National Proofreading Day

It’s the week before Spring Break at the Law School, which can mean only one thing: 1L briefs are due.

It’s timely, then, that today is National Proofreading Day. (It’s also International Women’s Day.) International Proofreading Day “highlights the importance of proofreading our own work.”

That’s easy enough to say, but less easy to do. Or at least, less easy to do well. Among the tips to effectively proofread are:

  • Let it “bake.” I’m not sure where I first heard this phrase, but it refers to setting aside your writing before beginning to proofread it. I always suggest setting aside a brief or memo for a day or so, but I understand that amount of time is not always available. Any amount of time away, though, allows you to return to your draft with fresh eyes.
  • Proof in hard copy. Hard copy edits are a must. You will see things about writing in hard copy that you will easily miss if you proofread only on screen.

    list of proofreaders' marks from the Chicago Manual of Style
    List of proofreaders’ marks, from the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Learn proofreader marks. If you’re going to proof in hard copy, it’s worth it to learn the marks that editors use. Knowing these marks will speed up your proofreading and—if you’re on the receiving end of a proofread document—make sense when you go to make the changes.
  • Monotask. That is, remove distractions—like your phone, email alerts, an open browser. It’s easier to focus when the distractions are set aside.
  • Know your tendencies. Maybe you have trouble with correctly placing apostrophes or passive voice creeps into your sentences. Make a list of the writing habits you know you need to watch for in your own writing, then consult that list as you proofread.
  • Shun autocorrect. Autocorrect does not catch every error; in fact, it always skips over correctly spelled words that are incorrect in context. Just ask my 1Ls, who must watch out for singers who are waving rights, rather than signers who are waiving rights.
  • Read aloud. Or backward. Or out of order. Approaching your document differently allows you to see (or hear) what’s really there, rather than what you know you’re written.

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The Challenges Facing Podcast Hosts Protecting Trademarks

Cover of Adventure Zone graphic novelAmong the many technological changes in the 2010s was the rise of podcasts as a form of entertainment. Average people were able to purchase microphones and record conversations with their friends, family, or experts in a field, and then upload for people across the world to listen to.

Three brothers, Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy started recording the comedy-advice podcast “My Brother, My Brother, and Me” in 2010. After that podcast’s success, they went on to record several other podcasts, including “The Adventure Zone,” in which they play tabletop role-playing games with their father, Clint. This podcast has been done in three main storylines: “Balance,” “Amnesty,” and “Graduation.”

“The Adventure Zone” appears to be the most popular podcast released by the McElroys. Thousands of fans follow subreddits and Facebook pages and groups. “The Adventure Zone” has been adapted into a best-selling graphic novel, licensed for a tabletop role-playing game, and is currently being adapted for a possible animated show for the streaming platform Peacock.

With this fame has come devoted fans, some of whom make fan art and then sell it. This practice is largely disapproved by the McElroys, although they have not taken any legal action against creators of unauthorized merchandise. Justin McElroy has implied on Twitter that he is okay with people commissioning artists to draw characters from “The Adventure Zone.” This detail is lost by the fans, who treat all fan-creations for sale as bad. While the McElroys have created a podcast, which they appear to make money from, and they have a right to protect their creation from people seek to unscrupulously profit from it, there are challenges facing them, as well as other podcast hosts.

This is the focus of my paper You Must Roll 18 or Higher in Order for Your Claims to Succeed: Common Law Trademarks, Unauthorized Merchandise, and the Podcast “The Adventure Zone,” about which I was interviewed on the podcast “Ipse Dixit” by Prof. Brian L. Frye of University of Kentucky College of Law. (more…)

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Marquette Student Paper Featured on Ipse Dixit Podcast

Former student guest blogger and current 2L Monica Reida recently appeared on Ipse Dixit, a podcast on legal scholarship that has a wide audience among law professors, to discuss their fascinating new paper, You Must Roll 18 or Higher for Your Claims to Succeed: Common Law Trademarks, Unauthorized Merchandise, and the Podcast “The Adventure Zone”. You can listen to the podcast episode here. Monica is returning to the Faculty Blog for a couple of posts about the paper, which is…

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New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Examines War Powers, State Supreme Court Elections, Legal Scholarship Ethics, and More

The bald eagle symbolizes the strength of the United States, not least when the country uses its military power. The eagle on the cover of the Marquette Lawyer magazine, Fall 2018 issue, shows the determination, even the fierceness, of the eagle during times of war.

But the process involved in deciding where and how that eagle flies is more complex than many people may realize. In the cover story in the new Marquette Law School magazine, David J. Barron, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and formerly a Harvard Law School professor, insightfully examines three chapters in American history when a president and leaders of Congress had differing positions on use of power. Barron focuses on three of the nation’s most revered presidents: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The article is an edited and expanded version of the E. Harold Hallows Lecture that Barron delivered at the Law School in April 2018. To read the article, click here.

Interspersed throughout the article are reactions by three individuals with different perspectives on the relationship between Congress and the commander-in-chief: Russ Feingold, former three-term U.S. senator from Wisconsin and currently distinguished visiting lecturer in international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; Julia R. Azari, associate professor of political science at Marquette University and a scholar of the American presidency; and Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Barron’s article, together with the reactions, is only one of the thoughtful and thought-provoking pieces in the new Marquette Lawyer. Elsewhere in the magazine: (more…)

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New Book on Sentencing and Corrections

I am pleased to report that my latest book, Prisons and Punishment in America: Examining the Facts, is now in print. Structured as a series of questions and answers, the book synthesizes the law and social science on sentencing, corrections, and prisoner reentry. Individual chapters cover: Sentencing law and practice Alternatives to incarceration Experience and consequences of incarceration Release and life after prison Women, juveniles, and other special offender populations Causes and significance of mass incarceration in the U.S. Race,…

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