Sketch Pad as Legal Pad: Picturing Corporate Practice

55 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2015 Last revised: 23 Mar 2016

Date Written: April 10, 2015


(Note: this paper is now superseded by a book. The book is called Picturing Corporate Practice (West Academic 2016). The paper served as a working paper in the development of the book.) This paper is about practicing corporate law. It offers some ways of thinking about the core professional tasks of advice development and deal planning, and about the products corporate lawyers make for those purposes. The paper also suggests a practical technique — sketching — for gaining traction on the analysis and communication at the core of the practice. The sketching discussion draws on the extensive literature in cognitive science, psychology, engineering, architecture, and design about sketching, cognition, and collaboration. The paper is not in conventional form; it is written in an informal style, and makes extensive use of graphics. The content, format, and style reflect the fact that the paper is designed as a resource for law students and new corporate lawyers, and as a possible source of teaching ideas for classroom and clinical instructors.

Keywords: corporate practice, transactional practice, transactions, legal advice, legal documents, legal writing, law teaching, clinical teaching, sketching, drawing, graphics, visuals, sketching and cognition, design

Suggested Citation

Mitchell, Jay A., Sketch Pad as Legal Pad: Picturing Corporate Practice (April 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Jay A. Mitchell (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-724-0014 (Phone)
650-723-4426 (Fax)

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