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AMCS 3132 - Topics In Composition: Writing And The Law

Most legal practice consists not of fine oratory but rather of great writing. However, it is not only lawyers who need to be able to incorporate the law into their professional practice: in this course, we will look at the many different types of writing in and about the law to see how the principles of rhetoric must be used to persuade in different ways depending on the writer's purpose. We will learn the skills necessary to adapt the framing of our writing to its audience as we think about how we might persuade a judge, a lay client, a community, a committee or other professionals. We will consider the psychological effects of our writing and how we seek to persuade our readers not only with the strength of our reasoning but with the power of our emotional appeal to their particular interests. We will learn how to think and write about the law in a range of circumstances as assignments cover writing for business about implications of laws, reporting about a law for the popular press, investigating a legal issue and explaining a law's ramifications as well as attempting to encourage support for a particular law; this is not, however, a technical legal writing course. Readings will be drawn from statutes and judgments but more commonly from academic, business and popular examples of writing on the interpretation of laws governing topical concerns. Issues to be dealt with may include the extent of police/citizens' rights to protect themselves; rights to refuse medical treatment (Cruzan v Director, Missouri Dept of Health); religious groups' rights to discriminate (The Religious Freedom Restoration Acts; Masterpiece Cakeshop; Burwell v Hobby Lobby); affirmative action (Fisher v UT; Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard); immigration proposals such as The Dream Act; reform of mandatory prison sentences. Prerequisites: Writing 1 and junior standing. In order to preserve necessary seats for graduating seniors, each section will be enrolled through the wait list. This course does not count toward the Creative Writing Concentration.
A&S IQ:HUM, WI:Arch, HUM:Art, HUM:EN, H:
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Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Fall 2019
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