Guidelines for Excellence in Law Reviews

400x400_fitbox-journal1In 2011, The Scrivener released the Scribes Guidelines for Excellence in Law Reviews written by Bryan A. Garner and Richard C. Wydick.

According to Garner & Wydick, every member of a law review should be required to buy and learn the current editions of these books:

Each edit suggested by a new member of the review should be supported by citation to one of those texts.

A law review office should have in its library current editions of the following books:

The guidelines mention that anyone wishing to become an editor of the law review should be able to certify that he or she has read at least three of the books listed above.

It is also advised to do the following:

  • Fret about the opener of each piece: an interesting lead that immediately predisposes readers to continue (be wary of stultifying “roadmaps”).
  • Insist on good, idiomatic English of the kind to be found in such publications as The New Yorker or The Economist and other first-rate nonfiction publications.
  • Delete every unnecessary paragraph, sentence, and word.
  • Footnote sensibly, not rabidly. Use your head — and repeal any “rule” that requires a footnote after every sentence.
  • As a tonic to your style, as a caution to your members, have everyone affiliated with your law review read Fred Rodell’s Goodbye to Law Reviews — Revisited, 48 Va. L. Rev. 279 (1962). While you’re at it, you should also read George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language,” 4 The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell 127 (1968) (and widely reprinted).

These are great guidelines for law review editors to become excellent editors. In addition to the above list of recommended reading, I would add William Zinsser’s On Writing Well and Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

The Incomparable Bob Weninger


In late November, we received news that Tech Law had lost a legend. Bob Weninger spent over 40 years shaping the minds of thousands of future lawyers.

I had the pleasure of meeting Bob in 2015 when I started at the Law Library. We became fast friends as I assisted him with publishing what would be his last full-length piece on the Spanish class action. He told me about the on-site research he did in Spain to understand Spain’s fairly recent adoption of the class action regime, an area that has increasing importance in a globalized economy.

When strategizing about the publication process, we discussed, in detail, the title of his article and how it should entice a 2L to select the article for publication. On one of his weekly visits, he mentioned a conversation with John Krahmer where John recommended tying the article to the VW emissions scandal, which was all over the news. Eureka! That was it! And the title of his article was born: The VW Diesel Emissions Scandal And The Spanish Class Action. 

He incorporated the VW scandal into the Spanish class action by taking a “law-in-action” approach. And the article was picked up by the Columbia Journal of European Law. Bob’s other work is regularly cited and has had a wonderful impact on the legal community. See recent citations here, here, here, and here.

His work will live on in our own archives and others and, will no doubt, continue to have an impact.

The incomparable.


The Law School will hold a memorial service on campus. Please share condolences and favorite stories here.

A Ziggy Stardust Reading List for Halloween

For the avid library lover who launched a thousand Halloween costumes, let’s pay tribute to David Bowie’s reading list.


David Bowie’s top must-read books


  1. The Age of American Unreason, Susan Jacoby (2008)
  2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (2007)
  3. The Coast of Utopia (trilogy), Tom Stoppard (2007)
  4. Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945, Jon Savage (2007)
  5. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters (2002)
  6. The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens (2001)
  7. Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, Lawrence Weschler (1997)
  8. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924, Orlando Figes (1997)
  9. The Insult, Rupert Thomson (1996)
  10. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon (1995)
  11. The Bird Artist, Howard Norman (1994)
  12. Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, Anatole Broyard (1993)
  13. Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post-Historical Perspective, Arthur C Danto (1992)
  14. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, Camille Paglia (1990)
  15. David Bomberg, Richard Cork (1988)
  16. Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of
  17. Freedom, Peter Guralnick (1986)
  18. The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin (1986)
  19. Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd (1985)
  20. Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Gerri Hirshey (1984)
  21. Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter (1984)
  22. Money, Martin Amis (1984)
  23. White Noise, Don DeLillo (1984)
  24. Flaubert’s Parrot, Julian Barnes (1984)
  25. The Life and Times of Little Richard, Charles White (1984)
  26. A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn (1980)
  27. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole (1980)
  28. Interviews with Francis Bacon, David Sylvester (1980)
  29. Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1980)
  30. Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess (1980)
  31. Raw, a “graphix magazine” (1980-91)
  32. Viz, magazine (1979 –)
  33. The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels (1979)
  34. Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz (1978)
  35. In Between the Sheets, Ian McEwan (1978)
  36. Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, ed Malcolm Cowley (1977)
  37. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976)
  38. Tales of Beatnik Glory, Ed Saunders (1975)
  39. Mystery Train, Greil Marcus (1975)
  40. Selected Poems, Frank O’Hara (1974)
  41. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, Otto Friedrich (1972)
  42. Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture, George Steiner (1971)
  43. Octobriana and the Russian Underground, Peter Sadecky (1971)
  44. The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, Charlie Gillett(1970)
  45. The Quest for Christa T, Christa Wolf (1968)
  46. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock, Nik Cohn (1968)
  47. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)
  48. Journey into the Whirlwind, Eugenia Ginzburg (1967)
  49. Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr (1966)
  50. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote (1965)
  51. City of Night, John Rechy (1965)
  52. Herzog, Saul Bellow (1964)
  53. Puckoon, Spike Milligan (1963)
  54. The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1963)
  55. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With the Sea, Yukio Mishima (1963)
  56. The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
  57. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1962)
  58. Inside the Whale and Other Essays, George Orwell (1962)
  59. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark (1961)
  60. Private Eye, magazine (1961 –)
  61. On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, Douglas Harding (1961)
  62. Silence: Lectures and Writing, John Cage (1961)
  63. Strange People, Frank Edwards (1961)
  64. The Divided Self, RD Laing (1960)
  65. All the Emperor’s Horses, David Kidd (1960)
  66. Billy Liar, Keith Waterhouse (1959)
  67. The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa (1958)
  68. On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
  69. The Hidden Persuaders, Vance Packard (1957)
  70. Room at the Top, John Braine (1957)
  71. A Grave for a Dolphin, Alberto Denti di Pirajno (1956)
  72. The Outsider, Colin Wilson (1956)
  73. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
  74. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell (1949)
  75. The Street, Ann Petry (1946)
  76. Black Boy, Richard Wright (1945)

The Importance of Legal Research Skills for Practice

Nearly all law schools are focusing on preparing “practice-ready” graduates. This approach to legal education was advanced in the 1990’s with the McCrate Report, and it has really taken hold within the last few years. A major part of preparing practice-ready grads is teaching effective, efficient legal research skills. For the past couple of years, survey after survey has shown the continued importance of legal research skills for practice.

In 2013, Steve Lastres, Director of Library & Knowledge Management at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, analyzed the results of a recent survey conducted by The Research Intelligence Group called the “New Attorney Research Methods Survey.” Survey respondents “included 190 young attorneys equally represented by large and small law firms across a variety of practice areas. Nearly forty percent of the respondents were 28 or younger, in practice for five or less years, and a quarter of the respondents were recent law school graduates from the class of 2011 or 2012.”

Key findings from the survey included the following:

  • Newer attorneys spend more than 30% of their time doing legal research
  • Approximately 50% of associates think legal research should be a larger part of the law school curriculum
  • Over 80% of associates use an extensive range of content from traditional primary law and secondary materials to News, Court Transcripts, Verdicts, Dockets, Public Records and more.
  • Legal Classification systems are rarely used (only 12% begin with a legal classification system)
  • Attorneys use free online research resources but spend most of their time, over 8 hours per week, using paid-for online research services.

Additionally in 2013, the Wall Street Journal blog posted the results of a focus-group study with legal employers where the results showed that employers are looking for expert researchers with people skills. According to this study, “[t]he focus-group participants said ideal job applicants have a strong work ethic, can work independently without excessive ‘hand holding,’ and would bring a positive attitude to the workplace.” The other important skill was the ability to research. 

“Employers, particularly those with more years in practice, rely on new attorneys to be research experts. The employers in [the] focus groups have high expectations when it comes to new hires’ research skills, i.e., ‘[t]hey should be able to adequately and effectively find everything that’s up to the minute.’” Susan Wawrose, What Do Legal Employers Want to See in New Graduates?: Using Focus Groups to Find Out, 39 Ohio N. U. L. Rev. 505 (2013).

The legal employers noted that “[b]eing a research expert also means knowing how to scour books, not just websites. ‘Statutes, treatises and encyclopedias, and desk books are the sources employers still use in paper form. For this reason, new attorneys may want to be familiar with these paper sources.’” Id.

Last but not least, BAR/BRI recently released the first of what it intends to be an annual survey on the “State of the Legal Field.” The objective is to “evaluate industry perceptions about the state of the legal field” and establish benchmarks related to student practice readiness, employment expectations, employment trends, and law degree return on investment. Faculty, law students, and practitioners were surveyed.

Key finding number 2 from the BAR/BRI report stated that “[f]aculty placed very little importance on research, with just 4 percent citing it as the most important skill for recent law school graduates. In contrast, 18 percent of attorneys named research the most important skill a new lawyer should possess.”

These surveys offer proof from practitioners that legal research is a necessary skill for practice.

*This post was originally published on the RIPS Law Librarian Blog.

Arthur Miller Articulates the Importance of Legal Research

Arthur R. Miller CBE is this nation’s leading scholar in the field of civil procedure and is co-author with the late Charles Wright of Federal Practice and Procedure, the legendary treatise in the field. Professors Miller and Wright are among the most-often cited and well-regarded law treatise writers today. Their multi-volume series is an essential reference for judges and lawyers.

Below, Arthur Miller articulates the importance of legal research for practice:

And here:

As you consider the importance of legal research, don’t forget the 4-step legal research strategy for effective and efficient results.

August 2017 Law Faculty Publications & News

Throughout August 2017, the Law Library received alerts for full-time TTU Law Faculty publications and news. Below is the compilation of daily alerts for August 1 to August 31, 2017.


1. Rishi Batra, Using the Terms Integrative and Distributive Bargaining in the Classroom: Time for Change?, 2017 J. DISP. RESOL. 29 (2017).

2. Gerry W. Beyer, Keeping Current-Probate, PROB. & PROP. 14 (2017).

3. Gerry W. Beyer, Estate Planning Highlights of the 2017 Texas Legislature, EST. PLAN. DEV. FOR TEX. PROF., July 2017, at 1.

4. Vaughn E. James, Planning for Incapacity: Helping Clients Prepare for Potential Future Health Crises, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 227 (2017).

1. Arnold Loewy & Charles Moster, It’s Debatable: Can a President pardon himself?, LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-J. (Aug. 18, 2017 08:56 pm),

1. Prof. Murphy’s work on ADMINISTRATIVE LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS was cited in the following article: Kourtney Lanea Kech, Supply and Demand, One and the Same Since When?: The EPA’s Failed Attempt to Find a Loophole in the Renewable Fuel Standard, 5 LSU J. ENERGY L. & RESOURCES 397 (2017).

2. Prof. Beyer’s article Anticipating Will Contests and How to Avoid Them was cited in ESTATE PLANNING FOR UNMARRIED COUPLES Course Materials, June 25 – 30, 2017, CY020 ALI-CLE 1461.

3. Prof. Loewy’s article Police Obtained Evidence and the Constitution: Distinguishing Unconstitutionally Obtained Evidence from Unconstitutionally Used Evidence was cited in the following article: Christopher Slobogin, Manipulation of Suspects and Unrecorded Questioning: After Fifty Years of Miranda Jurisprudence, Still Two (or Maybe Three) Burning Issues, 97 B.U.L. REV. 1157 (2017).

4. Prof. Batra’s article Using the Terms Integrative and Distributive Bargaining in the Classroom: Time for Change? was cited in the following article: John Lande, Moving Negotiation Theory from the Tower of Babel Toward a World of Mutual Understanding, 2017 J. DISP. RESOL. 1 (2017).

5. Prof. Sutton’s article Is There a Doctor (And a Lawyer) In The House? Why Our Good Samaritan Laws Are Doing More Harm Than Good for a National Public Health Strategy: A Fifty-State Survey was cited extensively in the following article: Vincent C. Thomas, Good Samaritan Law: Impact on Physician Rescuers, 17 WYO. L. REV. 149 (2017).

6. Prof. Velte’s article All Fall Down: A Comprehensive Approach to Defeating the Religious Right’s Challenges to Antidiscrimination Statutes was cited in the following article: Terri R. Day and Danielle Weatherby, Contemplating Masterpiece Cakeshop, 74 WASH. & LEE REV. 86 (2017).

7. Prof. Cochran’s article It Takes Two to Tango!: Problems with Community Property Ownership of Copyrights and Patents in Texas was cited in the following article: Loren E. Mulraine, Collision Course: State Community Property Laws and Termination Rights Under the Federal Copryight Act-Who Should Have the Right of Way?, 100 MARQ. L. REV. 1193 (2017).

8. Prof. Cochran’s article It Takes Two to Tango!: Problems with Community Property Ownership of Copyrights and Patents in Texas was cited in Professional accounts receivables, 4 ARIZ. PRAC., Community Property Law § 6.8 (3d ed.).

9. Prof. Murphy’s article Punitive Damages, Explanatory Verdict, and the Hard Look was cited in General verdict with written interrogatories, 1 FED. JURY PRAC. & INSTR. § 8:8 (6th ed.).

10. Prof. Krahmer’s article Wire Transfers, Good Faith, and Phishing was cited in Vernon’s Okla. Forms 2d, COM. & CONSUMER FORMS § 4A.1 and § 4.16 (August 2017 Update).

11. Prof. Beyer’s work was cited extensively throughout 10-88 THOMPSON ON REAL PROPERTY, Thomas Editions § 88.04 (2017).

12. Several of Prof. Beyer’s articles relative to pet trusts are cited in §§ 5:1.50 & 5.55 of 1 EST. PLAN. FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS (3d ed.).

13. Prof. Beyer’s articles Target Best Practices for Guns Included in an Estate and New Changes Coming This Summer for Gun Trusts are cited in the following article: Taylor Smith, Rule 41f: Targeting A Gun Trust Loophole, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 327 (2017).

14. Prof. Beyer’s forthcoming article Estate Planning Ramifications of Obergefell v. Hodges was cited in the following article: Kaitlin E.L. Gates, Catching the Gold at the End of the Rainbow: The Impacts of Retroactive Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage on Community Property Division, 9 EST. PLAN. & COMMUNITY PROP. L.J. 263 (2017).

15. Prof. Weninger’s article Electronic Discovery and Sanctions for Spoliation: Perspectives from the Classroom was cited in Law review articles and other commentary on discovery, 14 WASH. PRAC., Civil Procedure § 21:38 (2d ed.).

1. Prof. Shannon is quoted in the following news article: 952 With Undergraduate Degrees Receive Bonus Football Season, TARGETED NEWS SERV., Aug. 2, 2017, available at

2. Prof. Beyer was interviewed for and quoted extensively in the following article: Lisa Blanck, Pet Trusts: Planning for Your Pet’s Future, SHELTERME.TV (Aug. 21, 2017), available at

3. Prof. Tracy Pearl and Prof. Bubany were interviewed for and quoted extensively in the following article: Law prohibiting texting while driving affects students’ daily lives, DAILYTORREADOR.COM (Aug. 31, 2017), available at

4. Prof. Humphrey was interviewed and quoted in the following article: Women’s & Gender Studies department discusses gender equity at Texas Tech, DAILYTORREADOR.COM (Aug. 31, 2017), available at

1. Associate Dean Humphrey was a panelist on the topic of “Character in the Classroom” during the 2017 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference.

2. Prof. Beyer’s TEXAS ESTATE PLANNING STATUTES WITH COMMENTARY (2017-2019 ED.) is a compilation of Texas statutes that are significant to law school and paralegal courses related to estate planning, such as wills and estates, trusts, estate administration, probate, elder law, and guardianship. It is currently the “#1 New Release” on in the Estates & Trusts Law category. See

3. Prof. Beyer will be the speaker for the University of Hawaii’s Foundation’s 2017 Professional Advisor Continuing Education Series on October 5, 2017. Topics of his presentations will include “Cyber Estate Planning: Obtaining Optimum Outcomes for Digital Assets and Ethical Practices: Discussing How to Avoid Negligent Estate Planning.” See

4. Prof. Beyer was both acknowledged and cited in Taylor Phillip Willingham & Carla Ann Alston, WHY SHOULD I CARE? I’LL BE DEAD 5, 73 (2017) (e.g., “Gerry Beyer for having a passion of estate planning that was contagious”; “My law professor, Gerry Beyer, who inspired me to become an estate planning attorney, said, ‘Being an executor is like doing drugs, just say no!’”). Taylor is a May 2009 graduate of Tech Law.

5. Prof. Tracy Pearl was in the top 10% of authors on SSRN in the month of August by total new downloads in the past 12 months.

6. Prof. Baker was a New Scholar presenter during the 2017 Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) conference.

7. On August 25, 2017, Prof. Beyer was in San Antonio to speak for the Texas College of Probate Judges at its 2017 Annual Meeting. His presentation and accompanying article were entitled “Recent Cases: Intestacy, Wills, Probate, and Trusts.”

8. Prof. Ross presented at the International Society of Family Law in Amsterdam in July. Her presentation was entitled “Empowering the Dead-Broke Parent: An International Perspective.”

The Duty of Tech Competence & AI

The use of artificial intelligence has many potential pitfalls regarding attorney professional responsibility rules. One such pitfall concerns the duty of technology competence.

imagesAs Robert Ambrogi points out over on Law Sites, a majority of states have now adopted the duty of technology competence for lawyers – first noted in Comment 8 to ABA Model Rule 1.1.

The ABA version states:
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject. (Emphasis added.)

While the states may differ in the exact language of their rules, these rules will likely have an ongoing effect on a lawyer’s duty to learn various aspects of ever-changing technology.

Down the road, there may be a time when attorneys must know and understand how artificial intelligence works to be able to rely on technology to perform the more sophisticated functions of law practice.

As lawyers begin to use ROSS, say, to perform legal research or even draft simple memos, it is not unreasonable to presume that a lawyer would need to understand how ROSS decided a particular issue to have true algorithmic accountability. Because a technology like ROSS cannot be subject to the same professional responsibility rules as a living, breathing lawyer, it is up to the lawyer to maintain a duty of technological competence to understand and vet the work of the software.

This is tricky because we are currently at a point where most algorithms are proprietary and there is little transparency about the results that are generated. It is unlikely that this competing issue with be resolved anytime soon.

Until such time when the AI developers release the very decision trees for how an algorithm came to a particular result, law librarians will be helpful in teaching lawyers to understand the current state of AI technology. During our legal research instruction, we should offer pointers to lawyers on the results generated and how to spot possible issues, such as bias.