#The1Llife: Legal Writing Meltdown

GUEST BLOG By Lauren Rose,
1L at the University of Detroit Mercy

Well, it finally happened.

I have officially been shot down by a professor. No, not literally, but definitely figuratively. My first critique of a memo by my professor was honestly one of the most nerve wracking things I have ever experienced. Coming straight out of undergrad, I thought I had figured out how to master the art of writing a great paper. However, in law school, writing is not the same. Writing in law school is unlike anything that I have ever encountered in my entire life.

When we were given the task to write a memo, I didn’t think it would be that bad. I was wrong – so very wrong. From what I have learned about legal writing in the last month is that it is strategic, precise, and definitive. There is no use of flowery language and exquisite adjectives to make your writing interesting and exciting to the reader. Every word, every sentence is placed in a particular spot to convey your point clearly and concisely. It’s so different from everything that I have learned before and maybe that’s why I don’t like it so far.

This whole situation has made me seriously question why undergrad institutions do not teach legal writing. From what I understand, some universities offer these classes. I guess I’m just confused as to why these institutions do not make “pre-law” writing classes mandatory if you are on the “pre-law” track. Anyways, I’m hoping that as time continues I will learn how to effectively write for the legal profession, but for now I’ll be in the library freaking out about how to do it.