Center for Writing Excellence

Excellence in legal writing is one of the three foundational pillars of law school that comprise a student becoming a successful lawyer; these three foundational pillars include excellence in legal writing, excellence in advocacy-related skills, and excellence in knowledge of legal doctrine.

Given its importance to success in practice, legal writing is a central part of each student’s legal education at UNT Dallas College of Law. The College of Law prioritizes teaching our students to think critically and to analyze and synthesize the law, however, we do not see these traditional law-school skills as the end.  Rather, we see them only as the starting point for students to achieve excellence in legal writing, excellence in advocacy-related skills, and excellence in knowledge of legal doctrine.

At the College of Law, legal writing is deeply embedded in the law school curriculum from a student’s first year through his or her third year of law school. Legal writing is a pivotal part of each entering student’s first-year courses, as it comprises a total of five credit hours (separate and apart from an additional two-credit legal research course).  During the first-year legal writing course, students fine-tune their grammar knowledge and writing style, while mastering the basic skills associated with objective and persuasive writing. The Director of Legal Writing, the Assistant Director of Legal Writing, and our Writing Resource Specialist, together with a team of highly successful practicing attorneys, jointly teach all first-year students UNT Dallas College of Law’s unified writing curriculum.  This team-based teaching approach allows students extensive one-on-one contact with full-time professors and practitioners, while ensuring that students receive extensive feedback and have abundant writing resources if extra help is needed. 

At the College of Law, the legal writing curriculum does not culminate at the close of this five-credit first-year legal writing course.  Instead, after the first year of law school, UNT Dallas College of Law students continue to develop additional legal writing skills in their doctrinal courses.  For example, students who take Constitutional Law draft a graded, legal memorandum; students who take Business Associations draft a graded partnership agreement; and students who take Family Law draft and argue a protective order.  At a minimum and as a curricular requirement for graduation, all students must draft eight graded written assignments in various upper-level courses after they complete their first year at the College of Law.  In addition to these regular writing assignments in doctrinal classes, UNT Dallas College of Law’s legal writing curriculum culminates with a required, upper-level advanced writing course.  These advanced writing courses—called advanced writing practicums—combine the teaching of doctrine with the teaching of advanced writing skills in a practice-based context.  These practicums vary in terms of the type of writing they teach and the substantive vehicle used to teach the writing, thereby allowing students to select their practicum to tailor the development of their writing skills to their future practice-plans.  Some examples of practicums offered in the past include: contract drafting, motions drafting in the context of domestic violence, criminal motions drafting in the context of the Fourth Amendment, and appellate drafting.  

As with the rest of the curriculum at the College of Law, the legal writing curriculum is designed to maximize students’ abilities in the classroom, on the bar, and ultimately in practice.  Our curriculum has been carefully crafted to ensure UNT Dallas College of Law students are equipped with the writing skills needed to serve their clients and their communities as successful attorneys immediately after graduation.  

Page last modified on October 11, 2017 at 11:58 am.