Howard University

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 and writing 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 introduces students to some 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 the standard law school fare of 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.

Legal Writing II

The second legal writing course, Legal Writing II (LW II), is a two-credit, semester-long course taken either in the fall or spring of the second year. The various aspects of legal reasoning, research, and writing that were introduced and practiced in LRRW are reinforced and deepened during LW II.

Legal Writing III, Scholarly Writing Requirement

A scholarly writing requirement is the integral to the third part of the LRRW Program. While LRRW and LW II focused primarily on practice-oriented aspects of legal reasoning, research, and writing, the LW III requirement focuses on scholarly legal writing. This part of the program is not a particular course and is not taught by the LRRW faculty. Instead, it is a significant scholarly writing assignment during which each student 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. Although the entire LRRW program is demanding, students have responded favorably and consider it an important and effective part of their preparation for the practice of law.