Mastering Legal Writing

Seattle, Washington
Friday, July 18, 2014
Mastering Legal Writing
Friday, July 18, 2014 - Friday, July 25, 2014

Seattle University School of Law
Course dates: 7/18; 7/22; 7/25
Seattle University School of Law
901 12th Ave., Sullivan Hall, Room 329
Seattle, Washington 98122-1090
United States

Mastering Legal Writing
July 18, July 22, July25)
18 CLE credits pending

In today’s legal market, one of the most valued skills is the ability to write clearly, concisely, and correctly. Clients, senior partners, and judges all appreciate lawyers who can write well.

Because learning to write well takes time and practice, this course is spread over three days, and the sessions are interactive. Each day will feature a series of short lectures followed by exercises that allow participants to apply the skills just taught. In addition, if you choose to do so, you will have the opportunity to revise and edit one of your own pieces of writing.

This summer’s course is being taught by Professor Laurel Currie Oates, one of the founders of Seattle University’s nationally ranked legal writing program. Professor Oates has taught legal writing for more than 30 years and is the co-author of five books on Legal Writing.

Day 1, July 18, 2014:  Focus will be on “big picture” issues:  audience and purpose, and large- and small-scale organization.  In addition, we will talk about what are for many writers “the enemies of good writing”:  procrastination and multi-tasking.  There will be homework.

8:30 a.m.         Sign-in and coffee
9:00 a.m.         Audience and Purpose
                          Large-scale Organization
10:30 a.m.       BREAK
10:45 a.m.       Conventional organizational schemes
12:15 p.m.       LUNCH
1:15 p.m.         How content affects organization
2:45 p.m.         BREAK
3:00 p.m.         Small-scale Organization.
4:30 p.m.         ADJOURN

Day 2, July 22, 2014:  Day 2 will focus on smaller issues.  The day will start by talking about problem sentences; the effective use of the active and passive voice; and techniques for managing longer sentences.  We will then address how to use transitions, including use of dovetailing to connect sentences and paragraphs.  Wrapping up the day, we will address what for many writers is one of the hardest tasks of all: making our points concisely and precisely.  

8:30 a.m.       Sign-in and coffee
9:00 a.m.       Sentences
10:30 a.m.     BREAK
10:45 p.m.     Active voice
                        Passive voice
                        Managing longer sentences
12:15 p.m.     LUNCH
1:15 p.m.       Transitions
2:45 p.m.       BREAK
3:00 p.m.       Writing Concisely
                        Writing Precisely
 4:30 p.m.      ADJOURN

Day 3, July 25, 2014:  On the last day we will bring everything together.  The day will start by answering the questions about grammar and punctuation that you have always wanted to ask but did not know who to ask.  During the process we will debunk some of the myths about writing.  Why is it that your third grade teacher told you that you should never start a sentence with “because”?  Finally, we will spend time on techniques for writing persuasively and to ways in which you can develop your own writing style.  At the end of this class you will receive a certificate of accomplishment. 

8:30 a.m.     Sign-in and coffee
9:00 a.m.     Grammar
10:30 a.m.   BREAK
10:45 a.m.   Myths
12:15 p.m.   LUNCH
1:15 p.m.     Writing Persuasively
2:45 p.m.     BREAK
3:00 p.m.     Style
4:30 p.m.     Evaluations and Adjourn


Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • Payment Instructions

    • Credit cards are the default payment option for online registration.

    • For group discount rates please contact: Mark Sideman

      Payment by check:  Use the drop-down menu on the payment page to select the "check" payment option. Please make check(s) payable to Seattle University School of Law CLE and attach or include information identifying the registrant(s) and program attending. Mail to Seattle University School of Law, CLE Dept. Sullivan Hall, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle WA 98122-1090. Please call (206) 398-4233 with any payment questions.

      Group Registration: For group discounts, contact:

      Cancellations:  The last day to cancel your registration for this program is 5:00pm Friday, July 15, 2014. A $35 administrative fee is charged for cancellations. After July 15th, cancellations will not be refunded. However, substitute attendees are welcome. Please inform us of substitutions at or (206) 398-4233.

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