Monday, March 8, 2010

A University of Texas Professor Responds to Criticism About the UT Writing Program

Wayne Schiess from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law asked us to post this message in response to two articles posted this past weekend. 

The first article posted concerned a story that the University of Texas fails to provide its first year students with adequate training in brief writing.  Click here to read that story.

The second article posted concerned a story from the University of Texas student newspaper, which carried a call from students for more legal writing and skills courses to be made available.  The article quotes a practitioner who said he would never hire another graduate from that school "because they can't write."  Click here to read that story.

So here is the response that we've just received from Professor Wayne Schiess, who was named Director of the Legal Writing Program at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 2004.  We hope that he and his colleagues will be successful in bringing back the writing classes and skills education that the students (and practitioners) seem to be demanding.  Here's his response to the stories posted this weekend:

It is true that the University of Texas School of Law has a first-year legal-writing curriculum without brief writing. When the law school administration removed credits from the required course five years ago, brief writing was lost. Needless to say, the legal-writing faculty thought it was a mistake. So we’ve been teaching a brief-writing elective that only some 1Ls can get into. We're optimistic that brief writing will return to the required first-year curriculum. Indeed, a proposal to do that comes before the faculty this week.

Thank you.

Wayne Schiess, University of Texas School of Law

(mew)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2010/03/texas-writing.html

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