Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Legal Research and Writing

Nevada Law School 1L Study Guide for Legal Research and Writing

I. Introduction to Legal Research and Writing
– Understanding the Basics: Differentiate between primary sources (constitutions, statutes, regulations, and case law) and secondary sources (treatises, law reviews, and legal encyclopedias).
– The Importance of Authority: Binding vs. persuasive authority, mandatory vs. discretionary authority.
– The Hierarchy of Legal Authority in Nevada: U.S. Constitution, Nevada Constitution, federal and state statutory law, administrative regulations, case law.
– The IRAC Method: Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion – a structured approach to legal writing.

II. Legal Research
– Starting Legal Research: Identify issues, find relevant authority, and update the law.
– Nevada Legal Research Resources: Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), Nevada Administrative Code (NAC), Nevada Reports, Nevada Court Rules.
– Online Legal Databases: LexisNexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, and other electronic resources available for legal research.
– Citations and The Bluebook: Understand how to cite statutes, cases, and secondary sources per the Bluebook.

III. Case Briefing
– The Purpose of Case Briefing: To distill important information from a case for easier understanding and reference.
– Components of a Case Brief: Facts, procedural history, issue, rule of law, holding, reasoning, and dicta.
– Practice Briefing Nevada Cases: Apply the IRAC method and Nevada citation rules.

IV. Legal Writing
– The Mechanics of Legal Writing: Clarity, conciseness, and precision in legal analysis.
– Writing a Memorandum: Structure and format for an internal legal memo.
– Writing a Brief: Techniques for persuasive writing in litigation documents.

V. Precedent and Stare Decisis
– The Doctrine of Stare Decisis: How prior decisions impact future cases.
– Binding vs. Persuasive Precedent: When and how to apply precedent from various jurisdictions.
– Nevada Precedent: How decisions from the Nevada Supreme Court and Nevada Court of Appeals shape the law.

VI. Specific Nevada Case Law
– Case Law in Nevada: Study significant cases that have shaped Nevada law.
– Example Case: Guinn v. Legislature of State of Nevada (2003)
– Issue: Whether the Nevada Legislature violated the Nevada Constitution’s requirement for a two-thirds majority for a bill that raises revenue.
– Rule: According to the Nevada Constitution, any bill that creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form must be passed by a two-thirds majority.
– Analysis: The Nevada Supreme Court held that the legislature had violated the Nevada Constitution by passing a revenue bill without the requisite two-thirds majority.
– Conclusion: The bill was invalidated, and this decision underscored the strict adherence to constitutional mandates in Nevada.

VII. Nevada Statutory Law
– Statutory Interpretation: Understand the methods and tools for interpreting the Nevada Revised Statutes.
– Legislative History in Nevada: The use of legislative history materials in interpreting Nevada statutes.

VIII. Nevada Administrative Law
– The Role of Administrative Agencies: Understand the rule-making and enforcement powers of Nevada state agencies.
– Nevada Administrative Procedure Act: Procedures for rulemaking and adjudication in Nevada.
– Understanding Nevada Administrative Code (NAC): How to find and interpret regulations affecting Nevada law.

IX. Nevada Civil Procedure
– Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP): Key rules and procedures for civil litigation in Nevada courts.
– Pleadings and Motions: Standards for drafting complaints, answers, and pre-trial motions.
– Discovery Process: Rules and methods for gathering evidence in preparation for trial in Nevada.

X. Legal Ethics
– Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct: Ethical obligations and standards for lawyers practicing in Nevada.
– Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest: Specific ethical considerations in legal research and writing.

This study guide should be used as a foundation for deeper exploration of each topic. Students are advised to engage in extensive research, case reading, and practical exercises to build proficiency in legal research and writing, particularly within the context of Nevada law.

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