Southern University Law Review
Legal Writing professors, like myself, face the same challenge each new semester: how can I effectively and efficiently help students learn one of the most important skills for a practicing lawyer? And one large hurdle in this quest to make our students good legal writers is creating a trial motion or appellate brief problem that helps them develop the particular skills required for persuasive legal writing. The act of creating the problem is sometimes like tightrope walking̶ finding just the right balance of facts and law to challenge students and help develop and enhance vital research, analytical, organizational, writing, and citation skills, but not overwhelm them so they topple over from the task. Often,the first step in walking this tightrope is finding the right area of law to teach and develop these skills.
Federal employment discrimination law issues are uniquely well suited for teaching those skills. This Article describes the benefits of using employment discrimination claims as the basis for motion and brief assignments. It begins by identifying learning goals for the persuasive writing portion of the Legal Writing course. An overview of federal employment statutes follows, along with a description of the legal tests for discrimination, retaliation, and similar claims. With this background, the Article proceeds to a detailed discussion of specific learning goals and how employment discrimination problems help students achieve those goals.