ilaw classroom

Legal Writing Class Teaches More than Memos

Director of Legal Research and Cecilia A. Silver teaches a class of Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing, a course that all new J.D. students take in seven weeks of Yale Law School. It's a short course with lofty goals. That's in the syllabus description for Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing, an intensive course to help first-year students develop the essential skills of lawyering — all in their first seven weeks of law school. Known as ILAW, the course is primarily an introduction to legal writing. But ILAW takes a broader approach. Not only does the class teach students how to write one of the most widely used legal documents, it gives them a comprehensive range of lawyering tools. From the first class, ILAW places students in the role of a lawyer, Director of Legal Research and Writing and Senior Research Scholar Cecilia A. Silver explained. Students identify legal issues, investigate facts, find relevant law, make strategic choices, and present analyses and conclusions. “Essentially, we're giving students the tools to approach — and solve — novel legal problems,” Silver said. Students read over drafts together during a class meeting of Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing. In a typical exercise, the class takes portions of a memo and identifies how content can be refined, restructured, or made more concise. Training in legal writing for 1L students has always been a part of a Yale Law School education. Many alumni will remember first learning legal writing […]

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