The Legal Rhetoric Program is the largest program at AUWCL and is widely recognized for its commitment to excellence in teaching.  It introduces students to principles of legal research, writing, analysis, and citation, as well as written and oral advocacy.  Utilizing smaller class sizes, students are immersed in a highly-interactive learning environment that includes simulated client interviews, mock oral arguments, and facilitated group work.

The Legal Rhetoric course introduces students to principles of legal research, writing, analysis, and citation, as well as written and oral advocacy. The classroom environment is designed to be a highly interactive learning environment, including simulated client interviews, mock oral arguments, and facilitated group work.

About the Program

The course is designed to teach students four things: (1) to select writing strategies that will produce effective (“good”) documents; (2) to write legal analysis and legal argument; (3) to write specific kinds of legal documents (office memos, client advice letters, briefs); and (4) to identify, find, analyze, and use legal authority.

News & Events 

Scholarship in Legal Communication Awards Named in Honor of Professor Phelps

Scholarship in Legal Communication Awards Named in Honor of Professor Phelps

2016

The Legal Writing Institute (LWI) Board of Directors has announced the establishment of the Teresa Godwin Phelps Award(s) for Scholarship in Legal Communication. The creation of the Phelps Awards – named after Professor Phelps, who directs the Legal Rhetoric Program at American University Washington College of Law – supports LWI's discipline-building priority.

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“By recognizing and teaching legal writing as conversation, we can begin to re-vision what legal writing is and what it does.” 

Teresa Godwin Phelps 

“At its best, legal writing presents the reader with a finished product all tied up with a bow, rather than a listing of somewhat related facts, holdings, and legal principles.” 

Paul Figley  

“To ensure client satisfaction, lawyers must remember their primary audience and use language that the reader(s) can readily understand.” 

David Spratt