The status quo in the required legal writing curriculum of legal education is a two-semester program in the first year of law school. However, this program requires that students simultaneously rethink and develop their legal writing skills while being taught an entirely new language - the language of the law. This program expects mastery from all students without accounting for their necessary rebirths or providing multiple opportunities for depth on various assignments. By contrast, institutions can rethink how they educate future lawyers and transition to a three-semester program, which allows more opportunity for horizontal growth and vertical advancement beyond the standard curriculum.
This article discusses the rebirth of the legal writing curriculum to involve instruction in legal writing fundamentals and advanced subject matter, skills, and techniques. Starting by an analysis of the two-semester model, this article discusses the pedagogical value in transitioning to a three-semester system. This article also compares three-semester programs at various institutions, draws conclusions regarding which elements of a three-semester program should be in an ideal program, and makes recommendations for how an institution can redesign its program structure and content.
38 S.U. L. Rev. 123 (2010).