Course Descriptions

Seattle University's Legal Writing Program helps students develop excellent legal writing skills through nine required credits and various upper-division electives.

Required Classes:


Legal Writing I: Legal Writing, Skills, and Values

(6 credits over the first year: 2.5 fall and 3.5 spring)

In their first year, law students take a two-semester, six-credit course that introduces legal research and citation; legal reading, analysis, and synthesis; and the principles of effective legal writing. In addition, the course incorporates discussions of professional identity and professionalism and the values of cultural competence and reflection. It also introduces students to lawyering skills including client interviewing and counseling, fact development, and negotiation.

LWSV classes are small, interactive classes taught by full-time faculty. These classes help prepare student to work as interns and externs following their first year of law school. Students write predictive memoranda, client letters, and other legal documents. In the spring semester, students participate in our Real Clients in the First Year program in which they work on a memo in conjunction with one of the Law School's clinics or for a local nonprofit organization.


Legal Writing II: Written & Oral Advocacy

(3 credits, can be taken in fall or spring of second year)

In their second year, students take a one-semester, three-credit course that focuses on persuasive writing and oral advocacy. Students spend the whole semester working on one case. In the first half of the semester, they research and write a pre-trial motion brief and they present oral arguments in support of that brief to their Legal Writing professor. Then, during the second half of the semester, students review the trial record, identify and research potential errors, and draft an appellate brief. At the end of the course, students argue their case before a panel of local attorneys and judges who act as appellate judges.

Students who earn a B+ or better on their appellate brief are also eligible to for a moot court competition based on the Legal Writing II case, which is used to select the law school's national moot court teams. In addition, top competitors are eligible for scholarships.

Upper-Division Electives

In their second and third year, law students can also take advanced legal writing and researching classes as electives. 

  • Advanced Legal Research Courses (3 options, 1-2 credits each): Students learn and apply advanced techniques and strategies for efficient and cost-effective legal research using real-world problems.
  • Advanced Writing Seminar (2 credits): Students have the opportunity to further develop their skills in effective persuasion and in the use of an elegant, clear style. 
  • Contract Drafting (2 credits): Students learn to draft business contracts, using a conceptual approach to produce contracts that are both strategic and well-drafted.
  • Drafting Labs (1 credit): Students learn principles of legal drafting, then apply those principles in labs tied to areas of law practice, such as business law, real estate law, or family law. The labs are taught by practitioners who specialize in those areas of law practice.