ELR Program: You Asked, We Answered

For years, the law library’s Excellence in Legal Research Program has been providing free legal research instructions to any and all interested students to help them prepare for practice.  With 35% of a new attorney’s job being spent on research, the program is more important than ever! Being practice-ready will separate you from other people applying for the jobs you want!

In response to student input, the law library has decided to make a few necessary changes to our award-winning program:

  1. The program is now reduced from 30 credit hours to 20 credit hours, and no class will be longer than 2 hours.  Students who have previously had a hard time fitting in the program should now be able to do so more easily.  Those students already in the program will need to complete 20 credit hours and at least 10 classes to ensure that they are getting the benefit of a broad range of topics.
  2. Students will now only have to take SIX required classes.  Unlike in the past, students will not have a choice of these six classes; they will be required for every student.  This will ensure that every student will have the same strong foundation of knowledge.  Those students already in the program will need to complete six required classes, but will get credit for the old required classes and the new required classes to meet this requirement.  If you have already taken more than six required classes under the old program, the extra required classes will be counted as electives.
  3. A greater variety of dates and times will be offered.  No longer will classes only be offered on Wednesday nights, Friday afternoons, and Saturday mornings.  In our most recent student survey, students said that some semesters they might have conflicts at all those times and be unable to take a single ELR class as a result.  In the fall, the schedule will switch up class times for each course offered, so even if you miss class one week due to an evening class, you will hopefully be able to make it the next week when the class is held on a different night.
  4. We are adding one-hour lunchtime sessions for a few content areas that do not require two hours of instruction.  These classes will be worth 1 credit of ELR and be an easy way to knock out a few credits per semester during the lunch hour.  For these classes, the final assessment will be completed after class, as opposed to during class.
  5. ELR classes will be front-loaded in the first weeks of the semester.  In the past, attendance has gone down in classes offered in the second half of the semester due to students prepping for exams and working on final projects.  As such, the two credit hour classes will be held in the first six weeks of the semester, when students have less deadlines.  The one-credit hour lunchtime sessions will be held in the next three weeks, so all of your ELR classes for the semester will be done before we get to November.
  6. Starting this year, the first year students can get a kick-start on the ELR program by attending all of the fall semester Legal Practice research sessions.  Students who attend every session over the course of the fall semester will get 2 elective credits toward their completion of the ELR program.

To those students already in the program, you should have already received an email on Monday, June 13th from Alyson Drake, Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program, outlining your current progress in the program and what requirements you need to complete the program.  If you did not receive an email, please contact Alyson and she’ll update your on your progress.

To those students not in the program, it’s not too late to start!  Even if you are a rising third year student, there is still to complete the program.  All the mandatory classes will be offered this academic year at least once and each semester we are offering 15 hours of ELR instruction.  Contact Alyson Drake at alyson.drake@ttu.edu if you want to sign up for the program.  She will get you registered to the Blackboard site so you are ready to sign up for classes as soon as the registration opens in July.

The fall schedule will be released in an email to students on July 12th at 9:00am, so keep an eye out!  Registration will open on July 13th at 9:00am.  We hope to see more students than ever in ELR classes next year.

Author: Alyson Drake

Alyson Drake is the Assistant Director for Public Services and the Director of the Excellence in Legal Research Program at Texas Tech University Law School, where she also teaches courses in Texas Legal Research, and Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research and administers the Legal Practice Program's research workshops. She blogs at www.legalresearchpedagogy.com.

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