Finding a Happy Medium: Teaching Contract Creation in the First Year

16 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2008

Date Written: September 15, 2008


Notwithstanding casebooks and television depictions of lawyers, most lawyers do not operate in a win-or-lose, all-or-nothing, black-or-white world. Rather, most operate in a world of compromises, middle grounds, shades of gray. Thus, new lawyers need to know how to come to and express compromise. Teaching contract creation - a set of skills culminating in contract drafting - in the first year of law school can serve this purpose very well and promote students' development into well-rounded lawyers.

Making the case for teaching contract creation in the first year of law school, this essay addresses the following questions: (1) How are contracts, as a genre of legal writing, somewhat similar to yet also significantly different from expository writing, such as office memos and appellate briefs? (2) What are the distinctive elements of learning, and hence teaching, contract creation? (3) What might a contract-creation unit in a legal writing or other first-year course look like? (4) What are the developmental benefits for students of a contract-creation unit early in law school?

Keywords: legal education,contract creation, contract drafting, legal writing

Suggested Citation

Schmedemann, Deborah A., Finding a Happy Medium: Teaching Contract Creation in the First Year (September 15, 2008). Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Vol. 5, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Deborah A. Schmedemann (Contact Author)

William Mitchell College of Law ( email )

875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-3076
United States

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