Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Helping Students Edit Their Writing Effectively

Some of my colleagues at UMKC School of Law have created a "self-editing" device to help students with their writing.  Prof. Wanda Temm describes it below and asks for your help in improving it. (dbw)


Like many of us, I have just emerged from another round of critiquing briefs.  I find one of the most frustrating things in critiquing papers is finding basic mistakes or just typos that the drafter should have caught with a basic proofread.   With over-reliance on spell-check and grammar-check, proofreading skills are not where they should be in many of our students. That's certainly not news to all of you.      

Frustrated that our pleas to "please proofread more carefully" go unnoticed, my colleagues and I seek to instill ownership of proofreading by requiring our students to complete a self-edit certification.  Our aim is to break proofreading down into concrete steps for our students.  The certification was originally designed by my colleagues, Professors Nancy Levit and Allen Rostron, for use with law review notes and comments.  I am now incorporating into the first year legal writing program and would like your help.

Our draft certification is now available on SSRN at  Please take a look at let us know how we can improve this work in progress.

Looking forward to a few critiquing-free days,

Wanda M. Temm
Clinical Professor of Law
Director of Legal Writing
Director of Bar Services
University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Law
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64105

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