First Assignment Spring 2020

Legal Writing, Research and Advocacy - Claire C. Robinson May

LAW 504 Section 3, 7


First Class Assignment – Legal Writing & Research Spring Semester 2020 – Prof. May

NOTE: If you are new to my section this semester, please see the Fall 2019 First Class Assignment for the course book list. We will be using the same books this semester.

Reading Assignment: Read What Are You Trying to Say? Part V (on TWEN under Texbook).

Writing Assignment: Find an example of persuasive writing that is outside of the legal context. Your example may be an op-ed, an editorial, a blog post, an advertisement, etc. The only requirements in choosing your example are (1) your example must be primarily a written document (rather than a visual work); (2) it must be attempting to persuade the reader; (3) it must be substantial enough to allow you to analyze it in some detail (a tweet will not suffice!); and (4) it may not be a legal document, such as a motion, legal memorandum, or pleading.

Read your example and write up a short discussion and evaluation of the persuasive effectiveness of the example. Your write-up should be a maximum of two double-spaced pages in 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins. Please attach a copy of your example to your assignment or provide me with a link (if it is lengthy). Please staple or use a binder clip, not a paper clip.

In evaluating the persuasive effectiveness of the example, please consider the following characteristics. You do not have to cover every item on the list below, but do cover several (3 or more) items that best relate to your example. Please conclude whether you found your example to be persuasive overall, based on your review. In your discussion, please specify the textual support for your evaluation in each area and explain fully in supporting your evaluation.

  • Whether the author provides strong authority in support and a logical argument;
  • Whether the author is able to overcome any weaknesses in his or her argument;
  • Whether the example has a compelling theme or theory that helps to persuade the reader:
  • Whether the example uses storytelling effectively;
  • Whether the structure and organization of the argument helps or hinders its persuasiveness;
  • Whether the writing style helps or hinders the persuasiveness of the piece, specifically whether it is easy to follow, difficult to read (and the reason why, such as long sentences, excessive quotations, or overuse of jargon,), “catchy,” etc.;
  • Whether the example reflects the author’s professionalism;
  • Any other characteristics of your example that you find add to or subtract from its persuasiveness.

The write-up and attached example are due in hard copy at the beginning of our first class. Completion will be part of this semester's professionalism grade (marked S, S+ or S-). 


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