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: Please follow and like…

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 …

Law and rhetoric at Rhetoric Society of America 2018

Updated 5/25 to correct a couple entries based on the final schedule published this week; 4/30 to put in link to my session’s abstract; and 4/27 to add Maggie Franz’s session. The 2018 installment of Rhetoric Society of America’s biennial conference also marks the society’s 50th anniversary. Held in Minneapolis (which is beautiful this time of year), the conference is a sprawling four-day event that tackles rhetoric in written and spoken contexts and across the human (and even trans- and post-human) experience. Of special interest to folks here, though, might be the sessions devoted to or connected with law. Here Read More …

Classical rhetoric: The anonymous Dissoi Logoi and Antiphon’s Tetralogies

This summer, the Classical Rhetoric & Contemporary Law group has begun discussing classical texts relating to rhetoric and argumentation from the perspective of contemporary law. To support that effort, I began a series of background pieces (starting with this post on June 14) to function as a roadmap to classical rhetoric for members of the group and for others interested in classical forensic rhetoric and its intersections with contemporary practice and pedagogy. See that first post for objectives and ground rules of these background posts. The last post focused on some terminology issues and some history of rhetoric before and Read More …

Early history of classical rhetoric

On June 14, the Classical Rhetoric & Contemporary Law group discussed Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen from the perspective of contemporary law, but many of us were new to the text, and so we spent a considerable amount of time just getting familiar with it. We may report later as a group on our discussions and efforts. But first I want to provide background pieces to function as a roadmap to classical rhetoric, Gorgias, this text, and other classical texts for members of the group and for others interested in classical forensic rhetoric and its intersections with contemporary practice and pedagogy. Read More …