Legal Research & Writing

Effective communication lies at the heart of effective lawyering. The Legal Research and Writing Program at Detroit Mercy Law trains students to research legal issues thoroughly and efficiently, to analyze issues soundly, and to communicate clearly and effectively. Faculty members and law librarians work closely with students, providing them the feedback and guidance necessary to become strong counselors and advocates.

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    The legal research and writing curriculum at Detroit Mercy Law is thoughtful, evidence-based, and responsive to the needs of both students and the legal profession. All students in the JD Program must take three introductory courses that span students’ first three semesters: (1) Introduction to Legal Research and Communication, which trains students to be efficient and sophisticated researchers; (2) Applied Legal Theory and Analysis I, which trains students in basic statutory and common law interpretation and in predictive legal writing; and (3) Applied Legal Theory and Analysis II, which focuses on oral and written persuasion (advocacy). Students in the Canadian and American Dual JD Program take two introductory courses, Comparative Legal Research and Writing I & II, which focus on predictive and persuasive writing within both the American and Canadian legal systems.

    All students also must take at least one writing course beyond the upper level sequence. Some students elect to hone their persuasive skills by taking Advanced Advocacy. Others prepare for prestigious state and federal judicial clerkships by taking the Judicial Clerkship course. Still others elect seminars that allow them to engage in scholarly writing concerning original legal topics. In short, students’ interests will guide their later choices. 

    Many students also take Advanced Legal Research, an upper level elective consistently described by students as among the most useful classes in the curriculum.

    Finally, the Writing across the Curriculum Program at Detroit Mercy Law reinforces and augments the skills taught in the required legal research and writing courses. This Program incorporates writing into several required upper-level classes.


    Meet the Faculty

    Librarians and faculty teaching in the Legal Research and Writing Program are experienced, dedicated teachers and accomplished, well regarded scholars. They present regularly at conferences nationally and internationally. They are authors of textbooks, research guides, and influential articles on subjects ranging from curricular reform to narrative theory. Most importantly, they are devoted to student success and are known for their accessibility and skill.