LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO SCHOOL of LAW (2016 Winter Magazine) - page 6-7

Mary Ann Becker (left) and Jennifer Brendel (JD ’94) direct Loyola’s writing program.
o matter what legal path
students pursue after
graduating from the School of Law,
they’ll need strong writing skills, says
Jennifer Brendel (JD ’94), Loyola’s
director of writing programs and
academic support.
“Writing crosses every possible
practice area,” she says. “How those
skills manifest themselves may vary,
but the skills are essential to have.”
That’s why, roughly a year since
she assumed her current position,
Brendel has been busy building on
the program’s strength: its ability to
help students develop the writing
skills for the practice of law.
“One of the great things about
the writing program is that it is
constantly evolving and responding
to what students need to be better
writers and lawyers,” says Mary
Ann Becker, clinical professor and
associate director of writing programs
and academic support. “We’re always
reassessing what will best prepare
students for their careers.”
Key to the program’s approach,
both Brendel and Becker say, are the
adjunct faculty members teaching
students. A mix of sitting judges and
attorneys who work in fields across
the legal spectrum—from public
interest to child and family law to
health law to intellectual property—
brings a depth of varied experience
into the classroom, Brendel says.
“While they’re all working from
a uniform curriculum, they’re able
to bring to light how the classroom
assignments would play out in
practice,” she says. “Those types of
insights are invaluable.”
The faculty can provide those
types of lessons because the School
of Law keeps legal writing sections
small: first-year legal writing courses
are capped at 12 and second-year
advocacy courses are capped at 10.
That enables instructors to provide
a lot of one-on-one attention and
feedback to students.
“We value a formative
assessment approach,” Becker says.
“We don’t want students to have an
experience where they turn in an
assignment, have it quickly marked
up, and are then assigned a new
one. We want them to get feedback
that helps them both work toward
producing a polished final document
and understand the objectives of
each document.”
Brendel calls the approach
“going deep.” Rather than asking
first-year students to move from one
project to the next, students get
extensive feedback as they
dig into an assignment that requires
deep legal analysis. They’re asked
to write, rewrite, and revise their
work so that they understand
what will be expected of them as
legal professionals.
“By asking students to do a lot
of iterative writing, we’re helping
develop their writing throughout
the semester,” she says.
In their second year, students
work on their persuasive writing as
they learn how to craft an appellate
brief. And by their third year, students
can take advanced writing courses
aimed at specific career paths—for
example, trademark and copyright
litigation or public interest law—as
well as those oriented around core
competencies, such as responsible
email and letter drafting.
The goal, Brendel says, is
to help bridge the gap between
school and the profession. “We
want to provide students with all
the skills they need so that they
don’t have a steep learning curve
when they’re put to work as a
summer associate or associate,”
she says.
There’s no question that
Loyola students are required to
spend a lot of time working on
their writing. While legal writing takes
work to master, that investment is
well worth it. After all, it’s essential.
Abridge topractice
she would have wanted,” she says.
“She wouldn’t have wanted us to
be split up and living in two different
cities across two different families.”
The legal battle would
last two years. Neither side had
a lawyer. And while she had her
paternal family’s support, Moore
felt that it was her responsibility
to advocate for her sisters in court
proceedings. “It was an arduous
experience,” she says.
Eventually, the trial took place,
and Moore was granted custody
after showing that the arrangement
was working and in her sisters’ best
interests. It was at that moment,
when she saw the power of the law
and the importance of advocacy, that
she decided to go to law school.
Even so, Moore’s story doesn’t fit
easily in a box. When she arrived at
the School of Law, she explored the
different paths she could pursue as a
lawyer. As a first-year student unsure of
what she wanted to do, she applied for
internships that ranged from corporate
to public interest work.
The offer she accepted was from
the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee
for Civil Rights. Almost immediately,
something clicked. She loved the
work, which focused on finding ways
to protect and promote civil rights
by leveraging the power of the law
to combat longstanding issues like
poverty and discrimination.
When the summer internship
ended, Moore didn’t want to stop
working with the organization. So
she didn’t. She volunteered, interned
again, and eventually helped establish
the organization’s Educational Equity
Project, which aims to protect and
promote access to education by
addressing the individual and systemic
barriers that disproportionately impact
disadvantaged communities.
After she graduated, Moore
found herself at a crossroads: she
wanted to work full time for the
Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for
Civil Rights, but the organization
didn’t have the funding to give her
a job. She pursued fellowships and
supplemental employment until she
could help the organization secure
enough funding to create what she
considers her “dream job.”
As a staff attorney for the
project she helped create, Moore
provides legal services to vulnerable
youth so that they can maintain
access to the educational services
they need. That can mean anything
from representing students at hearings
to supporting communities that are
advocating for improving school
policies and practices. The idea, she
says, is to find ways to empower young
people. And that’s something she
knows about firsthand. “It’s incredibly
rewarding to help them discover that
they have a voice and power,” she says,
“and that their opinions matter and
should be heard.”
Candace Moore (BA ’09, BS ’09, JD ’13)
f you want to know how Candace
Moore (BA ’09, BS ’09, JD ’13), 2015
Chicago Bar Foundation Kimball R.
Anderson & Karen Gatsis Anderson
Public Interest Law Fellow, found
herself in her current position as a
staff attorney at Chicago Lawyers’
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law,
you have to go back about 10 years
to when she was just 19 years old.
She was a sophomore at Loyola,
and her mother had just lost a nearly
four-year battle with cancer. Moore,
with the help of her paternal uncle
and his wife, resolved to raise her two
sisters in their hometown of Aurora,
Illinois, and filed for custody.
But soon after Moore made her
move, her maternal aunts, who lived
in Chicago, challenged Moore’s claim.
Moore was convinced she
was doing the right thing. “Knowing
my mother, I knew that’s what
Just where shewants to be
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