Professor Anderson teaches students in classroom

Advanced Legal Writing and Communication Skills Development Program

The institute offers selected Stetson students the opportunity to participate in the Advanced Legal Writing and Communication Skills Development Program. The program is a voluntary, faculty-taught extracurricular enrichment program that introduces students to the knowledge and skills needed for effective legal communication. Students who complete the year-long program learn what communication skills are expected in the legal practice environment; the communication issues common to legal practice; and strategies for effective communication in practice.

To complete the program, students attend eight to ten legal communication workshops that address listening and non-verbal communication strategies; business, influential, and cross-cultural communication; contract and complaint drafting; and professional communication in litigation. Students complete at least six written and oral communication assignments ranging from a witness interview, a self-reflection on nonverbal and cross-cultural communication, a complaint, a motion in limine, a motion for sanctions, a contract, a business meeting agenda, a client letter, and a business development email. For each of these assignments, students receive individualized faculty feedback. Students also build an electronic portfolio to store and showcase their work and complete a legal grammar and citation self-study program. To wrap up the program, students use what they have learned to assess others' legal communication skills in a legal practice setting.

"This program teaches skills that are not directly addressed by law school classes but that is essential to interacting with other professionals and building a positive reputation in the legal field," said Stetson student Brandy Perez, who completed the program. The assessments were practical," added student Giselle Girones, "and they helped me learn how to best prepare documents for real-world practice."

Kirsten K. Davis"Lawyers engage many different audiences in many different contexts, so having a solid set of communication strategies to draw upon is very important for the new lawyer. The Advanced Legal Writing and Communication Skills Development Program familiarizes students with some of those strategies and gives them the opportunity to practice them and get feedback."

Dr. Kirsten K. Davis
Director, Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication and Legal Research and Writing