Writing Enhancement and Skills Program (WES)

The Writing Enhancement and Skills (WES) Program provides a creative approach to the teaching and learning of writing skills in a law school setting. In recognition that many law students enter law school with a need to improve their basic, written communication skills, the Legal Research and Writing Department administers a diagnostic examination early in the first semester to entering first year (1L) students. The law school then offers 1L students the opportunity to work with the WES Program.

The law school’s Legal Writing Skills scholar (who holds a Ph.D., is an award-winning editor, and has many years of publishing experience) evaluates all the student examinations and then focuses on individual students, with specialized one-on-one sessions that identify areas (e.g., grammar and syntax) in which students can benefit from further work. In these sessions (as well as in additional small group settings), students work to correct any identified writing deficiencies and to improve their overall written communications.

During the fall and spring semesters, the WES Program is available primarily to 1Ls. By participating in the WES Program, 1L students can earn points toward their Legal Research and Writing courses. At all other times of the year (i.e., once the course timeline for earning these points concludes, during winter and spring breaks, and throughout the summer), the WES Program is open to all J.D. students—each of whom is encouraged to continue participating in the WES Program to improve his or her overall writing skills.

In addition, the WES Program encourages all law students to develop their writing skills by working on individual projects, such as writing for publication. Through the WES Program, St. Thomas law students have published work in California, Florida, New York, and England. These and other projects highlight individual student effort as well as dedicated institutional commitment to writing excellence.

For more information, contact:
The Rev. Prof. Raúl Fernandez-Calienes, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Writing Skills and Visiting Associate Professor of Legal Writing Skills