Kirkland & Ellis has committed to sponsoring the first-year writing program, an initiative that will further strengthen Columbia Law School’s already long tradition of producing graduates with exceptional legal writing skills.
Ilene Strauss, executive director of Judicial Clerkships & Academic Counseling, has been appointed to administer the program, a post she will assume in the spring.
The Kirkland & Ellis Legal Writing Program underscores the Law School’s continuous drive to equip students with superior writing acumen to excel in their legal careers. The five-year sponsorship builds on the Legal Practice Workshop, the required two-semester course that is a key component to the professional preparation provided to first-year students. Each fall semester will focus on legal writing, and in the spring semester, students will learn oral advocacy, which includes mandatory participation in a first-year moot court. Jay Lefkowitz ’87, a senior litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis who held White House and State Department posts under George W. Bush, played a pivotal role in arranging the law firm’s backing for the program.
Columbia Law School students have consistently garnered recognition for their writing talents and have received annual Burton Foundation awards commending effective legal writing for seven consecutive years. In 2007, Columbia Law School received a special Record of Distinction Award from the foundation for its students’ consistent use of “plain, clear and concise language” and avoidance of “archaic, stilted legalese.”