Layers and small-talk: A playlist exercise

This semester, I’ve tried a new assignment: I asked each student in my two sections to post two musical selections on a Google Forms survey. They received completion points for doing so. The resulting list (along with four selections I added myself) appears on Spotify. My instructions to them indicated only that I wanted the songs for my playlist for commuting between Dallas (where I live) and Fort Worth (where I teach) and that I had a pedagogical purpose that I would reveal later. Only one student reached out to me to ask whether they would be publicly identified with Read More …

Legal Argumentation (2021 ed., fall 2020 version)

To skip the BS and go straight to the download, click here: https://www.rhetoricked.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Legal-Argumentation-fall-2020-ed.-FINAL.pdf OK, who needs another legal writing textbook? Absolutely no one, except me. I love Chris Coughlin, Joan Rocklin, and Sandy Patrick’s A Lawyer Writes (3d ed.), but it does not do some things exactly how I want them done, and it does not do some other things at all. As textbooks go, it’s not expensive, but it is another $50-60 out of students’ pockets. And I would prefer students to have an electronic text, simply because it means fewer books to carry around (though they may very well Read More …

Demo of online peer-review tool Eli Review

Updated June 19, 2020, to include link to video of second Zoom session and bibliographic essay; May 29, 2020, to indicate time of June 9 meeting After the wonderful demo that Professor Tracy Norton (Touro Law) provided of online peer-review tool Peerceptiv in early May, I thought it would be helpful for teachers of legal communication to see a demo of another tool, Eli Review, that I’ve used with first-year law students for the last three years at Texas A&M University. (Videos of the Zooms Professor Norton held before and after the demo are available here and here.) The Peerceptiv Read More …

What are ‘case uses’ and how do I read box plots?

I posted a new article on SSRN this week that presents the big-picture findings of an empirical study I’ve been doing of the argumentative practices of judges and advocates in 199 textual artifacts. (Page numbers here are for the version posted on SSRN on Feb. 18, 2020.) I’ve done the analysis (with the help of a dozen research assistants) over the last two years, and the findings raise some interesting questions. But before we can really talk about the findings, you need to know what it is we were looking for, the ‘case use.’ And because I presented many of Read More …

The Citation Cup: Fall 2019

Each fall in my Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing class, I split students into teams, each comprising four or five students, and have them compete to prepare citations that are correct according to the Bluebook (or the ALWD Guide, depending on your proclivities–I check to be sure they are consistent). They compete in relay races, two teams at a time, weekly during the semester. In the last couple weeks of the semester, we have playoffs and crown each section’s winning team. Well… we do not exactly crown them. Instead, they get their names engraved on the coveted “Citation Cup,” pictured Read More …

What’s your pronoun? Contemporary gender issues in legal communication

(featured image “Love Kitty” Copyright 2013 Mark McNestry CC license) by  Brian N. Larson & Olivia J. Countryman There has been a great deal of conversation in recent months and years about the appropriate pronouns to use when referring to folks. Merriam-Webster in 2019 added the singular-pronoun function to its definition of `they.’[1] The question of pronoun use arises most frequently in the context of transgender and gender non-binary persons. Chances are, if you are of a certain age, much of this sounds a bit confusing: You are perhaps too old to remember from grammar what a `pronoun’ is, and Read More …

Why you should go to conferences like the UNLV Symposium

Many colleagues have been at the forefront of organizing and planning the Nevada Law Journal symposium “Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Contemporary Legal Praxis,” being held at William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, September 26-28, 2019, (info and free registration link here) particularly the co-chairs of the symposium, Professors Lori D. Johnson (UNLV) and Susan E. Provenzano (Northwestern). My colleague Prof. Angela Morrison at Texas A&M has been a leader, too, and recently sent out an update to the mailing lists, inviting attendance. Here, I want to add my own argument about why professors and Read More …

Welcome to LARW I (fall 2019)

Updated August 21, 2019, to provide a link to the final course pack. (You should download and refer to the course pack from now on. You should consider discarding previous versions of the course pack to avoid confusing yourself about dates, etc.) The final course pack is now available on the TWEN site for the course. I’m providing only a link to it there to encourage you to connect to TWEN. If you have questions after reviewing these materials, please feel free to contact me via email, or post a comment on this page (as it will help others who Read More …