Mary Falk

Professor of Law Emerita

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Areas of Expertise
Legal Writing
Cognitive Theory
Language and the Law
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College
J.D., New York University School of Law

Fundamentals of Law Practice 1: Objective Legal Analysis

In the first semester, students learn objective legal analysis as the foundation of the problem-solving and practical skills so important for graduates in todays rapidly changing legal environment. Classes are small, allowing for extensive written feedback and one-on-one conferences with professors. Classes are typically characterized by frequent experiential simulations and robust peer and self-evaluation, with discussions of professionalism and ethics. Students learn the principles of legal reasoning through four writing assignments, each requiring progressively more complicated factual and legal interpretation. Students also learn the most up-to-date , cost-effective legal research tools and strategies. By the end of the semester, students learn how to professionally and effectively present findings, in writing and orally, as they will as real-world lawyers.

Grading and Method of Evaluation

Letter grade only. Students graded on written and oral assignments.

Fundamentals of Law Practice 2: Advocacy

In the spring semester, students learn the art of advocacy. Students build on the skills they learned in the fall semester by researching a complex and emerging area of law, developing and organizing persuasive arguments, and drafting a brief to the court. Continuing a pioneering tradition at Brooklyn Law School, international law topics, as well as topics based on U.S. law, are included in the persuasive writing curriculum.

Through this experience, students are exposed to the ethical obligations of an attorney representing a client in a litigation context. In two additional highlights of the semester, students present their oral arguments to a panel of three judges and put their persuasive skills to the test in a negotiation exercise.

Grading and Method of Evaluation

Letter grade only. Students are graded on written and oral assignments.

Fundamentals of Legal Drafting

This course will cover basic principles of drafting that apply to a wide range of documents. The documents include those common to litigation practice, such as complaints and motions, and documents in the practice of preventive law, such as contracts, wills, private legislation (by-laws, covenants), and public legislation. Students will develop skills in analyzing documents critically; in conceptualization (analyzing facts, identifying major issues, classifying provisions, creating sections, defining terms); in logical and systematic arrangement of material (using a topical focus, using appropriate headings and sub-headings, placing material in the appropriate order, using tabulation); and in choosing language which is flexible, yet unambiguous.

Grading and Method of Evaluation

Letter grade only. Students are graded on a series of assignments. Satisfies the Upperclass Writing Requirement.

Writing for Law Practice

This course aims to send students out into practice as able and confident crafters of legal documents by teaching (1) the nuts and bolts construction of common practice documents and (2) sophisticated writing skills that either cut across documents or are unique to particular documents. We will trace the documents that arise from a legal dispute letters, complaints, answers, affidavits, motions, judicial opinions as well as familiarize ourselves with the high-stakes prose of rule-making regulations and contracts. The course will involve in-class editing and writing exercises, and two or three moderate-length out-of-class assignments, at least one of which will be rewritten.

Grading and Method of Evaluation

Letter grade only. Students graded on writing assignments. The course satisfies the Upperclass Writing Requirement.