Back for Round 2

Now that two weeks of the second semester have gone by, I’m starting to feel like I’m totally back into the swing of things. Winter break came and went. I finally got my first semester grades, so I can officially stop thinking about Fall semester. Now I’ve got a fresh set of classes to work on and lots of new things to think about.

So far, my favorite change from last semester has been my writing class. Last semester, we mainly focused on writing predictive memoranda. The lessons and assignments focused on applying the law to the facts of our hypothetical clients’ situations and writing memos to our “supervising attorney” predicting what the outcome would be if the case were to go to trial. It was certainly interesting (and very important) to learn how to write this type of memo, but I like the content of this semester better. The focus has shifted to writing an appellate brief, which is addressed to a judge rather than a colleague. The major difference—and the reason I like it so much—is that now our writing needs to be persuasive. Our appellate briefs are by no means complete works of creativity; there is still a specific format that needs to be followed and there are rules about what needs to be included. However, writing persuasively allows for more wiggle room. I’ll be able to choose more vivid and descriptive words to explain the facts and how the law applies to them. Understanding and explaining the law correctly is important and interesting, but I’m very excited about the chance to use my words a little bit more creatively in order to help my clients (even though my clients are still fictional at this point).

Another exciting (and honestly, a little intimidating) aspect of this writing class is oral arguments. In the spring, the class is going to get the chance to do mock oral arguments in front of real judges! More on that later. For now, I just need to take advantage of the relative calm before the semester gets crazy. Back to reading!

25 January 2013

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