Graduate Legal Research and Theory

Course number: LAW 7110

This is a mandatory course exclusively for students enrolled in the LL.M. 

Course Description & Objectives:

This course introduces students to select theoretical and methodological approaches to law.  In doing so, the course moves students beyond research interests to the selection of appropriate theories and methodologies in the development of their research plan.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

With respect to legal theories:

  • Broaden their thinking on the nature of law and legal authority.
  • Engage with a wide variety of theoretical approaches and compare relative strengths and weaknesses.
  • Select and defend an appropriate legal theory for a research proposal that explores an aspect of law, policy or legal regulation.

With respect to research methods:

  • Understand when it may be useful to go beyond traditional “library based” legal research.
  • Compare the strengths and limitations of a variety of methodologies.
  • Learn how to identify appropriate methodologies based on the desired outcomes of the research project.
  • Select and defend an appropriate methodology for a research proposal that explores an aspect of law, policy or legal regulation.


Required: Raymond Wacks, Understanding Jurisprudence, 4th Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).  Available at the University Bookstore.

Additional readings have been selected from various journals and books.  Most readings are available online when signed into the University of Manitoba Libraries and will otherwise be posted on UMLearn.

Course Evaluation:

  1. Weekly Questions: 10%
    Weekly as noted
  2. Legal Theory Presentation: 20%
    Sign-Up in Class 1
  3. Legal Theory Response: 10%
    Sign-Up in Class 2
  4. Annotated Bibliography: 20%
    Due: 30 October 2017
  5. Research Proposal: 40%
    Due: 21 December 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Shauna Labman


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