LL.M. Program

Mercer Law's LL.M. in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure is the only program in the nation designed for law school graduates seeking to prepare themselves for federal criminal practice as a prosecutor, Federal Defender, or private defense counsel.

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Courses in Mercer's Legal Writing Curriculum

Required Courses

Research & Writing for a Typical Student

Research & Writing for a Certificate Student


Required Courses

Introduction to Legal Research
This course meets in the early weeks of both the fall and spring semesters. Classes are taught by the professional librarians and cover print and electronic formats used for researching state and federal judicial, administrative, statutory and secondary sources. The course requires completion of weekly assignments and midterm and final examinations.

Legal Writing I
Legal Writing I covers research strategy, legal reasoning, professionalism, and predictive legal writing. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to predict the most likely outcome of a legal issue governed by rules containing elements and factors. The course teaches writing as a constructive process and requires completion of at least two major writing assignments and a final examination.

Legal Writing II
Legal Writing II continues coverage of research strategy, legal reasoning, and professionalism, but now in the context of persuasion. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to persuade a court to reach a particular answer to a legal question. Students study the standards of appellate review and write at least one appellate brief. Course requirements include completion of at least two major writing assignments and an oral argument.

Advanced Writing Requirement
All students must complete an individually authored work of rigorous intellectual effort under the active and regular supervision of a full-time faculty member.  A list of courses that satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement is available on the Registrar's website.


Research & Writing for a Typical Student

 

FALL

SPRING

First Year

Predictive Reasoning & Writing

Introduction to Legal Research Part I(1 credit awarded in Spring) (required). This course meets in the early weeks of both the fall and spring semesters. Classes are taught by the professional librarians and cover print and electronic formats used for researching state and federal judicial, administrative, statutory, and secondary sources. The course requires completion of weekly assignments and midterm and final examinations.

Predictive Reasoning & Writing

Introduction to Legal Research Part 2. See Fall Semester description.

Legal Writing I (3 credits) (required). This is the core course in predictive legal reasoning and writing. Legal Writing I covers research strategy, forms of legal reasoning, ethics and professionalism concerns, and predictive legal writing. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to predict the most likely outcome of a legal issue governed by rules containing elements and factors. The course teaches writing as a constructive process and requires completion of at least two major writing assignments and a final examination.

Second Year

Persuasive Writing & Oral Advocacy

Legal Writing II (3 credits) (required). This is the core course in persuasive writing. Legal Writing II continues coverage of research strategy, forms of legal reasoning, and ethics and professionalism, but now in the context of persuasion. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to persuade a court to reach a particular answer to a legal question. Students study the standards of appellate review and write at least one appellate brief. Course requirements include completion of at least two major writing assignments and an oral argument.
             

Advanced Legal Research (2 credits) (heavily subscribed elective).
The purpose of the course is to develop research skills in both print and electronic legal research resources. The course covers state and federal judicial, legislative and administrative materials as well as the use of finding tools, legal commentary, forms and trial preparation resources. Effective use of computer-assisted legal research is emphasized.

Third Year

Academic

Advanced Writing Requirement (2 credits) (required, but may be satisfied in the third, fourth, fifth or sixth semester).

Drafting

Advanced Drafting Course (2 credits) (heavily subscribed electives).

 


Research & Writing for a Certificate Student

 

FALL

SPRING

First Year

Predictive Reasoning & Writing

Introduction to Legal Research Part I(1 credit awarded in Spring) (required). This course meets in the early weeks of both the fall and spring semesters. Classes are taught by the professional librarians and cover print and electronic formats used for researching state and federal judicial, administrative, statutory, and secondary sources. The course requires completion of weekly assignments and midterm and final examinations.

Predictive Reasoning & Writing

Introduction to Legal Research Part 2. See Fall Semester description.

Legal Writing I (3 credits) (required). This is the core course in predictive legal reasoning and writing. Legal Writing I covers research strategy, forms of legal reasoning, ethics and professionalism concerns, and predictive legal writing. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to predict the most likely outcome of a legal issue governed by rules containing elements and factors. The course teaches writing as a constructive process and requires completion of at least two major writing assignments and a final examination.

Second Year

Persuasive Writing & Oral Advocacy

Legal Writing II (3 credits) (required). This is the core course in persuasive writing. Legal Writing II continues coverage of research strategy, forms of legal reasoning, and ethics and professionalism, but now in the context of persuasion. The course examines organizational frameworks and the use of authorities to persuade a court to reach a particular answer to a legal question. Students study the standards of appellate review and write at least one appellate brief. Course requirements include completion of at least two major writing assignments and an oral argument.
             

Advanced Legal Research (2 credits) (required). 
 The purpose of the course is to develop research skills in both print and electronic legal research resources. The course covers state and federal judicial, legislative, and administrative materials as well as the use of finding tools, legal commentary, forms, and trial preparation resources. Effective use of computer-assisted legal research is emphasized.

Advanced Writing Group (1 credit) (required). 
Sections of this course are limited to six students and meet one hour each week. Students learn to use the reader response techniques taught first by Peter Elbow. Most weeks, the group responds to a piece of writing from a group member. In addition, the group reads examples of good writing; reads and edits examples of weak writing; works on selected topics of grammar and style; and studies and practices advanced writing techniques.

Third Year

Academic Writing

Seminar Requirement (2 credits) (may be satisfied by taking any seminar in the third, fourth, fifth OR sixth semester). 

Advanced Writing Group (1 credit) (required). See Spring Second Year description.

Competency Exam (required to pass before certificate is awarded).

Drafting Legal Documents

Advanced Drafting Course (2 credits) (required)

(NOTE: Although this requirement will frequently be satisfied in the spring semester of the third year, students may satisfy the requirement by taking an Advanced Drafting Course in an earlier semester.)

Preparation of a Writing Portfolio

 
 
 
 

Did you know?

Mercer Law School was the first ABA accredited law school in Georgia.