December 16, 2005
ABA's legal writing requirement
The American Bar Association (ABA) is the organization to which the federal Department of Education delegates the work of accrediting law schools in the United States. The ABA uses detailed standards in the accreditation process.
Here's the requirement for legal writing instruction:
"A law school shall require that each student receive substantial instruction in ... writing in a legal context, including at least one rigorous writing experience in the first year and at least one additional rigorous writing experience after the first year."
And here's how that requirement is to be interpreted:
"Factors to be considered in evaluating the rigor of writing instruction include: the number and nature of writing projects assigned to students; the opportunities a student has to meet with a writing instructor for purposes of individualized assessment of the student's written products; the number of drafts that a student must produce of any writing project; and the form of assessment used by the writing instructor."
The full text of the ABA accreditation standards can be found at http://www.abanet.org/legaled/standards/standards.html (spl)
December 15, 2005
Why Write Your Own Outline?
Did you know that there's a website where students can download other students' law school outlines for free and submit their own for possible purchase? See http://www.ilrg.com/students/outlines/. It ends with a list of other websites that also offer outlines. (njs)
December 14, 2005
An Article on Plain Legal Writing
On the Plain Language website, one of the article links is to a clear and well-written article by Judge Mark Painter of the Ohio Court of Appeals, at http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/Legal/legalwriting.pdf.
He writes forcefully and passionately about plain writing, and he does so with a sense of humor: "Footnotes detract from readability. Encountering a footnote is like going downstairs to answer the door while making love."
Now that quote is hard to top, but rest assured that there are many more articles listed on the site, all united by the theme of Plain Language and its inarguable merits. (njs)
December 13, 2005
the plain language movement
The Plain Language Association has a website at http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/. As the website indicates, "Our site provides free plain-language articles, writing tutorials, Web links, news, networking opportunities, professional support, and e-mail discussion groups." There's a section on Plain Legal Writing. More about that website tomorrow!! (njs)
December 12, 2005
legal writing in real-life practice
Another good article ... debunking myths that law students believe about legal writing and its role in law practice. See http://www.abanet.org/lsd/studentlawyer/may04/get-real.html. (njs)
December 11, 2005
Straightforward Advice on Legal Writing
A great little article on legal writing can be found at http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~pam/papers/goodwriting.html#fnBO.
This 1984 article, full of simple and clear advice, was written by Pamela Samuelson. (njs)