Categories: Legal Writing
Instructor(s) Dowdal, Mullen
Legal Research & Writing I (Law 723)
The Legal Research & Writing I course focuses on predictive legal writing and introduces students to legal research sources and strategy. Students learn how to structure legal documents, how to explain and support a legal analysis, and how to edit their writing for clarity and conciseness. They review the workings of the American legal system, binding and persuasive sources of law, the use and weight of authority, and the principles of stare decisis as these concepts affect legal problem solving. Students also learn cost-effective legal research strategies, including the appropriate use of both electronic and paper-based sources of legal information. At the end of the semester, students are introduced to persuasive writing skills. Throughout the course, students simulate many of the tasks that lawyers perform, and they learn how to meet the professional expectations of clients, judges, employers, and colleagues in various contexts.
Legal Research & Writing II (Law 723)
The Legal Research & Writing II course focuses on persuasive legal writing and oral presentation skills. Students learn the ethics and strategies of effective written and oral advocacy on behalf of a client and prepare a number of typical documents they may encounter in law practice, e.g., client and opinion letters, pleadings, motions, or appellate briefs. Students are also introduced to basic drafting skills. Students explore advanced legal research sources and refine their research skills by completing projects in a variety of different subject areas and procedural contexts. The emphasis is on learning by doing, and students receive ongoing feedback from their legal research and writing professor to help them improve.
Learning Outcomes – At the end of this course, students should understand how to:
1. Use a variety of techniques to write persuasive legal documents;
2. Choose and use legal authority appropriately to build a legal argument;
3. Write trial-level and appellate briefs using appropriate format, organization, and citations;
4. Research complex legal issues efficiently, using an array of sources and strategies;
5. Apply basic principles of transactional drafting; and
6. Present an oral argument on behalf of a client.