Washburn University School of Law

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Courses that meet the Upper-Level Writing and Oral Presentation requirements vary from semester to semester depending on the professor’s approach and class size. For a list of courses that meet the requirements see “registration information” provided as part of each semester’s schedule packet.

Objective

Each student is required to complete a rigorous writing experience after the student has earned at least 26 hours of law school credit.

A rigorous writing experience reflects the core values of supervised rewriting and individualized feedback. Students undertake supervised rewriting to better organize contents, further develop a point or thesis, recast ideas in more sophisticated language, achieve analytical flow and clarity, and furnish accurate and proper citations. Professors must provide individual feedback to each student. A single draft is generally insufficient to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Professors should encourage students to start the writing process early to allow time for rewriting.

Certification

The student’s final written product must be of satisfactory quality as determined by the supervising professor. Moreover, any rigorous writing experience demands that the student produce a substantial amount of written work. For example, a unitary writing project such as a scholarly article, a directed research paper, or an appellate brief normally should consist of at least 20 pages or 5,000 words (excluding footnotes).

Curriculum

A student may meet the upper-level writing requirement by participating in a variety of writing experiences, including seminar courses, directed research, clinic, law journal, and moot court. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the supervising professors, will approve specific courses offering writing experiences that may satisfy the requirement, including an aggregate writing project consisting of a series of documents. A list of approved courses will be made available to students with pre-enrollment materials.

A student may use part of a jointly written work (such as a moot court brief) as the basis for meeting the requirement only if the student develops that part into an individual writing project under a professor’s supervision.

The upper-level writing requirement may be met only in a course or activity supervised by a full-time member of the faculty, other than in exceptional circumstances with advance approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Timing

Students are encouraged to initiate the upper-level writing experience no later than in the next-to-last semester of law school. Failure to do so could result in a delay of graduation. (approved by faculty November 6, 2006)

Upper-Level Oral Presentation Requirement

All students are required, in their second or third year of law school, after completing at least 26 hours, to make a substantial oral presentation. The presentation must take place in the context of a law school course or as a member of a team practicing for or participating in an interschool competition. The presentation may take any number of forms, including a seminar presentation, a Moot Court argument, a mock trial, client counseling, negotiation competition, or an oral presentation in a clinic internship. For a presentation to satisfy the requirement, a faculty member must observe the presentation and certify (1) that the presentation required significant advance preparation and (2) that the quality of the presentation was satisfactory.

Skills Requirement

Students:
  • who began law school in or after August 2011 must complete six credit hours of Skills courses (with a grade of at least “C” or “CR”)
  • who began law school in or before January 2011 must complete two credit hours of Skills courses (with a grade of at least “C” or “CR”)