The Legal Writing Program
Legal analysis and persuasion are the heart of a lawyer’s work. For most attorneys, communication skills are crucial. From drafting a contract to arguing an appeal – from negotiating with opposing counsel to writing a motion – the practice of law embraces good communication skills. The better those skills are, the better the lawyering.
At the James E. Rogers College of Law, our dedication to students’ mastery of legal problem-solving begins at Orientation and continues through the third year of school. The Legal Writing Program is fundamental to that effort. Highlights of the Program include:
Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research
Our first-year course is taught in sections of 12-13 students. This allows for intensive one-on-one learning opportunities, including individual meetings with the professor, detailed instruction tailored to address the student’s weak points, and two oral arguments. The legal writing professors are practitioners; their experience as practicing lawyers ensures that students receive real-life insights into the practice of law.
Persuasive Communication is a recommended upper-level, fall-semester course. It is also a prerequisite for participation in Moot Court. Classes remain small and intimate, with only 13-15 students per section. Instruction is given by seasoned practitioners. The course begins with an examination of classical rhetoric and progresses to comprehensive instruction in appellate advocacy. Each student drafts an appellate brief and receives detailed feedback at every major phase of work. At the end of the semester, students argue their cases before a panel of three judges from the legal community.
Further Opportunities to Improve Lawyering Skills
Additional opportunities to advance legal problem-solving skills abound at the College of Law. Clinical education, the Arizona Law Review, the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, externships, various moot court programs, and the required faculty-supervised substantial paper are just some of the many other avenues students have for honing their analytical and advocacy skills while at the College.