Legal Analysis, Research and Writing
No matter what career a student chooses after graduation, being a lawyer requires more than just mastering various areas of substantive law. An effective lawyer must apply the precisely relevant law to a client's specific issue—and then communicate that analysis in a context-appropriate manner. The law school's legal analysis, research and writing program gives students the skills necessary to perform that analysis and communication across numerous contexts. From short time-sensitive emails to lengthy persuasive briefs, UW Law's curriculum provides numerous opportunities for students to master the real-world work of being a lawyer.
First Year Students
Each first year student takes a full year of Legal Analysis, Research and Writing (LARW), which uses real-world problems and hands-on workshops that introduce students to the work that lawyers do. In LARW, students learn to analyze cases and statutes, to locate relevant legal authority and to communicate effectively using a "plain language" style. Throughout the course, students must go beyond accurately stating the relevant legal rules; they must offer practical analysis of how those rules might apply to a client's needs. Because legal research and legal analysis are inherently intertwined, LARW faculty members integrate research instruction throughout the first-year program. The Gallagher Law Library reference office serves as a valuable resource for all students as they master the latest methods of legal research.
Second and Third Year Students
In their second and third years, students have abundant opportunities to advance their research, analysis and communication skills in a variety of upper-level writing and research courses. All students must fulfill an advanced writing requirement, which may be satisfied through a variety of courses and projects.
Student Legal Writing Competitions
Legal writing competitions offer a variety of rewards beyond the opportunity to practice analysis, research and writing skills; most competitions award significant cash prizes and some provide opportunities for travel and publication.
Judge William L. Dwyer Jury Project Award
This competition is open only to UW Law students who have completed at least one year toward a JD or LLM degree. Students may submit a short essay or article on any issue relating to any aspect of the American jury system. This competition is sponsored by the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington, the competition honors Judge William L. Dwyer, one of the nation's most respected federal judges.
Malcolm Edwards Prize for Best Overall Appellate Brief
The Edwards Prize is given each year to the best piece of written advocacy submitted by a first-year student during the spring quarter of Legal Analysis, Research and Writing (LARW). To be eligible, a student must also participate in the first-year Appellate Advocacy competition. The prize includes a cash award of $2,000.
The award was established in 2012 by a donation from the law firm of Smith Goodfriend, P.S., to honor the firm's founding partner, Malcolm L. Edwards, '57, who devoted a substantial portion of his law practice to appellate advocacy.
Legal Writing Fellows
Legal Writing Fellows (LWFs) are second- and third-year law students who work with first-year students under the supervision of the Legal Analysis Research & Writing faculty. LWFs hold office hours in the Legal Writing Center to help with skills such as case briefing and synthesis, statutory interpretation, legal research, writing style and organization and citation form. LWFs may also provide feedback on short, ungraded writing and research assignments. From time to time, LWFs also hold informal lunchtime review sessions on topics that may require extra discussion.