Fall 2014
    Law No.: LAW7732
    Sched. No.: 114821931

Shaping Legal Opinions (SC)
Section 1
Caplan, Lincoln

Administrative Information:
During SIS enrollment, check on SIS for real-time enrollment numbers
Days, Times (Room):MTWR, 1405-1535 (SL284)
Credits:1Type:Lecture - short course
Capacity:15 **This information is current as of 05/25/2015 06:14:09 AM**
Current Enrollment:12 **This information is current as of 05/25/2015 06:14:09 AM**

Course Description:

This short course meets Monday-Thursday, 2:05-3:35 p.m., October 27-November 6.

This short course will be a writing, reading, and discussion course about how to write effective opinion pieces on legal affairs for general readers. The goals of the course are to: 1) give students the chance to write in a couple of forms of journalism for shaping opinions about legal disputes and get detailed feedback; 2) reinforce that writing about law for non-lawyers requires a form of translation from often abstract, qualified, and technical legal terms into generally used language that is accessible, clear, and engaging; and 3) expand the range of tools that students have for advocating a viewpoint and criticizing the main alternatives.

The course may be of special interest to students who are interested in writing about the law for a general readership, in journalism, in a blog, or in other forms. But it is intended to be of value to students expecting to practice law, because they will need to develop the ability to explain legal issues to clients in non-legal terms and sometimes to explain legal choices in the media and other general forums.

Students will be assigned to write two short forms of opinion journalism ranging in length from 650 words to 1,250 words, and to revise each of them, for four required writing assignments. I will comment on each piece. Students will also be assigned daily reading as a basis for classroom discussion and preparation for writing. The daily reading assignments will be around 50 pages, generally from journalism and from trade books (easier reading than legal texts). I plan to meet with each member of the class for an extended conversation.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: Attendance at all class sessions is required. Enrolled students who do not attend the first class session will be dropped. Students seeking to enroll in this short course must attend the first class session.
COURSE REQUIREMENT: Writing assignments (65%) and classroom participation (35%)