Skip Navigation

LSTD205 - Legal Research and Writing

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD205 Course ID: 2570 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course will assess the methods used to locate necessary legal materials and be able to evaluate the appropriate citations of those materials. The paralegal aspects are reviewed and distinguished from other judicial case briefings. The course will introduce legal analysis methods and the preparation of appropriate techniques for researching legal issues and cases. Critical definitions of legal terminology are analyzed and used in preparation of legal materials such as memoranda, client letters, and other relevant documents. The course presents the student with techniques for effective writing in the legal environment.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/30/19 - 05/29/20 06/01/20 - 07/26/20 Spring 2020 Session D 8 Week session
01/27/20 - 07/03/20 07/06/20 - 08/30/20 Summer 2020 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After completing this course the Student will be able to:

  1. Define various legal research terms
  2. Distinguish between primary and secondary legal authority
  3. Distinguish between binding and persuasive authority
  4. Locate and correctly apply primary and secondary legal authority to given facts
  5. Author legal citations in Bluebook formats
  6. Locate legal authority with electronic research
  7. Validate case law
  8. Research and draft a legal memorandum
  9. Read a case and identify its component parts


Contact between students and instructor can occur by phone or email. However, the school strongly encourages correspondence between instructors and students to take place via email. Students are expected to maintain routine contact with instructor throughout the course. The number of these contacts may vary according to the specific course and individual student need. FOR ALL EMAIL, PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME AND COURSE NUMBER IN THE SUBJECT HEADING. If you have not received a response from me within 72 hours, it is YOUR responsibility to follow up, as the email may not have been received.


There will be eight forum assignments. Students will be expected to post an initial weekly forum and then file three responses to the postings of other students. Moreover, students are expected to respond to any follow up questions posed by the instructor. Further information regarding the forum questions will be provided in the class.

In addition to the eight forum assignments, students will be expected to complete two case briefs and two legal memos of law during Weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8. Instructions on how to complete these assignments will be posted in the classroom. The breakdown of the point allocation is described later in this syllabus. In total, the forum, case brief, and memo assignments count for 80% of a student’s grade.


The midterm exam will be taken open book. This exam will be posted in the electronic classroom under “exams.” This exam is composed of a number of short answers. There is no final exam in this class. The midterm exam counts for 20% of a student’s grade.


All assignments must follow Blue Book citation guidelines set forth in The BlueBook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).

NameGrade %
Memo Assignments 30.00 %
Internal Memo #1 15.00 %
Internal Memo #2 15.00 %
Forum Questions 39.00 %
Forum Week 1 4.88 %
Forum Week 2 4.88 %
Forum Week 3 4.88 %
Forum Week 4 4.88 %
Forum Week 5 4.88 %
Forum Week 6 4.88 %
Forum Week 7 4.88 %
Forum Week 8 4.88 %
Case Brief Assignments 10.00 %
Practice Case Brief 2.00 %
Case Brief #2 8.00 %
Introduction 1.00 %
Introduction 1.00 %
Mid-Term Exam 20.00 %
2019 Midterm Revised 20.00 %

Required Reading:

Tom Goldstein and Jethro K. Lieberman, The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2016)

Peter Martin, Introduction to Basic Legal Citation, Published by CALI eLangdell Press. Available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License:

Beau Steenken and Tina M. Brooks, Sources of American Law: An Introduction to Legal Research, Published by CALI eLangdell Press. Available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License:

Kenneth J. Vandevelde, Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2010).

Recommended Reading:

Lynn B. Bahryeh & Majorie Dick Rombauer, Legal Writing in a Nutshell, 4th Edition, (2009).

The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).

You can access the Blue Book for free at

Book Title:Thinking Like a Lawyer: An Introduction to Legal Reasoning, 2nd ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library; Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:Routledge
Unit Cost:$37.99
Book Title:The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well, 3rd ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library; Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:University of California Press
Unit Cost:$21.98
Book Title:Bluebook: Uniform System of Citation, 20th ed. - - e-book available online, please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Author:Harvard, Columbia Law Review
Unit Cost:$41.30

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.