REQUIREMENT: A short (maximum of 3 pages, double-spaced) research paper is part of the final exam for this course. The paper will count 25% of the course grade.

DUE: Last regular class day of the quarter (Thursday of Week X).

TOPIC: Apply one of the theories or methodologies developed in class (e.g. ambiguity, hearsay, consideration,speech-act theory, act/state/status, legal language) to a "new" legal case (i.e. one neither discussed in class nor from any of the readings).

REQUIRED ORGANIZATION: Your paper must contain each of the following parts. Number the paragraphs (1.- 3.) accordingly.

  1. Briefly summarize the case. State the nature of the controversy, what the legal issue is, and why it is of interest.
  2. State which linguistic theory or perspective will be used in your analysis of the data and why you feel that particular approach is a good one for your problem.
  3. Provide an analysis and discussion of your data. Since this section will probably be the main part of the paper as well as constituting your original contribution to the topic, develop your arguments carefully (i.e. state any givens or assumptions, present your points in a logical order, and most importantly, be clear).

Be sure to cite in footnotes or in parentheses any outside sources you consulted, properly referenced (author, title, publisher, date, pages or web site address).
IMPORTANT: Whenever you discuss ideas or relate information that comes from some other source, you must indicate where that information came from (including page numbers when relevant), even though you may have restated it in your own words.


  1. Provide a cover sheet with the following 5 pieces of information: (i) Your name in the top left corner; (ii) The category of your topic in the top middle (e.g. ambiguity, metaphor, speech act theory); (iii) "Winter 2017" in the top right corner; (iv) The title of your essay centered in the middle of the page. Be creative with your title; (v) The title of the court case and its date beneath the essay title (e.g. Raffles v. Wichelhaus 1864).
  2. The length of the paper is not to exceed 3 pages double-spaced typed with 1-inch margins. (The cover sheet does not count as one of the 3 pages.)
  3. Footnotes and references may appear at the bottom of each page or at the end of the paper on a separate page (which will not count as one of the 3 pages).
  4. Whatever is your source of information (i.e. a published court case, a case from the internet, or a news clipping) include a hard copy of the relevant portions only as an appendix (which does not count as one of the 3 pages).
  5. Proofread carefully. You will be penalized for careless typos, misspellings, poor grammar, or a sloppy presentation.