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Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing

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After nearly fifteen years of teaching first-year and upper-level legal writing courses and commenting on thousands of student papers, I decided to experiment with a new way of giving feedback. In a break from the traditional written feedback I had become accustomed to in the form of margin comments and a combination of line edits and end notes, I opted to live a little and learn a new practice: live critiquing. Live critiquing is essentially the process of giving students feedback on their work “live” or in-person, rather than in writing. In the most liberal approach to live critiquing, the professor will provide her critique while she is reading the student’s paper for the very first time. Though live critiquing is certainly not a new teaching idea, it was to me. Because I imagine that there are other legal writing professors who are looking for innovative approaches to giving feedback, I thought it would be valuable to share how I live critiqued and what I learned from the experience. As my experience was largely positive, my hope is to inspire others to liven up their feedback practices with live critiquing too.


This article originally appeared in Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, published by Thomson Reuters. For more information please visit



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