Process Over Product: A Pedagogical Focus on Email as a Means of Refining Legal Analysis

18 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2016

See all articles by Katrina Lee

Katrina Lee

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law

Date Written: June 24, 2016


The prevalence of emails in law practice alone provides a compelling reason for assigning emails in the 1L legal writing course. Law students should learn how to write the types of documents they will be expected to write in law practice. Not surprisingly, over the past several years, email communications have increasingly become part of legal writing curricula. This Article offers another reason why the legal writing curriculum should include emails: writing emails can help students refine their legal analysis skills in a way that writing the traditional, long-form memorandum does not. This Article advocates for assigning email writing as part of the writing process and not purely as a final written product for the sake of giving students experience with a prevalent mode of lawyer communication. Email writing should join free writing and oral presentation as valuable tools for helping students develop analytical skills. Having students write in a medium they are comfortable with will help them feel more liberated and more at ease. They may make creative associations they otherwise would not make. They might also develop a keen awareness of the shortcomings and strengths of their analysis. Email writing can help students engage more closely with their legal analysis and write more effectively. Ultimately, legal writing professors’ strategic assignment of emails will enrich students’ writing and learning experiences, and provide them with a lifelong writing tool. Part II.A discusses how legal writing teaching developed to emphasize process over product. Part II.B explores the connection between oral argument and legal writing teaching. Part II.C explores the connection between free writing and legal writing teaching. Part III, against the backdrop of reasons for assigning oral argument and free writing, explains the benefits to the legal writing process of assigning email writing. Part IV proposes ways to integrate email writing into the 1L legal writing course to maximize its benefits to the legal writing process.

Keywords: legal writing, email, email writing, email assignments, process, product, legal writing pedagogy, process movement, pedagogy, legal tech, legal technology, legal education, electronic media

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Lee, Katrina, Process Over Product: A Pedagogical Focus on Email as a Means of Refining Legal Analysis (June 24, 2016). Capital University Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 655, 2016, Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 354, Available at SSRN: or

Katrina Lee (Contact Author)

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

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