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Research, Writing & Advocacy Program

Your overall success in law school and as a legal practitioner is related directly to your ability to communicate persuasively, research the law thoroughly and advocate effectively. These skills are as important as your knowledge of the law. To ensure you graduate into the legal profession with a sound understanding of legal research, writing and advocacy, the MSU Law academic program includes a comprehensive one-year program that gives you practice using real-world scenarios.

The Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy (RWA) Program at MSU College of Law is a two-semester, graded course required of all first-year law students that is worth two credits per semester. RWA I, offered in the Fall, focuses on developing legal analysis skills through writing objective legal memoranda on various topics as well as drafting client opinion letters. Research and citation also are important components of the first semester.

RWA II, offered in the Spring, focuses on advocacy through writing persuasive appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments to panels of alumni attorneys. Each Spring, an experienced advocate comes to MSU Law to guest lecture on appellate advocacy. Students are also required to attend either appellate arguments or trial court motion hearings at federal or state courts in downtown Lansing.

Writing Skills Workshops
Writing Skills Workshops are a component of RWA I each Fall. These classes focus on the fundamental skills of good writing style and technique. The workshops are generally taught by Ph.D. candidates from Michigan State University’s Department of English. Students must pass the workshop component of RWA prior to graduation.

Research, Writing & Advocacy Faculty
The Law College’s Research, Writing & Advocacy Program is taught by a group of instructors with outstanding credentials and in-depth experience. The instructors bring a wealth of real-world lawyering skills to the classroom from a variety of lawyering settings. They are each dedicated to working with MSU Law students to hone their research and communication abilities, making our graduates effective legal practitioners.


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