Lawyering Process Program
Ranked No. 6 in the nation for legal writing by U.S. News & World Report, our Lawyering Process Program provides an introduction to the essential lawyering skills—research, writing, analytical thinking and oral advocacy.
Lawyering Process Program Overview
High Quality Feedback
Students submit approximately 10 writing assignments each semester. These vary in length and difficulty, and students receive feedback such as oral critiques, peer edits, in-class workshops, and extensive review by LP faculty. Early assignments carry less weight so students can learn by experimenting, and receive feedback on their analysis that is focused on improving the work product.
After students have participated in several low-pressure/high-value assignments and reviews, they prepare both initial and revised versions of major assignments. To help with revisions, LP professors provide comments on content, organization, style and mechanics. Each major assignment also includes an overall assessment so students can gain perspective on their work and prioritize what they can do to improve.
The program incorporates at least two individual or small group conferences each semester, both before assignments are due and between revisions when students are focused on putting the critique to immediate use.
Oral communication is often as critical to an attorney’s practice as written communication. Each semester, LP students are provided with opportunities to discuss and present their analysis orally, including:
- A one-on-one oral report to an experienced practitioner
- A practice oral argument
- A final oral argument before a panel of practicing attorneys and judges in the courtrooms of the Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court, and the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Fusion of Writing and Oral Skills
The timing of most oral assignments in LP is unique; the initial oral assignment takes place between an original writing assignment and the rewrite. Because of this timing, the LP oral assignments not only serve to hone students’ oral skills, they also assist in sharpening students’ legal analysis. The exercise of preparing for questions and orally discussing their reasoning deepens students’ understanding of the assignment and enriches the quality of their revisions.
A Continuing Partnership with the Practice
DU Sturm College of Law has a tradition of working hand-in-hand with judges and practicing attorneys who provide a continuous connection to the real-world practice of law that students are preparing to join. The law school was once housed above Mapelli’s Meat Market in Civic Center, just steps away from Colorado’s capital dome, downtown Denver law firms, and federal and state courtrooms. The synergy created by the law school’s proximity to local government, law firms, and the courts fueled innovation in DU Sturm College of Law’s teaching programs. DU Sturm College of Law founded the first student law clinic in the country over 100 years ago, and the LP Program continues that spirit of innovation.
On Judges' Day, the Colorado Court of Appeals hears oral arguments in two active cases, and all LP students attend. After the arguments, students are allowed to ask the attorneys questions. The arguments are followed by a reception for students who are selected to attend by their LP Professor where they have the opportunity to ask questions of the Appeals Court Judges who just heard the cases at the law school.
Judges' Day Video Resource
2019 Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals (4/3/2019)
The Lawyering Process Program really helped me become more practice ready, even from the very first year. Andrew Helm, JD '14
#6 Legal Writing U.S. News & World Report
7 Total Full-Time Faculty
LP Tools and Student Research Resources
Legal Research Resources
Useful information regarding research tools and skills needed for LP.
Students learn by assuming the role of lawyers giving legal advice to clients in realistic fact situations. They perform hands-on legal research, under the guidance of the Westminster Law Library Reference Librarians, and they draft complex legal documents. In the first semester, students are introduced to legal research and to objective legal writing by preparing an office memorandum. In the second semester, students research and write a persuasive appellate brief. Students further enhance their skills by presenting their argument orally to a panel of judges at the end of the term.
Students have school-wide resources beyond the LP professors, upper-class teaching assistants, practitioners, and librarians that are the mainstay of LP courses. The Legal Writing Clinic and the Academic Achievement Program are also fundamental to the success of students in the LP Program.
Legal Research Guides
Legal Research Tips
Justices of the Supreme Court Interview Recordings
In these recordings, justices of the Supreme Court of the United States share their opinions on the qualities of good writing.
Topic Justice Name Time Video Link Importance of Legal Writing Class; Good, Concise Writing Counts Justice Ginsburg 2:20 View Video Credibility Justice Thomas 3:05 View Video Conciseness – Rehnquist Anecdote Chief Justice Roberts 1:29 View Video The Importance of Clarity in Writing, Achieved Through Multiple Drafts Justice Breyer 1:05 View Video Clarity, the Importance of Editing, and the Value of a Well-Written Brief Chief Justice Roberts 1:55 View Video Readability and Conciseness Justice Thomas 2:25 View Video Simplicity and Separating Relevant Information from Irrelevant Information Justice Alito 2:53 View Video Memo Writing – Writing to your Audience Justice Kennedy 1:35 View Video Eliminating Modifiers for More Direct Style Justice Kennedy 1:25 View Video Avoiding String Citations Justice Thomas 1:21 View Video
All Videos are © 2021 DU Sturm College of Law Lawyering Process Department
Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeal: Briefs
Every spring, the Colorado Court of Appeals hears two oral argument cases at the Sturm College of Law. Student IDs are required for entry to the oral arguments.
View Briefs for:
- Judges’ Day 2004
- Judges’ Day 2005
- Judges’ Day 2006
- Judges’ Day 2007
- Judges’ Day 2008
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2009
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2010
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2011
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2012
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2013
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2014
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2015
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2016
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2017
- Oral Arguments to the Colorado Court of Appeals 2018
There are numerous resources available for students with technology questions.
For general computer issues contact DU IT at 303-871-4700 or email@example.com.
LP Courseware Sites
Each Lawyering Process Professor maintains a TWEN (The West Educational Network) site. Features of these sites include electronic access to course assignments, class email, assignment drop-boxes, and links to research resources.
Computer Assisted Legal Research
Students in Lawyering Process must learn both electronic legal research platforms: LexisNexis and Westlaw. Students will receive an email from the library regarding sign-up instructions.
- Basic Lexis Session
This class is designed to establish a basic comfort level, or familiarity, with the LexisNexis research system. Topics covered include LexisNexis Lawschool homepage, Get a Document, Printing and emailing documents for free, Topical research using Search Advisor, Source selection, Basic terms & connectors searching, and Help databases.
- Basic Westlaw Session
This class covers the following topics related to the Westlaw research system: Customizing your Westlaw Password with Jurisdictional Tabs; Finding case law by citation and by title or party name; The parts of a case on Westlaw, including Key Numbers and Headnotes; Printing/Downloading/E-mailing Documents; Using the Directory to locate sources/databases; Searching by term with Natural Language and KeySearch; Secondary Sources—ALR/AMJUR/Journals and Law Reviews
Turning Technologies is an interactive student response system that provides the tools needed to actively engage every student in the classroom. By using wireless response devices, students are given the opportunity to participate in class discussions and surveys. Daily quizzes and subject matter reviews can be given to assure that the material is being learned.
- Basic Lexis Session
My experience in the program was fantastic. I found it to be very confidence boosting and also very grounding. The confidence and skills lead to quality and quality lead to better opportunities and better assignments. Ellis Zwiebel, JD '16