University of Oregon, School of Law

School Writing Requirement Information

All students must complete a writing requirement prior to graduation.

What the Writing Requirement includes:

Content. The paper satisfying the Writing Requirement must demonstrate extensive research and analysis, original thought, good organization, thorough editing, and a sound understanding of the topic.

Length. These rules do not impose a requirement of a specific page length but the work product typically should be between 20 and 40 double-spaced pages in length, exclusive of footnotes.

Supervision. The supervising faculty member must review and comment on at least one draft and on the final written product. The supervising faculty member must provide opportunities for the student to meet to discuss the student’s work. Adjunct faculty can serve as the supervising faculty; however, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must also review and sign off on the final paper.

Methods of Satisfying the Writing Requirement

Generally, students meet the writing requirement in one of three ways:

  1. By writing in conjunction with a course
    Some courses are listed as requiring a paper, and under normal circumstances, a paper produced in such a course will satisfy the Writing Requirement. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the professor of their intention to use this paper to satisfy the writing requirement.For the 2011 – 2012 academic year, courses that could be used to satisfy the Writing Requirement are:

    • Fall: Animal Law, Cultural Property Seminar, Human Rights and the Environment, Public Trust Seminar*, Tax Policy, Women in Prison*, Domestic Violence Seminar (added 8/16/2010)
    • Spring: Advanced Business Law**, Advanced Human Rights Seminar*** Art Law, Climate Change in International Law*, Family Law in the World Community, Federal Jurisdiction Seminar, Law and Social Science, Natural Resources Law, Wildlife Law,

    * Courses marked with an asterisk can satisfy either the Skills Requirement OR the Writing Requirement, but not both. Students should notify the Registrar’s Office of which option they choose.

    ** Students have the option to either complete a series of short papers that will not satisfy the Writing Requirement or one long paper that would meet the requirement. Students must inform the instructor of their choice.

    ***Students may satisfy the Writing Requirement by signing up for one additional credit through Legal Writing, Law 675. Students must notify the professor that they are choosing this option and submit the necessary paperwork to the Law School’s Registrar.

    Please note that this list may not be comprehensive as faculty may change course requirements.

    For courses that have a written component in addition to a final exam, a student might have the option of enhancing the paper to meet the writing requirement at the instructor’s discretion. Students must verify with their individual instructors the exact requirements that must be completed for the writing requirement.

    Your instructor has the final say on whether your course and the paper will meet the requirement.

    Students must return the Writing Requirement Form (on MyLaw), signed by the appropriate faculty and Academic Dean (if the paper was supervised by an adjunct faculty member).

  2. As independent writing
    A student can work with an instructor independently to complete the writing requirement, choosing a topic of interest and working with a faculty member who has knowledge in that area of law and who agrees to supervise the student’s independent work.A student doing independent study has the option of seeking credit for that work by enrolling in Law 675, Legal Writing (form available on MyLaw). Generally, 1-2 credits are given for Legal Writing, depending on the scope of the writing project. Students fill out the Legal Writing Registration form with the faculty member serving as the advisor. These credits may be graded or P / NP, depending on the preferences of the student and the supervising faculty member.

    At the end of the semester, the faculty member must certify that the student has satisfied the Writing Requirement by completing the Writing Requirement form (available on MyLaw). It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that this form has been submitted to the Law School’s Registrar’s Office.

    Legal Writing credits will not count toward the 65 scheduled credit hour requirement for graduation purposes.

  3. As a publishable note or comment for the Oregon Law Review, JELL, or ORIL
    Journal notes and comments are sometimes completed under conditions that prohibit students from seeking extensive advise from a faculty member. If a student wants to use his or her journal note to satisfy the writing requirement, he or she must consult with a faculty supervisor and must engage in the same review, comment, and revision process described above. Typically, such consultation would occur after the piece has been submitted for journal consideration.

    One of the journal faculty advisors must certify that the student has satisfied the standards of the Writing Requirement by completing the Writing Requirement form (available on MyLaw). It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that this form has been submitted to the Law School’s Registrar’s Office.