Human Rights Writing Competition for Law Students and Recent Grads: Conference on Violence Against Women

by Yvette Brown 3. July 2013 10:10


Human Rights Writing Competition for Law Students & Recent Grads

Conference on Violence Against Women—Boston, MA

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 04:22 PM PDT

"The Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) at Northeastern University School of Law announces a writing competition for current JD Students and 2012 and 2013 JD graduates in the United States. The organizers are looking for papers that address human rights issues or human rights-based approaches to economic and social justice. Papers addressing domestic violence from a human rights perspective will receive special consideration within this competition. The winner of the writing competition will receive $500, as well as an invitation to attend the PHRGE 2013 Institute in Boston, MA, Nov. 7-8, 2013. By attending this conference, the winner will have the opportunity to present his or her paper to other institute participants. The 2013 PHRGE Institute is co-sponsored by the Due Diligence Project and will explore states obligations to end violence against women. For details see PHRGE Student Writing Competition Announcement."

From:  Legal Scholarship Blog

Justice Kagan: Master of the Topic Sentence

by Yvette Brown 1. July 2013 14:55


“She is a master of the topic sentence (“A trip back in time begins to show why”) and the stylish dig (“wrong, wrong, and wrong again”). Yet what puts her in a class by herself is her combination of down-to-earth writing and the ingredients essential to influential opinions: conceptual insight, penetrating legal analysis and argumentative verve.”

For more highlights of Justice Kagan’s writing style see The Talented Justice Kagan by Lincoln Caplan in the New York Times.   

To add more style and grace to your own prose or to join the ranks of the Masters of the Topic Sentence consult one of the many writing resources PSL Law Library provides.

For example, Anne Enquist and Laurel Currie Oates provide helpful tips and advice on the art of writing a good topic sentence in Just Writing : Grammar, Punctuation, And Style For The Legal Writer.

Topic Sentence Example From Just Writing:

“The court extended these protections in Rosenbloom, holding that plaintiffs in a defamation action would have to prove actual malice if the published statements were of public or general interest.  Rosenbloom v. Metromendia, 403 U.S. 29 (1971).”

As Enquist and Oates note, the above topic sentence “introduces the point the paragraph will make.”  It also “demonstrates an excellent method for writing topic sentences that introduce a new case:  It begins with a transition that relates the point from the new case to the previous discussion and then follows with a paraphrase of the holding."

AWR Need a Gentle Nudge?

by Yvette Brown 24. June 2013 17:33


Creative juices done gone bone dry!  Check out Writer's Block / Writer's Anxiety

AWR Research Blues getting you down, email your AWR Librarian Liaison for a research consultation.  If your hectic schedule is just too hectic to schedule an appointment don’t sweat it.  Just stop by the Legal Research Help Desk before or after classes.  

Got a burning AWR research question at midnight that just can’t wait?  The AWR Papers - Research and Resources guide is the go to place for research tips.

Wishing for a published AWR.  Well, click over to and see a Phoenix School of Law AWR -- Can Shame Be Therapeutic? .

Memory a tad bit foggy about grammar or punctuation rules?  Consult the index in Bryan Garner, The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style.  Style manuals set the “standards” for writing.  The manuals answer questions about punctuation, word usage, capitalization, italics, underling, document design, plurals, possessives, and other writing conventions.  Multiple copies of The Redbook are available at the Circulation Desk.

Last but not least, if editing is not your forte use the Student Self-Editing Checklist for Law School Papers, Notes and Comments.

Good luck researching and writing!

Motion Tip: Rely on Binding Authority if Possible

by Yvette Brown 18. June 2013 10:54


“The trial court is at the bottom of the hierarchy of authority.  Its decisions are likely constrained by both an intermediate appellate court and a high court.  A state court deciding an issue of federal law will also have United States Supreme Court authority constraining its decision.  Because the trial court is at the bottom of the pecking order, it will care most about binding authority.  Arguments based on persuasive authority and policy arguments are unlikely to persuade the trial judge except on issues of first impression.   If you are trying to preserve an issue for appeal, you may need to cite to persuasive authority or rely on policy arguments.  Otherwise, stick to telling the trial court what its bosses have to say on the issue.”  [Source: Kamela Bridges and Wayne Schiess, Writing for Litigation]

PSL Law Library collection contains a wealth of legal writing tips.  For more tips consult Writing for Litigation or any of the PSL Law Library’s legal writing books.


Here Is An Opportunity to Publish Your AWR or Write a Paper for Publication

by Yvette Brown 2. May 2013 18:15

Unlock your creative and artistic juices!  The West Virginia University Festival of Ideas in conjunction with the West Virginia University College of Law invites law students to submit abstracts for a student poster session.   The conference is titled "Business and Human Rights: Moving Forward, Looking Back." 

This is a unique opportunity to present and display your AWR thesis and conclusion succinctly and creatively on a large poster board.  Usually, conference poster sessions are held in a conference room or exhibit hall.  The posters are displayed and attendees browse the various poster displays.  The session enables scholars to showcase their research and answer questions about their work. 

The top three poster winners will present in a special session and will be invited to convert their posters into papers for potential publication.  Last but definitely not least, the first, second, and third place poster winners will receive a monetary prize.

For more information and deadlines, please consult: "Business and Human Rights: Moving Forward, Looking Back: Call for Papers." 

If you have any questions regarding this conference or this call for papers, please e-mail:

Important Dates:

Paper Submission Deadline: June 1, 2013

Notification of Acceptance of a Paper: June 30, 2013

Poster Submission Deadline: August 15, 2013

Conference Dates: September 23 – 24, 2013

Creating a Poster Tips: (how to video)  (free poster templates)



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