Saturday, July 22, 2017
Sponsored Post: Introducing students to legal research
The following post is by Robert C. Berring, Jr. (Berkeley) and is sponsored by West Academic
The first-year law student encounters a daunting task. If she did not spend a few years working as a legal assistant or did not grow up in a family of talkative lawyers, she will be at sea. Where does one begin to approach the legal system? In the common law courses the student is expected to work with the judicial system and its complex authority structure from day one. Civil Procedure calls upon an understanding of statutory sources. Research and Writing classes help, but their task is equally challenging. Mostly focused on writing, such courses may include a lecture or two on the workings of the system, but things move fast and such courses can hardly be expected to start from the very beginning. Much like someone who arrives late for a movie, our neophyte law student seems to be missing some plot points. Of course, she can pick things up as she goes, but it is a waste of precious student and professor time.
If you want your students to do some research as part of your course, but you don't have time to teach them the basics, our new book and videos, The Legal Research Survival Manual with Video Modules, 2d can help get your students off to a good start. The new student needs a simple, straight-forward explanation of how the system works. If she understands the structure of the court system, how a judicial opinion is written, how to check the authority of that opinion, how a statute becomes law and how secondary sources work, she stands a fighting chance of putting the bits and pieces of casebook opinions and statutes together into something more coherent.
This information is the spinach of legal education. Good for one but well, it can be boring. The answer is a tool that presents the essential information in a form that stands a chance of being read and watched by a student in the second decade of the century. It has to be short, glib and to the point. That led us to create a short, readable book accompanied by short, pithy streamed lectures.
Posted by Howard Wasserman on July 22, 2017 at 11:15 AM | Permalink