The Complete Series for Legal Writers

by Alexa Z. Chew and Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Student Resources

Here are some student resources that you might find helpful or that are referenced in The Complete Legal Writer. On this page, you will find course support, plus legal reference materials such as statutes, trial court motion hearings, and appellate court hearings.

Core Knowledge for Lawyers

Your professor might assign Core Knowledge for Lawyers. CKL is a self-directed, subscription-based, online learning tool. It will help reinforce important concepts that you read about in The Complete Legal Writer, which in turn will prepare you to engage in class activities. CKL is included in the purchase price of books in the Complete Series.

Here is a handout to help you understand how to register for and use CKL.

Genre Discovery

Genre discovery is one of the foundational principles of The Complete Legal Writer. Here’s a quick and dirty video to help you understand how it works.


Sample Motion Hearings

Below are links to sample motion hearing videos that you can use to study the motion hearing genre featured in The Complete Legal Writer. For each video, we provide brief contextual information.

If you find that any of these links no longer work, please let us know so we can replace them. Email us at authors [at]

All of the following arguments took place at the trial level. Normally it is difficult to find video of trial court arguments. However, fourteen federal district courts took part in a pilot program to video record trial proceedings. The pilot began in July 2011 and lasted until July 2015. You can access the full database of videos online. On the website, you can sort the hearing videos by date, court, subject matter, procedural posture, and more.

Bernardo v. Napolitano (2014)

  • LINK
  • Type: Motion to dismiss. 
  • Duration: 22 minutes.

From the website: Plaintiff Samuel Marino Frietas brought this action challenging the revocation of his work visa. Plaintiff was approved for a work visa, but Defendant Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, later revoked the work visa. This motion to dismiss was initiated by Defendant, who alleges that the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this case. In this video, the Court hears oral arguments of Plaintiff and Defendant on a Motion to Dismiss. Defendant argues that this Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this case because this was a discretionary decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security based on “good and sufficient cause.” Plaintiff disagrees and argues that this Court does have jurisdiction to hear the case because Defendant must follow standards before revoking a work visa. In addition, Plaintiff asserts that whether Defendant followed those standards is reviewable by the Court. Court ultimately grants the Motion to Dismiss brought by Defendant.

Eason v. Marriott, International Inc. (2014)

  • LINK
  • Motion for Summary Judgment.
  • Duration: 17 minutes.

From the website: Plaintiff Michael Eason reserved a room at the Boston Marriott Burlington Hotel for September 16, 2009, and checked in that evening. When Plaintiff and his guest entered the reserved room, all of the lights were off and the room was dark except for the light coming from the hallway and a small gap in the window curtains. Plaintiff proceeded into the room and, after the hallway door had closed behind him, tripped over a coffee table and sustained injuries. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant Marriott International, Inc., which advertises and facilitates reservations for the Burlington Hotel, in state court alleging negligence. The case was removed to the Federal District of Massachusetts, where Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. This video shows the hearing on Defendant’s motion. The court subsequently granted the motion after finding that (1) traversing an unfamiliar room in darkness is an obvious danger that obviates any standard of care owed to Plaintiff by Defendant under Massachusetts state law, and (2) Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that Defendant had any control over the reserved hotel room.

Solberg v. Borden Light Marina, Inc. (2014)

  • LINK
  • Motion for Summary Judgment.
  • Duration: 21 minutes.

From the website: Plaintiffs Richard Solberg and Dorine Solberg brought an action against Defendants Borden Light Marina; Michael Lund, President of Borden Light Marina; and Kevin Munro for injuries sustained while passengers on a boat that was involved in a collision. Plaintiffs were passengers on a boat called “the Northern Lights” on their way to perform at the Tipsy Seagull Dockside Pub. The Northern Lights was owned by Defendant Kevin Monroe, and operated by Defendant Michael Lund, at the time of the incident. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants are the cause of their injuries. In this video, the Court hears oral arguments from Plaintiff and Defendant. Defendant Borden Light Marina argues to the Court that they are not liable because Defendant Michael Lund was operating the boat as a personal endeavor and not at the instruction, or while in the course of business for Borden Light Marina. The Marina also argues that the Court change the defendant in the lawsuit to Tipsy Seagull Dockside Pub, which had hired Plaintiffs to perform. Plaintiffs disagree, arguing that Defendant Michael Lund is liable on the basis of vicarious liability, and Michael Lund was acting in his duties to Borden Light Marina when he operated the Northern Lights. The Court decides to review the arguments and come to a decision at a later time.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Research, Development and Technical Employees Union (2013)

  • LINK
  • Motion for Summary Judgment.
  • Duration: 8 minutes.

From the website: This is a case in which a university is asking the Court for guidance on whether its decision to exclude an employee from access to its nuclear reactor lab is subject to arbitration under its collective bargaining agreement with a labor union. MIT is a private research university and has entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with RDTEU, a labor organization which represents certain MIT employees. MIT operates a Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (the “Lab”) that includes a six megawatt nuclear reactor on campus (the “restricted area”). Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an order to entities operating nuclear research and test reactors (RTRs), including MIT, imposing certain personal information checks on employees to ensure the acceptability of individuals for unescorted access to RTRs. An employee of MIT was assigned to perform duties at the Lab and given authorization for unescorted access to the Restricted Area. After MIT determined that the employee had removed mail without permission from the mailbox of a colleague at the Lab, her authorization for unescorted access to the Restricted Area was revoked although she continues to work at MIT in her same position. MIT admits that certain issues relating to this employee action are arbitrable under the CBA. It is asking the Court to declare, however, that the decision to rescind the employee’s authorization for unescorted access is not an arbitrable issue. The video is of a hearing on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by MIT in which the Court decided to “stay its hand and remand the matter to the Arbitrator.”

Sample Appellate Oral Arguments

Below are links to sample appellate oral argument videos that you can use to study the appellate oral argument genre featured in The Complete Legal Writer. For each video, we provide brief contextual information.

If you find that any of these links no longer work, please let us know so we can replace them. Email us at authors [at]

The following arguments took place at the appellate level. We selected videos from the Ninth Circuit because the Ninth Circuit has high-quality video recordings of their arguments.

Patino-Ortiz v. Holder (2015)

Case Summary: This appellate oral argument was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Patino-Ortiz v. Holder. In Patino-Ortiz, the petitioner was a Mexican citizen who was deported after his pro se application for lawful status was denied in Immigration Court. He later re-entered the country. He asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to re-open his initial removal case, arguing that the removal was improper. The board denied his request, and he petitioned the Ninth Circuit to review that denial. The Ninth Circuit granted him an oral argument. The sample includes both the appellant’s argument and the appellee’s argument. The court gave each side only ten minutes each, so the sample is relatively short.

Rodriguez v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC (2015)

Case Summary: This appellate oral argument was heard by the Ninth Circuit in the case of Rodriguez v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC. The appellant, Daniel Rodriguez, appealed the dismissal of his action under the federal Video Privacy Protection Act against the now-appellee, Sony.

Reyes v. Smith (2015)

Case Summary: California state prisoner David Reyes alleged that defendants Smith and Heatley, as members of the pain management committee, denied him the pain medication he was prescribed by his treating doctor, due to cost control. Defendants filed the motion to dismiss on the basis that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Motion to dismiss was granted and Reyes appealed from the district court’s order dismissing his action under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.