Welcome to LARW I (fall 2019)

Howdy! This post is the placeholder for the orientation week assignments for my sections of LARW I: Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing, fall 2019, at Texas A&M University School of Law. Check back on this page on August 7, 2019, for instructions you should follow before orientation, which is the week of August 19. You can go to work immediately acquiring the following texts and materials. You must have the following texts specifically for this course: Christine Coughlin, Joan Malmud Rocklin & Sandy Patrick, A Lawyer Writes: A Practical Guide to Legal Analysis (3d ed. 2018). ISBN: 978-1531008765. Colleen Barger, Read More …

Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Contemporary Legal Praxis: NLJ Symposium

Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Contemporary Legal Praxis is a symposium of the Nevada Law Journal on September 26 & 27, 2019. Lori Johnson, associate professor of law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Susan Provenzano, William Trumbull Professor of Practice at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, are the chairs/organizers of the conference. They are also pleased to announce a workshop to follow the symposium on September 28. The workshop seeks proposals from scholars with works in progress (WIPs) that explore the intersections of classical rhetoric (broadly defined) and contemporary law. Read More …

Research assistants needed, spring/summer 2019

Updated March 27, 2019 to include application process. If you are a student at Texas A&M University School of Law interested in how lawyers and judges cite and use court opinions in their arguments, you may be right for an opportunity as a research assistant working with me in spring/summer 2019. There are many options for scheduling. (See below.) Technically, you don’t have to be a student at A&M, but I can’t pay you if you are not. In either case, you get valuable experience understanding the arguments and writing of lawyers and judges, and you will get a nice Read More …

LARW II timeline

Here is a quasi-infographic representation of the weekly schedule for my spring 2019 LARW II course. On the left are indications of what we’ll focus on in class sessions, and on the right are explanations of the graded assignments, showing when students are working on them and (roughly) their due dates.

January 2019 Poem: “I sing the body electric”

From Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, the Small, Maynard imprint of 1904 (available on Google Books). This is the first poem I’m learning this year, part of a project to learn twelve great poems in 2019. I chose it from among recommendations I received from folks because of the stark contrast between its sensual, joyful language and the often prosaic, banal language of the law. I chose this particular version (one of many available) for no particular reason. I just needed a place to start. I will not memorize the whole thing, though, as it far exceeds my 50-line target. Read More …

Twelve poems to play with in 2019

I’m obsessed with language, but so much of my attention to it in my work is on what could be called “technical communication,” “business communication,” or “expository prose.” It can be artful, but it is rarely beautiful. I want to recapture some beautiful language in my life, so my New Year’s resolution is to learn—really learn—12 poems, 12 pieces of beautiful language embodying beautiful or provocative thought. What that means is that I will learn them by heart but then also play with them, remix them, reconceive them in hopes that this playfulness will enhance my technical communication and expository Read More …

#teachingTechKs: What belongs in an IT-contract drafting course?

I’m seeking feedback on a course I’m planning to teach in fall 2019 from lawyers and other law-trained folks, from business people and consumer advocates in the information-technology space, and from experienced law teachers. I’m construing “information technology” broadly to include things like B2B service agreements, social media terms of use, etc. I describe the course below, but I’ll put the questions right up front: For law-trained folks: What three things do you wish attorneys less experienced with contract drafting knew about the practical side of drafting IT-related contracts? For technology business people and consumer advocates: What three things do Read More …

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 …