Tuesday, March 27, 2012
In the first set of concurrent sessions on Saturday, Rachel Smith (Miami) discussed "Positivity in the Legal Writing Classroom," and Scott Anderson (Capital) addressed "What's Your Story? Writing a Persuasive Statement of Facts."
Professor Smith talked about her experiences in law practice and her desire to infuse her legal writing classroom with hope and optimism, rather than with the negativity she found in law practice. She helps her students to focus on lawyer as problem solver; tries to increase their sense of personal control; and encourages them to get past a win/lose mentality. She includes fewer war stories, fewer bench slaps, and fewer negative stories; instead, she focuses on positive stories and critiques and finished with the sage advice to "do all things with love."
Professor Anderson shared an exercise for writing a persuasive statement of facts: he took one set of sentences, numbered them, then challenged his students to put them together to support each side's version of the story. Doing so illustrates that writing persuasively involves more than just lots of adjectives and adverbs--that how one arranges information affects persuasion as well.