How not to write a bill
Quotation of the day

Advice for 1L’s

Prof. Paul Horwitz offers new 1L’s some advice worth of consideration. I like what he says about legal writing:

Legal Writing is Not a Course.  Well, OK, it is a course.  But it’s not just a course.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is something separate and apart from your substantive courses—or worse, that it is less important than them.  Effective legal writing is effective legal practice—both because good legal writing is good legal analysis, and because most of what you do as a lawyer will involve communicating clearly to others, either in written or oral form and regardless of whether you’re communicating with an adversary, a client, or someone on the other side of a corporate transaction. Moreover, mastering good legal writing is the best “strategy” there is for mastering your substantive exams: a great legal exam, in my view, is just a great legal memo written under unusual time pressure.  So treat legal writing as one of your most important courses, whether or not it’s pass/fail, and do your best to internalize the form of the legal memo so that you can use it on your exams.

Hat tip to Daniel Solove at Concurring Opinions, who adds his own valuable 2¢:

[P]ractice writing as much as you can. This advice is best heeded long before you go to law school. Take writing classes in college. Or take a non-fiction writing class outside of college.... Or, if you can't take a course, get books about how to improve your writing. And practice writing on your own. Basically, write, write, write!

Writing is one of the most crucial skills in law school, and it is the one that I find many students could greatly improve.... Many of the problems I see on exams and in student papers stem from general writing issues—inability to write clearly, poor organization, badly articulated concepts, and so on. You can never get enough training in writing. So work on improving this skill, and you'll likely improve your success in law school.

Hat tip to Brian Hollar at Thinking on the Margin for all the above.


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