Legal Research and Writing Curriculum

Loyola’s rigorous legal research and writing program provides students the opportunity to work one-on-one with professors, to work collaboratively with peers, and to learn in a small class setting. 

Required Courses

All first year students must take an extensive, year long, four unit legal research and writing course. They begin their training with a demanding, six-week introduction to legal analysis and legal writing that culminates in drafting their first office memorandum. They spend the next six weeks in intensive instruction in legal research, where they master practical research techniques for both primary and secondary authority. In the spring term, students work on increasingly complex legal problems, starting with a more extensive office memorandum and culminating in a trial court brief. Students conclude the year by arguing the merits of their case before a practicing member of the California Bar.

Second year day students and third year evening students continue their legal writing training with Ethical Lawyering. In a unique course which integrates professional responsibility doctrine with skills training, students are given an opportunity to reinforce the research and writing skills learned in the first year. Students draft a variety of professional documents, including drafting client letters, inter-office memoranda and email communications.

Students must also satisfy the Upper Division Writing Requirement, which requires student to complete a substantial research paper.  Students often satisfy this requirement by taking Appellate Advocacy, completing a student note or comment for a law review, or writing a scholarly paper for a seminar course.

Advanced Legal Research and Writing Electives

Because of Loyola’s emphasis on practical skills training, most Loyola students continue to hone their research and writing skills by taking one or more of the following electives: