Q & A with law school writing professor

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.
Jeremy Weintraub

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:06 am

Q & A with law school writing professor

Postby Jeremy Weintraub » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:41 am

http://www.TheLawSchoolPersonalStatement.com

I’m Jeremy Weintraub – new to TLS. I’m a former law school writing professor, having taught at Denver, St. John’s, Cardozo, and New York Law School. I’ve taught the art of storytelling, persuasive writing, and techniques for producing crisp, fundamentally sound writing. I now work as a consultant, and my primary expertise is helping applicants with their personal statements. I also have 15 years of experience practicing law as a litigator.

I’m happy to try to answer any questions you have, especially if you have questions about writing personal statements, other writing questions, or questions about legal practice.

Thanks much,

Jeremy

haus

Gold
Posts: 3896
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Q & A with law school writing professor

Postby haus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:24 am

Given the apparent importance of legal writing in many law related careers, why does it look from the outside that many schools treat classes that focus on this subject as the red headed step children of the family?

Jeremy Weintraub

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:06 am

Re: Q & A with law school writing professor

Postby Jeremy Weintraub » Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:08 pm

haus wrote:Given the apparent importance of legal writing in many law related careers, why does it look from the outside that many schools treat classes that focus on this subject as the red headed step children of the family?


I agree with the points in your question that writing is important for lawyers and that many law schools treat legal writing classes as less important than other courses. Before I give some reasons why, I think it is worth saying that some schools do treat legal writing as just as important as other courses -- which I think is the right approach.

One reason that legal writing is given a bad rap is the false expectation that all law applicants should already possess outstanding writing skills. Following that reasoning, any writing course is viewed as a remedial type of class. And schools don't want to give the impression that a remedial class is important. And while I think this reason does explain the thinking at some schools, I think those schools have it wrong. Writing is difficult. Good writing is hard to achieve. There is nothing remedial about it. Good writers know how difficult writing is.

A second reason is that legal writing is often not taught by tenured professors, but by contract professors. Contract professors are lower down in the law school hierarchy than tenured professors. So when it comes to making decisions for the school -- perhaps like how many credits to award a legal writing class -- the tenured professors will likely sway the decision.

A third reason is a bit historical in that legal writing classes have been treated this way for quite some time -- well before I went to law school or began teaching. I'm not sure of how that history started, but once it is established, it becomes hard to change.

Jeremy

haus

Gold
Posts: 3896
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Q & A with law school writing professor

Postby haus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:20 pm

Jeremy Weintraub wrote:I agree with the points in your question that writing is important for lawyers and that many law schools treat legal writing classes as less important than other courses. Before I give some reasons why, I think it is worth saying that some schools do treat legal writing as just as important as other courses -- which I think is the right approach.

For someone who is selecting a law school do you have recommendation for how they can determine if a school they are considering takes this "right approach"?

Jeremy Weintraub

New
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:06 am

Re: Q & A with law school writing professor

Postby Jeremy Weintraub » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:51 pm

haus wrote:
Jeremy Weintraub wrote:I agree with the points in your question that writing is important for lawyers and that many law schools treat legal writing classes as less important than other courses. Before I give some reasons why, I think it is worth saying that some schools do treat legal writing as just as important as other courses -- which I think is the right approach.

For someone who is selecting a law school do you have recommendation for how they can determine if a school they are considering takes this "right approach"?


You can try a couple of things to try to figure out the emphasis a school puts on its legal writing courses. First, if you know any students at that law school, ask them. Schools sometimes may spin an answer, but students often will give you an honest answer. Second, look at the number of credits given to the first year legal writing course. If the course is given 3 (or 4) credits each semester, that is often a sign the school considers it to be an important class. Third, find out if the professors teaching legal writing are "tenured or tenure track" vs. "contract" professors -- or even possibly adjunct professors. You can directly ask schools this question; it is not the kind of answer that a school can really spin. And it doesn't mean that a tenured professor is a better professor than an adjunct or contract professor -- but it does give some indication as to how important the school views its legal writing professors.

Jeremy



Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 29 guests