Writing Credit - explanation of the academic rule. (See "Form" for required certification by supervisors.)

Overview of requirements

Practice or Judicial Externship students may earn writing credits in compliance with Rutgers Law requirements for (Academic Rules and Regulation, Topic 7). The Rule requires students to write in at least three upper level law school courses. One of the three must be an "intensive" writing experience.
Basic writing credit

The student's writing must comply with the requirements of Academic Rule 7.3 and with the externship requirements listed here. Specifically, at the end of the term, the field supervisor and the instructor (Prof. Katz or Prof. Legge) will certify that

  1. The student completed at least 5000 words, in one or more products, or fewer if the writing is a litigation or legislation product, as listed in Rule 7.3.
  2. The work was original, not substantially based on or unanalyzed summaries of work done by others.
  3. The writing required analysis and critical thinking.

Writing credit - Intensive

For an externship student to be granted certified intensive writing credit, the student's supervisor (attorney, judge, or law clerk) will agree that improvement of legal writing is a learning goal for the externship student, and will certify at the conclusion of the term that the student completed substantial supervised legal writing and complied with the requirements of Rule 7.5

Specifically, the supervisor will certify that

  1. The student completed at least 5000 words, in one or more products, or fewer if the writing is a litigation or legislation product, as listed in Rule 7.3.
  2. The work was original, not substantially based on or unanalyzed summaries of work done by others.
  3. The writing required analysis and critical thinking.
  4. The writing assignments have as one goal the development of writing proficiency, the instructor provides oral or written individualized feedback, and students complete additional drafts of one or more assignments or develop writing proficiency through a sequence of writing assignments; and
  5. The final product demonstrates facility in legal writing appropriate to upper level law study.

In addition, the student will

  1. Include compliance with law school intensive writing credit requirements as a Learning Goal. This should be done, if possible, at the outset of the externship, to be submitted to the supervisor and the Externship director for approval, but this goal can also be added during the externship experience.
  2. Keep a portfolio of outlines and drafts, including any written comments by the supervisor on drafts, for my review.
  3. Use a journal entry to describe the writing and review process, and to reflect on how his or her writing has improved.

Participation by placements is voluntary.
No externship supervisor is required to participate in this program. Some of our students will do significant writing in externship, and will be expected to revise and rewrite and ultimately produce a very high level of writing, consistent with the standards of a participating chambers or office. On the other hand, if a placement has primarily a skills- (other than writing) based plan for students, with writing as a minor or incidental aspect of work in the office or chambers, the office will continue to work with students on those goals, which have been determined to be the most valuable experiential education it offers.

A variety of types of writing and feedback will be acceptable.
Appropriate assignments may include bench memos, research memos, opinions, client advice letters, legislative or regulatory drafting and analysis, briefs, policy analyses, pleadings, transactional documents or other legal writing. Appropriate supervision for intensive writing may include written or oral critique of outlines and drafts, as may be needed in the judgment of the supervising attorney.

Writing portfolios will be used to monitor student compliance with requirements, in such a manner as to respect confidentiality.
Student writing in externships may include materials that relate to privileged advice to clients, early versions of judicial opinions, case strategies in ongoing litigation, negotiation positions, and the like. Externship faculty will respect the placement supervisor’s judgement as to whether it may be appropriate in a particular case to redact the materials or to take other appropriate steps to protect the documents, according to the professional standards of the externship placement office or chambers. As in any other assignment to reflect on their work, students are reminded to respect confidentiality in their journal entries, as well.

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