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Articles on Writing Across the Curriculum—Law

Listed below are articles on this topic from the Campus Writing Program library. Short summaries and citations are provided when available.

Kearney, Mary Kate, and Mary Beth Beazley. "Teaching Students How to 'Think Like Lawyers': Integrating Socratic Method with the Writing Process." Temple Law Review 64.4 (1991): 885-908.

The authors discuss how to use Socratic methods and the writing process in a legal writing class. They also go through an example of assignment, drafts, teacher feedback, conference, and final draft.

Linn, Robert L., Stephen P. Klein, and Frederick M. Hart. "The Nature and Correlates of Law School Essay Grades." Educational and Psychological Measurement 32 (1972): 267-279.

This study attempts to determine what characteristics of essays written by law students were most strongly associated with the grades given those essays by law professors. The results found that student grades were higher if they identified major issues and stuck to those; used transitional phrases; argued for a particular conclusion while presenting both sides of the argument; used legal jargon; and wrote neatly and without mechanical errors.

White, James Boyd. "The Invisible Discourse of the Law: Reflections on Legal Literacy and General Education." Literacy for Life: The Demand for Reading and Writing. Eds. Richard W. Bailey and Robin Melanie Fosheim. New York: Modern Language Association, 1983. 137-150.

Identifies features of the "invisible discourse of the law." Describes the form of a legal rule, and difficulties in interpretation of legal rules. Discusses the definitions of words in the law. Legal language has the deceptive appearance of deduction, but it isn't deductive in reality. This is made more complex by the fact that the outcome must be a binary decision, and because the definitions of words must be constructed such that a binary decision is always possible. Describes a course that might teach legal literacy.

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