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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD504 Course ID: 4053 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

Part one of this graduate level two-part intensive legal writing program is designed to develop students’ research and writing skills. Students will learn and practice the skills necessary for identifying, locating, and using legal resources, including primary sources of administrative, statutory, and case law; secondary authority; and research reference tools, to include computer research tools, commonly used in the practice of law. Students will also explore the process of legal analysis, incorporating the results of their legal research into correspondence, case briefs, legal memoranda, and motions.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
08/31/20 - 01/29/21 02/01/21 - 03/28/21 Winter 2021 Session I 8 Week session
10/26/20 - 04/02/21 04/05/21 - 05/30/21 Spring 2021 Session B 8 Week session
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After completing this course, the Student will be able to:

  1. Develop research and writing skills;

  1. Identify, locate and use legal resources, including primary sources of administrative, statutory, and case law; secondary authority; and research reference tools, to include computer research tools, commonly used in the practice of law;

  1. Explore the process of legal analysis, incorporating the results of their legal research into correspondence, case briefs, legal memoranda;

  1. Identify, understand, and respond to the legal issues they are likely to encounter in a legal setting;

  1. Effectively write case briefs, office memoranda, client letters;

  1. Dissect simple factual / legal issues, applying the basics of legal reasoning and analysis;

  1. Devise and execute a sound, efficient research plan using primary and secondary sources;

  1. Analyze the applicability of legal research results to the factual / legal issue presented;

  1. Assess the relative merits of various legal positions on an issue, using sound legal and logical reasoning; and

  1. Write a clear, concise, and thorough legal document distilling the results of the legal research, reasoning, and analysis as they apply to the factual / legal issue presented.


This course includes eight (8) Forum discussions.

  • The first one is the mandatory Introduction Forum. It is very important that you participate in the Introduction Forum. Participation in this forum serves as your official entry into the course, which is why we special attention has been drawn to this assignment.

  • All of the other seven (7) Forum discussions relate to the weeks’ substantive topics.

Students are expected to complete these Forum discussions by Sunday at midnight EST of the week in which they are due. Together, these forums comprise 35% of the final grade. You can find them (along with their respective instructions) in this classroom’s “Forum” section, at left.

The Graduate Forum Rubric will be used for grading your participation in each of the Forums. You can find this rubric in the classroom’s Forums and Resources sections, at left.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review (on topic) of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers (each response must be on topic). Students are encouraged to make longer and more frequent posts to each Forum discussion. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Thursday this week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.


Unless otherwise noted within the instructions, all written submissions are required to be DOUBLE SPACED, in Microsoft Word, with one-inch margins and Times New Roman, 12 point font.

This course includes 10 written assignments. The first three (3) assignments will test your grammatical and research skills. The remaining seven (7) assignments will apply and expand upon what you learned in those first three (3) assignments within a variety of different legal documents.

With the exception of the final one, each assignment is worth 5% of the final grade. The Final Assignment in Week 8 is worth 20% of the course grade. The Graduate Level Rubric for Essays will be used for grading the writing assignments. You can find this rubric in the classroom’s Assignment and Resources sections, at left.

NameGrade %
Introduction 1.00 %
Introduction Forum 1.00 %
Forums 34.00 %
Week 1: What is Legal Research 3.40 %
Week 2: Sorting Through the Bluebook Rules 5.10 %
Week 3: How to Conduct Legal Research 5.10 %
Week 3: Importance of Case Briefs 5.10 %
Week 4: Devising a Legal Research Plan 5.10 %
Week 4: Practical Learning About Case Briefs 5.10 %
Week 5: Defend Your Legal Research & Writing Process 5.10 %
Assignments 65.00 %
Week 1: First Series of Legal Research Exercises 5.00 %
Week 2: Grammatical Correction Exercises 5.00 %
Week 2: Second Series of Legal Research Exercises 5.00 %
Week 3: IRAC Application 5.00 %
Week 4: Deconstruct a Law Review Article 5.00 %
Week 4: Write A Case Brief 5.00 %
Week 5: Revise Your Case Brief 5.00 %
Week 6: Legal Office Memorandum 5.00 %
Week 7: Two Letters and an Email 5.00 %
Week 8: Final Assignment 20.00 %

The BlueBook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015). There is information in the classroom on Bluebook, and you also have access to the Bluebook online through the Online Library. Here is the link:

CALI Lessons

Anatomy of a Case (

Citation Form for Briefs and Legal Memoranda (

Decision Point: State or Federal? (

Email Correspondence: Ethical and Professional Considerations ()

Ethical Considerations for Legal Memo Writing (

How to Brief a Case (

Issue Statements for Memos and Briefs (

Learning Legal Analysis Through Its Component (

Legal Research 101: The Tools of the Trade (

Legal Research Methodology (

Plagiarism - Keeping Out of Trouble (

Punctuation and Grammar Advanced (

Punctuation and Grammar Basics for Students (

Stating Facts: Objective and Persuasive Approaches (

Statutory Interpretation (

Other Resources

In addition to the required course materials listed above, the following resources (including but not limited to public domain web sites) are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Chris Hargreaves, Legal Drafting – The Ultimate Guide to Writing Like a Lawyer (2013),

Fred R. Shapiro and Julie Graves Krishnaswami, The Secret History of the Bluebook, 100 Minnesota Law Review 1563 (2016).

Keith Lee, How to Write a Good Legal Memo (2015),

Mark Gannage, How to Structure Your Legal Memorandum (1999),

Shelley Riseden, Drafting Legal Correspondence (2014),

The City University of New York School of Law, Drafting a Law Office Memorandum (2018),

The City University of New York School of Law, Drafting a Client Letter,

Tom Winfrey, Legal Correspondence: The Demand Letter (2010),

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address


Cornell Legal Information Institute

Basic Outlining (from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Library of Congress or

United Nations

American Bar Association (ABA)

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.