Friday, June 21, 2013
As more students enter law school without enough previous rigorous writing experience, there's a new book that may be helpful for them. Laura Graham and Miki Felsenburg have written The Pre-writing Handbook for Law Students (Carolina Academic Press 2013). The book includes advice and exercises for understanding a client's story, understanding the assignment, creating a research plan, starting to analyze while researching, carefully reading relevant authorities, moving from reading to analysis and on to writing, and analyzing issues.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
I often wonder whether the decrease in writing skills is the result of the younger generation of lawyers being hooked on the Internet, familiar only with quick reads and the use of abbreviations in communications.
Most judges and partners are old school. Do not give us a written product filled with typos and grammatical errors, or something that reads like an email. Even if you gave me a sound, well-thought-out product, I won’t trust it because you gave me sloppy work.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Michael Higdon has written a very helpful article for law students: The Legal Reader: An Expose, 43 New Mexico L. Rev. 77 (2013). (My apology for lacking the accent for "expo-zay" in this blog platform.) I'm still weighing just when in the first semester of law school to recommend it to our new 1Ls, but I'm sending it to our rising 2Ls today. You can also access it here at SSRN, although the date suggests that's not the final edited version.
Monday, June 17, 2013
We all do it from time to time. C'mon, you're probably doing it right now, procrastinating by reading this blog. Two recent articles shed some useful light on why we procrastinate and how to help ourselves move on, to more productive activities. (But do come back to the blog from time to time.)
First, a short article by Meehan Rasch addresses "Understanding the Procrastination Cycle". The abstract tell us: "Procrastination is one of the enduring challenges of human existence, as well as one of the chief problems with which law students struggle. Understanding the cycle of procrastination can help law professors and advisors more constructively address students’ issues in this area — not to mention our own."
Once you've done a reality check via the short article, you're ready for more detailed information in a longer, but just as accessible, article written David and Meehan Rasch: "Overcoming Writer's Block and Procrastination for Attorneys, Law Students, and Law Professors". And here's the abstract:
is a particularly writing-heavy profession. However, lawyers, law students, and
law professors often struggle with initiating, sustaining, and completing legal
writing projects. Even the most competent legal professionals experience
periods in which the written word just does not flow freely. This article
provides a guide for legal writers who are seeking to understand and resolve
writing blocks, procrastination, and other common writing productivity
"While much of the advice presented applies broadly, lawyers, law students, and law professors each have their own unique writing challenges. This article highlights some of the complexities of the writing process, offers an overview of common writing productivity issues, and provides a series of tools for improving legal writing productivity. Whatever kind of legal writer you are, we hope this article will help point to issues at the heart of your own writing challenges and will help you identify how best to make productive changes."