Legal Writing Collaborative
What is the Legal Writing Collaborative?
To bridge academics to action, the Access to Justice Institute (ATJI) and the Legal Writing Program collaborate so that first year law students can engage in the social justice work of legal aid organizations and our own Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic.
How does the Legal Writing Collaborative Work?
- ATJI invites various local and national social justice legal organizations as well as clinical faculty from the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic to identify emerging issues and research problems.
- These problems are then shared with interested Legal Writing Program faculty who choose one and turn it into a legal memorandum assignment for their first year law students.
- An attorney from the organization or clinic comes to the class to share generally about the work of their organization and clinic and present on the issue they would like the research to address.
- The Legal Writing faculty members then share the top memos with the collaborating organizations.
Participating social justice legal organizations include:
Northwest Justice Project
Columbia Legal Services
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
ACLU OF Washington
Disability Rights Washington
National Employment Law Project
Seattle University School of Law's Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic
How does the Legal Writing Collaborative benefit students?
Students benefit from this experience by:
- Learning about the work of an organization and various areas of advocacy
- Contributing to addressing a real world problem experienced by marginalized and underrepresented communities
- Honing legal research and writing skills (faculty have reported students' writing improving through the Legal Writing Collaborative assignment)
What are students are saying about this?
"I LOVED my Memo Three assignment. It helped me IMMENSELY to make connections, have a relevant writing sample with which to apply to jobs, and the subject matter was engaging and important to me. I really loved that this collaboration happened. When speaking to other students from other law schools, I realize how lucky we were to be able to do this."
"It was very interesting to learn about a new area of law and one so important to society as a whole. This really got me fired up about social justice and opened my eyes to some of the injustices so blatantly remaining in our society and even right here in this city.... I would say that writing this memo was one of the most rewarding experiences of my 1L year."
"It's given me practical experience in addressing a local issue with social justice implications. And, aside from the writing portion, being able to meet with the attorney, even in the group setting, was a great way to provide context for the piece. Meeting with her also made the project seem more practical, more useful to someone, especially in comparison to the canned projects we often get as 1Ls. Also, as someone who likely will not end up working in a public interest job after school, I felt as though this opportunity provided me with a small taste of what issues and problems arise outside of the business/commercial world - essentially gave me a broader education than I may have otherwise had."