I’m so pleased to introduce Volume 27 of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, a peer-reviewed journal about the theory, substance, and pedagogy of legal writing.
Volume 27 begins with four articles that exemplify the richness and breadth of the legal writing discipline. In the first article, Recovering Grammar, Professor Rachel Goldberg reclaims grammar as a rhetorical tool. She encourages legal writing professors to think of teaching grammar as more than “a problem to be solved” and to embrace an approach that critically examines grammar as a contextual and ideological phenomenon. Next, in Unbelievable: How Narrative Can Help Vulnerable Narrators Overcome Perceived Unreliability in the Legal System, Professor Cathren Page applies narrative theory to fictional and legal examples of vulnerable narrators. Professor Page’s article considers how advocates might craft narratives that allow vulnerable narrators to overcome their audiences’ biases and disbelief. The article is a stirring addition to the storytelling literature. Third, in Writing for the Digital Reader, Professor Joe Rosenberg describes the digital reality of modern practice. He explores how our brains process digital writing—and how the judges and lawyers who read our writing will process it—and addresses implications for how best to write for the medium.
Finally among the articles in Volume 27, Legal Writing is honored to publish a special tribute to two pillars of the legal writing discipline. The article Into the Spotlight: Ralph Brill features a condensed and lightly edited interview between Mary Lawrence and Ralph Brill, based on a series of transcripts. This interview is the third of Professor Lawrence’s legal writing history trilogy. The first two interviews were published in Legal Writing in 2003 and 2005, respectively. Despite completing her interviews with Professor Brill around 2008, Professor Lawrence was unable to complete the final feature due to declining health. Professor Karin Mika has completed the project to honor the legacies of Professors Lawrence and Brill. The editorial board is delighted to publish the final entry in Professor Lawrence’s trilogy in this volume.
Volume 27 also features essays on a range of topics. This year, the editorial board opted to issue an open call for essays with no topical limits. Rather, we wanted to know what’s on your mind. Accordingly, the essays in this volume reflect the depth and range of discussions in our community, from the challenges of teaching and lawyering in the “post-pandemic” “new normal,” to amplifying diverse voices in the classroom. I encourage you to read each essay and consider how you can use the authors’ ideas to take care of yourselves while continuing to care for our students.
Finally, Legal Writing continues its tradition of publishing reviews of recently published books of interest to the legal writing community. First, Professor Maureen R. Van Neste reviews Law Student Professional Development and Formation: Bridging Law School, Student, and Employer Goals, which will be of high interest for those who are considering the implementation of ABA Standard 303 regarding professional identify formation. Next, Professor Andrew Martineau reviews the recently published eighth edition of the classic research text, Basic Legal Research.
Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
Mary S. Lawrence, An Interview with Marjorie Rombauer, 9 Legal Writing 19 (2003).
Mary S. Lawrence, The Legal Writing Institute—The Beginning: Extraordinary Vision, Extraordinary Accomplishment, 11 Legal Writing 213 (2005) (interviewing Laurel Currie Oates and J. Christopher Rideout).