Writing 109L—Writing for the Legal Profession

Instructor: James H. Donelan
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:15
HSSB 1232
Enroll Code: 54296
Email: donelan@humanitas.ucsb.edu
1310 Girvetz Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:00-1:50, Wednesday 1:00-1:50 or by appointment.

Behrens, Making the Case
Ruszkiewicz, Hairston, Seward, SF Writer
A reader at Graphikart in Isla Vista

Course Description: Practice in applying rules to facts in analyzing issues and in writing clearly, succinctly and cogently in various forms of legal discourse.

Requirements: The course requires regular attendance, active participation in class discussion and activities, and timely completion of all assignments, including case briefs and legal analysis. You will write an in-class essay; a case brief; a legal memorandum, an advocacy letter, and an appellate brief. The relative value of these assignments and class participation in determining your course grade is as follows:

a. Law essay—10%
b. Case brief—10%
c. Memo—20%
d. Letter—20%
e. Appellate brief—30%
f. Participation and completion of homework assignments—10%
  • Do not alter the font size or line spacing in order to change the length of the paper.
  • Papers should be no longer or shorter than the length assigned and submitted on time.
  • Use twelve point type, in Times New Roman or CG Times.
  • Papers should be delivered to my mailbox in South Hall by noon on the date due or in class the same day. Late papers will result in grade reductions.
  • Never submit a paper without proofreading it carefully.
  • Your classmates and your instructor depend on your presence in class and your full participation. Participation therefore counts for a substantial part of your grade.
  • University regulations regarding plagiarism will be strictly enforced.
  • Syllabus

    Readings identified by page number are in Making the Case; others are in the reader.

    I: Terms, Definitions, and Sentences: The Case Brief

    Week 1:
    Handout: Legal Matters
    In-class: Writing sample on legal writing.

    Reading: Behrens, "Preface" xxii; Hricik, "The American Legal System" 2; Statsky and Wernet, "Introduction to Briefing"
    Homework: Describe the hierarchy of the American legal system.
    In-class: Legal argument.

    Week 2:
    Reading: Behrens, Group 1 Readings 419; Knowles v. Iowa
    Homework: One-page summary of Williams v. Ellington
    In-class: Law essay

    Reading: Charrow, et. al "IRAC" 59
    Homework: Thumbnail Brief of Knowles v. Iowa
    In-class: Creating a comprehensive brief.

    Week 3:
    Reading: Izzy, "Ten Ways…" 76
    Homework: Draft of Comprehensive Brief
    In-class: Peer Review

    Homework: Comprehensive Brief Due
    In-class: Library Research: Introduction to Lexis-Nexis
    Class meets in Davidson Library.

    II: Paragraph Development: The Legal Memorandum and the Advocacy Letter

    Week 4:
    Reading: Stracher, "The Memo" 2; Statsky and Wernet, "Writing the Memorandum"
    Homework: Writing Exercise 2, 83
    In-class: Legal rhetoric; exercise comparisons.

    Reading: Group 3 Readings 456; SF Writer, Chapter 4
    Homework: Outline of memorandum
    In-class: Determining sufficient authority in arguments.

    Week 5:
    Reading: Review Statsky "Writing"; SF Writer, Chapter 5
    Homework: Draft of memorandum.
    In-class: Editing and proofreading.

    Homework: Memorandum due.
    In-class: Presenting arguments

    Week 6:
    Readings: Statsky 17; Behrens, "Broken Engagements" 487
    Homework: Write a brief, but persuasive letter for one side of a broken engagement case.
    In-class: Paragraph structure.

    Readings: SF Writer, Chapter 6
    Homework: Draft of advocacy letter.
    In-class: Paragraph transitions and peer review.

    Week 7:
    Readings: Copyright case appeals.
    Homework: Advocacy Letter due.
    In-class: Preparing an appeal.

    III: Constructing an Argument: The Appellate Brief

    Readings: Statsky 18, SF Writer, Chapter 22
    Homework: Summary of arguments.
    In-class: Planning an appeal.

    Week 8:
    Readings: Review Statsky 18
    Homework: List of cases.
    In-class: Strategy and research.

    Readings: SF Writer, Chapter 23
    Homework: Outline of appeal.
    In-class: Clarifying writing.

    Week 9:
    Homework: First half of appeal draft.
    In-class: Editing for clarity.

    Group Meetings.

    Week 10:
    Readings: Review Statsky 18
    Homework: Second half of appeal draft.
    In-class: Editing for rhetorical force

    Final class. Oral presentations and evaluations.
    Homework: Prepare oral argument.

    Appellate Brief due.