We have a reputation for producing very strong legal writers.
Law is a profession whose principal tool is language. The ability to use that language to craft concise, compelling legal writing is an essential skill—your clients’ livelihoods, freedom, even their lives depend on it.
This is why Iowa Law invests in a full-time writing faculty—and we’re one of the few top-tier law schools to do so. We have six full-time writing faculty committed to developing your analytical thinking and persuasive writing skills. Our writing faculty are experienced attorneys who are also award-winning teachers and published authors who speak frequently at local, regional, and national conferences.
You’ll take 5 credits of legal analysis, writing & research as a first-year student. Through intensive, individualized attention, including 3–6 one-on-one conferences each semester, you’ll deepen your understanding of law and develop the tools to be an effective legal communicator as you learn to apply the law to real-world legal problems.
After your first year, you will complete four more writing credits with flexibility to pick the writing courses that meet your career goals. And, Iowa Law offers many writing and oral advocacy competitions, including appellate advocacy, international and domestic appellate advocacy competitions, and oral advocacy focused on intellectual property. Iowa Law also offers advanced research instruction through our highly skilled research librarians, all of whom have JDs and library science degrees.
When the time comes for your first job, you’ll have the research and writing prowess, the sharp intellect, the analytical habits of mind, and the confidence in your abilities to set you apart in the market.
“Analysis is the key to strong legal writing. We will take you through the process—from research to editing—to provide you with the skills you need to succeed as a lawyer.”
Writing Resource Center
The Writing Resource Center serves as an extension of the classroom and of the first-year Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Program. The Center provides one-on-one tutorial assistance for writers working on course assignments, journal articles, writing samples, and the like.
Students come to the center by recommendation of faculty members or through self-referrals and are able to gain help with rhetorical, stylistic, and grammatical concerns that arise in their writing. Additionally, members of the staff work with students on general writing improvement and on strategies for dealing with everything from overcoming writer’s block to adapting material for various audiences. Typically, more than two-thirds of all first-year students and more than one-third of all law students make use of the Writing Resource Center in any given year.
Director: Dawn Anderson, Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Research Assistants: Claire Haney (2L), Aurora Kammerer (2L), Barbi Rodriguez (2L), and Kelly Ferree (2L)
"Legal writing requires a completely different way of thinking and expressing yourself. And it’s the defining skill when the time comes to get that first job. We will prepare you."
Legal writing isn’t just another form of expository prose, and it matters who teaches it. That’s why we’ve invested in a full-time writing faculty, instead of using Teaching Assistants or adjuncts, to help you develop this essential skill. Our students say that Iowa’s reputation for producing great legal writers makes a difference in the most competitive job markets.
"Faculty members in the LAWR Program, all former practicing attorneys, bring their real world experiences to bear on their work in the classroom. In our course, we work hard to simulate the mentoring relationship between a senior attorney and junior attorney in law practice."