Kurt X. Metzmeier's blog

Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit: Handouts and Additional Information

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On Tuesday, September 1, I once again had an enjoyable opportunity to present for the 2L & 3L Academic Success Program. The program was on "Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit." If you attended and want to see a copy of the presentation slides and hand-outs, skip to the bottom. If you couldn't make you are also welcome to look at the handouts. 

The one-hour session began by discussing the student handbook section that sets out the writing requirement, noting its importance as a core requirement of a professional degree.  Then I provided general advice on picking a topic, with some emphasis on library resources like subject-specific legal newsletters, ProfBlogs, and general legal news sources that may helpful in generating topics. Researching the policy aspects of legal issues that come up in seminar papers was briefly discussed, leading next to a treatment of issues involved in writing of a research paper.  Issues discussed included creating outlines, constructing a thesis, resolving common style and grammar issues, proofreading, and avoiding plagiarism by the proper use of quotation and citation.  Given the limited time to discuss these matters, liberal mention was given to resources like Eugene Volokh’s Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, and Seminar Papers, and the collection of other legal writing books on reserve in the law library, as well is in the Academic Success Office's library.

The handouts are here:

  • Powerpoint Slides (see below)
  • Examples of UofL Law Review Student Notes with One Example Outlined (see below)

If you want more assistance, I strongly urge you to go to a September 15th program on Bloomberg Law by Pam Morgan on accessing BL (she will help you get an account & password) and on the use of BNA Bloomberg legal newsletters—an excellent source for researching cutting-edge legal issues. Watch the Docket for specific time and place. (I'll post here when I know those deatils).

If you have any questions or want follow-up assistance don't hesitate to come by the law library or to email me any questions to kurt.metzmeier@louisville.edu.

Picking a Student Note Topic

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Due to an illness, I was unable to offer a presentation on Finding a Student Note Topic at the University of Louisville Law Review orientation. I apologize for this. I regret it myself; I always enjoying doing it and meeting the new members. In order to substitute for the program in small measure, I have attached the following documents below. In addtion, I hope to be able to add a video version of the presentation if I can work out the technical details. 

While I'm not available much in June, in July I'll be back full time (8-5 M-Th). Please call (852-6082) or email (kurt.metzmeier@louisville.edu) if you have any questions on picking or researching your topic.

 

 

Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit--Spring 2014

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Today, Wednesday January 15, I once again had an enjoyable opportunity to present for the 2L & 3L Academic Success Program. The program was on "Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit." If you attended and want to see a copy of the presentation slides and handouts, skip to the bottom. If you couldn't make you are also welcome to look at the handouts. 

IThe one-hour session began by discussing the student handbook section that sets out the writing requirement, noting its importance as a core requirement of a professional degree.  Then I provided general advice on picking a topic, with some emphasis on library resources like subject-specific legal newsletters, ProfBlogs, and general legal news sources that may helpful in generating topics. Researching the policy aspects of legal issues that come up in seminar papers was briefly discussed, leading next to a treatment of issues involved in writing of a research paper.  Issues discussed incuded creating outlines, constructing a thesis, resolving common style and grammar issues, proofreading, and avoiding plagiarism by the proper use of quotation and citation.  Given the limited time to discuss these matters, liberal mention was given to resources like Eugene Volokh’s Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, and Seminar Papers, and the collection of other legal writing books on reserve in the law library, as well is in the Academic Success Office's library.

The handouts are here:

If you have any questions are want follow up assistance don't hesitate to come by the law library or to email me any questions to kurt.metzmeier@louisville.edu.

Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit

author

On Tuesday, I had an enjoyable opportunity to present for the 2L & 3L Academic Success Program. The program was on "Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit."

 The one-hour session began by discussing the student handbook section that sets out the writing requirement, noting its importance as a core requirement of a professional degree.  Then I provided general advice on picking a topic, with some emphasis on library resources like subject-specific legal newsletters, ProfBlogs, and general legal news sources that may helpful in generating topics. Researching the policy aspects of legal issues that come up in seminar papers was briefly discussed, leading next to a treatment of issues involved in writing of a research paper.  Issues discussed incuded creating outlines, constructing a thesis, resolving common style and grammar issues, proofreading, and avoiding plagiarism by the proper use of quotation and citation.  Given the limited time to discuss these matters, liberal mention was given to resources like Eugene Volokh’s Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, and Seminar Papers, and the collection of other legal writing books on reserve in the law library, as well is in the Academic Success Office's library.

 

The program will be given again the spring, but I'm attaching the outline and some of the handouts:

 

The Supreme Court and el Dia de los Muertos

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Last year I took a class at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft  on creating shrines for el dia de los muertos, traditionally celebrated November 2 and 3 in Mexico and parts of the U.S.  The class was taught by my friend Suzanne Martino, a gifted assemblage artist.  I opted for whimsy over sentiment, celebrating the beloved White Castle on Bardstown Road whose closing in 1988 put a headstone on my and many of my friends' (extended) youth and slacker existence. 

Suzanne has since returned to Colorado, but as a remembrance (and because assemblage is so fun), I decided to construct another shrine for 2009.  This time I focused on an area of both professional and personal interest, the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Day of the Dead Shrine for Deceased Justices was first conceived to honor the nine dead men (the host of women justices—all three of them—are still living) who I would nominate to the Supreme Court of the Dead.  However, as my plans germinated an image of Justice Roger Taney seated in ermine robes intruded into my thoughts, demanding that I create an Infernal Court to balance the eminent nine above it.  An artist is only a subject of his creations, so I obliged, and constructed a diptych of two constrasting visions of Justice.

The Blessed Nine include John Marshall Harlan, Thurgood Marshall, William Brennan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Harry Blackmun, Benjamin Curtis, Robert Jackson, John Marshall, and is anchored (of course) by Louis D. Brandeis.  The selection had some clear standouts (Brandeis, J. Marshall, Holmes, Jackson), but I acknowledge that some are quirky picks; Curtis, a Dred Scott dissenter, is there in order to keep an eye on the diabolical Taney.

The composition of the Lower Court is also somewhat personal, made up of Taney, author of the Dred Scott opinion that not only denied blacks their humanity, but also served as the intellectual first shot of the Civil War, as well as all of the Four Horsemen—James McReynolds, George Sutherland, Willis van Devanter, and Pierce Butler—whose conservative philosophy attempted to hold back workers rights, consumer regulation, and the New Deal. They may have been nice men (van Devanter likely was, McReynolds--a racist, anti-Semite and misanthrope--was certainly not), but their jurisprudence was not to my liberal liking and I’m the guy with the paintbrush, Alene’s Tacky glue and Exacto knife.  The makeup of this court is only five justices--leaving it in the hell of a permanent minority in dissent.

A few of the photos are displayed here; for other more detailed shots see my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kentuckyhistory/sets/72157622554185727/

GeoCities, Dead at 15

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Beloved early Internet icon GeoCities died today at the age of 15, slowly smothered by its adoptive parent Yahoo. Web pioneers fondly remember its rich neighborhoods, from the geeky confines of SiliconValley and Area51 to the bohemian districts of Soho, SouthBeach and SunsetCity.  There they learned the power and joy of personal publishing, even if it only concerned the question of whether Abe Vigoda was dead or alive, or the relative cuteness of their and their friend's cats.  It was preceded in death by the HMTL 1.0 Stylesheet, the blink tag and the dancing baby animated gif (shown on the right).  It is survived by hundreds of amateur webmasters, thousands of web-bloggers, Facebookers and Twitterers, and the enduring the idea of Internet freedom.

I myself never had a GeoCities page, having had access to a variety of university webspaces since I first learned to code HTML way back in 1995, but I fondly remember many pioneer sites hosted there.  For typical tributes see: The End Of Geocities – A Farewell! and So long, GeoCities.

New British Supreme Court Sworn In

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Marking one of the more dramatic reforms in the British legal system, the new Supreme Court was sworn in yesterday.  Replacing the Law Lords on their ridiculously high benches, the new high court is more eye level but no less grand in gold trimmed robes and their £60 million new courtroom in the old Middlesex Guildhall.  The establishment of the new court fulfilled a long delayed Labour Party promise, although critics claim it was "dreamed up over a glass of whisky" by Tony Blair to replace the old Lord Chancellor as high court judge with Lord Falconer, Blair's old roommate. Nonetheless, it establishes more independence in the court system in a nation with fewer formal checks-and-balances than any other common law nation.

There is a good article in the Online Daily Mail with all the details and photos of the new judges and their new digs.

Photo: Online Daily Mail

The Brandeis Stamp is Almost Out! September 22!

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On September 22, the United States Postal Service will release a series of four new postage stamps commemmorating great United States Supreme Court Justices, including one featuring our namesake Louis D. Brandeis.  The other honorees are William Brennan,  Felix Frankfurter, and Joseph Story.  A story in Legal Times discusses the offering and notes that Thurgood Marshall's son will be at the dedication, along with Chief Justice John Roberts.  The selection is a bit odd (three 20th c. justices matched with the very 19th c. Joseph Story).  The USPS website describes the collection, and gives bios documenting the prominence of each of the justices, but isn't completely clear on why why these four were picked.

Despite the existence of stamps issued for truckloads of presidents--even such nonentities as Millard Fillmore & John Tyler, both honored, perhaps ironically, in 1938--few Supreme Court justices have had the distinction of being memorialized on small, lickable pieces of gummed paper.  John Marshall (1894) was the first to travel the mails, followed many years later by Harlan Fiske Stone (1948), John Jay (1958), Charles Evans Hughes (1962) and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1968).  Hugo L. Black's mug (1986) graced packages of New Wave UK imports in the 1980s and the visage of Earl Warren (1992) was affixed to love letters traveling to wannabe brides in the former Soviet republics. Thurgood Marshall (2003) was likely the first self-adhesively stamped justice. Together, they numbered only eight Supreme Court related stamps for the first 200 years of the republic.*  (And this counts John Jay, who is  more known as a diplomat than for his brief time on the Court).

Let's hope this SCOTUS stamp trend continues until the third branch (including even its lesser lights) is as well represented as the more dangerous branches, and to the day that I can put a Sherman Minton on my outgoing eBay package alongside a Warren G. Harding. That would, indeed, be a good Constitution Day present.

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* This accounting, for what it is worth, based on Wikipedia, "List of people on stamps of the United States," viewed Sept. 17, 2009.

 

 

 

 

Blog tip: Circuit Splits

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I’ve been so busy lately with dealing with the law library flood, prepping for my legal research class, and winding up some writing projects, I’ve been a little blank on blog topics.  However, a discussion of the federal court system in my LR class today recalled a really cool (to law geeks at least) blog I discovered this summer, Circuit Splits <splitcircuits.blogspot.com>. Maintained by Professor A. Benjamin Spencer of the Washington & Lee University Law School, it is a great resource for generating ideas for law review pieces, law review student notes, and bar association magazine articles. I've also mined it for examples to use in the classroom.  I can also imagine  SCOTUS watchers seeking to handicap the Supreme Court's selection for cert based on its data.

Spencer, a Civil Procedure specialist, also authors the Federal Civil Practice Bulletin <http://federalcivilpracticebulletin.blogspot.com>.  

 

Photo from Professor Spencer's Official W&L bio.

Sotomayor Hearings Begin Today

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Hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee begin today.  The committee will decide whether to recommend that the full Senate confirm President Obama's nomination of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the vacant seat that David Souter held prior to his retirement at the end of the Court's business in June.  They will be televised in their entirety on C-SPAN.

C-Span also has an interesting poll on its website that covers the American public's general knowledge of the Court [Link to PDF].  A recent CBS Poll finds that 62% of Americans are undecided on the Sotomayor nomination; the C-Span poll gives some reasons why that might be the case.  C-SPAN found that 49% of American cannot name single Supreme Court justice.  Only half know that the court has nine justices and 59% couldn't name the first woman to the high court.  Regarding Sotomayor, 57% could not even name who Obama nominated.

The Founders tried to insulate the Supreme Court from the whims of the mob.  They have succeeded--the mob couldn't pick a justice out of a line-up if he or she was wearing robes and carrying a gavel!