By Susie Lloyd • November 16, 2016•Writers in Residence
There is an emphasis post-law school on legal writing that incorporates proper citation usage and expert use of legal jargon entwined in a simple and oft-replicated format to express legal theories that can make or break an attorney’s case. Students are taught this style in law school, but the teaching throughout the three years is inconsistent at best. Some schools are leaning toward disregarding the complexity of Bluebook in favor of more creative writing. Some schools encourage writing in multiple classes or offer a variety of options including law reviews and blogs. Other institutions only have one additional writing requirement that is suited to the academic needs of the professor teaching the course, but not to the standards of the professional community. Even in highly ranked writing programs, students are often introduced to this new style of writing during first year courses, and then are required to discover their own outlets to hone skills that are not intuitive. Despite the inconsistencies, however, the focus is to encourage law students to practice their skills in putting words on paper and learning how creativity plays into any type of writing.
This outlet, inviting law students to discuss issues in a blog-writing format, reinforces the idea that writing can be fun and creative while also providing a benefit to the public. Knowing that a post is available for anyone to view, as opposed to writing for a class or law journal, emphasizes the need to improve self-editing techniques and to come up with topics that have not already been discussed at length. This requires a detailed assessment of the chosen topic and encourages the student to practice writing. Writing for a blog, though steering away from technical and legal jargon, helps a student or an attorney work on this skill while having a forum in which to express concerns about the profession or exciting ideas that motivate an attorney to practice.