A Reputation for Excellence

The Temple Law Legal Research and Writing Program has a distinguished national reputation for excellence and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. The hallmarks of Temple’s innovative program are its emphasis on real world practice, its ground-breaking approach to teaching, its distinguished faculty, and its unique specialized writing program for foreign lawyers.

Where LRW Meets Life

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to introducing students to the “real world” of the practice of law, the intensive first year Legal Research and Writing course is a hands-on course in which students are placed in the role of attorneys from the first day of class. One of the most innovative aspects of Temple’s program is that students learn to research and write by immersing themselves in the real life context of solving client legal problems in a way that reflects how they will work in summer jobs and later in practice. This gives Temple students a solid foundation of critical lawyering skills, enabling them to confront their first jobs with confidence. The “problem solving” nature of the course also gives students critical insight into the human side of law practice—truly, where law meets life.

The Ground-breaking Temple Approach to Legal Research and Writing

Temple is a leader in legal research and writing education. It was among the first law schools in the nation to design its research and writing curriculum around the client problem and to teach through the problem solving method. In this way, Temple’s program gives students a good grasp on the lawyering process and is an accurate reflection of how lawyers really practice. Temple has a rigorous writing requirement, mandating 10 credits of writing for graduation, including two writing-intensive upper-level courses.

Temple’s approach to teaching research and writing is innovative and its curriculum serves as a model for many other schools. One of the key facets of Temple’s first year course is the integrated teaching of research, analysis and writing. Temple also recognizes that technology has greatly expanded the array of research tools, and so fully integrates print, electronic, and open source research methods in the course.

A hallmark of Temple’s first year course is the intensive interaction between the students and the faculty, and the class sizes are designed to facilitate this. Students receive their first client problem on the first day of class and start researching and writing immediately. Students meet one-on-one with their professors several times over the course of the year and can expect detailed and frequent feedback on their work. In the fall semester, students focus on finding the law and using it to predict how a client’s problem can be resolved. In the spring, the focus is on persuasion, including oral advocacy. Temple’s successful curriculum, as well as the pedagogical theory on which it is based, is described in more detail in a law review article written by Professors Ellie Margolis and Susan DeJarnatt, entitled Moving Beyond Product to Process: Building a Better LRW Program, 46 Santa Clara L. Rev. 93 (2005).

The success of Temple’s curriculum is evident from the achievements of its students in local and national writing competitions. For example, Temple students have been extremely successful competing against local peers in the Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Pursuit of Justice” Writing Competitions. Students have also won awards from the American Bar Association and from the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. Several Temple students have also received Burton Legal Writing Awards for outstanding legal writing.

International Writing Program

Temple offers a specialized curriculum and broad writing support for international LL.M./S.J.D. students and visiting research scholars.

Legal Research & Writing for International LL.M. Students

Temple’s Legal Research & Writing course includes a series of writing assignments that lead to a specially designed “total immersion” project where students prepare and argue briefs before a panel of federal judges in the court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. LL.M. students also take an advanced writing course, which may be Professional Responsibility for international students, Legal Research & Writing II to produce a scholarly paper, or when available, a J.D. writing seminar on a topic of interest.

International Writing Center

The International Writing Center provides additional writing support to international LL.M./S.J.D. students and visiting research scholars. Students and scholars work with faculty and tutors in areas of need, including Legal English study, Legal Research & Writing, and other law school coursework. The Center collaborates with the law school’s Office of Graduate & International Programs on yearlong Legal English and other supplemental programming, including law school and bar exam preparation and resume writing workshops. The Center also liaises with Temple’s Student Success Center to help international students make use of all available university writing and English instruction resources.

The Leading Scholars and Teachers in the Field of LRW

The foundation of Temple’s excellent research and writing program is its faculty. Temple’s distinguished faculty includes accomplished lawyers with decades of practice experience in a wide variety of fields, as well as leading scholars on the cutting-edge of the discipline who are nationally recognized experts in the field.

Temple’s faculty publish widely on legal writing issues, including ground-breaking work on persuasion and brief-writing, legal research, law school and legal writing pedagogy, and issues related to international teaching. They also publish in other areas, including education law, employment law, evidence, and feminist legal theory. Professor Margolis is a national expert on policy arguments in legal briefs, as well as an emerging expert on the changing face of legal research. Professor Lee Carpenter’s scholarship draws upon her practice experience and her prior tenure as a clinical professor. Professor Kristen Murray’s published scholarship focuses on legal education, technology, and adult learning theory. Professor Bonny Tavares has written a book on legal research; her scholarship interests include legal writing pedagogy and appellate advocacy. Professor DeJarnatt’s scholarship focuses on public education reform, legal writing pedagogy, and most recently, incorporating international and comparative law in the legal writing curriculum. Professor Robin Nilon’s work develops the base of contrastive rhetoric as it informs legal writing for foreign lawyers and evaluates its applications for the legal writing classroom. Faculty members lecture frequently to diverse audiences, including many law schools, bar associations, and law firms, as well as other national associations such as the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and the Association of American Law Schools.