Skills & Values, Lawyering Process: Legal Writing and Advocacy
In: Skills & Values, Lawyering Process: Legal Writing and Oral Advocacy by David I. C. Thomson, LexisNexis, Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., and Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., 2013
15 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013 Last revised: 27 Feb 2015
Date Written: July 16, 2013
This is an excerpt from a new legal writing textbook for first year law students, which includes the book’s introduction and the first chapter. The design of this book is quite different from the traditional legal writing textbook in several ways. First, it is a hybrid text, which means only a portion of the entire text is printed, with the rest residing on the Lexis Web Courses platform. This allows the book to be somewhat cheaper and students have less to lug around, but even better, it allows for more interactive features in the online portion of the text that can be achieved in print. In addition, for the professor who might decide to adopt this text, it comes with a fully populated Web Course for their students all ready to go as well as an online Teacher’s Manual.
Second, it is based on the assumption that students today need to read less and do more. To be active rather than passive. Aristotle said: “What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.” So the online site helps students to “lean forward” in their learning, and interact with examples and quizzes and other elements of the online site.
Third, students are just learning this material for the first time, and perhaps they do not need, in the 1L year, quite so much information about the writing process. So the chapters and topics covered in the print book are covered at a depth that is less than a traditional textbook. They are designed to introduce the basic concepts of legal writing and advocacy, and to be supplemented with additional interactive information on the online site.
Finally, it is rare to select a legal writing text that is designed very closely to the way each professor teaches the course. Because all of the books have their own approach, which might be different from our own in some ways, we end up compensating for the differences in class and in handouts and in assignments, and this can be confusing for students. The idea of this text is to be the most flexible of them all, by putting in the hands of teachers the ability to assign a small amount of reading, and then to use the online materials (and their own) in the way that most suits how they prefer to teach the material.
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