Collaboration in legal research and writing classes

Real Collaborative Context: Opinion Writing and the Appellate Process

Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors, Forthcoming

THOMAS D. COBB, University of Washington School of Law

SARAH F. KALTSOUNIS, University of Washington School of Law

Collaborative learning is crucial to law students’ intellectual development and professional formation. Yet something about the forms of collaboration we typically adopt has always produced the sense that collaborative learning has failed to achieve some of its most ambitious goals. This article articulates a more engaging and empowering approach to collaboration, one that asks law students to participate in aspects of legal practice or judging that involve group decision making – such as appellate judging. By participating in these processes, students gain a more sophisticated understanding of judicial decision making, and how its social aspects influence legal reasoning. In addition, students and teachers who experiment with these collaborative reasoning processes may position themselves to help improve group decision making in a variety of areas of legal practice.

Source:  LSN Young Scholars Law APS Vol. 5 No. 27,  06/18/2008