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Legal Research and Writing

Advanced Courses

Given the importance of research and writing to every lawyer’s career, students should hone these skills in law school. The following four courses offer specialized instruction in various legal research and legal writing topics. Classes are often limited to 15 students, assuring individual attention for each student.

Advanced Legal Research

Advanced Legal Research is an intensive research class that takes place in a workshop-style setting. Students spend each class period learning how to use various resources in print and online, practicing research with those resources, and sharing their work with classmates. The course grade is based on several short research summaries, an open-book midterm, and a class presentation. This course is typically offered in the fall semester.

Advanced Writing: Bar Preparation

This two credit course provides students with regular writing practice in preparation for taking a state bar examination. The class uses, as its foundation, sample essay questions from actual bar exams, and students receive weekly individualized and in-class feedback on their work.

Intensive Writing

Intensive Writing is offered frequently during the summer term. This three-credit course covers office memos, contracts, legislation, and other real-world writing experiences. Class size is limited, ensuring plenty of individual guidance and feedback.

Judicial Writing

This course teaches the process of writing judicial opinions. Each student drafts both a majority and a dissenting opinion. Classes cover such topics as the structure of opinions, the purpose of opinions, standards of review, how judges decide cases, and the styles of various judges in writing opinions.

The role of the law clerk is also considered, making this course especially attractive to students who hope to have judicial externships during law school or judicial clerkships afterward. Guest presentations by judges and law clerks are highlights of each semester.

Legal Drafting

This course introduces students to the different kinds of drafting that they will do in practice. Students then have the opportunity to draft a range of documents, including complaints and answers, contracts, and client letters. Students will be graded on individual assignments as well as a final portfolio of their work. The Drafting class will satisfy the Skills Requirement.