Graduate With The Writing Skills the Law Demands
At Gonzaga University School of Law you can expect more from our legal skills program. The difference starts with legal research and writing.
Most law schools require only one year of writing classes. At GU, we believe extensive training in legal research and writing is the cornerstone of a successful legal career.
That’s why we require four terms of legal research and writing, to provide an exceptional grounding in the practical and essential skills the law demands.
Our required writing curriculum makes us unique among law schools. It’s a skill-building process that will improve both your research and writing skills. Because classes are small, every student receives a great deal of individual attention.
Students complete the program in four sequential terms:
Terms One and Two
The first-year course, LR&W I & II, is a four-credit class. It focuses on developing and refining these skills:
- Legal analysis
- Legal research, both in print sources and on-line
- Objective, predictive legal writing.
The goal in each term is to teach the skill, critique the skill, and then grade the skill. Individual conferences and rewrites are hallmarks of the first-year writing program.
You will work on a series of increasingly complex research and writing projects, i.e., legal memoranda and opinion letters.
The first two projects in the first term are “closed universe”; they are fully critiqued by the instructors, but are not assigned a grade. Both projects emphasize legal analysis.
You will then be assigned at least one open research memo that is fully critiqued, but not graded in that semester.
A final open research memo in the first semester is fully graded.
Second-term work will focus on more complex resources, such as constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative history, and administrative regulations.
You will write two open memos on complex issues and an opinion letter based on one of your memos. The final memo is graded.
At the end of each term, you will take a graded research test. Throughout the year, you will write shorter pieces and keep research journals that are critiqued by the teachers.
Terms Three and Four
The second-year / third and fourth term writing program is designed to enhance and refine research and writing skills. The emphasis is on persuasion and precision in drafting litigation documents and other written material common to the practitioner.
First Term: This course focuses on litigation-oriented persuasive writing, including both pre-trial and appellate briefs. Students work on a series of increasingly complex research and writing projects to increase their skills while learning persuasive organization and the use of persuasive rhetoric in support of a hypothetical client’s position.
Second Term: This course focuses on transactional drafting in a variety of contexts. Students work on a series of assignments that require the production of particular transactional documents. Students will learn to understand a client’s position regarding a transaction, the desired or negotiated outcome, and the use of precise language within a document to achieve the proper outcome.