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September 22, 2016

Groundbreaking Program Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Lewis & Clark was one of the few law schools in the country to have full-time faculty dedicated to teaching legal writing, reasoning, and research.

The faculty of the Lawyering Program. Top row, from left: Sandy Patrick, Judith Miller ?81, and A... The faculty of the Lawyering Program. Top row, from left: Sandy Patrick, Judith Miller ’81, and Anne Villella ’98. Bottom row, from left: Hadley van Vactor Kroll, Daryl Wilson ’80, Steve Johansen ’87, and Bill Chin ’94. Not pictured: Toni Berres-Paul ’86 and Aliza Kaplan.

A quarter of a century ago, Lewis & Clark became one of the few law schools in the country to have full-time faculty dedicated to teaching legal writing, reasoning, and research.

In the years since, we have continued to be a national leader in teaching these subjects to future lawyers and preparing them for law practice.

First known as the Legal Analysis and Writing Program, the Lawyering Program—renamed to better reflect the full range of courses and services now on offer—is structured around the belief that the ability to clearly articulate complex legal analysis is the cornerstone of a lawyer’s practical skills.

In a rigorous six-credit course, all Lewis & Clark first-year law students learn how to assess and understand a legal problem, use research techniques and strategies to find answers to legal questions, apply the law to problems, organize and present cohesive analysis, and communicate legal analysis effectively in writing or in oral argument.

As they practice these skills, students are also taught what it means to be competent and ethical practitioners.

Advanced Legal Writing, Contract Drafting, Legal Persuasion and Rhetoric, Race and the Law, and Statutory Interpretation, as well as courses and seminars on topics in criminal justice and public interest law, allow upper-division students to further build their knowledge and skills. These students also have an opportunity to serve as teaching fellows.

The Lawyering Program is headed by one of its founders, Professor Steve Johansen ’87. He and a group of committed colleagues collaborate in refining and teaching the curriculum.

These faculty members have wide-ranging experience and write nationally recognized books and articles on lawyering skills and pedagogy, statutory interpretation, race, criminal justice issues, and public interest topics.

They are also active participants in the broader legal writing community, frequently presenting at national conferences, mentoring colleagues from other schools, and serving in leadership positions with the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and the Association of American Law Schools