First Year ProgramLegal Writing is a required three-credit course for entering J.D. students that meets in both the fall and spring semesters. The course trains 480 first-year students in analytical, research, and writing skills. The classes are taught by adjunct professors drawn from the highest ranks of legal practitioners.
In the course, students learn principles of legal reasoning and techniques for drafting legal documents such as office memoranda and appellate briefs. A separate component of the course, taught by Fordham’s lawyer-librarians, provides students with basic tools in legal research. The course also gives students an initial exposure to lawyering skills such as interviewing, negotiating, and oral advocacy.
Enrollment in the first-year Legal Writing classes is limited to eighteen students, which provides class members with the opportunity to receive extensive individualized attention from the professor. Students meet with the professor in a series of personal conferences and obtain detailed critiques of their written work. Each Legal Writing section 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 contact drafting and citation form, demonstrations of lawyering skills, trips to local courts, and periodic lectures on topics pertaining to legal research and writing.