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Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Department of Communication
COM 55700 – Legal Communication  – Spring Semester 2011 – 3 credits
Section 01 –  Call Number 24016 – Tuesdays, 6:00-8:45 p.m. – Neff Hall 141

Instructor: Professor Irwin Mallin – Office: Neff Hall 230E
Office Hours
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12:30-2 pm and 4:30-5:30 pm.
Please check the course website for exceptions.   Other times by appointment.

Phone: 481-6553 – E- Mail: mallini@ipfw.edu
 Course Web Site: http://users.ipfw.edu/mallini/

I. Course Description: Explores the practice of communication in the legal setting, including the trial and appeal processes.
II. Prerequisite: Junior, senior, or graduate standing.  While not formal prerequisites, this course will be more beneficial to you if you have had a course that introduces you to communication research methods (such as COM 300) and an intermediate course in writing research papers (such as ENG W233 or one of the other courses that satisfies the Arts and Sciences second writing course requirement).

III. Course Goals: Upon completing this course, you should:

1) have developed an awareness of the nature and importance of communication within the context of the practice of law;
2) be able to evaluate the manner and extent to which certain aspects of communication theory may enhance certain aspects of the practice of law; and
3) be able to strategically apply relevant theories to given legal communication situations.

IV. Course Tools:

• One required textbook, available from Follett’s IPFW Bookstore in the Kettler Hall basement, The Bookmark on North Anthony Boulevard, and from various web-based booksellers:

     Bourhis, J., Adams, C., & Titsworth, S.  (2009).  Style manual for communication studies (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.  (ISBN:  0073385050).

•  Links to required readings and other important course information will be e-mailed to course participants.  Reading guides and other important information will be posted to the course web site.  Accordingly, you are required to have an e-mail account and access to the World Wide Web.  It is expected that your e-mail account will not be set to block e-mail from me as spam and that you will check this account regularly.

V. Course Assignments: This course will be graded on a 1000 point scale, as follows:

Tests (2 at 200 points each = 400 points).  The tests will cover material in lecture, class discussions and the textbook, as well as any brief additional readings that may be assigned.  The tests will not be cumulative, except as explicitly noted in test review.

Courtroom Observation Paper (100 points).  This assignment will require you to visit a court session and write a 3-5 page report about what you observe, and will be introduced and described in more detail in class, as indicated on the Course Schedule.

Opening Statement (100 points).  This assignment will require you to write a 3-5 page opening statement for a trial, and will be introduced and described in more detail in class, as indicated on the Course Schedule.

• Research Paper
(300 points).  This assignment will require you to propose a research project on a topic of interest to you that emanates from our readings and/or class discussions.  Upon approval of your proposal, undergraduates will research and write a 5-7 page paper and graduate students will research and write a 10-12 page paper.  This assignment will be introduced and described in more detail in class, as indicated on the Course Schedule.

• Class contributions
(100 points) You are expected to attend class.  Beyond mere attendance, though, this is a participatory course.  Your productive contributions to class discussions and activities are important.  In addition, brief homework assignments beyond the readings will be assigned.  This portion of your grade reflects my assessment of your participation in class discussions and activities and brief homework assignments.  Each unexcused absence will reduce your grade for this component by 20 points.  Five or more unexcused absences will result in a grade of F for the course.  All that is required here is that you account for yourself for each class period, as follows: 1) If you know in advance you won’t be able to attend a given class, you should let me know the reason in advance, preferably by e-mail as that provides us with a written record.  2) In emergency situations where you can’t tell me in advance of your absence, it’s your responsibility to account for those absences as soon as possible afterward and in no event more than one week afterward. 3) If you arrive to class after I have taken attendance, it’s your responsibility to see me after class to insure that I have recorded your presence.  4) Leaving class early without permission shall constitute an unexcused absence.

VI. Grading Scale:  A = 930-1000; A- = 900-929; B+ = 870=899; B = 830-869; B- = 800-829; C+ = 770-779; C = 730-769; C- = 700-729; D+ = 670-699; D = 630-669; D- = 600-629; F = 0-599

VII. Late or Missing Assignments and Tests: In the absence of extreme circumstances, written assignments will not be accepted after the class period in which they are due, and examinations not taken on the designated date can not be made up.  Failure to turn in an assignment or take a test will result in a grade of F for the course.

VIII. Academic Integrity: You are expected to be familiar with what constitutes academic misconduct in this course and at IPFW, and with what the penalties are for such conduct, as set forth in  parts II and III of the IPFW Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, which is available online at <http://www.ipfw.edu/senate/stu_code.htm>.

As Professor Carr used to say on his syllabi, “if caught cheating or plagiarizing, a student will receive no credit for the assignment and/or an ‘F’ for the course. Any instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean and Vice Chancellor and may result in expulsion from the University. Most instances of academic dishonesty result from a combination of the last-minute rush, poor judgment and a lack of familiarity with academic propriety. Consult the instructor well in advance of an assignment due date to clarify your responsibilities.”

IX. Incompletes: A grade of incomplete will only be given in compliance with IPFW’s policy on incomplete grades, available online at <http://bulletin.ipfw.edu/content.php?catoid=19&navoid=487#Grades> and then only under extraordinary circumstances.  If such circumstances arise, please let me know and we will discuss whether an incomplete is appropriate

X. Campus Services:

• Services For Students With Disabilities, Walb Student Union 113, 481-6657, <http://www.ipfw.edu/ssd>, provides specialized academic support services and other assistance to persons with qualifying disability conditions.  You become eligible for those services in this class only after you deliver your SSD Accommodation Letter to me.

 The Writing Center, Kettler Hall G19, 481-5740, <http://www.ipfw.edu/casa/writing/>, provides one-on-one assistance with writing, both in person and online.  There are also links to valuable writing resources on their web page.  

 Center for Academic Support and Advancement (CASA), Kettler Hall G21, 481-5419, <http://www.ipfw.edu/casa>, provides tutoring by appointment.  You may also find useful the hints on their web page for note taking, text reading, and test taking.

 Information Technology Services, Kettler Hall 206, 481-6030 <http://new.ipfw.edu/its/>, provides student e-mail accounts and web space and administers the student computing labs.  Valuable computing help is available on their web site and by telephone.

 TLC Child Care Center, 2041 Reed Road (Cor. State), 424-8852 <http://www.ipfw.edu/childcare/>, provides childcare services for students.

 A variety of other student services are described on pages 131-145 of the 2010-2011 Student Handbook and Planner.

XI. Course Contract: This document, together with assignments and other handouts you may receive from the instructor throughout the semester, explains some of the official course policies.  Please read it carefully.  If you have any questions, ask your instructor immediately.  Your continued enrollment in this course after the first week of class signifies that you understand these policies and agree to participate in this course according to them.

Two of your classmates:


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Copyright © 2001-2011 Irwin Mallin
Last Updated: 9 January 2011
URL: http://users.ipfw.edu/mallini/557syl.html