This 2015-16 academic year marks Professor Pocock’s twenty-first year teaching legal writing and research to first-year law students and her tenth year at Touro Law Center.
Words, language, and writing have been a constant interest of Professor Pocock in her studies and career. Her undergraduate studies focused on languages and literature, French and Russian, until she specialized in the former in her graduate degrees from the University of Chicago. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the different narratives in verse and prose of the same medieval French tales and began full-time teaching as a lecturer in French at the University of Chicago and then as a visiting instructor for a year at the University of Notre Dame.
Professor Pocock began legal studies because of the many opportunities open to someone with a legal degree. After her first year of law school, Professor Pocock was a summer intern for a federal district judge in New Jersey, where she had the opportunity to see the judicial system from the inside and to help in drafting written decisions in several matters before the court. After law school, Professor Pocock served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge of the Eleventh Circuit and had a more expanded experience of learning about the workings of a court and the crafting of appellate decisions. “Briefs submitted to the court were examples of good and sometimes poor writing. Understanding the problems caused by the poor expression of an argument or position really showed me what to do and what not to do in writing. And helping to craft judicial decisions focused me on the details of language.”
During her years as an associate at a Washington, D.C. law firm, Professor Pocock continued to write briefs and transactional documents. While drafting classes are common nowadays at law schools, two and three decades ago drafting was a skill attorneys picked up on the job. “Much of what I know and teach about drafting contracts and other documents I learned while working.” The law firm where she worked was generous in allowing its attorneys to spend time on pro bono cases. She thus had the opportunity to do pro bono work in the immigration area and directly aid several individuals striving to legalize their status in the United States.
While practicing law in D.C., Professor Pocock was able to teach at an area law school as an adjunct in bankruptcy and first-year legal writing. Shortly thereafter she made the transition to full-time teaching. In the past twenty years, she has taught writing to law students at Tulane, Quinnipiac, and Michigan State University, and now, since 2006 at Touro Law Center. She also occasionally brings together various other aspects of her interests and studies, teaching Law and Literature; Visual Persuasion and the Law; and Foundations of Legal Analysis.
“Every institution has its own personality. Based on my experience with a number of law schools, I know that Touro is a special place. The faculty is caring and concerned with helping students realize their potential and their career plans. I’m pleased every year when I learn that my 1L students have gone on to do good work at summer jobs or on law review or moot court. And I’m always pleased to hear from Touro graduates who were in one of my classes and learn about the wonderful things they are doing in their careers and lives.”