LIBR 220-02
Resources and Information Services
Focus: Legal Resources
Fall 2002

Andrew Gurthet

Course Links

Directions to the class



Course Description:

This class explores various resources and materials specific to conducting basic legal research. Both, print and electronic materials (including those available via LEXIS) will be discussed equally. Specifically, the resources for finding statutes, legislative histories, cases and digests, administrative materials, secondary materials, and California practice materials will all be highlighted. General searching techniques and general legal concepts as they relate to legal research will also be covered.

This course is intended for students with either no prior law background or with paralegal training. Students with J.D. degrees may attend to refresh their basic legal research skills, but most, if not all, of the instruction for this course will have been covered in the J.D. studentís prior legal research and writing courses.

Course Objectives:

The primary objective of this course is to build student confidence in utilizing basic legal resources. This is defined and measured by the studentís ability to handle basic legal research questions that are most commonly asked at reference desks. Specifically, upon completion of the course the student will:

    1. recognize the most common legal materials, both print and electronic, and understand how they are commonly arranged by publishers and used by patrons;
    2. be able to easily locate cases, statutes, legislative histories, administrative materials, secondary materials, as well as California practice materials both in a law library setting as well as electronically;
    3. have an understanding of basic legal terms and concepts, including legal citation, as they apply to legal research situations;
    4. be capable of conducting in-depth searches utilizing LEXIS and other electronic legal resources; and
    5. have fun learning the above; utilizing legal resources competently can be empowering!

The course supports the following objectives from the Schoolís goals and objectives by:

    1. Teaching students the major theories, important principles and current practices:

      - in the specialized aspects of information management and retrieval specific to law; and

      - advocacy and leadership for citizen access to information and knowledge resources.

    2. Preparing students to contribute to the work of library and information professions; and
    3. Preparing students to function effectively in libraries, information centers, schools, and other relevant institutions.

Required Text:

Barber, Steve and Mark McCormick (1996). Legal Research. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers.

This book may be obtained via

The reading for all other required reading assignments will be either handed out prior to class or made available electronically.

Recommended Text:

Jacobstein, J. Myron, Roy Mersky and Donald Dunn (1998). Fundamentals of Legal Research, 7th edition. New York: Foundation Press.

This book may be obtained via Be sure to purchase the 7th edition.

Course Requirements:

In order to fulfill the requirements of this course, a student must successfully complete the following:



In-class Assignment #1


Take-home Assignment #1


In-class Assignment #2


Take-home Assignment #2


Final Project


Attendance and Participation


100 points total. Grades shall be distributed as follows:

A = 93-100 points

B = 85-92 points

C= 77-85 points

D= 70-77

F= Below 70

All assignments may be either turned in to me in person or e-mailed to me at prior to the deadline. All assignments, with the exception of the Final Project, are due at the BEGINNING of the class period indicated.

A note regarding attendance: Given that there are only 6 classes total, each student is allowed to miss only one class without points being deducted from his/her grade. If a student misses 2 classes total, 5 points will be deducted. If a student misses 3 or more classes, all 10 points will be deducted.

Contact Information:

Andrew GurthetHeafey
138 Santa Clara University
School of Law
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
(408) 554-6938

I am at this location, from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday Ė Friday.


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It was last updated on July 24, 2002 by DF.