I am delighted to welcome you to Volume 17 of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, the nation’s premier journal about legal writing and communication and the official journal of the Legal Writing Institute.
The release of the Carnegie Report1 and Best Practices for Legal Education: A Vision and a Road Map2
has brought about a surge in scholarship examining the way we teach and how we can improve our students’ law school experience. In this Volume, the Journal’s Editorial Board is pleased to present a wide variety of articles about the pedagogy of legal analysis, research, and writing, as well as a series of articles flowing from a Symposium on the Carnegie Report’s impact on legal education.
The Volume begins with two pieces by luminaries in the field of legal writing. George G. Gopen, recipient of the 2011 Golden Pen Award, challenges us to think about our pedagogy and the often unintentional messages we send to our students. Dean Darby Dickerson, former recipient of the prestigious Burton Foundation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education, reflects on the role of legal writing in the academy during the “decade of promise and progress” at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The articles then turn to scholarship examining pedagogy in the legal writing classroom. Susan DeJarnatt and Mark Rahdert advocate for the inclusion of international and comparative law in the legal writing curriculum. Next, Bonny L. Tavares and Rebecca L. Scalio draw upon their research and expertise in an article about the special needs of part-time evening law students in the legal writing class. Leslie M. Rose follows with a critique of current law school grading practices that calls upon legal writing faculty to break away from norm-referenced grading for the more effective criteria-referenced grading scheme. Kristen E. Murray takes us out of the formal classroom into the law school writing center as she examines the theory and practice behind peer tutoring. Next, faculty interested in creating or supplementing courses on judicial opinion writing will find a comprehensive annotated bibliography on the topic prepared by Ruth C. Vance. This section of the volume concludes with Mark Yates’s critique of the impact the Carnegie Report has had on legal education and the danger that it might elevate practical training over a more liberal legal education.
The second half of the Volume includes articles generated by the “YES, WE CArNegie!” Conference held July 29, 2009, at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. Conference organizer Maureen Straub Kordesh provides an introduction to the conference that sets the context for the articles that follow. First, Dean Bryant G. Garth provides historical insight into the curricular reform movement from the MacCrate Report3 through the Carnegie Report. Then Lisa T. McElroy, Christine N. Coughlin, and Deborah S. Gordon critique Carnegie’s treatment of legal writing and ask pointed questions about whether the report actually advances the cause of legal writing education. The next five articles examine the application of the Report’s three “apprenticeships” and their application to the law school classroom. First, Susan J. Hankin urges us to bridge gaps and blur lines between analysis, writing, doctrine, and theory. Next, Carole Silver, Amy Garver, and Lindsay Watkins use the Law School Survey on Student Engagement (LSSSE) to examine the apprenticeship of professional identity and purpose. Celeste M. Hammond then urges us to integrate doctrine and skills by adding a transactional perspective to first-year coursework. Elizabeth Mertz follows with insights from social science and how such insights can advance the intellectual mission of the law school. The symposium articles conclude with a short, fun piece from Sheila Simon, showing us how banjo lessons—and learning in context—can improve legal education.
In sum, this Volume provides us with a diverse and engaging range of articles that challenge us to examine our teaching, our theory, and our assumptions about legal writing pedagogy and legal education.
We are committed to providing our readers with broad cover-age of interesting and important issues related to legal writing, research, analysis, and pedagogy, and we sincerely appreciate the continued support of contributors and readers alike. If you have feedback about this Volume, or would like to submit an article for publication, please contact the Journal at https://www.journallegalwritinginstitute.org/; [email protected]; or 801-422-9022.
Kristin B. Gerdy
Editor in Chief
1 William M. Sullivan et al., Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (Jossey-Bass 2007).
2 Roy Stuckey et al., Best Practices for Legal Education: A Vision and a Road Map (Clin. Leg. Educ. Assn. 2007).
3 ABA Sec. of Leg. Educ. & Admis. to B., Legal Education and Professional Development—An Educational Continuum, Report of the Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap (ABA 1992).