It has been great to guest blog over the past month. Thanks again to the Concurring Opinions folks for inviting me!
For my final post, I want to hit on one last curricular issue—legal writing. At my law school, we are in the midst of a curriculum review, which has caused me to spend many hours investigating other schools’ legal writing programs. The first thing that jumped out at me as I did this research was that the first-year writing programs at most schools look remarkably similar. Most schools do predictive writing (i.e., memos) in the first semester and persuasive writing (i.e. briefs) in the second semester. There are obviously some differences, but the core parameters are fairly standard.
Beyond the first year, however, there is tremendous variability. Some schools require almost no writing whatsoever (other than a seminar paper, as discussed in my last post). Other schools have a more sophisticated upper-level writing program. For the schools that do require an upper-level writing course other than a seminar, these courses seem to fall into one of two categories. The first category focuses on legal analysis. These schools come back to the writing and analytical skills acquired in the first year and take them one step further, requiring students to analyze more complex legal problems. The second category focuses on drafting. These schools require students to choose from a menu of upper-level drafting options—litigation drafting, contract drafting, family law drafting, etc.
Assuming that a school is committed to legal writing, which model should it choose? Read More