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74 Notre Dame L. Rev. 925 (1998-1999)


After receiving the invitation to address this conference, I found my thoughts often returning to my own education in legal writing. As I recall, my legal writing experience in law school was not a very intensive—or positive—one. As was quite typical in that era (almost thirty-three years ago), the program at my law school was not very extensive: we wrote a memorandum of law and a brief under the guidance of a graduate law student.

My real legal writing education took place in the study of the Chief Justice of the United States. For the better part of five years, I sat across from him at a massive library table as he wrote his opinions. The lessons of those years deeply influenced my own approach to legal writing, to the legal writing that I have required of my students at Notre Dame, and to the legal writing that I expect of my own law clerks as they assist me as I once assisted the Chief Justice.


Reprinted with permission of the Notre Dame Law Review.



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