But Who Will Teach Legal Reasoning and Synthesis?

15 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2008

See all articles by Kate O'Neill

Kate O'Neill

University of Washington - School of Law


Would legal education be improved by integrating the first-year legal writing course with an upper-level clinical course? That was the core question posed to a diverse panel at the 2007 Annual Section Program on Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research. The basic idea is deceptively simple and attractive: first-year students would develop their analytic, research, and writing skills by working on live issues from real cases in a law school clinic. First-year students would benefit from seeing legal issues in full context, interacting with more advanced students and clinical faculty, and knowing that their law school colleagues and the clients were relying on them for timely, sound advice. The clinic's work could be advanced by having more research help, and upper-level students could improve their own planning and communication skills in the process of supervising the first-year students. Despite these apparent virtues, I'm not convinced an integration is a good idea, but it is a very provocative one. . . . In a nutshell, my concern about integration is the effect on students' legal reasoning skills.

Keywords: legal reasoning, legal writing, synthesis, clinic, clinical education, skills, research, analytic

Suggested Citation

O'Neill, Kathleen M., But Who Will Teach Legal Reasoning and Synthesis?. Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 4, NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 07-08/24, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1088129

Kathleen M. O'Neill (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States
2065430928 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.washington.edu/directory/Profile.aspx?ID=151

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