Duquesne University School of Law

Online Course ‘Research for Law Practice’ Offers Immediate Benefits

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Duquesne Law students are weighing in about the Research for Law Practice online course, and the results are clear: the one-credit class provides immediate benefits.

The course is being offered again in Fall 2017, and the Duquesne Center for Legal Information is encouraging students to take advantage of the one-of-a-kind opportunity.

“In focus groups, students requested more online legal research skills training,” Associate Dean Frank Liu noted recently. “The School of Law responded by piloting Research for Law Practice for several semesters, and the feedback was consistently excellent. As a result, the law faculty recently approved that the School of Law offer the one-credit, pass/fail course on a regular basis.”

The class appeals to students for a number of reasons. An evening student notes that the class helps the evening division meet credit shortfalls while offering important information in a flexible format.

The online course is asynchronous, meaning that students complete the work according to their own schedules. Participants are not required to be online from the same place or at the same time.

In addition to Liu, the associate dean of legal programs, course instructors include adjunct professors Tsegaye Beru, associate director for faculty research and outreach services, and Charles Sprowls, head of information access and student services.

“This class is a continuation of the research skills learned in the first year’s legal research and writing program,” Beru said of the course.

“In addition to advanced research skills, students learn an incredible amount about the types of law practice tools available," Sprowls added. 

“The course helped me sharpen my research skills, which has been of great benefit to my day job as a law clerk,” an evening student noted in the anonymous surveys.

“I am learning about resources I never knew about and/or did not use during my 1L Legal Research and Writing class,” another student noted.

A day student commented on the online class’s format. “The course was very organized and structured.”  

“I used resources that I have never tapped into before this class,” said another student. “I've known these resources were available to me, but they were intricate and intimidating upon first look. Taking this class taught me how to find exactly what I need for multiple resources. And the way the research trails are set up are a great resource.”

Another summed up the class’s benefits this way:

“The course is teaching me the legal research skills that I need to be successful. It provides an in-depth explanation of the research resource and when it can / should be used. Practical experience reinforces this learning and brings it to life.

“This class has definitely shown me some new tricks!”



Faculty Referenced In Article

Tsegaye Beru, M.L.I.S., J.D.Associate Director for Faculty Research and Outreach Services, Center for Legal Information and Allegheny County Law Library, and Adjunct Professor
Frank Yining Liu, LL.B., M.C.J., M.L.S.Associate Dean for Legal Programs, Director of the Duquesne Center for Legal Information and Allegheny County Law Library, and Professor of Law
Charles Sprowls, M.L.I.S.Head of Information Access and Student Services and Adjunct Professor