LAW-2265 Advanced Legal Writing

Prof. Philip C. Kaplan, Prof. Rosa Kim, Prof. Sabrina DeFabritiis, Prof. Herbert N. Ramy, Ms. Ann McGonigle Santos,

3 credits day; 3 credits evening.

A comprehensive review of the principles of good legal writing. Major assignments include drafting a legal document and writing a brief. Individual conferences supplement the lectures.


The faculty has voted to encourage all students to take an advanced legal writing course during their upper-class years at the Law School. Advanced legal writing courses are courses that meet the standards set forth below. Ordinarily, an advanced legal writing course will satisfy the Upper Level Skills Requirement.

See Law Suffolk University Law School website, If so designated, it may also be used to meet the Upper Level Legal Writing Requirement. See Law School Academic Rules and Regulations 2H.

1. Advanced legal writing courses include a significant writing component. This will include at least three practice-oriented writing assignments--such as a legal memo or brief, writing exercises, a draft of a transactional document, or an opinion letter based on an analysis of appropriate legal materials such as cases and statutes.

2. The three writing assignments will total at least fifteen pages of written work or twenty pages if the course is designated as one that can be used to meet the Upper Level Legal Writing Requirement. The written work shall be completed independently by each student in the course.

3. Students will receive extensive written feedback, on each major writing assignment, covering the substance, analysis, and writing issues reflected in the student’s work.

4. Students will receive the opportunity to re-write one of the assignments, which may increase their final grade for the entire assignment.

5. The professor will have an individual writing conference with each student on at least one of the three writing assignments.

6. The professor will discuss a sample memorandum for at least one of the assignments, after the student papers have been handed in.

7. The grades for the writing assignments shall constitute at least fifty percent of the course grade.

8. The syllabus for the course shall include the three practice-oriented writing assignments and the approximate due dates for each.

9. The faculty member is encouraged to discuss legal writing skills and techniques with the students throughout the course.

10. Courses that provide substantially equivalent practice oriented writing experiences may be certified by the Legal Writing Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee as Advanced Legal Writing Courses.

Faculty comments: Attorney Janda: My advanced legal writing class requires students to draft a substantial appellate brief (typically 35-45 pages). More specifically, I give students a transcript and defendant’s appellate brief from an actual case and require them to draft, in the role of an assistant district attorney, the Commonwealth’s brief in response to the defendant’s brief. In addition to the format and structure of a brief, the class lectures focus heavily on legal analysis and basic grammar. I also frequently meet with students to review and critique drafts of their briefs.

Professor Kaplan: This is a three credit course concentrating on legal analysis, writing, and research. The students research and write the government’s reply brief to a defendant’s appellate brief, on a criminal matter. The course is taught via lectures, individual student conferences, extensive written feedback on each assignment, and through in-class exercises. Students write one six page memorandum based on cases they are given. The next assignment is to write the Argument Section of the government’s reply brief. The Argument Section is the subject of a conference between the professor and each student. The final assignment is to write the full reply brief. Each of these writing assignments is graded. Class participation is graded at 10%.

Professor Ramy: In this section of Advanced Legal Writing, students will be graded based on 3 major writing assignments – a closed memo (15%) and two drafts of an appellate brief (25% and 50% respectively) – and on class participation (10%). Students must complete all writing assignments to receive credit for the course. The final draft of the appellate brief may be used to satisfy the legal writing requirement.

Professor Vinson: This upper-level elective offers students the opportunity to further develop their legal analysis and writing skills through practice-oriented writing assignments. Assignments include a legal memorandum and an appellate brief, which may be used to satisfy the writing requirement, as well as provide students with writing samples. These numerous writing assignments provide students with extensive individual feedback on drafts and revisions. Individual conferences supplement the class. Legal research is also reviewed. Class is interactive, involving writing and editing exercises, peer review, group work, and guest lectures. Students are expected to participate in class. Through hands on learning students build confidence in their analytical skills and their ability to communicate their analysis in writing.

pointer    Enrollment is limited: 15 

pointer    Elective Course

pointer    Meets Skills Menu Requirement

pointer    Meets Civil Litigation Concentration Requirements

pointer    May Fulfill Legal Writing Requirement

pointer    Meets Advanced Legal Writing Standard

pointer    Final Paper Required

<<Course Updated: March 11, 2016>>