Online Legal Writing Certificate

Effective Legal Writing
Drafting for a Global Audience

Seattle University School of Law Professor Laurel Oates will teach international lawyers and legal professionals the skills for effective drafting and communications in this online course.

Benefits of the course:

  • All courses are in English.
  • Seattle University School of Law has the top-ranked program in the United States.
  • Faculty members have extensive experience teaching internationally.
  • Complete the online program at your own pace.
  • Have your writing reviewed by our expert professors.
  • Earn a certificate of completion from Seattle University School of Law.

Who should take this course?

Attorneys: If you practice internationally, you should take this course to improve your ability to write clearly, concisely, and correctly in English. In today's world, your first contact with clients, opposing counsel, and the courts is likely to be through email or some other type of written document, and you want your first impression to be a good impression.

Law Students: If you want to get into one of the best LLM programs, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have strong writing skills. One way to do that is to take this course and to list the certificate that you receive in your list of credentials.

What will I do in this course?

You will complete 19 one-hour classes that cover topics from learning how to construct an effective sentence and paragraph, to the basics and not so basic rules of grammar and punctuation, to how to write persuasively. Each class consists of a mix of lectures and short assignments.

You will submit four written assignments to Professor Laurel Currie Oates. Professor Oates will review those assignments and provide you with individualized comments on what you do well and what still needs work.

How long does the course last?

While the course is designed as a 10-week course, you can work through the course at your own pace. For example, you could do one class a week, two classes a week, or three or four classes a week.

How do I enroll?

Click here to Register

Upon registration you will shortly receive access to the online course as an individualized account will be created. The course is self-paced*. Once you complete your online registration you will receive additional course registration materials. For any questions please email: sidemanm@seattleu.edu

*Please note that the time frame for completing the course is six months from the date of registration. If you are not able to complete the course within six months, please contact the professor.

What type of internet connection do I need?

A computer less than five years old works best, and you'll need 1GB of RAM and a 2GHz processor. Your computer operating system should be: Windows XP SP3 and newer or Mac OSX 10.6 and newer or Linux - chromeOS.  Your internet speed should be a minimum of 512 kbps.  For internet browsers please use:  Internet Explorer 9 or 10; Chrome 29 or 30; Safari 6 or 7; Firefox 24 or 25.  Flash 10 or 11 are also needed on your machine.

How much does the course cost?

The standard rate for the course and the individualized review of four assignments is $1,200.00 U.S. 

The tuition for students or professors is $800.00 U.S. To qualify, you must submit a transcript or other document from your school that establishes that you have been a full-time student in the last year. Professors must submit a letter from your dean or head of school.

Syllabus

Class 1: Audience, Purpose, and Register
Submit first writing assignment for review
Class 2: Vocabulary and basic sentence patterns
Class 3: Sentences
Class 4: Sentences
Class 5: Paragraphs and headings
Class 6: Roadmaps, signposts, and transitions
Class 7: Orienting transitions and dovetailing
Class 8: E-memos
Submit second writing assignment for review
Class 9: Commas
Class 10: Commas and Semicolons
Class 11: Colons and apostrophes
Class 12: Plain language and bias-free language
Class 13: Writing concisely
Submit third writing assignment for review
Class 14: Writing precisely
Class 15: Pronouns and Modifiers
Class 16: Parallelism and Style
Class 17: Writing Persuasively
Class 18: Writing Persuasively
Class 19: Review
Class 20: Final Exam
Submit fourth writing assignment for review

About Professor Laurel Oates

Professor Oates has taught legal writing for more than 32 years and directed the acclaimed Legal Writing Program for 30 years. She also co-founded the Legal Writing Institute, which has 2,400 members in 20 countries who are interested in the effective teaching of legal writing. Among her many awards, she has received the American Association of Law School's Award on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research; the Burton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education; and the Marjorie Rombauer Award for Contributions to the Teaching of Legal Writing.

She has co-authored five books on legal writing, including "The Legal Writing Handbook," which is now in its fifth edition, as well as "Just Writing," "Just Briefs," "Just Memos," and "Just Research."

She has taught legal writing skills in India, Uganda, South Africa, and Afghanistan, for nearly a decade.

For more information, email Professor Oates at loates@seattleu.edu