Cheryl Stephens, Plain Language Legal Writing
John Brown on the manifest-error standard of review

Why Johnny can’t write

I had occasion today to peruse the web sites of two law schools, just to see what their legal-writing programs look like and who teaches them. At both, it appears that 100 percent of the teaching is done by fellows. A fellowship is a one-year contract typically extended to someone who is just embarking on an academic career, and whose main interest is in an area other than legal writing. It appears that teaching legal writing is part of their initiation into the academic world—something they have to go through before moving on to whatever field really interests them. If you ask any of them what they hope to be doing two years from now, the answer will not be “teaching legal writing.”

The result of this system: no law student receives teaching in legal writing from anyone who has more than minimal teaching experience or who wants to make a career of teaching legal writing.

[Paragraph deleted from original post.]

Comments are open. Fire away.


p.s.  Please read the thoughtful comments by Wayne Schiess and Alan Childress.

I have deleted the second-to-last paragraph of this post, because as originally written, it was unfair to the fellows in these systems. My point is to question the system, not to criticize the people in the system. Unfortunately the deleted paragraph could fairly be read as criticizing the people, which was not my intention.