Mastering Legal Writing

May 21-23, 2019 | 16.5 Law and Legal & 1.5 Ethics CLE credits

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.


This course is spread over three days with interactive sessions. 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.

For more information please contact Professor Laurel Oates.


Day 1 - Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Focus will be on "big picture" issues: audience and purpose and large- and small-scale organization.

8:30 a.m. Sign-in and coffee
9:00 a.m. First Impressions and Audience and Purpose
10:30 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m. Large-Scale Organization
12:15 p.m. LUNCH
1:15 p.m. Large-Scale Organization
2:45 p.m. BREAK
3:00 p.m. Small-Scale Organization
4:30 p.m. ADJOURN

Day 2 - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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. After lunch, we will talk about grammar and try some strategies for writing more concisely.

8:30 a.m. Sign-in and coffee
9:00 a.m. Problem Sentences
10:30 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m. Active Voice; Passive Voice; Managing Longer Sentences
12:15 p.m. LUNCH
1:15 p.m. Grammar
2:45 p.m. BREAK
3:00 p.m. Concision
4:30 p.m. ADJOURN

Day 3 - Thursday, May 23, 2019

On the last day we will bring everything together. The day will start by answering the questions about punctuation that you have always wanted to ask but did not know whom to ask. During the process we will debunk some of the myths about writing. Why did your third grade teacher tell you that you should never start a sentence with "because"? Finally we will spend time on techniques for writing persuasively and on 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. Punctuation
10:30 a.m. BREAK
10:45 a.m. Topics to be determined by participants
12:15 p.m. LUNCH
1:15 p.m. Writing Persuasively
2:45 p.m. BREAK
3:00 p.m. The Ethical Advocate: How Far is Too Far
4:30 p.m. Evaluations and Adjourn


Professor Laurel Oates was the Director of Seattle University School of Law's renowned Legal Writing Program until 2012. Since then, she has taught in the program..

Professor Oates is one of the co-founders of the Legal Writing Institute, which now has more than 2400 members, and she is the co-author of five books: The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its sixth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, and Just Writing.

During the last fifteen years, Professor Oates has taught workshops on legal writing in Afghanistan, Botswana, China, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, South Africa, and Uganda and has hosted programs for both students and lawyers in South Africa. In June 2007, Professor Oates received the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.; in October 2009 she received the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing; in October 2012 she received the Tom Holdych Award for Meritorious and Transformational Service, and in 2016 she received both the Global Legal Skills Award and the Terri LeClercq Courage Award. In 2014, Professor Oates launched the Law School's first online course, a course on effective writing.





This program is available for in-person participation only.

General Registration - $995.00

Seattle University School of Law Alumni - $945.00