Two papers are due during the semester. You have four choices for the papers.  They are outlined below as Choices A – D.  They include a court report, a rap about law, a letter to the editor, and a review of three law-related websites.  A description of each follows. 

Writing Assignment A – Court Report Legal Environment of Business

This assignment involves watching a court TRIAL and writing a two-page paper about the experience. 

You can watch the trial on youtube or any other media.

      The paper will consist of two parts.  In the first part you should describe what you saw.  You might include the charge, the court, the name of the judge, the particular parts of the trial you observed, and any other relevant information.  In the second section of the paper you should discuss your thoughts about what you saw.  For example:

  • Do you agree with the outcome?  Why or why not? 
  • What was your opinion about the attorneys in the case?  Why did you form that opinion? 
  • Was the trial well run?  Why or why not? 
  • Is there anything about what you observed that would cause        you to want to settle a case or to pursue it fully to trial. Why?           

     Please do not tell me that the trial was “interesting” although I hope, and expect, you will indeed find your court observation to be very interesting.   I will be looking for more meaningful analysis.   If you thought the trial was interesting, tell me why.

COURT REPORT

Grammar

     Grammar is important.  Be sure to be on the lookout for grammar errors.

Spelling

Due to the availability of programs like spellcheck on virtually every word processing programs, there should be no misspelled words in your paper.  If I find any I will deduct two points for each.

Editing

You should always edit any paper you submit to a professor, boss or co-worker.  The process of editing a paper involves reviewing it at least three times after the first draft is completed.  Each time you will likely discover additional errors that need editing.  The following statement needs to be included at the end of your paper and be signed by you by typing your name:

I certify and affirm that I have read and edited this paper at least three times. I further certify that I have compared this paper to the grammar quiz so that none of the errors on the quiz are in my paper.

PAPER OPTION B – WRITE A RAP OR A POEM ABOUT SOME ASPECT OF LAW

For this assignment all you need is a beat

And a knowledge of some law, which is not a tricky feat.

So, for example, standing is required to sue,

Voir dire gets you a jury, perjury are words untrue.

Those who start contract talks are called the offerors.

Pick any legal topic, the choice is totally yours.

Then befriend your iPad, give the task sufficient time.

Tell me things about the law and do it all in rhyme.  

Poets and wannabees, here’s your chance to shine.

No shorter, please, than twenty-two times a single line.

Perhaps you’ll write about a tort or maybe a bad crime.

Larceny, a drug pusher or could be a kidnapper.

I can’t wait to read the lyrics of your inner rapper.

PAPER OPTION – C – A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Letters to the editor are published in newspapers.  They express views of readers on some current issue.  For this assignment, you will write a letter to the editor about a law you particularly like or don’t like, or perhaps there’s a law you think should exist but doesn’t yet.  Do some research on your law and then write a letter that presents arguments on why the law is a good or bad law.  You should also rebut counter arguments (arguments supporting the opposite position).  

For example, you may think governors should mandate wearing of masks any time a person leaves their home until there is widespread vaccination against covid-19. Or you may think police funding should be reallocated.  Or perhaps you want to write about a legal circumstance you think requires a new law based on the aftermath of the attack of the US Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.  Or maybe you have strong feelings about a law relating to voter suppression (prerequisites for voting required in some states, such as an identification card).  Perhaps the moratorium on evictions during parts of covid-19 is of interest.  Any law or would-be law that interests you will be great.

You could also write about a court opinion.  For example, the United States Supreme Court recently decided that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender people.  If that decision, or any other court decision you might read about, interests you, do some research and write why you think the decision was or was not a good decision.  

Your letter should be no more than two pages long and no less than a page and a half.

Business Law I

                 WRITING ASSIGNMENT – CHOICE D

                    Professor Karen Morris

This assignment involves writing a two page paper about THREE websites that focus on law.

Many sites on the web concentrate on legal matters.  Select any three law-related sites and write a two-page paper about them. I have included the addresses of some sites.  You are not restricted to my list.  You may find others that are equally or more exciting.

In grading the paper I will be looking for evidence that you fully explored several sites.

Law Sites on the Web

     a) www.cnn.com/Justice

        -This site provides information and commentary about current newsworthy legal cases. 

     b) www.law.com

        -This site discusses the latest legal cases covered by the media, and contains information about various laws,         services, and legal products available for purchase.

     c) www.business.gov

        -This site covers basic legal needs of small businesses including how to find a lawyer, alternative dispute resolution, and disaster assistance.  It also contains significant information on the process of rulemaking by government agencies.

     d) www.eeoc.gov

        -This is the official site of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces         discrimination laws.  Among its features are access to federal laws that prohibit job discrimination, information on how to file a claim, and use of mediation to settle claims.

     e) www.lawguru.com

        -This site, called the Law Guru site, contains questions and answers on many legal topics including sexual        harassment, workers compensation, car accidents, small claims cases and renting apartments.

     f) www.uscourts.gov

        -This site is the official site of the federal courts includes answers to frequently asked questions, and employment opportunities and links to other legal sources.

     g) www.lawjobs.com

        -This site contains information about trends in employment in the legal field and a link to the Job Goddess.

     h) www.visalaw.com

        -The law firm behind this site limits its practice to immigration and naturalization.  The site contains links to various other sites with information on these two topics.

     i) www.CNN.com/crime

        -This site covers criminal cases that are newsworthy to a national audience.

     j) www.oag.state.ny.us/

        -This is the site of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  It was recognized as the best government-run Web         page in the state.  It includes tips for consumers in both English and Spanish on how to avoid all types of scams, and provides copies of court papers and press releases concerning cases handled by this office.

     k) www.supremecourtus.gov

        -This is the official site of the United States Supreme Court.  It contains profiles of each Supreme Court Judge – past and present, an archive of the court’s decisions, and information about the history of the court.  The site also contains information about law generally.

     l) www.findlaw.com

        -This site contains updates on legal news, information about law schools, and many links to other legal sites.

     m) www.innocenceproject.org

        -The Innocence Project handles cases where post-conviction DNA testing of evidence can yield conclusive proof of         Innocence.  The site includes case profiles.

     n) www.hselaw.com

        -This is the site of a large local law firm – Harter, Secrest & Emery.  It provides much information about the firm, the areas of law in which its lawyers practice, and profiles of the lawyers.

     o) President Biden’s website – buildbackbetter.com

The US President has a significant impact on a variety of laws including law enforcement, abortion, climate, immigration, healthcare and much more.

          p) www.usdoj.gov

        -This is the official site of the Department of Justice. It contains information about this federal agency’s law enforcement activities, including articles on terrorists and a copy of Al Qaeda training materials.

     q) http://www.courts.state.ny.us

        -This site is the home page of New York courts.  It is a good site to visit if you would like to know more about the courts in our state.  The site includes the State of the Judiciary report by Judge Kaye, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and the Annual Report of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals of New York State.

     r) http://www.abanet.org

        -This is the site of the American Bar Association, the trade association for lawyers.  It contains much information about the practice of law, as well as links to other law-related sources on the net.

     s) http://www.sec.gov

        -If you are an investor you may enjoy this site.  It provides lots of information about the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency that oversees the sale of stocks and bonds.  This site also includes electronic filings of documents that publicly traded corporations are required to submit periodically to the SEC.  For access to the filings, click on “EDGAR” at the site.

t) http://www.faa.gov

   – This is the site of the Federal Aviation Administration. It provides safety records and Information about airlines.

     u) www.loc.gov/copyright

        -If copyrights are your interest, this is a good site for you.  It is the website of the U.S. Copyright Office, the federal agency responsible for administering the copyright laws.  The site contains lots of information about the law applicable to these exclusive rights.

     v) www.experts.com

        -Expert witnesses play an important role in many lawsuits. They explain technical information to lay jurors. Experts testify as to how equipment works, consequences of injuries, anticipated increases in costs for doctors and other services, the risks of security breaches, etc. This site contains a listing of available experts.

     w) legaldocs.com

        -This site is a giant electronic legal form book.  It offers hundreds of standardized legal forms.  Many require a fee but some are offered at no cost.  For some of those requiring a fee, a summarized version is available at no cost.  The forms offer an understanding of the types of terms that are included in legal documents.  Because these forms are standardized, they will not likely fit a particular circumstance you may have.  The forms may however give you some ideas on what to include in a contract or other legal document.

     x) www.courts.net

        -This site contains links to web pages of many courts in the country, including many in Monroe County.

     y) www.divorcenet.com  www.divorcesource.com

       -These sites are a great resource for information about divorces.  They include laws specific to each state, and related nonlegal issues such as parenting concerns.

     z) www.aclu.org

        -This is the website of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national organization that protects constitutional rights.  The site’s contents include criminal justice, cyber-liberties, death penalty, drug policies, reproductive freedom and the Patriot Act.

     aa) www.cybercrime.gov

         -This site discusses computer crime and intellectual property (copyrights, patents and trademarks)

     bb) www.oyez.com

         -This site focuses on the United States Supreme Court. It contains pictures and short bios of each justice, a virtual tour of the United States Supreme Court building, information about recent cases and a description of pending cases.  If you’ve always wondered what the USSC courthouse looks like, take the virtual tour and quench your curiosity.

     cc) There are numerous sites referenced in each chapter of the textbook.  Any of those sites would satisfy the requirement for this paper.

     dd) Other sites that you find.  I will look forward to learning about them. 

INFORMATION ON WRITING FORMAT

While you are welcome to explore the internet with friends, the paper should be an individual effort written without input from others.

Please do not tell me that the web site was “interesting”.  I assume it was or you would not have chosen to write about it.  I will be looking for more meaningful analysis.  Why did you find it interesting?

You only have two pages.  Do not waste space on an introduction or conclusion. The paper should relay a review of three sites.  I am interested in their content.  I am not interested in their similarities or differences.

The report must be typed.  Please retain a copy of your paper.

Spelling Errors

Due to the availability of spellcheck devices on all word processing programs, your paper should contain no misspelled words. If I discover misspelled words, I will deduct two points for each.

Editing

Grammar errors significantly detract from a paper – whether it is submitted to a professor or a boss. Inevitably there will be grammar errors in your first draft. To avoid submitting a paper with such mistakes, editing is a very important part of writing. The process of editing a paper involves reviewing it at least three times after the first draft is completed.  Each time, you will likely discover additional grammar and related errors that need editing.  The following statement needs to be included at the end of your paper and be signed by you:

I certify and affirm that I have read and edited this paper at least three times, and I have verified that it does not contain any of the grammar issues in the grammar quiz.