This three-credit seminar offers an opportunity for J.D. students interested in transactional practice to hone their legal writing skills in a small workshop environment, while learning the basic elements and construct of a written agreement. Students will write or edit a variety of transactional documents – including deal memos, contractual provisions, and correspondence – and will develop individualized goals for improving their writing throughout the semester. Students will build on skills in legal discourse introduced in the first year Legal Practice course, including crafting effective written analysis, recognizing the importance of precise drafting to ensure that the various provisions of contracts fit together in a synchronized way, understanding and meeting the expectations of the audience, organizing documents to enhance clarity, applying those skills to new forms of legal writing, and developing effective time management strategies. It will also focus on improving students’ ability to critically assess their own and others’ legal writing and to provide helpful feedback to colleagues in a professional setting. This course is designed as a writing workshop, with in-class writing and peer critique during most classes and individualized feedback from the professors on most drafts of documents.
Each assignment will have specific goals; some goals will be specified by the professor, and some goals will be specified by the student. Each assignment will be submitted first as a draft and then as a final product, with an opportunity to receive feedback after the draft is submitted. The grade for each assignment will be based upon (1) assessments of how the successful the draft was in accomplishing the goals for the assignment; (2) evaluation of how effective the revisions to the draft document were in addressing the feedback received on the draft; (3) professionalism/polishing/timeliness of the final document.