Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Written advocacy is a critical lawyering skill and vital component of student work in many clinics. This is certainly true in appellate advocacy and policy-based clinics, such as my own focused on human rights advocacy. Teaching written advocacy requires a deliberate and thoughtful pedagogy, just as with other aspects of clinical teaching. There is a rich literature on teaching legal writing, but only sparse discussion of its applicability in the fast-paced law clinic setting, where written products have real world consequences and need to be of high quality. This article delves into this literature and argues that written advocacy consists of three core components: writing strategically, writing logically, and writing with heart. Teaching written advocacy thus entails supporting students in shifting into a mindset of persuasive writing, strengthening argument coherence, and developing narratives that resonate with an audience. This article then proposes supervision and feedback methods to strengthen each core component, identifying lessons from the literature for the law clinic context, as well as engaging in self-reflection and assessment of techniques with which our Human Rights Clinic is currently experimenting.