Photograph: Students in a classroom.

Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program

The Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program provides a strong foundation in lawyering skills for first-year law students.

All first-year students complete six hours of graded Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing. Washburn Law's first-year program is one of only a handful nationwide that is staffed by full-time, tenure-track faculty members. Classes are small and are taught by professors dedicated to legal writing as one of their primary fields for teaching, scholarship, and service.

The first-year curriculum is designed to give every student a strong foundation in both objective and persuasive legal reasoning, legal research skills, clear writing style, and oral advocacy.

Students receive extensive written and oral feedback from faculty members on all major writing assignments. The feedback, consultation, and rewriting process enables law students to become increasingly proficient and independent in many of the core analytical and persuasive lawyering skills by the end of their first year. Furthermore, to introduce students to the rigors of the profession, the course is designed to simulate the demands of the actual practice of law.

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Upper-level students complete a rigorous writing experience reflecting the core values of supervised rewriting and individualized feedback. Washburn Law's regular upper-level courses include Writing for Law Practice and Transactional Drafting.

Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Faculty

Washburn Law's first year program is staffed by permanent, full-time, fully-integrated, tenure-track faculty members.

Facts about Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing at Washburn Law

  • We are consistently ranked among the top legal writing programs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The program is primarily staffed by full-time, tenure track faculty. Washburn's tenure track is unitary, meaning there are no distinctions among faculty. Our LARW program faculty also teach in other areas, such as Employment Law, Constitutional Law, and Tribal Law.
  • Students and faculty have access to one of the nation's highest-ranked law libraries and professional library staff. The Washburn Law Library was ranked 19th on list of Great Law Libraries by National Jurist, November 2012 edition.
  • All full-time Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing professors co-direct the first-year program and are members of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI). Washburn Law's program is one of only 35 programs in the U.S. that is "directorless."
  • Washburn's Contracts class includes a focus on transactions and drafting. This unusual curricular model sets Washburn Law apart from most other institutions and provides students a very rare training opportunity.
  • Legal writing students regularly observe oral arguments before state and federal appellate courts.
  • Legal writing professors regularly teach a seminar session in the Washburn Law Clinic, helping students to make a smooth transition between classroom and practice.
  • Washburn regularly offers Transactional Drafting and Writing for Law Practice to upper-division students.
  • Washburn Law is among half of law schools who teach Legislative History and Administrative Law research in the first year.
Emily Grant
Photograph: Emily Grant.
J.D., University of Illinois College of Law, 2000
Related Service: Board of Editors, Journal of the Kansas Bar Association
"It is such a honor to work with first year law students – to welcome them into the legal academy, to help them understand the basic responsibilities and duties of the profession, and to watch them grow in their own abilities as a legal communicator. Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing is the foundation course (if I do say so myself!) for the practice of law; I enjoy and take very seriously the privilege of teaching it."
Jeffrey D. Jackson
Photograph: Jeffrey Jackson.
LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2003; J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1992
Related Service: Associate Editor, Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors
"The professors at Washburn are truly committed to helping students become effective lawyers. The Legal Analysis, Research and Writing program reflects this commitment. By placing the proper emphasis on teaching students to analyze, research, and convey legal information, Washburn ensures that its graduates will be able to go anywhere in the country and be successful."
Tonya Kowalski
Photograph: Tonya Kowalski.
J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1995
Related Service: Co-chair, Legal Writing Institute Committee on Cooperation Among Clinical, Externship, and Legal Writing Faculty
"Legal reasoning and writing are the heart and soul of the law. One way to turn these difficult tasks into a powerful and satisfying experience is to tap into our students' tremendous personal creativity and desire to make a difference in the world. My goal is to work with students to demonstrate how much creative potential they can unleash through analysis and writing, so that they can find joy in their new profession while using their skills to solve human problems."
Joe Mastrosimone
Photograph: Joe Mastrosimone.
J.D., George Washington University, 1998
We are consistently ranked among the top legal writing programs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
The program is primarily staffed by full-time, tenure track faculty.
The Washburn Law Library was ranked 19th on list of Great Law Libraries by National Jurist, November 2012 edition.
LARW Faculty Host Junior Legal Writing Scholars Workshop

"Washburn Law is the only school offering a stand-alone scholarship forum for legal writing professors."
Emily Grant, Washburn Law LARW Professor

"This event was everything you want from a workshop: all the participants were engaged, thoughtful, encouraging, and just so empowering. ... The LRW folks at Washburn went out of their way to provide a fostering environment for scholarship development [and] planned an event with just the perfect balance between structure and fluidity--allowing each participant opportunity to engage with new ideas and rethink their own projects."
Christine Bartholomew, Lecturer in Law, Legal Analysis, Writing and Research, SUNY Buffalo Law School

"Washburn Law constructed an energizing and productive two days. ... I'd definitely recommend this workshop, and I'd recommend taking any opportunity you have to visit the folks at Washburn."
Susan Salmon, Assistant Director of Legal Writing & Associate Clinical Professor of Law, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law