Legal Research and Writing Program
Law Skills I & II
Students take Law Skills in both the Fall and Spring semesters of their first year. The Law Skills courses introduce students to a principled, systematic process of legal writing, research, and analysis. The goal of these courses is to prepare students for the rigors of a client-centric, service-oriented legal practice in a rapidly-changing world. Over the course of their first year, students will research legal questions and draft numerous communications common in modern legal practice, including letters to clients, memoranda to supervising attorneys, email communications, and court briefs.
A team of full-time writing and research faculty members teaches each Law Skills I & II section in regularly-scheduled, small classes. The research faculty members assist students with research questions and emphasize the interplay between excellent research and sound legal analysis. The writing faculty members meet individually with each student on every major writing assignment. This high-level of personal interaction allows faculty members to meet each student's individual needs and to ensure meaningful and tailored feedback on every assignment.
"My favorite aspect of the legal writing program has been the one-on-one interaction that we have with our professors. For most of our assignments, we had mandatory personal conferences which allowed us to candidly discuss questions or concerns about the assignment, pinpoint any areas for improvement, and strategize about how to strengthen our legal writing skills in future assignments. These conferences were also incredibly helpful for improving professional oral communication skills."
"Every employer that I've interviewed with has been very impressed when I've explained the rigorous training and practical application of our legal research and writing program. From the hands-on research training to written assignments, our professors have done an excellent job of putting every assignment in the broader context of our long-term legal careers. I'm looking forward to using the skills I've learned this year at my summer job and throughout my career. "
— Luke Bresnahan, L'16
"I came into law school with a writing style that was much different from what is needed or desired for legal writing. In one-on-one conferences, my legal writing professor did a great job of walking me through my papers and showing me how I could change my organization, voice, and even word choice to be much better suited for legal purposes. Additionally, this class taught me how to clarify and streamline my legal arguments, making them much stronger and more persuasive."
— Ann Reid, L'16
"I have loved the one-on-one conferences that are built into the Law Skills program. We not only get personal feedback at every stage of the writing process, but also get a chance to develop personal relationships with our professors. Your professor comes to learn your own unique voice in writing and helps you develop it professionally for the style of the piece. My professor has also helped me think through other things such as scheduling and internships."
— Holly Wilson, L'16