Legal Writing and Research

Extensilaw_hensley_herove Legal Writing and Research

Valparaiso Law maintains top legal writing and research programs. You will graduate knowing how to research, write and advocate. Our curriculum (launched in 2013), carefully integrates three years of required writing as well as three semesters of required research – two separate programs that provide exceptional training in practical skills, generate remarkable student satisfaction, and ignite student passion for the practice of law.

Legal Writing

At Valparaiso Law, rigorous training in legal writing begins in the first year and extends into the second and third years. This includes not just traditional seminars but courses on appellate advocacy, legal drafting, legal journalism, and subject-matter specific advanced legal writing and drafting courses. Valparaiso University Law graduates have a reputation for strong legal writing and research skills, and our new curriculum has embraced and enhanced that strength.


First Year: Building on the skills learned in Foundations of Legal Analysis, Praxis I–Client Interviewing, and Praxis II–Professional Business Communication in the fall, the spring semester Legal Writing I focuses on communicating legal analysis through the process of drafting both objective and persuasive documents.

Second-year: Students take two, seven-week legal writing courses during the fall semester that focus on advanced writing and research skills and refine the writing skills learned in the first year. Course choices include: Appellate Advocacy (civil or criminal), Introduction to Drafting, Legal Journalism for those who blog on Valparaiso’s student blog,  Appellate Advocacy for members of Moot Court Society and International Moot Court, and Law Review for notewriters.

Third-year: The third-year writing requirement is designed to be a capstone to students’ legal education. This capstone affords the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member in a substantive area of interest to the students.


David R. Cleveland – Interim Dean and Professor of Law

Effective legal communication is fundamental to successful law practice. Valparaiso Law’s curriculum is designed to go beyond traditional legal writing to explore the full range of legal communications from articulating legal concepts to writing in specialized legal fields.

“I am excited to prepare my students to practice with confidence, skill, and professionalism.”


Faisal Kutty – Assistant Professor of Law

Valpo has truly restructured itself to make its program responsive to the changing realities of the legal market. Professor Kutty’s research and extensive writing focuses on human rights, discrimination, and community advocacy.

“As a former managing partner responsible for hiring new lawyers, I can confidently say that Valparaiso Law’s legal writing and research program is over and above the traditional first-year legal writing courses – legal drafting, appellate advocacy, moot court advocacy, legal journalism, and statutory drafting – are exactly what legal employers would have dreamt up.”


Katharine Wehling – Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

I am very pleased to return to the law school after a career in university strategy and communications. The art and science of compelling legal writing match essential communication principles, namely, to inform and influence an audience.

“We understand that the core of being an effective lawyer is to be an effective communicator. The skills of understanding an audience, of framing complex stories, and of explaining and applying the law are essential for success.”