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Legal Writing and Research

University of Michigan Law School

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Acknowledgements As A Window Into Legal Academia, Jonathan Tietz, W. Nicholson Price Ii Mar 2021

Acknowledgements As A Window Into Legal Academia, Jonathan Tietz, W. Nicholson Price Ii

Articles

Legal scholarship in the United States is an oddity—an institution built on student editorship, a lack of peer review, and a dramatically high proportion of solo authorship. It is often argued that this makes legal scholarship fundamentally different from scholarship in other fields, which is largely peer-reviewed by academics. We use acknowledgments in biographical footnotes from law review articles to probe the nature of legal knowledge co-production and de facto peer review in the legal literature. Using a survey and a textual analysis of about thirty thousand law review articles from 2008 to 2017, we examined the nature of knowledge …


Spoiler Alert: When The Supreme Court Ruins Your Brief Problem Mid-Semester, Margaret Hannon Sep 2019

Spoiler Alert: When The Supreme Court Ruins Your Brief Problem Mid-Semester, Margaret Hannon

Articles

Partway through the winter 2019 semester,1 the Supreme Court ruined my favorite summary judgment brief problem while my students were working on it. I had decided to use the problem despite the Court granting cert and knowing it was just a matter of time before the Court issued its decision. In this Article, I share some of the lessons that I learned about the risks involved in using a brief problem based on a pending Supreme Court case. I conclude that, while I have not typically set out to base a problem on a pending Supreme Court case, doing so …


Collaboration With Doctrinal Faculty To Introduce Creac, Beth Hirschfelder Wilensky Oct 2018

Collaboration With Doctrinal Faculty To Introduce Creac, Beth Hirschfelder Wilensky

Articles

When legal writing professors introduce CREAC (or IRAC, TREAT, etc.), our examples necessarily use some area of substantive law to demonstrate how the pieces of legal analysis fit together. And when we ask students to try drafting a CREAC analysis, they also have to learn the relevant substantive law first. Students might be asked to analyze whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor or whether the elements of a tort claim are satisfied. But that means that students need to learn the relevant substantive doctrine while they are also grappling with the basics of CREAC. In the language …


Using Appellate Clinics To Focus On Legal Writing Skills, Timothy Pinto May 2018

Using Appellate Clinics To Focus On Legal Writing Skills, Timothy Pinto

Articles

Five years ago, I went to lunch with a colleague. I was teaching a legal writing course to 1L students, and he taught in a clinic in which 2L and 3L students were required to write short motions and briefs. Several of his students had taken my writing class as 1Ls, and he had a question for me. "What the heck are you teaching these students?" he asked as we sat down. He explained that several of his students were struggling with preparing simple motions. They were not laying out facts clearly. They were not identifying key legal rules. In …


What We Still Don't Know About What Persuades Judges – And Some Ways We Might Find Out, Edward R. Becker May 2018

What We Still Don't Know About What Persuades Judges – And Some Ways We Might Find Out, Edward R. Becker

Articles

Over 25 years ago, in his foreword to the first volume of Legal Writing, Chris Rideout nailed it: legal writing as actually practiced by lawyers and judges needs to improve, “[b]ut more fundamental inquiry into legal writing...is needed as well.” The intervening decades have seen many laudable efforts on the latter front, as our collective scholarly discipline, then in its infancy, has matured. But one particular question that Rideout identified remains largely unaddressed by our discipline, although recent developments suggest a welcome increase in attention to the topic. Specifically, Rideout explained that our field did not know as much as …


Using Advanced Conflict Waivers To Teach Drafting, Ethics, And Professionalism, Edward R. Becker Nov 2016

Using Advanced Conflict Waivers To Teach Drafting, Ethics, And Professionalism, Edward R. Becker

Articles

On a substantive and ethical level, I tell my students to take on faith that if you were to do all of this and take all this into account, if you were to apply the conflict of interest and the disqualifications rules, it could make it extremely difficult or many of the firms involved in these matters to avoid being conflicted out; especially, if the parties and the kind of firms involved were not dealing with these conflicts and issues until a problem arose. The question I ask my students again at this point is what could be done. What …


Transactional Drafting: Using Law Firm Marketing Materials As A Research Resource For Teaching Drafting, Edward R. Becker Jan 2013

Transactional Drafting: Using Law Firm Marketing Materials As A Research Resource For Teaching Drafting, Edward R. Becker

Articles

Since I started teaching drafting, I would like to think that I have continued to learn some lessons about teaching both the substance and the skills of transactional drafting. One of those lessons that I am going to be talking about today is one that I stumbled across by happy accident rather than one that I consciously sought. Specifically, I want to talk about and highlight the ways that law students can use law firm marketing materials to increase their understanding of both drafting and lawyering skills in law school and, hopefully, in practice.


What Is "Good Legal Writing" And Why Does It Matter?, Mark Osbeck Jan 2012

What Is "Good Legal Writing" And Why Does It Matter?, Mark Osbeck

Articles

Law schools face increasing pressure to improve instruction in practice-oriented skills. One of the most important of these skills is legal writing. The existing literature on legal writing contains various rules and suggestions as to how legal writers can improve their writing skills. Yet it lacks an adequate theoretical account of the fundamental nature of good legal writing. As a result, legal writers are left without a solid conceptual framework to ground the individual rules and suggestions. This Article attempts to fill the theoretical void in the literature by offering a systematic analysis of what it is for a legal …


Why I Do Law Reform, Lawrence W. Waggoner Jan 2012

Why I Do Law Reform, Lawrence W. Waggoner

Articles

In this Article, Professor Waggoner, newly retired, provides a retrospective on his career in law reform. He was inspired to write the Article by a number of articles by law professors explaining why they write. He contrasts law-reform work with law-review writing, pointing out that the work product of a law-reform reporter is directed to duly constituted law-making authorities. He notes that before getting into the law-reform business, he had authored or co-authored law review articles that advocated reform, but he also notes that those articles did not move the law a whit. The articles did, however, lead to his …


If I Had A Hammer: Can Shepardizing, Synthesis, And Other Tools Of Legal Writing Help Build Hope For Law Students?, Edward R. Becker Jan 2010

If I Had A Hammer: Can Shepardizing, Synthesis, And Other Tools Of Legal Writing Help Build Hope For Law Students?, Edward R. Becker

Articles

Are lawyers mechanics? In 1920, photographer Lewis Hines took a striking photo of a powerhouse mechanic sure-handedly wielding a large wrench to tighten bolts on a steam pump. This picture may bring to mind many things, but I suspect that many legal writing professors in our (past or present) incarnations as practicing attorneys would not look at this image and think, "My job is a lot like that." Similarly, I assume that many of our students do not think of a lawyer's role in this way. Indeed, many of our students might have chosen to pursue a career in law …


Peking University School Of Transnational Law: A New Venture In International Legal Relations, Howard Bromberg Jan 2009

Peking University School Of Transnational Law: A New Venture In International Legal Relations, Howard Bromberg

Articles

The School of Transnational Law (STL) is largely the work of two men of vision, Hai Wen, Vice-President of Peking University, and Jeffrey Lehman, former Dean of the University of Michigan Law School and President of Cornell University. Both were instrumental members of the Joint Center for China-U.S. Law and Policy Studies Institute (the Joint Center), founded in 2005, whose mission is to “nurture harmony between the Chinese and American legal systems through the dissemination of knowledge.” Hai and Lehman aspired to create a law school that would integrate China’s bold entry into global business and international diplomacy with a …


The Articulate Frank Allen, James J. White Jan 2008

The Articulate Frank Allen, James J. White

Articles

Frank Allen had all of the wonderful talents that Ted St. Antoine and Rick Lempert ascribe to him. He was exceptionally smart and thoughtful (no one gets to give those fancy lectures who is not). He was a wise man (he led the faculty through the tough times at the end of the Vietnam War). And he was compassionate but tough as nails (he favored affirmative action, but was willing to close down the BAM affirmative action disruption with police if necessary-Frank's statement of his intention to call the police after the law school classes were disrupted forced the timorous …


Life's Golden Tree: Empirical Scholarship And American Law, Carl E. Schneider, Lee E. Teitelbaum Feb 2006

Life's Golden Tree: Empirical Scholarship And American Law, Carl E. Schneider, Lee E. Teitelbaum

Articles

What follows is a simplified introduction to legal argument. It is concerned with the scheme of argument and with certain primary definitions and assumptions commonly used in legal opinions and analysis. This discussion is not exhaustive of all the forms of legal argument nor of the techniques of argument you will see and use this year. It is merely an attempt to introduce some commonly used tools in legal argument. It starts, as do most of your first-year courses, with the techniques of the common-law method and then proceeds to build statutory, regulatory, and constitutional sources of law into the …


Why I Write (And Why I Think Law Professors Generally Should Write), Yale Kamisar Jan 2004

Why I Write (And Why I Think Law Professors Generally Should Write), Yale Kamisar

Articles

As my colleague James Boyd White has observed, It may look as though we are all doing the same thing, as we huddle over our typewriters or computers, producing work called articles or books, but we are in fact often doing very different things, and I think it is important to recognize and value these differences, in ourselves and in others. There are not only differences in what we write but in whom it is that we write for. Unlike Professor White,2 I usually write as professional to professional. Again, unlike Professor White,3 I am fairly comfortable with "the voice …


Bye-Bye Bluebook?, Pamela Lysaght, Grace C. Tonner Jan 2000

Bye-Bye Bluebook?, Pamela Lysaght, Grace C. Tonner

Articles

In March 2000, Aspen Law & Business published a new citation manual, the ALWD Citation Manual-A Professional System of Citation.' Developed mostly as a "restatement of citation," the ALWD Citation Manual not only provides the legal academy with a text that simplifies teaching legal citation, but also provides judges and lawyers with a helpful desktop reference book. This article explains why a new citation manual was created and highlights some of its significant features?


Joe Grano: The 'Kid From South Philly' Who Educated Us All (In Tribute To Joseph D. Grano), Yale Kamisar Jan 2000

Joe Grano: The 'Kid From South Philly' Who Educated Us All (In Tribute To Joseph D. Grano), Yale Kamisar

Articles

No serious student of police interrogation and confessions can write on the subject without building on Professor Joseph D. Grano's work or explaining why he or she disagrees with him (and doing so with considerable care). Nor is that all.


Phoebe's Lament (Symposium: Empirical Research In Commercial Transactions), James J. White Jan 2000

Phoebe's Lament (Symposium: Empirical Research In Commercial Transactions), James J. White

Articles

Assume a bright hypothetical social scientist - call her Phoebe - who is completely ignorant of legal research as it is practiced in today's law schools. Phoebe might speculate about legal research as follows. First, she would note that the law schools are joined with and are the exclusive source of the practitioners of a profession. Second, she would note that commercial and legal actors rub up against and are influenced by the law in countless ways every day. Third, she might remark that this interaction occurs practically on the doorsteps of our law schools. Unlike anthropologists, who may have …


Avoiding Common Problems In Using Teaching Assistants: Hard Lessons Learned From Peer Teaching Theory And Experience, Edward R. Becker, Rachel Croskery-Roberts Jan 2000

Avoiding Common Problems In Using Teaching Assistants: Hard Lessons Learned From Peer Teaching Theory And Experience, Edward R. Becker, Rachel Croskery-Roberts

Articles

A majority of American law schools rely on teaching assistants to help administer first-year legal writing, research, and analysis (LWRA) courses. Specifically, surveys jointly conducted by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) consistently detail the extensive use many LWRA professors make of teaching assistants. Likewise, Julie Cheslik recognized in her article about her 1994 survey on the use of TAs in the typical LWRA course that "[o]ne of the most prevalent uses of peer teachers in the law school setting is the employment of upper-level law students as teaching assistants in the first-year …


Legal Writing Scholarship: Point/Counterpoint, Jan M. Levine, Grace C. Tonner Jan 1999

Legal Writing Scholarship: Point/Counterpoint, Jan M. Levine, Grace C. Tonner

Articles

Perhaps because the field of legal writing has now matured enough so that we professors constitute a critical mass of experienced teachers and scholars, we find ourselves frequently embroiled in debates about legal writing scholarship. What is it? Can we do it? Should we do it? Should it be considered part and parcel of our responsibilities as members of the law school world? To help us better present our shared view that legal writing professors not only can but should produce scholarship, we sought first to take on the role of devil’s advocate, presenting all the rationales we have heard …


Selecting And Designing Effective Legal Writing Problems, Grace C. Tonner, Diana Pratt Jan 1997

Selecting And Designing Effective Legal Writing Problems, Grace C. Tonner, Diana Pratt

Articles

Legal research and writing courses are unlike most substantive first year law school classes in that they teach using the problem method. The success of a legal writing course depends on the quality of the problems. The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance for legal writing professors in designing legal writing problems. The article addresses (1) general considerations in problem design, (2) designing expository problems, (3) designing persuasive problems, and (4) sources of problems. In the first section, we discuss problem design as it relates to the overall goals for teaching the basic forms of legal analysis, …


Bouquets For Jerry Israel, Yale Kamisar Jan 1996

Bouquets For Jerry Israel, Yale Kamisar

Articles

As it turned out, of those asked to write a few words for an issue of the Michigan Law Review honoring Jerry Israel, I was the last to do so. And when I submitted my brief contribution to the Law Review I took the liberty of reading what the four others who paid tribute to Jerry had written. As a result, I feel like the fifth and last speaker at a banquet who listens to others say much of what he had planned to say.


On Becoming A Law Professor, Terrance Sandalow Jan 1996

On Becoming A Law Professor, Terrance Sandalow

Articles

Thirty-five years ago, when I first joined a law faculty, only one job description existed for law professors, that for the conventional classroom teacher. In the years since, the opportunities available to lawyers interested in teaching have become a bit more varied. In addition to conventional classroom teachers, a growing number of law teachers are employed by law schools to provide what I shall somewhat misleadingly call clinical instruction.1 Although these comments are addressed mainly to men and women interested in classroom teaching, a few lines about clinical teaching may be in order because the initial question for anyone considering …


Wayne R. Lafave: Search And Seizure Commentator At Work And Play, Yale Kamisar, Jerold H. Israel Jan 1993

Wayne R. Lafave: Search And Seizure Commentator At Work And Play, Yale Kamisar, Jerold H. Israel

Articles

Starting in 1969,1 we have had the honor and pleasure of co-authoring a goodly number of casebooks, texts, treatises, pocket parts, and annual supplements (more than twenty) with Wayne LaFave.2 On each occasion we have been impressed by the quality of his mind and the judiciousness of his temperament, and impressed as well (and sometimes amazed) by his speed and efficiency.


Francis A. Allen: 'Confront[Ing] The Most Explosive Problems' And 'Plumbing All Issues To Their Full Depth Without Fear Or Prejudice', Yale Kamisar Dec 1986

Francis A. Allen: 'Confront[Ing] The Most Explosive Problems' And 'Plumbing All Issues To Their Full Depth Without Fear Or Prejudice', Yale Kamisar

Articles

Frank Allen began his distinguished teaching career more than thirty-five years ago - at a time when, at more law schools than we like to remember, "the basic criminal law course was routinely assigned to the youngest and most vulnerable member of the faculty or to that colleague suspected of mild brain damage and hence incompetent to deal with courses that really matter."' That those of us who taught criminal law years later were warmly received by our colleagues is in no small measure a tribute to the quality of mind and character and intellectual energy of people like Allen, …


Fred E. Inbau: 'The Importance Of Being Guilty', Yale Kamisar Jan 1977

Fred E. Inbau: 'The Importance Of Being Guilty', Yale Kamisar

Articles

As fate would have it, Fred Inbau graduated from law school in 1932, the very year that, "for practical purposes the modern law of constitutional criminal procedure [began], with the decision in the great case of Powell v. Alabama."1 In "the 'stone age' of American criminal procedure,"2 Inbau began his long fight to shape or to retain rules that "make sense in the light of a policeman's task,"3 more aware than most that so long as the rules do so, "we will be in a stronger position to insist that [the officer] obey them."4