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Legal Writing at Duke Law School

❶If even one element fails, the entire rule fails. Many lawyers use and re-use written documents in this way and call these re-usable documents templates or, less commonly, forms.

Advice on How to Revise your Lawyering Memo or Brief into a Writing Sample

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A memo or brief you prepared for lawyering seminar can work well as a writing sample.
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Participants are free to choose any topic that may be addressed seriously in an article-length piece and that may be written during one semester. The course offers each student the opportunity to focus on and assess the writing style practiced by the judge for whom each will be clerking or another whose opinions she or he admires.

In addition, the students will practice forms of legal writing that they, as clerks, will be drafting for their judges—a bench memorandum, a majority opinion, and a concurrence or dissent. The focus here is on organized, clear, effective formal writing, which is the focal point of both.

Professor Sarah Powell and Professor Rebecca Rich each teach a section of this advanced writing seminar that helps prepare students for the types of writing that are common to all civil litigation, while introducing them to electronic discovery. Writing assignments will all surround one hypothetical federal lawsuit that raises electronic discovery issues that arise in most civil litigation.

Baker teaches this introduction to several different types of persuasive writing used in federal litigation. The course will focus on one hypothetical matter involving federal law. Professor Diane Reeves teaches this advanced writing seminar, which gives students practical experience in dealing with evidentiary issues in a broad range of hypothetical legal situations based upon real cases. Assignments and class discussions will focus on identifying and researching issues that arise in different procedural settings, analyzing them in writing, and presenting analysis orally.

Professor Diane Reeves, a former special deputy attorney general for the state of North Carolina, teaches this writing intensive exploration of complex criminal litigation. Professor Casandra Thomson teaches this advanced writing seminar that helps prepare students for the types of writing that are common to all civil litigation, while introducing them to oral and written advocacy in an arbitral setting.

This workshop provides students the opportunity to share their scholarship with other students. Students present their writings and receive feedback from peers and guidance from faculty advisors.

It therefore requires as part of the LLM curriculum a one-semester legal analysis, research, and writing course. The course trains students in US-style reasoning and analysis, preparing them for law school exams. It teaches them how to locate US law in hard copy and electronic resources. It challenges them to write in the direct, succinct style preferred by US lawyers and business people. I am told you must practice, and practice some more. I am fortunate to have a good instructor, he is extremely tough.

But that makes us stronger if we work at it. I hope this helps you. A rule is a template. It says "In this situation, this is the outcome". The template has one test: And one outcome "labeled a criminal". Now, for elements, there are multiple parts to the test. All must be satisfied. So, Battery -- "intentional action resulting in harmful or offensive contact".

Three elements "intentional action" "resulting in contact" that is "harmful or offensive". All three elements of the rule template must be met, or the rule fails.

If even one element fails, the entire rule fails. So, you go through the list of factors, and you apply each one as heavily yes, mildly yes, heavily no, mildly no, and neutral. The difference between factors and elements is that factors are not all or nothing. If you only have one that applies, that resolves question. If you have many that apply, they get added together.

As far as the rest of legal writing, follow this basic format. State the issue or the question that you want to address. State the rule that you are going to apply that answers that question, and if necessary explain why that rule gets used.

Then go through the rule, either element by element or factor by factor. Some important points in the debate of "legalese" v. Joseph Kimble, a modern plain-English expert and advocate, rejects the claim that legalese is less ambiguous in The Great Myth that Plain Language is not Precise. Plain-English advocates suggest that no document can possibly cover every contingency, and that lawyers should not attempt to encompass every contingency they can foresee.

Rather, lawyers should only draft for the known, possible, reasonably expected contingencies. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section possibly contains original research.

Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Harvard Law School Library. Retrieved 25 February Let the computer do it".

Southern Connecticut State University. Retrieved 9 April North Carolina Law Review. New York Law Journal. Plain Language Action and Information Network. Law and Justice Foundation. Hereof, Thereof, and Everywhereof: A Contrarian Guide to Legal Drafting 2 ed. Retrieved from " https: English language Jargon Language varieties and styles Legal communication Legal literature Legal writing. Articles needing additional references from September All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from April Articles that may contain original research from August All articles that may contain original research Articles with unsourced statements from May All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from January Articles with permanently dead external links.

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The Writing Fellows at the Legal Writing Center have experience creating their own writing samples. They have also worked with students to revise, edit, and improve their legal writing samples. While they can't comment on the strength of your legal analysis, they can help with organization and clarity of your writing.

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The writing faculty support Duke Law students in all of their writing endeavors, helping them to develop and perfect the skills necessary to produce top-quality legal writing. Learning to write like a lawyer is perhaps the greatest challenge of legal education.

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About Legal Writing Noah Messing is Yale Law School’s Lecturer in the Practice of Law and Legal Writing. He joined Yale Law School’s faculty in and has taught legal writing, trial advocacy, and appellate advocacy to thousands of attorneys, judges, and students since then. Legal Enforcing a Post-Divorce Modification through the Courts. By the time a divorce is final, most people are ready to be done with the process.