2014 for his article "The Silent Scream: How Soon Can Students Let Us Know They Are Struggling?" The award is given every other year to the legal writing specialist who publishes the best article or essay on the topics of effectiveness, clarity, and writing style.

Hat tip to Deanne Andrews Lawrence.


May 9, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Mary Marshall at Columbia Law School Wins the Scribes 2020 Law-Review Award; Writers from Nine Other Law Schools Receive Honorable Mentions

Since 1987, Scribes — The American Society of Legal Writers — has presented an annual award for the best student-written article in a law review or journal. Articles submitted by January 15 of each year are first sent to a screening committee to narrow the field of articles. An award committee then selects the winning article.

Members of the screening committee and the award committee members judge each article on four criteria:

  • Quality of writing: The writing should be clean, direct, and engaging. /50 percent
  • Topic: The topic should be timely and interesting. /20 percent
  • Research: The research should be thorough, showing a passion for the topic, not just superficial research. /20 percent
  • Footnotes: The article should have few to no talking footnotes. /10 percent

Mary Marshall of Columbia Law School has been selected the winner of the 2020 Scribes Law-Review Award. She won for her article, Miller v. Alabama and the Problem of Prediction, 119 Columbia Law Review 1633 (2019).

Student authors from nine other law schools received an “Honorable Mention” from Scribes. These articles were the finalists selected by the team of law professors and other screeners who reviewed all of the articles submitted. In alphabetical order by law school, these “Honorable Mention” articles are:

  • Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law: Walter G. Johnson, Governance Tools for the Second Quantum Revolution, 59 Jurimetrics 487 (2019).
  • Boston University School of Law: Brad Baranowski, The Representative First Amendment: Public-Sector Representation After Janus v. AFSCME, 99 Boston University Law Review 2249 (2019).
  • Brooklyn Law School: Alexander Hull, Shoring Up the HEAR Act: Proposed Amendments to Federal Legislation Designed to Assist Heirs and Claimants of Nazi-Looted Art, 28 Journal of Law & Policy 238 (2019).
  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law: Annie Sloan, What to Do About Batson?: Using a Court Rule to Address Implicit Bias in Jury Selection, 108 California Law Review 233 (2019).
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law: Katherine Dobscha, Considering a Juvenile Exception to the Felony Murder Rule, 70 Case Western Reserve Law Review 141 (2019).
  • Florida International University College of Law: Katryna Santa Cruz, The Distraction that Is Stand Your Ground, 14 Florida International University Law Review 149 (2020).
  • University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law: Britton Fraser, You Can't Escape Your Past: State v. Blaz and The Future of 404(b) Evidence in Montana, 80 Montana Law Review 321 (2019).
  • Texas Tech University School of Law: Hailey M. Hanners, Who Wants the Ward? The State’s Role in Adult Guardianship Proceedings, 11 Texas Tech Estate Planning and Community Property Law Journal 359 (2019).
  • University of Wisconsin Law School: Benjamin Jordan, The WTO Versus the Donald: Why the WTO Must Adopt a Review Standard for Article XXI(b) of the GATT, 17 Wisconsin International Law Journal 173 (2019).

Members of the Law-Review-Award Committee are:

  • Brooke Bowman, Chair
  • Mary Bowman
  • Steven Feldman
  • Richard Leiter
  • Mark E. Wojcik

Members of the Screening Committee are:

  • Annie Chan, St. Thomas University School of Law
  • Raul Fernández-Calienes, Broward College
  • Emily Grant, Washburn University School of Law
  • Amanda Harmon Cooley, South Texas Colllege of Law
  • Joanne Hodge, UIC John Marshall Law School
  • Patrick Long, University of Buffalo School of Law
  • Denise Malloy, University of Rochester Law School
  • Karin Mika, Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Mimi Samuel, Seattle University School of Law


May 5, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 4, 2020

The University of Washington is Looking for a Visitor

University of Washington LawThe University of Washington School of Law in Seattle is looking for a visitor for its Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing (“LARW”) program next year (2020-2021).
The appointment is a nine-month contract to teach two sections of the school's first-year LARW course. Each section tends to have 17-22 students, and the course itself spans three quarters (fall, winter, spring). To apply, please see the posting and submission requirements here:
Hat tip to Lauren E. Sancken, Co-Director of the LARW Program at the University of Washington School of Law

May 4, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

University of Arizona Promotes Prof. Tessa Dysart

Dysart_TessaThe University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law announced that its Provost approved the promotion of Tessa Dysart promotion to full Clinical Professor of Law with Continuing Status (Arizona's version of clinical tenure).


In recommending this promotion, the University Advisory Committee on Continuing Status and Promotion noted the "engaged and joyful energy" Tessa brings to her work and the high regard in which her students and colleagues hold her. In particular, the Committee lauded her professional scholarship activities and recognized her as a "highly cited scholar with a national reputation." 


Hat tip to Susie Salmon and congratulations to Professor Dysart



May 2, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 1, 2020

Elizabeth Baldwin Wins the 2020 LWI Hecht Award

Elizabeth BaldwinThe Legal Writing Institute (LWI) announced that Elizabeth Baldwin is the recipient of the 2020 Deborah Hecht Award. Elizabeth is a Law Lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law. Before she entered law school, Professor Baldwin spent several years teaching ESL and earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Teachers College at Columbia University. Then, as a student at Seattle University School of Law, she served as Research and Technical Editor on the editorial board of the law review and worked as a Legal Advocate at Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.Upon graduation, Professor Baldwin spent nearly two years clerking for a judge on the Washington State Court of Appeals. Later she coordinated the Children's Legal Rights Program at Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (now KIND, Kids in Need of Defense), where she gave writing and oral advocacy support to pro bono attorneys serving unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings

The Deborah Hecht Award recognizes the best article written during a two-year period by a Writing Specialist and published in The Second Draft’s “From the Desk of the Writing Specialist” column.

Previous winners of the Hecht Award are:

  • 2008 Natalie Tarenko
  • 2010 Jeremy Francis
  • 2012 Lurene Contento
  • 2014 Jeremy Francis
  • 2016 Stephanie Juliano
  • 2018 Ann L. Nowak

The Hecht Award was named to honor the memory of Deborah Hecht, former Director of the Legal Writing Center at Touro University School of Law, who passed away in 2005. Deborah was instrumental in developing Touro's Legal Resources Center and website. She was also active in LWI and in its smaller legal writing specialists group, writing articles for The Second Draft's "From the Desk of the Writing Specialist" column.

Elizabeth’s winning article was Freedom in Structure: Helping Foreign-Trained and International Graduate Students Develop Thesis Statements by Component, resonated with the entire LWI Awards Committee. In its recommendation to the LWI Board, the LWI Awards Committee stated:

We all connected with Elizabeth’s article as having the most informative thesis and the deepest research to support that thesis. The article also has wide application. Though Elizabeth’s article is geared towards “foreign-trained and international graduate students,” the template described in the article is also useful for any law student writing a scholarly paper.

The LWI Awards Committee is co-chaired by Greg Johnson and Brenda Gibson. Committee members are Andrew Carter, Lindsey Gustafson, Margaret Hannon, Dana Hill, Mary Nagel, and Suzanne Rowe. 

Hat tip to Kris Tiscione, LWI President


May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cindy Archer Moves to UC Irvine

Cindy ArcherThe University of California at Irvine announced that Professor Cindy Archer will be joining the lawyering skills faculty at UCI Law. She joins UCI after spending nearly two decades on the Loyola Law School faculty, where she is the Associate Dean for Clinical Programs and Experiential Learning.

Hat tip to Rachel Croskery-Roberts


May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Joe Fore to Receive LWI's Inaugural "Emerging Scholar Award"

Joe Fore UVAThe Board of Directors of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) announced that Professor Joe Fore of the University of Virginia School of Law has been selected to receive is the LWI's inaugural Emerging Scholar Award.  The Board created this award to help foster a new generation of scholars in our field.  The award is limited to a professor’s first or second full-length, published article on legal writing or pedagogy. 

Professor Fore received the award for his article ‘A Court Would Likely Find . . .’: Defining Probability Expressions in Predictive Legal Analysis, 16 J. Legal Comm. & Rhetoric: JAWLD 49 (2019).  In this fascinating interdisciplinary study, Professor Fore critiques and categorizes the words lawyers use to predict results in legal disputes—and the words legal writing professors teach law students to use in predicting results in their objective memoranda. Legal writing professors and legal writing textbooks most commonly recommend qualifiers like “probably/probably not,” “likely/not likely,” “possibly,” etc.  But Professor Fore argues “there is a fundamental problem with using qualitative probability expressions in legal writing: they don’t have generally accepted meanings.  Do ‘likely’ and ‘more likely than not’ mean the same thing?  Does ‘unlikely’ mean a 49% chance of success? 33%? 20%?  This ambiguity poses a serious challenge to lawyers when advising their clients.”

To address this problem, Professor Fore first describes standardized probability expressions in the legal field, such as accountant responses to auditor inquiries and tax-lawyer practices in tax opinions.  He then surveys standardized probability expressions in non-legal fields like medicine, national security, and climate science.  Putting all of this together, Professor Fore encourages us all to begin to develop a standard legal writing probability lexicon.  Issues to be addressed in developing this standard lexicon include how many gradations the probability scale should have; what words should occupy the opposite ends of the spectrum; and what percentages we assign to each probability expression.  To begin this discussion, Professor Fore proposes a seven-point probability scale for legal writing starting with “Almost certain (90-100%)” to “Almost no chance (0-10%).” 

The full text of the article is available here

The LWI Awards Committee is co-chaired by Greg Johnson and Brenda Gibson. Committee members are Andrew Carter, Lindsey Gustafson, Margaret Hannon, Dana Hill, Mary Nagel, and Suzanne Rowe.

(Adapted from an LWI Announcement)

May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Louisiana State is Hiring an Advocacy Fellow

The Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center seeks to hire an Advocacy Fellow to assist in the administration and coaching of its Advocacy Programs. The Advocacy Programs include the Law Center’s moot court, trial advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution external competition teams, as well as the Law Center’s internal advocacy competitions and voluntary skills development workshops. Reporting to the Director of Advocacy Programs, this position is responsible for the continued development and administration of a robust set of student skills development opportunities.

The Advocacy Fellow provides case preparation assistance to participants, assists in the recruitment and training of coaches and judges, plans and implements voluntary skills training opportunities and events, creates at least one full trial, appellate, or dispute resolution case file, and organizes competition registration and team travel arrangements. The Advocacy Fellow also acts as a secondary coach where needed. 

Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school. Prior experience as a competitor and/or coach in the LSU Law Center’s Advocacy Programs or a similar law school skills training and competition program is strongly preferred.  This is a full-time position. The term of appointment for the Advocacy Fellow is one year and will begin in Summer 2020.  For exceptional performance, a Fellow may receive reappointment for a second year. 

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, résumé, and the names and contact information of at least three references to LSU Human Resources by visiting Questions should be directed to Prof. Jeff Brooks at

May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Annual Meeting to be Held Only Online

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the ABA Board of Governors has decided that the 2020 annual meeting will be entirely virtual.

The 2020 ABA Annual Meeting is scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 4.  More information on the virtual 2020 ABA Annual Meeting will be available at

May 1, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)