Online Legal Writing Course

Mary Gormandy White
Legal Writing Must Be Persuasive

Are you interested in taking an online legal writing course? Find out what is usually covered in these types of courses, what you can expect assignments to be like, and examples of schools and organizations that offer full-term classes and seminars on the subject.

About Online Legal Writing Courses

Whether you are working on paralegal or legal assistant certification, seeking a prelaw degree as preparation for entering law school, or if you are just interested in learning more about legal writing, there are many online courses available on the subject. There are even online writing courses designed to meet the needs of practicing attorneys, who are able to improve their written communication skills while earning continuing legal education (CLE) credits for completing approved courses.

Course Objectives

When you take an online legal writing class, you can expect to learn the basic skills necessary to create various types of legal documents using the proper format, writing style, and legal terminology. Depending on the course outline for the specific course you decide to take, in an online legal writing class you can expect to learn skills such as how to write briefs for law cases, legal memoranda, and various types of legal correspondence. These types of courses also typically include instruction related to drafting various types of legal pleadings including appeals, complaints, motions, and more.

Material to Be Covered

Most online legal writing courses include a combination of reading, web-based class lecture and discussion and hands-on writing assignments. In some courses students are also required to take and pass exams in order to earn credit toward certification or a degree. Instructors typically provide students with instruction specific to each type of writing covered on the syllabus, as well as assigning reading material and requiring interaction with classmates via an online message board or other type of computer mediated platform for online learning.

Writing Assignments

Reading assignments and discussions are usually followed by relevant writing assignments that are graded and returned to students with feedback about the quality of their work along with suggestions for improvement. In an online legal writing course, writing assignments completed by students are usually submitted to the instructor via email or uploaded to the class message board.

Choosing a Web-Based Legal Writing Class

Consider your objectives when selecting a legal writing class. For example, if you are working on a degree, find out what online course options are available from the school where you are enrolled. If you opt to take a course from another school, verify that the credits you earn will count toward your degree before enrolling. If you need continuing education credit to maintain your law license, verify that any courses you are interested in taking are approved through the Bar Association of the state(s) where you are admitted.

Examples of Online Legal Writing Classes

  • CLEOnline.com -- This company offers a number of legal writing continuing education seminars that can be completed online. Available classes include:
    • Legal Writing: Better Sentences
    • Legal Writing: Designing Better Legal Documents
    • Legal Writing: Effective Correspondence in Letters and Email
    • Legal Writing: Ethics in Court Papers
    • Legal Writing: Improving the Language of Jury Instructions
    • Legal Writing: Persuasive Techniques from Basic to Advanced
    • Legal Writing: Some Fine Points of Legal Drafting
    • Various other courses
  • Business Writing Center - This organization teaches a wide variety of writing classes, including "Legal Writing Skills" and "Legal Proofreading Skills".
  • University of California at Irvine - UCI offers "Legal Writing" via an online webinar format. The class is a required part of the paralegal program offered via the continuing education department that is part of the school's Extension service.
Online Legal Writing Course