Should Advanced Legal Research and Writing Be Mandatory?

DateJanuary 13, 2016

As I approach the last few weeks of my legal education I begin to ask myself: Am I ready? Am I a well-trained individual ready to take on any challenge thrown my way? Or at least a competent individual with the basic skills necessary to write my first “real” memo? I have spent the last seven years in university researching and writing multiple papers; is that enough?

Even in my third year I find myself turning to the student next to me, whispering, “Where would I find that?” or “How do I cite that?” As embarrassing as this is, I find some comfort in the fact that often they don’t know either. Despite this reassurance that I’m not alone, this leads me to think that perhaps we are leaving law school under-prepared to enter the work force, without the tools required for adequate legal research and writing.

Some may argue that to take legal research and writing in first year is sufficient. I would have to disagree. With the mass amounts of new material that first years are expected to absorb, it is no surprise that the class spent on citations has slipped their memories by the end of their third year. This is especially true for students who have enrolled in mostly exam-based classes. As...

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