• 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.


    1. Closed Memo: The closed memo allows you to make and evaluate legal arguments using authority provided by your instructors.
    2. Drafting: Starting in late first or early second semester, you complete exercises and assignments to learn how to draft a variety of documents, including transactional documents, pleadings, and legislation.
    3. Research Memo: In the research memo, you build on the closed memo by finding and choosing the authority who supports your analysis of legal issues.
    4. Client Letter: The client letter simulates communications with a client about his or her legal issues and options for resolving those concerns.
    5. Motion Memo: For the motion memorandum, you represent one party to an ongoing lawsuit and advocate for a favorable decision for your client.
    6. Oral Argument: During oral arguments, you present the arguments made in your motion memoranda as part of a mock oral argument before a trial court judge.

    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 sessions, when instructors review assignment drafts and provide oral and written feedback before assignment submission
    • Extensive written feedback on submitted assignments
    • Optional conferences on graded assignments

    Successful Outcomes

    LRW teaches you to:

    • Communicate effectively in writing in a variety of settings to diverse audiences
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the structure, components, and functioning of the U.S legal system
    • Start to develop mastery of appropriate strategies and technologies to retrieve, use, and manage research materials and information effectively and efficiently
    • Comprehend and synthesize the reasoning and rules contained in legal authorities and apply them to a variety of client situations
    • Identify and apply appropriate strategies to achieve client objectives
    • Advocate, collaborate, and problem-solve effectively in formal and informal dispute resolution processes
    • Start to acquire the knowledge and skills required to competently represent one’s clients
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical rules that govern the legal profession
    • Articulate the role lawyers play in promoting justice, improving the legal profession, and serving the community
    • Exercise professional decorum consistent with a lawyer’s professional responsibilities and leadership roles
    • Engage in effective time management

    Experienced, Enthusiastic Faculty

    Our LRW faculty members come from varied professional backgrounds, including corporate, legal services, private practices of all sizes, and judicial clerkships. We work together to ensure the most effective and relevant curricula, 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.