Legal Communication and Research Skills (LComm)

Miami Law LComm Logo

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 known on campus as “LComm,” all first-year students complete this two-semester graded course taught by full-time faculty members.

An Early Introduction to Legal Writing

Watch Legal Writing Professors Jill Barton and Christina Frohock discuss what new law students can expect in the legal writing classroom. They describe the day-to-day pace of the first semester and how to succeed on your first-semester legal writing assignments. This 30-minute previously recorded webinar will help position you to succeed on day one by introducing you to the rigorous legal writing curriculum and strategies for success.

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

Third District Court of Appeal

Each year first-year law students can observe the judicial process in action when the Third DCA holds oral arguments at UM. LComm students are invited to watch seasoned attorneys present oral arguments before a three-judge panel from the Third DCA. Typically, the court hears arguments in 5 cases and each party has 10-15 minutes to present its argument to the Court.

Overview of Schedule

Open All Tabs
  • 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

Open All Tabs
  • 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

  • Legal Research Skills

    The best way to learn legal research is to do legal research. To this end, professors use experiential learning techniques and assign short research exercises throughout the year in addition to the major research projects students complete in both the fall and spring semesters. Students learn to research using both print and online sources, with an emphasis on efficiency, accuracy, and cost. Time-sensitive assignments expose students to the fast pace of legal practice.

Hear From Students

LComm Professors Jill Barton and Christina Frohock moderate students discussing their LComm experiences.

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

Contact

Jill Barton
Director of the Legal Communication and Research Skills Program
E-mail: jbarton@law.miami.edu