Here I am, getting a November post in just before [my personal] deadline!
I have always considered myself a strong writer. For years, I have received praise from my professors, my peers, and my parents for my ability to write well. While my parents’ opinion doesn’t really count, (parents love everything their children produce; even mud pies), they encouraged me to write not only for work, but also for fun. Growing up, I enjoyed writing. I even attended a “young writers workshop” (aka creative writing camp) for not one, oh no, but two high school summers. From winning short-story contests in grade school to acing academic assignments in college, I excelled at writing.
That was before law school.
Legal writing has been an entirely new and wholly different writing experience. Formerly, I regarded the sestina as the most difficult form of writing I had encountered. Legal writing, however, has replaced it. Legal writing made me feel that I did not know how to write. As a result, I adjusted my approach to writing. Because legal writing did not come easily or naturally to me like so many other forms, it has required me to carefully practice the structure, repeatedly revise my papers, and humbly seek constructive criticism from my Deans Fellows. In fact, humility has been as important a lesson for me in this experience as learning IRAC. And it has been worth it.
While I may not be a strong legal writer (yet), I have come a long way in one semester. I no longer regard IRAC as a confusing or inane writing method, but as a useful tool for making an argument. Focusing on mastering the IRAC structure was one of the best law school tips I received. Preparing for exams seems a little less stressful because I feel once again that I am ready to write.