Information Literacy : Legal Research Classes

Legal Research and Information Literacy

(2 credits, Fall)
Professors Zago, Hemstock and Landau

This required two credit course introduces first year students to the basic research tools and strategies a beginning lawyer needs to practice law in the United States. The course focuses on: primary and secondary legal authority; mandatory and persuasive authority; accessing, evaluating and updating secondary legal sources, court decisions, statutes and administrative rulemaking; developing a coherent research strategy including cost effective research; and appropriate choice of electronic versus print formats. Students will be exposed to traditional print sources as well as LEXIS, Westlaw and free web sites. Historical and ethical aspects of legal research will be discussed. At the end of the first semester students should be able to take a legal issue and determine the extent of legal information needed; access the needed legal information effectively and efficiently; evaluate legal information and its sources critically; incorporate the selected legal information into their understanding of the issue; understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of legal information; access and use information ethically and legally. Classes involve a mix of lecture, discussion and the opportunity to work directly with relevant print and electronic resources through an assigned problem. In additional to a graded research midterm and final, students must successfully complete 10 weekly research assignments and two research practicums. Eligibility: Required JD course. Course enrollment is limited to 24 students. Course format: skills training. Grading: final exam, 55%; midterm exam, 30%; class prep. and participation, 5%; regular submissions/quizzes, 10%. Course has an ungraded component or practicum. This course cannot be taken for an S/U grade.

International Legal Research

(2 credit, Fall & Spring)
Professor Zago

This course will introduce you to the standard sources used in foreign and international law as well as introduce you to tools and strategies needed to effectively research a relevant topic. An introductory lecture is coupled with a hands-on approach to explore sources of international law in print resources, subscription electronic sources including Lexis and Westlaw, and free internet tools. We will also discuss strategies and methods for finding foreign law. We will discuss research strategy and create research plans; living documents that can keep you on track and can serve as a way to evaluate your own progress. You will practice the skills you have learned to solidify the process and method of foreign and international legal research with a culminating project. There is no final exam but each student will create an annotated bibliography or research guide throughout the semester on an international legal topic of his/her own choosing (with the instructor's approval). You will meet with the instructor periodically to report on your research process and discuss obstacles and strategies. At the end of the semester, each student will then present the topic and their research strategy and process to the class. The final written research plan is also due the last day of class. Eligibility: Open to all except 1Ls. Course enrollment is limited to 15 students. Course format: online. Grading: class prep. and participation, 10%; research paper, 35%; regular submissions/quizzes, 45%; other (see syllabus), 10%. This course may be taken for an S/U grade.

Advanced Legal Research

(2 credit, Spring)
Professor Tom Hemstock

Advanced Legal Research is designed to provide an overview of essential legal research tools and strategies to prepare students to become efficient and cost-effective researchers. Traditional and non-traditional research tools and techniques will be explored, evaluated and compared. In addition to reviewing the basic primary and secondary sources for legal research, the course will also include legislative history, administrative research, practitioner materials, topical materials, reference sources, and fact based research including: Business research including newspaper research and corporation filings Jury Verdict Reports Medical Research Criminal Records Asset Searches People Searching Other topics TBD Cost effective legal research is constantly integrated into the course to prepare students for post law school research realities. The format of the class consists of the presentation of problems, time allotted for independent group research, demonstrations, and discussions of resources, techniques, and cost-effectiveness of the research process.

Mining Patent Informaton in the Digital Age

(2 credits, Spring)
Professor Jon Cavicchi

This course, evolving since 1993, is a unique academic offering at any U.S. law school. It is a cross platform "consumer" survey course to search, mine and manipulate patent and non-patent literature data. It teaches transferable skills consistent with the UNH School of Law Information Literacy Plan. It is taught in collaboration with patent data vendors and related guest speakers. This is a hands on course. The work product is a novelty or patent landscape report. Themes of this course include: Multiplicity of sources Types of sources Applications Multiple access points to same data Who uses patent data sources Why use patent data sources Factors to choose access points Search approach Who drives the dollar chain for searches Free, low fee and premium patent sources In house and/or outsource searches Considerations as to who performs differing types of searches What is the standard of care for patent searches How to deal with questions of lack of integrity in patent documents The evolving role of the web in patent searching Eligibility: Open to all except 1Ls. Prerequisites: Lexis and Westlaw basic training. Course enrollment is limited to 15 students. Course format: skills training. Grading: final exam, 30%; class prep. and participation, 10%; research paper, 60%. This course may be taken for an S/U grade.

 

Graduate Legal Research and Information Literacy

(1 credit, Fall & Spring)
Professsor Cavicchi

This required one credit course introduces graduate students to the basic research tools and strategies a beginning intellectual property or commerce and technology professional needs to work in their practice area and engage in lifelong learning to keep their education current. The course attempts to track concepts in the Graduate Programs Contracts course often in the context of licensing agreements. The course focuses on: primary and secondary legal authority with lesser coverage on fact research, current awareness and practice tools and strategies; mandatory and persuasive authority; accessing, evaluating and updating secondary legal sources, court decisions, statutes and administrative rulemaking; developing a coherent research strategy including cost effective research; and appropriate choice of electronic formats. Students will be exposed to LEXIS, Westlaw and free web sites. At the end of the first semester students should be able to take a legal issue and determine the extent of legal information needed; access the needed legal information effectively and efficiently; evaluate legal information and its sources critically; incorporate the selected legal information into their understanding of the issue; understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of legal information; access and use information ethically and legally. Classes involve a mix of lecture, discussion and the opportunity to work directly with relevant print and electronic resources through assigned problems. In additional to a graded research midterm and final, students must successfully complete weekly research assignments. Eligibility: Graduate Students - required course. Prerequisites: none. Corequisites: none. Course format: skills training. Grading: final exam, 35%; midterm exam, 10%; class prep. and participation, 10%; regular submissions/quizzes, 45%. This course cannot be taken for an S/U grade.