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Computer-assisted Legal Research Graded Project Graded Project CALR CALR GRADED PROJECT INTRODUCTION Attorneys delegate legal research assig

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Computer-assisted Legal Research Graded Project

Graded Project

CALR

CALR GRADED PROJECT

INTRODUCTION
Attorneys delegate legal research assignments to paralegals daily. Paralegals must be
able to use CALR systems, such as Lexis Advance, WESTLAW, and the Internet, to
quickly and efficiently retrieve legal information. This graded project will test your skills in
this critical area. Read the description of each legal research assignment and complete
each assignment using the Internet and Lexis Advance.

INTERNET
Use the Internet for Sections I, II, and III of this project.

Section I: Build a Judge Profile
Your firm has a case coming up for trial. Your supervising attorney needs you to profile
the judge using the Internet. The judges name is Kathleen OMalley, a federal district
judge in Ohio. Print your research results.

Section II: Perform Company Research
Your attorney has signed on a new client, Dell Computer Corporation, and wants
to learn more about Dells business operations. Print two company profiles from
independent sources.

Section III: Evaluate Internet Information
Quality
Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov and http://www.whitehouse.net and compare and
analyze the two websites. Write 2-3 paragraphs evaluating the content of the information
of the two sites.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE CCALR
Graded Project

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE DCALR
Graded Project

LEXIS ADVANCE
Use Lexis Advance for Sections IV, V, VI, and VII of this project.

Section IV: Formulate a Search Request
Your supervising attorney represents a drug manufacturer that developed a new arthritis
drug. During clinical trials, volunteers who took the drug experienced heart palpitations
and nervousness. The drug manufacturer asked your firm if it must disclose the side
effects of the drug to potential patients. The client needs an answer to this question as
soon as possible to determine if it should seek FDA approval to release the drug to the
public. Formulate two queries for the research assignment using (A) natural language
and (B) terms and connectors. Use federal and state case law as your sources. Print just
the first page of your research results in the cite list format for each search query. Be sure
your search requests are visible.

Section V: Search and Retrieve Primary and
Secondary Legal Materials

A. Retrieve and print the first two pages of the following case by citation: 17 Cal.
3d 425.

B. Retrieve and print the first two pages of any case involving the following party
name: Trump Wilshire Associates.

C. Retrieve and print the first two pages of the following case by docket number:
B018788.

D. Explain how to narrow your results and how to view the results.

E. Describe the types of secondary materials that are available on Lexis Advance, and
name five specific sources.

Section VI: Verify the Accuracy of
Case Law and Statutes
Your supervising attorney gave you the following citations:

QQ 217 B.R. 598

QQ 523 U.S. 574

QQ Fed. R. Civ. P. 26

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE ECALR
Graded Project

She wants you to validate the legal materials to find out if theyre still good law. Carry out
the assignment and print your research results. Its OK to print only the first few pages if
you get a lot of hits. (Note: For the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, select your first hit
and print the first page.)

Section VII: Conduct Company and
Financial Research
Locate the company headquarters, address, and telephone number for eBay, the online
auction house. Print samples of your research results.

A. Print the first two pages of the latest quarterly (10Q) report for Dell Computer
Corporation.

B. Please note, to ensure that youve included all the required assignments, label each
assignment with the appropriate roman numeral and letter if applicable. Paper clip
the papers for each assignment together.

Expectations for This Project
You should be able to perform factual, business, and legal research on the Internet;
understand how a paralegal uses the Internet in the legal environment; start a Lexis
Advance research session; formulate a search request; search for documents; search
and retrieve primary and secondary legal sources; verify the accuracy of citations using
Shepards citation service; locate, profile, and investigate companies; conduct financial
and business research; and find factual resources.

Grading Criteria for This Project

Content 100%

I. Build a judge profile 5%

II. Perform company research 5%

III. Evaluate Internet information quality 10%

IV. Formulate a search request 15%

V. Search and retrieve primary and secondary legal materials 25%

VI. Verify the accuracy of case law and statutes 25%

VII. Conduct company and financial research 15%

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE FCALR
Graded Project

Exemplary Proficient Fair Not Evident

Build a judge
profile

Provides a thorough
judge profile

Provides an
adequate judge
profile

Provides mini-
mal evidence of
a judge profile

No evidence of
a judge profile

Perform compa-
ny research

2 thorough company
profiles from inde-
pendent sources are
included.

2 adequate
company
profiles from
independent
sources are
included.

1 company
profile from
independent
sources is
included.

No evidence
of company
profiles from
independent
sources is
included.

Evaluate Inter-
net information
quality

Thorough para-
graphs evaluating
the content of the in-
formation in the two
sites are provided.

Adequate
paragraphs
evaluating the
content of the
information in
the two sites
are provided.

Minimal
evidence is
provided of
evaluating the
content of the
information in
the two sites.

No evidence
of evaluating
content of the
information
in the sites is
provided.

Formulate a
search request

2 or more queries
for the research
assignment using
(A) natural language
and (B) terms and
connectors are
provided.

2 queries for
the research
assignment us-
ing (A) natural
language and
(B) terms and
connectors are
provided.

1 query for
the research
assignment us-
ing (A) natural
language and
(B) terms and
connectors is
provided.

No evidence
of queries for
the research
assignment are
provided

Search and
retrieve primary
and secondary
legal materials

All 5 materials are
provided.

4 materials are
provided.

3 or fewer
materials are
provided.

No evidence
of primary or
secondary
materials is
provided.

Verify the
accuracy of
case law and
statutes

Thoroughly validates
the legal materials

Adequately val-
idates the legal
materials

Minimal
evidence of val-
idating the legal
materials

No evidence
validating the
legal materials

Conduct
company and
financial
research

Locates the compa-
ny headquarters, ad-
dress, and telephone
number for eBay,
the online auction
house. Provides
samples of research
results. Provides the
first two pages of
the latest quarterly
(10Q) report for Dell
Computer Corpo-
ration

Locates most
of the company
information and
provides quar-
terly reports

Locates mini-
mal company
information and
provides quar-
terly reports

No evidence
of company
information
or quarterly
reports

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE GCALR
Graded Project

SUBMITTING YOUR PROJECT
1. Go to http://www.pennfoster.edu and log on as a student.
2. Go to your Student Portal.

3. Click on Take Exam next to the lesson youre working on.

4. Enter your email address in the box provided. (Note: This information is required
for online submission.)

5. Attach your file as follows:

a. Click on the Browse box.

b. Locate the file you wish to attach.

c. Double-click on the file.

d. Click on Upload File.

6. Click on Submit Files.

Be sure to keep a backup copy of your completed work.

http://www.pennfoster.edu Graded Project

Legal Writing Project 2
By

Mike Wilson, Esq.

Reviewed by

Robin Bull

About the Author

Mike Wilson is a freelance writer and college instructor who has had wide
legal and educational experience. He received a BA in English and a JD
from the University of Kentucky. He has been a partner in a law firm, a solo
practitioner, and has done work in general and family mediation. He has
also been a full-time instructor in Paralegal Studies at Sullivan College in
Kentucky. Mr. Wilson has had a number of papers published on law-related
topics in both scholarly and popular journals.

About the Reviewer

Robin Bull graduated Summa Cum Laude from Kaplan University with a BS
in Paralegal Studies. She has taught legal research and writing, computer-
aided legal research, logic, and other legal classes. Ms. Bull writes for Penn
Foster and various law firms and legal outlets.

All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been
appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be regarded as affecting the
validity of any trademark or service mark.

Copyright 2017 by Penn Foster, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or
utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, record-
ing, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the
copyright owner.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to Copyright
Permissions, Penn Foster, 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18515.

Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 2

THE CASE 2

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS 3

FORMAT REQUIREMENTS 5

TIPS 8

SUBMITTING YOUR PROJECT 9

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 1LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 2LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

INTRODUCTION
For this graded project, youll receive a parental custody case, a list of relevant facts,
and the testimonies of two expert witnesses. Youll need to research the law in your own
jurisdiction regarding factors used to determine custody. Then, youll write two memo-
randums, one for each of the opposing sides, applying the law you found to the facts of
the case.

THE CASE
You should know the following information about the case.

The Participants
Sally Bright asked her husband, John, to move out temporarily because of marital diffi-
culties. After a brief separation, Sally filed for divorce and received temporary custody of
their 14-year-old daughter, Chastity. Johns response to Sallys divorce petition requested
custody, and the court ordered that the child have visitation with John every weekend.

Nine months later, the court conducted a final hearing in the divorce matter. Both parties
still want custody of Chastity.

The Facts
Among the facts that came out during the hearing, and are undisputed, are the following:

QQ Sally soon will move to another part of the country to take a job.

QQ A psychologist who counseled Chastity about her emotional problems testified
that Chastity would prefer to stay with her dad so she doesnt have to go to a new
school and make new friends.

QQ John has realized that he is gay and has met a male companion who doesnt live
with John presently but someday might.

QQ Chastity testified that she feels weird around Johns new companion.

QQ John makes $125,000 per year, and Sallys new job in another part of the country
will pay $35,000.

QQ John has, on several occasions, physically abused Sally, but he never did so in
front of Chastity and has never abused Chastity.

QQ Both parents have been actively, and almost equally, involved in the day-to-day
care of Chastity throughout her life.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 3LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

The Testimonies
There have been two separate testimonies given.

Testimony of Dr. Samuel Stoller. I counseled Chastity at the request of her father, John,
who said she was having problems at school since her mother filed for divorce. Chastity
clearly wants to stay in the area so she can be with her friends as she moves into high
school. Given the stress of the divorce, I think its in Chastitys best interest that she
remains in the safe, secure environment she is familiar with. Since her mother is moving
away, Chastity should stay with her father. The fact that John is gay has no bearing, since
studies show that a parents sexual orientation doesnt usually affect his or her ability to
be a good parent.

Testimony of Dr. Frank Edwards. I was appointed by the court to interview the parties
and the child and make a recommendation regarding custody. I found that both parents
were suitable custodians, but I think the better custodian would be the mother. Chastity
says she feels uncomfortable around her fathers new companion. Im not biased against
gays, but I think Chastity could be teased at school.

Another factor is Johns drinking. He denied having a drinking problem, but Sally says he
drinks to excess on occasion. This could be dangerous, especially if he were transporting
the child while intoxicated.

The Judge
After the hearing finished, the judge said she was prepared to decide all of the issues
except custody. She directed both attorneys to submit a memorandum on the custody
issue. The parties are to submit memorandums simultaneously. The judge will review the
memorandums and then decide custody.

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS
Your first task is to take the role of a legal researcher for the attorney arguing that the
mother should have custody. Write the first memorandum from this perspective. Your
second task is to take the role of a legal researcher for the attorney arguing that the
father should have custody. Write the second memorandum from this perspective. In your
research for each memorandum, you should check both statutes and cases, keeping in
mind the facts of the case.

Wait until after youve completed the CALR, Part 1 and Part 2, study units to begin your
research for the Legal Writing 2 Project (00803500). Youll need the skills youve learned
in the CALR study units to conduct your research.

You MAY use Lexis Advance to perform your research for this project; however,
you MUST use at least one source other than a source obtained through Lexis
Advance.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 4LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

Grading Criteria for This Project
Content 80%

Written Communication 15%

Format 5%

Grading
Criteria Exemplary Proficient Fair Poor Not Evident

Content The student:

Selects correct
facts and
emphasizes
those facts that
support his or
her position.

Selects correct
issues (at least
three).

Selects appro-
priate authority
that will answer
the issues.

Selected at
least one
non-Lexis
source.

Applies the law
to the facts.

Uses proper
citation form.

Memoran-
dum is well-
organized,
easy to read,
and persua-
sive.

Addresses
the stronger
arguments the
opposing party
likely will raise.

The student:

Selects cor-
rect facts and
emphasizes
those facts
that support
his or her
position.

Selects at
2 correct
issues.

Selects some
appropriate
authority that
will answer
the issues.

Selected at
least one
non-Lexis
source.

Applies the
law to the
facts effec-
tively for the
most part.

Uses proper
citation form.

Memorandum
is organized.

Addresses
arguments
the opposing
party likely
will raise.

The student:

Selects
facts and
emphasizes
those facts
that support
his or her
position.

Selects 1
correct issue.

Shows
attempt to
use author-
ity that has
relevance to
the issues
but but not
effectively.

Selected at
least one
non-Lexis
source.

Makes an
effort to ap-
ply the law to
the facts but
does not do
it effectively.

Uses citation
form.

Memo-
randum is
not well-
organized.

Doesnt
address
arguments
the opposing
party likely
will raise.

The student:

Doesnt select
the correct
arguments
or does not
connect the
arguments to
the facts of the
case.

Lexis sources
not used.

Memoran-
dum is not
organized.

Doesnt
address
arguments
the opposing
party likely
will raise.

Theres no
evidence of
facts, issues,
authority, or
non-Lexis
sources.

(Continued)

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 5LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

FORMAT REQUIREMENTS
Each memorandum should conform to the following format.

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF
SALLY BRIGHT PETITIONER

V. MEMORANDUM

JOHN BRIGHT RESPONDENT

Comes ___________________, by counsel, and for __________ Memorandum states as

follows:

______ ______ COURT

Civil Action No. ____________

(petitioner/respondent) (her/his)

(insert number)

(name of court)

FIGURE 1Fill in the blanks for your memorandum heading.

Grading
Criteria Exemplary Proficient Fair Poor Not Evident

Written
Communication

The student
uses correct
terminology,
grammar,
spelling,
punctuation,
and sentence
structure and
corrects any
typographical
errors.

The student
has 1 or 2
errors in
terminology,
grammar,
spelling,
punctuation,
and sentence
structure.

The student
has 3 or 4
errors in
terminology,
grammar,
spelling,
punctuation,
and sentence
structure.

The student
has 5 or 6
errors in
terminology,
grammar,
spelling,
punctuation,
and sentence
structure.

Theres no
evidence of
correct termi-
nology, gram-
mar, spelling,
punctuation,
and sentence
structure.

Format The letterhead
and letter are
formatted
as shown in
the sample.
Included are
the students
name and stu-
dent number,
course title,
and project
number
(00806800).

The student
makes 1 or 2
mistakes in
formatting.

The student
makes 3
mistakes in
formatting.

The stu-
dent makes
4 or more
mistakes in
formatting.

No formatting
is evident.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 6LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

Caption
Use a heading, like the one in Figure 1, at the top of the first page of each memorandum
but change the court to the one where this matter would be heard in the jurisdiction where
you live.

Facts
The word facts will be the all capital-letter, boldfaced heading for Roman numeral I.

State the facts of the case, remembering to select the ones relevant to the issue to be
decided. Emphasize the facts favorable to your argument and de-emphasize unfavorable
facts. You can express emphasis by the order in which you present the facts, by how
much time you spend discussing each fact, and by how you describe, or characterize, the
facts. Remember that in this section youre not yet presenting your full argument. Rather,
youre simply stating the facts. Your application of relevant cases and statutes to these
facts should appear in the next section of the memorandum.

Issue
State the issue as a question to be answered or a contention youll prove. This statement
of the issue will be the all capital-letters, boldfaced heading for Roman numeral II.

Begin your analysis by explaining the relevant law. You may organize the issue into
sub-issues, labeled successively as A., B., C., (boldfaced) and with the title of the
sub-issue following, also in all capital letters, boldfaced and so on, if you think it will help
the reader better understand your argument. For example, a sub-issue heading might be

A. PETITIONERS CHILD ISNT AN ADULT.

Remember to cite cases in proper form, giving the case name, volume number, reporter,
page, and year of the case. For example, a case citation might read

Smith v. Harris, 651 SW 2d 299 (1966).

If you quote from the case, use quotation marks and indicate the page at which the
reader can find the quoted material. After citing and explaining a point of law relevant
to deciding custody, apply it to the facts in the present case. State the conclusion the
reader should draw from application of the law cited to the facts in this case, even if the
conclusion seems obvious to you.

You also should address the factors that arent favorable to your side of the case, explaining
why theyre less important or interpreting them in a way that makes them less harmful.

You must submit printouts of the cases, statutes, rules, etc., that you cite.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 7LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

Conclusion
The word conclusion will be the boldfaced heading in all capital letters for Roman
numeral III.

In a sentence or two, sum up the main reasons why the judge should rule in your favor.
Figure 2 gives you an abbreviated example of the format for a legal memorandum. The
memorandums youll submit for this project should be much more thorough and complete,
addressing all the important facts.

LAFAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT
Civil Action No. 113

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF

GEORGE BRETLAND PETITIONER

V. MEMORANDUM

JANE BRETLAND RESPONDENT

Comes Petitioner, by counsel, and for his Memorandum states as follows:

I. FACTS

On January 1, 1999, George Bretland filed for divorce from his wife of five years,
Jane Bretland.

In dispute is the ownership of the house, valued at $500,000. The mortgage on the
house has been financed through the Albright State Bank.

. . . .

II. DOES PREVIOUS FAMILY OWNERSHIP LEGALLY OUTWEIGH HARDSHIP
FACED BY THE OTHER PARTY?

The overriding factor in determining such cases is the hardship faced by the non-
working spouse. P.R.S. 602.565 identifies factors that should be considered when
determining the ownership of property after a divorce.

A. THE FACT THAT A SPOUSE CANT WORK DUE TO ILLNESS AND
FACES SIGNIFICANT HARDSHIP DUE TO A DIVORCE SUGGESTS THAT
OWNERSHIP SHOULD BE AWARDED TO SAID SPOUSE.

P.R.S. 602.565 (2) (f) says that a court deciding ownership must consider
(information, records, and evidence of inability to work due to serious illness.

. . . .

III. CONCLUSION

Awarding ownership to the husband could endanger the wifes financial and
physical health.

FIGURE 2An Abbreviated Legal Memorandum

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 8LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

TIPS
Style

QQ Avoid long words and legal jargon.

QQ Cut out anything that isnt absolutely necessary.

QQ Write in the active voice as much as you can.

QQ Avoid overusing the verb to be.

Citations

QQ Use proper citation format.

QQ Make sure that the authority cited logically applies to the facts of this case.

QQ Use recent precedent, if possible. All cases cited should still be good law.

Proofreading and Editing

QQ Rewrite grammatically incorrect or awkward sentences.

QQ Check for errors of spelling, punctuation, or formatting.

QQ Proofread and make your final editing review from a paper copy, not directly from
the computer screen.

After proofreading and editing the agreement, submit your final draft for grading along
with the answer sheet.

Additional Instructions
When you submit your project, include only the first three (3) pages of any case law
or other supporting documentation youre submitting with your Memos. We dont need
you to copy and submit more than the first three (3) pages. However, you must be sure
youve read the entire case, statute, or other type of document to ensure its applicable to
your memo and that youre using it for the correct proposition.

Note: We wont return to you any of the case law or other supporting documentation you
submit with your Memos. Please be sure to copy all supporting law before submitting it
for grading if you would like to keep a copy for your records.

PENN FOSTER, INC. 2017 PAGE 9LEGAL WRITING PROJECT 2
Graded Project

SUBMITTING YOUR PROJECT
On your computer, save a revised and corrected version of your final drafts of Exercises
1, 2, and 3. Be sure the file includes all the information listed in the Writing Guidelines,
including your student number.

1. Go to http://www.pennfoster.edu and log on as a student.

2. Go to your Student Portal.

3. Click on Take Exam next to the lesson youre working on.

4. Enter your email address in the box provided. (Note: This information is required
for online submission.)

5. Attach your file as follows:

a. Click on the Browse box.

b. Locate the file you wish to attach.

c. Double-click on the file.

d. Click on Upload File.

6. Click on Submit Files.

Be sure to keep a backup copy of your completed work.

http://www.pennfoster.edu

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