Wayne State University

Legal Research and Writing

A major part of the first-year curriculum is Legal Research and Writing, taught in small sections by full-time legal writing faculty.

The two-semester course begins with a weeklong orientation program designed to prepare incoming students for their legal studies. Orientation introduces the precedent system, a method for reading and understanding cases, the modes of legal analysis and the analysis of a sample legal problem.

Following orientation, students meet with the legal writing faculty in weekly sessions and in individual conferences. In the fall term, the curriculum is devoted primarily to research, analysis, organization and writing in an objective setting. Students learn to use library and online research materials. As the finale for the semester, students draft a complaint and answer a complaint submitted by opposing counsel.

In the winter term, students develop written and oral advocacy skills. They draft an appellate brief based on a current, open legal issue. In preparation for the oral argument, students practice their arguments under the mentorship of upper-level moot court students. The final oral arguments are delivered to three-judge panels of practicing attorneys. Toward the end of the semester, students negotiate and draft a contract.

A highlight of most winter semesters is a visit by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Students watch real lawyers argue actual pending cases before the court and respond to questioning from judges.

Wayne Law is noted for its excellent Legal Research and Writing program. Three legal writing faculty members published textbooks while at Wayne Law. These textbooks and related materials are used at law schools around the country.

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