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Copyright (c) 1997 Whittier Law Review
Whittier Law Review

ESSAY: INNOVATIVE TEACHING METHODS AND PRACTICAL USES OF LITERATURE IN LEGAL EDUCATION

Summer, 1997

18 Whittier L. Rev. 815

Author

Karin Mika *

Excerpt



The complaint most attorneys have about students graduating from law school is that they cannot write. 1 As a legal writing instructor, this is obviously a special concern of mine. I have found, however, that fixing the problem is more complicated than merely improving law school curriculum or becoming a better teacher. 2 This is especially true because law school, generally, does not provide activities which instill a zeal for the written word.

Because I believe a breadth of reading enhances one's ability to think and write, throughout the years I have tried to encourage extra curricular and diversified reading to be done in conjunction with my Legal Writing class. 3 Unfortunately, yet understandably, law students generally only do the required work, but not more. As a consequence, I have discovered, over time, that the "readers" in my classes continue to read while the "non-readers" never take the opportunity to discover what advantage there might be in taking my advice. Because no change has occurred in students' overall attitudes, I decided to make life more interesting by integrating literature into the first year Legal Writing curriculum. 4

The final project of our first year Legal Writing course is the appellate advocacy experience. Traditionally, this consists of pleadings and opinions from a Moot Court casebook 5 assigned for the purpose of researching legal issues, 6 writing a brief, and preparing an oral argument. I decided, however, that I would shift from the stock format and begin ...
 
 
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