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This handbook is for upper-level students enrolled in a clinic, who are expected to draft legal memorandums, briefs, client letters, and pleadings with minimal supervision. Each chapter focuses on a single writing skill. The exercises and examples consistently and cogently employ the techniques and devices advocated in the book.
Clinical students learn by doing. Still, their legal writing experience is limited, so guiding them through written assignments is challenging. They simultaneously need specific feedback on legal writing from their professors, and the opportunity to do as much as possible on their own. I wrote this handbook with that challenge in mind.
Students can use the book as a tool to help them complete writing assignments without relying too much on their professor. Clinical professors can use the handbook in three separate ways, depending on their students’ needs.
1. Require or ask students to use the handbook when they write assignments.
2. Assign students to read and complete the exercises in a single chapter or chapters based on weaknesses professors find in their students’ writing.
3. Assign chapters and exercises to prepare for in class review of basic writing skills. Students would read and complete some of the exercises in a chapter before attending class on a particular topic, where they would discuss the topic and practice that skill in class by completing as a group the remaining exercises. Such a class could also include peer editing of written clinic assignments.
The ebook includes numerous interactive questions, such as multiple choice, that allow students to assess their understanding and skills.
This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI)
Law | Legal Writing and Research
Haynes, Nan, "Legal Writing Handbook for Clinical Students" (2023). Books. 212.