Reading Book in Iowa Law Library

Legal Writing

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.

DirectorDawn 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."

Writing Faculty

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.

LAWR Faculty

Dawn Barker Anderson (2)

Dawn Barker Anderson

Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Professor Anderson teaches Legal Analysis, Writing and Research and is the director of the Writing Resource Center and the college’s academic success program.

Andrew Crouse Preferred Touch Up

Andrew Crouse

Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Professor Crouse is an Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Research. He taught various courses at Hamline University School of Law and then Mitchell Hamline School of Law, including legal writing, advanced torts, and property. He also served as assistant dean of law students and diversity and legal counsel for the university during the combination of Hamline University School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law.

Mary Ksobiech (1)

Mary M. Ksobiech

Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Professor Mary Ksobiech is a Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Research. She is an alumna of the University of Iowa College of Law. In 2006, she joined the faculty of The University of Alabama School of Law where she taught courses in Legal Writing, Litigation Drafting, and Judicial Opinion Drafting and served as the Assistant Dean of Students. She will be teaching in the areas of Legal Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Academic Support.

Christopher Liebig (4)

Christopher Liebig

Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Professor Liebig currently teaches Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research. He worked several years as a litigator in private practice in Hartford and Boston, before leaving practice to earn an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Lorie Schweer (3)

Lorie Schweer

Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Lorie Schweer graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with an accounting degree in 1984. Professor Schweer first practiced as a certified public accountant and then worked in banking for 13 years. In the banking industry, she focused on regulatory compliance, audit, loan quality, and commercial lending. After graduating from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2003, she practiced law with a focus on tax planning, estate planning, probate, and exempt organization governance.

Caroline Sheerin (1)

Caroline Sheerin

Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing & Research
Caroline Sheerin graduated cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University in 1993, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She then taught English in Japan for two years and after returning from Japan, she received her Masters in East Asian Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She then went to the University of Michigan Law School, where she received her JD in December 1999.

"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."

Interested in learning more? Contact us.

Writing Resource Center University of Iowa College of Law 480 BLB Iowa City, IA 52242