Courses throughout the writing curriculum are sequenced to build on one another, from foundational skills in research and writing to the drafting of specific documents in practice. They include:
In the first quarter, faculty introduce students to characteristics that distinguish legal writing from other forms of writing, while students receive instruction in the mechanics of legal writing, including organization and structure of legal reasoning. The quarter ends with students drafting and revising an objective office memorandum.
Building on the skills learned in the first quarter, students receive comprehensive training in legal research before completing drafts and final versions of a research memorandum. Students demonstrate their mastery of both research and objective analytical skills.
The third quarter of the program introduces persuasive communications within the specific context of appellate advocacy. Students draft and rewrite an appellate brief and compete in a mandatory intra-scholastic moot court competition. Students master the difference between objective and persuasive legal writing.
Students in their second year learn to draft specific types of litigation-related documents. During the course, students write a complaint and an answer, discovery requests, a persuasive memorandum, and a motion. Students learn to construct arguments at the trial stage, building upon the persuasive communications skills learned during the previous quarter.
This course is distinct in its emphasis on crafting common forms of legal communications and documents based on a transactional setting, such as a real-estate deal, will-drafting issue, or business-organizations problem. In the context of a hypothetical deal or issue, students may craft engagement letters, offers, opinion letters, closing instructions, termination letters, or portions of contracts. Students learn to recognize and address conflicts of interest, negotiation points, objective and persuasive writing, and client-relations issues.
The culmination of the Baylor Law experience is reached in Practice Court. This rigorous litigation-training simulation provides a kind of “life-lab” for future lawyers, teaching them time-management, efficiency, stress-control, evidence, procedural rules, litigation drafting, motion practice, and advocacy skills. Each student prepares for real-world practice, whether as a negotiator or litigator. Practice Court covers a wide range of written assignments, from pretrial motions, to bench briefs, to discovery matters, to expert issues. The writing faculty is directly involved in reviewing student assignments, judging hearings, and providing feedback throughout the experience.