Law School Discussion

Grammar advice from PLS group...

egfmba

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Grammar advice from PLS group...
« on: July 13, 2004, 07:56:34 PM »
Straight from the PLS Yahoo group site (sic, edited for length, emphasis added):

For the first-year student, it is not important. As the addendum to Chapter in PLS...said, first-year students are coddled with regard to legal writing assignments.

As to your exam answers--most likely, poor grammar won't hurt you.  The prof is looking for issue-spotting and -analysis, not a polished memo, and will likely give the student the benefit of the doubt as to WHY the grammar was poor.

However, in application letters for summer clerkships...and especially in application letters for judicial clerkships, plus in all memos, etc., written as a summer associate, poor grammr can KILL you.

And, of course, out in the real world, if you send a client a letter that has poor grammar in it..., or if you file a document with a court that has any of the same goofs in it, you automatically set yourself up to be on the losing side of any situation where the reader begins to question your competence on a point of law, etc.

So, bottom line: try to have good grammar even in your first-year work, but make SURE you know grammar well by the time you start second-year.


Real world:  more and more law firms are bitching about the lack of writing skills among law students.  There is even a note posted on my ls's web site from a law firm asking for references from profs for students with good writing skills because there are so few nowadays.  Furthermore, an attorney recently got fined by a court for bad grammar, spelling mistakes, etc.

How can this person tell anyone that grammar is unimportant to a lawyer?  This is a field in which most, if not all, that occurs is recorded.  If you start ls with no grammar skills, how are students supposed to know to improve them if profs don't care?  bull.

BTW, this started with some guy asking how important grammar was in the first place, considering he hasn't studied grammar since he was in elementary school (where did this guy go to school that he didn't use basic grammar through high school and college?).  Apparently this yahoo used an essay writing service to even get into ls.

Casper

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Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2004, 03:48:11 PM »
Classic book to improve your writing.  Shrunk & White. 

egfmba

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Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2004, 08:30:53 PM »
Not hostile; shocked.  I can't believe that a person who is so emulated and admired would offer such seemingly innocuous advice that could do so much harm!

I think the advice was irresponsible and thoughtless, and for those who do not know how harmful the advice is, I think they should at least have access to warning.

egfmba

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Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2004, 03:07:15 PM »
Don't worry, I was referring to Atticus Falcon's advice, not yours  8) !

Though I may have misinterpreted your first post, I understood your post as saying that while my response to AF's advice was "near hostile", my advice was worth considering.

I just wanted to make it clear that I wasn't feeling hostile toward AF in particular; I was just shocked that AF would make such a statement considering how many folks listen to him! ???

Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2004, 11:58:29 AM »
Cool...  Man I need to stop surfing this website!  It sucks away my productivity like the black hole... 

Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2004, 01:40:20 PM »
Quote
How can this person tell anyone that grammar is unimportant to a lawyer?

This criticism is uncalled for based on the excerpt you posted.

Quote
However, in application letters for summer clerkships...and especially in application letters for judicial clerkships, plus in all memos, etc., written as a summer associate, poor grammr can KILL you.




NeverForever

Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2004, 01:45:48 PM »
Classic book to improve your writing.  Shrunk & White. 

This book has gotten me through the first three years of college. It's so simple and strightforward but makes a world of difference in your writing.

egfmba

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Re: Grammar advice from PLS group...
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2004, 07:24:12 AM »
For the first-year student, it is not important. As the addendum to Chapter in PLS...said, first-year students are coddled with regard to legal writing assignments.

As to your exam answers--most likely, poor grammar won't hurt you.  The prof is looking for issue-spotting and -analysis, not a polished memo, and will likely give the student the benefit of the doubt as to WHY the grammar was poor.

Fobby lawyer, the first words out of his mouth, so to speak, were that grammar is unimportant.  It was only a few paragraphs later that he mentions, oh, btw, you may need proper grammar if you hope to get a job or be taken seriously.  It was almost an afterthought, and someone may miss that part.  I don't think that idea should have even come into play, given that legal writing is a mandatory first year course.  That's my point.