Alternative Substantive Approaches to Advanced Legal Writing Courses

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 54, p. 119, 2004

17 Pages Posted: 9 May 2008

See all articles by Michael R. Smith

Michael R. Smith

University of Wyoming College of Law


Recent surveys indicate that more and more law schools are beginning to offer legal writing courses beyond those required in the first year. . . . One by-product of the boom in advanced legal writing courses has been the recent publication of numerous books and articles on the topic. . . . As these books and articles make clear, there is no consensus among legal writing professionals as to what substance an advanced legal writing course should cover. . . . In this article, I attempt to summarize and categorize the various approaches of advanced legal writing courses. . . . It should be emphasized that my aim is breadth rather than depth. Unlike most of the existing articles on advanced legal writing, which provide detailed suggestions for designing and teaching a specific course, this article briefly summarizes the various substantive approaches and their primary advantages and disadvantages. I hope it will serve as a starting point for legal writing professionals who are thinking about designing a new advanced course, and for all faculty who are contemplating additions to their school's legal writing curriculum and would like an overview of the different courses being offered at other schools around the country.

Keywords: legal writing, advanced legal writing, advanced legal writing courses, curriculum, law school curriculum, legal drafting, transactional drafting, litigation drafting, legislative drafting, judicial opinion writing, scholarly legal writing, critical analysis writing, seminar papers, advanced appella

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Smith, Michael R., Alternative Substantive Approaches to Advanced Legal Writing Courses. Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 54, p. 119, 2004. Available at SSRN:

Michael R. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming College of Law ( email )

Dept 3035
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
United States
307-766-6421 (Phone)

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