Legal Writing Curriculum
Legal Writing I: Research, Analysis, Writing
In their first year, law students take a two-semester, four-credit course that uses the process approach to introduce legal research and citation, legal reading and legal analysis, and the principles of good writing. Legal Writing I classes are small, interactive classes taught by full-time faculty that help prepare student to work as interns and externs following their first year of law school: Students learn to research and write both short, informal memos and longer, more formal memos. In addition, during the spring semester, students are given the opportunity to apply what they are learning by researching and writing a memo for either one of the Law School's clinics or for a non-profit organization.
Legal Writing II: Written & Oral Advocacy
In their second year, students learn how to be advocates in a one-semester, three-credit course that focuses on persuasion. Working with the documents based on a real case, students spend the first half of the semester researching and writing a pre-trial motion brief and then presenting the oral arguments in support of that brief. Then, during the second half of the semester, students review the trial record, identifying and researching potential errors and drafting an appellate brief. The course ends with what most students find the most exciting part of the course: Students argue their brief before a panel of attorneys acting as appellate judges.
In their second and third year, law students can also take advanced legal writing and researching classes as electives. In the Drafting Labs, students learn principles of legal drafting, then apply those principles in labs tied to areas of law practice--such as business law, real estate law, or trusts and estates. The labs are taught by practitioners who specialize in those areas of law practice. In the Advanced Writing Seminar, students have the opportunity to further develop their skills in effective persuasion and in the use of an elegant, clear style. In Basic Contract Drafting, students learn to draft business contracts, using a conceptual approach to produce contracts that are both strategic and well-drafted. In an advanced legal research class, students further explore the ever-increasing number of legal resources.