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 and Student Conduct

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.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

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

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture
  2. Problem‑solving discussions
  3. Case problems
  4. Practice exercises
  5. Field assignments
  6. Homework assignments

Course may be taught as face-to-face, 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.

Hames, Legal Research, Analysis & Writing, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall, 2006.
Harvard Law, Blue Book:  Uniform System of Citations, 18th ed., 2005.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Library problems
  2. Case analysis
  3. Final test: multiple choice and essay
  4. 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.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.