module specification

LC7032 - Legal Writing Skills (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Legal Writing Skills
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 2.25
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 27
 
22.5 hours Guided independent study
4.5 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100% 50 Take-Away AssessmentTake away assessment -write a letter of advice relating to a property law matter.
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City To be arranged -

Module summary

This module focuses on the skill of legal writing

Prior learning requirements

Qualifying law degree

Module aims

The module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop or improve their legal writing skills.

Syllabus

1. Introduction to the principles of legal writing.

  • understanding legal writing in the context of the Legal Practice Course
  • understanding the requirements of succinctness and precision in your legal writing
  • understanding what is meant by appropriate language
  • awareness of the importance of correct grammar
  • identification of common legal writing errors.

2. Practical Legal Writing exercises.

  • identifying weaknesses in written English
  • development of  writing skills
  • file notes
  • self-assessment.

3. Further exercises

  • presentation of results of research in an internal memorandum
  • letters confirming instructions
  • criticism of examples of Legal Writing.

Learning and teaching

1 one-hour and thirty minutes tutor led session and 2 one-hour and thirty minutes student led sessions in the Foundation Course and further teaching and practice throughout the course.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the Legal Writing Skills sessions students should:
have a better understanding of the importance of the skill of legal writing in the context of the Legal Practice Course and be able to draft documents that:

  1. meet the client’s goals, carry out the client’s instructions and address the client’s concerns;
  2. maintain a standard of care which protects the interests of the client;
  3. deal appropriately with client care and professional conduct issues;
  4. accurately address all relevant legal and factual issues;
  5. where appropriate, identify relevant options, including the costs, benefits and risks of those options;
  6. where appropriate, demonstrate a critical use of precedents;
  7. are logically organised;
  8. form a consistent and coherent whole;
  9. follow the rules of grammar;
  10. demonstrate appropriate use of language;
  11. are succinct and precise;
    • be able to identify and correct some common legal writing errors
    • be able to identify any weaknesses in their written English and modify their own drafting errors to meet the above criteria;
    • be in a position to develop their written English in their own time
    • be in a position to judge whether or not they require further help with written legal English
    • understand the need for a letter confirming instructions and be able to identify the necessary contents of such a letter
    • be able to criticise constructively examples of Legal Writing
    • be able to draft a good letter confirming instructions in a concise manner
         

Assessment strategy

The assessment is a take away assessment set in the context of Property Law & Practice. The assessment is designed to replicate practice and enable students to demonstrate the application of legal principles in a realistic, practical context. Students are given a formative assessment and receive written feedback.

Bibliography

‘Skills for Lawyers’ manual published by College of Law Publishing
Supporting Weblearn materials and student study materials.
Further practical exercises area accessible by students via link on Weblearn to online support materials which accompany the publication ‘Legal English’ (published by Pearson Education and which is co-written by the member of staff who supervises this module).