JD students are required to complete 9 credits of Legal Writing coursework.
Required first-year program
(6 credits over the first year: 2.5 fall and 3.5 spring)
In small, interactive classes over the course of your first year, you will learn a variety of essential skills and concepts, including the following:
- Legal research and citation
- Legal reading, analysis, and synthesis
- Principles of effective legal writing
- Professional identity, professionalism, and the values of cultural competence and reflection
- Lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling, fact development, and negotiation
During spring semester, you participate in the Real Clients in the First Year program, where you work on actual cases with a law school clinic or local nonprofit, which prepares you for summer work as a legal intern/extern.
Required second-year course
(3 credits, can be taken in fall or spring of second year)
This class builds on your first-year legal writing training by focusing on a single legal case:
- Practice researching and writing pre-trial motions and presenting oral arguments
- Learn to review trial records, identify and research potential errors, and draft appellate briefs
- Gain experience arguing cases before a panel of local attorneys and judges
- Earn at least a B+ on your appellate brief and you qualify for moot court competition, which can lead to opportunities to compete nationally and win scholarships
Upper-division elective courses
2L and 3L law students can build on their skills training by taking advanced legal writing and research classes as electives:
- Advanced Legal Research Courses (3 options, 1-2 credits each): Learn and apply advanced techniques and strategies for efficient and cost-effective legal research using real-world problems.
- Advanced Writing Seminar (2 credits): Develop skills in effective persuasion by incorporating an elegant, clear style.
- Contract Drafting (2 credits): Learn to draft business contracts using a strategic and well-drafted conceptual approach.
- Drafting Labs (1 credit): Master legal drafting principles by applying them in labs tied to certain legal practice areas, such as business law, real estate law, or family law, taught by expert practitioners.