LAWS220 Legal Research I

Department of Business Studies: Paralegal/Law

I. Course Number and Title
LAWS220 Legal Research I
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Number of Instructional Minutes
IV. Prerequisites
either LAWS100 or LAWS110; and either COMP110 or OADM110
V. Other Pertinent Information
VI. Catalog Course Description
Introduction to the tools used in legal research, including statutes, cases, treaties, encyclopedia, and computer search techniques. Students will be asked to research actual case type problems and prepare written memorandum of law.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Course Learning Goals

    Students will:

    1. develop an understanding of the methods of legal filing of research materials;
    2. basic knowledge of the tools available to solve legal research problems;
    3. development of analytical skills and reasoning powers through case studies;
    4. development of legal writing skills by the review and preparation of memoranda for the law office and the court. Use state and federal legal reporter services;
    5. use legal encyclopedias to research legal problems;
    6. check citations for accuracy and currency;
    7. locate federal and state statutes and regulations;
    8. prepare memorandum of law for filing with the courts and for use in the law office; and
    9. understand and use the vocabulary of the law and of legal research.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities

    1. One
      1. Introduction
      2. Legal resources on the Internet
      3. Library orientation
      4. Legal terminology
    2. Two
      1. Sources and organization of the Law
      2. The branches of government
      3. The interrelationship of state and federal law
    3. Three
      1. Constitution
      2. Federal
      3. State
      4. Locating Constitution on the web
    4. Four
      1. Legislative materials
      2. Federal
      3. State
      4. Locating act by popular name
      5. Finding local legislation
    5. Five
      1. Administrative materials
      2. Federal
      3. Using Code of Federal Regulation (CFR)
      4. Using on-line service to use CFR
      5. State Code of Pa. Regulation
    6. Six
      1. TEST ONE: and Review
    7. Seven
      1. Judicial materials
      2. Case Law Reporters
      3. Using digests
      4. Finding Federal and State Supreme Court cases on the web
    8. Eight
      1. Secondary authority
      2. Using Legal Encyclopedia
      3. Using Pa. Law Encyclopedia
      4. Using C.J.S.
    9. Nine
      1. Computer assisted legal research
      2. Using Westlaw
      3. Using Lexis-Nexis
      4. Using CD-Rom libraries
    10. Ten
      1. Westlas
      2. On-line searching using Westlaw, Loislaw, and Lexis-Nexis
      3. How to structure an inquiry
      4. Using keywords for search
    11. Eleven
      1. Continuation of on-line searching
    12. Twelve
      1. Additional resources and techniques
      2. Locating experts and witness using the web
      3. Locating trial material on the web
      4. Accessing law libraries on the web
      5. Using non-legal indexes
    13. Thirteen
      1. Citations
      2. Standard citation practice
      3. Importance of proper citation
      4. Locating parallel citations
    14. Fourteen
      1. Research memoranda
      2. Putting it all together
      3. Writing and composition on the web
      4. Preparing a memorandum of law
  3. Assessment Methods for Course Learning Goals

  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Student:

    See course syllabus for required textbook and other supplements.

Review/Approval Date - 9/02; New Core 8/2015