Research, Writing & Advocacy Program
The Research, Writing, and Advocacy program consists of two graded courses required of all first-year law students: Research, Writing, and Analysis (RWA), taught in the fall, and Advocacy, taught in the spring. RWA and Advocacy are each worth two credits. In both courses, students learn the art of legal writing in a small-class setting. A hallmark of the program is individualized attention and frequent feedback inside the classroom and out.
In the fall semester, Research, Writing, and Analysis focuses on legal analysis in the context of objective legal memoranda on various topics. Students also learn the basics of print and electronic research and of citation. In lieu of the regular RWA course, students have the option to learn research and writing skills in the context of criminal law, intellectual property, or social justice through enrollment in a specialized section focusing on one of those areas.
In the spring semester, Advocacy continues training in research and citation skills and introduces students to persuasive writing and oral advocacy. Each student writes an appellate brief. The semester culminates in an oral argument to a panel of judges and attorneys.
Integral to the Research, Writing, and Advocacy program is the Writing Seminar program, run by the College of Law’s writing specialist. Through the Writing Seminar program, students learn and refine the fundamental skills in grammar, punctuation, and legal style essential to success as a lawyer.
Advocacy includes an assignment called “Oral Argument Observation.” Some professors require that you observe an argument in person for this assignment. As arguments will begin in January, you may wish to attend an argument before your first Advocacy class. Please contact your Advocacy professor or check your section’s webpage for further details, including whether in-person observation is required and how to complete the assignment.
- Advocacy Learning Outcomes (PDF)
- Joint Appendix (PDF)