Legal Writing Academy

Dean's Legal Research and Writing Fellows

The Dean’s Legal Research and Writing Fellows Program

CML 3174

2012-2013 course is full. Deadline for 2013-2014 TBD

Three Credits:  Fall Term 2012 or Winter Term 2013

Can Satisfy the Major Paper Requirement


The Dean’s Research and Writing Fellows Program is a unique and challenging opportunity open to top achieving upper year students with keen writing skills.  Dean’s Fellows work with a lawyer mentor on an advanced and realistic research problem, and receive intensive writing instruction from program director, Professor Melanie Mallet.  Dean’s Fellows learn new, more efficient research skills and produce a first rate written work that showcases their writing skills. Fellows teach small sections of the first year course, Principles of Legal Research, CML 1101.


Students spend weekly class time working on advanced research and writing modules. Students will be evaluated on a series of short assignments which track the progress of their research assignments, and which demonstrate their  writing skills. The majority of the students’ marks will be based on their final research memos, which will be assessed on the basis of substantive feedback from their mentors, the depth of research undertaken, and the quality of their writing. Students will receive extensive, diagnostic feedback on their writing in the short assignments leading to the final memo, and on their final memos. Class time is also spent preparing Fellows to teach and mentor first year students.


Students do not choose their research area, but are paired with mentors based on their experience and courses taken as the purpose of the program is for students to grow and excel as legal researchers and writers, students must be prepared to work in new subject areas.


Fellows register for either fall or winter term and complete their research and writing in that term. Note that Fellows teach in the first year course, CML 1101, in both the fall and winter term, regardless of the term in which they are registered for their research memo.


Fellows receive intensive training during the first week of September or the last week in August - before classes begin - and must be available during that time to be eligible for the program.


Successful applicants must have excellent research and communication skills and superior academic achievement. Fellows are mentors to first year students and are ambassadors to the legal community, and are therefore expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment and dedication to all aspects of the program.


To apply, please submit a covering letter with contact information, résumé, legal writing sample between five and twenty pages in length, law school transcript (official or unofficial), and two academic references by email to the program coordinator, Fran Russo (, by TBD.  At least one reference should be from a law school Faculty member.  The Writing Academy will notify successful applicants before course registration begins.  Short-listed applicants may be interviewed.   For scheduling and mentoring purposes, Fellows will have priority registration for upper year courses, with the exception of January term registrations.


This course is by application only and is NOT listed under the on-line registration website. Once selected, the Academic Office will register students into the course and will arrange for the students to submit their other course requests for the year prior to the official registration period.


If you have questions, please contact either Professor Ellen Zweibel ( or Professor Adam Dodek  (

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Last updated: 2009.12.15