Legal Communication and Research Skills (LComm)

LComm Stubrand

The University of Miami School of Law’s Legal Communication & Research Skills program provides comprehensive training in legal analysis, research, and writing and uses simulated client cases to produce practice-ready students. Affectionately on campus as “LComm,” all first-year students complete this two-semester graded course taught by full-time faculty members. 

 Fall Semester/ LComm I: Reasoning and Analysis

In the fall, new law students are introduced to foundational lawyering skills. They learn to read judicial opinions, analyze the law, and then apply the law to a set of facts. Students write objective legal memoranda of the type that a junior associate or judicial clerk might be asked to write. They also learn how to communicate with clients.

 Spring Semester/LComm II: Advocacy

In the spring, the focus shifts to persuasive writing and advocacy, and students work on a litigation matter from filing to appeal. Students begin by writing a pre-trial motion—for example, a motion to dismiss, a motion for summary judgment, or a procedural motion. Students also present an oral argument on this motion. They then write a complete appellate brief and present a second oral argument, this time in front of a panel of practicing lawyers and judges. Throughout the semester, students continue to improve their legal research skills, not only conducting the research for their major writing assignments but also completing a series of regular short exercises.

Focus on Professional Skills

 Practice Readiness

Woven throughout both semesters is a strong emphasis on professionalism and practice readiness. Through realistic case simulations, students receive intensive training on what their future employers will expect. During the course of the year, students may be asked to act as a judicial clerk, a prosecuting attorney, counsel to a corporation, or another type of attorney. In addition to teaching legal analysis, writing, and research, the program also teaches the essential soft skills of successful attorneys, such as interpersonal relationships, collaboration, and professionalism.

During the course, students learn to write an array of legal documents, including memoranda, emails, and correspondence and complete the following:

  • Objective legal memoranda
  • Correspondence with clients
  • Correspondence with opposing counsel
  • Pre-trial motions
  • Appellate briefs
  • Simulated conferences with a supervising attorney
  • Oral arguments on a pre-trial motion
  • Oral arguments on an appellate brief
  • Federal and state legal research

LComm Faculty

All of the LComm faculty members were successful attorneys prior to becoming law professors, and they bring a wide range of experiences to the classroom. The professors have worked in prestigious law firms in Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC. Three faculty members clerked for judges on the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals. One is a former Skadden Public Interest Fellow and another served as an Assistant Public Defender.

Each year, LComm faculty members present at conferences and events around the country. They engage in scholarship and participate actively in the national legal writing community. Faculty members use technology to enhance their teaching and prepare students for the widespread use of technology in practice. LComm faculty members continually update their curriculum to stay in touch with today’s legal practice. The LComm faculty includes:

Jill Barton
Christina M. Frohock
Peter Nemerovski
Shara Kobetz Pelz
K. Renee Schimkat
Rachel Stabler
Annette Torres
Cheryl E. Zuckerman​

BROCHURE

 

HEAR FROM STUDENTS

This video features students who discuss LComm's benefits. LComm Professors Jill Barton and Christina Frohock moderate.

Hear 1L students describe the steps taken to analyze a legal problem and write about it.

THIRD DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL

First-year law students have the opportunity each year to observe the judicial process in action when the Third DCA holds oral arguments at the University of Miami. LComm students are invited to watch seasoned attorneys present oral arguments before a three-judge panel from the Third DCA. Typically during these arguments, the court hears arguments in five cases and each party has ten to fifteen minutes to present its argument to the Court.

WRITING COMPETITIONS & ADVANCED WRITING COURSES

Miami Law encourages students to showcase their writing skills by entering national writing competitions. Sponsoring organizations and law firms typically offer generous cash awards and resume-boosting recognition to top writers.
Click here for a list of writing competitions.

In addition, after the first year of law school, students may choose from a rich array of writing and research electives.
Click here for information on advanced writing courses

BROCHURE

 

HEAR FROM STUDENTS

This video features students who discuss LComm's benefits. LComm Professors Jill Barton and Christina Frohock moderate.

Hear 1L students describe the steps taken to analyze a legal problem and write about it.

THIRD DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL

First-year law students have the opportunity each year to observe the judicial process in action when the Third DCA holds oral arguments at the University of Miami. LComm students are invited to watch seasoned attorneys present oral arguments before a three-judge panel from the Third DCA. Typically during these arguments, the court hears arguments in five cases and each party has ten to fifteen minutes to present its argument to the Court.

WRITING COMPETITIONS & ADVANCED WRITING COURSES

Miami Law encourages students to showcase their writing skills by entering national writing competitions. Sponsoring organizations and law firms typically offer generous cash awards and resume-boosting recognition to top writers.
Click here for a list of writing competitions.

In addition, after the first year of law school, students may choose from a rich array of writing and research electives.
Click here for information on advanced writing courses