Legal research and writing courses are unlike most substantive first year law school classes in that they teach using the problem method. The success of a legal writing course depends on the quality of the problems. The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance for legal writing professors in designing legal writing problems. The article addresses (1) general considerations in problem design, (2) designing expository problems, (3) designing persuasive problems, and (4) sources of problems. In the first section, we discuss problem design as it relates to the overall goals for teaching the basic forms of legal analysis, legal writing, and research. In the section on designing expository problems, we discuss how to achieve these goals in the predictive section of the course, the section where students will master basic legal research and analysis. The persuasive writing section discusses the options in level of court, choice of jurisdiction, problem structure, and the materials necessary for a successful persuasive problem. Finally, we present a variety of sources for problem issues. The article presumes that the first half of the course is devoted to expository writing and the second half to persuasive writing skills.
Tonner, Grace C. "Selecting and Designing Effective Legal Writing Problems." D. Pratt, co-author. Legal Writing: J. Legal Writing Inst. 3 (1997): 163-73.