To be accepted into the Master’s Certificate program, you must submit (1) proof of having been licensed to practice law for at least two years, (2) two writing samples demonstrating proficiency in legal writing, (3) a personal statement of why you seek the Master’s Certificate, and (4) a $500 nonrefundable fee for evaluating the application. You will have one year to build a portfolio that meets all 12 benchmarks with an A− or better performance.

American Academy of Legal Writers - How It Works

For each benchmark, three passing grades are possible: high pass, pass, and low pass. If you receive three low passes, you will be expected to do an extra assignment for the third and each additional low pass to remain eligible for the Master’s Certificate. These assignments will involve light work whose quality is easily assessable—such as writing a two-page case brief summarizing the majority opinion and the dissent in a specified Supreme Court case. This kind of light summary, requiring both accuracy and conciseness, hones your writing skills while allowing the Academy to ensure that your work truly earns the distinction of a Master’s Certificate.

If you earn seven high passes in the 12 benchmarks, you’ll receive the Jackson Achievement Award as a mark of especially distinguished work. The award is named in honor of Justice Robert H. Jackson, perhaps the most admired stylist among U.S. Supreme Court justices.

For more information, e-mail Becky McDaniel, Esq. at