Course Description

In this course you will examine the advanced and specialized approaches to utilize the legal resources available in a law library and elsewhere. Lessons will review the conceptual differences between computer-assisted legal research and hard copy research. You will also learn how to formulate Westlaw search queries, and effectively and efficiently use Westlaw and other online legal research methods as timesaving devices in legal research and legal writing.

Attend and You Will Receive

Successful graduates of this non-credit course will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from North Carolina State University.


Successful completion of Paralegal I and II or the equivalent is required to enroll in this course.

Attend and You Will Learn / Expected Outcome

Attend And You Will Learn

  • How to conduct manual legal research
  • How to conduct electronic legal research
  • How to find, interpret, and use various types of legal authorities
  • How to shepardize legal authorities
  • How to write a legal analysis
  • How to draft a Memorandum of Law
  • How to brief case opinions
  • How to engage in various types of legal writing

Notes / Additional Information


You will be expected to spend an average of eight hours per week reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that, barring extenuating circumstances, extensions will not be granted for this online course. The minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course is 70%. You may consider working ahead in the curriculum if you have the time. Coursework in Advanced Legal Research & Writing Certificate is equivalent to 56 contact hours.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six tests, two exams, and class participation/bulletin board submissions. The exams and tests can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting "Assignments" under "Activities" on the left-hand block. You will have the opportunity to engage in "class participation" by using the bulletin board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Participation in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

  • The six practical application exercises are worth 50 points each and comprise 40% of your grade.
  • The three writing assignments are worth 100 points and comprise 40% of your grade.
  • Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 20% of your grade.

Practical Application Exercises

You will complete six 50-point legal research and writing practical application exercises utilizing Westlaw online legal research.

Writing Assignments

You will complete three 100-point legal writing assignments--a Legal Analysis, a Case Brief, and a Memorandum of Law.

Bulletin Board Assignments

You will post your responses to six class participation assignments. These assignments are referred to as bulletin board submissions and will be submitted by either selecting "Bulletin Board Submission" from within the lesson material or by selecting "Forums" under "Activities" on the left-hand block.

Required Texts

  • Legal research, analysis and writing, 2nd edition, by William H. Putnam
  • Legal research and writing across the curriculum: problems & exercises, by Michael D. Murray and Christy H. DeSanctis
  • Westlaw online legal research access, available for the duration of the course for only $75

To view other online courses, click here


Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in

Section Title
Advanced Legal Research and Writing Certificate
Oct 21, 2019 to Dec 06, 2019
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Registration fee non-credit $849.00
Section Notes

Required Texts and Resource

  • Legal Research, Analysis and Writing, 3rd edition, by William H. Putnam
  • Legal Research and Writing Across the Curriculum: Problems and Exercises, by Michael D. Murray and Christy H. DeSanctis
  • Westlaw online legal research access, available for the duration of the course for only $89

Highly Recommended Legal Resource

  • Oran's Dictionary of the Law, 4th edition, by Daniel Oran

To order texts or for more information, please contact The Center for Legal Studies at 800.522.7737 or click here.