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Welcome to PA 401: Advanced Legal Writing

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1 Welcome to PA 401: Advanced Legal Writing
Prof. Colleen Grady Unit 1: Welcome, Overview of Course, and Legal Writing Style

2 Agenda Welcome! Overview of Course and Administrative matters
Legal Writing Style Assignment #1 Discussion Board Unit 1 requirements Kaplan University - PA 401

3 What’s This Course About?
You will get instruction in and practice with researching and analyzing complex legal issues. You will practice using appropriate form and tone in legal documents. You will compose legal documents. You will work in steps to complete the final project. Kaplan University - PA 401

4 Syllabus The Syllabus will guide you throughout the course. It will remind you when graded items are due and what we are studying during each unit. You can see from the Syllabus a breakdown of your gradebook – that shows what each assignment is worth. Use the Syllabus as your road map. Kaplan University - PA 401

5 Office Hours I will hold my office hours via AOL instant messenger every Sunday from 9-10 pm EST and Thursday 9-10 pm EST. Information on downloading AIM can be found in the Syllabus. If you cannot make it during this time but would like to meet with me, please me and we will arrange for a different time to talk by IM or phone. Kaplan University - PA 401

6 Seminars Seminars will be held every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST. There are no Seminars in Unit 5 or Unit 10. I arrive in Seminar at least 10 to 15 minutes before 8:00. Seminars are graded –if you cannot make it, you can write a 1-2 page summary and send it by to earn your points. Kaplan University - PA 401

7 Seminars (cont.) If you try to enter the seminar but it won’t load, and you’ve been trying for 5-10 minutes, you should head over to the main chatroom under the “Live” tab in the classroom. This is Plan B. In the rare event that neither the seminar platform nor the chatroom is working, I will be available via AIM to give further instructions. Kaplan University - PA 401

8 General Information Start/End Dates: The Kaplan University "class week" begins Wednesdays at 12am EST and ends on Tuesdays at 11:59 pm EST Assignments (Projects)/Discussion Questions postings will be graded within 5 days of the due date. Don’t get too far behind. Contact me ahead of time if you can’t get an assignment done. Kaplan University - PA 401

9 How Will You Be Graded? SEMINARS (8) 5 POINTS EACH (40)
DISCUSSION BOARD (8) 20 POINTS EACH (160) Unit 1 Assignment (Identify Issues) 120 POINTS Unit 2 Assignment (Research plan) Unit 3 Assignment (Case Brief) Unit 7 Assignment (Draft of Legal memorandum) Unit 9 Assignment (Final Legal memorandum and case brief) 220 POINTS MIDTERM EXAM (Unit 5) 100 POINTS Kaplan University - PA 401

10 Academic Success Center
Take advantage of the free academic support services available through the Kaplan University Academic Success Center, including: Writing Center Math Center Paper Critiques Online subject-matter references and tutorials Live online tutoring Kaplan University - PA 401

11 Any Questions so far? Kaplan University - PA 401

12 Legal Writing Avoid slang words Try not to use abbreviations
Great care should ALWAYS be taken to spell the names of people and companies correctly Keep sentences short Avoid Legalese Always use proper citations Kaplan University - PA 401

13 Proofreading Perhaps the most important thing to remember when writing a document is to check it thoroughly when it is completed. Even when you think it is exactly what you want, read it one more time. Read it out loud if you can because your ear may catch mistakes that your eyes miss. This "unwritten" rule holds true for everything you write - memos, letters, proposals, etc. Kaplan University - PA 401

14 Grammar Use both the grammar and spell check on your computer, paying very, very close attention to every word highlighted. Make sure the document is clear and concise. Look to see if there is anything in the written communication that could be misinterpreted. Does it raise unanswered questions or fail to make the point you need to get across? Kaplan University - PA 401

15 This Week’s Assignment
For this week’s assignment, you will list the Legal Issues involved in the Jane Doe fact pattern for the final project. List the specific issue or issues you believe must be addressed after reading the fact pattern. You are to focus solely on the filing of a petition for asylum. At this point, do not continue your research; just list the legal issues you believe your managing attorney has asked you to research. Then prepare a draft presenting the list that identifies the issue or issues. Put the in a word document and submit it in the dropbox. The list should demonstrate strong written communication skills and include some description and analysis. Kaplan University - PA 401

16 Discussion Board Introduce Yourself Unit 1 Discussion Board
You have just been hired by a law firm that specializes in litigation. Your predecessor was terminated last week. At 1:00 p.m., your attorney dumps a pile of files on your desk and asks you to review the research results for a case on which your predecessor was working. Your attorney wants to see a draft memo from you by 10:00 a.m. the next day. Kaplan University - PA 401

17 Discussion Board (cont)
In the files, you find the attorney's written notes on the initial client meeting, a memo from the attorney to your predecessor requesting research on certain topics and legal issues, and printed copies of case-related research. There is also a draft memo from your predecessor to the attorney discussing the research. The memo, which is very difficult to read, contains many spelling and grammar errors, but you think you might be able to edit it, correcting the spelling and grammar errors, and submit it to the attorney. If you do so, you will meet your attorney's deadline. How will you respond to this situation? Kaplan University - PA 401

18 Discussion Board (cont)
In your response, include at least the following considerations: Are there any ethical issues with using your predecessor's research results? If so, what will you do to ensure compliance with those issues that you have identified? How will you verify the accuracy of the printed material in the file? Comment on your general concerns and observations about the fact pattern. For full credit, you need to post on 3 different days and respond to at least three students in addition to your main posting. Kaplan University - PA 401

19 Unit 1 Requirements Attend Seminar or do the alternate assignment (5 points) Complete the reading assignment (Chapters 1 and 2 in the eBook) Introduce yourself to your classmates Post to the Discussion Board with your main post and at least 3 responses (20 points) Submit the Issues assignment in the DropBox (120 points) Kaplan University - PA 401

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