Contract Drafting Courses for Upper-Level Students: Teaching Tips
6 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2005 Last revised: 8 Dec 2012
Contract-drafting courses are gaining in popularity in law school, and they are a pleasure to teach. In July 2005, Northwestern School of Law provided the location and on-site assistance in hosting the first national conference, in recent times, on the topic of Teaching Contract Drafting. Approximately 100 participants attended, indicating the need and growing enthusiasm for guidance on how to develop and teach contract-drafting courses. At the conference, presenters addressed teaching contract drafting to both first-year students and upper-level students.
Law schools may offer an upper-level course as a stand-alone, such as the one I have been teaching, in which the students (and the professor) are not linked to a particular doctrinal basis. Alternatively, upper-level professors may focus their contract-drafting course around a specific topic, such as intellectual property, or have their students research actual corporations. The number of credits the course is worth affects classroom instruction; the more time in the classroom, the more in-class drafting and negotiations can occur.
This article provides suggestions regarding selecting books, structuring the course, incorporating negotiations, offering learning-styles assessments, and grading assignments. It also offers a comparison to first-year legal writing courses. A contract-drafting course can foster students' self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning, as well as provide them with the necessary tools for practice.
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