Saturday, July 9, 2011
Considering that a great deal of law is statutory, statutory analysis is a foundational skill for law students. I think that a course in statutory analysis should be included in the first-year curriculum. However, since only a few law schools have such a course in the first year, it is often up to legal writing teachers to introduce law students to statutory interpretation.
Almas Khan has just posted a short article on SSRN entitled Teaching a Master Class on Legislation to First-Year Legal Writing Students, which discusses how to teach statutory analysis to first years in one two-hour class. He uses the examples and exercises in Helene S. Shapo, Marilyn R. Walter & Elizabeth Fajans, Writing and Analysis in the Law (5th ed. 2008), which are excellent examples and exercises for teaching statutory analysis. In addition, Public Citizen v. Dept. of Justice, 491 U.S. 440 (1989) is an excellent case to use for teaching statutory analysis because the majority opinion (Brennan) adopts a purposivist approach, while the concurring opinion (Kennedy) uses a textualist approach.