Legal Research and Writing – GOVT 346

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

An overview for the pre-law student of legal research methods and legal writing. Attention will be given to online and traditional avenues of legal research, as well as standard formats for case briefs, citations, formal legal memoranda, legal analysis, case synthesis, and statutory interpretation. The course requires a major legal research paper.

Prerequisite

GOVT 200

Rationale

This course provides an introductory overview of legal research methods and legal writing. It builds the foundational skills that students will need as they learn to conduct legal research and write case briefs, legal citations, and legal memoranda.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply the law to a specific set of facts.
  2. Synthesize judicial opinions and statutes to determine the law.
  3. Employ the Bluebook citation style.
  4. Demonstrate research skills using both physical libraries and online resources.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 300–500 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Each reply must be 150–200 words, provide constructive thoughts, and move the conversation forward. Each thread and reply must include the required citations noted for each forum.

Citation Quizzes (5)

The student will complete quizzes about The Bluebook rules These quizzes will cover the Reading & Study materials from the corresponding modules. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 15 multiple-choice questions, and have a time limit of 60 minutes.

Case Brief

The student will complete a 1–2-page Case Brief based upon the assigned judicial opinion, which will be provided in the Assignment Instructions folder in Blackboard. The brief must be written in current Bluebook format.


Client Matter Project (CMP)

The student will represent a fictitious client by preparing the following assignments:

Legal Memorandum – Question Presented and Facts

The student will draft both the Question Presented and Facts sections for the Legal Memorandum in current Bluebook format. All the research needed for this assignment will be provided in the Assignment Instructions folder. The assignment must be no more than 1 page, must cite the Senior Attorney Memorandum provided, and must not incorporate outside research.

Legal Memorandum – Final

The student will write a 4–6-page Legal Memorandum – Final in current Bluebook format. All the research needed for this assignment will be provided in the Assignment Instructions folder. The student must cite both the statute and judicial opinion, and must not incorporate outside research for this assignment.

Persuasive Brief to Court – Outline and Case/Statute List

The student will prepare a Persuasive Brief to Court – Outline and Case/Statute List in current Bluebook format. The outline will provide the major points and sub-points within the Persuasive Brief. The Case/Statute list will include the case(s) and statute(s) the student will use to support his/her position in the Persuasive Brief to Court. The student will do legal research for this assignment. The student must include at least 3 cases and 1 statute in the Case and Statute List, including the case and statute provided.

Persuasive Brief to Court – Final

The student will write a 6–8-page Persuasive Brief to Court – Final. The brief must be written in current Bluebook format and must follow the template provided in the Assignment Instructions folder. The student will conduct legal research for this assignment. The student must cite at least 3 cases and 1 statute in the Persuasive Brief to the Court.

Core Grammar Exercises

Exercises will provide the student with an opportunity to practice grammar and punctuation skills that are prerequisites to successful legal writing. The student will submit both a Pre-Test and a Post-Test using Core Grammar for Lawyers. After completing the Pre-Test and Post-Test, the student will submit his or results by submitting a screenshot of them or by scanning and uploading the printed versions.

Legal Analysis Quiz

The student will complete a quiz about legal analysis principles and format. The quiz will cover the Reading & Study material from Module/Week 4. The quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 7 multiple-choice and 3 true/false questions, and have a time limit of 30 minutes.