The New Legal Writing: The Importance of Teaching Law Students How to Use E-Mail Professionally
19 Pages Posted: 25 May 2012
Date Written: May 31, 2011
Anyone who has worked in a legal capacity in the last ten years can attest to the meteoric rise in the use of e-mail as a means of professional communication. Recent empirical research demonstrates that e-mail is the most common method for professional legal communication today and that the office memorandum has declined as a tool in the lawyer’s arsenal. The reality of this change is raising questions in the legal writing community about the usefulness of the traditional written memo and whether legal writing professors should be teaching students how to distill their analysis into this new, shorter, more direct form of legal writing. The discussion has brought about an even more intense need for legal writing professors to address professionalism and effective communication in e-mail with their students.
This Article proposes that law schools must make teaching students how to write e-mail in a professional setting as high a priority as teaching students how to write a basic legal memorandum has been since the inception of legal writing programs.
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