Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

ADVANCED LEGAL WRITING COURSE SYLLABUS*

Mary Jude V. Cantorias, LlB., LLM.

I.

COURSE GOALS
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Ernest Hemingway

Hence, the need for advance writing courses.


This course is intended for the law student who now seriously believes that an excellent writing
skill is the best tool for his future trade, nay, the only tool, to show he is worth his mettle.
The general goal of this course is to improve each students ability to write sharp, clear prose, to
learn to edit his own writing product and that of his fellow students, and to become more proficient
and efficient at composing and organizing written documents.1
But the specific and ultimate goal of this course is to push students to explore a particular area of
law, preferably a doubtful or difficult question or an emerging field. The student is required to
submit a legal article that reflects meticulous research, depth and clarity of analysis, and
originality. Papers should be at least 25 to 35 (or more if you can muster it) pages (legal size) in
length, double space, and using Arial 12 font, complete with footnotes.
The true test of the pudding is in the eating, they say. Hence, the final draft should be a truly
excellent piece of writing and suitable for publication in the Arellano Law and Policy Review
(ALPR) the official law journal of the Law School. The students may be required to defend the
paper before a panel.

II.

COURSE MATERIALS

A.

Textbook

I encourage you to purchase the book Academic Legal Writing (Third Edition) by Eugene Volokh.
This is available on Amazon as an e-book for US$28.80. That is roughly Php1,200.00. Money
well spent to hone your tools of the trade. I never regretted buying this book. It helped me in
writing a piece which, I am proud to say, was accepted for presentation and publication in a multidisciplinary conference in Conflict Resolution held at and organized by the University of
Massachusetts, Boston.2 It may just do the same for you.
You may also be interested in purchasing Bryan Garners Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text
with Exercises, also available on Amazon as an e-book.

* This syllabus was inspired by the work of Prof. Durako of Rutgers.


1 Prof. Durako of Rutgers.
2

See my article at:


http://www.umb.edu/editor_uploads/images/mgs/mgs_conflictres/2010_DisRes_Conference_Proceedings.p
df

B.

Additional Materials

If you are not inclined to buy these books, you may of course rely on the materials that I shall be
providing you from time to time. Reading materials may be picked-up at the ISS between 9AM5PM, Monday through Saturday from the ISS office manager, unless sent electronically. I will
send out an email to your class beadle when a material is available for pick up.
As this is a writing course, instruction on research skills will be limited. Researching the
applicable law fully is, of course, essential to the substance of your final paper (the Final Writing
Project). Hence, you may coordinate with the ITC department in groups of 8-16 people at a time
to have at least one advanced legal research session led by the ITC Head and covering
advanced techniques and sources. If you need my assistance to reserve a slot for your group, let
me know so I can coordinate with the ITC Head.

III.

COURSE METHOD
A.

Assignments

The writing assignments include writing from scratch, editing your work and colleagues writing,
and rewriting. The lessons from the short assignments contribute to the work on longer, full
documents, i.e. the Final Writing Project. The course involves writing assignments to be
completed on your own time, although it is hoped that you shall make good use of your allotted
class schedule as your exclusive writing time and editing sessions. These Mondays may just be
life-changing for some, if not all, of you.
Most of the writing assignments will be done individually. You will find a partner for each session
who will then be your editor and vice versa. After making your corrections of each others work,
redlined writing assignments should be submitted/uploaded on the class FB page (to be created
by the class beadle) every Monday until 12 midnight. Late submissions will not be evaluated and
will not get the full credit, if at all.
These go toward your individual grading points. Individual assignments are to be typed, single
space, using Arial 12 font, maximum of 5 pages (unless otherwise instructed), and minimum of 2
pages.
(Assignments are to be turned uploaded, every Monday, as assigned)
B.

Final Writing Project

There is no final examination in the course, but there is a group Final Writing Project to be in
progress throughout the semester, including submission of parts of the paper and full drafts. The
final paper will be due on the date of the final exam for this course.
Divide the class into groups of [8 each, depending on the size of the class][ N.B. Beadle to
inform me of class size]. This is a democratic process so I leave it to you to decide who will be
your group mates. Choose well. You sink or swim with the group. If you cannot find a group and
need assistance in this regard, please inform me soonest through the class beadle.
Group members list should be in by August 11 2014 (through your beadle). Appoint a group
leader for each group.

C.

Consultations

I am available for consultations at the ISS by prior appointment one week before the intended
consultation. My consultation hours are Saturdays 1-2 PM (not regular); and Sundays 46PM.

You may make an appointment with Ding Villavicencio at the ISS.


There will be TWO MANDATORY consultations for each group as they relate to the topic choice
and progress of your Final Writing Project. Set these soonest.

IV.

GRADES
A.

B.

Basis: The course grade is based on:


(1) The final writing project

50%

(2) Individual writing assignments

30%

(3) Presentation

20%

Final Writing Project

The course grade is based substantially on the Final Writing Project. You are expected to have
University level reading comprehension and writing skills. This means that you are expected to
demonstrate good grammar, readable and comprehensible writing style, and a professional voice
in your writing technique. If these instructions do not make sense to you, you are in deep trouble.
Read up and take the exercises to heart. These will greatly help you though the course. The final
project is designed to give you the opportunity to show that you have mastered the writing
principles and skills expected in the course. To pass the course, you must not exhibit any serious
writing deficiencies in the final project. But to pass with flying colors, you must show mastery of
the techniques and skills covered.
There are deliverable milestones for the Final Writing Project. These deliverables are to be
prepared as a group, which account for the 20% of your grade, but will also be accounted for
individually.
The mark that the Final Paper receives will be a group grade, regardless of how each of the
members performs. You sink or swim together. See above.

C.

Assignments

There will be both individual and group assignments. You may wish to work with the same
editing partner for all individual projects. All writing assignments throughout the course
whether as individuals or as a group are required. If you fail to turn in assignments on time and
completed satisfactorily, your final grade in the course may drop. Also, late assignments may
receive no written comments or other evaluation, as earlier indicated.

ADVANCED LRW SYLLABUS

WEEK 1 INTRODUCTION: BASICS OF WRITING


Grammar and your writing style.
Develop your goals for this course and write an essay about them.
Upload Week One Exercises on August 17

WEEK 2 BASICS OF WRITING -CONTINUED


Upload Week Two Exercises on August 24
3

WEEK 3 WRITING AT THE SENTENCE LEVEL


Read Sentence Variety
For further readings (if you wish), visit http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sentences.htm
Study- Suggestions for Writing
Avoiding Plagiarism
Legal Writing is not as it should be
Upload Exercise Week 3 on August 31
WEEKS 4 INTRODUCTION TO EXPOSITORY WRITING
Read Academic Writing Skills
Upload Exercise Week 4 on September 7
WEEKS 5, AND 6 INTRODUCTION TO ACADEMIC LEGAL WRITING
Read handout materials from Eugene Volokhs book (pp. 9-38)
All submissions should follow the required format earlier indicated.
-

The Initial Step: Choosing a Claim

Group Assignment: Choose a topic and write your basic thesis, as a GROUP. Debate on
this. Participate. Everyone must have a voice.

Taking cue from the guidelines prescribed by Volokh, identify a legal problem and write
the descriptive and prescriptive parts of your thesis or claim.
This work should contain the following parts:
1. The problem identified
2. The tentative solution
3. Demonstrate why it is novel
4. Demonstrate why it is non-obvious
5. Demonstrate usefulness, soundness
6. Demonstrate that the public sees your claim as novel, non-obvious, useful, and
sound

Individual Assignment: On your own, prepare the same material on a topic OTHER than
the topic chosen by the group. You may consult with each other on this individual work. If
you have asked another to review/edit your work, I will give extra credit to the editor.
You must then submit both the original and the revised versions as edited by your
editor.
This work should contain the following parts:
1. The problem identified
4

2. The tentative solution


3. Demonstrate why it is novel
4. Demonstrate why it is non-obvious
5. Demonstrate usefulness, soundness
6. Demonstrate that the public sees your claim as novel, non-obvious, useful, and
sound
I strongly recommend the groups consult with me during my consultation hours before deadline of
submission.
WEEK 7 ORGANISING THE ARTICLE
WRITE THE INTRODUCTION
Read handout materials from Eugene Volokhs book (pp.39-54). The prescribed readings will be
made available at the Deans Office.
All submissions should follow the required format earlier indicated.
WEEK 8 ORGANISING THE ARTICLE
WRITE THE BACKGROUND
PROVE YOUR CLAIM
Read handout materials from Eugene Volokhs book (pp.54-83). The prescribed readings will be
made available at the Deans Office.
All submissions should follow the required format earlier indicated.
Upload OUTLINE

WEEK 9 WRITING THE FIRST DRAFT


Read handout materials from Eugene Volokhs book (pp.54-83). All submissions should follow
the required format earlier indicated.
Hand in the FIRST DRAFT of your paper on [
] in paper version and soft version (USB).
The USB for each group must be placed in a sealed white letter envelope with the names of all
the Members of the group indicated.
WEEK 10 GROUP PRESENTATION
Each Group must present their topic and the draft (in an outline form) on( as agreed with
me). This should be a power point presentation.
The class must agree on a time and inform me of this on ore before [date] The class
beadle should coordinate with the Office Manager of ISS to find the appropriate classroom
and reserve the projector and laptop from the ITC.

WEEK 11 REVISING THE FIRST DRAFT


Hand in REVISED FIRST DRAFT (word version) of your paper VIA EMAIL to class beadle on [
date].

FINAL WEEK 11 THE FINAL VERSION


Hand in FINALVERSION of your paper in PDF version on [date]

Make this version very presentable. Form matters too.

-nothing follows-