Advanced Legal Research Theatre

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Elizabeth Caulfield, MLIS, JD
Head of Reference and Instruction Librarian
Texas Tech University School of Law Library
1802 Hartford Avenue, Box 40004
Lubbock, TX 79409-0004
806.742.3990 x 311

I created Advanced Legal Research Theatre to get students actively involved in learning the fundamentals of case law research, including characteristics of West’s National Reporter System and digests. I used the exercise, which consists of six fill-in-the-blank scripts, in an advanced legal research class of twelve students. Before the class, students were responsible for reading chapters six and seven of Legal Research Illustrated by Steven M. Barkan, Roy M. Mersky, and Donald J. Dunn (9th ed. 2009). At the beginning of the class, I used the first three Power Point slides to introduce the concept of performing scenes to the students. Then, I divided the students into six pairs. Each pair was responsible for filling in the blanks of one script, using the pages listed on their script from Legal Research Illustrated. (I have not included the handouts by West referred to in scripts 5 and 6. The handout referred to in Script 6 appears no longer to be available.) After giving students time to find the answers in those pages and fill in the blanks, they ‘acted out’ their scenes for the class (read their scripts). I went through the relevant Power Point slides after each pair acted out a scene to reinforce or correct what the students had said in the scene. The slide(s) to discuss after each scene are indicated on the bottom of each script. I have removed the pictures that are in my original version of the slides due to copyright concerns. In their place are descriptions of each picture.