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The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

School of Law Academic Writing Skills Clinic – another successful year

Published: 3 May 2017

“Everyone in the Law School can write, but everyone can learn to write better”. With this in mind Southampton Law School set up an academic writing skills clinic in 2014 with the invaluable support of Ben Staveley.

Ben is a professional writing coach and former tax partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a global Law Firm and he visits the School of Law for regular clinics throughout the academic year. Students pre-book an appointment in which they are offered individual guidance and advice on their written work. The clinics have proved to be extremely popular and successful with one student describing the appointments as “more popular than the latest iPhone!”

Feedback from attendees suggests that all of the students who meet with Ben gain a great deal from his expertise and experience and this leads to significant improvement and confidence in their writing skills. Students comment that Ben’s support is detailed, practical, helpful, kind and encouraging, and they often mention the effort he makes to recommend useful resources that will cement their learning.

Some examples of the feedback from students include:

“Ben’s writing clinic was extremely helpful, and allowed me to bring my writing skills up to a new level. I attended several sessions and was shocked at how my writing style improved over the course of the semester.”

“Ben was unable to find many areas for improvement in the session which he assured me was a credit to my writing style, but very kindly offered to take a more detailed look at the work if I emailed it through to him. I did so and he responded (very quickly!) with a great deal of helpful, detailed ways of improving specifics in my written piece. He made several comments throughout, as well as demonstrating how a small part could be re-drafted to be more coherent.”

“I feel as if I have gained a valuable skill, which I am sure will be very powerful during these last few weeks until my deadline date.”

Southampton Law School is, we believe, the first in the country to integrate advanced writing training into the teaching programme. We are delighted to see that the Clinic is having such a tangible and positive influence.

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