LAWS220 Legal Research and Writing
Department of Business Studies: Paralegal/Law
Course Number and TitleLAWS220 Legal Research and Writing
Number of Credits3 credits
Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester2250 minutes
Prerequisiteseither LAWS100 or LAWS110; and either COMP110 or OADM110
Other Pertinent InformationNone
Catalog Course DescriptionIntroduction 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.
Required Course Content and Direction
- Develop an understanding of the methods of legal filing of research materials.
- Basic knowledge of the tools available to solve legal research problems.
- Development of analytical skills and reasoning powers through case studies.
- 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.
- Use legal encyclopedias to research legal problems.
- Check citations for accuracy and currency.
- Locate federal and state statutes and regulations.
- Prepare memorandum of law for filing with the courts and for use in the law office.
- Understand and use the vocabulary of the law and of legal research
Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:
- Legal resources on the Internet
- Library orientation
- Legal terminology
- Sources and organization of the Law
- The branches of government
- The interrelationship of state and federal law
- Locating Constitution on the web
- Legislative materials
- Locating act by popular name
- Finding local legislation
- Administrative materials
- Using Code of Federal Regulation
- Using on-line service to use CFR
- State Code of Pa Regulation
- TEST ONE: and Review
- Judicial materials
- Case Law Reporters
- Using digests
- Finding Federal and State Supreme Court cases on the web
- Secondary authority
- Using Legal Encyclopedia
- Using Pa. Law Encyclopedia
- Using C.J.S
- Computer assisted legal research
- Using Westlaw
- Using Lexis-Nexis
- Using CD-Rom libraries
- On-line searching using Westlaw, Loislaw and Lexis-Nexis
- How to structure an inquiry
- Using keywords for search
- Continuation of on-line searching
- Additional resources and techniques
- Locating experts and witness using the web
- Locating trial material on the web
- Accessing law libraries on the web
- Using non-legal indexes
- Standard citation practice
- Importance of proper citation
- Locating parallel citations
- Research memoranda
- Putting it all together
- Writing and composition on the Web
- Preparing a memorandum of law
Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:
Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:See course outline for required textbook and other supplements
Teaching Methods Employed
- Reading assignments
- Classroom lectures
- Discussion of questions, exercises and problems, cases and projects
- Audiovisual aids
- Online research services
Review/Approval Date - 9/02