Writing Skills Development




On 19 August 2016, delegates from 9 law faculties in South Africa and various language experts gathered in Stellenbosch for the third national workshop on the development of LLB graduates’ writing abilities. The workshop was organised by Chantelle Hough Louw of the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University.

The first and second Workshops of 2014 and 2015, respectively, made ground-breaking progress in initiating and continuing the conversation between academics and other stakeholders at a national level on what can be done to develop law students’ writing skills. A committee was furthermore established at the conclusion of the 2015 Workshop to serve as a permanent structure to promote active engagement around the issue of writing development across all stakeholders in legal education. This was a watershed moment in the South African legal writing landscape.

To build on the success of the previous workshops, the 2016 workshop was dedicated to identifying potential models (similar to the United States’ Legal Writing Institute (“LWI”) of which Prof Laurel Oates is the co-founder) for an organisation of legal writing development scholars and practitioners in South Africa.

We again had the privilege of hosting Prof Oates who conducted sessions on, inter alia, current legal writing developments in the United States, the history and formation of the LWI, specifically how it contributes to the development of students’ legal writing skills and how it is funded. Thereafter, Prof Salim Nakhjavani and Ms Jean Moore of Wits presented their feasibility analysis for an organisation of legal writing practitioners in South Africa.

The 2016 Workshop concluded with a discussion of the practicability of adapting Seattle University’s online certificate course, Effective Legal Writing: Drafting for a Global Audience, for the South African law students and the legal community.

 – Chantelle Hough Louw


2015 LLB Writing Development Workshop write-up

2014 LLB Writing Development Workshop write-up