Legal Writing First-Year Program

Legal Writing is a required 3 credit, year-long course for entering JD students. The course trains students in analytical, research, and writing skills. Students learn basic principles of legal reasoning and how to embody these principles in documents used in practice, including an office memorandum and appellate brief. A separate component of the course, taught by Fordham’s lawyer-librarians, provides students with basic tools for conducting legal research. The course also gives students an initial exposure to lawyering skills, such as interviewing, negotiating, and oral advocacy.

Classes are taught by adjunct professors drawn from the highest ranks of legal practitioners. Enrollment in each class is limited to 16-18 students, allowing class members to receive extensive personal attention from the professor. Over the course of the year, students meet with the professor in a series of individual conferences and obtain detailed critiques of their written work.

Each Legal Writing section also benefits from an upper-class teaching assistant who serves as a resource for both the professor and the students.

Beyond the formal classes, the Legal Writing Program offers additional resources to first-year students such as a tutoring program, workshops in contract drafting and citation form, demonstrations of lawyering skills, trips to local courts, and periodic lectures on topics pertaining to legal writing, research and analysis.