Now I See: Redefining the Post-Grade Student Conference as Process and Substance Assessment
Posted: 24 Jan 2010 Last revised: 21 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 22, 2010
This Article takes a fresh look at an underused teaching opportunity - the post-grade conference between student and professor. Legal employers increasingly demand that law school graduates have practice-ready legal writing skills, and the ABA’s MacCrate report and the recent Best Practices report echo employers’ call for better practice skills. To answer this call, law professors must seize every chance to hone students’ writing skills and to reach those at risk of missing this key component of their legal education. The post-grade conference is one such chance.
We show how to leverage the post-grade student-faculty conference into an in-depth assessment of the student’s writing process and substance. Our approach is based on the view that the writing process determines the substance, so that an understanding of the student’s writing process must come first. We show how to assess pre-writing materials and conduct an initial process interview that helps change the student’s trajectory in legal writing. Professor and student next deconstruct the written work so the student can understand and remediate structural and substantive problems. Finally, we show how to capture the conference analysis so that the student is are ready to move forward with lessons transferable to the next writing assignment. Our approach focuses on legal writing but works equally for skills and doctrinal law school classes.
Keywords: legal writing, student conferences, legal education, pedagogy, critiques
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