Transactional Law in the Required Legal Writing Curriculum: An Empirical Study of the Forgotten Future Business Lawyer
56 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2006 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012
Date Written: October 27, 2010
Legal Writing courses traditionally focus on litigation writing. The course usually includes assignments on writing interoffice memoranda, drafting trial or appellate briefs, and conducting oral arguments - all in the context of a lawsuit. But, how does this exclusive focus on litigation treat students with no interest in that subject? For future transactional lawyers, the dominance of litigation writing might seem to ignore their needs. Should they be learning how to draft contracts, create corporate documents, or write commercial leasing agreements?
This Article examines whether legal writing courses, either in the first year of law school or later, sufficiently address the needs of future business lawyers. It first examines statistics describing current subjects covered in legal writing courses. This examination shows that while transactional writing instruction is increasing, it still is not as prevalent as litigation writing, especially in the first year. The paper then determines, by means of original empirical research (both quantitative and qualitative) the need - or market demand - for instruction in transactional writing. Because this need is so great, the paper concludes that law schools should focus more efforts on non-litigation writing instruction. It then canvasses several proposed methods by which to achieve this goal. Methodologies represented in these proposals include writing-across-the-curriculum, adding transactional subjects to the first-year course, adding transactional subjects to the upper-class curriculum, and a hybrid model which co-mingles instruction by transactional and writing faculty in the same course.
Keywords: empirical, legal writing, pedagogy, transactional
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation