Legal Research and Writing – GOVT 346

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/25/2022

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.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

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.

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 the Course Overview.

Discussions (3)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. 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 discussion.

Citation Quizzes (5)

The student will complete five quizzes about The Bluebook rules. These quizzes will cover the Learn 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 Assignment

The student will complete a 1–2-page Case Brief based upon the assigned judicial opinion. The brief must be written in current Bluebook format and follow the additional provided instructions.

Client Matter Project Assignment

Throughout this course, the student will represent a fictitious client. The facts are provided for the student, and the student will work on objective and persuasive legal writing throughout the class. The student will work on the following assignments: 

Legal Memorandum: Question Presented and Facts Assignment 

In Module 3: Week 3, 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 course. 

Legal Memorandum: Final Assignment

In Module 5: Week 5, the student will write a 4–6-page Legal Memorandum: Final Assignment. All the research needed for this assignment will be provided in the course. The student must cite both the statute and judicial opinion, and must not incorporate outside research for this assignment.

Persuasive Brief: Outline and Research List Assignment 

In Module 6: Week 6, the student will prepare a Persuasive Brief: Outline and Research List Assignment in current Bluebook format. The outline will provide the major points and sub-points within the Persuasive Brief. The Research list will include the case(s) and statute(s) the student will use to support his/her position in the Persuasive Brief. The student will conduct legal research for this assignment. The student must include at least 3 cases and 1 statute, including the case and statute provided.

Persuasive Brief: Final Assignment

In Module 8: Week 8, the student will write a 6–8-page Persuasive Brief: Final Assignment. This persuasive court brief must be written in current Bluebook format. The student will conduct legal research for this assignment. The student must cite at least 3 cases and 1 statute in the Persuasive Brief: Final Assignment.

Quizzes: Core Grammar (2)

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.

Quiz: Legal Analysis

The student will complete a quiz about legal analysis principles and format.  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.