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Persuasion: The Art of Writing In, For, and About the Law

What constitutes effective writing about the law for both a professional and general audience? How does writing, which is not directly addressed to a court, influence cases, shape legislation and itself become a factor in litigation or lobbying. While it may be impossible to separate writing from thinking, this course is designed to improve the sophistication and skills of writers and readers, who also are lawyers. Becoming an effective writer begins with the attempt to understand what another accomplished writer has done. The purpose of the course is to improve students' ability to both generate and analyze written text. A detailed analysis of the structure and function of particular writing strategies within the context of specific books will aid students in their own public writing and in the analysis of the work of others. A close attention to the structure and function of language, style, diction, and authority will develop skills useful in the drafting of legislation, and in deconstructing opinions and other legal texts. Students will learn to be different kinds of readers, as the occasion demands, in addition to refining their abilities as writers and researchers. This course examines books on broad legal topics by accomplished writers who are not lawyers. Evaluation: Two drafts of a research paper and several oral presentations and short written presentations. The topic for the research paper must be approved by the instructor. Teaching Method: Discussion and student presentations, two drafts of a research paper. Text: Selected books Prerequisites: None


Catalog Number: LITARB 655
Practice Areas: Civil Lit. and Dispute ResolutionConstitutional Law & ProcedureLegal Skills Development
Additional Course Information: 3 draft degree req may be met with class


Course History

Fall 2011
Title: Writing For and About the Law
Faculty: Bienen, Leigh B. (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Type: Seminar     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 7