About the Program
The only tool of the lawyer is words… Whether we are trying a case, writing a brief, drafting a contract, or negotiating with an adversary, words are the only things we have to work with. Charles Alan Wright, Foreward to Bryan A. Garner, The Elements of Legal Style (1993).
Marquette University Law School's nationally recognized legal writing (LAWR) program offers a rigorous writing experience that fully prepares students for law practice.
Each semester, at least six full-time faculty members, all of whom have practiced law, devote themselves to teaching the required three-credit courses that span students' first two semesters of law school. Both Legal Analysis, Writing & Research 1 and 2 have these distinctive features, designed for optimal learning:
- small class sizes that allow individualized, personal attention;
- intensive, practical writing experiences;
- individual faculty conferences;
- extensive faculty feedback on written assignments;
- academic support from select second- or third-year students who work closely with professors; and
- access to a writing specialist on recommendation from the professor.
Once students have completed both first-year required courses in legal analysis, writing, and research, they have opportunities to further develop their skills in a number of ways. They can enroll in seminars in advanced legal writing and workshops in contract drafting. They can also enroll in the appellate writing and advocacy course that serves as the gateway to Marquette Law's moot court competitions. Finally, they have the opportunity to serve on editorial boards for various journals. All of these experiences enhance students' legal education no matter what field of law they choose to pursue.
To further solidify students' research and writing skills, they also are required to take an advanced legal research (ALR) course on a topic of their choice taught by a Marquette Law librarian. ALR topics cover a variety of practice areas. Business and taxation, family law, federal law, sports law, Wisconsin law, and intellectual property are just some of the offerings available.
Marquette Law legal writing faculty, partnered with law librarians, ensure that all Marquette Law students graduate with solid analysis, writing, and research skills.
Legal Writing Faculty
Professor Sonya Bice
Professor Rebecca Donaldson
Professor Brian Fahl
Professor James Goldschmidt
Professor Ellen Henak
Professor Rene Jovel
Professor Jonathan Koenig
Professor Erin O'Connor
Professor Stanley Schwartz
Dr. Darek Ciemniewski
Curriculum and Courses
The cornerstone courses in the legal writing program are the first-year courses, Legal Analysis, Writing, & Research 1 and 2. Each fall, in Legal Analysis, Writing, & Research 1, first-year students are introduced to the fundamental skills required in law practice: researching the law, analyzing how the law applies, and writing that analysis in an objective format. Legal Analysis, Writing, & Research 2 builds on the skills students learned in the fall semester. In the spring semester, students shift from objective writing to persuasive writing. They also begin to implement the research skills they learned in the fall and do their own legal research.
Appellate Writing and Advocacy is the gateway course for the law school's moot court program.
In addition, second- or third-year students can enroll in various writing seminars and workshops to further develop their legal writing skills. Such offerings have included Advanced Legal Writing, Contract Drafting, and Exploring and Writing About Legal Issues in Depth.
Course descriptions can be found in the online Law School Bulletin.
Please note that not every course is taught each year.
Appellate Writing and Advocacy/Moot Court
Marquette University Law School students have many opportunities to participate in moot court.
First, students interested in moot court have the chance to hone their briefing writing and oral argument skills in the Appellate Writing and Advocacy course, offered to second- and third-year students in the fall semester.
The course teaches students about how to handle an appeal from start to finish. Students in the course review a mock record, develop and research legal arguments, write briefs, and present oral arguments. Completion of the Appellate Writing and Advocacy course is a prerequisite to participation in other moot court competitions. At the end of the course, each student receives a ranking according to his or her grade on the brief and the oral argument, and that ranking (as well as satisfaction of any additional prerequisites) determines the student's eligibility for participation in the Marquette University Law School Honors Moot Court Competition in the spring semester.
The top sixteen students from the Appellate Writing and Advocacy course are invited to compete (in two-person teams) in the Jenkins Moot Court Competition in the spring semester. Jenkins Moot Court Competition teams research and prepare briefs, which they submit in late February, and then compete in quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds of oral argument in March and April.
Marquette University Law School routinely and successfully participates in a variety of national moot court competitions. Law students have distinguished themselves by placing first in the Saul Lefkowitz Intellectual Property (Trademark) Competition and winning the award for Best Appellant Brief in the Pace Law School National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. MULS students could compete in variety of different competitions, including the Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition and the National Appellate Advocacy Competition. Marquette Law School hosts the Region VIII National Moot Court Competition each fall semester.