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LSTD504 - Methods of Legal Research and Writing I

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
12/31/18 - 05/31/19 06/03/19 - 07/28/19 Spring 2019 Session D 8 Week session
02/25/19 - 08/02/19 08/05/19 - 09/29/19 Summer 2019 Session I 8 Week session
04/29/19 - 10/04/19 10/07/19 - 12/01/19 Fall 2019 Session B 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.

FORUM DISCUSSIONS:

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.

To qualify for the maximum possible points, students need to make an initial post (at least 500 words in length and on topic) and respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings in each of these forums (each response must be at least 250 words in length and on topic). Students are encouraged to make longer and more frequent posts to each Forum discussion. Please submit your initial post to the Forum by Thursday at midnight so your classmates can respond to your posting by Sunday. Post your responses to your classmates by the end of the week, Sunday at midnight.

ASSIGNMENTS:

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: http://ezproxy.apus.edu/login?url=https://www.legalbluebook.com.

CALI Lessons

Anatomy of a Case (https://www.cali.org/lesson/834)

Citation Form for Briefs and Legal Memoranda (https://www.cali.org/lesson/561)

Decision Point: State or Federal? (https://www.cali.org/lesson/574)

Email Correspondence: Ethical and Professional Considerations ()

Ethical Considerations for Legal Memo Writing (https://www.cali.org/lesson/8993)

How to Brief a Case (https://www.cali.org/lesson/569)

Issue Statements for Memos and Briefs (https://www.cali.org/lesson/587?LWR28)

Learning Legal Analysis Through Its Component (https://www.cali.org/lesson/562?LWR02)

Legal Research 101: The Tools of the Trade (https://www.cali.org/lesson/568)

Legal Research Methodology (https://www.cali.org/lesson/567?LWR07)

Plagiarism - Keeping Out of Trouble (https://www.cali.org/lesson/1119?LWR63)

Punctuation and Grammar Advanced (https://www.cali.org/lesson/1083?LWR52)

Punctuation and Grammar Basics for Students (https://www.cali.org/lesson/585?LWR26)

Stating Facts: Objective and Persuasive Approaches (https://www.cali.org/lesson/586)

Statutory Interpretation (https://www.cali.org/lesson/1058)

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), https://tipsforlawyers.com/legal-drafting-writing-for-lawyers/

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), https://associatesmind.com/2015/11/16/how-to-write-a-good-legal-memo-template/

Mark Gannage, How to Structure Your Legal Memorandum (1999), https://info.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/pdf/perspec/1999-fall/1999-fall-11.pdf

Shelley Riseden, Drafting Legal Correspondence (2014), http://www.paralegalalliance.com/legal-correspondence/#axzz5L8xCCjRW

The City University of New York School of Law, Drafting a Law Office Memorandum (2018), http://www.law.cuny.edu/legal-writing/students/memorandum/memorandum-5.html

The City University of New York School of Law, Drafting a Client Letter, http://www.law.cuny.edu/legal-writing/students/client-letter.html

Tom Winfrey, Legal Correspondence: The Demand Letter (2010), https://www.slideshare.net/tomwinfrey/legal-correspondence-the-demand-letter

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address

Findlaw

http://www.findlaw.com

Cornell Legal Information Institute

http://www.law.cornell.edu

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

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/02/

Library of Congress

https://www.congress.gov/ or

https://www.loc.gov/

United Nations

http://www.un.org/en/

American Bar Association (ABA)

http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Links provided inside the classroom in the Lessons section.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.