UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE COLLEGE OF LAW
Syllabus for Legal Research (LAW 562A)
I. REQUIRED TEXTS:
1) Laurel Currie Oates & Anne Enquist, Just Research (2d ed. 2009).
2) The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (18th ed. 2005).
II. COURSE OBJECTIVES AND CONTENT: Legal Research is an introduction to the
basic legal resources that lawyers use in researching and answering legal questions. In
this course you will work with a variety of primary and secondary sources in both print
and electronic formats in order to learn how to use them both effectively and efficiently.
The material you learn in this class will be useful to you in future courses where you are
required to conduct research, such as LAW II, appellate advocacy, and moot court
competitions. Good research skills are also essential for part-time and summer jobs with
law firms, since student employees and first-year associates spend most of their time in
Since the best way to learn legal research is by working with legal sources, the course
will consist of both lectures and laboratory sessions in the library. Each lecture and lab
will meet for 100 minutes during the last seven weeks of the semester. Because you will
complete assignments during the lab sessions, your preparation time outside of class will
be limited to completing the assigned readings, which are listed in this syllabus and on
the TWEN site for this course.
At the end of the semester, you should be able to:
1) describe the sources of law and how they are published;
2) distinguish between mandatory and persuasive authority;
3) understand the differences between primary and secondary sources;
4) list the various kinds of secondary sources and describe the reasons for using each;
5) find statutes, case law, and secondary sources using the appropriate finding aids;
6) update statutes and case law using both print and electronic sources;
7) create effective online queries for finding primary and secondary sources.
III. CLASS EXPECTATIONS. You are expected to arrive on time, be prepared, and attend
all classes and all labs. Latecomers will receive half an absence. You are allowed to be
absent from one lecture and one lab, but you will not be allowed to make up the points
given for the in-class activity scheduled for each class period. You will be allowed to
make up lab assignments, but only in compelling circumstances and if you contact
Professor Rudolf prior to your absence.
You should plan to attend the lecture and lab sections to which you are assigned.
Permission to attend another section of the lecture or lab will be granted only in
exceptional circumstances at Professor Rudolf’s discretion, but only if you contact
Professor Rudolf prior to the lecture or lab you miss or wish to attend, whichever occurs
IV. GRADING: Legal Research is offered on a credit/no-credit basis. To receive credit, you
must earn 1,000 points on lab assignments and class activities. If you do not earn 1,000
points, you will be permitted to correct and resubmit one lab assignment of your
Points will be given for lab assignments (six labs with 100 points possible for each), in-
class activities (seven activities with 50 points possible for each), and Lexis and Westlaw
training (75 points possible for each).
If you miss a lab session, permission to make up the missed assignment will be granted
only in compelling circumstances at the professor’s discretion, but only if you contact
Professor Rudolf prior to the lab you miss.
V. PLAGIARISM POLICY: By submitting assignments under your name, you are
representing those assignments to be your own work, unless the assignment clearly
allows collaboration. No credit will be given for any assignment where there is evidence
of copying or sharing files, and this evidence may be turned over to the Assistant Dean of
Students for further action.
VI. OFFICE HOURS: I am generally available in my office Monday through Thursday
afternoons and evenings. Frequently you will be able to drop in during those times, but
sometimes it will be necessary to schedule an appointment if I am busy with library
business. Feel free to contact me by telephone (460-2065) or e-mail
Legal Research Syllabus / Spring 2010 – page 2
VII. READING ASSIGNMENTS
Week Dates Just Research
9 Mar. 16 Ch. 1 (pp. 3-6)
Ch. 3 (pp. 17-29)
Ch. 4 (pp. 33-46)
10 Mar. 23 Ch. 4 (pp. 46-80)
11 Mar. 30 Ch. 5 (pp. 81-110)
12 Apr. 6*
13 Apr. 13 Ch. 8 (pp. 151-170)
14 Apr. 20 Ch. 8 (pp. 170-182)
15 Apr. 27 Ch. 11 (pp. 247-264)
Class will meet from 6:30 to 8:20. Labs will follow from 8:30 to 10:20. An alternate lab time can
be arranged for Saturday morning if there is sufficient demand.
* A reading may be posted on TWEN for this week. Instead of normal lab sessions, there will be
training sessions for Lexis and Westlaw. The schedule will be announced later.
Legal Research Syllabus / Spring 2010 – page 3