Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research

What is 1L LAWR?

As a required first-year course, Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (LAWR) is just the start of your writing experience in law school. But before you can learn how to write like a lawyer, you need to learn how to think like a lawyer. This means you must first learn the key skills of critical reading, thinking, and analysis that every lawyer needs. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other,” said William Zinnser in On Writing Well. Once you learn these foundational skills, then you will learn how to write like a lawyer.

During this year-long course, we will cover predictive and persuasive writing, and you will draft a variety of assignments from legal memos to client letters and emails. As a small-group setting, LAWR at SMU is an interactive and collaborative course. You often will work in groups, and you will come to know your classmates well. Additionally, your professors will meet with you regularly and provide feedback on your work. Our hope is that your LAWR course is a place for you to develop as a thinker and a writer and to make lifelong connections with your classmates and professors.