Legal Research and Writing

Senior Writing Fellow Application Process

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Date: April 1, 2016

To: Senior Writing Fellow Applicants

From: Frances DeLaurentis

Re: Application Process

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Senior Writing Fellow.  According to those who have been Senior Writing Fellows, the experience affords you the opportunity to develop your own abilities in analysis, writing, and research.  You also move closer to becoming an expert on working with writers, something that should serve you well throughout your career.

I. Senior Writing Fellow Description

As a Senior Writing Fellow, you attend a year-long class, Applied Legal Composition.  You may enroll for either four credits or two credits.  If you enroll for four credits, you write, among other things, a paper that complies with the writing requirement and addresses a topic related to legal writing (in a broad sense).  If you enroll for two credits, you attend the class and collaborate on some short writing projects.  All Senior Writing Fellows hold three forty-five minute conferences each week at the Writing Center.  (Senior Writing Fellows receive a small stipend for their work in the Writing Center.)  In the class, you study legal writing from both the writer’s and the reader’s perspectives. You review documents, analyze scholarship, write criticisms of legal writing, prepare your own texts, and read about the theory of legal composition.  You also study effective conferencing techniques and peer-on-peer tutoring pedagogy.

As a Senior Writing Fellow, you assist J.D. and graduate students on writing projects, providing feedback on such subjects as the following:  

  • making the transition from another field of expertise, such as engineering or history, to law,
  • approaching scholarly writing as a specific type of writing with defined scope, purpose, audience, substance, and technical concerns,
  • using legal substance to organize writing effectively and to make argumentative decisions,
  • understanding legal writing as a specific process performed under time pressure in practical and academic legal settings,
  • connecting substance to syntax,
  • becoming more confident on questions of grammar, and
  • overcoming writer's block.

We discover new avenues to explore each year.  Each group of Senior Writing Fellows forges new approaches to working with students.  Those students come from every level, from first year to LL.M. students.  Some are native speakers of English, and others speak English as a second, third, or fourth language.  Some want help with basic analytical concepts; others want to know how to make an excellent seminar paper publishable.

II. Prerequisites for All Applicants

You must have at least a 3.0 grade point average at the beginning of the academic year of your appointment.  You need not have received an “A” in Legal Research and Writing or Legal Practice to become a Senior Writing Fellow.  You need not have been a Law Fellow to become a Senior Writing Fellow.

III. Application Process

Make sure your application includes the following materials:

  1. Senior Writing Fellow Application cover sheet.
  2. Law school transcript (ask the Registrar's Office to forward a copy to us).
  3. Current résumé. If you know your summer plans now, please note them on your résumé.
  4. Writing Sample. A seminar paper, unedited journal note, Law Fellow bench memo, or sample from practice is fine.  Please submit something you have written alone, preferably something more recently written than your first-year papers.
  5. Personal Statement.
    Please attach a statement explaining why you would like to be a Senior Writing Fellow.  Why are you drawn to this kind of teaching through conferences?  You might say what experience you would bring to being a Senior Writing Fellow, what new ideas you would bring to the Writing Center, or what being a Law Fellow has taught you about the teaching of writing as it would apply to the Writing Center.  Please limit yourself to two typed, double-spaced pages.  Include any other experience in working, teaching, doing legal research and writing, and working one-on-one with writers.  If you have particular ESL or linguistics experience, please note such experience in your statement.
  6. References. A reference from your LRW professor is most helpful.

All applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on April 22, 2016 in Room 540.

IV. Interviews

Interviews will probably be held April 25th - 27th. You will meet in small groups with me. You will be provided a link to Google doc for interview sign up times.