Deborah Cupples's Blog

Deborah Cupples is a Master Legal Skills Professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, where she teaches legal drafting. She has also taught courses in statutory interpretation and drafting, constitutional interpretation and revision (Florida), and art law. Her expertise lies in legal-document drafting (primarily contracts and legislation) and contract negotiation.

She has co-authored two books: one on legal drafting and one on grammar and style for lawyers. Prior to joining the UF Law faculty in 2008, Cupples worked as an attorney in private practice. She continues to do pro-bono work through the Southern Legal Counsel and to work as a legal consultant.

She earned her B.A., M.A., and J.D. degrees all from the University of Florida.

Visit her Faculty Profile.


Seeking data about how to make law-school graduates more practice-ready, the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System conducted its "Foundations for Practice" survey in 2014-15.  More than 24,000 lawyers in the U.S. participated. The lawyers rated the importance of 147 skills, competencies, and traits (called "foundations") in one of four ways: (1)  “Necessary immediately for ...

Continue Reading...

A recent Illinois Supreme Court opinion added fuel to the long debate over "shall," a word historically used to convey a mandatory or prohibited action in contracts and legislation. (Thanks to Legal Writing Prof for posting about it.) In People v. Geiler, the defendant argued that a traffic citation should be ...

Continue Reading...

During my introduction to contract drafting last week, I reviewed with my students a contracts case that hinged on the meaning of a common, four-letter word: “sale.” Many lawyers wouldn’t think to look up “sale” in a dictionary because everyone "knows" what it means. That seemingly clear word caused a $7.5 million ...

Continue Reading...