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

  • 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.

Short URL for this page:

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
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."
Antonina Kowalska
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
J.D., George Washington University, 1998
Judge J. Richard Foth Writing Award

This award is given annually to the student who writes the best brief in Legal Analysis, Research & Writing II. The professor in each section of the course selects the top paper for that section. The top papers from the various sections are then evaluated by a committee of two law professors and one practicing attorney or judge. A modest cash stipend accompanies the Foth award.

  • 2023: Alex Solomon
  • 2022: Sarah Lynch-Chaput
  • 2021: Zachary J. Smith
  • 2020: John Ralston
  • 2019: Rylee M. Broyles
  • 2018: Katherine A. Lander
  • 2017: Jeremy E. Koehler
  • 2016: Jordan Z. Dillon
  • 2015: Kyle E. Calvin
  • 2014: Justin G. Cook
  • 2013: Anthony J. Ford
  • 2012: Aaron K. Friess
  • 2011: Julie M. Covel
  • 2010: Jacob G. Fleming
  • 2009: Samuel R. Foreman
  • 2008: Ashley G. Hawkinson
  • 2007: Aaron O. Martin
  • 2006: Christopher C. Ault-Duell
  • 2005: Robin R. Anderson
  • 2004: Stephanie R. Nall
  • 2003: Ryan S. Vincent
  • 2002: Allison M. Kenkel
  • 2001: John W. Broomes
  • 2000: Kelly K. Elliott
  • 1999: Tony L. Atterbury
  • 1998: JoAnn M. Stone
  • 1997: Steven C. Neill
  • 1996: Jason M. Robinson
  • 1995: Stephen J. Torline
  • 1994: Paulette R. Burgess
  • 1993: Laura J. Smithson-Corl
  • 1992: Jaquelin G. Heyen
  • 1991: John D. Williamson
  • 1990: Bryan W. Smith
  • 1989: Sheldon Eric Steinle
  • 1988: Shelley A. Runion

J. Richard Foth was appointed chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals in December 1977. Before becoming one of the first seven appeals judges he was a commissioner for the Kansas Supreme Court from 1971-1977 and wrote more than 170 Supreme Court decisions during his tenure. Judge Foth was a member of the Kansas Judicial Council's Advisory Committee, which revised the criminal code and code of criminal procudure.

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

"Emily Grant and Joseph Mastrosimone planned and implemented an amazing workshop experience. They were delightful hosts and supportive mentors... Washburn values legal writing and it shows. I plan to tell my own dean how much Washburn's Dean Romig supports legal writing!"
Wendy N. Hess, Assistant Professor and Director, Fundamental Legal Skills and Legal Writing, University of South Dakota School of Law

"Washburn Rocks! It is a fantastic law school and it is very clear that there is a strong emphasis on legal writing... The feedback truly was wonderful... It was a whole lot of learning and a whole lot of fun!!!"
Maureen Johnson, Associate Clinical Professor, Loyola Law School

"An enriching, rewarding, stimulating, and gratifying experience.”
Michael Pisnof, Adjunct Instructor, Paralegal Studies Department, Roosevelt University (Chicago)