Legal Analysis Writing and Research Skills (“LAWRS”) is a year-long course that prepares students for researching and analyzing legal and factual issues on behalf of a client. LAWRS I is a 2.5 credit course that focuses on objective analysis, research, and writing. LAWRS II is a 2.5-credit, spring-semester course that focuses on persuasive argument, research, and writing.
During the year-long course of study, students are taught to:
- Read and understand court opinions;
- Understand the difference between the holding and reasoning of an opinion;
- Understand the difference between relevant and irrelevant facts;
- Research statutory and common law using both print and online sources;
- Understand the relative advantages and disadvantages of print and online research;
- Effectively synthesize case law to determine what factors courts use to determine if an element is met under a set of facts;
- Effectively use analogies and distinctions between case law and a client’s facts to evaluate a client’s case;
- Use policy and equity arguments, as well as precedent based comparisons and contrasts to persuasively argue a client’s case
- Clearly and concisely communicate research results and argument both orally and in writing;
- Effectively edit and proofread their writing;
- Cite to sources of law and facts in compliance with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.
Writing assignments for the course typically include drafting legal memoranda, client letters, and briefs. Each semester, students have an opportunity to rewrite parts of some assignments. In addition to graded assignments, students work on both oral and written class exercises to improve their writing and analytical skills. Classes typically include simulation exercises that range from mock client interviews to mock negotiations.
The LAWRS professors have extensive experience in both teaching and practice. Members of the LAWRS faculty have published articles on the practice of law, conducted continuing legal education workshops, and won competitive grants for scholarship.