One Needs to Develop Critical Reading Skills in Law School: Meredith Foor, IDEA Editor-in-Chief

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The University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law is one of the most well-regarded schools for the study of intellectual property law. The school’s Intellectual Property law review, IDEA, is published three times a year by students at Franklin Pierce. For more than 50 years, IDEA has provided practical articles relating to patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, unfair competition, general intellectual property, and law and technology issues from around the world.

To learn more about this student publication and opportunities for Franklin Pierce students to engage in legal research and writing, we sat down with Meredith Foor, Editor-in-Chief of IDEA.

What got you interested in the IDEA journal? Could you tell us about the selection process followed at IDEA?

The main factors that got me interested in IDEA were the journal’s reputation, the team of editors, and the opportunity to collaboratively work with my fellow law students. I was excited about the opportunity to work with a team with students who share a common interest in intellectual property law.

IDEA opens applications to first year and second year law students in the spring semester. The application consists of writing a case comment on a relevant legal question, editing footnotes, writing a personal statement, and providing both research and writing grades. The IDEA team then grades the applications anonymously and extends offers to fill the team of editors. LL.M. students are invited to apply when they arrive in the fall. This year’s application for LL.M. editors contains a case comment and footnote editing section.

With a background in Biomedical/Medical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, was it difficult to make the shift to legal writing and research? What were some of the most challenging aspects of this shift?

One of my biggest concerns transitioning into law school from a Biomedical Engineering/Pharmaceutical Manufacturing background was the ability to adjust to legal writing and research. However, I found that the transition was not as dramatic as I was expecting. With a technical background, I was trained to write concisely.

This has been an extremely valuable skill in shifting to legal writing.

The most challenging aspects of the shift were adjusting to the material being researched and written about, following the common structure of a legal memo, and refining my ability to analyze cases. These challenges were overcome with time and by completing my first-year assignments and gaining more experience with legal research and writing in general.

As the Editor-in-Chief at IDEA, what are some of the more common errors that submissions contain?

As the Editor-in-Chief of IDEA, Volume 61, the most common errors I see are incorrect footnote structure, grammatical errors, and formatting mistakes. In fact, editors of IDEA often spend most of their time correcting these errors during the journal’s editing process.

Meredith Foor
                                               Meredith Foor

What advice would you have for law students who are looking to build their research and writing skills, but don’t really know where to start?

My advice is to read frequently and to review basic grammar. Reading complex or difficult to understand material is helpful to develop the necessary critical reading skills needed throughout law school and beyond. It can also help increase a reader’s reading efficiency and ability to quickly understand and analyze new topics. This can be very helpful for legal research.

In addition, by reviewing basic grammar rules, students can avoid some of the very common writing mistakes that law students make early in their legal writing and research development.

Lastly, how does UNH Law encourage and train its own students when it comes to research and writing?

UNH Law has a comprehensive Information Literacy Plan, including a specific plan for graduate law students in the LL.M. program. The plan requires all first-year students to take a legal research class and two legal writing classes. Graduate law students are also required to take a legal research class.

During these classes, professors provide substantial individual feedback to students so that students can refine these important legal skills. Additional research and writing courses provide even further opportunity for students to refine their legal research and writing skills.

Students looking for additional support can access services through the law school’s Academic Success Program. Lastly, opportunities, like joining a law review such as IDEA, can also provide law students additional chances outside of the classroom to develop their practical legal skills.

For more information about the graduate Intellectual Property Law programs at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, visit: https://law.unh.edu/admissions/graduate-admissions. Or, contact the Admissions Office at admissions@law.unh.edu or on WhatsApp at +1-603-513-5300.

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