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Legal Research and Writing

Capital University Law School is known in the Columbus and larger Ohio legal communities for training law students to be good writers. We prepare them for success in the workplace in the following ways:

First Year Legal Writing Program

All students must complete the first-year Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing course, an intensive two-semester course. The course is taught in small sections of 20-25 students by the law school’s full-time writing faculty, who bring a wide variety of practice experiences to the classroom.

The course teaches students how:

  • to be efficient legal researchers using a variety of print and online resources;
  • to develop logical and in-depth analysis of each issue presented;
  • to write succinctly and appropriately for the audience being addressed; and
  • to present the document in a professional manner.

The focus of the first semester is on legal research and predictive writing—the focus shifts to persuasive writing in the second semester.

A woman works on a laptop

Third-Year Day or Fourth-Year Evening Drafting Course

The Legal Drafting course is the capstone writing experience at Capital. The course is taught in small sections of 25 students and must be completed by students in their last year of law school. The curriculum in each section integrates theory with practice and exposes students to the types of documents frequently prepared in that area of practice.

There are three standard drafting courses in the curriculum: Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, and Transactional. The litigation drafting courses are required to complete the concentrations in civil litigation or in criminal litigation, respectively. Drafting courses on additional topics, or tied to specific doctrinal courses, also are taught on a periodic basis.

Upper Level Requirements

In addition to the first and third or fourth-year course requirements, students must complete the upper level writing requirement. There are several ways that a student can satisfy this requirement. They include:

  • The Appellate Advocacy course, which is a requirement for the Civil Litigation concentration and a pre-requisite to participating on a moot court team;
  • Writing a law review note; or
  • Completing the requirements of a seminar, which generally include either writing a scholarly article of publishable quality, or writing several shorter papers.