Legal writing experts from across the country debated the benefits and challenges of using technology to teach legal analysis and writing at a daylong workshop hosted by Rutgers Law School in Newark.
The workshop was titled “The Pros and Cons of New Technology” and featured nine legal writing professors and scholars, from as far away as Wyoming and as close as Brooklyn Law School. The workshop was organized by Legal Analysis Writing and Research Skills (LAWRS) Professor Amy Soled. It was the first time Rutgers Law hosted a workshop through the Legal Writing Institute.
“We learned about various types of legal technology,” said Soled. “We also discussed how to effectively use technology to teach legal analysis and writing, as well as when it is best to refrain from using technology in the classroom.”
Rutgers Law Professor Ruth Anne Robbins and LAWRS Professors Amy Soled and Barbara Hoffman. (left to right)
The workshop was held seminar style and participants had ample opportunities for the legal writing experts to question each other and share ideas. Soled said participants shared ideas on how technology can help provide student feedback and debated the pros and cons of banning laptops in classrooms. “The day provided a wonderful opportunity to network and share ideas,” she said.
Rutgers Law submitted a topic to the Legal Writing Institute and offered to host the workshop and was selected as the host site, Soled explained. Similar daylong workshops are held at schools across the nation through the institute, focusing on a variety of topics.
The workshop also gave visitors a chance to see Rutgers Law School and meet professors in the school’s writing program from the Camden and Newark locations. Two of the guests were past presidents of the Legal Writing Institute. After the workshop was over, several participants offered positive comments about the experience online to other legal writing scholars.
Hosting the workshop was timely since law schools nationwide are focusing more on legal writing programs, recognizing that strong programs can help students increase their chances of passing bar exams. Rutgers Law School has a strong LAWRS program with experienced professors. U.S. News & World Report regularly ranks it among the top twenty in the nation.