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Legal Research I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 110

       Course Name: Legal Research I

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

PAR 101 with minimum grade of C or consent of program coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course orients students to law library and various legal publications, treatises and other legal writings encountered in day-to-day practice of law. Content emphasizes developing student capability to analyze, interpret, and communicate facts, ideas and law through comprehension of legal research techniques.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. state the role of the lawyer and paralegal in legal research.
  2. comprehend the scope, organization, special feature, supplementation, and use of specific materials in legal research.
  3. apply problem‑solving skills to distinguish particular features and characteristics or relationships of various publications.
  4. apply knowledge of legal materials to determine methodology to differentiate facts and to identify legal issues.
  5. apply knowledge of the law to solve basic constitutional, statutory, and case law problems.
  6. demonstrate a knowledge of the rules of the uniform system of citation in legal research.
  7. demonstrate the ability to perform computer‑assisted legal research.

V.    Academic Integrity

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Details of the Code of Academic Conduct can be found in the Student Handbook.

VI.   Sequence of Topics

1.     Introduction
            A.  The Role of the Lawyer, Law Library, and the Paralegal in Legal Research
            B.  Legal Sources and Application
                 1.  Definition of the law
                 2.  Location of legal sources
                 3.  Application of legal research
2.     Principles and Materials of Legal Research
            A.   Principles of Legal Research
            B.   Materials of Legal Research
            C.   Case Law
            D.   Uniform System of Citation
            E.   Legal Encyclopedias
            F.   Statutory Law
            G.   Court Reporters
            H.   The Reporter System
            I.   The Digest System
            J.   Citators
            K.   Miscellaneous Finding Tools
            L.   A Review of Digest Encyclopedias and Other Finding Tools
3.     Developing Research Skills
             A.   Necessary Elements for Beginning Legal Research
             B.   Methods of Performing Legal Research
             C.   Analogizing and Finding Ambiguity in the Law
4.     Sources of Federal Legislation
            A.   Constitution
            B.   United States Statistics
            C.   U.S. Codes
            D.   U. S. Codes Annotated
            E.   Federal Register
            F.   Code of Federal Regulations
            G.   Hearing and Reports of Committees
            H.   Legislative History
5.     Sources of State Legislation
            A.   House and Senate Bills
            B.   Statutes
            C.   Acts
            D.   Session Laws
            E.   Revised Statues
            F.   State Regulations
            G.   Computers
6.     Sources of Administrative Law and Citators
            A.   Example: Taxation
            B.   Practice and Procedure
            C.   Releases
            D.   Decisions
            E.   Regulations
            F.   Checks
7.      Utilization of Appropriate Form
8.     Sources of Law Reports
            A.   Court Reports and Digests
            B.   Case Analysis
            C.   Head Notes
            D.   Key Number System
            E.   Briefs
            F.   Abstracts
            G.   State System
            H.   National Reporter
            I.   American and General Digest
            J.   Slip Opinions
            K.   Advance Sheets
9.   Annotated Reports, Rules, Citators, and Encyclopedias
10.  Loose‑leaf Periodicals, Treatises, Dictionaries, Directories, Citations, Manuals, and Newspapers
11.  Illinois Information Sources

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture
Problem‑solving discussions
Case problems
Practice exercises
Field assignments
Homework assignments
Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

1. Reading Assignments
2. Writing Assignments

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Library problems
Case analysis
Final test: multiple choice and essay
Lexis examination

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.