Publication Title

Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing

Document Type



When I came to teach after practicing for over a decade, I wanted my students to learn to write by using materials from real clients and cases. I quickly found that’s easier said than done. But through experimentation and discussions with experienced colleagues, I found several successful ways to put students into the role of writing parts of a “real” brief—one that uses a real case and real facts—for short, in-class exercises in upper-level courses.

Several articles tout the benefits of using briefs as examples, an enthusiasm I join. But this article focuses on using cases, and especially briefs, as part of in-class writing exercises. It starts with a section that describes some of the types of exercises an instructor might use and how they fit into a legal writing class. It then describes the benefits and challenges from using briefs in class; it discusses the logistical problems of how to time these exercises and how to find briefs; and it outlines in-class exercises I’ve found effective.



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