Mercer developed the nation’s first Certificate Program in Advanced Legal Writing, Research, and Drafting to supplement its core curriculum and to better prepare students for their professional choices. Students in the certificate program complete an advanced research course, an advanced drafting course, and two semesters in an Advanced Writing Group as well as passing a grammar and style competency exam and preparing a comprehensive writing portfolio.
Advanced Writing Groups
Groups of no more than six students meet with a professor once a week to provide and receive feedback on their writing projects. In addition to reading and commenting on each others’ work, the group reads examples of good writing, reads and edits examples of weak writing, works on selected topics of grammar and style, and practices advanced writing techniques. The groups are based on Peter Elbow’s concepts of writing without teachers [link to Elbow PDF].
Grammar and Style Competency Exam
Before graduation, certificate students must take and pass a grammar and style competency exam.
Certificate students complete drafting assignments during or after they take the appropriate doctrinal class. Drafting projects include documents such as wills, contracts, retainer letters, leases, settlement agreements, and various other transactional and litigation documents.
In their final semester, students compile portfolios of the writing projects they have undertaken both in law school and in work settings during law school. The portfolios enable both students and their potential employers to assess the breadth and depth of the students’ writing experience and written work.
Selection of Students
All Mercer students are eligible to apply for admission to the certificate program in their third semester. Admission decisions are based on an assessment of the students’ commitment to and ability to benefit from the certificate program. No student will be enrolled in the program unless the student has received a passing grade in Legal Writing I and Legal Writing II.