Every day lawyers sit with fingers curled above keyboards and pens poised above notepads. Lawyers are writers. There may have been a time when the practice of law primarily involved oral communication. However, the practice of law has long since become one of written communication. Although most law schools pride themselves on producing client-ready graduates, few schools actually deliver on this promise, especially as it relates to transactional practice.
The American Bar Association Standards and Procedures' requires that each law student receive substantial instruction in, among other categories, "writing in a legal context, including at least one rigorous writing experience in the first year and at least one additional rigorous writing experience after the first year." The rigorous writing experience must be evaluated in light of
the number and nature of writing projects assigned to students; the opportunities a student has to meet with a writing instructor for purposes of individualized assessment of the student's written products; the number of drafts that a student must produce of any writing project; and the form of assessment used by the writing instructor
The additional rigorous writing experience after the first year, commonly referred to as the upper-level writing requirement, recognizes the importance of writing to the practice of law and serves to encourage continued instruction in legal writing beyond legal writing coursework required in the first year.
Karen J. Sneddon, Trusts and Estates Drafting: Avoiding Rigor Mortis in the Law School Curriculum, 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1071 (2012).