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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: LSTD505 Course ID: 4054 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

Part two of a two-part graduate level intensive legal writing program is designed to develop students’ research and writing skills. Students will further develop their research, legal analytical, and writing, with emphasis on logical reasoning and clear, concise, and convincing writing. Students will complete several legal writing assignments, which will synthesize research, analytical, and technical writing skills. (Prerequisite: LSTD504 Methods of Legal Research and Writing I)

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
09/28/20 - 02/26/21 03/01/21 - 04/25/21 Winter 2021 Session D 8 Week session
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Students should expect this course to be rigorous because this is a graduate level course within the Legal Studies degree program. Furthermore, it builds upon the foundations learned in its counterpart: LSTD504, Methods of Legal Research and Writing I. Therefore, students should not enroll in this course without having successfully completed LSTD504, Methods of Legal Research and Writing I. Upon successful completion, the student will be able to demonstrate the following course objectives:

1. Differentiate among the procedural and conceptual steps involved in keeping track of legal research resources and associated reflections;

2. Appraise the merits of research organization;

3. Organize legal research, analysis and writing functions;

4. Analyze the components of the persuasive writing style;

5. Debate when and how best to apply various rhetorical strategies and perspectives in legal academic documents;

6. Communicate persuasively with differing strategies and perspectives;

7. Distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of persuasive writing;

8. Judge the characteristics of persuasive legal writings;

9. Dissect the components of persuasive writings;

10. Examine the characteristics and relationship between the components of objective legal scholarly writing;

11. Appraise the relative merit of your scholarly ideas; and

12. Produce 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, and tailored to the correct audience.

Assignments: The best way to learn how to research and write effectively within both legal and academic settings is by directly practicing these new skills. Therefore, this course will heavily concentrate your efforts on the assignments. At the start of each week, you also must review the information posted for that week in the classroom’s Assignments section. (NOTE: some weeks have multiple assignments.) There, you will find the specifics for what to do for that week’s assignment. You will also turn in all written work (other than your discussion forum posts) there in the Assignments tab. Unless you are told otherwise, all written work must be submitted as a single Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx file).

When I grade your written work each week, I will offer you specific feedback about it by returning it to you via the Assignments tabs. I work hard to get your work back to you early in the week because I want you to have the benefit of my feedback as you work on the next week’s assignment. Please read my comments carefully and apply whatever guidance that I might give you in all of your later classwork.

Citation and Reference Style: Citations allow your readers (anybody who might read whatever you write) to efficiently locate the cited source. The only authorized citation and reference style authorized in this course (and all others within the Legal Studies program) is The BlueBook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 20th ed. 2015).

This book is required for this class, but you do not need to purchase it because you have access to the Bluebook online through the Online Library. Here is the link: Please be sure to click “Release Seat” when you are finished with the Bluebook, since only 100 students university-wide may use the online Bluebook at any one time. If you have problems accessing the Bluebook, please let me know right away.

Forum Discussions: Your initial post should be made by Thursday this week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. 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 reviewed by clicking on the blue and white box beside the forum entry in the gradebook.

Please note that this is a graduate level course. That means that you have enrolled in this course to both expand your own personal knowledge base and help to enlarge that of the general scholarly community. After all, before long, you will be writing your own capstone / special research or thesis project so as to establish yourself within the legal academic community as both a legal professional and scholar. Use the opportunities provided within this course to help you build the skills necessary to help you achieve such goals.

Lessons: You must review the content of each week’s lesson. Each lesson contains an introduction that identifies the learning objectives, learning activities, and other content that you must absorb. This material, in addition to your assigned readings, is designed to help you along your scholarly path while you are in this course. The weekly lessons are located on the “Lessons” tab at the left side of the classroom and are arranged according to the weekly requirements. You will have continuous access to all lessons throughout the course, so you may access any lesson at any time.

Tests and Quizzes: This course contains no tests or quizzes. Instead, you will demonstrate your acquired knowledge and skills through your professional contributions via both the Forum discussions and written Assignments.

Gradebook: You will be able to review your progress in the course by looking at your grades in the Gradebook. You can find it at the left side of the classroom. You will not have grades for an assignment until after I have completed the grading.

NameGrade %
Introduction 1.00 %
Week 1: Introduction 1.00 %
Forum - Lesser Value 4.00 %
Week 1: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography 4.00 %
Forums - Higher Value 35.00 %
Week 2: Rhetorical Observations 5.00 %
Week 3: Importance of Trial Court Briefs 5.00 %
Week 4: Practical Learning About Preparing Trial Court Briefs 5.00 %
Week 5: Aligning the Statement of Research Problem and Purpose 5.00 %
Week 6: Aligning Theoretical Framework to the Research Problem and Purpose 5.00 %
Week 7: Explaining the Academic or Legal Significance of Your Research Concept 5.00 %
Week 8: Practical Learning About Formal Research Proposals 5.00 %
Assignments - Lesser Value 25.00 %
Week 1: Annotated Bibliography 5.00 %
Week 2: Opposing Persuasive Arguments 5.00 %
Week 5: Write A Statement of the Problem and a Statement of the Purpose 5.00 %
Week 6: Write a Theoretical Framework Statement 5.00 %
Week 7: Reflect on the Academic or Legal Significance of Your Research Concept 5.00 %
Assignments - Higher Value 20.00 %
Week 3: Trial Court Brief 10.00 %
Week 4: Revise Your Trial Court Brief 10.00 %
Concept Paper Proposal 15.00 %
Week 8: Concept Paper Proposal 15.00 %

All resources used in this course are available for free. The required resources are listed below, in alphabetical order. They may be found here in this classroom or in the university’s library.

American Public University System, The Annotated Bibliography, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Graduate Writing, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Mastering Analytical Writing, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, The Research Proposal, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Writing@APUS, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Writing a Thesis Statement, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Writing the Research Question, American Public University System (2018),

American Public University System, Writing With an Academic Voice, American Public University System (2018),

David Barnwell, Rhetoric and Law: How Do Lawyers Persuade Judges? How Do Lawyers Deal With Bias in Judges and Judging? (2015),

Ken Broad-Bahm and Matthew Salzwedel, Ethos, Pathos, and Logos: Use All Three in Your Legal Writing and Oral Argument, (2012),

City University of New York School of Law, Drafting a Brief to a Court (2018),

City University of New York School of Law, Narratives in Law; The Statement of Facts in a Trial Brief, Use of Paragraphs and Thesis Development in Legal Argument Checklist for Drafting a Trial Brief Case Study: Two Versions of a Trial Brief Use of Paragraphs and Thesis Development in Legal Argument (2018),

Jennifer Douglas, Developing Research Questions and Literature Reviews, (March 15, 2018),

Jennifer Douglas, How to Prepare for Your End of Program Requirement at APUS, (March 15, 2018),

Stephen J. Dwyer, Leonard J. Feldman & Ryan P. McBride, How to Write, Edit, and Review Persuasive Briefs: Seven Guidelines From One Judge and Two Lawyers, 31 Seattle University Law Review 417 (2008).

Federal Register, Drafting Legal Documents, Principles of Clear Writing (2016),

Bryan Garner, 10 Tips for Better Legal Writing, American Bar Association Journal (October 2014),

Richard Gabriel, Quick Tips for Persuasive Writing, YouTube (October 24, 2012),

Guest, Making It Sing: How Rhetorical Writing Techniques Can Improve Legal Writing, (2014),

Michael J. Higdon, Communicating With the Impatient, Skeptical Legal Reader: The Thesis Sentence, 51(12) Tennessee Bar Journal 26, 26- 29 (December 2015).

Sally Kane, Seven Ways to Improve Your Legal Writing Skills, The Balance Careers (February 4, 2017),

Maxwell S. Kennerly, Poor Brief Writing Skills Prompt Dismissal by Appellate Court, Litigation & Trial (November 26, 2012),

James W. McElhaney, The Art of Persuasive Legal Writing, 82(1) The American Bar Association Journal 76 (1996).

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL), Annotated Bibliographies, Purdue University (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Developing Strong Thesis Statements, (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Perdue OWL: Introduction to Rhetoric, (2012),

Purdue University, Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Organizing Your Argument, (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Using Research and Evidence, (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion, (2018),

Purdue Online Writing Lab, Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements, (2018),

James C. Raymond, Writing for the Court, Part 3: Five Easy Steps, YouTube (April 25, 2012),

Shaun Roundy, Writing Center: Rhetorical Analysis, (2018),

The Bluebook: A Uniform Guide to Legal Citation, 20th ed., (2015).

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. Many of the resources below were used in the previous LSTD504 (Legal Research and Writing I) course; they are listed below because of their capacity to help launch novice legal researchers and writers. So please feel free to look back at them to refresh your minds as to how to conduct basic legal research and writing tasks. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

American Public University System, Bluebook Style, American Public University System (2017),

American Public University System, Legal and Paralegal Studies Program Guide, American Public University System (2018),

Columbia Law School Writing Center, Organizing a Legal Discussion (IRAC, CRAC, Etc.), (n.d.)

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

Karin Ciano, Legal Writing Notebook: The IRAC Formula – Resistance Is Futile, Minnesota Lawyer (2015),

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 (

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.