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Legal Methods Program

Termed “Legal Methods” at Widener Law Commonwealth, our writing program recognizes that becoming a good lawyer requires more than learning fundamental legal principles.

Learning the skills of legal reasoning, research, and writing is essential to becoming a practice-ready attorney—and teaching these skills is a top priority at Widener Law Commonwealth. By providing three semesters of Legal Methods courses we provide a foundation for our students to build on as they complete their education and enter the legal profession.

In the first semester of law school, our students take Legal Methods I, a three-credit course focused on predictive legal analysis.  Students are taught how to critically read and analyze the law by writing and rewriting documents a junior associate or judicial clerk would write. We are able to provide our students with extensive written feedback and multiple conferences throughout the semester because our classes are taught in small sections by mostly full-time tenure-track or long-term faculty.

In the second semester of law school, our students take Legal Methods II, a two-credit course focused on persuasive legal analysis. Students are taught both written and oral advocacy by writing a motion memo and an appellate brief, and presenting an oral argument. Remaining in the same small sections with the same professor throughout their first year enables our students to receive meaningful assessment and to develop strong professional relationships without faculty.

In addition to the first year Legal Methods courses, our students build upon their skills by taking a two-credit Legal Methods III course which they choose from an array of offerings focused on developing professional and competent lawyers. These courses are taught either by full-time faculty or our highly accomplished adjunct faculty who, as currently-practicing attorneys, offer students an additional perspective.  

  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Consumer Legislation
  • Contract Drafting
  • Domestic Violence
  • Judicial Opinion Writing
  • Legislative Drafting
  • Technology and Communication
  • Writing for Criminal Law Practice
  • Writing for General Practice

Recent Publication

Best Practices in Legal Education: How Live Critiquing and Cooperative Work Lead to Happy Students and Happy Professors (PDF)

“I teach my students how to read and analyze the law, cite legal authority, and communicate their analysis orally and in writing. I want them to become the best lawyers they can be.”
-Professor Amanda Sholtis
“It’s marvelous to see how much our students learn in just their first year. At the outset, most don’t even know what a case brief is. By the end of the year, when they make oral arguments, I get to listen to them construct sophisticated legal analyses. It’s a fabulous transformation.”
-Professor Anna Hemingway