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Ben Doherty's Advanced Legal Research: Schedule & Memo Topics

Schedule & Memo Topics

Date        In-class Activities Assessments Due

Introduction: How will we best develop our legal research skills and confidence in the 9 weeks we have as a class?

Wednesday, August 26 - Hybrid

We will get to know one another and talk about how this class will work.

 

Bring to class any questions you may have about the class from the course website/syllabus.

 

Monday, August 31 - Hybrid

We will discuss some of the major types of secondary sources useful to legal research. We will also discuss some advanced search techniques for Westlaw and Lexis, such as boolean connectors and fields/segments.

Intro Survey 1 due at the beginning of class.

Legal Research Memo 1: Your client allegedly was caught committing grand larceny—how much trouble is he or she in? How do you find and analyze all of the relevant statutes and cases so that you can precisely explain the penalty for a particular crime? If the larceny law has recently changed, how do you know which version applies to your client?

Wednesday, September 2 - Hybrid

We will begin our work on Legal Research Memo 1. We will also discuss our goals/my expectations in presenting our research effectively in writing (which you will do in the 4 legal research memos in this class).

Read the sample List of Sources and sample Legal Research Memo prior to class so that we can discuss expectations for the written work product in this class.

Monday, September 7 - Hybrid

We will discuss resources and approaches relevant to researching Memo 1.

Intro Survey 2 due before class.

Wednesday, September 9 - Zoom for all

We will have Zoom breakout rooms so that you can talk in small groups about your sources. We will then talk as a full class about the most central sources for writing Memo 1.

Initial Source List 1 due before class.

Monday, September 14 - Hybrid

We will talk as a full class about approaches to Memo 1 and the major issues you'll want to address. We will also talk about research issues that arise in current statutory and case research.

Legal Research Memo 2: How does state law address public access to law enforcement disciplinary records? How have state legislatures provided or limited such access? How do you find and analyze legislative documents, such as current bills, reports, press releases, statutes or other sources, so that you can clearly explain how and why a legislature is responding to a particular issue?

Wednesday, September 16 - Hybrid Zoom for all

Final discussion of Legal Research Memo 1. We will begin our work on Legal Research Memo 2. 

Legal Research Memo 1 due before class.

Monday, September 21 - Hybrid

We will discuss resources and approaches relevant to researching Memo 2.

Intro Survey 3 due before class.

Wednesday, September 23 - Zoom for all

We will have Zoom breakout rooms so that you can talk in small groups about your sources. We will then talk as a full class about the most central sources for writing Memo 2.

Initial Source List 1 due before class.

Monday, September 28 - Hybrid

We will talk as a full class about approaches to Memo 2 and the major issues you'll want to address. We will also talk about research issues that arise in current or historical legislative research.

Legal Research Memo 3: How is the U.S. Department of Transportation proposing to change its regulations on service animals and emotional support animals on passenger planes? How do you find and analyze administrative documents, such as current regulations, proposed and final rules, public comments, statutes and cases, so that you can clearly explain how and why a federal agency is responding to a particular issue?

Wednesday, September 30 - Hybrid

Final discussion of Legal Research Memo 2. We will begin our work on Legal Research Memo 3.

Legal Research Memo 2 due before class.

Monday, October 5 - Hybrid

We will discuss resources and approaches relevant to researching Memo 3.

Intro Survey 4 due before class.

Wednesday, October 7 - Zoom for all

We will have Zoom breakout rooms so that you can talk in small groups about your sources. We will then talk as a full class about the most central sources for writing Memo 3.

Initial Source List 3 due before class.

Monday, October 12 - Hybrid

We will talk as a full class about approaches to Memo 3 and the major issues you'll want to address. We will also talk about research issues that arise in regulatory research and how the state system compares to the federal system.

Legal Research Memo 4: You are working as counsel to a local school board. How might they address copyright issues while they navigate online learning in a pandemic, and what pleading might be the best one to use for a defense of fair use? Lawyers often spend much of their time on procedural issues. How do you find and analyze procedural documents, such as local or national court rules, cases, and secondary sources so that you can navigate the maze of procedure to best represent your client?

Wednesday, October 14 - Hybrid

Final discussion of Legal Research Memo 3. We will begin our work on Legal Research Memo 4.

Legal Research Memo 3 due before class.

Monday, October 19 - Hybrid

We will discuss resources and approaches relevant to researching Memo 2.

Intro Survey 5 due at the beginning of class.

Wednesday, October 21 - Zoom for all

We will have Zoom breakout rooms so that you can talk in small groups about your sources. We will then talk as a full class about the most central sources for writing Memo 4.

Initial Source List 4 due before class.

Monday, October 26 - Hybrid

Class conclusion and wrap-up. We will talk as a full class about approaches to Memo 4 and the major issues you'll want to address. We will also talk about research issues that arise in procedural research.

Wednesday, October 28 (no class)

No class. Legal Research Memo 4 due by 5 pm.