Elon Law Professors Patricia C. Perkins and Catherine J. Wasson presented results of their preliminary research on the relationship between writing skills and law school success at the North and South Carolina Legal Writing and Research Colloquium, held at the University of South Carolina.
“Lawyers are professional writers, but many students lack confidence in their basic writing ability,” says Wasson, the director of the Legal Method and Communication program at Elon Law.
In 2012, Elon Law began using a new online program, Core Grammar for Lawyers, to help identify incoming students’ strengths and weaknesses as writers. Perkins and Wasson are in the early stages of research, drawing from data compiled through the Core Grammar program, to see whether strong writing skills correlate with strong performance in law school and on bar examinations. At the North and South Carolina Legal Writing and Research Colloquium, Perkins and Wasson reported the following preliminary results of their research: scores on the Core Grammar pre-test correlated much more strongly with success in the first semester of law school than did LSAT scores.
“We appreciated our colleagues’ encouragement during the colloquium and look forward to further pursuing this research,” says Perkins.
Perkins and Wasson plan to continue gathering and evaluating data to see if the correlation noted persists. Professor Katie Rose Guest Pryal and Professor Emerita Ruth Anne McKinney, both of the University of North Carolina, developed the Core Grammar program and launched it in 2011. Professor Pryal was an adjunct professor in Elon’s Legal Method & Communication program in 2008-2009 academic year. Elon students contributed to the development of Core Grammar by beta testing hundreds of questions that were being considered for inclusion in the program.