U.S. Legal ResearchJennifer WarburtonSingapore Management University
Agenda Basics of U.S. Court System Using U.S. Secondary Sources Understanding U.S. Case Citations Finding U.S. Federal and State Case Law Finding U.S. Federal and State Legislation
U.S. Court System - BasicsU.S. CourtsFederal CourtsU.S. SupremeCourt13 CircuitAppellateCourtsFederalDistrictCourtsSpecialty Courts:-Bankruptcy-Tax Court-Federal Claims-Intl Trade-Armed Forced-Veterans ClaimsState Court System for Each of 50StatesStateHighestCourtStateAppellateCourtsState DistrictCourts
Federal Circuit CourtsCircuit Courts numbered 1 to 11, Federal Circuit, and DCCircuithttp://www.uscourts.gov/Court_Locator.aspx
Secondary Resources Encyclopedias AmJur 2d – American Jurisprudence 2d CJS – Corpus Juris Secundum ALR – American Law Reports Cornell’s LII WEX Legal Encyclopedia Journals/Books Limiting to U.S. Law Reviews in Westlaw andLexis SSRN Google Scholar
American Jurisprudence 2d – AmJur 2dlegalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com Legal Encyclopedia Start with the Index Provides summary of the law topic Will refer to key cases and relevantlegislation Available on Lexis and Westlaw Selective in citations provided in theentries, not comprehensive for all cases ona subject Strong on federal legislation
AmJur 2d on WestlawWhen usingWestlawIntl, start bylocating theUnitedStatesCollection
AmJur 2d Westlaw SearchLimit by fields. Use PR field tosearch the information abovethe main text of the entry.Search tips are herein Scope Information.
AmJur 2d Search Help in Scope InfoClick on AMJURlink to return tosearch window.
AmJur 2d Table of ContentsOption to browseTable of Contentsrather than search.
AmJur 2d Table of ContentsFrom within Table of Contents,can use Ctrl-F to find mainsubject terms.
AmJur 2d on LexisMultiple access points into encyclopedias.
AmJur 2d on LexisCan limit to only searchingTable of Contents
Corpus Juris Secundum - CJS Legal Encyclopedia Start with the Index Provides summary of the law topic Will refer to key cases andrelevant legislation Available on Westlaw More comprehensive than AmJurin case citations provided, but thatcan make the entries lessreadable. Heavy on cases, light onlegislation legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com
American Law Reports - ALRhttp://law.sc.edu/library/tour/images/01_11a-alr.png
ALR More thorough and comprehensive encyclopedia Multiple ALR series in the print volumes ALR, ALR 2d, ALR 3d, ALR 4th, ALR 5th, ALR 6th, Federal,and Federal 2d. All series and volumes are kept because not all entrieshave been updated from original entry so the index mayrefer to an older ALR series. There are at least eight different indexes for the printseries – it’s complicated. Entries are officially called Annotations. Print volumes updated annually. Online ALR Updated weekly Comprehensive search through all series
ALR – Table of ContentsThis ToC is not linked.To use this information,copy the heading, returnto search window, andsearch on the copiedterms.
ALR Using the IndexTo use the index, copythe heading and returnto search screen.
ALR Searching the Index HeadingAfter copying the title from the Index, paste it into the search window. Use a TI titlesearch to limit search for terms in article titles. Also add a PR field limiter with phrase―index to annotations‖ to only retrieve the very helpful index listing for this title.
ALR Index to AnnotationsIndex to Annotations isa helpful listing of allthe articles within thissubject.
ALR Annotation32 page Annotation. Startswith outline of theannotation…
Journals & Bookslegalhistoryblog.blogspot.com Nothing different about searchingfor U.S. journals and books. Can limit journal searches to U.S.-only databases, if needed. Many free sources availableonline.
U.S. Journals on Westlaw InternationalLimit search to U.S. law reviews by selecting LAWREV-PRO on World Journalstab.
U.S. Journals on LexisLimit search to U.S. law reviews by selecting the U.S. Law Reviews andJournals, Combined database that is listed on the Secondary Legal page.
Journals on SSRNFree access to legal research on SSRN, located atwww.ssrn.com
Journals on Google ScholarSearch for articles on Google Scholar at scholar.google.comClick the down arrowleads to Advanced Searchoptions
Journals Google Scholar Advanced SearchIf the term search returns too many results, can limit to law review articles byincluding phrase ―law review‖ in the ―published in‖ field.
Journals Google ScholarClicking the PDF link on the right may offer an free full-text version even when thetitle link does not.
Case Law Understanding Citations Mandatory or PersuasiveAuthority Searching Westlaw Lexis Cornell’s LII Directory Google Scholar
U.S. Case CitationsRoe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973)Volume of ReporterReporter AbbreviationFirst Page of CaseYear of DecisionCase Name
U.S. Case Citations – Parallel CitationsSmith v. Chaney Brooks Realty, Inc., 10 Haw. App. 250, 865 P.2d170 (1994)Parallel Citations:Parallel CitationBright v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist.,18 Cal. 3d 450; 556 P.2d 1090; 1976 Cal. LEXIS 364; 134 Cal. Rptr. 639; 2 Media L. Rep. 1175 (Because of the number of reporters, it can look very complicated:Parallel Citations
Case Law – Mandatory or Persuasive? Federal Courts United States Supreme Court—Mandatory authority in allcourts, federal and state, when the decision covers federal lawissues. United States Courts of Appeals—Mandatory on district courtsand other lower courts within the circuit. Persuasive authorityin other circuits and in state courts. United States District Courts—Mandatory on specialized lowercourts within the appellate jurisdiction of the district court. State Courts State Supreme Courts, on decisions of state law—Mandatoryauthority for all lower courts in that state, and when federalcourts hear state law cases under diversity jurisdiction. State Appellate Courts, on decisions of state law—Mandatoryon all lower courts in the state. State Trial Courts—Mandatory only if the trial court has reviewauthority over a lower courts decisions.
Case Law - Westlaw To limit a search to a specific court Use a Field Limiter – CO Examples: To search only Ninth Circuit cases CO(9) To search only Arizona Appellate cases CO(ariz.app) To search only highest court in the state of Arizona CO(az AND high) To search only highest court in multiple states: CO(ia ks mo AND high) To search only New York Family Court OR New York District Court: CO(n.y.fam.ct OR n.y.dist.ct) To search only the First District of the Ohio Court of Appeals PR(―first district‖) AND CO(ohio.app) For more Westlaw court abbreviations, go to:http://static.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/product_files//westlaw/wlawdoc/wlres/caselaw7.pdf
Case Law – Free Online Resources Legal Information Institute (LII) Excellent directory to free online resources www.law.cornell.edu Google Scholar Legal Documents scholar.google.com Federal Cases from Federal Court Websites www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts.aspx Another Court Website Index http://www.law.cornell.edu/federal/opinions.html State Cases from State Court Websites www.ncsc.org
Case Law - Google ScholarCurrently has:-U.S. Supreme Court casessince 1791;-U.S. federal district, appellate,tax, and bankruptcy courtssince 1923, and-U.S. state appellate and statesupreme court cases since1950.
Case Law – Google Scholar CourtsCan limit searchto specific courts.
Case Law – Google Scholar Case SearchSearch for cases by key terms.
Case Law – Google Scholar CaseOfficial page numbersare provided for citationneeds.
Case Law – Google Scholar Case SearchSmart enough to return the original,full-text case as first item in the results listeven just using a simple name search.
Summary – Page 1 of 2 Court System Helps determine what is mandatory law Secondary Resources Encyclopedias AmJur CJS ALR Journals/Books Can limit to U.S. only in Westlaw and Lexis SSRN Google Scholar
Summary – Page 2 of 2 Case Law Citations Use tables in Bluebook or other tables online to understand courtabbreviation. Searching Westlaw and Lexis Cornell’s LII Directory Google Scholar – Legal Documents Legislation Many free sources for U.S. legislation. If have Westlaw orLexis, use annotated versions USCA – Westlaw Annotated Code USCS – Lexis Annotated Code Cornell’s LII Directory Many free legal resources available at law.cornell.edu
Additional Resources The Bluebook KF 245 .B58 Basic Legal Research by Amy E. Sloan KF240 .S585 Principles of Legal Research by Kent C.Olson KF240 .O57