Legal Analysis, Research & Communication
At DePaul, your legal education is about more than studying cases and theories. It’s about mastering professional skills and gaining the confidence you need to enter the legal profession. DePaul’s rigorous four-semester Legal Analysis, Research & Communication (LARC) curriculum introduces students to every facet of the legal reasoning process through a series of increasingly complex research exercises and written assignments. Small class sizes and dedicated teaching assistants ensure that all DePaul law students receive thorough instruction in legal research, analysis, writing and oral advocacy, preparing them to work as lawyers upon graduation.
Required First-Year Coursework
All first-year students are required to take two semesters of Legal Analysis, Research & Communication (LARC). Each semester is worth two credit hours and the courses are taught by full-time instructors in small class sections that typically number between 14 and 17 students. Each semester, students also attend two private conferences with their instructors to receive individualized guidance on their assignments.
LARC I and II involve five major writing assignments each, as well as a number of smaller assignments. LARC I addresses synthesis, analysis, written communication and plain language drafting in a predictive format. It utilizes a process approach, emphasizing the mastery of discrete writing skills. LARC II expands upon this initial instruction and includes research skills and strategy, persuasive writing at the trial court level and reporting orally to a supervising attorney. Students work on increasingly difficult assignments as whole products, rather than in components as in LARC I. In LARC II, students also begin learning computer-assisted legal research techniques.
Dovetailing with the College of Law's many certificate programs, several first-year LARC sections are specialized by subject matter. First-year, full-time day division students have the option of applying for a seat in one of three special sections focusing on child and family law, intellectual property law (including traditional intellectual property, information technology and cultural property/art law) and public interest law. Students in these specialized sections complete the same course requirements as students in the general legal writing sections, but many of their assignments are drawn from the particular area of law. Admission to these special sections is very competitive; applicants may apply to only one section at the time they apply for JD admission. Applicants are notified of their acceptance into the special LARC sections after receiving their letters of admission to the College of Law.
Required Second-Year Coursework
All second-year law students are required to take a third semester of legal writing—in either the fall or spring semester. LARC III students again have five major writing assignments and a number of smaller assignments. The purpose of the third semester is to reinforce and deepen the instruction that students received in LARC I and II, including working on assignments as whole products and learning additional computer-assisted legal research techniques. Students meet weekly in slightly smaller sections in which they are exposed to the drafting of trial-level motions, persuasive argumentation at the appellate level, and oral advocacy skills.
In addition to LARC I, II and III, all students are required to take an approved upper-level writing course. The curriculum includes courses in legal drafting, advanced legal research, and judicial and scholarly writing. Many of these upper-level courses are taught by skilled professionals and address many essential communication and analytical skills, including contract drafting and revision, research and analysis of complex legal issues, use of sophisticated research sources, scholarly research, and writing and client communication.
Students can further hone their research and writing skills while exploring subjects in depth by joining any of DePaul's five student-edited legal journals. These publications include the DePaul Law Review; Business & Commercial Law Journal; Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law; Journal for Social Justice; and the Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems.