Legal Research & Communication

Effective research and communication lie at the heart of effective lawyering and are skills that legal employers demand. Our expert faculty and law librarians work closely with students, providing them the feedback and guidance necessary to become strong counselors and advocates.

“My first-year legal research and writing professor went above and beyond to teach us skills that are essential to succeed in practice. The class helped me immensely. I successfully applied my new skillset as a judicial extern the summer after my first year.”

Ellen Kim

 

Ellen Kim '20, Dual JD

 

First-Year Program

Students begin building legal research and communication skills during the first year.

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    US JD

    Students complete 7 credits spanning the first two semesters of their legal studies.

    • Introduction to Legal Research and Communication: efficient and sophisticated research method
    • Applied Legal Theory and Analysis I: statutory and common law interpretation and predictive legal writin
    • Applied Legal Theory and Analysis II: oral advocacy and written persuasion
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    Canadian and American Dual JD

    Comparative Legal Research and Writing: Students complete a 9-credit course that covers predictive and persuasive writing in both the American and Canadian legal systems, preparing students for legal work on both sides of the border.

Upper-Level Writing

Students continue building their legal writing skills in their upper-level years by completing at least two credits of upper-level writing. Many courses fulfill this requirement, and students are encouraged to select a course that aligns with their interests and future career goals.

Representative Upper-Level Writing Courses

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    Constitutional Law Seminar

    This course focuses on the unique law of congressional investigation and oversight. It examines the power of Congress to gather information and engage in fact-finding, and evaluate the importance of legislative inquiry in uncovering and addressing national crises, corruption, and scandal. The course also examines current affairs, including the relationship between the Congress and the Justice Department when each entity conducts parallel investigations into the same subject.

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    First Amendment Seminar

    Surveying the course of US history, from the cases stemming from the Sedition Act during the first Adams administration to those currently arising from the Patriot Act during the "Global War on Terror," this course examines many of the great cases that have determined the limits of free expression during times of national fear and military conflict.

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    Immigration Law Seminar

    In this course, students may research a wide range of cutting-edge issues including: comprehensive immigration reform, refugee policy, constitutional issues surrounding birthright citizenship and deportation, and the role of states in the immigration system.

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    Judicial Clerkship Seminar

    This course exposes students to the advanced legal skills necessary to be a successful attorney and prepares students who are interested in pursuing judicial clerkships. Classroom discussions cover research and writing strategies, the substantive legal issues students are addressing, and law clerk ethics and procedures.

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    Law and Cybersecurity Seminar

    This course examines the application of current laws to the evolving world of cybersecurity. Topics include prosecution and application of US criminal law, civil liability, the role of the private market, cybersecurity and international law, and the problems that flow from asserting national laws in a medium with no national borders.

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    Spirituality and the Law Seminar

    This course trains attorneys, regardless of their faith or personal convictions, to approach their clients from a holistic and Jesuit perspective and, in doing so, examine and serve their clients’ legal, human, and spiritual needs. The course helps attorneys to use their spirituality as a means of healing themselves to avoid and recover from the stress of the practice of law and the negative effects of working with clients who have suffered physical and emotional abuse.

Legal Writing Faculty

Detroit Mercy Law is invested in providing students with the best foundation possible in legal writing. There is a unitary tenure track with legal writing professors fully participating in committee and university service. Legal writing professors teach in disciplines outside of legal writing and bring their expertise into all writing courses.

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