Legal Writing Program

Our Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing Program (LRRW) is one of the school’s greatest academic strengths. Students report that they are well prepared for their research, writing and oral communication responsibilities in a variety of legislative, judicial, and practice settings. In addition, the program has developed a national reputation among LRRW teaching professionals as one of the best in the country. One key to the success of the program is having high-quality, full-time LRRW faculty members. Another key is having a total of six credits over three semesters allocated to the program. The most important key to the success of the program continues to be the effort that our students put into it.

Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing

The centerpiece of the law school’s legal writing program is Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing I (LRRW), a four-credit, year-long course taught during the first year. LRRW I introduces students to the fundamentals of legal reasoning, to the basic sources and processes of legal research, and to some basic forms of legal writing, including objective memoranda of law, client opinion letters, and trial court motion practice briefs. The reasoning skills taught include rule-based or syllogistic reasoning, analogical reasoning, case analysis, factual analysis, synthesizing and distinguishing cases, the use of policy in the law, and principles of statutory construction. The full range of legal research skills is introduced, including both hard-copy research skills and computer- assisted legal research skills in primary and secondary materials. Students are also taught oral advocacy skills.

Legal Writing II

The second legal writing course, Legal Writing II (LRRW II), is a two-credit, semester-long course taken either in the fall or spring of the second year. LRRW II focuses on appellate advocacy and serves to reinforce the skills learned in the LRRW I course.

Legal Writing III, Scholarly Writing Requirement

A scholarly writing requirement is integral to the third part of the LRRW Program. While LRRW and LRRW II focus primarily on practice-oriented aspects of legal reasoning, research, and writing, the LRRW III requirement focuses on scholarly legal writing. LRRW III is not a particular course. Instead, it is a significant scholarly writing assignment supervised by a full-time faculty member. Each student enrolled in LRRW III is required to complete in-depth research in a specialized area wherein the issues involved are fully analyzed, and in which supportable conclusions are articulated.

Students also benefit from Scholarly Writing Workshops held in the spring and fall semesters. The goal of the Scholarly Writing Workshops is to provide a blueprint for students who are working on their LRRW III papers and scholarly articles, and to encourage students to participate in the myriad of writing competitions available. Through the workshops, students learn how to 1) choose a topic, 2) do a preemption check, 3) outline their article/paper, 4) conduct research, 5) write the article or paper, and 6) use the correct legal citation form.

The Legal Writing Center

Howard University School of Law’s newest component to the Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing Program

Additional assistance is available for students to improve their writing and research skills through the Legal Writing Center. The Center’s key purpose is to identify and fix structural and grammatical problems in student papers and research projects. The Legal Writing Center offers one-on-one conferences and tutorial assistance and group writing conferences to all Howard law students at any stage of the writing process.

Conveniently located in the Law Library, the Legal Writing Center is supported by the legal writing professors and staffed by Dean’s Fellows and peer tutors who keep flexible hours to meet student demand.