Course Name
Legal Research and Writing

Contact Hours: 24

Course Description
After completing this course, the student is expected to have acquired the basic skills necessary for writing legal documents. The course is designed to give the student exposure to writing briefs, pleadings, (including motions, complaints, answers, appeals, etc.) and even some basic legal correspondence. The Student should acquire an understanding of the skills and duties of a paralegal in an active law office setting, and basic skills of a beginning law student.

This course is based on an independent study model that allows the student to work through the program in a self-directed manner. Questions and return email communication can be engaged in for clarification and guidance when necessary.


This course is comprised of self study, occasional email discussions with the professor, written assignments, submissions, and exams. Students are encouraged to contribute to the discussions with their own knowledge and experiences. Reinforcement of learning is accomplished through course and/or chapter objectives and quizzes for each lesson. Written assignments provide students with the opportunity to sharpen their analytical and writing skills. Direct communication occurs between students and instructor through the classroom setting, e-mail, message board, chat rooms, or phone. Attendance at the live chat is not mandatory, but it has been found to be enjoyable by the students and a great way to interact with the professor and classmates.


Exams and projects are graded on a scale of 100 with 73 or above being satisfactory or at the 2.0 GPA level. An academic average of 63% is required in order to receive credit for the course. Students are encouraged to be in class weekly and class participation is weighted in the final grade computation. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the material covered if lessons are missed and to see that all missed lessons are made up in compliance with the College guidelines. Make-up work undertaken to complete a course after the course has ended may sometimes satisfy grading criteria. A total of 100 points is available for this course, as follows:

Course Grading
  • Message Board 4 points
  • Participation 3 points
  • Email WITH PROFESSOR 5 points
  • Participation 13 points
  • Overall Participation 15 points
  • Quizzes 25 points
  • Mandatory Project 35 points
  • Part I Examination
  • Part II Examination
Class expectations for email participation: The expectation for student emails to the professor are that the messages will reflect a solid understanding of the materials. The message should contain an analysis of the issues involved in the posted discussion questions. In order to perform this analysis, the student will have read and reviewed all of the materials for the week. Students should email messages that demonstrate that they have analyzed the information covered in connection with the discussion questions to come to logical conclusions.

All academic assignments are to be the work of the individual student. The following are examples of dishonesty, or unethical and unprofessional behavior:
  • Plagiarism - Using another person’s words, ideas, or results without giving proper credit to that person, giving the impression that it is a student’s own work
  • Any form of cheating on examinations
  • Altering academic or clinical records
  • Falsifying information for any assignment
  • Partly or wholly completing an assignment for another student or submitting assignments partially or wholly completed by another student.
If you are going to properly use the ideas of another, you must do the following:
  • Know the difference between paraphrasing and quoting.
  • When paraphrasing, make sure it is not too close to the original AND credit paraphrases in the same manner you credit direct quotes.
  • Put phrases, sentences, or paragraphs in quotation marks when copying a direct quote.
  • Credit any source that you have used, either through paraphrasing or through direct quotes.
  • To properly credit a source, you must identify the author, the publication title, date, publisher, place, and page number. For example:
  • If you’re still unclear about when to attribute credit to an author, speak to your professor to help clarify this issue.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to do the following:
  • Prepare a legal memorandum;
  • Prepare a Legal Case Brief;
  • Write Legal Correspondence;
  • Prepare legal pleadings (including motions, complaints, answers, appeals, etc.)

Students will complete open-book multiple choice exams on each chapter of material in the course (where the course consists of 18 chapters of material). Students may query the instructor up to three times, via e-mail, regarding course content.

Required Book(s)
Additional textbook required.Concise Guide To Legal Research and Writing, Deborah E. Bouchoux, ISBN 978-0-7355-9198-1 Wolters Kluwer Law and Business, Aspen Publishers

  1. Prepare a legal memorandum;
  2. Prepare a Legal Case Brief;
  3. Write Legal Correspondence;
  4. Prepare legal pleadings (including motions, complaints, answers, appeals, etc.)