Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement Information
August 23, 2006 at 4:30 PM
FOR UPDATED INFORMATION, CHECK THE LAW SCHOOL BULLETIN
Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement
Academic Affairs Committee Adopted May 5, 2006
Each student at Santa Clara University School of Law must satisfy a Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement as a condition of graduation. The Requirement is intended to assure that each student completes a significant piece of legal writing under the supervision of a faculty member following the first year of law school. The Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement is in effect for matriculating students who began Law School in fall 2005. It is the responsibility of each student to satisfy this Requirement before graduation from Law School.
General Goals and Objectives
The ability to write effectively and persuasively is fundamental to law practice. A lawyer’s service to society and professional satisfaction depend on an ability to communicate through writing. The purpose of the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement is to further develop and improve that ability in each student beyond the level achieved in the first year research and writing program and the second year Advocacy course. In addition, the writing experience will provide the opportunity for intellectual growth through concentration and analysis in a specialized area of law.
How the Requirement Can Be Satisfied
The Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement can be satisfied only by individual work; joint papers or projects do not qualify. Students may discuss topics, ideas, or other aspects of the writing project with others, and may exchange drafts for the purpose of seeking feedback on improving the writing; however, all of the research and writing must be exclusively the student’s own work. In general, students may not use a writing that satisfies another requirement of graduation—such as an Advocacy brief or a brief produced in connection with a course satisfying the Skills Requirement for the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement. However, a paper that satisfies the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement can also satisfy the paper requirement for one of the specialized certificates (e.g., International Law, High Tech, or Social Justice). In addition, a paper completed in connection with a course that satisfies the Skills Requirement may satisfy the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement if the skills course involves substantial instruction in a professional skill other than brief writing (such as negotiation, interviewing, or oral advocacy). Faculty will certify that any writing produced in connection with the Skills Requirement does not also satisfy the skills component of the course (e.g., if the skills component involves the drafting of a brief, contract, or license).
So long as the paper meets the criteria set forth in the next section, the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways:
(1) A paper required in a course or seminar in which the student is enrolled. Papers written for seminar credit must independently satisfy the criteria for the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement as set forth below. Not all papers that are satisfactory for course credit will be satisfactory for the Requirement.
(2) A law review comment or note written for one of the LawSchool’s law reviews. A faculty member must review the student’s comment or note and determine whether it meets the criteria for the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement. A revision may be required.
(3) Independent research (Course 350).
(4) Upper division writing course. A paper or series of shorter papers produced in an upper division writing course will satisfy the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement if the instructor determines that the criteria specified below are met.
(5) A directed research and writing project without credit.
(6) Moot Court Brief. Normally, a brief or memorial (“brief”) submitted in the context of a moot court competition would not satisfy the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement as such writings are usually collaborative exercises and are not produced with faculty supervision. However, if a student is the sole author of a brief, or a significant portion of a brief such as a substantial section or argument contained within a brief, such a brief or portion thereof may qualify. Students who want to satisfy the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement through a Moot Court competition may do so by resubmitting their brief to the faculty advisor or another faculty member after submission in the competition. If the student wishes a portion of the brief to satisfy the Requirement, the student must identify the portion of the brief for which he or she is the sole author. The faculty member will review and critique the brief with the student and will likely require revision of portions of the brief, or brief section, prior to certifying the brief as meeting the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement.
Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement Criteria
Regardless of the way in which the student chooses to satisfy the Requirement, the final product must meet the professional standards and expectations for the relevant audience. Close and critical faculty supervision and review of the writing is expected. The topic shall be selected early in the term. Next, the student should, inter alia, develop a research strategy, produce an outline, formulate a thesis as appropriate, submit a first draft, engage in faculty consultation, implement revisions, and submit a final draft. If the final product is not satisfactory, the faculty member may deny approval or may require that the paper be rewritten again before certifying that the Supervised Analytical Writing Requirement has been met.
The student’s final product should demonstrate an ability to analyze complex legal issues and to communicate the analysis effectively. The writing is expected to be of high quality. The faculty member will approve the writing if it demonstrates the following qualities:
• the choice of an original or challenging topic;
• the succinct articulation and support of the thesis, if applicable;
• logical organization;
• an appropriate level of research and analysis;
• comprehensive analysis of the relevant law and application to the topic;
• persuasiveness and analytical depth, as appropriate;
• a proper introduction and conclusion;
• clear, concise, direct sentences;
• proper paragraphing and appropriate use of headings, sub-headings, and transitions;
• the correct use of legal terms and citation forms;
• appropriate attribution to original and secondary sources as necessary;
• adherence to the prohibition against plagiarism;
• proper grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling and capitalization; and
• a neat and professional appearance.
Although the required page length will depend upon the nature of the project and the number of units sought, rarely would a piece of writing of fewer than twenty pages be adequate to satisfy the Requirement.