• Legal Research and Writing Program

    Building a Solid Foundation for Your Career

    Legal Research and Writing is a highly practical, 3-semester course teaching you the research, writing, analytical, and problem-solving skills needed for a successful legal career. Prospective employers expect you to know how to find and analyze the law that applies to clients’ problems and how to express your research and analysis clearly. LRW thoroughly prepares you for this work through coursework simulating the demands of law practice.

    Curriculum

    1. Traditional and Email Office Memos: You will analyze client situations and write memos designed to communicate both the strengths and the weaknesses of the client’s position to a senior attorney. Such memos are often sought by prospective employers as writing samples.
    2. Mediation: A simulated in-class mediation demonstration will familiarize you with conflict resolution that does not involve litigation.
    3. Traditional and Email Client Letters: You will assess the strengths and weaknesses of client situations and explain them so a client without legal training can understand.
    4. Motion Memo: You will analyze your client’s situation in a litigated matter and write a formal memo to persuade the court to adopt your client’s position in the dispute.
    5. Oral Advocacy:You will defend your motion memo in an argument before a judge, who will test your position by asking questions. You will argue against a fellow student representing the opposing party.
    6. Multistate Performance Test (MPT) practice: Now a part of the bar exam in most states, including Minnesota, the MPT requires you to assess a client file and produce a written work product within a time limit. You will learn strategies for analyzing materials and producing a work product under time pressure.
    7. Fundamental Skills Acquisition: By completing exercises and receiving personalized feedback on your writing, you will acquire and reinforce critical research, citation, and writing skills needed to produce professional work products.
    8. Drafting: You will learn good drafting principles and use them to draft clear, unambiguous legislation and to draft a contract that meets your client’s needs.

    Class sessions combine lecture, small and large group exercises, and simulations. Just as beneficial is the individualized attention you receive through:

    • Required one-on-one tutorial and live grading conferences, in which professors provide oral and written feedback before or after assignment submission
    • Extensive written feedback on submitted assignments
    • Optional conferences on graded assignments

    Successful Outcomes

    Upon completion of the LRW program, you will be able to:

    • Demonstrate effective legal analysis, synthesis, and writing skills.
    • Demonstrate mastery in finding, using, and managing legal authority and applying research results when writing and drafting.
    • Understanding how your work fits within the structure, components, and functioning of the United States legal system.
    • Exhibit your knowledge of substantive law by reading, analyzing, and using cases, statutes, other legal sources in a variety of writing and drafting assignments.
    • Effectively represent clients by using legal analysis, research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication skills.
    • Articulate what it means to be a member of the legal profession, including understanding professional values, the duty of public service, and responsibilities to the profession, clients, and society.
    • Exercise professional decorum in dealing with clients, colleagues, adversaries, and others with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, understanding that the practice of law is increasingly global.
    • Tailor your writing to meet the needs of diverse audiences.

    Experienced, Enthusiastic Faculty

    Our LRW faculty members come from varied professional backgrounds. We work together to ensure the most effective and relevant curricula by sharing and vetting teaching materials, assignments, and ideas among one another. We also call on the law library’s research librarians and Institute faculty to complement our experience.