Upper Division Writing Requirement

All students must complete a substantial writing project after completing 19 hours or more of course work.

The writing requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing a 1-credit Upper Level Writing and Research Course that is taken in conjunction with:

  1. A 2-credit or 3-credit seminar that has been advertised in registration materials as Writing Eligible (WE) and has an enrollment cap of 18 students; or
  2. Membership on the University of Louisville Law Review, the Journal of Law and Education, or the Journal of Animal and Environmental Law, with completion of a note meting the standards outlined below; or
  3. A 1-credit independent study supervised by a full-time faculty member.

For purposes of the Upper Level Writing Requirement, a substantial written product may include appellate briefs, trial court memoranda, or inter-office memoranda that meet the above-listed criteria, but does not include drafting documents, such as complaints, depositions, trial motions, or estate plans.

Other than an approved independent student as specified in item 3 above, papers in courses other than a writing eligible seminar will not fulfill the writing requirement.

Through the Upper Level Writing and Research course, the student must produce substantial written work products that meet all of the following standards:

  1. Selection of an appropriate topic with the instructor’s active involvement and approval;
  2. Substantial legal research;
  3. Submission of at least two pieces of interim work product that allow meaningful practice of skills and written formative feedback, one of which must be a substantially completed draft of the final work product;
  4. Submission of a final work product that:
    1. is at least 6,250 works exclusive of footnotes or endnotes (but supported by footnotes, endnotes, or other appropriate citations to authorities);
    2. demonstrates sound legal analysis and reasoning;
    3. is supported by significant legal research and proper citation to authorities;
    4. communicates the student’s analysis and research effectively and professionally;
    5. has not been prepared in any other course or for any other publication; and
    6. earns a grade of “C” or higher in the Upper Level Writing and Research course (which may be a different grade than the grade in the relevant seminar, as seminar grades will be based on evaluation other than the substantial writing paper).
  5. A writing shall not satisfy the writing requirement unless the supervising faculty member awards it a grade of "C" or higher in the Upper Level Writing and Research course. The Upper Level Writing and Research course will be the means by which the Office of Admissions & Enrollment Management tracks students’ fulfillment of the writing requirement.