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February 2007
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Logic for law students

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once said, “"The life of the law has not been logic, but experience.” Nevertheless, sound logic never hurt a legal argument. So I commend Logic for Law Students: How to Think Like a Lawyer. One of the authors is Judge Ruggero Aldisert, author Logic for Lawyers, which is a classic. The other two authors are Judge Aldisert’s colleagues at the U.S. Third Circuit, Judges Third Circuit law clerks Stephen Clowney and Jeremy Peterson. Here’s the abstract of their article:

Law schools no longer teach logic. In the authors’ view this is tragic, given that the fundamental principles of logic continue to undergird the law and guide the thinking of judges. In an effort to reverse the trend, this essay explains the core principles of logic and how they apply in the law school classroom. The manuscript begins by examining the basics of the deductive syllogisms and then turns to inductive generalizations and the uses and abuses of analogies. The authors claim that students who master the basics of logic laid out in this article will be better lawyers and will feel more comfortable when they find themselves presenting arguments to judges and juries.

A giant tip of the huge sombrero to Sue Liemer for this post.

JALWD Fall 2006 is on line

The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors is the most cutting-edge legal-writing journal I’ve ever seen. It’s even better than Scribes, and that’s saying a lot.

I mention this because yesterday, ALWD uploaded the entire Fall 2006 issue on its web site. The whole shebang, a 207-page, 2.5-meg PDF, is one click away. The theme is rhetoric and persuasion; the table of contents is here.

If you want to contribute an article to the Fall 2008 issue, here’s your chance. The call for articles just came out.1 The theme for the next issue is “beyond memos and briefs.” If you have something to say on that topic, and if you’d like to say it in the premier legal-writing journal, you have until September 15, 2007 to submit your manuscript.
1 Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.