Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2466634
 


 



The Doctrine of Legal Writing - Book Review of Linda H. Edwards's Readings in Persuasion: Briefs that Changed the World


Lucy A. Jewel


University of Tennessee College of Law

September 2014

1 Savannah Law Review 45 (2014)
University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 248

Abstract:     
In legal education, the word “doctrinal” is most often used to refer to courses such as Contracts, Torts, Property, and Criminal Procedure. Doctrinal has long been used as a descriptive adjective, but also as a word of exclusion. We often hear that legal writing courses are not substantive and not as significant as doctrinal courses. Linda Edwards’s new book, Readings in Persuasion: Briefs that Changed the World, persuasively challenges this view.

This paper evaluates what we mean when we use the term doctrinal in a legal education context and considers six powerful descriptors for the doctrine of legal writing, all extrapolated from Edwards’s book: (1) legal writing is founded upon a collective body of robust scholarship; (2) it relies upon principles of science to create legal meaning; (3) it embraces an artistic craft model for the production of legal meanings, emphasizing the creativity, autonomy, and discretion that form the core of a lawyer’s professional identity; (4) it involves critical introspection, opening up areas of thought traditionally obscured in legal education and ensuring that law students appreciate the power they will eventually wield in law practice; (5) it is substantive because legal writing is law making - we cannot separate the substance of the law from the words we use to forge legal meanings; and finally, (6) because it relies on real cases and context to teach students how to engage with the legal process, the doctrine of legal writing builds and improves upon law school’s classic case-method pedagogy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: legal writing, legal education, pedagogy

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Date posted: July 15, 2014 ; Last revised: September 9, 2014

Suggested Citation

Jewel, Lucy A., The Doctrine of Legal Writing - Book Review of Linda H. Edwards's Readings in Persuasion: Briefs that Changed the World (September 2014). 1 Savannah Law Review 45 (2014); University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 248. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2466634

Contact Information

Lucille A. Jewel (Contact Author)
University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )
1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
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