Most American law schools require the satisfaction of an upper level writing requirement, usually in the form of a seminar paper, or “Note”, for graduation. The problem for many students is that the J.D. is not generally geared towards learning scholarly writing. In recent years, the author has experimented with reformulating a seminar class as a “writing workshop” in order to focus on the scholarly writing process. In so doing, she has drawn from experiences supervising legal research degrees in other countries where research-based LL.M. degrees and Ph.D. degrees in law are the norm. This essay details her approach – effectively a condensed version of the training for a Ph.D. in lawthat might be called “Ph.D Lite”. The aim is to better train students in the scholarly writing endeavor. The approach seems to elicit better results in terms of student research and writing, as well as student engagement.

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