LAW 200 Legal Research and Writing

GENERAL INFORMATION:

Course title: Legal Research and Writing / LAW 200

Campus: National Prepared by: Caroline Pinkney-Baird

Course description:
Provides a working knowledge of the major techniques of legal research and writing. Upon successful completion of this course, the student should be able to: locate relevant authority in any law library for use in drafting case notebooks, memoranda, and briefs, use FSM and state legislative materials, including statutes and legislative histories, prepare case notebooks, and write memoranda, and briefs, prepare a polished legal memorandum exploring both sides of a legal issue.

COURSE HOURS/CREDITS:

  Hours per Week No.of Weeks Total Hours Semester Credits

Lecture

3 16 48 3
Laboratory        
Workshop        
      Total Semester Credit 3

PURPOSE OF COURSE:

[ ] Degree Requirement
[ ] Degree Elective
[X ]Certificate
[ ]Other

 

PREREQUISITES: None

A.  PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES (PLOs): 
The student will be able to:

  1. Have a working knowledge of the major techniques of legal research and writing.
  2. Describe how the FSM and state rules of criminal law and procedure are interpreted and applied.
  3.             Describe the law of torts and basic principles of admiralty law.
  4. Understand the concept of dispute resolution techniques including, but not limited to, mediation, arbitration, and community resolution procedures.
  5. Understand the law of contracts and general business law.
  6. Describe the processes of comprehensive examination of problems of proof and the rules of evidence.
  7. Understand the constitution of the FSM, its states and municipalities.
  8. Describe the FSM and State rules of appellate and civil procedure.
  9. Describe and explain the FSM and State real property laws.
  10. Practice actual supervised pre-trial and trial skills in civil and criminal cases.

B.  STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (SLOs) - GENERAL: 
The student will be able to:           
1.  Acquire basic skills in legal writing and citation.
2.  Learn basic skills necessary to find the law.
3.  Acquire basic knowledge of civil and ethical rules as they apply in legal writing.

SLO

PLO1

PLO2

PLO3

PLO4

PLO5

PLO6

PLO7

PLO8

PLO9

PLO10

1

IDM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

IDM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

IDM

ID

ID

ID

ID

ID

ID

ID

ID

ID

I = Introduced                                                                            
D = Demonstrated
M = Mastered

C.  STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES (SLOs)-SPECIFIC: 
The student will be able to: 

General SLO 1:  Acquire basic skills in legal writing and citation.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

1.1 Identify the different sources of law.

Legal research and written exercises

1.2 Analyze legal principles, cases and problems

Legal research and written exercises

1.3 Distinguish the different categories of sources of law.

Small group exercise and written exercise

1.4 Cite and integrate laws such as constitutions, statutes, administrative regulations and ordinances in legal writing.

Legal research and written exercises

1.5 Cite secondary sources of the law.

Legal research and written exercises

1.6 Analyze and interpret case law and statutes.

Legal research and written exercises, oral reports

1.7 Distinguish the differences between cases and statutes.

Small group exercise

1.8 Write briefs of legal cases

Legal research and written exercises

1.9 Write a clear and concise legal memorandum exploring the

Legal research and written exercises

 

General SLO 2: Learn basic skills necessary to find relevant law.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

2.1 Differentiate between key law library holdings including American Law Reports, West Digest System and Key Numbers, statutes and related materials, citators, legislative history materials, administrative and executive publications, loose-leaf services, legal encyclopedias, treatises, restatements and periodical literature.

Library exercise, legal research and written exercises

2.2 Locate different sources of law.

Library exercise, legal research and written exercises

2.3 Locate the law governing a particular legal problem.

Library exercise, legal research and written exercises

2.4 Locate case law and statutes to write legal memorandums.

Library exercise, legal research and small group work

2.5 Use and apply computerized legal research.         

Legal research, computer exercise, and written exercise

2.6 Assess the credibility and accuracy of various internet sources

Legal exercise and small group work

2.7 Identify and locate statutes to brief cases.

Legal research and written exercise

 

General SLO 3:  Acquire basic knowledge of civil and ethical rules as they apply in legal writing.


Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment Strategies

3.1 Identify and frame legal issues, distinguish questions of law from questions of fact.

Legal research and written exercise

3.2 Recognize and apply the model rules of professional conduct in writing legal documents.

Legal research and written exercise

3.3 Identify the rules of civil procedure and ethical rules mandate.

Legal research, pair work

 

D.        COURSE CONTENT
A. Legal sources and writing
1.  Sources of Law
a. Primary Authority
b. Secondary Authority
c. Order of Importance
2.  Court Structure in the U.S. and FSM
a. National, State, Local
b. “Reporter” systems – State and National
c. Judicial Guidance Clause
3.  Citation
a. Citation format; signals
b. Basic legal citations
4.  Writing
a. Reading and analyzing court opinions
b. Briefing cases
c. Brief writing vs. Memo writing
d. Argumentative writing
e. Pleadings; main parts of the complaint and answer, drafting complaints and answer and certificates of services
f. Discovery; investigating the facts
g. Writing motions and memoranda in support
h. Drafting Legislation
i. Writing trial briefs vs. appellate briefs
j. Using Dicta vs. Holdings
B. LEGAL RESEARCH
1. Basic Steps in Legal Research
a. Finding court opinions
b. Finding issues, holdings, rules, facts and policies
c.  Finding relevant rules of procedures when writing pleadings or discovery
d. Updating cases by using FSM Digest “Updater”
e. Using Shepard’s Citation (U.S. cases)
2.  Computer based tools
a. Tutorial “Citing Responsibly: A guide to avoiding plagiarism”
b. Tutorial “Selecting the Best Authority to Cite”
c. Tutorial “Introduction to Basic Legal Citation”
d. Internet to find cases in the FSM and U.S.

E.  METHODS OF INSTRUCTION
a. Lecture with or without various audiovisual aids
b. Collaborative problem solving and discussion in small groups
c. Videotapes with focused discussions
d. Computer assisted or other self–paced instruction
e. Student oral class presentations
f. Written exercises
g. Role playing
h. Legal research and assigned case briefs
I. Legal terminology vocabulary building exercises
j. Guest speakers
k. Field trip to court (jury trial and/or pre–trial motions)

F.  REQURIED TEXT(S) AND COURSE MATERIALS
Berring, Robert C and Elizabeth A. Edinger. Finding the Law (12th ed.). St. Paul:

Thomson/West, 2005 (or most recent edition).

Edwards, Linda Holdeman. Legal Writing: Process, Analysis, and Organization (4th ed.).

New York: Aspen Publishers, Inc., 2006 (or most recent edition).

G.  REFERENCE MATERIALS
1.  Relevant cases from the different court levels in the FSM (to be assigned by instructor).
2.  Relevant cases from foreign jurisdictions, especially U.S. (to be assigned by instructor).
3.  The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation (17th ed.). Cambridge: Harvard Law Review Association, 2001 (or most recent edition).

H.  INSTRUCTIONAL COSTS
None

I.   EVALUATION
None

J.   CREDIT BY EXAMINATION
None

 


 

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