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ASU legal writing program ranked 5th by US News

March 12, 2013

The Legal Method and Writing Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is the fifth best in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings. The program was No. 8 in the 2012 rankings.

In its 2014 Best Law Schools report, released March 12, U.S. News also ranked the College of Law 29th among all law schools.

In demonstration of the legal writing program’s excellence, the College of Law was notified that, for the third year in a row, one of its students has won a national writing award, the Scribes Law-Review Award, from the American Society of Legal Writers. Kyle La Rose, a third-year student, is the recipient of this top honor for his Arizona State Law Journal article, “The Injury-in-Fact Barrier to Initiative Proponent Standing: How Article III Might Prevent Federal Courts from Enforcing Direct Democracy.”

The Scribes award is presented annually to the author of the best law-review article in the country. La Rose joins 2012 winner and College of Law student Michael Vincent of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, and 2011 winner Cody Huffaker, also of the Arizona State Law Journal, in securing the awards for the College of Law.

Dean Douglas Sylvester said the new ranking and Scribes award are evidence of the caliber of the college’s faculty and students.

“We consider our program to be the finest and most comprehensive writing experience of any top law school in the country,” Sylvester said. “We believe that no law school can be considered truly great unless it offers its students a rigorous and professional legal writing experience. By combining a legal writing program of this quality with one of the finest faculties in the nation, you have a winning combination for today’s law students and tomorrow’s lawyers.”

The program has eight full-time faculty members, who have a combined 70 years of teaching experience. The professors offer constant feedback to their students, and they meet annually to update and establish goals and outcomes for their teaching and students, said Clinical Professor of Law Tamara Herrera, coordinator of the Legal Writing Curriculum.  

“It’s not just what we do in the classroom and during our office hours, but also what we do in the broader legal-writing community, that keeps us in such high regard among our peers,” Herrera said.

In addition to Herrera, faculty members in the program include: Andrew Carter, Susan Chesler, Kimberly Holst, Amy Langenfeld, Chad Noreuil, Carrie Sperling and Judy Stinson.

The program has two required courses for first-year students – Legal Method and Writing and Legal Advocacy – and each section is capped at 20 students, giving students in-depth instruction and ample individual attention. A variety of popular electives also are offered to second- and third-year students, including Contract Drafting and Negotiating, Writing for Law Practice, Intensive Legal Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Persuasion and Creative Advocacy.

Media contact:
Janie Magruder,
College of Law