The Write Stuff: Legal Writing at Villanova

Steve Bertil
Steve Bertil '16

Strong communication skills are vital for a successful legal career, with employers rating proficiency in writing as the most important skill in new hires. At the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, we’re committed to preparing our students with the legal writing skills they need to be practice-ready, Day 1 and beyond.

In our Duane Morris LLP Legal Writing Program, students are immersed in five rigorous semesters of legal writing training, learning to write everything from a client-advising memo to a legal brief. Students in the third semester choose between a litigation-based course that focuses on appellate advocacy or a transactional-based course that focuses on drafting skills and client communication.  Practical writing and research paper courses round out the writing curriculum, giving every student an intensive experience writing in a variety of legal contexts.

Steve Bertil ’16 saw first-hand what a difference his training made, “I was the only 1L in my summer internship class,” said Bertil. “After seeing my work product, the administrative judges I worked for trusted me enough to draft orders and opinions on their behalf, a task typically reserved for the upperclass students. I owe this all to the legal writing program at Villanova Law.”

Villanova is one of the only law schools to staff a writing specialist, who administers a writing diagnostic test to every first year student and gives individual feedback in one-on-one conferences and small workshops designed to assess and improve writing technique. Students also have the opportunity to work on three published journals for significant additional training.