Categories: Law Practice Skills Legal Writing

Instructor(s) Shucha, Bonnie

According to a recent survey, new associates spend 40-60% of their time conducting legal research. In this simulation course, students will engage in substantial, hands-on experience with this essential lawyering skill. Students will learn how to approach, conduct, and present their research using facts and circumstances drawn from legal practice.

The course will begin with an exploration of how to analyze a client’s legal issue and develop an effective research plan. It will continue with an advanced review of the principal types of legal authority. Using realistic fact patterns and exercises, students will conduct research with primary law (federal and state case law, legislation, & regulations) and secondary legal sources and finding aids. Students will also use advanced research and technology tools for litigation, transactional, and business & public records law providing valuable practice expertise.

The course will conclude with an examination of the practical and economic realities of legal research in practice. Guest speakers will provide an in-depth look at legal processes and sources and offer a real-world view of the research experience.

Weekly instruction combines pre-class reading, classroom lecture and supervised, hands-on research simulations with immediate feedback, and post-class self-evaluation and engagement with sources followed by timely instructor feedback and evaluation. Two major projects provide research experiences similar to those encountered in legal practice: an oral presentation of research results and an expertise- and practice-building legal research article.

This course is 2 credits and will be assessed pass/fail. It is open to up to 18 students who have completed Legal Research & Writing I & II (or equivalent at another law school).

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Analyze a client’s facts and circumstances and develop a research plan that maximizes search accuracy and efficiency
• Locate and assess authoritative sources of federal and state law (cases, legislation, & regulations)
• Conduct effective and cost-saving research using advanced tools available to legal practitioners
• Recognize the practical realities and economic impacts of conducting research in legal practice
• Effectively communicate research strategies and results orally and in writing

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