Developing research and writing skills in the first year of law school may be the most important skills for young lawyers to learn. According to The Princeton Review’s 1999 guide, The Best Law Schools, "few schools have made a greater commitment to emphasizing legal writing skills" than BU Law. The Program has two components: the First-Year Writing program and the First-Year Moot Court. The program is designed to help students develop not only critical research and writing skills but also presentation skills they will need to enter the legal workplace.
First-Year Writing Program
First-year students master critical research and writing skills in the First-Year Writing Program through intensive, hands-on instruction. Because writing program seminars are small, with no more than 15 students in a class, students work with instructors to learn first-hand how to analyze complex legal questions at a professional level. Seminars are taught by practicing attorneys who bring their vast research and writing experience to the classroom. Each seminar also has an assigned legal writing fellow, which is an upper-class law student chosen for his or her writing skills.
First-Year Moot Court
The second component of the Research and Writing requirement is participation in the J. Newton Esdaile Appellate Moot Court Program in the spring semester. Students work with experienced faculty instructors in a small seminar setting to conduct research, draft a brief, and prepare to present a case in oral argument before a panel of moot court judges made up of students, lawyers and faculty. The process of writing the brief is a critical component of the program because it teaches students to research an issue thoroughly and write a persuasive document –both of which are skills all lawyers use in practice.
Opportunities for Advanced Study
Students interested in pursuing more advanced litigation skills in their second and third years may participate in one of BU Law's special programs, including intermural and/or intramural moot court competitions, national competitions, the Trial Advocacy Program, Trial Skills Competition, Negotiation Skills Competition or Client Counseling Competition.