Kathleen Elliott Vinson

Professor of Legal Writing and Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy

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Bar Admittance

  • MA
  • Federal District Court of MA
  • First Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court

 

Biography

As Director of Legal Writing, Research, and Written Advocacy, Professor Vinson is active in the legal writing field on a national, regional, and local level. She served as Chair and Secretary of the AALS Section on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research. She was also the President of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and served on their Executive Committee. In addition, she served on the board of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI). She currently serves as an editor of the LWI Journal. She is a former editor of LWI’s Monograph Series and a former editor of The Second Draft. In addition, she co-founded the New England Legal Writing Consortium and founded the New England Scholarship Circle. She also serves on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee for Professionalism in Practice. She co-authored the book, LEGAL ANALYSIS: THE FUNDAMENTAL SKILL and the book, MINDFUL LAWYERING: THE KEY TO CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING. In addition, she has published numerous law review articles. She also created a free legal writing app, iWriteLegal, and the Legal Writing Matters blog. She has given numerous presentations on legal writing at national conferences and continuing education programs. Professor Vinson also taught legal writing at Boston College Law School as a visitor. She graduated, cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School and received her BA, magna cum laude, from Stonehill College. Before joining the faculty at Suffolk Law School, Professor Vinson clerked for the prestigious Justice Howard Dana of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

 

Professional Activities

Former President, Immediate-Past President, and President-Elect, Association of Legal Writing Directors; Former Immediate Past Chair, Chair, and Secretary of the AALS Section on Legal Reasoning, Writing and Research; Former Member of the Board of Directors, Legal Writing Institute; Co-Founder, New England Legal Writing Consortium; Member, Scribes; Member, MA SJC Advisory Committee on Professionalism in Practice.

 

Publications


Books

MINDFUL LAWYERING: THE KEY TO CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING (2019) (with Samantha Moppett and Shailini George)

LEGAL ANALYSIS: THE FUNDAMENTAL SKILL (2d. ed., 2009) (with David S. Romantz)

LEGAL ANALYSIS: THE FUNDAMENTAL SKILL (1998) (1998) (with David S. Romantz)

 

Book Chapters

Chapter 9, Social Networking in the Medical Community, in SOCIAL MEDIA AND MEDICINE (New Forums Press, 2012)

Chapter 7, LEGAL ANALYSIS: THE FUNDAMENTAL SKILL, reprinted in DRAFTING EFFECTIVE LITIGATION DOCUMENTS 53-78 (Boston, MA: Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education), in (1998) (with David S. Romantz)  

 

Articles

Under Pressure: How Incorporating Time-Pressured Performance Test Prepares Students for the Bar Exam (co-author Sabrina DeFabritiis), 122 West Virg. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2019)

Digital Pro Bono: Leveraging Technology to Provide Access to Justice (co-author Samantha A. Moppett), 92 ST. JOHN'S L. REV. 101 (fall 2018)

Closing the Legal Aid Gap One Research Question at a Time, 8 HLRe 15 (July 2017), (co-author Samantha Moppett) 

Mindful Writing, SCRIBES J. LEGAL WRITING (2017)

Keeping it Real: How to Make Research Engaging, THE SECOND DRAFT (2017) (co-author Sabrina DeFabritiis) 

Closing the Legal Aid Gap:  An Exercise on Collaborative Researching, TEACHING LEGAL WRITING:  OUT OF THE BOX IDEAS INSIDE (2017) 

What's Your Problem?, 44 STETSON L. REV. 777 (2015) Problem Solved:  How to Incorporate Problem Solving in Your Course to Prepare Students to Practice

The Learning Curve 16 (Winter 2015) A Problem-Solving Blueprint, posted as a faculty teaching resource on the faculty portal, available at:     

Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education, 29 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 423 (2013)

The Blurred Boundaries of Social Networking in the Legal Field: Just "Face" It, 41 U. MEM. L. REV. 355 (2010)

What's on Your Playlist? The Power of Podcasts as a Pedagogical Tool, 2009 U. ILL. J.L. TECH. & POL'Y 405 (2009)

Teaching in Practice: Legal Writing Faculty as Expert Writing Consultants to Law Firms, 60 MERCER L. REV. 761 (2009) (with Joan Blum)

Road to Legal Writing Paved with Attention to Reader, 36 MASS. LAW. WKLY. 83 (2007)

Why I Teach, THE LAW TEACHER: A NEWSLETTER OF THE INSTITUTE FOR LAW TEACHING (2007) (Spring Issue)

Improving Legal Writing: A Life-Long Learning Process and Continuing Professional Challenge, 21 TOURO L. REV. 517 (2005)

You are Not in Kansas Anymore - Ten Tips to Succeed in Law School, lawschool.com, (2002)

What is the Point? Teaching Ideas for Thesis Sentences, THE LEARNING CURVE (2002)

Interactive Class Editing, 14:1 THE SECOND DRAFT (1999)

Legal Research: How to Find and Understand the Law, 9 BIMONTHLY REVIEW OF LAW BOOKS 9 (1998) (book review)

The Tenth Justice, 9 BIMONTHLY REVIEW OF LAW BOOKS (1998) (book review)

Who Will Publish My Manuscript, 7:1 PERSPECTIVES: TEACHING LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING 31 (1998) (with David S. Romantz)

Stephen Elias’ Legal Research: How To Find and Understand the Law, 9 BIMONTHLY REVIEW OF LAW BOOKS 9 (1998) (book review)

14 Ways to Avoid Pitfalls in Your First Year of Teaching, 6:1 PERSPECTIVES: TEACHING LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITING (1997) (best of articles from 1992-2001; 185 authors contributed 292 articles in nine years - 29 selected in anthology)

Woe is I? The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, 8:5 BIMONTHLY REVIEW OF LAW BOOKS 19 (1997) (book review)

No Due Process Right to a Speedy Extradition, 18 SUFFOLK TRANSNAT'L L. REV. 347 (1995)

Alien Who Attains Permanent Resident Status Cannot be Deported for Preconceived Intent to Remain Indefinitely, SUFFOLK TRANSNAT'L L. REV. 787 (1995) 

 

OTHER   PUBLICATIONS

Educating the Whole Lawyer: Mind, Body, and Spirit, (co-author Shailini George) Legal Writing Matters blog (Feb. 25, 2019), 
also posted to Teach Law Better Blog, https://teachlawbetter.com/blog-posts/

Tips for Law Students During the Summer Daze, Legal Writing Matters blog (Aug. 12, 2016), 
http://theroadto1l.blogs.law.suffolk.edu/category/legal_writing_matters/

Why Law Students Should Welcome Feedback, Legal Writing Matters blog (Oct. 13, 2015), 
http://theroadto1l.blogs.law.suffolk.edu/category/legal_writing_matters/

Concerns of Incoming First-Year Students, Legal Writing Matters blog (Aug. 31, 2015), 
http://theroadto1l.blogs.law.suffolk.edu/category/legal_writing_matters/

Preparing Students for the Bar Exam, Legal Writing Matters blog (July 29, 2015) (co-author Sabrina DeFabritiis), 
http://theroadto1l.blogs.law.suffolk.edu/category/legal_writing_matters/

Using a Writing Lockdown to Help Students Avoid Procrastination, Legal Writing Matters blog (July 7, 2015), 
http://theroadto1l.blogs.law.suffolk.edu/category/legal_writing_matters/

Watch, Listen, and Learn, 40 SUFFOLK LAW SCHOOL ALUMNI MAGAZINE (2008)

 

Presentations

  • Effective and Efficient Feedback Strategies for Supervising Attorneys, CPCS Training for Appellate Mentors, Worcester Law Library (June 2019)

  • Supporting the Whole Lawyer: Mind, Body, & Spirit, New England Legal Writing Conference, University of Maine, Portland (May 2019)

  • How to Foster Mindful and Creative Problem Solving in an Age of Innovation, Rocky Mountain Conference, University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law (March 2019)

  • Being a Mindful and Creative Problem Solver in a Global Society, Global Legal Skills Conference, University of Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, Australia (December 2018)

  • The Helicopter Effect: Connecting with Students and Society, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference, Florida (August 2018) (panelist)

  • The Role of the Law School Dean in Promoting Legal Writing, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference, Florida (August 2018) (discussant)

  • Cover to Cover: Published Authors Take the Mystique Out of Book Writing from Proposal to Publication, LWI Biennial Conference, Marquette University Law School (July 2018) (moderator)

  • Virtual Legal Research Assistance as a Means to Provide Access to Justice, Association of American Law Schools Conference (January 2018) (with Samantha Moppett) (panelist)

  • Using Mindfulness to Enhance Scholarship and Service, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference, Florida (August 2017) (panelist)

  • Publish, Don't Perish:  Fostering Scholarship in the Legal Writing Community, Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, University of Minnesota Law School (July 2017) (panel moderator)

  • Get "Real":  Collaborative Researching, Southeastern Legal Writing Conference, Stetson Law School (April 2017) (with Samantha Moppett)

  • Writing Lockdowns:  Writing with Concentrated Time, Effort, and Support, Legal Writing Institute Biennial Conference, Portland, OR (July 2016) (poster presentation)

  • Collaborative Learning:  Designing, Monitoring and Assessing Student Groups, Suffolk University Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence (May 25, 2016)

  • Mindful Writing: Using Mindfulness Techniques and Writing Lockdowns to Foster Productivity, Southeastern Legal Writing Conference, University of Miami School of Law (Jan. 23, 2016) (with Shailini George)

  • Lock it Up to Write it Down:  Dedicated On-Campus Writing Days, 2015 Biennial Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, University of Memphis School of Law (June 2015)

  • Assessment of Students:  Challenges and Strategies, Suffolk University Law School (Fall 2014) (co-presenter:  Herbert N. Ramy)

  • When the Novice Becomes the Master, New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers, Vermont Law School (September 2014) (co-presenter:  Samantha Moppett)

  • The Triple Crown:  How Problem Solving Can Foster Professionalism, Emotional Intelligence, and Professional Identity, Biennial Legal Writing Institute Conference, Philadelphia (June 2014)

  • Applying Therapeutic Justice to Law Teaching, Legal Writing, and Drafting, The Study and Practice of Law in a Therapeutic Key:  An Introduction to Therapeutic Jurisprudence Symposium, (discussant on panel), Suffolk University Law School (April 2014)

  • Professional Development Can't Start at the Office:  Developing a Required PD Curriculum at Suffolk Law, Professional Development Institute, Washington, D.C. (December 2013) (with Dean Gerald Slater)

  • Problem Solving: Preparing Law Students to be "Client-Ready", Southeastern Regional Legal Writing Conference, Savannah, Georgia (April 2013)

  • Problem Solving: Enhancing Students’ Development as Legal Professionals, Suffolk University Law School Faculty Colloquium (co-presenter David Abrams), March 2013)

  • Contemporary Issues on Gender and the Law, Southern Association of Law Schools Conference, Florida (July 2012)

  • The Use of Checklists as "Cognitive Nets" and "Pause Points" for the Complexity of Legal Analysis, The Legal Writing Institute, Palm Springs, CA (May 2012)

  • Hovering Too Close: The Ramifications of Helicopter Parenting in Higher Education, Suffolk University Center for Teaching Excellence, (March 2012)

  • Productive Work Habits for Writing Competitions and Getting Published, Student Scholarship panel, Suffolk University Law School, (March 2012)

  • Teaching Legal Research Through Communication, Cooperation, and Collaboration, Harvard Law School Teaching Showcase, Boston, MA (January 2012)

  • In the New Millennium, What are the Best Practices in Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research?, American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. (January 2012) (moderator)

  • Internet Culture and the Law, Southern Association of Law Schools Conference, South Carolina (July 2011)

  • Extending Your Leadership to Key Administrative Positions Within Your Law School, Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, McGeorge Law School (June 2011)

  • Look Before You LEAPP (Legal Education and Practice Program), New England Legal Writing Consortium, Roger Williams Law School (June 2010)

  • Friending 101: The Role of Facebook in Legal Education, Suffolk University Center for Teaching Excellence Technology Symposium, (May 2010)

  • Getting Meaningful Feedback on Your Teaching from Colleagues and Directors, Legal Writing Institute Workshop, Suffolk University law School, (December 2009)

  • Research is Just a Click Away: Electronic Research Tools for Law Students (with Rick Buckingham and Diane D'Angelo), Suffolk University Law School (October 2009)

  • Facebook, Blogging, Discussion Boards – Oh My! Opening Classroom Doors to Technology and Using it Wisely, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference, Florida (August 2009)

  • Innovative Teaching Techniques, (co-coordinator), Association of Legal Writing Directors, University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School (July 2009)

  • Podcasting in LRR&W: Downloading the Greatest Hits, Legal Writing Institute Conference, Indiana Law School (July 2008)

  • Specialty Rankings, Faculty Retreat, Suffolk University Law School (May 2008) (panelist)

  • Clickers and Critiques, Dean's Advisory Committee, Suffolk University Law School (April 2008) (co-presenter Prof. Andy Perlman)

  • Teaching with Technology, Faculty Colloquial, Suffolk University Law School (January 2008) (co-presenters Professor Andy Perlman and Professor Andy Beckerman-Rodau)

  • LPS Weekly Legal Writing Tips, Co-Creator of Suffolk Law's Podcast Series.

  • Transitioning from Objective to Persuasive Legal Writing, presenter. (January 2008)

  • The Power of Podcasts, Poster Presentation Selected by American Association of Law Schools Section on Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing, American Association of Law Schools Annual Conference, New York (January 2008)

  • Meet the New Boss: Evolving Governance Models in LRW Programs, New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers Regional Conference, Vermont Law School (December 2007) (co-presenters Professor Gregory Johnson and Professor Robert Volk)

  • Expanding Your Thinking and Gaining a New Perspective: Opportunities for Rejuvenation, Rewards, Challenges, and Lessons Learned, 2007 Biennial Conference of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, at the University of Denver (June 2007) (with Linda Edwards and Suzanne Rowe)

  • Taking Our Expertise Into the Trenches: Consulting on Writing in Practice, 2006 Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, Atlanta, Georgia (June 2006) (with Prof. Joan Blum)

  • Empowering Your Audience: Removing the Mental Gymnastics from the Writing Process, Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, University of Arizona (March 2006)

  • A Writer's Workshop: Writing for the Reader, Suffolk University Law School Center for Advanced Legal Studies (December 2, 2005)

  • Improving Legal Writing Skills Beyond the Classroom Walls, 2005 Biennial Conference of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Northwestern University School of Law (July 2005)

  • How the Profession and Academia Can Work Together to Improve Legal Writing, 2005 Biennial Conference of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Northwestern University School of Law (July 2005)

  • Consulting on Legal Writing in Law Firms: Is it Possible to Set and Meet Realistic Goals? New England Consortium of Legal Writing Teachers, Albany Law School (June 10, 2005) (co-presenter: Prof. Joan Blum)

  • A Tradition of Excellence, The Legal Practice Skills Program, Dean's Advisory Committee, Suffolk University Law School (April 9, 2005)

  • Writing with Confidence and Clarity, Suffolk University Law School Center for Advanced Legal Studies (December 2002)

  • Workshop on Critiquing Student Works, 2002 Tenth Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute, Knoxville, Tennessee, Small Group Leader (May 2002) (coordinator: Prof. Dan Barnett)

  • Appellate Practice: The Law Clerk's View, Continuing Legal Education, Maine State Bar Association (May 24, 2001) (invited speaker)

  • New Directors' Roundtable: Hiring and Training Legal Writing Faculty, American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Annual Conference (San Francisco, January 2001)

  • Women in the Law: Opportunities and Options, Boston College Law School (Moderator, January 2001)

  • Keys to Powerful, Persuasive Writing, Suffolk University Law School Center for Advanced Legal Studies (December 2000)

  • Utilizing Technology in the Classroom, Suffolk University Law School Adjunct Faculty Program (October 2000)

  • Teaching Legal Writing, Reflecting Legal Reasoning: Learning By Doing, Faculty & Administrators' Colloquial, Suffolk University Law School (October 2000)

  • Legal Ethics Orientation, Boston College Law School (August 2000) (lead discussion group regarding ethical issues)

  • Modeling Strategies for Legal Writing Programs, 2000 Legal Writing Institute Conference, Seattle University School of Law (July 2000)

  • Introduction to Law School and the Role of the Legal Writing Program, Suffolk University Law School Open House (January 2000)

  • Using "Web Course in a Box" in the Legal Practice Skills Program, 1999 Suffolk University Law School Dedication Ceremony of Sargent Hall-High Technology Demonstration (September 1999)

  • How Internet Novices Can Use "Web Course in a Box" to Design a Web Page, 1999 Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, New England School of Law (July 1999)

  • Using Technology: Personal and Institutional Costs and Benefits, Invited speaker on panel at 1999 Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference, New England School of Law (July 1999)

  • Professionalism in Writing: Finding Publishers for Legal Writing Manuscripts, 1998 Legal Writing Institute Conference, University of Michigan Law School (June 1998)

  • Knights in the Courtroom: Transforming Roles and Responsibilities, Moderator, Suffolk University Law School's Third Annual Academic Convocation, Law in a Changing Society (March 1998)

Education

  • BA, Stonehill College
  • JD, Suffolk University
Kathy Vinson portrait.

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Courses Taught

  • Academic Excellence
  • Advanced Legal Writing
  • Legal Practice Skills
  • Legal Reasoning, Research, & Writing
  • Persuasive Legal Advocacy in a Global Context
  • Preparing for Practice