Research Courses at Yale Law School

Legal Research Course Offerings - Academic Year 2012-2013
All courses eligible for satisfying the Lawyering Skills Requirement

At the heart of the legal research program is Advanced Legal Research, which teaches students how to master effective and efficient research methods, including devising strategies to find cases, statutes, regulations, and secondary authorities.  Students may also elect from a number of  specialized research classes, including international law, legal history, administrative law, corporate law and legal technology. In these courses, students will learn how to locate and use specialized reporters, legislative and administrative materials, and online databases tailored towards their particular field of study.  The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking one of these shorter courses with another 1-unit legal research course. 

The librarians also offer a series of instructional workshops.  For more information on these workshops, please visit the Instructional Workshops for Law Students page or the events calendar.  Below is a description of the research courses offered at the Yale Law School. If you have questions regarding the legal research instruction program, please contact Julie Graves Krishnaswami.

: 2 or 3 Units (varible course).
Offered:  Fall and Spring semester 
Target Audience: All levels. Students writing a substantial paper or who plan on clerking.
Course Description: An advanced exploration of the specialized methods and sources of legal research in some of the following areas: administrative law; case finding; computer-assisted research; constitutional law and history; court rules and practice materials; international law; legislative history; and statutory research. Class sessions will integrate the use of online, print, and other research sources.  Laptop computer recommended. Research problems or paper required. Excellent completion of course work for honors eligibility.  Course satisfies the skills requirement.

Credit: 1 Unit
Offered: Spring semester 
Target Audience: All levels. Students who haven’t taken a legal research course before and who need a basic understanding of legal research principles.
Course Description: This course will instruct students in basic legal research skills, including researching and updating federal case law, legislation, administrative law and secondary sources, using both print and online resources. Students will be required to complete a series of short research assignments. The course will meet once a week for the first seven weeks of the term. The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking this course with another 1-unit legal research course.

Credit: 2-3 units
OfferedSpring semester
Target Audience: 2L’s, 3L’s and Second semester 1L’s who are interested in legal history.
Course Description: This seminar will examine the methods and major materials used in American historical legal research, whether for scholarly pursuits or professional advocacy. It will cover early judicial, statutory, and constitutional sources; crime literature; court records; government
documents; biographical materials and personal papers of lawyers and judges; other manuscript collections; and early sources of American international law and civil law. Paper required. This course satisfies the skills requirement.  

Credit: 1 unit
OfferedSpring semester
Target Audience: 2L’s, 3L’s and second semester 1L’s. Students who are interested in F&I/transnational law research or who are working in a clinical program that focuses on international law.
Course Description: Explore the major sources of international law, the law of some of the largest inter-governmental organizations, and general methods for finding laws from nations other than the United States. Both print and online sources will be examined. Although several area perspectives will be included, much of the course will be taught from an American perspective and the course will concentrate on sources widely available in the United States. Assuming sufficient interest, particular research interests of the class may also be explored. Particular attention is paid to practical research issues and solutions. The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking this course with another 1-unit legal research course.    Minimum enrollment of five required. 

1 unit
OfferedSpring semester
Target Audience2L’s, 3L’s and second semester 1L’s who are interested in administrative law.
Course Description: This course examines federal, state, and local source of administrative law and teaches students to research agency regulations, agency cases, and other sources of administrative law, using a variety of print and online sources. The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the sophisticated research skills required for finding administrative authority in its various forms, including: enabling statutes, proposed and final agency regulations, decisions, opinions and policy, and executive orders. Topics covered include federal and state legislative and administrative history, increasing efficiency through the use of secondary sources, research in specialized fields, and the use of a variety of legal and non-legal online resources, such as agency websites. Emphasis will be on researching using free, government resources, but students will also learn how to conduct regulatory research using Lexis and Westlaw. Although the primary focus of this course will be on researching federal administrative law, one class session will be devoted to researching state and local administrative law. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and on a final research project focused on a regulatory issue and agency of their choosing.  The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking this course with another 1-unit legal research course. 

Credit: 1 Unit
Offered: Spring Semester
Target Audience: 2L’s, 3L’s and second semester 1L’s interested in corporate law.
Course Description: This course will include both lecture and discussion on methods and sources in corporate law, including securities law and criminal prosecutions of corporate fraud. Secondary sources will be emphasize, but basic finding-skills will also e address: case-finding, statutes-finding, locating legislative histories, and locating administrative materials.  Online, print, and other resources will be considered throughout.  Three guest speakers are scheduled: one who will present non-law business databases, another who will provide an introduction to reading a financial report, and a third guest (an Assistant U.S. Attorney and YLS alumnus) who will address the use of secondary sources in legal research generally, and with special attention to securities law and corporate fraud. This course will meet weekly in the first half of the term.  The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking this course with another 1-unit legal research course. 

Credit: 1 unit
Offered: Spring semester
Target Audience: 2L’s, 3L’s and second semester 1L’s interested in legal technology, knowledge management and social media.
Course Description: This course will introduce students to technological tools of the trade with each class covering in-depth a topic of law technology in practice. Topics may include e-discovery tools and techniques, knowledge management, law practice management technology, virtual law offices, social media & marketing, courtroom technology and more. This class will not focus on the legal issues created by technology. Classes may include guest speakers from law firms, the courts, as well as knowledge management, marketing, and IT experts to speak about technological issues. Students will take turns monitoring and leading short discussions of legal technology news every week. This course will meet weekly for seven weeks in the second half of the term. Minimum enrollment of five required. The skills requirement will be satisfied by taking this course with another 1-unit legal research course.