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Legal Writing

Understanding the importance of writing clearly and effectively

Kathleen Battle

"While at Moritz I have learned various legal concepts and skills that have helped shape my identity within the legal field. During my first year, I learned that legal writing is an important skill needed in every practice area of the law. Professor Mary Beth Beazley instructed my Legal Writing course, and she explained that succinct legal writing is one of the premier skills needed to be a successful lawyer.

I have taken advantage of several opportunities at Moritz that have helped improve my legal writing. Two of the most helpful classes were Appellate Advocacy and Judicial Externship. Appellate Advocacy taught me the importance of editing. The Judicial Externship class allowed me to see first hand how persuasive legal writing can influence a judge's decision. Legal writing is an important skill that helped me land my current judicial externship with Supreme Court of Ohio Justice Maureen O'Connor."

Kathleen Battle
3L
Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio

Regardless of the legal specialty, location, or practice size, there is one truism that rings
throughout the legal community: Lawyers write. Each Moritz graduate successfully completes
three semesters of courses focused in legal writing. These courses are essential for students
to become effective advocates. They will perfect the basics in formulating, writing, and defending
a legal argument — research, jurisdiction, use of authority, standards of review, and effective
methods for completing written legal analysis.

Legal writing is “thinking made visible,” and in courses at Moritz, students learn how to
reason like lawyers by writing and revising legal arguments under the guidance of full-time law
professors and practicing attorneys. In addition to the required course in the first-year curriculum,
students continue to hone their skills in the upperlevel curriculum.

Moritz’s legal writing program is rich in one-onone learning. Legal writing courses are small,
typically with 18 to 20 students in a section. Students have ample opportunity for personal
interaction with professors and classmates. Professors schedule multiple one-on-one
conferences with students throughout the first year to help students develop their writing style and analysis.

The Appellate Advocacy course is team-taught by Professor Mary Beth Beazley, director of the legal writing program, and adjunct professors, most of whom are experienced practitioners or law clerks at state or federal courts. Using actual record materials, each student writes a brief in a case
that is pending before the United States Supreme Court. The adjunct professors provide practical
input as they critique student papers, hold individual conferences with students, and judge
oral arguments.

Also, each student must take a seminar course, which requires a substantial writing assignment.

Course Sampling

 Advanced Legal Writing
 Advanced Legal Research
 Appellate Advocacy
 Business and Tax Research
 International Legal Research
 Ohio Legal Research