Upper Level Programs and Courses

All second year students take a four-credit Second Year Seminar (SYS), which requires students to write a substantial scholarly paper of publishable quality. Students may choose from a range of topics, usually finding the faculty member and topic of their choice. Tenured and full-time faculty members teach the sections, with a ratio of less than 10:1. These faculty members supplement those teaching Legal Practice, so that over ninety per cent of the faculty teach a writing course. Each faculty member takes a unique approach, which may include holding classes on approaches to scholarly writing, individual conferences, written and oral peer review, and presentation of papers to the class. Students receive extensive written feedback on their Planning Documents and Drafts. Prizes are awarded for best papers in a range of topics, including Environmental Law, Native Hawaiian Rights, and Land Use.

Students may also elect intensive classes in research and writing throughout the upper level years. Law Teaching I and II concentrate on the taxonomies of teaching writing well. Teaching assistants (TAs) for Legal Practice I and II are required to take these classes, which explore approaches to teaching legal writing, all grounded in composition theory and linguistics. TAs in Law Teaching II focus on clerking techniques, specifically on writing a bench memo for the judges who hear arguments in Legal Practice II. Legal Composition I and II focus on teaching writing through the individual conference, with readings in tutoring techniques, individualized learning, and English for Legal Purposes. Senior Writing Associates who teach in the Writing Center must take these classes, and develop commenting techniques consistent with the goals of the Writing Center.

A range of rich research writing opportunities is also available through courses such as Contract Drafting and Scholarly Research, and clinics, including the Hawaii Innocence Project, Family Law, Immigration, Native American Rights, and Elder Law. Students are encouraged to research and write during each law school semester.