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Anna Hemingway
Amanda Smith
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Legal Methods Faculty Profiles: Amanda Smith
Legal Methods Professor Amanda Smith teaches students valuable legal research and writing skills.
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The Importance of Knowing How to Write Well
“Widener presented a great opportunity to be involved with a law school that was and is still developing its reputation in the legal academy,” says Anna P. Hemingway, the Director of the legal methods program on Widener Law’s Harrisburg campus, on her decision to come to Widener in 1998.

“My primary interest is in legal writing,” notes Professor Hemingway. “When I was in law school, the courses I wrote in were my favorites and they were also the ones where I learned the most. When I was practicing, I had to write all of the time,” she adds. Those experiences shaped her teaching philosophy. “It was then that I realized how much of a lawyer’s day is devoted to writing and how important it is to know how to write well. To me, it is the most important skill students learn in school. I really enjoy working with students on their writing and seeing how much their writing skills improve while they are in law school,” she says proudly.

Seeking to instill legal writing, research, and reasoning skills in her students, Professor Hemingway seeks to make sure that her students, “Gain a sense of confidence in their analytical abilities and feel prepared to practice when they graduate.” She enjoys watching the progress that legal methods students make during their first year, as evidenced by the oral arguments they deliver in April. “It is marvelous for me to see how much they have learned in one year. When they start, most of them do not even know what a case brief is,” she says, adding, “When making oral arguments, I get to listen to them construct really sophisticated legal analyses. It’s a fabulous transformation that occurs each year and I am always very proud of my students’ work.”

Professor Hemingway also spent several years in charge of the Academic Support Program on the Harrisburg campus, and she still has a passion for helping students that are struggling through the rigors of law school, describing herself as “still very committed to working with students having difficulty achieving their goals in law school.”

In her continuing quest to make contributions to both the Widener Law and local legal community, Professor Hemingway tries to share her expertise by giving presentations or participating in continuing legal education events. Her ultimate goal, however is to continue strengthening Widener Law’s legal writing program. “My goal is to develop the strongest writing program I can at Widener. As the Director of the legal methods program at Widener’s Harrisburg Campus, I know that our legal methods faculty and our students do amazing work. I want to continue to develop the program and to share our work with others in the legal community,” she says.

Taking that goal a step further, Professor Hemingway feels that Widener Law’s dedicated legal methods professors can extend the impact of their work even further. “I would like to develop the legal methods program at Widener so that it has an impact not only on our law school and its students, but also an impact on law schools and students nationwide. We have dedicated legal methods professors here who do pioneering work with their students. I’d like to continue to share that work with other schools so that their faculties and students can also benefit from the innovative teaching and scholarship that is occurring at Widener,” she concludes.