Curriculum Guide · Curriculum
Legal Writing and Scholarship
Georgetown considers legal scholarship and writing essential to professional excellence and offers many opportunities for students to develop their abilities in this area.
Advanced Writing Courses
Students in the Law Fellow Program study the theory of teaching legal writing in the five-credit, two-semester Legal Writing Seminar: Theory and Practice for Law Fellows. They explore notions from composition theory, linguistics, and cognitive psychology by doing a series of readings. They transfer these theories to practice by preparing and teaching workshops, commenting on student papers, holding conferences with students, and working individually with selected students. They also write a bench memo in the spring semester. All work is done under the close supervision of the legal writing professor.
Senior Writing Fellows study the theory of teaching scholarly writing under Professor DeLaurentis. In the three-credit course Applied Legal Composition, they read extensively about writing theory and its application to scholarly legal writing. They explore more complicated matters of style, ESL (English as a Second Language) learning, scholarly research, and topic development. They work individually with students through conferences at the Writing Center.
Advanced Legal Research
Other advanced legal research seminars help students build on skills learned in the first year and focus on legal scholarship of particular fields.
Legal Research Skills for Practice reinforces the skills learned in the first-year Legal Research and Writing course.
Advanced Legal Research focuses on extensive research problems requiring the use of print materials, Lexis, Westlaw, and the internet. The course goes beyond topics covered in the first year course and emphasizes research tools and techniques used in practice.
Law Firm Research Seminar requires students to engage in a semester-long project based on an existing federal trial court case of their own choosing. The course focuses on research issues that lawyers encounter in practice and explores sources and strategies to support efficient and effective research management.
Seminar Research Methods focuses on research across a range of disciplines and sources and helps students find and improve their own research styles.
Legal Research in International and Comparative Law: Sources and Strategies, a two-credit course, addresses research methods and sources for international and foreign legal research. As a final project, students prepare a research guide on an international law topic or international organization.
Students who want to write in a field of interest not covered by a seminar might consider undertaking a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Students may earn two credits by researching and writing a paper on an approved topic. To sign up for supervised research, students must fill out a form available at the Office of the Registrar by the end of the Add/Drop period in the semester for which the credits are requested. If there is no full-time faculty member available in the specific area, students may propose a project with an adjunct professor. Supervised research requests are reviewed by the Chair of the Faculty/Student Committee on Legal Research and Writing.
Faculty who teach in the various curriculum areas are listed at the end of each curriculum essay. The Faculty Research Register, available at the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, lists the research interests of members of the full-time faculty. Information about J.D. adjunct professors can be obtained by contacting Assistant Dean Sarah Hulsey.
The Writing Center The Writing Center provides J.D. and graduate students with assistance on writing projects. Senior Writing Fellows at the Center provide feedback on the following: making the transition from another field of expertise, such as engineering or history, to legal discourse; approaching scholarly writing as a specific genre with defined scope, purpose, audience, substance, and technical concerns; using legal substance to organize writing effectively and to make argumentative decisions; improving legal writing by understanding it as a specific process performed under time pressure in practical and academic legal settings, using computer technology and word processing to improve legal research and writing; paying proper attention to legal citation form and footnotes in text; connecting substance to syntax; mastering English grammar; and overcoming writer’s block.
Advanced Legal Research
Advanced Legal Research Techniques for Scholarship and Seminar Papers
Applied Legal Composition
Introduction to Scholarly Note Writing
Legal Research Skills for Practice
Dunn, Catherine M.
Dunn, Catherine M.
Stoddard, Morgan M.
Venie, Todd M.
Venie, Todd M. (Offered)
Zarin, Jason S.
Zarin, Jason S. (Offered)
Research Skills in International and Comparative Law
Advanced Legal Writing Seminar
Advanced Legal Writing and Practice for Judicial Clerks and Civil Litigators
Advanced Legal Writing in Practice Seminar
Advanced Legal Writing: Legal Writing as a Discipline
Introduction to Contemporary Legal Scholarship Seminar
Introduction to Scholarly Editing Seminar
Legal Writing Seminar: Theory and Practice for Law Fellows
Avalos, Lisa R.
Bonneau, Sonya G. (Offered)
Carroll, Erin (Offered)
Cedrone, Michael J. (Offered)
Clark, Jessica (Offered)
DeLaurentis, Frances C. (Offered)
Donahoe, Diana R. (Offered)
Girard, Vicki W. (Offered)
McMahon, Susan A. (Offered)
Ross, Julia L. (Offered)
Sirota, Rima (Offered)
Tiscione, Kristen K. (Offered)
Writing for Law Practice