The evolving landscape of legal research and writing (LRW) education requires LRW professors to balance a multitude of expectations and demands in the process of teaching foundational skills and ensuring that students are “practice-ready.” This essay argues that attempting to cover too wide an array of skills and competencies often leads to ineffective learning outcomes and suggests that a “less is more” approach may be more beneficial. It explores the challenges faced by LRW professors in teaching a comprehensive set of skills while ensuring students can transfer their learning to new contexts. Drawing on research and personal teaching experiences, the essay advocates for a strategic approach of “doing less” to achieve more effective learning outcomes. This approach involves prioritizing foundational skills like research, organization, and analysis, which are essential for success in practice and increasingly important in light of changes in the legal profession, such as the emergence of generative AI. The article also suggests reevaluating course design to focus on optimizing foundational skills, simplifying assignments, and reducing cognitive overload. Furthermore, it proposes de-emphasizing certain aspects of practice-ready professionalism, such as strict adherence to formatting rules and deadlines, to create space for deeper learning and metacognition. By making thoughtful decisions about what to prioritize and how to structure their courses, LRW professors can better equip students for the complexities of modern legal practice while fostering a more meaningful and transferable learning experience.

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