Prof. Bill Long 3/30/06
I have been receiving emails and inquiries from a number of you over the past week or so regarding final form of your papers, and I thought it would be better to express my preferences here than to write to each of you singly. I may add to this list of things as further questions come in; in any case, this should be more than enough to "get you started" on the form of your paper. I will try to handle things from the beginning to the end.
1. Due Date. The paper is due by the end of class on Wednesday, April 12. No extensions will be permitted. I received the last "draft" of a paper on Monday, March 27, and I will get the drafts back to you on Monday, April 3. You may still sign up for the final exam on April 3 even if you are pretty sure you will be turning in the paper on time. Those taking both the final and writing the paper need to give me their exam numbers on the paper when submitted.
2. Length. The paper is to be double-spaced and between 10 -15 pages. Because of the volume of papers submitted, I need to restrict the length, even though some of you have made good arguments for longer papers. You may use any font you like, but make it no smaller than "10" on your computer.
3. Title Page. I would appreciate a separate title page (which doesn't count in the 10-15 pages), with title, your name and box number, Sales Law, my name and date.
4. Style. I could write a lot on this, but let me say only a few things. You should have an opening "law review"-type paragraph, which states the problem and tells me, 1, 2, 3, etc., what you are going to do in the paper. Then, there should be subheadings throughout the paper following up on the structure you laid out in your first paragraph. There may be a brief conclusion, but please don't just tell me what you already told me.
You need not have as many footnotes as the typical law review article would have. That is, I do not need to see a footnote after every sentence. Often one at the end of the paragraph suffices. I don't expect a series of "Id"s at the bottom of the page. Only cite the case once or twice. Of course, a direct quotation has to be cited. When you cite a case or article that you have previously cited, use supra. If you are going to discuss a topic below in the paper, use infra. I would prefer that you use Blue Book style, though I am open to another method, as long as you follow a consistent method throughout. I prefer you to put footnotes at the bottom of the page or the end of the paper, rather than in the text itself. In this regard the paper is more like an essay paper than a legal brief. If you are pressed for space, I would recommend the notes go at the end, but remember that the total length of the paper, notes included, is not to exceed fifteen pages (look at this as a sort of "Long's Court Rule" on essay length, with leave of court to file a longer essay not being granted very often).
5. Number of Sources. I don't know if I have been explicit on this point, but you should know that there is no "magic number" of sources that I am looking for. I think the sum of 20 cases/law review articles/summaries/web sites/statutes will suffice. I can pick up, from long experience, if you are trying to "stretch" a very few sources into many sources by repeated and unnecessary citation. I don't like that, as you can imagine.
6. Grading. The things I look for are cogency and clarity of argument, ability to summarize the "state of the question" or the cases/articles you cite briefly and helpfully, and your facility in dealing with and understanding the Code. I do not expect this to be "an original contribution to scholarship" or to be able to be developed into a law review essay. Some of you will be spending a good deal of time introducing a document to me (Such as the CISG) or simply summarizing case results that have previously been summarized by others. Thus, don't panic if you think you aren't advancing legal knowledge through this paper. I do want you, however, to be a sort of "expert" in the subject you are studying or in the section of the Code you are writing on. To be an expert to me means that you could field a question about the subject and not only say how courts or other thinkers have approached the question but that you have your own approach that you could state and defend.
7. Returning Papers. My plan is to read most of the papers by April 21, when I am leaving the country for a week. I will not be able to return them, of course, until after I have graded all the exams and submitted the final grades. As with other final grades, the grade given you on the paper will not be appealable.
Other things? I am sure I haven't exhausted all your questions or concerns, but I hope this gets you further along than you might previously have been. I will take questions on April 3 if you have them. Good luck as you enter into the last month of the term/finals.
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long