Monday, August 27, 2012

William Burton on the Letter to Yale

William Burton is the author of Burton's Legal Thesaurus, a winner of the Legal Writing Institute Golden Pen Award, and the mastermind behind the annual Burton Awards held annually at the Library of Congress.  He contributed these thoughts in the comment section of our blog, and we're reposting them here to make them easier for you to read.

I join in the rising crescendo of voices against the message expressed by Associate Dean Asha Rangappa of Yale Law School.

If she is correct, recommendations received at Yale Law School from “core subject area professors" are preferred by their admission committee members over those submitted by legal writing teachers.

Again, if true, this attitude and approach shows a failure to appreciate the importance of legal writing and the indispensible role that legal writing teachers play in educating law school students. Indeed, legal writing affects every subject area of law, not just one. Its impact is, therefore, pervasive.

As importantly, effective legal writers possess the essential attributes necessary for success in law school and later, in the practice of law.

Writers are almost certainly dedicated to their task, well-organized, knowledgeable , methodical, and capable of analyzing the most complex concepts. These are essential qualities that can be assessed by both legal writing teachers and core subject area professors.

I, therefore, ask that the posting by the Associate Dean be corrected and that Yale Law School express its unwavering commitment to consider equally in its admission process of transfer students, letters of recommendation from both legal writing teachers and core subject area professors.

William C. Burton, Esq


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