Legal Research and Writing Program

The Legal Research and Writing Program (LRW) offers required and elective courses that teach students the basic techniques of legal research, writing, and analysis—essential tools of the lawyering profession. In the first year of law school, the full-time LRW faculty teach a required, year-long four credit course. Throughout the year, faculty work closely with students in smaller classroom settings introducing case briefing, case synthesis, and analysis through a series of research and writing assignments. Students learn how to research legal issues, frame legal arguments, and analyze legal problems. In addition to learning traditional research methods, students are also trained to use computer-assisted legal research including Lexis and Westlaw. This full-year course culminates in an oral argument in a simulated court setting, during which each student argues a motion based on a brief written by the student.

The LRW program also offers Advanced Legal Research and Writing, an upper level two credit course in which students refine their writing skills by preparing an appellate brief and broaden their use of research materials, including legislative histories and regulatory law.The syllabus and assignments for the first year LRW course are available on the LRW Website hosted by West Education Network (TWEN). Access via a user ID and password will be made available to all first year students during the law school's orientation program at the start of the fall semester.

Legal Research and Writing Course Description

Legal Research and Writing is a required first-year course that teaches students the basic techniques of legal research, writing, and analysis—essential tools of the lawyering profession. The full-time Legal Research and Writing faculty work closely with students in smaller classroom settings introducing case briefing, case synthesis, and analysis through a series of research and writing assignments. Students learn how to research legal issues, frame legal arguments, and analyze legal problems. In addition to learning traditional research methods, students are also trained to use computer-assisted legal research including Lexis and Westlaw. This full-year course culminates in an oral argument in a simulated court setting, during which each student argues a motion based on a brief written by the student.

A detailed syllabus and course materials are available on the West Education Network (TWEN) website. Access to this material will be provided to all first-year students during law school orientation.

Advanced Legal Research and Writing Courses

During the Fall and Spring semesters, the Legal Research and Writing Program faculty offer an advanced legal research and writing seminar for no more than 12 students. This course further develops and refines the research, analysis, citation, and writing skills introduced in the first-year course. With close supervision and guidance, students will be expected to develop their own research strategies using a wide range of research materials including traditional and on-line sources. Students will be responsible for maintaining a research log and bibliography for each project. The major writing component of the course will consist of either a complex trial motion memorandum, a non-litigation drafting project or an appellate brief. The students will also present an oral argument based on the appellate brief. The tutorial will include peer assessment, self-editing, small group and individual conferences, and class presentations. The class will meet once a week for three hours.

The syllabus and class materials will be available on the West Education Network website.