In support of the health and safety of our students and university community, all Mason Professional Education courses are being delivered in virtual formats now through September 1. We are fully operational and courses will begin on their scheduled start date. Register today!
The 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 time saving devices in legal research and legal writing.
George Mason University offers Advanced Legal Research and Writing in collaboration with The Center for Legal Studies.
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.
- Conduct electronic legal research.
- Locate, interpret and utilize various type of legal authorities.
- Shepardize legal authorities.
- Write a legal analysis.
- Draft a memorandum of law.
- Brief case opinions.
- 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 at any online bookstores, or can be ordered from CLS at 1-800-522-7737.
To receive a Certificate of Participation from George Mason University, the following must be fulfilled:
- 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.
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.
Applies Towards the Following Certificates
- Special Topics in Paralegal : Available Courses