Frist year legal resources and study materials 2011
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First year Legal Research Introduction

First year Legal Research Introduction

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  • Trial Court decisions interpretation and application of the law does not bind any other court, appellate courts bind lower courts Suggestsion: Read as much as you can, read the cases in full and outline them, if you want to pull back or use alternative methods to study do it later once you have mastered the standard technique. Read a US supreme court case in FULL after your first or second semester.
  • Legal publishing, consolidation. Lexis Nexis Academic Search Premier/Congressional. Hourly rates can be 50-150 of your hourly rate. In big firms it is often cheaper to have associates search print than use electronic. Summer interns running up bills.
  • Tend to be student run and reviewed publications.
  • “ Treatise ” is really a fancy word for “book”. Generally, a book that discusses a particular legal topic at some length and depth. Looseleafs – generally, a set on a given topic that’s frequently updated. Restatements – influential treatises that describe the law in a given area and guides its development.

Frist year legal resources and study materials 2011 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Legal Resources and Study Materials Introduction to First Year Legal Research August 2011
  • 2. Cases
    • You’ll be reading thousands of them. But what are they exactly?
  • 3. Cases
    • Cases are, almost all of the time, written opinions issued by appellate courts (the courts above trial level).
    • They can be as short as a few sentences. Other cases can go on for hundreds of pages…but…
    • You will be reading edited cases in casebooks
    • Suggestions
  • 4. Where are the Cases?
    • 3 ways of getting case:
    • Commercial services: Lexis or Westlaw
    • In print from a reporter
    • Increasingly online from court websites
  • 5. What Are Lexis and Westlaw?
    • Both are owned by very big corporations
    • Both desperately want your business after you graduate
    • You get unlimited free use in law school…not to mention the chance to win huge prizes.
    • But… real world expenses can be staggering
  • 6. Statutes
    • Statutes are laws passed by a legislative body.
    • All fifty states and federal statutes are available in print & online
    • In The Library – on the 2 nd floor; additional set of La. statutes 1 st Floor
  • 7. Chronology of a Statute
    • Legislation – bills, reports, sometimes hearings documents
    • Slip Law
    • Session Law (Federal: Statutes at Large)
    • Codification – this provides a subject, rather than chronological arrangement…much easier to use. Look for the indexes.
  • 8. On The Federal Level
    • Three iterations of Federal Statutes:
    • United States Code : Official, Unannotated, and rarely used.
    • United States Code Annotated (USCA) and
    • and United States Code Service
    • (USCS) :
    • Unofficial, Annotated, and heavily used.
  • 9. Law Reviews
    • One or more law reviews are produced by every law school.
    • They can be general or subject-specific in nature (e.g., international law).
    • Virtually all are in print
    • Online: West, Lexis, Hein, websites. However…
  • 10. Online Law Reviews
    • Online coverage is highly variable.
    • They may not be complete: Articles, Tables, Graphs, photos often omitted
    • Hein most consistent with pdf
  • 11. Law Reviews – Where do I get them?
    • Domestic law reviews – 2d Floor
    • Foreign/international – 3d Floor
    • Hein Online – access via the library’s website. Moratorium/Titles vary
  • 12. Legal Encyclopedias
    • Two to choose from:
    • American Jurisprudence 2d (Am Jur)
    • Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS)
    • They’re on the first floor of the Library
    • Legal Dictionaries
  • 13. Other Sources You Need To Know About
    • Administrative codes – rules and regulations from Federal and State agencies
    • Federal – CFR and the Federal Register
    • State – varies by state. Check with a librarian for access.
  • 14. Treatises, Looseleafs & Restatements
    • Treatises
    • Loose leafs
    • Restatements
    • Hornbooks
  • 15. Study Aids?
    • Nutshells
    • Understanding and Concept Series
    • Examples and Explanations
  • 16. More “Study Aids”…
    • Legal Writing
    • How to write exams
    • How to write briefs
    • Commercial Outlines: use caution
      • Emanuel's
      • Case Notes Legal Briefs
      • Gilberts/Legalines case briefs
  • 17. Other Useful Sources
    • Librarians!
  • 18. Good luck…
    • and don’t hesitate to ask for help!