Legal Research I A598
Autumn 2004

Syllabus

LEGAL RESEARCH I

LAW A598/LIS 591A - Fall Quarter 2004

Prof. Mary A. Hotchkiss

William H. Gates Hall, Room 207 -- Monday/Wednesday 9:00-10:15am

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:00 am-Noon; or by appointment

(UW) 206-616-9333 / e-mail hotchma@u.washington.edu

REQUIRED TEXTS:    Hazleton et al., Washington Legal Researcher’s Deskbook, 3d, (UW, 2002) (WLRD)

                                    [Deskbooks will be sold during the first week of class by Gallagher Library Staff; cost with tax is $48.96]

Recommended: (you will need access to): The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 17th ed. (2000).

COURSE OBJECTIVES:

Legal Research I and Legal Research II are designed as sequential classes, taught each fall and winter. These classes are cross‑listed with the School of Library and Information Science. The fall course does not require prior legal research experience. This sequence gives students an opportunity to further develop their research skills by extensive assignments and an intensive examination of legal research tools and techniques. In the fall, students examine legal materials in depth, focusing on state law materials. Finding assignments and research projects focus on primary law, finding tools, practice materials and online research.  In the winter, students build on the knowledge gained in the fall, and focus primarily on federal materials, in print and online; topics include federal legislative materials, looseleaf services, and topical research tools. The fall course is normally a prerequisite but can be waived with instructor’s permission.  Both are graded courses, with multiple assignments but no examinations. Mastering any research process takes time and practice. With luck (and hard work), by the end of the quarter, you will be a more confident, competent, cost-effective legal researcher! 

COURSE STRUCTURE AND GRADING

This course uses a combination of lectures, library labs, online training sessions, and hands-on exercises to alert each of you to the variety of tools and techniques used in legal research. Students will be expected to be fully prepared for each class meeting. At a minimum that means reading the assigned materials and completing class assignments on time. There will be a total of seven written assignments due throughout the quarter. The exercises will typically take under 3 hours to complete. The research projects will involve memos of 3-5 pages plus a research log. The research projects will typically require at least 8 hours each.

Please read the syllabus carefully for both the distribution dates and due dates of assignments! If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to arrange to turn in materials on time and/or pick up class handouts.   Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due at the beginning of the class hour (i.e. 9:30 am) on the date due. All late papers, except those excused based on illness, will be penalized. *

Students are expected to attend at least 80% of scheduled classes.  In‑class participation is crucial for understanding the tools and strategies of legal research. Questions and discussion are encouraged and expected.

Participation can include questions or commentary offered via email or in other written form. Class attendance and participation will account for 6% of the final course grade.

Your final course grade will be based on the following criteria:

4 Exercises @ 10 points each

40 points

1 Timed Exercise @ 14 points

14 points

2 Research projects @ 20 points each

40 points

Class attendance and participation

up to 6 possible points

Total possible points = 100

* For each assignment not turned in by the time due, you will be penalized 1 full point per day.

Grading Note for Law School Students:  J.D. students will be evaluated using the grading system of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, D, and F. “Honors” grades will not necessarily be capped at the top 35 percent. This qualifies as a skills course. Students who turn in assignments on time, demonstrate superior academic effort, and actively participate in learning will be rewarded. Please note: I have in the past given low pass (D) grades.

Grading Note for SLIS and/or LL.M. Students:  You will receive a decile grade for this class, with 4.0 being the highest grade and 2.7 being the lowest grade for which academic credit is given. “Honors” grades (3.7 to 4.0) are not limited. Students who turn in assignments on time, demonstrate superior academic effort, and actively participate in learning will be rewarded. Please note: I have in the past given grades below 2.8.

Disability-related needs: To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Students Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in this class.

 ACADEMIC CONDUCT

While working on your assignments, you may often have to share materials with other students. Please be considerate. Ideally, you should reshelve most materials after use. At the very least, please do not remove materials from their original area. If materials are missing, (a) look around the copy machines, (b) check the reshelving areas on the upper floors, (c) contact me and I will try to suggest alternative resources.

You will be permitted to work collaboratively on most of the assignments. However, each assignment submitted must be your own original work, drafted and handwritten or typed by you.

The Honor Code of the School of Law, adopted in 1981, governs student conduct. Please read carefully:

Section 2-201:

A student may not incorporate into work the student offers for credit passages taken either word for word or in substance from work of another person unless the student credits the original author and identifies the original author’s work with quotation marks and footnotes or with an appropriate written explanation.

Section 2-202: A student may not offer for credit as the student’s work any work prepared by another person.

The Student Conduct Code of the University of Washington, adopted in 1972, also sets high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity.

Legal research and writing relies heavily on careful documentation of controlling and persuasive authority. Deliberate failure to provide proper attribution constitutes plagiarism and  warrants disciplinary action.

OFFICE HOURS

Fall office hours are Tuesdays, 11:00am-Noon, and by appointment. Please note that I have blocked out Tuesdays after class for drop-in hours. From time to time my administrative responsibilities may impinge on my formal office hours. Please feel free to ask my assistant, Jennifer Snider <jsnider@u.washington.edu> to find additional times when we can meet.

MISCELLANEOUS

Research and writing courses are challenging. At times during the quarter it will seem as if there is more work than can be humanly done in a 24-hour day. This is true for even the most organized among us.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, please schedule an appointment with me. As we go over the class assignments, we’ll talk about developing efficient research habits, including ways to divide projects into smaller, conquerable tasks. Remember that we’re in this learning process together!

FALL 2004 SCHEDULE OF TOPICS, READINGS, AND ASSIGNMENTS

Mon. 9/27

OVERVIEW; LEGAL SYSTEMS AND LEGAL MATERIALS

Introduction to Course; Review of Syllabus; Overview of the Legal System & Legal Materials.

Reading for 9/27: Skim the links provided on Project Vote Smart’s Government 101: State Government <http://www.vote-smart.org/resource_govt101_09.php>

Wed. 9/29

THE PROCESS OF LEGAL RESEARCH

Strategies for Effective Legal Research; Role of Secondary Legal Materials; Encyclopedias; Treatises; Periodicals; American Law Reports; Restatements; Managing Your Legal Research.

Reading for 9/29: WLRD, pp. 23-36 and pp.41-45.

Hand out Exercise A (due Wed.10/6)

Mon. 10/4

LEGAL DICTIONARIES, CITATION FORM & ABBREVIATIONS

Bluebook Basics – Comparison of Practitioner and Law Review Citations; Other Citation Manuals (ALWD, AALL, Chicago, Texas, Washington); Deciphering Tools (Bieber’s, etc.)

Reading for 10/4: WLRD, pp. 87-91 and pp.263-269.

Also, please skim Legal Dictionaries < http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/dict.html>.

Please note Introduction to Basic Legal Citation < http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation>

Wed. 10/6

SECONDARY LEGAL MATERIALS: WASHINGTON

Washington Encyclopedic Sources (Washington Practice and Washington Lawyers Practice Manual); Legal Periodicals; Deskbooks, Manuals, and Treatises.

Reading for 10/6: WLRD, pp.47-53 and pp. 93-95.

Hand out Exercise B (due Wed.10/13)

Mon. 10/11

STATE STATUTES: LOCATE, READ AND UPDATE

Session Laws; Codes; Annotated Codes; Uniform Laws; City and County Codes.

Reading for 10/11: WLRD, pp. 53-64. Please skim Statutory Research Checklist

<http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/statute.htm>

Wed. 10/13

STATE ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS: REGULATIONS AND DECISIONS

Washington State Register; Washington Administrative Code (WAC); Regulatory History

Reading for 10/13:   WLRD, pp. 64-69 and glance at pp. 135-154. Please skim Washington State Administrative Law Research < http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/admin.htm#wash>

Hand out Research Project #1 (due by 5 pm Wednesday, 10/27)

Mon. 10/18

STATE CASE LAW: LOCATE, READ AND UPDATE

Official & Unofficial Reports; Unpublished Cases; Locating Case Law Through Digests.

Reading for 10/18: WLRD, pp. 69-79. Please skim Reporters and Digests

<http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/repdig.htm> and The Art of Selecting Cases to Cite, 63 Tex. B.J. 340 (2000) < http://www.stcl.edu/faculty-dir/mcgaugh/selectingcases.htm>

Wed. 10/20

CITATORS: FINDING AND UPDATING TOOLS; BASICS OF ONLINE RESEARCH

Shepard’s and KeyCite; Advantages and Pitfalls of Online Research; Query Formulation.

Reading for 10/20: WLRD, pp. 79-84.

Please skim Online Citators <http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/oncite.html>

Mon. 10/25

WESTLAW TRAINING (Section 1): Legal Research Training Center (Library, L201-202)

ONLINE CASE VERIFICATION TOOLS (Section 2): Classroom

In-class overview of verification tools: KeyCite & WestCheck v. Shepard’s & CheckCite.

Hand out Exercise C to both sections (due Mon.11/1)

Wed. 10/27

WESTLAW TRAINING (Section 2):  Legal Research Training Center (Library, L201-202)

ONLINE CASE VERIFICATION TOOLS (Section 1): Classroom

Mon. 11/1

DISCUSS RESEARCH PROJECT #1; CALR COSTS; ONLINE ALTERNATIVES

Return and Discuss First Project; Discuss Costs of Online Searching; Explore Quality and Accuracy of Low Cost or Public Access Alternatives such as SCOMIS and LoisLaw.

Reading for 11/1: None

Tues. 11/2        PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE!

Wed. 11/3

WASHINGTON LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, INITIATIVES, & BILL TRACKING

Process and Documentary Sources; Researching Initiatives & Referenda; Legislative Resources

Reading for 11/3: WLRD, pp. 155-165. Also please skim Washington State Legislative History <http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/washleghis.html> and the Washington Secretary of State page on Initiatives & Referenda < http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives>

Hand out Exercise D (due Wed.11/10)

Mon. 11/8

WASHINGTON LITIGATION MATERIALS 

Quick review of subject-specific resources such as deskbooks, manuals, and CLE materials. Focus on Benchbooks; Pattern Forms; Jury Instructions; Jury Verdicts; Expert Witnesses; Judicial Biographies; Ethics Opinions.

Reading for 11/8: WLRD, pp. 93-96, plus glance at pp. 100-133.

                                                             

Wed. 11/10

SPECIALIZED LEGAL RESEARCH: INDIAN LAW RESEARCH

Indian Law: Terminology; Jurisdiction; Practitioner’s Checklist; Research Tools.

Guest Lecturer: Professor Penny A. Hazelton.

Reading for 11/10: WLRD, pp.212-234. Please skim Indian Law Research

<http://lib.law.washington.edu/ref/indian.html>

Mon. 11/15

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW AND PUBLIC RECORDS

Free and Fee-Based City and County Materials – Property Records, Marriage Records, Court Dockets, Lien Records, Civil Judgments etc.

Reading for 11/15: WLRD, pp.167-181

Wed. 11/17

INFORMATION ETHICS AND UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW

Appropriate Use and Disclosure of Public Records; Increase in Non-lawyer Practitioners: Concerns of the Bar; Reference Assistance versus Legal Advice.

Reading for 11/17:  Wash. Rev. Code §§ 42.17.250 to 42.17.312 (Disclosure—Records).

Please skim materials posted on the Washington State Practice of Law Board at <http://www.wsba.org/lawyers/groups/practiceoflaw/>

Hand out Research Project #2, due by Noon, Friday, 12/3

Mon. 11/22

RESEARCH PROJECT WORK SESSION:

Question & Answer Session for Research Project #2. (Can also make individual appointments.)

Reading for 11/22: None.

Wed. 11/24       THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – NO CLASS

Mon. 11/29

MULTI-STATE PRACTICE MATERIALS

AmJur Trials; AmJur Proof of Facts; Causes of Action; Pattern Discovery Series; Court Rules; Use of Records and Briefs; Online Resources.

Reading for 11/29: Handout “Westlaw Research Tips: Litigation Practice Tips” and skim Briefs and Oral Arguments < http://lib.law.washington.edu/collect/briefs.html>

Wed. 12/1

NONLEGAL RESOURCES: DIRECTORIES AND FACTUAL INFORMATION

Tools for Finding People, Organizations, Agencies, Corporations, Facts and Statistics

Reading for 12/1: WLRD, pp.235-242

Research Project #2 due by Noon, Friday, 12/3

Mon. 12/6

EVALUATION; SPECIALIZED LEGAL RESEARCH TIPS

How to do research in an area of law you know nothing about!

Reading for 12/6: WLRD, pp. 38-40.

Hand out Exercise E (This is a timed “cumulative” exercise due by 9:00am, Wed., 12/8)

Wed. 12/8

COURSE WRAP-UP

Strategies for Efficient, Cost-Effective Research; Keeping Skills Sharp.

Feedback is essential in a legal research class. All papers will be returned promptly after receipt. It is the student's responsibility to notify the instructor promptly if an assignment will not be submitted when due.