Advanced Legal Research and Writing (PLGL 0106)


Phone: 703-993-2109

Fax: 703-993-2121

Advanced Legal Research and Writing is offered in collaboration with The Center for Legal Studies.

This stimulating Advanced Legal Research and Writing Online course is designed to teach advanced and specialized approaches to utilize the legal resources available in a law library and elsewhere. The conceptual differences between computer-assisted legal research and hard copy research will be taught. Students will also learn how to formulate Westlaw search queries and effectively and efficiently use Westlaw and other online legal research methods as timesaving devices in legal research and legal writing.

This course is designed to examine more thoroughly advanced and specialized approaches to utilizing the legal sources available in the law library and online.

The Advanced Legal Research and Writing course is for current paralegals who want to enhance and fine tune their research and writing skills. This course assumes that the student already has a basic understanding of legal research, terminology, judicial system, rules of procedure and evidence. Students will build on their core paralegal skills. This course provides instructions and practices with preparation of complex legal documents and research assignments. It is suggested that students complete George Mason’s Paralegal Certificate program prior to attending this course.

Lesson One: Legal Authorities and Citations
Lesson Two: Legal Analysis
Lesson Three: Westlaw® Online Legal Research
Lesson Four: Legal Memoranda
Lesson Five: Manual Legal Research
Lesson Six: Types of Legal Writing
Students will learn:
  • How to conduct manual legal research
  • How to conduct electronic legal research
  • How to find, interpret and use various type of legal authorities
  • How to Shepardize legal authorities
  • How to write a legal analysis
  • How to draft a memorandum of law
  • How to brief case opinions
  • How to engage in various types of legal writing
  • Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing, 3rd Edition, by W. Putman
  • Legal Research Methods, 2nd Edition by Michael D. Murray and Christy H. DeSanctis
  • Westlaw® online legal research access, available for the course duration from The Center for Legal Studies

Textbooks are not included in the course registration fee. Textbooks are available on any online bookstores, or order from CLS at 1-800-522-7737.

To receive a Certificate of Participation from George Mason University, students cannot have more than one absence.
  • Participants will be expected to spend an average of nine hours per week reading and completing writing assignments.
  • 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course.
  • Participants will choose or be assigned an advanced legal research project to be submitted in class.
  • Final research projects will be presented for grading to the instructor or as a prerequisite of course completion.
The final grade will be determined as follows:
  • The six practical application exercises are worth 50 points each and comprise 40% of the total grade.
  • Participation in class participation assignments comprises 20% of the total grade. The three writing assignments are worth 100 points and comprise 40% of the total grade.

Please click here for a list of our instructors.

  • © George Mason University Executive and Professional Education
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook