Thursday, December 15, 2005

Legal drafting instead of persuasive writing?

Tell me what you think.

What if the first-year law-school curriculum covered legal drafting intensely and required students to negotiate and draft one serious transactional document as well as some shorter ones? What if it required them to study legal drafting instead of persuasive writing?

Or, more moderately, what if the focus on the first-year legal-writing course was memos and transactional documents instead of memos and briefs? I mean what if the first-year course did cover persuasive writing, but only briefly, the way some first-year programs now cover transactional drafting?

And what if the legal-drafting component of the first-year course was a major part of the course, as brief writing and oral advocacy are now, to the point that first-year students participated in a negotiating and drafting competition instead of a moot-court competition?

Perhaps what I'm really asking is which is more important to the development of a good lawyer: persuasive writing or legal drafting?

So maybe we should sponsor both types of competitions and allow first-year students to choose what they wanted to study after memos: briefs or transactional documents.

I'm proposing a paper on this topic and I'd love to hear what you think. What are the pros and cons?

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