Creating legal writing problems that work and what to do if they don t
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Creating Legal Writing Problems That Work (And What to Do if They Don’t). Professor Lisa A. Mazzie Marquette University Law School 2013 Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Boulder, CO March 23, 2013. Getting Started. Determine the parameters of the problem

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Creating legal writing problems that work and what to do if they don t

Creating Legal Writing Problems That Work (And What to Do if They Don’t)

Professor Lisa A. Mazzie

Marquette University Law School

2013 Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Boulder, CO

March 23, 2013


Getting started
Getting Started They Don’t)

  • Determine the parameters of the problem

    • What kind of written product do you want?

      • Memo? Brief? Email?

    • What is the student’s role?

      • Do you assign sides or let students choose?

      • Student law firms?

    • Will there be research?

      • Open or closed research?

      • Jurisdiction?


  • What sources/authorities should students end up with? They Don’t)

    • Case law only? Statutes and case law? Will you include or allow secondary sources? What kinds of secondary sources (e.g. social sciences, too)?

  • How many issues?

    • One issue or multiple issues?

    • Sub-issues?

  • Level of difficulty?

    • You can never make things too easy.


Coming up with an idea
Coming Up with an Idea They Don’t)

  • Areas of law with which you are familiar

  • Areas of law with which students are familiar

  • Areas of law traditionally in 1L curriculum

    • Contracts, Criminal Law, Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, Constitutional Law


Coming up with an idea1
Coming Up with an Idea They Don’t)

  • News stories/blogs/YouTube

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0yj5tZtmfk


Coming up with an idea2
Coming Up with an Idea They Don’t)

  • Pop Culture

  • LWI Idea Bank

    • www.ideabank.rutgers.edu

    • If you’ve been teaching legal writing for fewer than two years, email Sabrina DeFabritiis, [email protected] for a password.

  • LWI Listserv

  • Random electronic searches/ALRs

  • Things of interest


Going from idea to reality
Going from Idea to Reality They Don’t)

  • What do you give the students?

    • Assigning memo from partner?

    • Create a “record”?

    • Live “client” interviewing?

    • Experts?


Going from idea to reality1
Going from Idea to Reality They Don’t)

  • Writing the facts

  • Choosing sides

    • Who is the client? How do you choose?

  • Including procedure

  • Sample written product


Handling the unexpected
Handling the Unexpected They Don’t)

  • Changes in the law

  • A problem that just doesn’t work

  • Student discomfort

  • Remember, this is YOUR world to create and manipulate!


Recycle or retire
Recycle or Retire? They Don’t)

  • Recycle

    • Pros:

      • Nuances are apparent

      • Student response is positive

    • Cons:

      • Increases plagiarism concerns

      • Staleness

    • If you do recycle –

      • Consider how often to reuse

      • Update

      • Make changes


Recycle or retire1
Recycle or Retire? They Don’t)

  • Retire

    • Pros:

      • No worries about plagiarism

      • “Retired” problems can be used as samples or exercises

    • Cons:

      • You need to develop new problems


Potential ideas
Potential Ideas They Don’t)

  • Negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress

  • Trespass

  • Personal injury (contact sports)

  • Attractive nuisance

  • False imprisonment

  • Drug possession

  • DUI

  • Assault/battery

  • Sexting

  • Paternity/family law

  • Non-compete agreements

  • Easements

  • Takings

  • Employment discrimination



Contact
Contact They Don’t)

Lisa Mazzie

Associate Professor of Legal Writing

Marquette University Law School

P.O. Box 1881

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

414.288.5367

[email protected]


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