Wendell Peggot: Excellence in Legal Writing Winner

Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Legal Writing Program coordinates a memo writing competition each year. Students are given the opportunity to write a research memorandum and have that document judged by practitioners. The winners receive generous cash prizes. The first place winner receives $1,000.00. The sponsors of the 2010-2011 competition were Gray Newell, LLP; Nichols and Satterfield, PLLC; and Law to the People, LLC.

Wendell Peggot

My journey to overcoming my fear of writing began in the beginning of my 2L year. I was displeased with my grade in Legal Research and Persuasion. I dropped two letter grades from my Legal Research and Analysis course and was convinced that my professor made a mistake. At the time I did not know that grade would dictate my path here at North Carolina Central University School of Law. Professor Mary Wright, my writing professor, pointed out my errors and addressed all of her marks on my paper. At the end of the conversation, I vowed to her that by the time I graduated from this law school that I will learn this craft of legal writing.

That school year I participated in every extracurricular writing assignment I could get my hands on. Albeit poorly, I participated in a competition for the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review and in the Intra-School Moot Court competitions, both in the fall and spring semesters. Additionally, I ensured that each semester I enrolled in a writing intensive course. It was strange because I did not like to sit and write, but I deliberately sought out opportunities that forced me to sit and write. At the time I did not yet realize that my writing was getting stronger even though my writing products, standing on their own, were not necessarily getting better.

The summer going into my third year I wrote on to the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Law Review. That was when my writing began to turn around. The Fall semester of my 3L year I also earned a spot on the Moot Court team after three attempts. Additionally, I earned honors for best brief and best overall performance in the Clifton E. Johnson competition. The source of my confidence was in the advice I received from professors who guided me through the desire to learn. I picked up tools such as The Redbook and Advanced Legal Writing and Advocacy: Trial Appeals and Moot Court. These books and more helped me to fill in the gaps that were left after my writing course work was complete. I now have no fear sitting down and expressing myself on paper for an audience to read. I am thankful for all of the professors who knew my struggle and supported my journey. I am also thankful for the donors who gave the funds for the Excellence in Legal Writing Competition. I am thrilled to be the winner of the 2011 legal writing competition. As I go forth to start my legal career, I am convinced that I am now a strong writer.