Stetson’s Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication hosts inaugural Distinguished Speaker

Stetson’s new Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication hosted Noah Messing of Yale Law School as its first Distinguished Speaker on Jan. 16. Messing is Lecturer in the Practice of Law and Legal Writing at Yale.

(L-R): Professor Catherine Cameron, Professor Royal Gardner, Dr. Kirsten Davis, Professor Noah Messign, Professor Jason Palmer and Professor Linda Anderson.

Stetson professors join Professor Messing for coffee hour to discuss issues of legal communication. (L-R): professors Catherine Cameron, Royal Gardner, Kirsten Davis, Distinguished Speaker Noah Messing, Jason Palmer and Linda Anderson.

While at Stetson, Messing addressed more than 150 first-year law students on the basics of written persuasion. He encouraged Stetson moot court team members and alumni to challenge the “sacred cows” of persuasive legal writing as advanced legal writers. Messing also met with members of Stetson’s legal writing faculty.

“What we know about effective legal communication and persuasion is growing and changing,” said Professor of Law Kirsten Davis, Ph.D., the Institute director. “Speakers like Professor Messing offer Stetson students and alums a new framework for thinking more deeply about their communication practices.”

Professor Messing is the author of The Art of Advocacy: Briefs, Motions, and Writing Strategies of America’s Best Lawyers, the culmination of two years of research on more than 12,000 motions and briefs providing contemporary advice on persuasive legal writing.

Professor Messing and Professor Palmer discuss the qualities of exceptional brief writing.

Professor Messing and Professor Palmer discuss the qualities of exceptional brief writing.

Stetson Professor of Legal Skills Lance Long, who does empirical research into the effectiveness of legal language, added, “a basic understanding of grammar and a familiarity with common legal documents is no longer enough for competency in legal writing. Professor Messing’s extensive research on effective briefs reflects the rigorous research and analysis that will be a focus of the Institute.”

Stetson’s Institute serves as a nexus of research, teaching and service to improve the quality of legal communication, particularly legal writing, among law students, lawyers, members of the judiciary and other professionals.

The Institute supports an active community of legal communication scholars and works to develop innovative and effective legal communication teaching methods, studies contemporary legal communication issues and provides legal communication instruction for judges, lawyers, other professionals, students and the public.

Stetson’s legal writing program consistently ranks among the top five programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.