Saying it like a lawyer

After his first-year legal writing class, Ryan Ganzenmuller ’15 went from sports writer for his undergraduate newspaper to the editor-in-chief of the Buffalo Law Review and winner of a national writing award.

Entering law school, Ryan Ganzenmuller ’15 thought he was a pretty good writer. He had been a sportswriter for his undergraduate student newspaper, for one thing.

He soon learned, though, that legal writing is another thing entirely. “It was a bit of a rude awakening to see how differently lawyers write,” Ganzenmuller says. Fortunately, in his first-year legal writing class his instructor, Christine Bartholomew, “was outstanding in helping me adjust my writing to be effective in a completely different setting. Professor Bartholomew was instrumental in flipping that switch for me, and she became a close mentor for me.”

The switch paid off. Not only did Ganzenmuller go on to become editor-in-chief of the Buffalo Law Review, his article for that journal – about the legal issues surrounding apps like Snapchat – was one of only 10 student articles nationwide chosen to receive the prestigious Burton Award. During law school, he clerked for judges in New York State Supreme Court and U.S. District Court, and ultimately graduated magna cum laude.

Now, as an associate at the Buffalo law firm Duke Holzman Photiadis & Gresens, he still hears those law school lessons when he’s creating legal instruments like motions.

For example, he says, he used to write legal briefs which were too lengthy.

Not anymore. “Being concise was a big issue I had in the first year,” he says. “Professor Bartholomew trained that right out of me.”