Thomas Jefferson by 77cNAe

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 13

									                                            THOMAS JEFFERSON
                                                     S C H O O L OF L A W
                                                       SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA




                            Handouts

Leaping from the Peer: Peer Reading and Writing Groups in Action
                  Saturday, June 10 – 9 – 10 a.m.
              Profs. Steve Berenson & Linda Berger
                 Thomas Jefferson School of Law
                       2121 San Diego Ave.
                       San Diego, CA 92110
           Contact: sberenson@tjsl.edu, lberger@tjsl.edu
                           619-297-9700


                    Legal Writing on the Move
      11th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute
                          June 7-10, 2006
                         Atlanta, Georgia
                                                                THOMAS JEFFERSON
                                                                           S C H O O L OF L A W
                                                                              SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA




Guided Critique for the Writer and the Reader
Purpose of the guided critique: To establish a basis for effective peer review, you should first
practice by spending some time reading and critiquing examples of prior students' written work
on similar kinds of projects. At the zero or first draft stage, this guided critique will help you
reconstruct the kinds of organization and "big picture" drafting problems faced by other student
writers and the decisions and choices they made to solve those problems. At the later draft stage,
this guided critique will help you develop an expert, critical perspective similar to that of the
expert lawyer or judge who will eventually read and evaluate your written work. To read
effectively from this vantage point, you will need to learn and practice the ways in which a legal
audience reads such documents.

A.     Critique
       First, answer these questions about the Sample Student Memo found in the
       Workbook:

       1. In the margins, write a brief description of the topic or function (what is its
       subject, what function or purpose does it serve) of each paragraph in the
       Discussion section of the memorandum beginning at page 86 of the Workbook.
       Work alone.

       2. Based on this after-the-fact outline of overall analytical structure of the
       finished memo, what large-scale organizational pattern was selected for the
       Discussion section?

       3. Based on your reading of the memo, what small-scale organizational pattern
       was used within each separate step of the discussion? Does the memo
       consistently follow the "irac" – issue, rule, application, conclusion – organization
       within each separate step of the discussion?

       4. This memo uses headings to separate major issues and to identify separate
       subissues. Are the headings helpful to the unfamiliar reader? Explain your
       answer.

       5. What function or purpose does the opening paragraph serve? Is the opening
       paragraph helpful to the unfamiliar reader? Explain your answer.

       6. After the opening paragraph, why does the writer start with the issue that she
       has chosen as a starting point?
     7. What does the next paragraph do? Why?

     8. What kind of argument is made in the paragraph? Is the reasoning (the
     "application" part of the "irac") sufficiently developed? Explain your answer.

     9. [Continue to answer questions 7 & 8 for the paragraphs under heading I]

     10. Why does the writer follow the order that she followed?

     11. Do the opening sentences of each paragraph tell you its function? How (what
     do the sentences include that signal its topic or thesis)?

     12. What is the purpose of the last paragraph of this section of the Discussion?

     13. Identify examples of each of the following types of arguments and, for each
     example, explain why the author decided to make that kind of argument in that
     part of the discussion:

                  A. plain language

                  B. analogous case

                  C. synthesized case law rule

                  D. policy or legislative intent

B.   Class discussion and summary
                                                               THOMAS JEFFERSON
                                                                           S C H O O L OF L A W
                                                                             SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA


Peer Writing Workshop – Revision for the Writer (organization & content)
Purpose of the peer writing workshop:
        This peer writing workshop is designed to concentrate on the kind of revision that you as
a writer should be doing with early outlines and drafts; it is revision aimed at "reseeing,
rethinking, or changing the bones" of your paper.1 The comments that you make should be those
that a colleague would make to help a fellow writer think through and more fully develop an
initial writing plan, outline, or draft – they should be specific, helpful, and constructive. Your
experience as a reviewer gives you practice reading from a distance, which helps you learn to be a
better self- editor; your experience having your paper reviewed helps you better gauge a reader's
reaction to your draft by letting you know what the reader finds to be confusing or unorganized.

A.         Monitor (5-10 minutes)
           1.     Before you exchange papers, do an after-the-fact outline or review of your
           own outline or draft by writing the function or the topic of each step in your
           analysis in the margin or on another piece of paper.
                  a. How many major blocks of material do you have?

                   b. What job is each block supposed to do? That is, why is it separate, what
                   is its purpose, what is its issue, what is its governing rule?

                   c. Which paragraphs fit into each block?

                   d. In what order should the blocks be presented to help your audience?

                   e. How big roughly should each block be? That is, which issues are the
                   most arguable?

                   f. How many chunks of material should you have within each block?

                   g. How should each chunk be developed? That is, what kinds of
                   arguments should be made within each block?

                   h. In what order should the chunks be presented to help your audience?

           2.     After this review, write on your outline or draft, or on a separate piece of
           paper, the major areas where you have questions or doubts about what you have
           written.
B.         Peer review (40 minutes total)

1
    Peter Elbow, Writing with Power.
      1.     I will assign you to work in groups of three. One person should act as the
      time and task manager, keeping the group more or less on track and on schedule.
      2.     First, read the draft of one of the other students in your group, but do not
      make written comments on it. This is a warm-up exercise to give you an idea of
      what you might be looking for in the second draft. (5 minutes)
      3.     Then, read the draft of the other student in your group. Read through the
      other writer's outline or draft without marking on it. Read through the writer's
      questions or doubts and try to respond to them as you proceed. (15-20 minutes)
      4.     Taking the papers one by one, discuss all three drafts in the group.
      Remember to keep your comments as specific, helpful, and constructive as
      possible. After the discussion, hand in your comment sheets (15 minutes).

Author's name _____________              Reviewer's name_____________

      1.     Comment below, using full sentences, on the large-scale and small-scale
      organization of the outline or draft. Consider the following:
             Is it divided into appropriate major issues and subissues?
             Is all of any one issue or subissue discussed in one place?
             Does the draft address the applicable rules?
             Does it include the statute(s) and relevant cases where they belong?
             What makes the organization chosen logical and complete?
             If the organization used is not logical or complete, what essential steps or
             pieces are missing?
             What alternative organization would you suggest and why?
      Your comments should focus on whether the organization is fundamentally
      sound, whether all essential steps are taken, and whether the steps are in a
      logical order. (You may mark up the draft to show how the comments here fit
      into the draft.)


      2.     Comment below, using full sentences, on one or two specific parts of the
      outline or draft that need rethinking or fuller development. For example,
      identify specific steps in the outline or draft where sub-issues, facts, or law are
      missing. Alternatively, identify specific steps that appear to be based on
      inaccurate or incomplete statements of fact or law. Make specific suggestions for
      improvement: which subissues, facts, or law are missing? Which statements
      seem inaccurate or incomplete? Where does the author need to expand rule
      support or explanation, where should the author develop the fact comparisons in
      more depth? (You may mark up the draft to show how the comments here fit
      into the draft.)


C.    Discussion (15 minutes)
     Taking each paper in turn, discuss your comments.


D.   Revising after review (you will keep this page)

     1. Identify the major organizational problems in your own paper (if any).



     2. How can you address these organizational problems? Be specific.



     3. Identify the major content problems in your own paper (if any).



     4. How can you address these content problems? Be specific.
                                                                THOMAS JEFFERSON
                                                                            S C H O O L OF L A W
                                                                              SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA


Peer Reading Workshop – Revision for the Reader (audience & purpose)
Purpose of the peer reading workshop:
        This peer reading workshop is designed to concentrate on the kind of revision that you
should be doing with later drafts; it is revision aimed at meeting the audience's needs and
achieving your intended purpose.
        Your experience as a reader gives you insight into what legal readers are looking for in an
interoffice memo; your experience having your draft read helps you predict how a legal reader
will respond to your draft.

I.     Monitor for audience and purpose and plan for revision
       A. First, imagine that you are the audience for this memo, the senior lawyer who
       assigned the task of evaluating the client's legal problem and predicting the most
       likely outcome.
               1. Audience: What is your background? What do you know about the
               subject? What do you need from the memo? What criteria will you use to
               judge the memo?



       B. Second, resume your role as the writer of the memo, the junior lawyer
       assigned to evaluate the client's legal problem and predict the most likely
       outcome.
             2. Purpose: What is your purpose? What methods of presenting the
             information will meet the audience's needs and the audience's criteria?
             What methods of presenting the information will allow you to achieve
             your intended purpose?



       C. Then read through the draft of your discussion. In the margins, do a brief
       thumbnail or descriptive outline; that is, briefly identify the topic of each
       paragraph and its purpose.

       D. Check your descriptive outline against your analysis of your audience and
       your purpose. What changes do you need to make to meet your audience's
       needs and achieve your purpose?
II.    Peer review (40 minutes total)
       1.      I will assign you to work in groups of three. One person should act as the
       time and task manager, keeping the group more or less on track and on schedule.
       2.      First, read the draft of one of the other students in your group, but do not
       make written comments on it. This is a warm-up exercise to give you an idea of
       what you might be looking for in the second draft. (5 minutes)
       3.      Then, read the draft of the other student in your group. Read through the
       other writer's outline or draft without marking on it. Read through the writer's
       questions or doubts and try to respond to them as you proceed. Respond to the
       questions below. You may mark on the draft to indicate where the comments
       belong or to provide illulstrations or examples, but do not edit or proofread the
       draft. (15-20 minutes)
       4.      Taking the papers one by one, discuss all three drafts in the group.
       Remember to keep your comments as specific, helpful, and constructive as
       possible. After the discussion, hand in your comment sheets (15 minutes).

Author's name _____________                  Reviewer's name_____________

1.      Has the author organized the draft in a way that is helpful to the typical legal reader?
That is, is the draft divided into appropriate major issues and subissues and is the structure
immediately apparent? Is all of any one issue or subissue discussed in one place? Are the
applicable rules included in the appropriate places and are the rules followed by application of
rules to facts? (You may mark up the draft to show how the comments here fit into the draft.)

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2.      Has the author adequately developed and evaluated the arguments to show how the
author reached conclusions? Identify the arguments that need further development and
evaluation. Where does the author need to expand a rule synthesis or a rule explanation? Where
does the author need to develop particular arguments in more depth? Where does the author
need to more fully support an evaluation of arguments? (You may mark up the draft to show
how the comments here fit into the draft.)

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3.      Has the author connected the pieces of the puzzle? Does the thesis paragraph present the
overall issue, the general rule, and a forecast of the author's conclusion? Are thesis and topic
sentences used consistently? Are appropriate connections made through topic sentences and
transitions? Is paragraph structure used to help the reader see what material is related to other
material and how the parts of the draft hang together? Does the writer show relationships
between paragraphs and between the sentences within a paragraph?

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4.    From the point of view of the reader of the draft, what are its strong points? What are its
weak points? Do you have additional suggestions that would make the draft more helpful to
you?

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III.   Revising after review (focus on the whole paper and the paragraphs)
       A. Have you adequately developed and evaluated the arguments to show how
       you reached your conclusions? Identify the arguments that need further
       development and evaluation.

       B. Have you connected the pieces of the puzzle? The major parts of the
       discussion should be connected through thesis paragraphs, roadmaps, signposts,
       thesis sentences, topic sentences, transitions.
               1. Thesis paragraphs, roadmaps, signpost words. Presenting the overall
               issue, the general rule, and a forecast of your conclusion in the thesis
               paragraph sets the stage for the rest of the discussion. If the rule is
               complicated, you may also provide a roadmap to your discussion. Key
               terms in the rule or roadmap can serve as signpost words for the rest of
               the discussion.

             2. Thesis statements, topic sentences, transitions. Thesis statements state
             your conclusion for each issue and subissue; topic sentences define a
             purpose for each paragraph; transitions show the relationship between
             ideas.

             3. Check your draft for connections between the major parts of your
             discussion.
                    a. Highlight, block, or underline your thesis paragraph, any
                    roadmap, any signpost words.

                    b. Check your topic sentences to see whether the roadmap is being
                    followed, whether the signpost words are being used. If not, revise
                    the order of the paragraphs or the topic sentences.

                    c. Check for thesis statements that state your conclusion on each
                    issue and subissue.

             4. Check your draft for transitions between paragraphs. Look for four
             kinds of transitions: those that compare or contrast (similarly, however,
             unlike); those that enumerate or list (first, second); those that establish a
             causal relationship (consequently, therefore, thus); and those that establish
             a time or sequence relationship (subsequently, later). In addition, there
             are orienting transitions that locate the reader in a context (here, as for
             damages, from plaintiff's point of view) and substantive transitions that make
             substantive connections between sentences or paragraphs (even though
             these holdings could be helpful, the court could still find otherwise).
                     a. Highlight, block, or underline any transitions you used between
                     major issues and between paragraphs.
                         b. Add transitions between major issues and between paragraphs if
                         there are none.

                5. Check your draft for paragraph structure and connections between
                sentences:
                      a. Within each paragraph or paragraph block, check for the
                      following:
                             Is the whole paragraph or paragraph block about one issue?
                             Does each paragraph or paragraph block have a topic
                             sentence and a concluding sentence?

                         b. Within each paragraph or paragraph block, highlight, block, or
                         underline the following:
                                Have you identified the issue?
                                Have you identified the rule early, before applying it?
                                Have you applied the rule (have you used your client's
                                facts, have you analogized or distinguished)?
                                Have you included a mini-conclusion?

                         c. Have you shown the relationships between the sentences in the
                         paragraph?
                               Highlight, block, or underline any transitions you used
                               between sentences.
                               Add transitions between sentences if the relationship
                               between the thoughts is not clear.

        C. Have you fully developed the analogous case arguments? Within each such
        argument, check for the following:2
                [Rule] Have you stated the ‟rule" that emerges from the case holdings that
                can be compared or contrasted with this case on this element? Note that
                the ‟rule" may be stated generally as a test or definition or more
                specifically as the specific holdings of particular cases or both.
                [Authority] Have you given a citation for the authorities that are the
                source of your ‟rule"?
                [Facts & reasoning of rule case] Have you identified the relevant or key
                facts that led to the courts' holdings on the element? What reasoning led
                to the courts' holdings? Note that this step is necessary both to support
                your statement of the rule and to set up the analogies and distinctions that
                will follow.


2
  This RAFADC structure is adapted from M.H. Sam Jacobson, Learning styles and lawyering: Using learning
theory to organize thinking and writing, 2 J. ALWD 27, 66-67 (2004).
[Analogize] Have you stated the ways in which the rule cases are similar
to your case? Are the key facts similar? Should the reasoning lead to a
similar result? Do you explicitly state the possible analogies to the rule
cases (using words like similarly, like, as in)?
[Distinguish] Have you stated the ways in which the rule cases are
different from your case? Are the key facts different? Should the
reasoning lead to a different result? Do you explicitly state the possible
distinctions from the rule cases (using words like in contrast, unlike).
[Conclude] Have you evaluated whether the similarities or the differences
are more important? Have you concluded about whether the rule will
apply?

								
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