Department of Political Science

PSC 385 Legal Reasoning & Argument

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Old Political Science Field: Associated Courses

Anant Kishore
Fall 2014 — MW 16:50-19:30

Course Syllabus

This course will help students understand the patterns of legal reasoning and argument and to develop skills in formulating, presenting and critiquing legal arguments. Students will learn the theory behind the adversarial system and the various procedural and evidentiary rules in place to achieve the system's goals. Drawing on theories of legal argument from texts such as "Legal Argument: The Structure and Language of Effective Advocacy" and "The Five Types of Legal Argument," students will practice the techniques used to conduct legal trials, including opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, closing arguments, and objections. Grading will be based on a combination of traditional assignments and quizzes as well as on practical exercises performed individually as well as in teams. The final examination will consist of a mock trial between two or more teams using a fictional fact pattern involving a civil or criminal case.