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Legal Resources for Academic Librarians
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Legal Resources for Academic Librarians


Training material on legal resources. Designed to be delivered to academic librarians and/or graduate library assistants.

Training material on legal resources. Designed to be delivered to academic librarians and/or graduate library assistants.

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  • 1. Starr Hoffman28 November 2011
  • 2. • Golden Rule of Legal Resources• How a Bill Becomes a Law• Local (City/County) Resources• State Resources• Federal Resources• Finding Case Law• Legal Forms & Other Resources• Conclusion
  • 3. Never give legal advice!• Sample patron questions & appropriate responses: •W hat does this phrase mean (in a bill, law, etc.)? • I s o rry , Ic a n’t inte rp re t tha t fo r y o u. Ic a n he lp y o u find a ’m re s o urc e tha t e x p la ins le g a l te rm s , o r Ic a n he lp y o u find a lis t o f lo c a l le g a l p ro fe s s io na ls . • I’m trying to write a will /get a divorce /adopt a child without hiring a lawyer. W hat do I do? • He re a re s o m e he lp ful le g a l g uid e s with g uid e line s , s o m e le g a l fo rm s fo r the s ta te o f Te x a s , a nd Ic a n s ho w y o u ho w to lo o k up la ws o n tha t to p ic . Unfo rtuna te ly , Ic a n’t he lp y o u with the p ro c e s s its e lf.
  • 4. • GPO PDF poster: Ho w Bill Be c o m e s a La w • includes steps in the process & details the GPO (Government Printing Office) publication titles for each stage (see next slide) • http://www.fdlp.gov/component/docman/doc_download/1966-how-a-bill-b• Ben’s Guide: Ho w La ws A M d e re a • simple but detailed look at the law-making process • http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/lawmaking/• Similar guides from U.S. Senate & House • http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/legprocessflowchart.pdf • http://www.house.gov/content/learn/legislative_process/
  • 5. • Legislative process in Texas • http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/gtli/legproc/process.html • chart: http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/gtli/legproc/diagram.html• How to follow a bill in Texas • http://www.legis.state.tx.us/resources/FollowABill.aspx • where to look for information on a bill at every stage of the process
  • 6. • City of Denton • e-government services & info: municipal court, city attorney, utilities, codes, economic development, etc. • http://www.cityofdenton.com/• National Center for State Courts • http://www.courtstatistics.org/ • state court structure charts: • http://cspstage.ncsc.org/Other-Pages/State_Court_Structure_Charts.aspx • http://cspstage.ncsc.org/Other-Pages/State-Charts/Texas.aspx Each city website will vary. They often have only minimal information available online.
  • 7. • Denton County • e-government services: tax office, voter registration, birth certificates, passports, social services, and more • http://dentoncounty.com/ • district courts, criminal courts, probate court • often don’t include info online besides hours & contact info • may need to call or email courts for further information • Denton County has a Law Library webpage: • http://dentoncounty.com/dept/main.asp?Dept=18 Each county website will vary. They often have only minimal information available online.
  • 8. • Texas Legislature Online • search for bills, current statues, Texas Constitution • full-text searching • full-text of bills/laws back to 1989 • (previous years in print at UNT Libraries) • shows bill status • http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/• State of Texas • access to e-government services, state agencies, & more • http://www.texas.gov/ • Agency Finder: http://www.texas.gov/en/Discover/Pages/agency-finder.aspx
  • 9. • Ve rno ns Te x a s Sta tute s a nd Co d e s A ta te d nno • in print at UNT Libraries • online through Westlaw’s Campus Research database• General and Special Laws of the State of Texas • in print at UNT Libraries • online through Westlaw’s Campus Research database
  • 10. • Texas Senate • http://www.senate.state.tx.us/ • find your senators: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/Members.htm#FYI • see what bills will be voted on (calendar): • http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/CalSys.htm• Texas House of Representatives • http://www.house.state.tx.us/ • find your representative: • http://www.house.state.tx.us/resources/frequently-asked-questions/#who • see what bills will be voted on (calendar): • http://www.house.state.tx.us/schedules/house%2Dcalendars/
  • 11. • Portal to Texas History @ UNT • Texas Senate Journals • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TXSJ/ • Texas House Journals • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TXHRJ/ • Te x a s Re g is te r (1991 – on, retro issues coming soon) • weekly publication of state rules, regulations, etc. • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TR/ • Te x a s Re p o rts (Texas Supreme Court decisions) • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TXRPT/ • Texas Laws & Resolutions Archive (78th legislature - on) • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/TLRA/ • G a m m e l’s La ws o f Te x a s (1822 – on) • http://texashistory.unt.edu/explore/collections/GLT/
  • 12. • U.S. Code (compiled current laws) • http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectionUScode.action?collectionCode=USCODE • also in print at UNT Libraries • annotated version in Westlaw’s Campus Research database• THOMAS.gov • U.S. Congressional bills: full-text, status, sponsors, resolutions • Co ng re s s io na l Re c o rd : record of each day’s activities in Congress • http://thomas.loc.gov/• Congressional Sessions by Year • lists what congress was held in what year • http://www.library.unt.edu/govinfo/browse-topics/government-and-politics/politics/years-and-sessions-o
  • 13. • US Senate • http://www.senate.gov/ • find your senators: • http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm • calendar: • http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/d_three_sections_with_teasers/calendars.htm• US House of Representatives • http://www.house.gov/ • find your representative: • http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ • calendar: • http://www.house.gov/legislative/Track Current Legislation: http://www.govtrack.us/
  • 14. • US Supreme Court • http://www.supremecourt.gov/ • opinions: • http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/opinions.aspx • current justices & bios: • http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx • docket (search for cases): • http://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/docket.aspx
  • 15. • LexisNexis Academic • front page: look up a case by citation, party name, or topic • or use the link for Fe d e ra l & Sta te Ca s e s • easiest way to find a specific case (also available in print at UNT) • Landmark U.S. Legal Cases • high-profile cases like Ro e v . Wa d e , organized by topic • Shepard’s Citations • choose “browse” to decode citations • Supreme Court Briefs • Law Reviews • various legal reference materials
  • 16. • Ste ve ns o ns Te x a s Le g a l Pra c tic e Fo rm s • in print at UNT Libraries: KFT1268 .S85 1993• Nolo Legal Guide Series • do-it-yourself guides for wills, divorce, citizenship, and more • guides to special topics like LGBT issues and renting a home• Bla c k’s La w Dic tio na ry • in print at UNT Libraries • online through Westlaw’s Campus Research database• FDs y s from the Government Printing Office (GPO) • free online access to variety of federal government documents • http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collectiontab.action
  • 17. • Need help? • ask Julie • ask the UNT Government Documents Dept. • if it’s a really complicated reference question, post it to a relevant list-serv like GovDoc-L (for documents librarians) • http://govdoc-l.org/
  • 18. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:http://www.library.unt.edu/govinfo/http://www.library.unt.edu/research-tools/guides/law/contact: govinfo@unt.edu Starr Hoffman starr.hoffman@gmail.com http:/geekyartistlibrarian.com /