University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

Legal Research & Information Literacy

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.