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Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing I

Fall 2012 – § 3 Professor John F. Murphy murphysLARW@gmail.com

[Quick links: TWEN | Assignment due dates | Reading assignments]

Online, always up-to-date version of this syllabus: http://goo.gl/NoqJz

Course Goals


of this syllabus: http://goo.gl/NoqJz Course Goals Syllabus This is the first of two required courses in

This is the first of two required courses in legal analysis, research, and writing (“LARW”). Students will learn to

Read and “brief” judicial opinions;

Extract, synthesize, and apply rules of law from opinions and statutes;

Use basic research techniques to find opinions and statutes;

Write basic citations to opinions and statutes;

Understand and apply basic grammar rules and advanced legal grammar rules;

Organize legal writing around the CREAC model; and

Write an objective, predictive office memorandum.

Class Meetings

§3: T/Th 10:30-11:45 p.m. in room 202.

Contact Information


John F. Murphy


175 (east end of the east-west faculty hallway)


817-212-3936 (office). Note: I only check voicemail when I’m in the office, so


email is a better bet to reach me quickly. MurphysLARW@gmail.com. Email is the best way to reach me. I try to answer

Office Hours

all email within twenty-four hours. If you do not have an answer from me after twenty-four hours, please remind me.

T/Th 1:00-3:30 p.m.

By appointment, which I will grant freely. Drop-ins welcome.

Teaching Assistant

Your LARW section has a teaching assistant (“TA”)—a student who performed exceptionally well in my class last year. Your TA is here primarily to help you with citation questions, not writing questions. Your TA will hold weekly “office hours” in the library to answer your citation questions. Following is the contact information for your TA:

Required Texts

Section 3:

Library hours: TBD

Matt Fronda, matt.fronda@gmail.com

Richard K. Neumann Jr. & Sheila Simon, Legal Writing 2d ed. (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer


The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Rev. Ass’n, et al. eds., 19th ed. 2009) (“Bluebook”);

Manual on Usage & Style (Tex. Law Rev. Ass’n, 12th ed. 2008) (“the MOUSe”);

Tracy McGaugh & Christine Hurt, Interactive Citation Workbook for The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (2012 ed.) (“ICW”);

Amy E. Sloan, Basic Legal Research (5th ed.) (Wolters Kluwer);

Amy E. Sloan, Basic Legal Research Workbook (4th ed.) (Wolters Kluwer).

Class Attendance and Preparation

Class attendance is required. Students must sign the class roster to be counted present. Students arriving more than five minutes late will be counted absent. Students who leave the classroom without permission before dismissal will be counted absent. Excessive absences will result in the student’s involuntary removal from this class and (because this is a required lockstep class) law school. Consult the Student Programs, Policies, & Procedures manual for information regarding the maximum allowable absences.

Read your assignments before class. If the assigned pages include exercises, be prepared to discuss the exercises in class. Some of the exercises may be assigned as writing exercises. Class participation is worth 5% of your total grade. Participation is not the same as attendance; to earn participation points, students must speak out in class, e.g., by asking or answering questions.

Homework Policy; Penalties for Late Submissions

Students must complete all assigned homework. A student who does not submit all assigned homework—even if the homework is late—will receive an “F”.

Every homework assignment has a submission deadline. Deadlines are strictly enforced. Failure to submit assignments before the deadline triggers the following penalties:

Major writing assignments (memos I & II): Assignments submitted up to one hour after the deadline incur a 3.3-point penalty (out of the 100 points possible for the assignment); assignments submitted one to two hours late incur a 6.7-point penalty; assignments submitted more than two hours late receive zero points.

Interactive Citation Workbook (“ICW”) assignments: Each assignment submitted after the deadline incurs a five-point deduction (out of the 100 possible points) from the student’s score on the end-of-semester citation exam.

Research and other assignments: Research assignments submitted up to one day late incur a ten-point penalty (out of the possible 100 points for each assignment). Those submitted one to two days late incur a twenty-point penalty. Those submitted more than two days late receive no credit.

Interactive Citation Workbook (“ICW”) Assignments

Citation exercise assignments are assigned from the Interactive Citation Workbook. For each exercise, you must score at least 70%. If you score less then 70% on an exercise, you must meet with your TA and redo the exercises within seven days of the exercise’s due date. For each exercise that you score less than 70% and fail to meet with your teaching assistant and/or redo the assignment, five points will be subtracted from the citation exam portion of your grade. You must work alone on the citation exercises. You must make a good faith effort on all exercises. You must complete all assigned ICW exercises on or before December 10, 2012, or else you will fail the course.


The following components comprise students’ final grades in this course:

Memo 1: 25% Memo 2: 45% In-Class Citation Exam: 10% Research Assignments: 2% each (10% total) Class Participation: 5% Other Assignments: 5%

Electronic-Device and Laptop-Computer Policy

The use of cell phones during class is prohibited. “Use” includes but is not limited to voice, texting, and email. Students who violate this prohibition may be required to leave class and receive an “absent” for the day.

I permit the use of laptop computers for note-taking; all other uses during class are prohibited, including email, instant messaging, and web browsing. You may not connect your computer to the Internet during class unless I specifically instruct you to do so. The TAs will monitor computer use. Violators will be required to turn off their laptops and will be marked “absent” for the day. I reserve the right to prohibit laptops altogether if students abuse the laptop-use policy.

Law-school Disability Policy

Texas Wesleyan School of Law adheres to a disability policy that is in keeping with relevant federal law. The law school will provide appropriate accommodation as determined by the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Rosalind Jeffers, in consultation with the Director of the Counseling Center, Dr. Michael Ellison. Students must notify Dean Jeffers of any permanent or temporary disabilities and must provide documentation regarding those disabilities prior to the granting of an accommodation. Due to the law school’s policy of testing anonymity, students should not discuss their disabilities with professors. For assistance, students should consult with Dean Jeffers.

List of Major Assignments

I may assign additional homework during the semester; I will announce the due date for an additional assignment in class and post it on TWEN. Hyperlinks point to the TWEN drop box for that assignment.

Due Date


8/21 (T)

Writing diagnostic

8/30 (Th)

Sloan 1.1; library audio tour; ICW 1

9/4 (T)

Dan Devers-narcolepsy analysis due 10:00 am via TWEN

Schedule and Reading Assignments

I expect every student to complete the assigned readings before the first class of the week for

which the reading is assigned. Much of the reading is self-explanatory; I may not discuss it in class, but I do expect you to have mastered the material in the various books.

I may add to or change the reading assignments. I will announce changes in class and on TWEN. The online version of this document will always be up-to-date.

Key to abbreviations: LW=Legal Writing; BB=Bluebook; MOUS=MOUS; ICW=ICW


Class Dates





Orientation: intro to legal writing

Syllabus; LW ch. 1, 2; Romantz ch. 1-3


8/21, 8/23

Federal cases; intro to citations; intro to ICW

LW 5-6; BB: scan TOC, “blue pages,” T6; ICW



8/28, 8/30

State cases; policy; LSAT diagnostic review


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