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An introduction to basic legal research including key case finding strategies.

An introduction to basic legal research including key case finding strategies.

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  • 1. LECTURE 1
    • PRIMARY SOURCES
      • STATUTES
      • JUDICIAL OPINIONS
      • ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS
  • 2. CHARACTERISTICS OF PRIMARY SOURCES
    • PUBLISHED CHRONOLOGICALLY
    • BOTH OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL PUBLICATIONS [parallel citations]
    • “THE LAW” [BLACK LETTER LAW]
    • IMPORTANCE OF CURRENCY
  • 3. FINDING TOOLS WAYS TO ACCESS PRIMARY MATERIALS
    • DIGESTS
    • ANNOTATIONS [AMERICAN LAW REPORTS]
    • LEGAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS
      • CJS, AM JUR
    • ANNOTATED CODES [USCA]
    • WESTLAW, LEXIS, INTERNET
  • 4. SECONDARY SOURCES Discuss/Analyze Primary Material
    • LAW REVIEW ARTICLES
    • HORNBOOKS
    • TREATISES
    • RESTATEMENTS
    • PRACTICE MATERIALS
    • FORM BOOKS
  • 5. LEGAL LANGUAGE
    • DICTIONARIES
      • ENGLISH LANGUAGE
      • LEGAL
        • BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY
        • BALLENTINE’S LAW DICTIONARY
        • HARVARD’S 1L LEGAL DICTIONARY
  • 6. THE BLUE BOOK
    • SYSTEM OF CITATION USED IN ALL MEMORANDUMS AND LAW REVIEW ARTICLES [AND ALL PROJECTS FOR LAW SCHOOL CLASSES]
    • The abbreviations and formats in the secondary material usually DO NOT follow blue book format--you must “blue book” each citation
  • 7. COURT REPORTERS
    • FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL [COUNTY/MUNICIPALITY COURT SYSTEMS
    • REPORTERS FOR EACH LEVEL OF COURT
    • OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTERS
    • PARALLEL CITATIONS
  • 8. OTHER SOURCES FOR CASES
    • Looseleaf Services (e.g. U.S. Law Week-S.Ct).
    • Westlaw/Lexis/LoisLaw/Internet [e.g. Cornell’s Legal Information Institute]
    • CD Roms
    • Newspaper Accounts (e.g. New York Times, Washington Post, Local Legal Newspapers [e.g. Legal Intelligencer])
  • 9. FEDERAL SYSTEM
    • UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
    • UNITED STATES COURTS OF APPEALS [13 CIRCUITS]
    • FEDERAL DISTRICT COURTS
  • 10. CORRESPONDING REPORTERS
    • US REPORTS[official]/SUPREME COURT REPORTER[West], LAWYERS’ EDITION [Lexis] {U.S. LAW WEEK--LOOSELEAF]
    • FEDERAL REPORTER
    • FEDERAL SUPPLEMENT
  • 11. STARE DECISIS
    • Holding v. Dictum
      • a case’s holding will govern other cases in the same jurisdiction in which the facts and issues are substantially similar to those of the case which generated the rule of law
    • - everything in a court’s opinion except the holding is dicta [“said by the way”].
  • 12. STATE COURTS: PENNSYLVANIA
    • PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT
    • PENNSYLVANIA SUPERIOR COURT
    • PENNSYLVANIA COMMONWEALTH COURT
    • COURTS OF COMMON PLEAS
    • MUNICIPAL COURTS
  • 13. STATE COURTS: PENNSYLVANIA
    • PENNSYLVANIA REPORTS
    • PENNSYLVANIA SUPERIOR COURT REPORTS
    • PENNSYLVANIA COMMONWEALTH COURT REPORTS
    • DISTRICT AND COUNTY REPORTERS
    • INDIVIDUAL COUNTY REPORTERS