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Law school launches international legal writing certificate program

November 25, 2013

Faculty from Seattle University School of Law's No. 1 ranked Legal Writing Program will educate lawyers around the world about effective writing.

OatesProfessor Laurel Oates, who directed the Legal Writing Program for 30 years, has created an online certificate program for international lawyers called "Effective Legal Writing: Drafting for a Global Audience." Materials for the first course will be available with start date options of Feb. 1, March 1, or April. 1

"One of the keys to success in today's global legal markets is the ability to write clearly and concisely in English," Oates said. "Good writing enhances your reputation and strengthens your ability to work with lawyers around the world."

All courses are in English, and participants will be able to complete the online program at their own pace, have their writing reviewed by expert professors, and earn a certificate of completion from Seattle University School of Law.

"This is an exciting outgrowth of our esteemed legal writing program," Dean Annette E. Clark said. "Now lawyers outside the United States can benefit from Professor Oates's extensive international experience and unmatched teaching skills."

This is just the first international certificate program in the works. Future courses under development include an introduction to the U.S. legal system and the types of legal reading and analysis that are used in the United States and a course for English speakers who want to develop their legal vocabulary.

Professor Oates has taught legal writing for more than 32 years. She co-founded the Legal Writing Institute, which has 2,400 members in 20 countries who are interested in the effective teaching of legal writing. Among her many awards, she has received the American Association of Law School's Award on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research; the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education; and the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing.

She has co-authored five books on legal writing, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its fifth edition, as well as Just Writing, Just Briefs, Just Memos, and Just Research

She has taught legal writing skills in India, Uganda, South Africa, and Afghanistan for nearly a decade.

For more information, visit or e-mail Professor Oates at