Sampson Advanced Legal Research

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Sara Sampson
Deputy Director & Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
Kathrine R. Everett Law Library
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
160 Ridge Rd. CB#3385
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3385
(919) 962-6202

The Advanced Legal Research syllabus is for a 3 credit course offered at University of North Carolina.  The course is one of many that fulfills the Law School’s skills requirement.  The course is designed to teach the students about the sources, skills, and strategies an expert legal researcher must have.  This includes traditional legal research topics (cases, statutes, regulations, etc.) as well as an introduction to other important topics such as finding support for factual and policy arguments or finding information about people and businesses.  The class culminates in a research project where students are expected to do comprehensive research on a narrow legal issue, often comparing how the issue is resolved in several jurisdictions, and summarize their results in a memo and their process in a research log. 

The Research Practicum is an in-class exercise designed to take the entire class period (one hour and 25 minutes) in the class following our discussion of overall research strategy.  For my Advanced Legal Research class, it occurs after we have finished traditional legal research and are moving into more practice-focused topics.  The exercise is designed to simulate solving a client’s problem and could be turned into a formal assignment by requiring the students to write a letter or memo.  It is also a good review before an exam or final project in which they will have to do comprehensive research to solve a legal problem.