Teaching professional communication and fostering academic excellence
The WLRC’s mission is to help students adjust to and meet law school’s academic challenges. The center’s faculty pursue this mission primarily through the nationally recognized Research, Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy (RRWA) Program—ranked 10th by U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools” 2023 edition. During two intensive RRWA semesters, first-year students work in small class sections to develop key skills:
- Legal Literacy: ability both to read and write as lawyers. The program focuses on helping students develop a professional voice as lawyers and practice using that voice powerfully.
- Legal Research: ability to seek law-related information strategically and sort, analyze, and organize it in ways that empower communication using the law.
- Professionalism: the habits of respectful engagement and communication that thoroughly prepare lawyers to serve clients, communities, fellow lawyers, and judges.
The WLRC also pursues its mission through the Academic Excellence Program (AEP). The AEP aims to help all students maximize their potential to learn and succeed. Students may participate in the pre-orientation Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) and enrichment groups focused on 1L casebook classes. The AEP also offers academic counseling and support during the bar-preparation season.
Honors Writing Scholars
A select group of 13 or 14 outstanding third-year law students, called Honors Writing Scholars, serve as mentors for RRWA students, modeling professionalism and offering supplemental instruction, mainly on legal research and legal citation. Professor Smith trains and advises the Honors Writing Scholars each semester through a one-credit called the HWS Seminar in the fall and HWS Lab in the spring.
The WLRC employs selected second- or third-year law students throughout the school year and during the summer. Instructions for applying are typically distributed to all students in April.