Legal research, analysis, and writing at Santa Clara – enhancing skills and readying for practice

Jaime Young, Kirt Iverson

Law students Jaime Young and Kirt Iverson and Prof. Evangeline Abriel after presentation of oral argument at the Ninth Circuit.

Welcome to the Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing program at Santa Clara Law! Some of the most crucial skills needed for the practice of law are the ability to find the law, to analyze it, and to convey that analysis in writing. This is reflected in the quote “Law is one of the great literary professions.” Conveying your analysis in writing is the end result of your research and analysis. More immediately relevant, these same skills are those most in demand for summer internships and clerkships. In other words, LARAW helps get you practice-ready.

Santa Clara provides three semesters of legal analysis, research, and writing courses, designed to allow you to acquire and hone your skills.   In these courses, you will perform many of the tasks of a practicing lawyer and learn the skills essential to those tasks.  During the first semester, you will take on the role of an associate lawyer. Your “supervisor” will assign several case files to you and ask you to write predictive, objective office memoranda on the legal issues raised in those problems. These assignments will require you to read and analyze cases and statutes and to write the statements of fact, questions presented, brief answers, and discussion sections of the legal memoranda used in law firms, courts, and other legal offices.

In the spring semester, we move from predictive writing to persuasive writing.  You will continue to build your analytical skills by writing client letters and persuasive memoranda and will also have the opportunity to present an oral argument before a trial court.  In addition, you’ll acquire skills in legal research, both manual and on-line.

In your Advocacy course, you will refine the research, analysis, and writing skills you learned in LARAW, through performing the tasks of an attorney handling an appellate case.  Your tasks are to identify the legal issues involved in the case, research those issues, prepare an appellate brief to a hypothetical  United States Court of Appeals, and present oral argument before that court.