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71 Md. L. Rev. Endnotes 1 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/endnot71 and id is 1 raw text is: 









THE NEW LEGAL WRITING: THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING
    LAW STUDENTS HOW TO USE E-MAIL PROFESSIONALLY

                       KENDRA HUARD FERSHEE*

I. INTRODUCTION

     Anyone who has worked in a legal capacity in the last ten years
can attest to the meteoric rise in the use of e-mail as a means of pro-
fessional communication. Recent empirical research demonstrates
that e-mail is the most common method for professional legal com-
munication today.1    Professor Kristen Robbins-Tiscione researched
the decline of the interoffice memorandum as a tool in lawyers' ar-
senals and the rise of e-mail as a more straightforward and informal
medium to convey legal analysis.2 As Professor Robbins-Tiscione de-
termined through her research, lawyers have retreated from writing
formal memos to instead distilling the salient arguments of their legal
analysis into an e-mail that recipients can read and share quickly and
efficiently.3 The reality of this change is raising questions in the legal
writing community about the usefulness of the traditional written
memo and whether legal writing professors should be teaching stu-
dents how to distill their analysis into this new, shorter, more direct
form of legal writing. The discussion has brought about an even
more intense need for legal writing professors to address professional-
ism and effective communication in e-mail with their students.4




Copyright © 2011 by Kendra Huard Fershee.
    * Assistant Professor of Law, University of North Dakota School of Law.
    1. See Kristen Konrad Robbins-Tiscione, From Snail Mail to E-Mail: The Traditional Legal
Memorandum in the Twenty-First Centuy, 58 J. LEGAL EDUC. 32, 32 (2008) (discussing her
survey of practicing attorneys, which showed that the traditional format and substance of
the legal memorandum has become nearly obsolete in favor of substantive e-mail as the
preferred method for communicating with clients).
    2. See id. at 32-33 (discussing a survey of recent law school graduates that revealed
they are more likely to communicate with clients through informal media-such as e-
mail-than through a formal legal memorandum).
    3. See id. (stating that recent law school graduates frequently e-mail informal memo-
randa to clients, composed of a statement of the legal issue and the attorney's conclusion
or advice, followed by supporting analysis).
    4. See Maria Perez Crist, Technology in the LRW Curiculum-High Tech, Low Tech, or No
Tech, 5 LEGAL WRITINGJ. OF THE LEGAL WRITING INSTIT. 93, 10 1-02 (1999) (noting that
an overwhelming majority of attorneys use e-mail, and that it is imperative that the rules
and conventions of professional legal e-mailing be taught in legal writing courses).

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