Professor Robert Kahn, Lawyering Skills
I just got back from the Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference in toasty warm Palm Desert California. Professors Julie Oseid, Mitchell Gordon and Lindsey Blanchard attended as well. At the conference Professor Oseid gave a very well attended presentation titled, “American Presidents as Writing Heroes” in which she highlighted the special skills of five presidents known as great writers: Thomas Jefferson (use of metaphor), James Madison (ability to anticipate all arguments), Abraham Lincoln (brevity), Ulysses Grant (clarity) and Teddy Roosevelt (passion). After she spoke colleagues lined up to continue the discussion with her.
The conference, which drew more than 500 people from across the country, included sessions on legal rhetoric, incorporating social justice themes into legal writing classes, legal research, teaching legal skills to students from other legal cultures, and how to prepare students for the legal job market. The panels often led to intense discussions among us.
I was also able take advantage of the setting and do some hiking in the San Jacinto Mountains, which reminded me of the importance when writing (or hiking) of following a road map: