Levin College of Law

Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy

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  • Providing a Foundation for Success in the Legal Profession

    The Florida Bar and the ABA have made clear that lawyering skills must be a significant element of a law student’s preparation for practice. The Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy Department’s mission is to provide to our students the means to master these skills. Our talented team of Legal Skills Professors and teaching assistants are committed to providing to our students practical experience and reflective evaluation. This experience combined with the other excellent skills training our law school offers gives our students the foundation for the successful practice of law.

    Required courses include:

    • Legal Writing: Legal Writing is taught in the students’ first semester. The course teaches the students to to analyze a legal problem objectively, to research the applicable law under the guidance of professional law librarians, and to write an office memorandum incorporating this research and analysis. The department’s Legal Skills Professors and their teaching assistants approach writing as a process, stressing the importance of self-critique and revision. The Legal Skills Professors and teaching assistants provide each student with detailed written feedback and confer with each student individually about their work in the course.In addition to a vigorous and challenging writing experience, the students receive hands-on instruction by professional librarians about the manual and electronic research tools they will use in practice. This hands-on experience is followed by work on several research projects that reinforce the research training.
    • Appellate Advocacy: Appellate Advocacy, taught in the second semester, is designed to assist the students in applying the skills of research and writing and their knowledge of substantive law to develop effective persuasive writing skills. All writing assignments in Appellate Advocacy revolve around a hypothetical appellate record which has been researched and developed by each Legal Skills Professor. Each assignment is designed to build upon the last, culminating in an appellate brief. As in Legal Writing, students, students receive intensive written and oral feedback on their work from the Legal Skills Professors and their teaching assistants.The students prepare and present several oral arguments concerning the issues argued in their appellate briefs. The students’ final oral argument presentations are judged with the help of attorneys and judges who volunteer their time to help our students.