Ukraine/US peer-to-peer law student legal writing project completes second session

Post by Stephen Horowitz, Professor of Legal English

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the closing Zoom call for the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Peer-to-Peer Legal English Writing Project was held, concluding a second 6-week session of this continuing innovative project. (The first ran during the fall 2023 semester.)

The project was initiated in 2023 by National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (KMA) Law Dean Volodymyr Venher working with project Director Taisa Markus, who is an adjunct professor of law for University of Illinois College of Law (which hosts the website for the project) as well as a Visiting Professor at KMA, Project Deputy Director Nataliia Maksymchuk, Senior Lecturer of English at KMA, and Ivan Yatskevych, Professor of Labor Law at KMA who collaborated with Markus to create the legal writing assignments for the participants.

In each session, approximately 20 KMA law students have been paired with tutors who are JD students from a variety of US law schools including University of Illinois, Georgetown, Yale, Columbia, University of Chicago, and Fordham. The KMA students are given a writing assignment created by faculty. (e.g., For the January 2024 session, Markus and and Yatskevych created the assignment along with support from Georgetown Legal Writing Professor Eun Hee Han as well as from Virginia Robinson (University of Chicago Law, ’23) who had served as a tutor in the fall 2023 pilot version of the program.

For the Spring 2024 assignment, KMA students learned they were junior associates at Ukraine’s largest law firm, and their firm’s client–a US cookie company–was planning on purchasing a 10% share of Ukraine’s largest confectionary company. But they need the junior associates to prepare a legal memo for the General Counsel and CFO of the US client analyzing an intellectual property rights dispute potentially affecting the acquisition.

KMA students met with their JD tutors via Zoom approximately 1 to 2 hours each week as they researched the law and wrote their memos in English. And in addition to learning about legal writing, everyone involved also seemed to learn more than they initially expected–about each other’s lives and countries; about each other’s legal systems and legal writing cultures.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a role in helping to identify Georgetown Law students interested in participating. And they shared some wonderful insights upon the completion of this second session:

Kevin Jupena (JD, 2025): “It was a great experience. I found it extremely helpful personally to reexamine my own writing style when making edits. Hopefully I can continue to be a part of this program next time they run it.”

Fankai Meng (LLM, 2024): “This project was very meaningful. I actually had the opportunity to learn more about legal writing myself through this project. I admire how hard the KMA students worked during this difficult time. And my peer mentee also helped me learn a lot about Ukrainian law and how a civil law system deals with this kind of case. I greatly appreciate having had this opportunity.”

Joey Gaston (JD, 2025): “I learned from my peer mentee that long, complex sentences are commonly used in Ukrainian legal memos. At times, a single sentence in a Ukrainian legal memo may make up an entire paragraph. Based on the complexity of the writing my peer mentee submitted, we worked to break down her complex sentence structure into more manageable segments, with a goal of keeping the sentences in the US legal memo three lines or less in length. Overall, the experience was great for me, and I hope it was equally as informative for my peer mentee.”

The KMA Peer-to-Peer Writing Project is one of a number of legal education collaborations happening between Ukrainian law schools, faculty, and students and law schools and legal education professionals in the US and elsewhere around the world.

If you or your institution is interested in getting involved in the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Peer-to-Peer Legal English Writing Project, please feel free to contact Taisa Markus ( and Nataliiya Maksymchuk (

For more information about the program, check out this post from the KMA Faculty of Law website titled “Innovative English Language Peer to Peer Writing Workshop Pairing US and Kyiv Mohyla Law Students.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *