As we mentioned in our previous post a few days ago, we have been attending the first annual Margaret Montoya Legal Scholarship Retreat at “Campo Sano” in a rural part of Volusia County, Florida. The WiFi connection was pretty bad out there, so we decided to disconnect from the Internet during our visit to Campo Sano. In this post, we will share three new things/insights that we learned from Professor Margaret Montoya during the retreat:
- Lawyers, judges, and law professors are storytellers, so what stories do you want to tell? When a lawyer argues a case, or when a judge decides a case, or when a law professor writes a scholarly paper, they all usually begin by telling a story, such as the facts of the case under discussion. There are many types of stories and many ways of telling the same story. Good legal scholars are not only good storytellers; they are also able to find deeper meaning and connections between law and these stories.
- Always ask yourself ahead of time, Who are you writing for? If you are a pre-tenure law professor, one of your audiences is going to be your tenure committee! How much this brute fact constrains the type of scholarship you want to engage in or the types of stories you want to tell may vary from university to university, but it’s always a good idea to consider ahead of time the scholarly reputation you want to develop.
- Who did you leave out of your footnotes or end notes? In legal scholarship, who you don’t cite says as much about your scholarship as who is cited in your work. Whatever the specific legal field you are writing in, it is essential to acknowledge those who came before you …