The Citation Cup: Fall 2018

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. 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 here. They also win the dubious ‘prize’ of coming to happy hour with me. In Read More …

“The Next Chapter”: DBA Education Symposium

Closing panel at Education Symposium Sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association and SMU’s Caruth Institute for Children’s Rights, October 29, 2018. Held at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. (Photo from Belo Mansion Catering & Event Center) This post includes the bios of the panel speakers and links to information they have provided in advance of the panel date. Shirley Higgs, panelist Dr. Shirley Higgs has dedicated her life’s work to helping students meet their educational and personal goals. With over 33 years of higher education experience, Dr. Higgs is well versed in student needs, motivation, and success factors. She has Read More …

Choice of name in short forms for cases

In short forms for cases in citation sentences in practice documents, the Bluebook permits the use of only one party’s name but in that event requires it to be the first party, unless that party is “a geographical unit, a government official, or another type of common litigant.” See rule B10.2. Note that this permits the author to use only one party’s name but does not require it, so using both names is still permissible. Consider this example: You previously cited King v. Bassindale, 220 P. 777, 779 (Wash. 1923), and you wish to cite the case again at page Read More …

At AALS FAR? Check out LWRR!

OK, that’s a lot of alphabet soup. Allow me to translate: If you are attending the recruitment fair for the Association of American Law Schools’ (AALS) Faculty Appointments Register (FAR), check out the information and networking reception for the Section of Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research (LWRR) on Friday, October 12, 2:00-3:30p.m. It’s scheduled in the Taylor Room, Mezzanine Level, Marriott Wardman Park. The section’s flier for the event (design by yours truly) appears here:

Margin notes: An oblique solution to citing in-line vs. citing in footnotes

I previously posted a very preliminary look at how legal writing could be made more comprehensible to all readers while satisfying the needs of law-trained readers using marginal notes for citations instead of footnotes. I continue to doubt that these ruminations will make any difference, but I had to take this to the next step because I’ve been closely reading a couple hundred briefs in cases for an empirical study that I’m doing, and my level of frustration is peaking. I can’t understand how judges can stand to read these things, designed so poorly as they are! Consequently, I decided Read More …

1L legal brief and oral argument competitions

A couple weeks ago, I asked on the LRWPROF-L mailing list for folks to describe their 1L brief and oral argument competitions and promised to summarize what I learned and share it back. I thought it might make a good blog post, so here it is. Though I have given this summary the attention I can spare right now, I have not collated responses particularly thoroughly or carefully. This was also by no means a comprehensive study, so the report is somewhat anecdotal . A more thorough, careful survey of the field on this question will require someone else to Read More …

CFP: Classical rhetoric & contemporary law

Express your interest in collaborating on scholarship exploring the intersections of classical rhetoric and contemporary law DEADLINE EXTENDED: Preliminary proposals due September 14, 2018 October 5, 2018 (AoE) Classical Rhetoric & Contemporary Law, a national group of scholars in the legal academy broadly interested in rhetorical theory and particularly in classical rhetorical texts, has been meeting virtually for more than a year discussing such texts and their intersections with contemporary legal practices and education. The list of texts the group has discussed so far appears below. The group has presented portions of its work at 2018 conferences of the Rhetoric Read More …

Defeasible deductions?

I’ve written an article that discusses the use of argumentation schemes in law, with a focus on the argumentation scheme for legal analogy. A common problem for 1L students in my experience, though, is that they apply “rule-based reasoning”—based on the deductive syllogism—a little too confidently in the beginning of their training. So for the article, I recast the deductive syllogism as a defeasible argumentation scheme.[1] I offered that argumentation scheme tentatively, as it is not the focus of the article. But now, I’d like to firm it up a little (perhaps before this article is published, but certainly before Read More …

LWI 2018: Sessions on empirical study of legal communication

The schedule for the Legal Writing Institute 2018 biennial conference in Milwaukee, July 11 — July 14, is published (version as of June 27), and it looks terrific, with a great focus on pedagogy and pedagogical research in the field! This blog post is about a subset of the sessions, those devoted to empirical study of legal communication.  In that category, I include any study that systematically examines some class of legal communication outside the law-school context (so, not including classroom and pedagogical research). I’m excited to see scholars pursuing such projects. I’ve made the argument in the past that Read More …

Mooting classical rhetoric in contemporary legal education

Among the law-related papers and panels at the 2018 Rhetoric Society of America conference is one that I’m coordinating. The speakers include Kirsten Davis, Stetson University College of Law; Francis J. Mootz, McGeorge School of Law; Susan Provenzano, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; Susie Salmon, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Date/time and location details appear on my other post about RSA. Here is the abstract. Celebrating Classical Rhetoric & Building Contemporary Law Classical rhetoric and the western legal tradition were born together in the Greek city states of the 5th century BCE. Yet little is Read More …