Similar to John Marshall Law, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Boyd School of Law incorporates a Lawyering Process program into the first and second years. Here, students draft documents like briefs, contracts, ADRs, judicial opinions, and even legislation. Their writings are run through successive draft to sharpen students’ analytical, research, and writing skills. The Boyd faculty from the Lawyering Process program are also heavily active in leading legal writing organizations. For example, Professor Linda Berger was the founder and editor of Legal Communication & Rhetoric (formerly known as J. ALWD) and currently edits the Law & Rhetoric e-Journal on SSRN’s legal scholarship network.
At Mercer Law School, students don’t wait long to learn legal writing. They’re required to take eight units of writing and research courses in their second and third semesters, plus a writing seminar in their third year. Unlike most law schools, Mercer implements a structured learning system that starts with reasoning and research before moving into writing. To help students become comfortable with legal writing, Mercer doesn’t knock them on mechanics and citations initially. Mercer is also home to the 2,100-member Legal Writing Institute, the second largest organization serving law professors. Moreover, it offers a Certificate in Advanced Legal Writing, Research, and Drafting; publishes The Law & Rhetoric e-Journal; and sponsors the annual Adam A. Milani Disability Law Writing Competition.
The University of Oregon launched one of the first legal writing programs in 1978, which has evolved into the Legal Research and Writing course (LRW). A required two-semester course, LRW focuses on research and memorandum in the first semester, followed by persuasive writing and briefs in the second. In the spring, the Oregon Supreme Court joins the course. Here, students study actual cases before they’re argued in front of them. Along with heavily integrating legal writing throughout the curriculum, Oregon Law also offers separate courses and seminars in legal research, contract drafting, intensive writing, legal writing, law review writing, tax planning and drafting, writing colloquium, and writing in the law practice. Oregon Law’s writing program has been ranked in the top 10 for seven consecutive years, climbing from #6 to #4 in the past year.