Louisville Law introduces Upper Level Writing & Research course for Fall 2020

Starting in Fall 2020, second- and third-year students at Louisville Law will have an additional way to satisfy the School of Law's writing requirement.

Previously, the requirement could only be satisfied via enrollment in a seminar or by participating in a law journal. Now, students can incorporate the writing requirement into their regular coursework through a standalone, asynchronous lab that can be attached to eligible upper-level courses.

"This is out of a desire to give our students some good legal writing background," says Kurt Metzmeier, associate director of the Law Library and a professor of legal research. He, along with Professor JoAnne Sweeny, who teaches Lawyering Skills, and Erin Gow, who teaches Electronic Legal Research, created the course, which is called Upper Level Writing & Research.

Legal writing and research skills are meant to be practiced, and law students need many opportunities to practice those skills, say the professors.

"Ninety percent of the legal profession is about writing," Metzmeier says. "People that write, write all the time and still learn things for years. The only way to learn it is to do it."

Students enrolled in this one-credit course will complete readings and worksheets, with regular opportunities for feedback from the professor. They will also write a research paper that, unlike the brief they would have written as a first-year student, will be on a topic of the student's choosing and will delve deeper into secondary sources.

"It's doing the work lawyers do in real life," says Sweeny. "It's practice-ready."