The reaction to three Texas 1Ls slamming the University of Texas Law School came in fast — so fast, in fact, that the Texas administration was on the defensive even before we published our post yesterday.
Over at Legal Writing Prof Blog, Professor Wayne Schiess, Director of the UT legal writing program, responded to the students’ criticism:
It is true that the University of Texas School of Law has a first-year legal-writing curriculum without brief writing. When the law school administration removed credits from the required course five years ago, brief writing was lost. Needless to say, the legal-writing faculty thought it was a mistake. So we’ve been teaching a brief-writing elective that only some 1Ls can get into. We’re optimistic that brief writing will return to the required first-year curriculum. Indeed, a proposal to do that comes before the faculty this week.
Wow, who knew that students and some faculty took the legal writing class so seriously? I thought that professional legal writing involved completely ignoring your legal writing course when a partner tells you to.
But legal writing isn’t the only problem the UT law faculty will try to address….
A tipster reports that the faculty of UT Law will be considering a number of options this week:
With respect the nature of the proposal before the University this week, the faculty will be voting on a proposed change to the legal writing curriculum that will outright double the number of credit hours devoted to legal writing. There will also be upper-division writing classes available to remedy anyone lacking writing courses. In short, every problem raised by the article will be addressed in full.
As Professor Schiess notes, a very important fact to point out about the 1L curriculum is that about one-half of the students are enrolled in the optional legal writing courses, which means they get the same level of training as anyone else. Any employers concerned about the writing skills of particular candidates should look at their transcripts to see whether they took elective writing courses.
It appears that the UT 1Ls were heard.
Not that all of the 1Ls at issue are happy about it. One of the purported authors of the Daily Texan article now claims to not have been an author. But the alleged non-author doesn’t want to go on the record. So we can’t tell you precisely how one goes about getting credit for supposedly not writing something.
But the Texas flap caused such a ruckus that a headhunter friend Facebook-messaged me:
Every UT grad I have just became harder to place, thanks bro.
Hey, if you simply must shoot the messenger, train your sights on the 1Ls who set fire to the school’s reputation in the Daily Texan.
The fallout from the Daily Texan article should be relatively self-contained. New U.S. News rankings are out soon enough and they’ll give UT law students something else to cheer (or cry) about real soon.
Law students need a practical education [Daily Texan]
A University of Texas Professor Responds to Criticism About the UT Writing Program [Legal Writing Prof Blog]
A Response from UT Law and a Clarification [Blackbook Legal]
Earlier: University of Texas Law Students Warn Employers to Stay Away from UT