Friday, December 16, 2005

Drafting vs. persuasive writing part 2

I'd like to comment on these two comments:
  • Great idea. As a trial lawyer, I do a lot of persuasive writing. But at the time of settlement, it's drafting a settlement agreement that pays off in the end.
This is an excellent point. In fact, a survey I conducted last year has suggested to me that although not all lawyers do persuasive writing, nearly all do some legal drafting. Legal-writing expert Garner agrees:
  • [E]very lawyer occasionally gets involved in legal drafting of some sort--even if it's only a settlement agreement.
--Bryan A. Garner, Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises 89 (U. Chicago Press 2000).

The other comment:
  • Interesting idea. But why is it an either/or proposition? Though it's often treated as an obligatory course taught only because students are expected to have it, why not include legal writing courses throughout three years of law school. That way, students will get a substantial amount of persuasive writing, and will also spend time learning transactional writing. Legal writing is one of the primary tools of the trade, yet it is still taught poorly in many schools (poorly paid adjunct faculty--or worse, upper level students; one-year requirement during first year; limits on type of writing taught; etc.)
Here's a commenter who know something. Well put. I couldn't agree more.

Perhaps the basics of legal research, memos, and correspondence in the first year; persuasive writing and transactional drafting in the second year; and a seminar or advanced, independent-study project in the third year.

That kind of program or something like it may already exist, but it is not likely to exist at my school any time soon.

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