The Art of the Writing Conference: Letting Students Set the Agenda Without Ceding Control

14 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2007  

Kristen E. Murray

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Christy Hallam DeSanctis

George Washington University - Law School

Abstract

Student writing conferences are employed in a variety of contexts at the law school level. Though such conferences are typically most effective when students set the agenda, a professor need not cede control of the conference and become solely a passive listener. To the contrary, effective, efficient student conferencing is an art that requires forethought and active planning on the part of the professor. This article attempts to establish a "philosophy of conferencing." It explores theoretical basis for implementing student-driven writing conference as part of a legal writing curriculum, and then discusses ways in which law professors can adhere to these principles while also engaging in their own agenda-setting. Finally, it provides suggestions on how this concept can be executed in three law school settings: first-year legal research and writing courses; upper-level legal research and writing courses; and upper-level seminar courses in which a research paper is written.

Keywords: legal writing, legal education

Suggested Citation

Murray, Kristen E. and DeSanctis, Christy Hallam, The Art of the Writing Conference: Letting Students Set the Agenda Without Ceding Control. GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 369; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 369. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1026637

Kristen E. Murray (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-2379 (Phone)

Christy Hallam DeSanctis

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Lerner 102
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-1005 (Phone)

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