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 wrote the book It Is About You: How American Government Works and How to Help Fix It. She co-authored two other books: one on legal-document 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 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.

By Deborah Cupples (based on  version printed in South Florida Sun-Sentinel) Don’t take your voting rights for granted because errors could stop any of us from successfully voting in November, even if we voted in the primaries. Below are five ways to help protect your voting rights, along with some how’s and why’s: (1) ...

Continue Reading...

A lawyer’s writing skills (or lack thereof) can have a direct—even severe—impact on clients’ interests. Did an employer owe a former employee a $7.5 million commission? The court’s answer hinged on imprecise word usage in an employment contract. (Langford v. Paravant, 912 So.2d 359, (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. (2005)) Did an insurance ...

Continue Reading...

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...