Steven Harris taught the legal writing and research component during my 1L year at UC Hastings College of the Law. Regardless of prior academic success and experience in the legal field, the transition to law school is a skill and learned practice in itself. Professor Harris has a systematic approach to conquering the challenges of law school, which must work because several of the students from my section ranked in the top of our class. In addition to his writing and learning techniques, he is a fabulous cultivator of a comfortable academic environment. None of that stiff tension and competition (which in many ways defines law school) existed in his classroom. The combination between the classroom culture and the methodology behind converting the material into a concise, persuasive, and direct analysis helped me in succeeding during my 1L year. He was nice enough to share some of his bar prep methods with us during finals so that we could apply them to our substantive courses. His outreach truly helped students blaze through finals and complete 1L year with the confidence and competence to approach any legal research and writing assignment or writing prompt.
To add a little bit of personal context, I was searching exclusively for in-house positions for my 1L summer. One in particular required candidates to respond to an on-demand writing prompt where we read a fictional fact pattern and were asked to formulate an argument in defense of the company. Fresh out of my first semester of 1L, I thought I knew everything – but apparently I knew very little about corporate and employment law. Instead, I used Professor Harris’ writing cues and direct formats to make my argument. Applying my logical reasoning skills through his methods made this daunting assignment an easy task. This is the first and only time I’ve been faced with an on the spot prompt, but considering they called me back two hours later to re-interview and that I’m currently a paid summer associate at their company, I feel that I owe part of it to this class and the skills I acquired through Professor Harris’ teaching. — Ria Mae Pascual, UCLA 2L