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Legal Research and Writing

Spring Semester at a Glance

This overview is for one section of the course. Other sections follow different schedules and include different assignments.

Week 1: Persuasive Writing
LRW professor and studentThe semester begins with a focus on persuasive writing. Students practice these skills first by polishing cover letters for their summer jobs.

Week 2: Online Research
Before launching into the appellate brief, students review their research skills from the fall semester and learn new, advanced techniques. Some of these sessions are led by our outstanding law librarians.

Weeks 3 and 4: Appellate Brief
Professor Rocklin teachingThe major project of the spring semester begins with a trial brief, with students writing to convince a judge to rule in their client's favor. Then the case goes up on appeal, with an appellate court deciding the issue. Students spend the rest of the semester writing portions of the appellate brief, getting lots of feedback along the way.

Week 5: Arguing, Writing, and Revising
The LRW class is divided into appellants and respondents. Students debate the issues–in class and in the law school commons–looking for weaknesses in each argument and then finding ways to buttress those arguments. Students may seek guidance on their writing during office hours held by professors and by LRW tutors.

Weeks 6 and 7: Practice Rounds
As professors give feedback on individual drafts, students present practice oral arguments to LRW tutors. "Opponents" work together to refine their advocacy skills.

Week 8: Conferences
Each student attends an individual conference with the LRW professor to review the marked draft. This focused attention on each student's work is possible because of small class size and low student-teacher ratios in LRW.

Weeks 9 and 10: Supreme Court Visit
Professor Hanley and studentAs students finalize their own appellate briefs and prepare their arguments, they get to see actual arguments before the Oregon Supreme Court right here in the law school. The largest lecture hall is transformed into a court room, justices process in following the call "All rise!" and arguments proceed just as they do at the Supreme Court building.

Week 11: Spring Break
Some students stay in Eugene to relax and get a head start preparing for exams. Some visit family and friends. Some travel to fun places.

Weeks 12: Oral Arguments
After weeks of preparation, students are ready to present their public arguments. Judges and attorneys from Eugene and across the Northwest volunteer to serve as judges who are both knowledgeable and supportive.

Weeks 13 through 15: Preparation for Practice
LRW classes focus on preparing students for their summer jobs. Some do independent writing projects. Others refine their citation skills. Still others practice making presentations to senior attorneys. Some years, the Court of Appeals visits to hear oral arguments in pending cases and to interact with students.


Oregon Law » Oregon’s LRW Program Among Nation’s Best » Spring Semester at a Glance