Lawyering and Legal Reasoning

Our Lawyering and Legal Reasoning (LLR) program for first-year students provides practical experience in finding legal rules, applying those rules to specific facts to reach well-reasoned conclusions, and communicating legal analysis to lawyers and clients -- in other words, doing what lawyers do every day. 

In two semester-long courses, students learn how to analyze various kinds of legal issues in a rigorous, methodical and logical way. Students practice issue identification, legal research, and analysis in the context of objective writing (office memos) in the fall and persuasive writing (trial court motions and appellate briefs) in the spring.  While students are learning foundational principles of common law and procedure in other first-year courses, in LLR courses they do their own research to find applicable rules and they practice applying those rules to specific fact patterns to answer legal questions. With assistance from selected upper-class students, LLR Instructors review drafts, provide small-group and individual conferences, and give individualized comments on written assignments throughout each semester.  

Through small-section instruction, consistent practice, and frequent feedback, the LLR program seeks to give students a solid foundation in legal reasoning and legal writing that will help them learn how to think, and write, like lawyers.

"LLR provided me with practical opportunities to hone my skills. Most importantly, LLR equipped me with the tools necessary to be successful during summer clerkships and after graduation." - J.D. Marsh '16

Called to the Bar

Called to the Bar is a required part of the LLR course that begins during orientation and focuses largely on professionalism, ethics and the duties of lawyering. The Called to the Bar workshops are designed for first-year students to enhance academic success, cultivate professionalism and lawyering skills, and enable students to develop a sound career plan.

Caruthers Fellows

The Caruthers Fellows, chosen by the LLR faculty, are second- or third-year students who serve as mentors and assist first-year students with the development of research, writing and other basic skills.