Law Schools

Legal Writing Prof Has Writing Issues


An online paper about environmental dispute resolution posted by Victoria Dawson reportedly is clumsily written, ungrammatical and filled with spelling errors. The problem is, she’s a legal writing instructor at Florida A&M University’s law school.

The paper prompted some students to complain that Dawson is unqualified to continue in her job, reports the St. Petersburg Times. As one wrote in an e-mail to the paper, requesting anonymity to avoid retaliation: Dawson “can neither write nor spell. This is not an exaggeration.”

The paper, which Dawson recently removed from the Internet, “is peppered with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors,” the Times reports, as well as clunky writing. Dawson wrote one sentence, for example, that says: “He consulted with government officials and he sent his general manager of asset management representative repeatedly crossed the creek to negotiate with village leaders of Ugborodo during the women’s 10-day occupation.”

An English teacher at the University of South Florida who reviewed Dawson’s paper told the Times in an e-mail that it was “sloppily written, in need of serious proofreading.” In addition, though, “I wonder if the paper makes sense,” wrote Pat Daniels. “It appears to be a string of quotes with little synthesis.”

Dawson and the law school declined to comment. A cleaned-up version of her online paper was published in a law review, the newspaper says.

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