The Evidence Prof Blog Arrives

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The Evidence Prof Blog is a new blog in the Law Professor Blogs Network. I only discovered them last Friday, though the blog has been up since October 2.

They recently posted regarding Rhoades v. Avon Products, Inc., case no. 05-56047 (9th Cir. Oct. 15, 2007), which applied Federal Rule of Evidence 408 in a trademark declaratory relief action. Issue: Whether a letter from counsel proposing settlement of a trademark dispute (and containing threats of litigation absent settlement) can be admitted to establish that a plaintiff seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of the sender’s trademark has the requisite “real and reasonable apprehension that it would be subject to liability” if it continued to manufacture its product. Check ’em out.

By the way, I discovered Evidence Prof Blog by following one of the links in the feed in the right sidebar of this blog titled “Blogosphere Coverage of he Ninth Circuit.”  It pays to check some of those posts out once in a while.

A Call to Law Professors and Those Who Know Them

Prawfsblawg posts Are you now or have you ever been a member of a debate team?  It is a call for participation by law professors in a worthwhile project.  (For that reason, this post incorporates almost the entirety of the linked post.  I’m sure Prawfsblawg won’t mind if it helps get the word out, but I’ll feel less guilty about it if you click the link to the Prawfsblawg post.)

Jim Speta , a law professor at Northwestern, is trying to identify law professors who debated in high school or college.  He’s seeking to make the case that debate provides skills and interest that lead students to consider law school, in order to support the expansion of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues, which has been bringing debate back to urban high schools.

Professor Speta can be reached by e-mail at j-speta@northwestern.edu.When I was a debater in high school, I already had the U.S. Naval Academy and at least a 5-year military commitment firmly in my sights.  I was virtually the only competitor I knew — not just from my school, but from any school — that didn’t want to become a lawyer.  I wasn’t anti-law.  I was just headed in another direction.Whether my debating colleagues were already interested in law and  joined the debate team to gain lawyering skills or gained their interest in the law through their debating experiences, I couldn’t tell you.  Probably a little of both.But the answer to this “chicken or the egg” question doesn’t matter.  Whether the renewal of debate programs will foster an interest in the law or only draw students already interested in it, the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues seems like a good idea to me.  Students learn a great deal from debate and other forms of public speaking.

Published Order Granting Extension of Time for Government to File Brief in Death Penalty Case

Professor Martin at California Appellate Report serves up some comments, with his usual good humor, on a Ninth Circuit order granting the government more time to file a brief in a death penalty appeal.  Yes, even an order in a death penalty case can be humorously analyzed, and without violating good taste.

“. . . up with which I will not put.”

That’s the end of a sentence allegedly uttered by Winston Churchill to demonstrate the absurdity of a grammar “rule” we’ve all heard.  There are several variations attributed to Churchill, but the one I like best is at Thinkexist.com: “The rule which forbids ending a sentence with a preposition is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.”

Professor Wayne Scheiss refers to this as a “mythical rule” and has a good post about it at legalwriting.net, which demonstrates how you can improve your writing by ignoring the rule.

I confess I did not know this rule was mythical (I had it drilled into me by my high school English teacher), and most of the time I think the “with which” construction can sound OK.  But knowing that others find it annoying, I will probably avoid it in the future.  Plus, as some of the commenters at the post point out, one can follow the rule and still avoid stilted sentences by exercising a little creativity.

It’s worth looking into.  (See, that sounds a lot better than “It’s a post into which it is worthy to look,” doesn’t it?)

The Last Law Professor without a Blog?

University of Colorado Law School Professor Paul Campos had a piece in our local paper yesterday morning in which he thought out loud about starting a blog.  Confessing that he is “attracted to the prospect of being the last law professor in America without one,” he gives a tongue-in-cheek pro vs. con analysis about starting one.

Among writers in general, and bloggers in particular, alcohol and narcissism go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Psychologists define narcissistic personality disorder as involving a grandiose sense of self-importance, and an overwhelming need for the constant attention and admiration.

What better example of this can there be than bloggers obsessed with how many “hits” their posts are eliciting, or how often they’re mentioned on the Internet, and who take pride in drawing attention to themselves by being aggressively obnoxious?

Geez, I hope he’s not talking about me.  I do check my bog traffic regularly, especially since I’ve been at this for less than two months.  But narcissistic?

Blogs pose special dangers for academics. The whole point of academic life is to offer those who live it the time to spend months and years becoming expert about, and reflecting upon, complex issues, before committing thoughts on such matters to print.

The same can’t be said for the chardonnay-fueled rant posted at 3 in the morning, which may inadvertently tell your readers far more than they wish to know about your living-room decor, your psycho-sexual neuroses and your views on “American Idol.”

I promise you’ll never read about these things on this blog.  I do occasionally post at 3 in the morning.  But after a Bud Light, not chardonnay.

But he does mention by name some blogging academics he respects.  And if he is indeed the last law professor in America without a blog, my “Blogs by Law Profs” blogroll is way too short.

Well, that’s it for this post. It’s 3 a.m. and I’ve still got to check how many “hits” my blog got today.

UPDATE (6/28/07): There are several law professor blogs consolidated at Law Professor Blogs. I’ll try to add them to my blogroll over the weekend.