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Legal Communication and Research Faculty Complete a Summer of Scholarship

Posted on Tuesday 8/28/2018

Led by Director of Legal Communication and Research (LCR) Ian Gallacher, members of the College's LCR faculty were active during late spring and summer with a variety of scholarly activities, including research and publishing, speaking at conferences, and teaching at partner universities. 

"We are lucky at the College of Law to have an extraordinary group of LCR professors engaged in interesting and relevant scholarship," says Gallacher. "Their recent accomplishments are in addition to their extensive teaching obligations and their service activities, including supervising student-written notes and comments for the College's journals. My hope is that this coming year will be even more productive."

In spring, Professor Aliza Milner presented "Eight Limbs and Three Branches: Yoga and Teaching Law" at the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference in Colorado. “What does practicing yoga mean for teaching law?" asked Milner. She discussed principles of teaching law and yoga, as well as integrating yoga into the classroom. The presentation was part of her deeper study into contemplative practices—including meditation—in legal study and practice.

"Professor Milner has completed 200 hours of training and is now a certified yoga instructor," explains Gallacher. "Yoga is integral to her scholarship and will, I hope, become an important part of her teaching and other activities at Syracuse." During summer, Milner became an Associate Editor of Legal Communication & Rhetoric: The Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and, as a member of the JDinteractive online law degree program faculty, she has been building an online version of the College’s civil procedures class with Professor Margaret Harding.  

In early June, Professor Elizabeth August spoke at Emory Law School’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice biennial conference on "Teaching Transactional Law and Skills." Her timely presentation was called, “Does Donald Trump Really Have the Best Words: Using the Peggy Peterson/David Denison Confidentiality Agreement to Teach the Realities of Drafting in Practice.”

Also during summer, Professor Shannon Gardner and Professor Emily Brown taught a two-week course at University of Rome Tor Vergata, one of the largest public universities in Italy. They taught Introduction to the American Legal System and Introduction to American Legal Research and Writing to 34 students, both practicing attorneys and law students. "Some of the students showed interest in pursuing an LL.M. degree in the United States," observes Gallacher. "And Professor Gardner is speaking with Carolina Academic Press about writing an introduction for foreign students about studying law in the US."

In addition to teaching with Gardner, Brown spoke at the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) conference in Milwaukee, WI, on "Climate Comments: Leaders of Tomorrow Impacting Climate Change Today," which expands on a research project funded by a University Campus as a Laboratory for Sustainability grant. Brown arranged for Milwaukee mayor, the Hon. Tom Barrett, to address attendees. "Mayor Barrett spent the first few minutes praising the work of Professor Brown to the assembled room of legal writing teachers from around the country," adds Gallacher. Brown also attended a week-long training at the Summer Institute for Technology and has begun to implement in the classroom many of the technologies she was introduced to. 

Continuing the LCR publishing record, Professor Richard Risman is working with West Publishing and looking to publish a book with the working title American Legal Writing and Rhetoric: A Direct Approach. He also has been invited by organizers of the 13th Global Legal Skills Conference to chair a panel at their conference in Melbourne, Australia. "This is a significant recognition of Professor Risman’s work in this area, and together with the work of professors Gardner and Brown, it allows us to demonstrate the skill and experience of our LCR faculty to prospective LL.M. students," observes Gallacher.

In May 2018, Professor Deborah O’Malley was awarded an SU Diversity and Inclusion Grant of $5,000. Her project—"SU College of Law Student Leader Transformative Dialogue"—will engage up to 15 student leaders in a dialogue group with their peers to help foster recognition and understanding of individual and group differences. "Thanks to this grant, Professor O'Malley was able to engage a pair of facilitators from InterFaith Works to lead the dialogue group, which will be launched this fall," says Gallacher. 

Gallacher adds that O’Malley submitted an application to the University's Office of Research Integrity and Protections to study the impact of this dialogue on the experience of law students. "Specifically, she aims to study whether intergroup dialogue can be an effective tool for helping law students develop key lawyering skills, particularly compassion, empathy, and an ability to recognize and appreciate multiple perspectives," says Gallacher.

For his part, Gallacher was awarded the LWI’s and the Association of Legal Writing Directors’ Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing and was recognized for 10 years' service to Legal Communication & Rhetoric. "I also have been asked to serve on the selection committee for the Blackwell Award, and I continue to serve on the selection committee for the Boyd School of Law Penny Pether Award for Law and Language Scholarship."

Additionally, Gallacher participated in the Wolters Kluwer Leading Edge conference; presented "Words, Words, Words: A Preliminary Exploration of the Relationship Between Words and Law" at the LWI conference; and placed two articles, one in the Capital Law Review ("My Grandmother was Mrs. Palsgraf: Ways to Rethink Legal Education to Help Students Become Lawyers Rather Than Just Thinking Like Them") and the other in Legal Communication & Rhetoric ("Four Finger Exercises: Practicing the Violin for Legal Writers").