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The Importance of Legal Writing Courses  

Posted by younglawyerssection

Post Authored By: Hannah Werner

It’s easy for law students to look at legal writing as just another course or stepping stone in the journey to a J.D. However, the skills and lessons that legal writing courses can provide students are invaluable and indispensable.

Skills for Future Litigators

Writing skills are of the utmost importance when it comes to future litigators in law school. A brief that isn’t impactful or interesting is almost sure to miss its intended mark, and may put lawyers and their clients at a significant disadvantage. Legal writing courses, when taught correctly and their lessons followed, can provide the skills for future attorneys to write briefs that will have the desired effect and which may make the difference between winning and losing. Specifically, legal writing helps law students find the cases that will make the most impact for the desired outcome, reflect how the court has ruled on this decision before, and bring those cases into the immediate case details. Doing this effectively helps increase the odds that the judge will render a ruling in favor of the writing attorney or provide the relief sought.

Skills for Future Transactional Attorneys, Too

Transactional attorneys may believe that they do not need the skills that legal writing courses provide, but some would argue that transactional attorneys will benefit more than litigators. Not only will legal writing classes help develop existing skills, they can also help foster a love for legal writing that future transactional attorneys may not have yet. Even transactional attorneys who may never step foot inside a courtroom still need strong writing skills. Transactional attorneys will need to contact clients, artfully convey their opinions on various legal issues, and make compelling arguments to opposing sides in various transactions. Legal writing is not just for the future litigators and transactional attorneys can learn valuable skills from the experience.

Those Going into J.D. Advantage Jobs

‘J.D. Advantage Jobs’ (also know as or ‘J.D. Preferred Jobs’) are a type of job for which having a law degree will give you a distinct advantage in performing the duties of the role but does not require passage of the bar exam. Even those entering jobs that don’t have ‘attorney’ in the title can still benefit from legal writing. Effective and persuasive writing is a skill that not everyone can boast and it provides a significant edge to those that possess the skill. Furthermore, legal writing courses can help those not going into legal positions to strengthen this essential skill. The ability to articulate what someone intends is important no matter what position one holds, whether a traditional job in the legal profession or a J.D. advantage job.

While legal writing courses in law school are partially intended to teach law students the nuances of writing when it relates to the law, one does not need to be going into a traditional legal role to benefit from the knowledge these courses provide. Legal writing is meant for all scholars regardless of whether they have a future position as a litigator or transactional attorney, or even those that don’t go into the legal field at all. 

About the Author:

In May of 2020, Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations and a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University. After working at Ankin Law Office for almost a year, Hannah discovered an interest in law and joined the Chicago-Kent community. Hannah is currently a 2L representative for the Society of Women in Law, as well as a member of various organizations matching her passions, such as the First-Generation Law Student Association and the Chicago Kent Animal Legal Defense Fund. Following graduation, Hannah looks forward to a career in estate planning, real estate, or business law.

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