Florida State / College of Law / Academic and International Programs / Juris Doctor Program / Legal Writing & Research

Legal Writing & Research

Recognizing that writing and communication skills are essential to becoming an effective lawyer, Florida State Law emphasizes legal writing and research throughout its curriculum. Exposure to legal writing begins in the first year and is further developed and refined in the second and third years of study. As a requirement for graduation, each student is required to write a significant seminar paper in the second or third year of study.

In the first year, Legal Writing and Research is a required course, carrying two credits each semester. This course is taught by full-time instructors with outstanding academic backgrounds and legal experience.

In addition to the first year Legal Writing and Research course, the law school provides opportunities for students to develop and refine the craft of legal writing and research through the upper level writing requirement. To obtain a degree from Florida State Law, a student must satisfy an upper level writing requirement (ULWR) by completing a course, seminar, or Directed Individual Study with a research paper of substantial length which involves responding to at least one critique of a rough draft. Most students complete the ULWR through a seminar class. The seminar offerings at the law school, taught by faculty members who are leading scholars in their fields of inquiry, provide a rich variety of advanced topic coverage. Each year, more than a dozen seminars are offered for this purpose. Students may also choose to satisfy the ULWR through Directed Independent Study (DIS). The DIS program provides an opportunity for upper-class students to enrich their legal education by pursuing study in an area of particular interest under close faculty supervision.

Florida State Law also offers an elective upper level writing skills course and many other elective upper level courses which include a significant writing component. Additionally, the three student-edited law journals at the College of Law -- Florida State University Law Review, the Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, and the Journal of Transnational Law and Policy -- afford rich opportunities for students to gain experience in sophisticated writing and research.