Syllabus

SYLLABUS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS

ADVANCED LEGAL WRITING: CONTRACTS DRAFTING

Spring 2020 Law – 1102 – 3696C-01

Wednesdays 6:15 pm to 8:05 pm

Student Center SC201

Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport, Florida Campus

Adjunct Professor of Law: James W. Martin, Esq.

Bio: jamesmartinpa.com/bio/ 

Email: jwmartin@law.stetson.edu

Law Office Phone: (727) 821-0904

Course Website: contractdrafting.org 

Office Hours: By appointment

  1. Texts and Equipment: 
    1. Required: Legal Drafting, Process, Techniques and Exercises, 3rd edition 2017, by George W. Kuney & Donna C. Looper, West Academic Publishing
    2. Required: Computer to access internet during and after class, and Microsoft Office 365 to open, create, revise, and edit documents
  2. Course Catalog Description: This course surveys documents of legal practice and the skills needed to write them. Students will engage in problem-solving via legal analysis and writing, receive hands-on drafting experiences, and gain greater sophistication and power as legal writers. This section will emphasize contract drafting.
  3. Weekly Classes and Reading Assignments in Required Text: It is important that students read the course website contractdrafting.org  and also read the assigned text reading material prior to each class:
    1. 1/22/2020 Introductory Tips on Drafting the “Contract That Stays Out of Court”
    2. 1/29/2020 Chapters 1 and 2 (philosophy of drafting and contract drafting)
    3. 2/5/2020 Class is cancelled and attendance in lieu of class is required at 2/5/2020 Annual Inns of Court Banquet in Great Hall – must register ASAP here: https://www.stetson.edu/law/students/home/inns-of-court.php (speaker James Forman, Jr., Yale law professor and author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black, 2018 Pulitzer Prize)
    4. 2/12/2020 Chapters 3 and 4 (legislative drafting and rules of interpretation)
    5. 2/19/2020 Chapters 5 and 6 (drafting ethics and drafting overview)
    6. 2/26/2020 Chapters 7 and 8 (getting started and drafting within the law)
    7. 3/4/2020 Chapters 9 and 10 (determining substance and choosing concept)
    8. 3/11/2020 Chapter 11 (organization)
    9. 3/25/2020 Chapter 12 (avoiding ambiguities)
    10. 4/1/2020 Chapter 13 (drafting style and usage)
    11. 4/8/2020 Chapter 14 (definitions)
    12. 4/15/2020 Chapters 15 and 16 (terms and typography and layout)
    13. 4/22/2020 Chapter 17 (reviewing and revising drafted documents)
  4. Classroom Format: Generally, the first hour of each class will be devoted to lectures, classroom discussions, and reviewing sample contracts and prior writing assignments. The second hour will generally consist of in-class writing assignments. 
  5. Out-of-Class Writing Assignments: By the beginning of each class, the professor will generally post the out-of-class writing assignment for the next class to the course website contractdrafting.org. The completed assignment must be emailed to the professor no later than the day before the next class. Absence from any class does not excuse a student from completing the out-of-class writing assignment for any class.
  6. Two Credit Hours: 26 hours of classroom faculty instruction over 13 class weeks, plus 59 hours of out-of-class student work over 13 weeks (4.5 hours per week reading the assigned text and  other materials and drafting the assigned contracts), for a total of 85 hours of work over 13 class weeks. 
  7. Classroom Attendance Policy:
    1. A student may miss only 5 hours of the 26 hours of classroom faculty instruction and still receive credit for the course. 
    2. Failure to attend class #1 counts as an absence for 2 hours of classroom faculty instruction even if the student added the course after class #1.
    3. Failure to attend class #3 (Inns of Court Banquet) counts as an absence for 2 hours of classroom faculty instruction.
    4. Failure to attend at least 80% of the total 26 classroom hours will automatically exclude the student from receiving any credit hours for the course. 
    5. Attendance is mandatory.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. 
    6. Each student is required to keep a record of his or her total absences for the semester. 
    7. The professor is not obligated to keep a student informed of the student’s absences.  
    8. A student who meets one or more of the following criteria should contact the Associate Dean for Academics (not the class professor) as soon as possible to discuss classroom attendance: (a) has the flu or flu-like symptoms; (b) has a contagious or serious illness other than the flu; (c) is caring for another person suffering from the flu or contagious disease; or (d) presents extraordinary circumstances that might require missing classroom instruction.
  8. Class Participation. Class participation consists of the following minimum requirements:  attendance for the entire class period, arriving on time at the beginning of each class, reading all assigned materials prior to class, being prepared to discuss any of the assigned materials and topics of discussion in class, engaging in and contributing to thoughtful class discussion, and demonstrating professional conduct during class.
  9. Grading Policy: There is no final exam. Grading is based on writing assignments, classroom attendance, and classroom participation. Grading is on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale (not the 4.0 scale).
  10. Learning Outcomes: 
    1. Communicate effectively in writing and orally: how to draft “the contract that stays out of court” by learning how to confidently and competently draft clear and unambiguous contracts.
    2. Demonstrate sophistication in legal analysis, reasoning, and problem-solving: how to analyze contract wording and revise it to meet the client’s expectations.
    3. Gather and interpret relevant facts and conduct legal research: how to sort through and assemble facts for use in contract provisions based on rights, duties and legal principles.
  11. Accommodations:  According to the College of Law polices on ADA Accommodations and ESL Testing Modifications, students with disabilities or foreign students may seek reasonable accommodations and/or ESL testing modifications for this course.  Accommodations and/or modifications cannot be made unless written notice is provided from to the ADA Coordinator.  To seek accommodations students must communicate with the ADA Coordinator as soon as possible at ada@law.stetson.edu and follow the procedures found on the school’s Accessibility Resources website http://www.stetson.edu/law/accessibility/index.php  .

1/19/2020