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Drafting Success: A Seminar on Judicial Opinion Writing and Clerkships

Friday, September 24, 2021
12:30 - 6:30 p.m.
University of Memphis School of Law
1 North Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Sponsored by:
Hon. Diane K. Vescovo (Ret.) and Mike McLaren
The United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
Federal Bar Association - Memphis/Mid-South Chapter
Butler Snow LLP
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
The Campus Community Fund


With a focus on effective writing, this program is specially designed for judicial law clerks and law students who aspire to clerkships, but it will also be beneficial for any other lawyers who wish to improve their writing and editing skills.

The program features keynote speaker Ross Guberman, who has conducted thousands of workshops for prominent law firms, judges, agencies, and corporations. His workshops are among the highest rated in the world of professional legal education, and, for the past six years, he has been invited to train all new federal judges. Additionally, Mr. Guberman is the author of Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates, and Point Taken: How to Write Like the World's Greatest Judges. He is also the creator of BriefCatch.com, an editing tool for briefs, and ContractCatch.com, an online contracts editor.  

In addition to Mr. Guberman’s presentation, the seminar will begin with a panel of law clerks offering their tips on making valuable contributions to the work of a judge's chambers.  A panel of judges will round out the day, sharing their wisdom about what makes an opinion effective and how they approach the drafting and revising process with their clerks. 

The Tennessee Commission on CLE has approved the event for 4.5 hours of general CLE.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and under existing University of Memphis COVID-19 guidelines, masks are required to be worn by all persons while indoors and in places where maintaining appropriate social distancing is not possible on our campus. This includes the law school and attendees of this event. 


12:30             Welcome Message by Law School Dean Katharine Schaffzin

12:35 - 1:15   A View from the Trenches:  Anna Vescovo, Sarah Stuart, Clayton Jackson, and Sarah Belchic share what they learned from their clerkship experiences.

1:15 - 2:45    Part 1 of Drafting Success:  Ross Guberman's Tips for Great Clerkship Writing 

2:45 - 3:00    Break

3:00 - 4:30    Part 2 of Drafting Success:  Ross Guberman's Tips for Great Clerkship Writing

4:40 - 5:25:   A View from the Bench:  Judge Bernice Donald, Judge Thomas Parker, and Judge Jon York provide insight into how their clerks contribute to the work of chambers.

5:30 - 6:30   Wine reception