Prof. Sweeny explores connection between legal writing and professional development in new article
In the latest issue of The Second Draft, a peer-reviewed publication of the Legal Writing Institute, Professor JoAnne Sweeny explores ways that legal writing professors and professional development officials can partner to teach students professionalism.
"Because there are many aspects to acting professionally that should be taught to students throughout their law school careers, the first-year legal writing course is a good place to start with some of the basics of communicating skillfully and with the appropriate level of formality," Sweeny writes in "Teaching Professionalism and How to 'Act Professionally' by Coordinating Legal Writing with Professional Development."
"I decided to emphasize the importance of 'acting professionally' to my students by placing it in an academic setting and requiring that my students practice their professionalism skills to get feedback and formal (graded) assessments," Sweeny writes. "To that end, I worked with the Dean of Professional Development to train my students, through lectures and skills exercises, to begin to act like professionals by anticipating the needs of their readers and tailoring their communications to that reader (whether a client, colleague or future employer) with the appropriate level of formality and polish."