All lawyers must know how to research the law effectively, how to analyze the law and apply it to a client’s factual situation, and how to communicate their legal analysis clearly to a variety of audiences. Each fall, students in small LSSC “law offices” begin developing these crucial skills. In NUSL’s unique LSSC program, students learn and practice legal research and writing skills in the LRW component, then put them immediately into practice in  their real-life social justice project. Students continue to hone these skills throughout their upper level classes and on co-op, as well as throughout their professional careers.

The LSSC LRW component teaches students about the organization of the American legal system, the sources and construction of laws, and how the law may be applied differently to different factual situations. Students learn how to research the law and locate legal rules for their clients, how to analyze and apply those rules to the client’s specific facts, and how to clearly and effectively communicate their analysis to the client and others.

LSSC LRW uses a variety of teaching tools to build research and writing abilities throughout the year.  In addition to in-class research and writing instruction in small sections, the LRW teaching  tools include an interactive online textbook, specially designed in-class and homework exercises, and hands-on research exercises in the library guided by adjuncts, NUSL reference librarians and TAs. These tools help students develop foundational skills that they will further develop  as they work on LSSC’s Social Justice projects in the second semester of study. Students will practice effective legal research and writing techniques throughout the year as they complete numerous exercises, two objective memos, a client letter, and two persuasive briefs. Students will also have the opportunity to present an oral argument at the end of the year.

The goal of LSSC LRW is to provide a complete and involved research and writing experience that will prepare students for their work in other classes, on co-ops and in their legal careers. First year students immediately put their LRW training to use in their concurrent LSSC Social justice project where they  will work with an organizational client and one another to research the law and produce a work product that the client will ideally use to influence the law, policy, and society. Students continue to refine their skills in their upper level classes and on co-op.

For more information contact Professor Susan Sloane, director of the LSSC Legal Research and Writing Program, at s.sloane@neu.edu.