Because the average lawyer writes more than the average novelist, the law school devotes special attention to legal writing throughout the curriculum. In the first year, students begin with the basics of legal research, legal analysis, and legal writing. By the end of the first year, students will have drafted several objective legal memoranda, court pleadings, a brief arguing for summary judgment, proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and contract provisions. Research and writing are integrated into many of the first-year required courses.
Although the legal writing program has its foundation in the first year, it extends through all three years. To enhance the skills acquired during the first year, all second-year students enroll in Business Transactions, in which students negotiate and draft business agreements. In addition, all students must fulfill our Advanced Writing Requirement by completing a major written piece (and presenting or defending it orally) during their second or third year. Many elective courses also provide substantial writing experiences.
Professor Larry Howell is the Director of the legal writing program and coaches the National Moot Court team, which has excelled in regional and national competitions. In 2019, the UM team's brief was judged best in the nation, a testament to the strength of the legal writing program.