appaws wrote: What are the research and writing classes made up of....what sort of assignments? How are they graded? Do the grades "count?"
Thanks ukerock, for being such a valuable resource in this thread. I owe you a beer or a makers mark when we meet in person!
I will repeat that this class sucks. You meet once a week for 50 minutes and go over the different types of resources available for legal research. You have reading assignments, but no one seems to read them. My teacher did not use Socratic Method, he just lectured. So, they really never know if you read or pay attention. To be honest after the first few classes I stopped reading or paying attention. Your assignments are basically wild goose chases in the library. Every week they give you a worksheet which has about 5 problems on it. Each problem involves using the provided information to find a source. Basically you run around the library for a few hours each week trying to find the correct book and then the correct phrase in that book. It is very frustrating and can be time consuming.
The librarians take turns making up the assignments and grading them. Thus, if your teacher did not create that weeks assignment they also did not grade it. This means if your teacher did not create that weeks assignment then they cannot explain the grading. The research class does not last the entire semester and when it ends you will have a final. At this point everyone freaks out because no one has been reading or paying attention. The final does suck, but the good news is that the course is graded on a very relaxed curve. Normal classes are curved to a 3.0. Most people receive a B+ overall in research. The highest grade was A- and there were not many of those given out. There are some B’s given out and not many grades below that. I do believe there were a few C- though. So basically just about everyone does fine. Your research class is only 1 credit hour, which they combine with your writing class which is 2 hours. So you only get one overall grade for both classes. This is why research is important because if you do bad then you will have to do really well in writing to overcome the bad grade.
Now for all of these assignments you are not allowed to use online research. Basically your legal research course does not talk about online research at all. This really sucks because online research is much quicker than using the books. Thus, to do research for your writing course you will have to teach yourself how use Lexis and Westlaw.
This course is actually very useful. There are three assignments in this course. Two of the assignments are in your first semester. The first is a five page memo where they provide you with your sources. So all you have to do is analyze the cases they give you and apply them to your case. Your second assignment is a longer memo that you have to find your own sources for. These assignments are important because you will be doing this exact same thing over the summer if you get a legal job. Your final assignment is an appellate brief which is around 15 pages. Everyone in the law school will have the same topic for this third assignment.
After you turn in the brief you will have an oral argument against one of your fellow law students. Some people do this at the law school and others go down to the court house. You will perform your argument before your writing professor and 4 members of the moot court. So while you are arguing your case the 5 judges will be interrupting you with questions. Each writing class will then pick the best student for each side of the case. These students will then compete against students from other writing courses. Until finally there will be 2 students left. These two will argue before an actual judge. You will receive a grade on your oral argument. Your writing grade is made up of your 3 writing assignments and your oral argument. I have no clue if there is a curve on this grade. Your writing grades are not posted.
I never turn down a free beer. Just hope I have been helpful.