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Legal Research and Writing Curriculum


Every Hamline student is required to complete a series of research, writing, drafting, and advocacy assignments through the three-semester Legal Research and Writing course. The third semester of the curriculum is still in the planning stages, but will include continued research training and give students the choice of focusing on appellate advocacy skills or focusing on transactional drafting skills. The following summary covers the first two semesters of the course.

Closed Memo: The first major LRW assignment of the year, and sometimes the first assignment a student turns in during law school. The closed memo allows students to make and evaluate legal arguments using authority provided by their instructors.

Research Memo: The second major LRW assignment. The research memo builds on the closed memo by allowing students to find and choose the authority they will use to support their analysis of legal issues.

Client Letter: The third major LRW assignment. The client letter simulates communications with a client about his or her legal issues and options for resolving those concerns.

Motion Memo: The fourth major LRW assignment. For the motion memorandum, a student represents one party to an ongoing lawsuit and advocates for a decision favorable to the client.

Oral Argument:The final assignment in the LRW course. During oral arguments, students present the arguments made in their motion memoranda as part of a mock oral argument before a trial court judge.

Drafting: Starting in late first or early second semester, students will do exercises and assignments to learn how to draft a variety of documents, including transactional documents, pleadings, and legislation.

The final assignment in the LRW course. During oral arguments, students present the arguments made in their appellate briefs to a panel of volunteer judges.

Required Texts

Required Texts are available on class syllabi (below).

Recommended Texts

Recommended Texts  

Student Manual

Legal Research and Writing Student Manual 


For all current and previous syllabi, please refer to the Registrar's Term Information page and navigate to the appropriate term and course.

Curriculum Partners

The research librarians from Hamline’s Law Library -- Law Library Director and Associate Professor Grace Mills, Barbara Kallusky, Regina Watson, and Megan Jens -- participate in planning and teaching the research component of the LRW curriculum. 

Staff and faculty in the Dispute Resolution Institute participate in planning and facilitating mediation simulations, based on the Research Memo, which students participate as role players in first semester.