Writing Requirement

All students must successfully complete a Graduation Writing Requirement in order to graduate from Willamette Law. This requirements are described below.


Graduation Writing Requirement

All students must satisfy the Graduation Writing Requirement as a condition for graduation. A student satisfies this requirement by successfully completing a substantial research paper in conjunction with a law school course or by submitting an article of suitable quality to the Willamette Law Review or the Willamette Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution. The specifics of this requirement are described below.


The primary purpose of the requirement is to provide compulsory experience in the two closely related skills of legal research and legal writing. In addition, the requirement should give the student experience in gaining in-depth mastery of a specific subject and solving a legal problem without severe time limitations.


The Paper

The paper written for the Graduation Writing Requirement should be of the highest quality. Such writing is usually the product of a number of drafts, self-critical revisions by the writer, and corrective work by the advisor.

Length, Number of Authorities

Neither length nor number of authorities is the sole indicator of quality. Except in unusual cases, the text and footnotes should cover at least 20 pages and should include at least 20 relevant primary authorities (cases, statutes, regulations, and the like). However, accurately gathered and analyzed empirical data may also be used as the major part of any paper.


Use all relevant primary and secondary authorities, articles, treatises, including the most recent ones. Give credit where credit is due. Follow a Uniform System of Citation for citation form.


Use proper spelling and grammar. Organize: use a logical plan of presentation; focus the reader's attention on important ideas; avoid unnecessary repetition. Be precise: use the best word for your meaning and define words when necessary. Be concise: delete unnecessary words; avoid unnecessarily complex sentences.


Be forceful and direct; be clear; avoid ambiguity; use simple language without simplifying your ideas.

Format and Cover

Unless otherwise specified by the faculty advisor, use a title page and a table of contents, type (one side only), double-spaced, on 8.5 x 11 inch white paper. Use a one-inch margin on all sides. Designate page numbers on each page. Place the final copy for the professor in a folder with a sturdy side fastener. These may be obtained at the campus bookstore. Please do not use a three-ring notebook.

Satisfying the Graduation Writing Requirement by Writing a Paper in Conjunction with a Course

Faculty Advisor

If the Graduation Writing Requirement is to be satisfied by writing a paper in conjunction with a course, it must be done under the supervision of a faculty advisor and must be written while a student is currently taking, and in conjunction with, a Willamette Law course. It is the student's responsibility to seek out a course for the Research Writing Requirement and obtain project approval from the professor teaching that course. Enrollment in the course and faculty approval must be gained before beginning the writing project. The advisor must be a full-time professor, not an adjunct, currently teaching at Willamette Law. No faculty member may supervise more than 15 people during an academic year.


All Willamette Law courses taught by full-time faculty may be used to satisfy the Research Writing Requirement with the exception of th 100 series courses, Externship (other than the optional externship paper), and Legal Clinic. Moot Court Competition Briefs may not be used. Students enrolled in a first-year elective in the second or third year may use the course to satisfy the requirement. Students may not work together on the Research Writing Requirement paper.

Academic Credit

The student will not receive additional academic credit for the paper.

Completion of the Graduation Writing Requirement

The following steps must be completed for the Graduation Writing Requirement:

  1. The writing project must be completed to the faculty advisor's satisfaction. Each student should pick up a Writing Requirement completion form from the OSA (also available online), complete the form, and take it to the professor for their signature. It is the student's responsibility to submit the completed form to the OSA.
  2. A passing grade must be received in the course in which the Research Writing Requirement project is completed.
  3. Upon receipt of the Research Writing Requirement Completion Form and the course grade, a transcript notation will be made showing satisfactory completion of the requirement and the related course.


If the completion form has not been received by the specified deadline, a student may be denied the right to graduate.

January Graduates

The deadline for January graduates to turn in their Graduation Writing Requirement Completion Form to OSA is the last day of the fall semester examination period.

May Graduates

The deadline for May graduates to turn in their Graduation Writing Requirement Completion Form to OSA is the date grades are due for third-year students

August Graduates

The deadline for August graduates to turn in their Graduation Writing Requirement Completion Form to OSA is the last day of the summer semester examination period.

Satisfying the Graduation Writing Requirement with an Article Submitted to the Willamette Law Review or the Willamette Journal of International Law & Dispute Resolution

Articles submitted to either publication by student authors enrolled in the respective organizations may be used to satisfy the Graduation Writing Requirement. Instructions and completion forms are available in the Law Review Office. The completion form needs to be signed by the Editor-in-Chief and the faculty advisor and submitted to OSA by the appropriate deadline.

All of the information on Willamette Law's writing requirements is available in the Law Student Handbook, Section 4.1.

Willamette University

Office of Student Affairs

College of Law
245 Winter Street SE
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
(503) 370-6380

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