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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


When Law Calls, Does Science Answer? A Survey Of Distinguished Scientists & Engineers, Shari Seidman Diamond, Richard O. Lempert Oct 2018

When Law Calls, Does Science Answer? A Survey Of Distinguished Scientists & Engineers, Shari Seidman Diamond, Richard O. Lempert

Articles

Sound legal decision-making frequently requires the assistance of scientists and engineers. The survey we conducted with the cooperation of the American Academy examines the views of the legal system held by some of the nation’s most distinguished scientists and engineers, what motivates them to participate or to refuse to assist in lawsuits when asked, and their assessment of their experiences when they do participate. The survey reveals that a majority of the responding scientists and engineers will agree to participate when asked, and when they turn down requests, the most common reasons are lack of time and absence of relevant …


Shot Selection, Patrick Barry Sep 2018

Shot Selection, Patrick Barry

Articles

One of the more common pieces of writing advice in our post-Hemingway world is to keep sentences short. Experts on legal writing are particularly fond of this Position — and for good reason. Few judges look at the sentences that appear in briefs, memos, statutes, and contracts and say, "You know what each of those could use? More words." Professor Noah Messing does a particularly good job making the case for short sentences. Brevity, he explains, "reduces the risk that your writing will confuse or irk readers," especially given that "empirical studies show that writing verbosely makes writers sound dumber …


The Rule Of Three, Patrick Barry Sep 2018

The Rule Of Three, Patrick Barry

Articles

Judges use the Rule of Three. Practitioners use the Rule of Three. And so do all manner of legal academics. Yet although many people seem to have an intuitive feel for how useful this rhetorical move is, no extended explanation of its mechanics and variety of forms exists. This essay offers that explanation. It begins with an introduction to the more straightforward form of the rule of three, which simply involves arranging information not in twos or fours or any other set of numbers-but rather in the trusty, melodic structure of threes. It then moves on to a closer look …


Alliteration, Restraint, And A Mind At Work, Patrick Barry Aug 2018

Alliteration, Restraint, And A Mind At Work, Patrick Barry

Articles

Alliteration is great—until it’s not. You can pretty quickly overdo it, though I don’t think any major professional sports franchise has yet. The Boston Bruins, the Seattle Seahawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers: these names all have a nice ring to them. As do countless others, from the Washington Wizards to the Tennessee Titans to the Buffalo Bills. The sounds run quickly off your tongue and not unpleasantly into the air. They’re not irritating or obnoxious—unless maybe you’re a fan of the opposing team.


Paragraphing, Patrick Barry Aug 2018

Paragraphing, Patrick Barry

Articles

Consider treating the word paragraph as a verb. Think of it as something you can do well or poorly, with major consequences for your readers. Good paragraphers, for example, help readers. They make it easy to navigate and absorb information. They don’t flit around, hastily moving on to the next point before fully supporting their first. Nor do they get stuck for too long in one place. Instead, they give a lot of thought not just to the ideas but also to their arrangement—their shape, their balance, their pace.


Show And Tell, Patrick Barry Aug 2018

Show And Tell, Patrick Barry

Articles

“Show don’t tell.” Teachers preach these words. Style guides endorse them. And you’d be hard pressed to find any editor or law firm partner who hasn’t offered them as feedback in the last year, month, week, maybe even day. There’s only one problem: “Show don’t tell” is bad advice. Or at least, it is incomplete advice.


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 …


Editing And Empathy, Patrick Barry May 2018

Editing And Empathy, Patrick Barry

Articles

Design begins with empathy.” I recently wrote that on the board during a class for students in the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. I thought it might help them write better briefs. I got the idea from Ilse Crawford, whose work as an interior designer can be seen all over the world—from airport lounges in Hong Kong, to fancy restaurants in London, to pear-shaped stools at IKEA. In Crawford’s view, “empathy is a cornerstone of design.”1 She thinks it is important to understand the spaces and products she creates from the perspective of the …


Ethics Of Using Artificial Intelligence To Augment Drafting Legal Documents, David Hricik Jan 2018

Ethics Of Using Artificial Intelligence To Augment Drafting Legal Documents, David Hricik

Articles

Skynet is not and may never be self-aware, but machines are al-ready doing legal research, drafting legal documents, negotiating disputes such as traffic tickets and divorce schedules, and even drafting patent applications. Machines learn from us, and each other, to augment the ability of lawyers to represent clients—and even to replace lawyers completely. While it also threatens lawyers’ jobs, the exponential increase in the capacity of machines to transmit, store, and process data presents the opportunity for lawyers to use these services to provide better, cheaper, or faster legal representation to clients. By way of familiar example, instead of determining …


Astonishingly Excellent Success Or Sad! Loser! Failure: Why President Trump’S Legal Narratives “Win” With Some Audiences And “Lose” With Others, Cathren Page Jan 2018

Astonishingly Excellent Success Or Sad! Loser! Failure: Why President Trump’S Legal Narratives “Win” With Some Audiences And “Lose” With Others, Cathren Page

Articles

While President Trump is often called a liar and various commentators have analyzed his rhetorical approach, little has been said about storytelling's role in his wins and losses. Trump’s narratives about legal issues enjoy wild success with his supporters, amuse some critics, and terrify others. Thus far into his presidency, his legal narratives have often failed with courts. With nearly sixty-three million American voters backing Trump, scholars and students of persuasion cannot ignore his successes. However, with over sixty-five million Americans voting against him and various court’s ruling against him, scholars and students of persuasion also cannot ignore his failures. …


Stranger Than Fiction: How Lawyers Can Accurately And Realistically Tell A True Story By Using Fiction Writers’ Techniques That Make Fiction Seem More Realistic Than Reality, Cathren Page Jan 2018

Stranger Than Fiction: How Lawyers Can Accurately And Realistically Tell A True Story By Using Fiction Writers’ Techniques That Make Fiction Seem More Realistic Than Reality, Cathren Page

Articles

This Article differs from other articles on related topics in that it focuses broadly on including specific details to establish an overall sense of reality. In contrast, in his article, This is Not the Whole Truth, Professor Steve Johansen discusses those details that can ethically be omitted; this Article, however, is about which select details to include rather than to omit. Although some articles have focused on details regarding specific objects, such as an obtuse object or an endowed object, this Article covers a wider category of details that applies throughout the narrative as opposed to details that surface only …


Telling Tales The Transactional Lawyer As Storyteller, Karen J. Sneddon Jan 2018

Telling Tales The Transactional Lawyer As Storyteller, Karen J. Sneddon

Articles

Transactional lawyers are storytellers, although they may not think of themselves as such. They work with provisions and clauses to build trans-actional documents that encapsulate the wishes, hopes, and fears of the transacting parties to promote, guide, and control the relationship of those parties. Narratology, the theory of narrative, can provide a resource to transactional lawyers that facilitates the construction of a wide range of transactional documents, which can themselves be considered narratives.

The form documents that transactional lawyers use as starting points in the drafting process are already rife with narrative characteristics; they are embedded with characters and plots, …


Tenure Redux, Jacqueline D. Lipton Jan 2018

Tenure Redux, Jacqueline D. Lipton

Articles

This essay is a reflection on some of the questions that arose during the author's tenure process that are likely pertinent to others on the tenure track today particularly with respect to questions about writing style in tenure pieces, and on whether early scholars should focus on general law reviews or specialty journals--depending on their areas of expertise--or a combination of both. It also reflects on choice of subject matter for tenure work, and whether some of that work may or may not stand the test of time, as well as on differences between the U.S. legal scholarship process and …


Freedom In Structure: Helping Foreign-Trained And International Graduate Students Develop Thesis Statements By Component, Elizabeth R. Baldwin Jan 2018

Freedom In Structure: Helping Foreign-Trained And International Graduate Students Develop Thesis Statements By Component, Elizabeth R. Baldwin

Articles

This article explains how foreign-trained and international graduate students can use a thesis development template to find and articulate narrow, novel, non-obvious, and useful claims for their final, academic papers in law. These students, in particular, are in need of clear direction and methods for crafting well-developed claims (or thesis statements), given that many are non-native speakers of English who trained in different legal and educational systems with different expectations about what constitutes good academic writing—in any genre, let alone law. Through the use of a thesis development template (adapted from writing advice by Joseph M. Williams and Eugene Volokh), …