Law School Discussion

Legal Writing

Legal Writing
« on: April 08, 2009, 07:58:51 PM »
Before I get flamed for this, and I'm sure I will regardless, I know that attempts at preparation for the 1L year are pointless.  It's been told to me countless times before.  What I'm looking for is any recommendations for legal writing courses, or any sort of writing course that will allow me to rest easy with regards to the writing aspect of the 1L year.  I know I'll have more than enough work to do once I get there; the last thing I want to have to worry about is the quality of my writing.

Can anyone suggest courses I should look at, at a law school, university, or via correspondence?

Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 08:47:29 PM »
Maybe a good book on grammar or structure. legal writing is something you have to learn by doing. Not really able to prepare for it. But at least make sure your grammar is on point, eliminate the passive voice, etc. Please don't waste time trying to learn how to Bluebook or anything.


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Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 10:13:57 AM »

Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2009, 06:55:54 PM »
I would strongly recommend against trying to do any prep. Not because it's useless, but rather because it is better to relax and have fun during the run up to law school. You won't be doing either of those once you're there and you will have plenty of time to practice your writing.

But if you really want the practice, try Neumann's Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing. It's a good basic textbook. Bryan Garner also has several good basic texts.


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Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2009, 07:29:40 AM »
Legal writing is probably the worst course to prep for. If it's graded, your grade is going to be based on matching what you do with that the instructor expects. So even if you learn a great way of doing things, if it's not the instructor's way, it can lead to a poor grade. And if it isn't graded and you're that committed to doing prep work, doing it for something that's graded.

The grammar, structure, and spelling advice is best. There's a ton of law students who are starting out with high school or lower writing skills. If you're a college level writer, you can rest easy. The legal writing skills will come.

Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 04:24:05 PM »
One somewhat of a tangential note:  Legal writing is completely different than any other type of writing.  I published research papers before law school, and found that it didn't help me at all re legal writing.  It's a whole new system.

Then there is legal writing vs. exam writing.


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Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 10:43:29 AM »
For legal writing my school uses "Successful Legal Analysis And Writing: The Fundamentals" by Clary.

It's very straight forward.

As far as exam writing... Getting to Maybe.


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Re: Legal Writing
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2009, 09:31:05 AM »
I didn't do any prep for 1L year.

If I could do it all over again, I would've done two things.

(1)  Read "Getting to Maybe".
(2)  Read the Wikipedia page on all of my first semester courses (e.g., "Criminal Law")