May 23-26, 2016 | Location Reno, NV | Tuition $1,025 | Conference Fee $255 What’s this?

This course will assist anyone who writes judicial opinions become a more skillful and effective opinion writer. The first half of the course invites you to examine the underlying principles of syllogistic reasoning and how these principles may apply. The second half of the course addresses writing judicial opinions as a reasoned statement that justifies the outcome that the decision maker reaches. Anyone who writes judicial opinions — judges and others — will benefit from this unique class.

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Why should I take this course?

This course invites judges to more carefully and thoroughly examine the underlying principles of logical reasoning as applied to their decision-making and opinion-writing. Judicial writing is often as important as the determinations. Opinions should serve as a reasoned statement that justifies the outcome judges have reached.

What will I learn?

During this course, you will learn to:

  • Define basic terms and concepts in the formal study of logic.
  • Describe the premises of inductive and deductive reasoning, especially categorical syllogisms.
  • Explain your conclusions and decision more cogently and precisely.
  • Explain the anatomy of an opinion with the use of orientation paragraphs, issue statements, findings of fact and conclusions of law or disposition.
  • Describe what is involved in the writing process.
  • State the emphasis to be given to style such as sentence structure, wordiness, and revision.
  • Use writing practices that improve written opinions.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for any judge, judicial officer, law clerk, or court-affiliated staffperson who must appraise the soundness of arguments presented to them and want to improve their legal writing skills.

Who are the members of the faculty?

The faculty consists of a philosophy professor who is also an attorney and a nationally recognized judicial writing instructor with experience in crafting judicial opinions.

How is this course taught?

The class is conducted through presentations, extensive class discussion and writing exercises. You will be asked to submit an opinion for review and analysis. Pre-course materials will be available via email for you to complete approximately six weeks prior to the course start date. Please plan to set aside approximately two to four hours of time to review and complete materials prior to the course.

What should I tell my presiding judge or funding agency so that my attendance will be approved?

A judge must evaluate legal argumentation in its many forms because it lies at the heart of the judging craft. The validity of arguments in briefs, memoranda, and oral presentations often depend upon the logical components. Even a rudimentary understanding of logic will enable a judge to perform more effectively and save time in legal analysis. Further, judges must frequently write opinions. This course will assist judges in analyzing and solving troublesome difficulties that they may encounter in preparing and writing an opinion.

Whom should I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at (800) 255-8343 or

This course qualifies for 2 credits toward the Master of Judicial Studies Degree Program and Judicial Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Nevada, Reno upon successful completion of the course and passing the course exam. In addition, this course qualifies for The National Judicial College Certificate in Judicial Development program Administrative Law Adjudication Skills, Dispute Resolution Skills, General Jurisdiction Trial Skills, Special Court Trial Skills and Tribal Judicial Skills disciplines.

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