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3 Ways To Prepare For Law School Writing

Law schools looks for a variety of skills in applicants. Among some of the law-critical skills are reading and writing. At Harvard Law, the typical student will analyze and discuss 500 cases over two years.  

Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach, recently discussed how aspiring law students can get a head start to learning how to read and write for law school.

MASTER NOTE-TAKING 

Note-taking is a key practice in the law school classroom. With the case method being a central component of law education, Kuris says, aspiring law students should master the art of note-taking. 

“Before law school, you can get a head start on briefing by developing more consistent and rigorous methods of note-taking,” Kuris writes. “Try using color-coded highlights for different types of information. Try reading an article, summarizing the argument as briefly as possible and then coming up with counterpoints.”

BE CONCISE IN YOUR WRITING

Legal writing often emphasizes structure and focus. To prepare for law school, Kuris recommends practicing succinct writing. 

“While legal papers can be quite long, every sentence must contribute to the overall argument,” Kuris writes. “Law professors have little patience for bloated and meandering paragraphs. Even if undergraduate professors don’t explicitly require it, practice editing your papers to be direct and concise. Cut out redundancies and sentences that are not clearly related to your main points.”

CLARIFY ASSUMPTIONS 

To develop strong arguments, lawyers need to ensure that their reasoning is clear based on the supporting evidence. Kuris says clarifying assumptions is an effective way to prepare yourself for law school writing.

“Even in college, you can start thinking about the unstated assumptions behind your arguments,” Kuris writes. “Some of these assumptions may not be worth pointing out, like the meaning of common terms or agreed-upon facts. Are there any assumptions that might not be so obvious to someone with a different background or perspective? If so, try to state those assumptions clearly, so all readers can understand how you came to your conclusions whether or not they agree with you.”

Sources: U.S. News, New England Law, Financial Times

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