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The Legal Writing Program

For more than 20 years, Seattle University School of Law has set the standard for legal writing programs. Seattle University was one of the first law schools to establish a three-year legal writing curriculum, to use the process approach to teaching legal writing, and to have a full-time writing advisor.

A recognized national leader, Seattle University's legal writing program is known for its innovative, practice-oriented legal writing curriculum and its cutting edge use of teaching technology.

In 1984, Seattle University legal writing faculty founded the Legal Writing Institute. The LWI has grown into a 1,600+ member organization that works to foster the development of legal writing in law schools across the country and in numerous foreign countries. The School of Law was the home of the LWI from 1984-2003, and it has hosted more national conferences devoted to legal writing than any other law school in the country.



Legal Writing Director Laurel Oates teaching legal writing students

Legal Writing Director Laurel Oates earns national award

Laurel Oates, director of the law school’s acclaimed legal writing program, received the award for Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing Education from the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement.

“This is well-deserved recognition for Laurel and another commendation of the outstanding legal education offered at Seattle University School of Law,” Dean Kellye Testy said.

Seattle University School of Law's Legal Writing Program has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the top legal writing programs in the country.

Oates helped co-founded the Legal Writing Institute, which has more than 2,000 members from more than 150 law schools and which works to improve the teaching of legal writing. As a member of the Legal Writing Institute, Professor Oates helped establish The Second Draft, which is the Institute's bulletin, and helped organize and host seven national conferences. She is the co-author of five books, including The Legal Writing Handbook, which is now in its fourth edition, and Just Research, Just Memos, Just Briefs, Just Writing, and a Practice Book. She has also authored a number of articles, which are listed

During Spring Semester 2007, Oates is working in India and Africa. She and Professor Mimi Samuel trained magistrates in Uganda in February and hosted a conference for law school professors and provided workshops for attorneys in March. In April, they are training judges in South Africa.

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