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Teaching Writing in Clinical, Lawyering, and Legal Writing Courses: Negotiating Professional and Personal Voice

Andrea L. McArdle

CUNY School of Law

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 12, Spring 2006

This article addresses the challenge facing law students to preserve some sense of individual voice and ownership of their writing as they enter a professional discourse community and negotiate its formal structures and idioms. It conceives of this challenge as equally a project for clinical, lawyering, and legal writing teachers. Each of these teaching communities plays a role in acculturating law students to the conventions of practice-based writing and identifies strategies to help them develop confidence in their capacity as communicators. The question of student voice is particularly a consideration for clinical teachers who supervise student work in live-client settings and continually must balance the need to ensure that a student's work product meets the standard of competent representation against the educational imperative of preserving the student's individual voice and sense of personal efficacy. Informed by these considerations, the article proposes pedagogic approaches that can help emergent lawyers undertake the delicate negotiation between professional and personal voice, and argues that there is a good reason for clinical simulation-based, and legal writing pedagogies to be in conversation on the questions of cultivating individuality and bolstering confidence in student writers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

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Date posted: August 28, 2007  

Suggested Citation

McArdle, Andrea L., Teaching Writing in Clinical, Lawyering, and Legal Writing Courses: Negotiating Professional and Personal Voice. Clinical Law Review, Vol. 12, Spring 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1005529

Contact Information

Andrea L. McArdle (Contact Author)
CUNY School of Law ( email )
2 Court Square
Room 4/309
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States
(718) 340-4348 (Phone)
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