Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: tortaholic on March 18, 2008, 05:57:10 AM

Title: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: tortaholic on March 18, 2008, 05:57:10 AM
I just finished our year long legal skills class, and it was easily the worst educational experience of my life.  The instructor was brand new and just totally incompetent.  He didn't teach us one thing that was helpful in drafting the papers.  In class activities were always disasters and his lectures were just weak rehashes of what we read in the book.  We also never got the old papers back until after the draft of the next paper was due, so there was no way to improve. 

In one on one sessions, the guy would totally waste time talking about anything other than the relevant points of law.  You could ask him a totally straight forward, yes or no question, and he would give some abstract answer that just confused you more. There was non-collaboration policy, and he used this to refuse to discuss specific points with anyone.  Eventually, he dropped that, but by then the whole class was so sick of him that everyone just toned out whatever he had to say. 

Look, I don't mind competing with other students (that's the whole game, after all) but when we've never been properly shown what we're supposed to do, its just impossible.  I seriously felt like I would have been better off if they just gave me the assignment and we never met as a formal class.  My only hope it that the class was taught badly on purpose as a way to "weed us out". 

I know that legal writing is challenge because you get exposed to a totally different way of thinking.  However, I really think my experience was particularily bad.  I really do not believe I am going to be able to write effective memos for my summer job, and I am trying to diagnose if my situation was bad enough to go to the program director.   

Every law student I talk to says they had a terrible experience in Legal Writing.  Is this just par for the course?  Could it be a problem at my school?   What gives? 

 
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Jhuen_the_bird on March 18, 2008, 07:02:12 AM
I find at my school that our legal writing professors play "hide the ball" more than any other professors.  They WILL NOT help you.  And we aren't allowed to get help from each other or older students.  When we ask questions they KIND OF answer them ... but not really in any helpful way.  They always say we are doing really well until the final grade on a memo/brief ... and then we finally realize what we did wrong (or at least that we did something wrong).  It was MANY people's (including my own) worst/lowest grade.

Maybe they want to be sure it'll be easy to grade on a curve?
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: broken on March 18, 2008, 08:02:30 AM
I've never heard anyone say "I really love my legal writing professor/class".

At my school they pile on all kinds of busy work. We'll have a brief due in a week, and the prof will have us doing extra CREACs on fictional cases...which apply to our 5% "reserve" grade.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Luigi rules on March 18, 2008, 09:29:32 PM
wait...i don't get it.  Your profs won't answer questions and you cant go to other students for help??  Aren't you supposed to be in school to learn?  If I were at one of those schools, I might take this up with admin.  You're paying to learn how to be a lawyer; your school forcing you from information that could help you along that path is ridiculous.


Here our profs edit our drafts and conference with us before final drafts are due.  We also are assigned upperclassmen who we can talk with/email about assignments etc.  I still hate LR&W but at least I'm learning something.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jacy85 on March 19, 2008, 03:54:18 AM
I LOVED my legal writing professor.  In fact, he was the best professor I've had in law school.  He was personable, had lots of experience, and was helpful.  The class was still frustrating, at least for the first few months.  It's hard to explain legal writing if you're not doing it, but when you don't yet know what to do, trying/doing it is frustrating as hell.  My professor was always available for office hours or by appointment, and he was supportive not only in an acacemic setting, but was a great mentor in the interview and job search.

The sad thing is, I seem to be in a very small minority.  I think a lot of people hate the class simply because it is a very frustrating subject to learn. But when you have a subpar teacher, it makes it all worse.  So yes, it seems like far more people have crappy experiences than good.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Jhuen_the_bird on March 19, 2008, 11:33:55 AM
wait...i don't get it.  Your profs won't answer questions and you cant go to other students for help??  Aren't you supposed to be in school to learn?  If I were at one of those schools, I might take this up with admin.  You're paying to learn how to be a lawyer; your school forcing you from information that could help you along that path is ridiculous.


Here our profs edit our drafts and conference with us before final drafts are due.  We also are assigned upperclassmen who we can talk with/email about assignments etc.  I still hate LR&W but at least I'm learning something.

They'll teach us after we get our subpar grades :P

I think part of the problem is it's the class that's worth the least amount of credits, so no one takes it as seriously.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 19, 2008, 02:25:36 PM
Legal writing, or law skills classes, are almost always taught by unqualified, new professors who have no place teaching anything to anyone.
Deal.
It sucks ass.  I hate my law skills prof.  She's a complete idiot.  She gave us a quick primer on what a brief was, then had us start working on our first one.  We handed in our first briefs and then she spent 2 full class sessions teaching us how they were SUPPOSED to look.  Um, thanks for that.  Very helpful.
Now she's assigned us to work on the second brief, due one day after spring break ends.
So, you know, go enjoy spring break.
There simply isn't enough oversight of any legal writing/law skills program.  Schools 'pretend' that it is important to them, but then ignore them no matter how many people walking the halls complain (my entire class complains about our class so much that it is a wonder that my prof hasn't heard about it).
Law schools simply don't place the same demands on legal writing classes as they do on contracts, civ pro, torts, etc.  Legal writing isn't part of the bar, and therefore have little effect on prestige. 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not). 
My attitude is do your best and don't worry about them.
OR work with the SBA to get an ombudsman elected so that they can bring these serious concerns to the attention of the SBA, the Dean, and the head of the legal writing program.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: tortaholic on March 19, 2008, 02:53:23 PM
Legal writing, or law skills classes, are almost always taught by unqualified, new professors who have no place teaching anything to anyone.
Deal.
It sucks ass.  I hate my law skills prof.  She's a complete idiot.  She gave us a quick primer on what a brief was, then had us start working on our first one.  We handed in our first briefs and then she spent 2 full class sessions teaching us how they were SUPPOSED to look.  Um, thanks for that.  Very helpful.
Now she's assigned us to work on the second brief, due one day after spring break ends.
So, you know, go enjoy spring break.
There simply isn't enough oversight of any legal writing/law skills program.  Schools 'pretend' that it is important to them, but then ignore them no matter how many people walking the halls complain (my entire class complains about our class so much that it is a wonder that my prof hasn't heard about it).
Law schools simply don't place the same demands on legal writing classes as they do on contracts, civ pro, torts, etc.  Legal writing isn't part of the bar, and therefore have little effect on prestige. 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not). 
My attitude is do your best and don't worry about them.
OR work with the SBA to get an ombudsman elected so that they can bring these serious concerns to the attention of the SBA, the Dean, and the head of the legal writing program.

TITCR. 

Well, I tried to complain and of course they didn't listen.  They actually implied that since I was the only one complaining, the problem was with me and not the prof.  If asked, any student in the class would rant and rave about how awful it was for hours, but since I was the only one upset enough to try and bring it to the appropriate person's attention, I'M the problem. 

Screw it.  I'm moving on.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: juliemccoy on March 19, 2008, 08:30:34 PM
Do you guys all go to my school??? Seriously. I am amazed at the level of incompetence displayed by these "professors." The fact that they get paid to waste my money and my time just blows me away.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: blackpowerman on March 19, 2008, 09:57:53 PM
yes, we definitely all go to the same school, mine is just f-ing terrible- in fact, all 4 of them are from what i hear and i have the "Best" one...
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: badkarma56 on March 20, 2008, 01:51:05 AM
I had a hearty chuckle when I came across this thread!  Ah yes, the miserable 1L legal writing course...good times, dude, good times indeed!

What each of you don't understand is that this course, whatever your school calls it, is supposed to majorly suck! My alma mater, U.W. (*in Seattle* not Wisconsin ;)), called this course "Basic Legal Skills."  If you don't know by now, the first year is basically academic "boot camp," and just like the real boot camp (which I've also experienced), you'll be harassed at various intervals just to break you down a bit. 

You'll eventually realize that any faculty members who teach these 1L writing courses are all instructed to "hide the ball" and come across as ambiguous and arbitrary...that's part of the "fun" that you 1L's get to experience on the road to "lawyerdom." 

Consider this as a rite of passage, you'll all laugh (just as I did) once you're six or seven years removed from law school. 
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: juliemccoy on March 20, 2008, 11:03:54 AM
Yeah, but the thing is the class is called "Legal Research and Writing" at my school, not "Legal Skills."

So I expect to be taught 1) the structure of a legal memo/brief, 2) how to use research tools. I fail to see the benefit of playing hide-the-ball in teaching someone how to use proper citation tools.

It's absurd-- I could have taken this wasted time to do other more productive things, and I'm beyond boiling point angry about this course. It is an inefficient use of class time, student tuition and taxpayer's money (at the public schools). Things have not magically come together for me as we end the school year-- I know nothing about structuring a legal argument from this class. The professor and the school have failed miserably, and there should be some method of holding them accountable.

The way I see it, they owe me my money back at the very least. They have not done their job and should not be paid for wasting my time.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: xferlawstudent on March 20, 2008, 11:19:38 AM
Everyone is so displeased with the class probably not so much because of the professors being incompetant, but because the class is BS busywork most of the time.  I think they should turn it into a one semester class and condense the curriculum.  Most of it is busy work.

I have always thought law school would work better if, instead of exams, students had to submit an appellate brief in all classes for their grade.  A brief is basically the same as an exam and would give us more legal writing experience in school. 
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: vaplaugh on March 20, 2008, 12:30:19 PM
Except for the amount of work, I've really been enjoying my legal writing class.  It's the ONE useful class I've had as a 1L (well, in addition to our legal research class).

 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not).

Page limits I understand.  Briefs often have page limits in practice.  Even memos, which don't have strict page limits, should be made as concise as possible.  Page limitations in a learning environment probably help with that goal.

Not discussing with other people, I understand solely as a teaching tool.  Certainly this will not apply in practice, but I think it helps to do things yourself first.

The "utilize X cases" I don't understand at all.  Some writing profs at my school do this, but not mine.  My prof gives us the legal issue and says "go."  He has us do all our research originally - in a group or individually.  In class we will discuss some of the most prominent cases that everyone has already found and will use in the memo, but he says he expects no two people in the class to use all of the same cases.  (The one thing that concerns me about this method is that grading seems more subjective - how do you grade on a curve when you are comparing apples and oranges)?

Plus, almost all of our in-class discussion is about the project we are working on outside of class.  No short mini-CREACs.  That sounds lame.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Lampshade Punk on March 20, 2008, 01:23:53 PM
Legal writing, or law skills classes, are almost always taught by unqualified, new professors who have no place teaching anything to anyone.
Deal.
It sucks ass.  I hate my law skills prof.  She's a complete idiot.  She gave us a quick primer on what a brief was, then had us start working on our first one.  We handed in our first briefs and then she spent 2 full class sessions teaching us how they were SUPPOSED to look.  Um, thanks for that.  Very helpful.
Now she's assigned us to work on the second brief, due one day after spring break ends.
So, you know, go enjoy spring break.
There simply isn't enough oversight of any legal writing/law skills program.  Schools 'pretend' that it is important to them, but then ignore them no matter how many people walking the halls complain (my entire class complains about our class so much that it is a wonder that my prof hasn't heard about it).
Law schools simply don't place the same demands on legal writing classes as they do on contracts, civ pro, torts, etc.  Legal writing isn't part of the bar, and therefore have little effect on prestige. 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not). 
My attitude is do your best and don't worry about them.
OR work with the SBA to get an ombudsman elected so that they can bring these serious concerns to the attention of the SBA, the Dean, and the head of the legal writing program.

you should write an auto biography and call it "How I Came to Know Everything."  It could be a self help book for the rest of us.  What do you think.  I mean, minuswell.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: uh huh. on March 20, 2008, 05:44:28 PM
Legal writing, or law skills classes, are almost always taught by unqualified, new professors who have no place teaching anything to anyone.
Deal.
It sucks ass.  I hate my law skills prof.  She's a complete idiot.  She gave us a quick primer on what a brief was, then had us start working on our first one.  We handed in our first briefs and then she spent 2 full class sessions teaching us how they were SUPPOSED to look.  Um, thanks for that.  Very helpful.
Now she's assigned us to work on the second brief, due one day after spring break ends.
So, you know, go enjoy spring break.
There simply isn't enough oversight of any legal writing/law skills program.  Schools 'pretend' that it is important to them, but then ignore them no matter how many people walking the halls complain (my entire class complains about our class so much that it is a wonder that my prof hasn't heard about it).
Law schools simply don't place the same demands on legal writing classes as they do on contracts, civ pro, torts, etc.  Legal writing isn't part of the bar, and therefore have little effect on prestige. 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not). 
My attitude is do your best and don't worry about them.
OR work with the SBA to get an ombudsman elected so that they can bring these serious concerns to the attention of the SBA, the Dean, and the head of the legal writing program.

I couldn't disagree with this post more, and clearly, you haven't worked yet. First and foremost, YES, your legal writing grade WILL effect your "prestige" - a poor legal writing grade can be an immediate turn off to an employer, since writing is  one of the most utilized skills, and it actually is your WORK PRODUCT. Second, you better get damn used to doing legal reasoning on your own, and not relying on your classmates, because once you're in a firm and you're given an assignment, very few associates (and certainly not the partners) are going to want to take their own billable hours to hold your hand through an assignment YOU are supposed to do. Third, there are FREQUENTLY, if not ALWAYS page limits for both briefs and internal memos. Holy *&^%, you're an idiot.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: broken on March 22, 2008, 07:25:23 PM
This is my LRW prof's first year teaching after several years of practice. I don't think she's figured out that she's supposed to hide the ball from us yet. My friends in another class are struggling to figure out how many issues they're supposed to have in their brief, mine is telling us paragraph by paragraph what we need to have in it. We female dog about how it's going to be hard to get a good grade since everyone's going to be writing the same brief, but I'd rather have the writing prof who's telling me what to do.

We get a lot of the "don't discuss your cases/briefs/memos together" crap, but it's because they think it's an honor code violation. They are OBSESSED with it though--we get little *reminders* once every other week.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: santropez on March 22, 2008, 10:01:44 PM
This thread has actually relieved me quite a bit. 

I've had similar frustrating experiences in my legal writing class, this semester more than last.  Last semester I actually ended up getting the highest grade in the class on my memo, but it was NOT due to our in class "exercises" (which were the extra CREAC exercises that were unrelated to our assignment).

My teacher definitely "hides the ball".  So, in response I just hassled and emailed her constantly, painfully extracting semblances of answers rather than anything definitive.  When I met with her in person, she would sort of guide me if I was off track, but a lot of the time I had to pay attention to subtle innuendo like body language to pick up on when I was on point in my analysis.  It was quite frustrating, but I ended up learning how to write a memo pretty much by myself, w/o any sort of meaningful classroom experiences. 

This semester is even worse though... we have even less class time and our teacher really hasn't taught us how to organize our briefs at all. She focused mainly on subtle "persuasive techniques" that are really only helpful once you've figured out how to structure the damn thing.  On top of that, the issues we're dealing with are substantially  more complicated that what we dealt with last semester. 

That being said, I'm starting to feel more confident with the format, after reading several briefs on Westlaw. But I don't really think I've learned one thing inside that classroom.  If they just gave me the book and my teacher's email address I probably would be at the same place I am right now. 
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 24, 2008, 04:32:17 PM

I couldn't disagree with this post more, and clearly, you haven't worked yet. First and foremost, YES, your legal writing grade WILL effect your "prestige" - a poor legal writing grade can be an immediate turn off to an employer, since writing is  one of the most utilized skills, and it actually is your WORK PRODUCT. Second, you better get d**mn used to doing legal reasoning on your own, and not relying on your classmates, because once you're in a firm and you're given an assignment, very few associates (and certainly not the partners) are going to want to take their own billable hours to hold your hand through an assignment YOU are supposed to do. Third, there are FREQUENTLY, if not ALWAYS page limits for both briefs and internal memos. Holy *&^%, you're an idiot.

Um, okay.
I guess me and the rest of the people who feel the same way are idiots.
Awesome.
I can do the legal reasoning on my own (way to assume, ass...).
As to page limits, I can't imagine a partner who assigned a memo to me would want me to limit myself to 6 pages when it cannot be properly explained in less than 9.  So, fair enough.  Maybe some law firms don't care about careful, reasoned analysis.  On my last memo, the teacher held us to an unreasonable standard.  When we turned in our papers, she scheduled memo reviews.  At my review, she told me that I didn't explain a concept with enough depth, and I told her that was due to page limitations.  I asked her if she felt I spent too much time on other topics and she said "no."
But hey, you are clearly smarter than me.
AND you seem to have a real positive, helpful attitude.
Why not spend more time on xoxo and less time with the adults?
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 24, 2008, 05:07:40 PM
Legal writing, or law skills classes, are almost always taught by unqualified, new professors who have no place teaching anything to anyone.
Deal.
It sucks ass.  I hate my law skills prof.  She's a complete idiot.  She gave us a quick primer on what a brief was, then had us start working on our first one.  We handed in our first briefs and then she spent 2 full class sessions teaching us how they were SUPPOSED to look.  Um, thanks for that.  Very helpful.
Now she's assigned us to work on the second brief, due one day after spring break ends.
So, you know, go enjoy spring break.
There simply isn't enough oversight of any legal writing/law skills program.  Schools 'pretend' that it is important to them, but then ignore them no matter how many people walking the halls complain (my entire class complains about our class so much that it is a wonder that my prof hasn't heard about it).
Law schools simply don't place the same demands on legal writing classes as they do on contracts, civ pro, torts, etc.  Legal writing isn't part of the bar, and therefore have little effect on prestige. 
The classes are a sham (do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not). 
My attitude is do your best and don't worry about them.
OR work with the SBA to get an ombudsman elected so that they can bring these serious concerns to the attention of the SBA, the Dean, and the head of the legal writing program.

you should write an auto biography and call it "How I Came to Know Everything."  It could be a self help book for the rest of us.  What do you think.  I mean, minuswell.

Thanks for that helpful and useful commentary.
I simply LOVE it when people feel compelled to post in threads then, upon finding themselves with little or nothing to say, decide to show the rest of the group exactly what a class a feminine hygiene product looks like.
Mazel Tov.
Your mother would be proud.
If you disagree with anything I've said, feel free to add to the discussion.  If you instead find yourself compelled to waste your own time making yourself look stupid, try this next time:
just don't post.
That way, no one else has to read your silly, wasteful nonsense.
Seriously.  There is no rule that says you are REQUIRED to post in a thread you read.
At my school, there are teachers with JD's and LLM's from some of the most respected law schools in the country (Yale, Harvard, U of C, etc.), yet not one of them teaches 'law skills'.
Those that DO teach law skills are all clearly underqualified to teach legal writing.
It's okay that you don't believe me.  I don't mind one bit.  That's because I don't care one bit.
Our legal writing program is ranked in the top 10 by USNAWR, proof that they don't eveluate anything but the actual program (which is solid).  Sadly, the classroom experience is far different.  I spoke to several 2L's and 3L's and they all shared the same observations - our law skills program is sound in theory, but due to virtually no oversight and terrible hiring decisions, the classroom experience is terrible.
Why you would comment as you did remains a mystery....
Unless, of course, you are my actual instructor, in which case I'd like to tell you to shove it up your ass....
:-)
Enjoy your day!
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: uh huh. on March 25, 2008, 12:28:43 PM
Um, okay.
I guess me and the rest of the people who feel the same way are idiots.
Awesome.
I can do the legal reasoning on my own (way to assume, ass...).
As to page limits, I can't imagine a partner who assigned a memo to me would want me to limit myself to 6 pages when it cannot be properly explained in less than 9.  So, fair enough.  Maybe some law firms don't care about careful, reasoned analysis.  On my last memo, the teacher held us to an unreasonable standard.  When we turned in our papers, she scheduled memo reviews.  At my review, she told me that I didn't explain a concept with enough depth, and I told her that was due to page limitations.  I asked her if she felt I spent too much time on other topics and she said "no."
But hey, you are clearly smarter than me.
AND you seem to have a real positive, helpful attitude.
Why not spend more time on xoxo and less time with the adults?

Honey, when you actually start WORKING instead of hypothesizing about what you THINK partners want, you can speak with authority. How would YOU know whether your professor's expectation is reasonable or unreasonable? You haven't seen first hand what partners expect (um, I have.) I have been given numerous assignments that have page limits, since these guys do not have time to read NINE pages of your drivel. I simply find it IRRESPONSIBLE on your part to pedal the misinformation in your initial post as fact, when, in fact, you have no experience to back up your BS.

I give you points, though, for recognizing I'm smarter than you. Keep up the good work, kid.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: NeverTrustKlingons on March 25, 2008, 12:49:44 PM
The guy/gal bitching about page limits has a lot to learn, it's a little perplexing how he got through undergraduate without realizing that certain assignments require brevity.  There's nothing that 'cannot be said in less than 9 pages,' as asserted above. 

I don't think it is particularly helpful, upon realizing that you're not God's gift to legal writing, to come onto the internet and female dog about your professors.  Even a top-notch professor cannot tell you EXACTLY HOW TO DO YOUR WORK without DOING YOUR WORK FOR YOU.  Have reasonable expectations, put in the time required and you will go far.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 26, 2008, 06:09:27 PM
Um, okay.
I guess me and the rest of the people who feel the same way are idiots.
Awesome.
I can do the legal reasoning on my own (way to assume, ass...).
As to page limits, I can't imagine a partner who assigned a memo to me would want me to limit myself to 6 pages when it cannot be properly explained in less than 9.  So, fair enough.  Maybe some law firms don't care about careful, reasoned analysis.  On my last memo, the teacher held us to an unreasonable standard.  When we turned in our papers, she scheduled memo reviews.  At my review, she told me that I didn't explain a concept with enough depth, and I told her that was due to page limitations.  I asked her if she felt I spent too much time on other topics and she said "no."
But hey, you are clearly smarter than me.
AND you seem to have a real positive, helpful attitude.
Why not spend more time on xoxo and less time with the adults?

Honey, when you actually start WORKING instead of hypothesizing about what you THINK partners want, you can speak with authority. How would YOU know whether your professor's expectation is reasonable or unreasonable? You haven't seen first hand what partners expect (um, I have.) I have been given numerous assignments that have page limits, since these guys do not have time to read NINE pages of your drivel. I simply find it IRRESPONSIBLE on your part to pedal the misinformation in your initial post as fact, when, in fact, you have no experience to back up your BS.

I give you points, though, for recognizing I'm smarter than you. Keep up the good work, kid.

I simply adore being condescended to by someone with far less life experience....
Thanks for the opinion.  Do the world a favor and save "Honey" for the person who you are having sex with.  The rest of us automatically assume you are an idiot.
And I wasn't "pedal"-ing anything (it would be 'peddle' btw - you are a lawyer already?).  I was giving my opinion.  And if, in your experience, you find my opinion to be incorrect, so be it.  Feel free to express your opinion.  Removing the horsesheet would make your post a little more credible.  For example, instead of making assumptions and speaking to me as if I am less intelligent than you, why not just make your point, which appears to be that page limits have a place and in your experience, 9 page brief's aren't what partners want.
In the meantime, allow me to retort:
If it takes 9 pages for me to accurately and expertly analyze an issue and each page is necessary, the extra page or so that the lazy-ass partner wants to waste time complaining about may actually save the client's ass.  Or, we can do it your way, have arbitrary page limits and if the client ends up in jail or on the hook for millions, @#!* 'em, right?
since you decided that you are an expert, allow me to share a little more of the page limitation issue with you.  You might find that you actually LEARN something.
My professor, who has earned herself zero respect from any of my classmates, limited our brief to under 8 pages.  This was a case about IIED and she required us to use 4 full cases to prepare the brief.  Two were lengthy, somewhat complex supreme court decisions.  Sticking to her arbitrary nonsense, I limited my paper to her requisite pages.
When I got my paper back, she commented that I left out one aspect that she felt was important.  So I showed her my 9 page brief, which contained a section on what she felt was missing, and asked her to help me see how I could have been more concise so as to fit the section in.  Her response?  "I don't know.  I guess you might have needed 9 pages.  I should have told you that 9 would have been okay.  Oops."
But hey, you might be right.  Maybe she's a genius.

Quick question:
How do you know what I wrote was drivel?
How does my expressing my opinion in a thread entitled "Legal Writing Horror Stories" work out to me 'petal'-ing misinformation?  How is it irresponsible?  Is it because throngs of one L's come here to read my opinion, take it as absolute fact, and proceed to live their lives incorrectly in perpetuity until they finally end up killing themselves?
Ease up.  I gave my opinion.  I wasn't "peddling" anything.
I find it wholly unbelieveable that you managed to graduate law school, pass the bar, and blow enough partners to get hired.  Why?  Because you don't know how to spell and use words incorrectly.
peddle - sell or offer for sale from place to place
(What was for sale?  and where?)
pedal - A foot-actuated lever
Maybe I was irresponsibly using a foot-actuated lever?
Meh, whatever.  Best of luck.
Let us all know what it's like when the partners discover your low intellect and let you go.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 26, 2008, 06:12:54 PM
The guy/gal bitching about page limits has a lot to learn, it's a little perplexing how he got through undergraduate without realizing that certain assignments require brevity.  There's nothing that 'cannot be said in less than 9 pages,' as asserted above. 

I don't think it is particularly helpful, upon realizing that you're not God's gift to legal writing, to come onto the internet and female dog about your professors.  Even a top-notch professor cannot tell you EXACTLY HOW TO DO YOUR WORK without DOING YOUR WORK FOR YOU.  Have reasonable expectations, put in the time required and you will go far.

Yet another humanoid - I'm sorry - KLINGON, who missed the point.
If a brief MUST be more than 9 pages to discuss a complex issue, then so be it.  Don't like it?  Don't read the extra pages.  I am not the sort to ramble on unnecessarily - quite the opposite, actually.
My initial page count was 6, which the teacher informed us was too short.
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.
But thanks for the advice, patheticstartreknameguy.  Live long and prosper.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Jhuen_the_bird on March 26, 2008, 06:22:42 PM
The guy/gal bitching about page limits has a lot to learn, it's a little perplexing how he got through undergraduate without realizing that certain assignments require brevity.  There's nothing that 'cannot be said in less than 9 pages,' as asserted above. 

I don't think it is particularly helpful, upon realizing that you're not God's gift to legal writing, to come onto the internet and female dog about your professors.  Even a top-notch professor cannot tell you EXACTLY HOW TO DO YOUR WORK without DOING YOUR WORK FOR YOU.  Have reasonable expectations, put in the time required and you will go far.

Yet another humanoid - I'm sorry - KLINGON, who missed the point.
If a brief MUST be more than 9 pages to discuss a complex issue, then so be it.  Don't like it?  Don't read the extra pages.  I am not the sort to ramble on unnecessarily - quite the opposite, actually.
My initial page count was 6, which the teacher informed us was too short.
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.
But thanks for the advice, patheticstartreknameguy.  Live long and prosper.

Oh wow ... that's totally unfair to give A's to people who can't follow directions.  Going over the page limit that significantly should be an automatic ding.  Not that I think it's fair, but I mean, in court, your case can get dismissed for not following directions :-/  Better to learn now!
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: vaplaugh on March 26, 2008, 06:40:48 PM
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.

Wow.  bull.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 26, 2008, 07:39:29 PM
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.

Wow.  bull.

Well put. Short, concise and free from nasty hyperbole.  I appreciate that.
but wrong.
Our class is pretty open about stuff with each other.
I found the people who got A's and asked if I could check out their papers so I could see what an 'A' paper looked like.
Both papers were 12 pages long.  The rest of the folks that found out were all pissed, as their papers were all kept within the guideline.
There were a few people who didn't want to admit to an A (humility maybe?), so they may have gotten A's and just told me they got B's, but the two people I know that received A's both had papers that exceeded the page restriction.
My prof might be an unreasonable representative of the legal writing prof's out there.  If that's the case, good on you who don't have a crap legal writing teacher.
Perhaps folks are focusing too much on the page limitations.  Having us hand in our first memo THEN teaching us how to write a memo is plain stupid.
Forbidding students from working together on research is also nonsense.  This was our first memo.  She had barely discussed how to research.  It's just silly.
Here's an add-on to show you how brilliant this lady is:
Two thirds of the pages in our syllabus discuss plagiarism and how bad it is, unethical, etc. and how we should always attribute to the author/properly cite any text we quote, reproduce, or otherwise use.
We got our third memo assignment the other day.  There's all sorts of references to the movie 'office space'.  Milton, Lundberg, Inatech, Chotchkies, etc.  So I ask her after class if she wrote it after seeing 'Office Space' and she didn't know what that was.  We all thought she was kidding.  It so obviously used characters from that movie.  She then admitted that she sometimes takes memo assignments from fact patterns that she's seen in moot court.
She began the memo assignment with a personalized passage, then used someone else's fact pattern, then ended it with her own personalized section.  Then listed her name.
She admitted to plagiarizing someone else's work.  Someone else wrote the fact pattern, then she used it as if it was her own creation without attributing it to anyone but herself.
This is not a clever woman.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: vaplaugh on March 26, 2008, 08:05:05 PM
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.

Wow.  bull.

Well put. Short, concise and free from nasty hyperbole.  I appreciate that.
but wrong.

Woops, my bad... I suppose I should have written: "Wow, what your legal writing professor did was bull."
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Ender Wiggin on March 26, 2008, 09:11:11 PM
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.

Wow.  bull.

Well put. Short, concise and free from nasty hyperbole.  I appreciate that.
but wrong.
Our class is pretty open about stuff with each other.
I found the people who got A's and asked if I could check out their papers so I could see what an 'A' paper looked like.
Both papers were 12 pages long.  The rest of the folks that found out were all pissed, as their papers were all kept within the guideline.
There were a few people who didn't want to admit to an A (humility maybe?), so they may have gotten A's and just told me they got B's, but the two people I know that received A's both had papers that exceeded the page restriction.
My prof might be an unreasonable representative of the legal writing prof's out there.  If that's the case, good on you who don't have a crap legal writing teacher.
Perhaps folks are focusing too much on the page limitations.  Having us hand in our first memo THEN teaching us how to write a memo is plain stupid.
Forbidding students from working together on research is also nonsense.  This was our first memo.  She had barely discussed how to research.  It's just silly.
Here's an add-on to show you how brilliant this lady is:
Two thirds of the pages in our syllabus discuss plagiarism and how bad it is, unethical, etc. and how we should always attribute to the author/properly cite any text we quote, reproduce, or otherwise use.
We got our third memo assignment the other day.  There's all sorts of references to the movie 'office space'.  Milton, Lundberg, Inatech, Chotchkies, etc.  So I ask her after class if she wrote it after seeing 'Office Space' and she didn't know what that was.  We all thought she was kidding.  It so obviously used characters from that movie.  She then admitted that she sometimes takes memo assignments from fact patterns that she's seen in moot court.
She began the memo assignment with a personalized passage, then used someone else's fact pattern, then ended it with her own personalized section.  Then listed her name.
She admitted to plagiarizing someone else's work.  Someone else wrote the fact pattern, then she used it as if it was her own creation without attributing it to anyone but herself.
This is not a clever woman.

Maybe if you didn't hit the Enter key after every f-ing sentence, your brief would have been shorter.  I've read one thread, and I am already strongly in favor of limiting the length of everything you write.  Quit your crying.  Pick a courthouse--any one will do--and ask a judge's clerk if there is a page limit for briefs. 
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: plex on March 27, 2008, 12:58:26 AM
All I can say is, thank Fing god that damn appellate brief is done. I literally did not sleep the night before it was due.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: Jhuen_the_bird on March 27, 2008, 09:43:28 AM
All I can say is, thank Fing god that d**mn appellate brief is done. I literally did not sleep the night before it was due.

Haha ... amen.


Except now I have to re-read mine (eek!) and read my partner's so we can do our oral arguments on it  :-\
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 27, 2008, 11:22:26 AM
Shortly thereafter, she told us that it should between 7 and 8 pages long.
Come to find out, the only A's she gave out were to well written 12 page papers, two of them to be precise.

Wow.  bull.

Well put. Short, concise and free from nasty hyperbole.  I appreciate that.
but wrong.
Our class is pretty open about stuff with each other.
I found the people who got A's and asked if I could check out their papers so I could see what an 'A' paper looked like.
Both papers were 12 pages long.  The rest of the folks that found out were all pissed, as their papers were all kept within the guideline.
There were a few people who didn't want to admit to an A (humility maybe?), so they may have gotten A's and just told me they got B's, but the two people I know that received A's both had papers that exceeded the page restriction.
My prof might be an unreasonable representative of the legal writing prof's out there.  If that's the case, good on you who don't have a crap legal writing teacher.
Perhaps folks are focusing too much on the page limitations.  Having us hand in our first memo THEN teaching us how to write a memo is plain stupid.
Forbidding students from working together on research is also nonsense.  This was our first memo.  She had barely discussed how to research.  It's just silly.
Here's an add-on to show you how brilliant this lady is:
Two thirds of the pages in our syllabus discuss plagiarism and how bad it is, unethical, etc. and how we should always attribute to the author/properly cite any text we quote, reproduce, or otherwise use.
We got our third memo assignment the other day.  There's all sorts of references to the movie 'office space'.  Milton, Lundberg, Inatech, Chotchkies, etc.  So I ask her after class if she wrote it after seeing 'Office Space' and she didn't know what that was.  We all thought she was kidding.  It so obviously used characters from that movie.  She then admitted that she sometimes takes memo assignments from fact patterns that she's seen in moot court.
She began the memo assignment with a personalized passage, then used someone else's fact pattern, then ended it with her own personalized section.  Then listed her name.
She admitted to plagiarizing someone else's work.  Someone else wrote the fact pattern, then she used it as if it was her own creation without attributing it to anyone but herself.
This is not a clever woman.

Maybe if you didn't hit the Enter key after every f**cking sentence, your brief would have been shorter.  I've read one thread, and I am already strongly in favor of limiting the length of everything you write.  Quit your crying.  Pick a courthouse--any one will do--and ask a judge's clerk if there is a page limit for briefs. 

Noted.
You can take solace in the fact that my writing style on message boards is nothing like my writing style in legal briefs.
If we were all to use your explanation and take all you say to be true, we could call into question your writing ability as well.
You shouldn't begin sentences with the word 'maybe', nor should you use profanity!
:-)
Message received, sometimes page limitations are necessary.  However, I still contend that my teacher page limitations were arbitrary and most definitely not adhered to, either in practice or as part of the grading rubric.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: uh huh. on March 28, 2008, 01:27:25 PM
I simply adore being condescended to by someone with far less life experience....
Thanks for the opinion.  Do the world a favor and save "Honey" for the person who you are having sex with.  The rest of us automatically assume you are an idiot.
And I wasn't "pedal"-ing anything (it would be 'peddle' btw - you are a lawyer already?).  I was giving my opinion.  And if, in your experience, you find my opinion to be incorrect, so be it.  Feel free to express your opinion.  Removing the horsesheet would make your post a little more credible.  For example, instead of making assumptions and speaking to me as if I am less intelligent than you, why not just make your point, which appears to be that page limits have a place and in your experience, 9 page brief's aren't what partners want.
In the meantime, allow me to retort:
If it takes 9 pages for me to accurately and expertly analyze an issue and each page is necessary, the extra page or so that the lazy-ass partner wants to waste time complaining about may actually save the client's ass.  Or, we can do it your way, have arbitrary page limits and if the client ends up in jail or on the hook for millions, f**ck 'em, right?
since you decided that you are an expert, allow me to share a little more of the page limitation issue with you.  You might find that you actually LEARN something.
My professor, who has earned herself zero respect from any of my classmates, limited our brief to under 8 pages.  This was a case about IIED and she required us to use 4 full cases to prepare the brief.  Two were lengthy, somewhat complex supreme court decisions.  Sticking to her arbitrary nonsense, I limited my paper to her requisite pages.
When I got my paper back, she commented that I left out one aspect that she felt was important.  So I showed her my 9 page brief, which contained a section on what she felt was missing, and asked her to help me see how I could have been more concise so as to fit the section in.  Her response?  "I don't know.  I guess you might have needed 9 pages.  I should have told you that 9 would have been okay.  Oops."
But hey, you might be right.  Maybe she's a genius.

Quick question:
How do you know what I wrote was drivel?
How does my expressing my opinion in a thread entitled "Legal Writing Horror Stories" work out to me 'petal'-ing misinformation?  How is it irresponsible?  Is it because throngs of one L's come here to read my opinion, take it as absolute fact, and proceed to live their lives incorrectly in perpetuity until they finally end up killing themselves?
Ease up.  I gave my opinion.  I wasn't "peddling" anything.
I find it wholly unbelieveable that you managed to graduate law school, pass the bar, and blow enough partners to get hired.  Why?  Because you don't know how to spell and use words incorrectly.
peddle - sell or offer for sale from place to place
(What was for sale?  and where?)
pedal - A foot-actuated lever
Maybe I was irresponsibly using a foot-actuated lever?
Meh, whatever.  Best of luck.
Let us all know what it's like when the partners discover your low intellect and let you go.

Ok. I'll bite. It'll be fun.

1) Does "Sweetheart" work better for you? Good!
2) Interesting that you think I have less experience than you. I'm working. Have been for many years. In multiple industries. And you?
3) I'll admit to my misspelling (The sign of a person with integrity is his or her ability to admit when he or she is wrong. You might want to make a note of that for future reference.)
4) My assumption in that you are less intelligent than not only myself, but a great majority of the people on this board, was based on the evidence. YOU are the one who asserted there were no page limits in the law - you represented that as fact, NOT opinion.
5) I would have believed your BS story about your interaction with your professor if you had actually brought it up earlier, but you didn't. I believe you're full of crap.
6) I know what you wrote was drivel because of your inability to articulately and concisely argue your own point here. (Or do you choose not to write concisely? You might want to work on that.)
7) "I find it wholly unbelieveable that you managed to graduate law school, pass the bar, and blow enough partners to get hired.  Why?  Because you don't know how to spell and use words incorrectly." Nice sentence structure. Good luck in your first job, Buddy (oh, do you like that better?)
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 28, 2008, 11:34:16 PM
Sadly, you still think your tone is gentile even though it is condescending and rude.  Do you talk down to everyone, or just people you don't know?
Yes, to answer one of your questions, I've been working for years in multiple industries.  The Law is my 3rd career.  In my time working, I've come across some interesting people and learned some interesting lessons.  One such interesting lesson is that people who are successful attorney's don't have the time or inclination to jump on law school discussion boards to correct such horrific and unconscionable offenses such as giving their opinions in threads with tiles like "Legal Writing Horror Stories".
So allow me to apologize to an esteemed professional like yourself.  My post was pure opinion and I simply forgot to provide the boilerplate notification wherein I stipulate that my posts are all opinions and that if you disagree, you might be right but I also reserve the right not to care.  Of course, that is almost always followed by some statement of the concept that if you are an ass, I reserve the right to mock you and call you names.  Since you seem to want me to self-correct (lazy?), here's what I will correct:
Instead of writing:
"do you really think that as a lawyer, your briefs will have page limitations, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this with other lawyers', and instructions to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it?  Of course not", I should have written something more like:
"I have trouble believing that as a lawyer, your briefs will have narrow, arbitrary page limitation, rules like 'you are prohibited from discussing this brief with other lawyers', and instruction not to utilize case law you are familiar with because you are familiar with it."  Feel better?
So allow me to retort:
You are a feminine hygiene product.  There.  I said it.  Maybe you aren't a feminine hygiene product all the time, but coming to a law school discussion board to trash a silly opinion is a douch-y thing to do.  Maybe in real life, you aren't an ass all the time.  Maybe in real life, when you say start discussions with "Honey", people think it's sweet.  Slutty girls get away with that.  So do really old ladies.  Or charming old men.
If you are an attorney, then I wonder how you find the time to lurk about at lawschooldiscussion.org, searching for opinions to disagree with.  I also wonder why you give so much of a *&^% that you have now twice responded. 
To make it easy for you 'uh huh.', I'll spell it out for you in a way that you can fully comprehend:
- What I wrote was an opinion. 
- All opinions are like assholes.  Everyone has one and some of them stink.
- I never attempted to 'sell' anything as truth or fact.  If you took it that way, oh freakin' well.  May I ask how that affects you or anyone else?  Let's take it to the conclusion, shall we?  Let's say that 10 people accept what I wrote as fact, not opinion.  What result then?  Do they drop out of law school?  Does it forever sour their law school experience?  Perhaps they will be lucky and be of the minority that actually has decent legal writing professors, then what?  Will they find themselves scared and alone, wondering if there is any real truth out there?  Will their confidence be forever shaken?  Will they cease to exist?  Will they find themselves shattered due to my incorrect assessment of the situation?
Oh my.  The results could be disastrous.  You are right. I should go back and delete my posts, then flog myself wildly until I draw blood and am forever scarred.
I really don't care if you think I'm making it all up.  How wonderful it would be for me if what I shared was, in fact, fictional!  As to whether I should care if you believe me, I don't.  So your point is moot.
But this was my favorite part:
" know what you wrote was drivel because of your inability to articulately and concisely argue your own point here. (Or do you choose not to write concisely? You might want to work on that.)"
So let me get this straight, how and what I write on an internet message board (an informal writing) is indicitive of how I write a legal memo (which is a formal writing)?  Um, okay.  That makes sense.
Here's my point:  My memo was limited to a certain number of pages.  The official limit was 7-8 pages in total.  This includes all the sections : The To, From, Date, Re:, the Issue section, the Brief Answer section, the Facts section, The Discussion section, and the Conclusion section.  In actuality, several students turned in papers that were 12 pages long with no point deduction.  My paper was cut down to 7 1/2 pages.  It wasn't too long.  It was within the guidelines.  Had I not had an arbitrary page limitation, my paper would have been 9-11 pages long, well within most actual page limitations that most attorneys I know have been asked to complete as a function of their jobs.  I did not attempt to prepare a meandering, 30 page legal memo - I was told to cut it down to size, by the instructor, so that my paper was within the page limit assigned.  Your argument is ridiculous and assumptive.  I understand the need to keep memo's brief, but simply cannot believe that you have a job where you employer asks you to prepare a memo analyzing a clients position where he or she tells you to keep in between 7 and 8 pages long.  Sorry, but that strikes me as irresponsible and arbitrary.  And if the prick was adamant about it, I would prepare an executive summary so they wouldn't have to read the whole thing if they didn't want to.
Since you are already a very successful attorney, might I suggest that you move along and leave us morons to the conversation at hand?  Your contribution seems to consist of wild speculation, condescention, and an obsession with an opinion that you believe to be fact.
I thank you for your investment in time and wish you well.

Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: uart on March 29, 2008, 06:15:26 PM
I LOVED my legal writing professor.  In fact, he was the best professor I've had in law school.

You go to Emory right?

Your LWRAP prof was the Judge for my oral argument today, and I thought he was pretty rough.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: blackpowerman on March 29, 2008, 08:40:45 PM
why is it that i can't start writing until a week before the assignment is due- even tho i've had 5 weeks to do it?  what i mean is that knowing what to do and how to do it doesn't hit me until 6 or 7 days before its due.  wtf?
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jacy85 on March 30, 2008, 05:48:51 AM
I LOVED my legal writing professor.  In fact, he was the best professor I've had in law school.

You go to Emory right?

Your LWRAP prof was the Judge for my oral argument today, and I thought he was pretty rough.

No he wasn't; he left the school last year (unless they asked him to come back to be a judge, which I doubt...and if he did come back for a day, that makes me sad, as I would have liked to have stopped by to visit!  He was awesome!)
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: jeffislouie on March 30, 2008, 01:52:56 PM
why is it that i can't start writing until a week before the assignment is due- even tho i've had 5 weeks to do it?  what i mean is that knowing what to do and how to do it doesn't hit me until 6 or 7 days before its due.  wtf?

For my first memo, I started as soon as I got the assignment.  For my second memo, I wrote the whole thing the weekend before it was due. 
For me, the difference was easy:  When I got to law school, I was enthusiastic and everything was fresh and new.  By the time the second memo came around, I was more used to school and had figured out that my teacher was full of crap.
I just got my third and final memo assignment and I haven't even touched it yet.  While I don't plan on having it done weeks early, I also don't anticipate putting much work in until a week before it's due.
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: uart on March 30, 2008, 03:20:11 PM
I LOVED my legal writing professor.  In fact, he was the best professor I've had in law school.

You go to Emory right?

Your LWRAP prof was the Judge for my oral argument today, and I thought he was pretty rough.

No he wasn't; he left the school last year (unless they asked him to come back to be a judge, which I doubt...and if he did come back for a day, that makes me sad, as I would have liked to have stopped by to visit!  He was awesome!)

Ah. I assumed based on your "he."
Title: Re: Legal Writing Horror Stories
Post by: broken on March 30, 2008, 07:07:14 PM
Last week I was the ER with severe abdominal pain, and they told me I have an ulcer. I blame LRW.