University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

Judicial Opinion Drafting

This course fulfills the upper level writing requirement and will count as a spring semester class.

This two-credit seminar is designed to appeal to students planning either to extern with a judge or to enter the market for a judicial clerkship. The seminar will be conducted in the week prior to commencement of the spring semester. Final opinion drafts will be due on a date to be determined during the spring semester. Students who enroll in this course will be required to do readings and a first draft of a judicial opinion over winter vacation.

Course goals: (1) to discuss critically the theories of case resolution articulated and applied by several prominent jurists, (2) to encourage students to begin to develop their own theories of case resolution, (3) to identify and consider the varying audiences for trial and appellate court orders and opinions in both the state and federal court systems, and (4) to assist students in drafting and polishing a well written and principled opinion that they can use as a writing sample when applying for externships and clerkships.

Course methodologies: (1) reading representative and provocative jurisprudential writings and opinions, (2) cooperative opinion drafting exercises, (3) conducting critical analysis of judicial opinions, and (4) drafting and polishing a judicial opinion. The course also features guest speakers.

Means of evaluation: 75% of your final grade will be based on the judicial opinion you will draft; 25% will be based on class participation.