The unified writing curriculum at UNT Dallas College of Law is designed to provide you with opportunities to receive detailed feedback on your substance and style, and then rewrite your work. We believe learning happens when students put "pen" to "paper;" however, we also believe that the opportunity to redraft your work after receiving critical feedback maximizes our students' growth. Legal writing is integrated throughout your legal education with opportunities for extensive one-on-one feedback.
In addition to the required first-year legal writing courses, in order to graduate from UNT Dallas College of Law a student must complete eight writing segments. A student satisfies this requirement through the successful completion of six writing assignments in six of his or her upper-level courses and successful competition of the law school’s Major Writing Requirement. A student may satisfy his or her Major Writing Requirement in two ways: a student may enroll in a Major Writing Independent Study under the direction of an academic supervisor, a major writing supervisor, and a research supervisor or a student may enroll in an upper-level Advanced Writing Practicum.
First Year Legal Writing Curriculum
At the College of Law, legal writing is deeply embedded in the law school curriculum from a student’s first year through his or her third year of law school. Legal writing is a pivotal part of each entering student’s first-year courses, as it comprises a total of five credit hours (separate and apart from an additional two-credit legal research course). During the first-year legal writing course, students fine-tune their grammar knowledge and writing style, while mastering the basic skills associated with objective and persuasive writing. The Director of Legal Writing, the Assistant Director of Legal Writing, and our Writing Resource Specialist, together with a team of highly successful practicing attorneys, jointly teach all first-year students UNT Dallas College of Law’s unified writing curriculum. This team-based teaching approach allows students extensive one-on-one contact with full-time professors and practitioners, while ensuring that students receive extensive feedback and have abundant writing resources if extra help is needed.
Upper Level Legal Writing Curriculum
At the College of Law, the legal writing curriculum does not culminate at the close of this five-credit first-year legal writing course. Instead, after the first year of law school, UNT Dallas College of Law students continue to develop additional legal writing skills in their doctrinal courses. For example, students who take Constitutional Law draft a graded, legal memorandum; students who take Business Associations draft a graded partnership agreement; and students who take Family Law draft and argue a protective order. At a minimum and as a curricular requirement for graduation, all students must draft eight graded written assignments in various upper-level courses after they complete their first year at the College of Law.
In addition to these regular writing assignments in doctrinal classes, UNT Dallas College of Law’s legal writing curriculum culminates with a required, upper-level advanced writing course. These advanced writing courses—called advanced writing practicums—combine the teaching of doctrine with the teaching of advanced writing skills in a practice-based context. These practicums vary in terms of the type of writing they teach and the substantive vehicle used to teach the writing, thereby allowing students to select their practicum to tailor the development of their writing skills to their future practice-plans. Some examples of practicums offered in the past include: contract drafting, motions drafting in the context of domestic violence, criminal motions drafting in the context of the Fourth Amendment, and appellate drafting.
The courses that offer writing segments and the precise writing assignments associated with those courses vary by semester and by professor. All writing segments are graded by rubric and professors provide the students with individual or global feedback on the writing assignment.
In addition, the College of Law offers a number of extra-curricular writing segments every year. These extra-curricular writing segments provide students with extra practice in areas of interest or in areas where a student has determined he or she needs additional help before the bar exam. All extra-curricular segments are graded by rubric and students receive written feedback on the writing. Some example of extracurricular writing segments include:
- Draft and submit a brief related to a school-sponsored writing competition, such as the Annual Thompson & Knight Moot Court Competition.
- Complete an MPT Exam under the supervision of the Bar Readiness team.
- Draft a short memo on a bar-related topic not covered by the College of Law's required courses, such as the First Amendment, under the supervision of the Bar Readiness team.