Legal Writing at YLS
Recruiting season has come to an end and we're happy to be
back in our offices reading applications and making offers. During a recap of this year's recruiting
visits and webinars we realized we received quite a few questions about our legal
writing program, so I'll use this week's blog post to focus on our legal
writing instruction at YLS.
The approach to legal writing instruction at YLS is unique. Unlike
many other schools, you won't take an introductory legal writing course at YLS
- writing is taught in the context of your required first-term classes. The small
group, the format of one of your four required first-term courses, serves
as the main venue for writing instruction.
Small group professors and Coker Fellows, 2L and 3L assistants, provide the
primary instruction in legal writing. Rob
Harrison, one YLS's legal writing instructors, teaches first-term students the
ins and outs of writing legal briefs and memoranda.
First-term students also get instruction and feedback on
their writing from sitting judges. U.S.
District Judge Mark Kravitz and Senior Judge John Walker of the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit provide writing instruction to first-term students.
"Can you imagine being a first-semester law student and
having a sitting Second Circuit Judge evaluate your legal writing skills?" said
Dean Robert Post. "It's pretty exciting."
Beyond the small group, Rob and Noah Messing, our other
legal writing instructor, teach a popular Advanced Legal Writing course. Additionally, since most of our students
participate in clinical
courses, they receive writing instruction from our clinical faculty and student
directors in the process of crafting real legal documents.
YLS recently expanded its writing curriculum in recognition
of the popularity of Advanced Legal
Writing and in response to student feedback for more writing courses. In Elements of Effective Legal Writing
students spend an entire semester focused on crafting of briefs. Legal Writing for Litigators provides
future litigators with training in writing briefs, memos, and other correspondence
and offers instruction in the strategic use of court filings. A new class offered next semester, Drafting and Negotiating Contracts, will
go beyond the training offered in the first-term Contracts to help students prepare for careers as transactional
I hope this post has provided some insight into YLS's unique
approach to legal writing instruction.
You can read more about legal writing at YLS on our website or in the Yale
Daily News. Still have questions? Email email@example.com or post a comment
to this entry.