723 Legal Research & Writing I - §006, Fall 2016

Categories: Legal Writing

Instructor(s) Peterson, Kim

Legal Research & Writing I (Law 723)

The Legal Research & Writing I course focuses on predictive legal writing and introduces students to legal research sources and strategy. Students learn how to structure legal documents, how to explain and support a legal analysis, and how to edit their writing for clarity and conciseness. They review the workings of the American legal system, binding and persuasive sources of law, the use and weight of authority, and the principles of stare decisis as these concepts affect legal problem solving. Students also learn cost-effective legal research strategies, including the appropriate use of both electronic and paper-based sources of legal information. At the end of the semester, students are introduced to persuasive writing skills. Throughout the course, students simulate many of the tasks that lawyers perform, and they learn how to meet the professional expectations of clients, judges, employers, and colleagues in various contexts.


At the end of the Legal Research & Writing I course, students will understand how to:

1. Read legal sources critically and accurately to identify relevant information;

2. Analyze and synthesize cases and statutes to formulate controlling rules;

3. Apply legal rules to a client’s facts to predict legal consequences;

4. Find relevant legal sources using a variety of research strategies, considering the weight and hierarchy of authorities within the American legal system;

5. Write clearly and concisely in different professional contexts; and

6. Write objective memoranda of law using appropriate format, organization, and citation.

Legal Research & Writing II (Law 723)

The Legal Research & Writing II course focuses on persuasive legal writing and oral presentation skills. Students learn the ethics and strategies of effective written and oral advocacy on behalf of a client and prepare a number of typical documents they may encounter in law practice, e.g., client and opinion letters, pleadings, motions, or appellate briefs. Students are also introduced to basic drafting skills. Students explore advanced legal research sources and refine their research skills by completing projects in a variety of different subject areas and procedural contexts. The emphasis is on learning by doing, and students receive ongoing feedback from their legal research and writing professor to help them improve.

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