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I thoroughly enjoyed John Schunk’s article— “What Can Legal Writing Students Learn from Watching Emeril Live?”—in the Winter 2006 issue. We are big Emeril fans in our family, and we too have heard him distinguish the art of baking casseroles from the art of baking cakes. Baking a casserole is more art than science, because although there are basic ingredients, a creative cook can vary the recipe to please a variety of palettes. Baking a cake, on the other hand, is more science than art, because if the cook eliminates a necessary egg or adds too much baking powder, the cake could fail. That legal writing is a casserole and not cake is an apt metaphor. In his article, Professor Schunk has captured the palpable tension our first-year students feel between wanting to be creative, and at the same time, wanting to do it the “right” way. As Schunk notes, in their quest for concrete knowledge, first-year law students often latch onto the idea that legal writing is a cake, and all they need to do is memorize and follow the recipe.

Publication Citation

15 Persp. Teaching Legal Res. & Writing 45 (2006)