How important is creative writing in law school?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby bdubs » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:18 pm

I am a capable writer. I can convey my points clearly, structure logical arguments, and generally deliver coherent business style documents. However, I am not a strong "creative" writer. I don't write with a lot of gripping prose or stylistic flare.

Will this be a problem in law school?

What kind of writing abilities are needed to be a top 5% student at a T14 school?

User avatar
vanwinkle
Posts: 9740
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:25 pm

bdubs wrote:I am a capable writer. I can convey my points clearly, structure logical arguments, and generally deliver coherent business style documents. However, I am not a strong "creative" writer. I don't write with a lot of gripping prose or stylistic flare.

Will this be a problem in law school?

What kind of writing abilities are needed to be a top 5% student at a T14 school?

You sound like you might be the ideal legal writer.

Logical structure and coherence are probably the most important things to legal writing. You have to present your argument in the correct order, and in legal writing class you'll have to learn to write your arguments in a highly structured format (usually some variation of IRAC, which means you write the Issue, Rule, Application to facts, and Conclusion, in that order). Clarity is also important.

However, legal writing in the sense of learning to write legal documents is totally different from legal exam writing. You don't need to follow any kind of rigid legal writing format at all to be in the top of your class on an exam. For exams, they don't judge you on format or whether you followed IRAC or anything like that, although formatting can help because it can provide logic and structure to the grader and help ensure they see what you're saying. Really, what they care about on exam day is the logic and structure of your legal application itself; you can write it in a variety of different styles and formats, and as long as the professor understand what you're saying and why you're saying it, you can still rack up points on the exam.

User avatar
mbusch22
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:08 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby mbusch22 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:25 pm

not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.

User avatar
BruceWayne
Posts: 2032
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:36 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby BruceWayne » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:28 pm

Legal writing seems to mostly be about 1. organization 2. coherence 3. logical argument building and 4. Attention to detail (citing everything that needs to be cited, correct grammar/punctuation, and making sure that you are using terms that have a legal connotation correctly like "issue")

bdubs
Posts: 3729
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby bdubs » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:44 pm

Excellent, thank you for the responses. After reading a few Yale 250s, I got myself a little worried that it was important to be a strong creative writer.

User avatar
s0ph1e2007
Posts: 1054
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:37 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby s0ph1e2007 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:45 pm

mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


really? interesting.
I wonder where you've heard that.
Maybe you mean 'people with exclusively creative writing backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing'?
That would be fair I believe.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby 09042014 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:47 pm

s0ph1e2007 wrote:
mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


really? interesting.
I wonder where you've heard that.
Maybe you mean 'people with exclusively creative writing backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing'?
That would be fair I believe.


Aren't you an 0L?

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby keg411 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:09 pm

mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


Not necessarily true. It's a different skill set, but if you are first and foremost and organized writer, it's not that difficult of a transition. If you actually enjoy writing it also helps.

But OP, you definitely do not have to be good at creative writing to do well in legal writing.

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7237
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:12 pm

I'm finding that at least being able to think creatively will be helpful on law school exams. Being able to look at "normal things" and seeing them as abnormal helps you nitpick the facts a lot more, at least in my opinion.

User avatar
seespotrun
Posts: 2395
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:36 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby seespotrun » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:13 pm

beach_terror wrote:I'm finding that at least being able to think creatively will be helpful on law school exams. Being able to look at "normal things" and seeing them as abnormal helps you nitpick the facts a lot more, at least in my opinion.


Copyright seespotrun entertainment, 2010-2011.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby Renzo » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:18 pm

s0ph1e2007 wrote:
mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


really? interesting.
I wonder where you've heard that.
Maybe you mean 'people with exclusively creative writing backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing'?
That would be fair I believe.

I was an English major, and did a little bit of professional writing, and I would say that it was not a disadvantage, but it made the adjustment very difficult. Many of the things that make good legal writing would make a magazine editor's head explode, and techniques for crafting good prose can obstruct the learning of legal writing. In the long run, I think that creative writers will (as a general rule) be better legal writers, but they face a more shocking adjustment period.

The most applicable/analogous thing I can think of would be writing technical manuals--I bet those folks have no problem at all adjusting.

JOThompson
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby JOThompson » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:20 pm

So far, creative writing is a liability in my legal writing class. We're penalized for deviating the slightest bit from the memo guidelines. Words ending in -ly are a big no no. I feel like a robot. If I want to indulge my creative side, I'm guaranteed to be at the bottom of the curve. I've been told that we have more liberty of style with persuasive writing next term.

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7237
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:21 pm

seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:I'm finding that at least being able to think creatively will be helpful on law school exams. Being able to look at "normal things" and seeing them as abnormal helps you nitpick the facts a lot more, at least in my opinion.


Copyright seespotrun entertainment, 2010-2011.


stalker, and my creative thinking apparently sucks.. because my midterm was only a 14/20

User avatar
seespotrun
Posts: 2395
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:36 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby seespotrun » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:21 pm

Renzo wrote:
s0ph1e2007 wrote:
mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


really? interesting.
I wonder where you've heard that.
Maybe you mean 'people with exclusively creative writing backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing'?
That would be fair I believe.

I was an English major, and did a little bit of professional writing, and I would say that it was not a disadvantage, but it made the adjustment very difficult. Many of the things that make good legal writing would make a magazine editor's head explode, and techniques for crafting good prose can obstruct the learning of legal writing. In the long run, I think that creative writers will (as a general rule) be better legal writers, but they face a more shocking adjustment period.

The most applicable/analogous thing I can think of would be writing technical manuals--I bet those folks have no problem at all adjusting.


Wtf is so hard about adjusting to CREAC?

User avatar
seespotrun
Posts: 2395
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:36 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby seespotrun » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:26 pm

beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:I'm finding that at least being able to think creatively will be helpful on law school exams. Being able to look at "normal things" and seeing them as abnormal helps you nitpick the facts a lot more, at least in my opinion.


Copyright seespotrun entertainment, 2010-2011.


stalker, and my creative thinking apparently sucks.. because my midterm was only a 14/20


It was more happenstance than stalking. Stalking would be commenting on how your new FB profile pic is wack. But anyway, hang in there bruh. A 14/20 is not necessarily a bad thing. Did you get a feel for how everyone else did?

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7237
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:29 pm

seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:I'm finding that at least being able to think creatively will be helpful on law school exams. Being able to look at "normal things" and seeing them as abnormal helps you nitpick the facts a lot more, at least in my opinion.


Copyright seespotrun entertainment, 2010-2011.


stalker, and my creative thinking apparently sucks.. because my midterm was only a 14/20


It was more happenstance than stalking. Stalking would be commenting on how your new FB profile pic is wack. But anyway, hang in there bruh. A 14/20 is not necessarily a bad thing. Did you get a feel for how everyone else did?


Hater. Median in the other section was an 11, so I'm assuming roughly the same for ours but she hasn't said yet. I have a good idea of what I fucked up though... she seems to put a premium on discussing the facts of the cases we read, which I wasn't expecting.

User avatar
seespotrun
Posts: 2395
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:36 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby seespotrun » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:32 pm

beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
Copyright seespotrun entertainment, 2010-2011.


stalker, and my creative thinking apparently sucks.. because my midterm was only a 14/20


It was more happenstance than stalking. Stalking would be commenting on how your new FB profile pic is wack. But anyway, hang in there bruh. A 14/20 is not necessarily a bad thing. Did you get a feel for how everyone else did?


Hater. Median in the other section was an 11, so I'm assuming roughly the same for ours but she hasn't said yet. I have a good idea of what I fucked up though... she seems to put a premium on discussing the facts of the cases we read, which I wasn't expecting.


Median is ~ 3.1 - 3.2. You could have gotten an A or A-. (subtle bragging)

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7237
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:35 pm

seespotrun wrote:
Median is ~ 3.1 - 3.2. You could have gotten an A or A-. (subtle bragging)


I thought median was a 3.0? 3 people got 19's, so I doubt I got an A-

User avatar
MartianManhunter
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:59 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby MartianManhunter » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:45 pm

I suppose you could write a very compelling 'facts' section on your LRW memo/brief.

User avatar
seespotrun
Posts: 2395
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:36 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby seespotrun » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:45 pm

beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
Median is ~ 3.1 - 3.2. You could have gotten an A or A-. (subtle bragging)


I thought median was a 3.0? 3 people got 19's, so I doubt I got an A-


Nope it's higher than that. At worst you got a B+ in a class taught by a professor who notoriously grades like an asshole. And by "asshole," I mean that people who generally crush other classes get crushed by hers, and people who generally get crushed by classes crush hers. Take that for what it's worth.

stayway
Posts: 1275
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:38 am

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby stayway » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:56 pm

seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
Median is ~ 3.1 - 3.2. You could have gotten an A or A-. (subtle bragging)


I thought median was a 3.0? 3 people got 19's, so I doubt I got an A-


Nope it's higher than that. At worst you got a B+ in a class taught by a professor who notoriously grades like an asshole. And by "asshole," I mean that people who generally crush other classes get crushed by hers, and people who generally get crushed by classes crush hers. Take that for what it's worth.


lets hope thats the case because I got crushed on the midterm.

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7237
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby beach_terror » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:58 pm

seespotrun wrote:
beach_terror wrote:
seespotrun wrote:
Median is ~ 3.1 - 3.2. You could have gotten an A or A-. (subtle bragging)


I thought median was a 3.0? 3 people got 19's, so I doubt I got an A-


Nope it's higher than that. At worst you got a B+ in a class taught by a professor who notoriously grades like an asshole. And by "asshole," I mean that people who generally crush other classes get crushed by hers, and people who generally get crushed by classes crush hers. Take that for what it's worth.


I'm gonna need to bother you in person for some more information about this, so you're gonna need to come outta the law review cave.

User avatar
BioEBear2010
Posts: 745
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:05 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby BioEBear2010 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:10 pm

Persuasive writing requires a fair bit of creative writing. And by creative writing, I mean rhetorical trickery and all that pathos/logos/ethos goodness.

Transactional work and predictive writing don't require any creativity. Clarity and conciseness are key.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:43 pm

As my prof put it "Cut out all that giberish. Stop being creative and start being practical. Lawyers dont have time to read about how many 10 letter adjectives your English minor taught you."

Basically, you're in good shape.

User avatar
moandersen
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:31 pm

Re: How important is creative writing in law school?

Postby moandersen » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:17 am

mbusch22 wrote:not important. People with strong creative writing/English backgrounds tend to struggle with legal writing.


based on what?

Its all about adaptability. Can you adapt to a new writing structure or not? Thats the question. And I would think people who majored in writing should have that ability.

I was an english major with a focus in creative non-fiction, and was top 2 in the class for our first graded memo. And judging by comments from TAs, my next and final memo of the semester should grab a similar grade.

So I guess what im saying is that while the styles are completely different, a good writer should be able to adapt.

But to answer OPs question - not much. The only time I got somewhat 'creative' was in my facts section of the memo.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], LawHammer and 12 guests