There is a tendency to view scholarly writing by law students as an exercise that has little utility in preparing them for the actual practice of law. This assumption is unfounded; to the contrary, scholarly writing in law school gives students a unique learning opportunity that is surprisingly close to how students will learn and write when they enter practice. While few law schools take advantage of this valuable learning tool, law school journals have long served as a vehicle and an outlet for student scholarship. Relying on the practices of some of the country’s top journals and using our own experiences—collectively, as a former journal editor, student author, practitioner, legal writing professor, and faculty advisor for several student-authored articles—we discuss some steps journals can take to make the student scholarly writing process more effective and how law schools and law faculty, through a committed emphasis on scholarly writing, can produce better and more sophisticated legal thinkers at graduation.
Part I of this Article emphasizes the importance of scholarly writing for students, as compared to other writing and substantive law courses, and identifies the unique pedagogical advantages of scholarly writing. Part II argues that law school journals are excellent places for teaching and learning scholarly writing and describes the results of a survey of journals’ approaches to teaching scholarly writing. Part III outlines several of the steps journals and faculty can take to help students have a more enriching scholarly writing experience. Regardless of whether students will pursue scholarly writing beyond their journal years, these efforts are worth undertaking because scholarly writing skills will make the students stronger instrumental legal writers and, ultimately, better lawyers.
Kristina V. Foehrkolb,
& Marc A. DeSimone Jr.,
Debunking the Myths Surrounding Student Scholarly Writing,
74 Md. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.umaryland.edu/mlr/vol74/iss1/4