Upper Level Writing Requirement

The purpose of the Upper Level Writing Requirement is to have each student individually complete at least one rigorous extended piece of legal writing (in addition to those in RWA).  Research, analytical, organizational, and other writing skills are important components in the preparation of any quality product of legal writing. The Upper Level Writing Requirement requires each student to demonstrate his or her ability to apply each of these skills in producing one substantial, cohesive piece of legal writing prior to graduating from law school.

A. Faculty Responsibilities

  1. The faculty member must hold a meaningful initial conference with each student. During this conference, the faculty member shall review with the student the Upper Level Writing Requirement rules and standards, including the Upper Level Writing Requirement Rubric and any additional standards the faculty member finds appropriate for the paper. Any additional standards required by the faculty member shall also be given to the student in writing and posted in the course registration materials.
  2. It is recommended, but not required, that the faculty member require that the student submit an outline of the writing project prior to commencing the first draft and that the faculty member review and discuss the outline with the student.
  3. The faculty member must review and critique the first draft of the paper and provide timely feedback to the student. The feedback must include a completed Upper Level Writing Requirement Rubric.
  4. The faculty member must complete the Upper Level Writing Requirement Rubric on the final paper and provide it to the student.
  5. To certify a paper meets the Upper Level Writing Requirement, the faculty member must submit to the Registrar’s Office 1) the completed Upper Level Writing Requirement Rubric, 2) the Upper Level Writing Requirement Certification, and 3) the grade report for the course in which the paper is written. No student will receive the Upper Level Writing Credit simply because the student passed the course, and no student will be certified by the Registrar as fulfilling this requirement without the faculty member’s certification.

B. Paper Requirements

Faculty members shall certify that a paper satisfies the Upper Level Writing Requirement only if it meets the following standards, as well as any other standards that the faculty member finds appropriate for the paper:

  1. The topic of the paper is appropriate for an extended piece of legal writing which requires application of research, analytical, organizational and other writing skills.
  2. Factual, legal, and other material in the paper are cited appropriately, according to the Blue Book, the ALWD Manual, or other recognized legal citation system prescribed by the faculty member.
  3. The student uses numbers and types of sources which the faculty member believes are appropriate to the nature and scope of the paper topic.
  4. The paper demonstrates legal analytical skill and the application of that skill is appropriate to the nature and scope of the paper topic.
  5. The paper is well organized and demonstrates a grasp of grammar and other writing skills.
  6. The paper is at least 20 standard pages in length, unless the faculty member determines that a shorter paper appropriately addresses the topic. A “standard” page will generally have (i) one inch margins, (ii) 12 point, Times New Roman font in the body, (iii) 10 point, Times New Roman font in footnotes, (iv) double-spacing in the body, and (v) single-spacing in the footnotes, or other formatting that the faculty member believes appropriate to the assignment and that is communicated to the student(s) at the beginning of the course.
  7. The student completes at least one rewrite of the paper after critique by the faculty member.
  8. The paper receives at least thirty-six cumulative points on the final completed Upper Level Writing Requirement Rubric.

C. Eligible Courses

  1. No required course shall be eligible to meet the Upper Level Writing Requirement.
  2. The Curriculum Committee shall be responsible for determining whether a course (other than a required course) meets the Upper Level Writing Requirement.
  3. The Curriculum Committee shall apply the following standards in determining whether a course, including the Independent Study course, meets the Upper Level Writing Requirement.
    1. Courses must allow for the required faculty and student interactions, as described in section A above.
    2. The Upper Level Writing Requirement may be satisfied by the completion of any legal writing, including a paper, brief, or casenote, that satisfies the requirement in section B above.
    3. The Upper Level Writing Requirement may be satisfied by successfully completing, in accordance with these guidelines: (i) a casenote of the UALR Law Review; (ii) a brief for the course of Advanced Appellate Advocacy; (iii) Independent Study; (iv) a paper for any class that has been approved by the Curriculum Committee as satisfying these standards; or (v) any other legal writing project undertaken in accordance with these standards in a course that does not otherwise meet the standards for satisfying the Upper Level Writing Requirement, so long as the supervising faculty member certifies that the paper meets the requirements of section B above.
    4. Any faculty member wishing to designate his or her class as one satisfying the Upper Level Writing Requirement must first obtain authorization from the Curriculum Committee. Authorization shall be given only if the Curriculum Committee determines that the writing requirements of the class meet the standards set out in section B above.

Rule amended February 13, 2017.