Teaching Legal Writing

Some students have strong preferences for a particular learning style and are not engaged in teaching techniques aligned with other learning styles. Many students have a range of preferred learning styles that vary by context. Of course, just because a particular teaching methodology doesn`t favor an individual student`s preferred learning style doesn`t mean the student can`t learn anything in class. However, the best classes are designed to include teaching techniques for all the different learners in order to actively engage them and so that they all learn the material using different methods. When designing the course and individual lesson plans for the lesson, she should ensure that only one learning style is taught. It can only reach a subset of students, and the rest will break up. But our pedagogical approach has had unintended consequences: by diminishing students` confidence in the power of storytelling, we have deprived them of the creativity and legal imagination that are essential for effective advocacy. Many teachers focus on the course content, but not on the pedagogy. However, the objectives and teaching techniques are just as important as the substance, and therefore teachers must take a conscious and thoughtful approach to the teaching methodology they will use when planning the course. As part of general pedagogy, teachers should consider the different learning styles of their students, the role of the teacher, the general teaching objectives for each aspect of the course, and the specific classroom techniques to achieve each of the teaching objectives.

We taught this way because we believed that facts are always analytically subordinate to legal rules and that legal analysis is done with cold certainty. Non-tenured legal writing professors – often on short-term contracts without job protection – are the servants and “henchmen” of tenure-track teachers who are better paid and institutionally valued. And the main goal of legal writing courses is to help students in their genuine struggle to pass the doctrinal law school exams. These exam scores become an underlying currency that measures law school success and ultimately determine initial employment opportunities and shape the course of legal careers. In addition, the teacher may need to help students overcome the writer`s block. address complex legal issues by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks; and manage their time so they can create a variety of drafts before filing a document in court or handing it over to a supervising lawyer. The goal of the year is to help students become competent writers; However, it is best if the teacher can help them become aware of their skills so that a student who does well at the end of the semester understands why and how he did well. The teacher`s goal is then to help the student become competent and aware of his competence. In this way, a student can transfer their skills from one project to another. In addition, the student can recognize good (and bad) legal writings, even if they are slightly different from his own, making this student a better employee and colleague in practice.

Many lawyers build their reputation on their writing skills. Submit a well-organized and thoroughly analyzed document to the court, and the bank will trust your letter and respect your legal skills. On the other hand, enter a document riddled with bad analysis, typos, misquotations, and a lack of jurisprudence, and your credibility will forever be marked in court. For the same reasons, everything provided to a supervising lawyer should be the best possible job of the young employee. If the student submits a document and warns the professor that it is only a “draft”, then the student has not learned the meaning of his reputation as a writer. It is equally important to incorporate legal storytelling techniques into teaching courses. In a March 2019 essay titled “Law Students Go to the Movies II: Using Clips from Classical Hollywood Movies to Teach Criminal Law and Legal Storytelling to First-Year Law Students,” I discussed the use of legal storytelling exercises when teaching a first-year criminal law course. Some students may go from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence simply by modeling examples of solid work on a particular project without ever understanding why their writing has improved. Similarly, some students start the year very consciously on their incompetence in legal analysis and writing, eager to learn and nervous about their lack of expertise. Much of what is contained in this document has been part of Georgetown`s training program for its law fellows for many years and reflects the work of many faculty members and law fellows over the years as they pondered the best approaches to teaching prospective law students and not just the basics of traditional legal documents such as memos.

and memoirs. But the foundations of sound legal analysis and the rhetorical tools common to many forms of legal drafting. As it applies to the general public for legal documents in practice, different legal writing teachers will have their own preferred styles and approaches, and therefore this manual contains both general guidance on the content and process of legal writing pedagogy and a variety of specific techniques and approaches that, We hope, will be useful to a wide audience of legal writing professors.