May 24, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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LEGA 2030 - Legal Research & Writing 1

Credit Hours: 3.00

Prerequisites: BLAW 1090  and LEGA 2010  

LEGA 2030 provides students with the necessary skills in utilizing a law library and conducting legal research, including computer‑assisted research. Students will analyze facts to determine legal issues and apply the law to discuss these issues by preparing a legal memorandum. Using “Plain English” in drafting the legal written product and ethical issues in good legal writing are emphasized.

Billable Contact Hours: 3

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to distinguish between primary authorities and secondary authorities at a state level.


  1. Define primary authorities and secondary authorities.
  2. Identify the types of primary authorities and secondary authorities.
  3. Distinguish between “official” publications and “unofficial” publications.
  4. Differentiate between the state court systems.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to prepare a legal memorandum of law based on factual situation.


  1. Write a statement of facts based on a client’s factual situation.
  2. Formulate issue(s) based upon those facts.
  3. Answer those issue(s) with a brief statement of the rule of law.
  4. Analyze the legal authorities to the factual situation.
  5. Summarize the legal conclusion.
  6. Verify authorities used are still valid law.
  7. Use proper citation format.
  8. Define a legal memorandum

Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to answer legal questions by using books in a law library.


  1. Locate state legal authorities.
  2. Distinguish between primary authorities and secondary authorities.
  3. Identify if issue(s) is/are one(s) of federal law or state law.
  4. Identify if issue(s) is/are criminal law or civil law.
  5. Gather documents from a citation.
  6. Use a “Descriptive Word Approach”, “Title/Topic Approach”, or “Popular Name Approach” to locate statutory law.
  7. Use a “Descriptive Word Approach”, “Topic Approach”, “Table of Case Approach”, and “Case of Point Approach” to locate case law in the digest.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to answer legal questions through use of computer assisted research.


  1. Locate state legal authorities
  2. Gather documents from a state citation.
  3. Differentiate between Boolean or freestyle (natural language) searches.
  4. Choose appropriate jurisdiction database for finding legal authorities.
  5. Distinguish between primary authorities and secondary authorities.
  6. Verify legal authorities are still valid law.

Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, given a legal issue the students will be able locate appropriate case(s).


  1. Identify an issue from a given factual situation.
  2. List the steps used in case research.
  3. Utilize “IRAC” method.
  4. Verify that the case is still valid (Shepardizing).

• Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
• Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
• Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
• Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
• Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
• Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.

CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Session and Topic:

  1. Finding the Law
    1. Law libraries
    2. Sources of law
    3. Primary and secondary sources
    4. Law book publishers
  2. State Court Systems
    1. State court system
    2. Jurisdiction
    3. Standing requirement
  3. Statutory Law
    1. State legislation
    2. Descriptive word approach
    3. Title/topic approach
    4. Popular name approach
  4. Case Law and Judicial Opinions
    1. Elements of a case
    2. Publication of State cases
    3. Star paging
    4. National Reporter System sets
    5. Parallel citations
    6. Briefing cases
  5. Use of Digests, Annotated Law Reports, and Words and Phrases
    1. West’s topic name and key numbering system
    2. Topic and key number by using the “descriptive word” approach, topic approach, “table of cases” approach, or “case on point” approach
    3. State digests and special digests
    4. American Law Reports
    5. Words and Phrases
  6. Updating and Validating Your Research
    1. Shepardizing cases, statutes, constitutions, administrative regulations, local ordinances, and court rules
    2. Electronic updating of legal authorities
  7. Overview of the Research Process
    1. The beginning research stages
    2. Formulating issues and thinking things through
    3. Use of the TAPP rule and asking the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions
  8. Computer Training
    1. Research using Boolean or freestyle (natural language) searches, including statutory and case law
    2. Shepardizing electronically
    3. Obtaining documents from a citation
  9. Legal Memoranda
    1. Definition
    2. Format
    3. Preparation
  10. Secondary Authorities
    1. Encyclopedias, periodicals, treatises, and restatements
    2. Attorneys general opinions, legal dictionaries, directories, form books, uniform laws, loose-leaf services, and jury instructions
    3. Conducting research
    4. Updating
    5. How they are kept current
  11. Special Research Issues
    1. State legislative history
    2. Compiling legislative history
    3. Obtaining documents
    4. Administrative law
    5. Municipal research
    6. State court rules
  12. Legal Citation Form
    1. Bluebook and ALWD citation system
    2. Citation rules for both primary and secondary authorities
    3. Special citation issues
    4. Cite-checking

Primary Faculty
Manatine, Jennifer R.
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Johnson, Elise
Balsamo, Michael

Official Course Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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