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Topic & key_numbers_complete_show2 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. THE TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM® IN THE LEGAL RESEARCH UNIVERSE West’s Instructional Aid Series
  • 2. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 2
  • 3. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 3
  • 4. THE DOCTRINE OF PRECEDENT • Precedents are prior cases in the jurisdiction that are close in fact or legal principles to the case in consideration. • The doctrine of precedent dictates that decisions reached in previous cases in the jurisdiction dealing with the same or similar issues should be followed, unless there is a good reason to deviate. 4
  • 5. THE DOCTRINE OF PRECEDENT • The doctrine of precedent is founded on a sense of fairness and the belief that decisions should be consistent and not arbitrary so that the legal consequence of conduct can be predicted. • This doctrine explains the attorney’s need for access to prior cases in the jurisdiction dealing with the same or similar issues. 5
  • 6. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 6
  • 7. NATIONAL REPORTER SYSTEM • The National Reporter System is the name given to the entire group of publications that report both state and federal cases decided throughout the country. Some reporters cover specialty topics, such as bankruptcy. 7
  • 8. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 8
  • 9. HEADNOTES: CASES • Headnotes appear before the text of every case in the National Reporter System. • A headnote is a paragraph summary of a single point of law discussed in the case. • Headnotes appear in the order the points of law are discussed in the case. Headnote 1 9
  • 10. HEADNOTES (DIGEST PARAGRAPHS) • Headnotes are prepared by West attorney-editors using consistent and current legal terminology instead of ambiguous, regional or outdated words and descriptive terms instead of proper names • Language of Opinion - Mr. Brown or plaintiff - Tylenol or Bufferin - tipsy or inebriated Language of Headnote - landlord - aspirin - intoxicated The headnotes help you retrieve many online cases that you would otherwise miss. 10
  • 11. HEADNOTE AND KEY NUMBERS • The point of law discussed in each headnote is assigned to at least one West topic number and key number. 11
  • 12. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 12
  • 13. WEST’S KEY NUMBER DIGESTS • The headnotes from every reported case in the National Reporter System are organized by topic and key number in West’s Key Number Digests. Headnotes become digest paragraphs. • There are: – federal, state, and regional digests – special-subject digests – digests that cover specific periods of time 13
  • 14. WEST’S KEY NUMBER DIGESTS • Using an on-point key number, you can find similar headnotes from other cases in any National Reporter System publication. • Each headnote in a digest cites, and on Westlaw® links, to the case in which the headnote appears. 14
  • 15. 4. 5. 1. 4 Digests National Reporter System Constitutional Law 3. 2. 3 Headnotes Topic and Key Number System 1. Cases are printed in the National Reporter System reporters. 2. Each point of law discussed in a case is summarized in a headnote. 3. The point of law in each headnote is assigned a key number(s). 4. Digests organize all headnotes (digest paragraphs) by key number. 5. The key number in a digest is used to find other relevant cases. 15
  • 16. QUESTION • West’s Key Number System integrates: 1.The National Reporter System 2.The Key Number Digests 3.Headnotes that precede each National Reporter System case 4.All of the above 16
  • 17. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 17
  • 18. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: HEADNOTES • When West receives an opinion from the court, a West attorney-editor identifies the points of law discussed in the case. • Each point of law is summarized in a headnote. • After carefully analyzing the point of law that the headnote discusses, the West attorney-editor assigns the headnote to at least one key number in the West Topic and Key Number System. 18
  • 19. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: HEADNOTES Headnote Number (7) Topic Number (95) Key Number 147(2) Headnote • This headnote summarizes the seventh point of law discussed in this case on Westlaw. The headnote is assigned to key number 147(2) under Topic 95 (Contracts). 19
  • 20. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM • is an extensive outline of the entire body of case law in this country. • is an index to the entire National Reporter System, helping you more easily locate cases with similar legal issues in any jurisdiction. • is a classification system with at least one topic and key number assigned to each point of law. 20
  • 21. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM • divides the law into approximately 400 broad digest topics. • breaks down each topic into subheadings • contains approximately 100,000 specific key numbers 21
  • 22. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: TOPICS • The topic are arranged alphabetically and numbered between 1 and 450. • Each topic addresses a broad legal issue. • Some topics have been added after the original 414 topics were assigned numbers. – See, 48A Automobiles – See, 48B Aviation • Other topics have been eliminated or renamed (e.g., West attorney-editors no longer use topic 3). 22
  • 23. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: TOPICS 95 Contracts (Topic) 95II Construction and Operation (Subheading) 95II(A) General Rules of Construction 95k147 Intention of Parties 95k147(2) k. Language of Contract (Specific Key Number) • Each topic is broken down into subheadings. • There can be as many as eight levels in the topic and key number hierarchy. • This process continues until further breakdown of a legal issue is unproductive and a specific key number is assigned. See, 95k147(2), above. 23
  • 24. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: TOPICS • This is a breakdown of key number 147 (Intention of parties) under the Contracts topic and subheading II. (Construction and Operation) in the Westlaw version of the digest. • 95k147(2) is the specific key number dealing with Language of contract. 24
  • 25. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: CURRENTNESS OF TOPICS • Topics or portions of topics are added, renamed, expanded, contracted, merged, or eliminated as law, society, and political sensitivity dictate. – Insurance topic was reorganized in 1998; Negligence topic was reorganized in 1999 – RICO topic was added in 1990; Sentencing topic was added in 2000 – Drunkards topic became inactive in 1978 and all new cases were classified under a new topic, Chemical Dependents. The new topic also contains some issues that were previously categorized under Drugs and Narcotics – Insane Persons topic was renamed Mental Health 25
  • 26. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM: CURRENTNESS OF KEY NUMBERS • Key numbers are added, renumbered, or transferred to other topics as law, society, and political sensitivity dictate. – What was once a specific key number may be expanded over time to provide deeper analysis of a growing area of the law. – Translation tables in print volumes aid in moving between the old and new classifications. – On Westlaw, a “Formerly” line is added to key numbers that have changed so you can search by old or new key number. (See below.) 26
  • 27. THE WEST TOPIC & KEY NUMBER SYSTEM • Think of the topic and key number as an address: – Each street in the city represents a digest topic. – There are many houses on each street and each house has its own number. – In order to find a particular house, you must know both the street name (topic) and the house number (key number). 27
  • 28. QUESTION • The West Topic and Key Number System 1.Divides the law into approximately 400 broad legal topics 2.Divides the law into approximately 100,000 specific key numbers 3.Is an index to every case in the National Reporter System 4.All of the above 28
  • 29. KEY NUMBERS & THE KEY NUMBER DIGEST • West’s Key Number Digests are the research link between Key Numbers and the National Reporter System cases. • The digests contain the headnotes (digest paragraphs) and their corresponding topic and key numbers from every set of cases in the National Reporter System. • The headnotes (digest paragraphs) are organized first alphabetically by topic and then numerically by key number.
  • 30. THE WEST KEY NUMBER DIGEST • Digest sets include: – – – – State digests Regional digests Federal Practice Digest Specialty subjects, such as Bankruptcy, Military Justice, Federal Claims, and Education Law digests – Decennial digests, which contain all headnotes from cases for each 10year period beginning with 1897 – The Century Digest, which contains headnotes from cases from 1658 to 1896 30
  • 31. THE WEST KEY NUMBER DIGEST • Each digest series spans many volumes and is organized first alphabetically by topic then numerically by key number. 31
  • 32. THE WEST KEY NUMBER DIGEST • This is a page from the Minnesota Digest • Listed are all the headnotes (digest paragraphs) from Minnesota cases that discuss the points of law assigned to specific key numbers 8(2), 9, and 12 under the topic of Abatement and Revival. 32
  • 33. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 33
  • 34. FINDING AND USING RELEVANT KEY NUMBERS • Topic Lists in Print Digests – Use the alphabetical Digest Topics list at the beginning of each print digest volume as a table of contents. Browsing the Topic Hierarchy – Check the key numbers under the topics that seem most relevant. 34
  • 35. FINDING AND USING RELEVANT KEY NUMBERS: ANALYSIS IN PRINT DIGESTS Broad Analysis Detailed Analysis Each topic in a digest set has an Analysis section, providing both broad and detailed outlines of the topic. 35
  • 36. FINDING AND USING RELEVANT KEY NUMBERS: SUBJECTS INCLUDED, EXCLUDED • Many legal topics overlap in subject content. • At the beginning of every new topic in the print digest are scope notes that explain which subjects are included under that topic and which are excluded. • The Subjects Excluded list directs you to the digest topic under which those subjects are covered. 36
  • 37. WEST’S ANALYSIS OF AMERICAN LAW • West’s Analysis of American Law lists all the topics and the specific key numbers with the title given to each key number. Constitutional Law TOPIC NO. 92 90.1– Particular Expressions and Limitations (1.2) Election Regulations • This publication also contains Subjects Included and Subjects Excluded sections for each topic. 37
  • 38. DESCRIPTIVE WORD INDEX • When classifying points of law and assigning to key numbers, West attorney-editors choose words that describe the important facts and legal issues • These fact and issue words are arranged alphabetically in the Descriptive Word Index e digest. • The Descriptive Word Index refers you to relevant topic and key numbers. 38
  • 39. DESCRIPTIVE WORD INDEX • Ask, “What words describe the pertinent facts of the case or legal question involved?” • Most descriptive words fall into one of five categories of elements common to every case: – Parties or facts – Places and things – Issue or basis of action – Defenses – Relief sought 39
  • 40. DESCRIPTIVE WORD INDEX • Example: John Landlord failed to replace a light bulb in the hallway of one of his apartment buildings. Jane Tenant failed to see a step and fell down a flight of stairs. She is suing John for damages. • You might start by checking in the index under landlord, tenant, apartment, common area, or premise liability. At least one of these entries will probably lead you to key numbers assigned to headnotes in cases that discuss the same or similar issues. 40
  • 41. SECONDARY SOURCE REFERENCES IN PRINT AND ON WESTLAW Reference to a contracts key number for an Am Jur® 2d (American Jurisprudence) section on Westlaw. Reference to relevant contracts key number in a CJS® (Corpus Juris Secundum) article on Westlaw. 41
  • 42. USING A KNOWN KEY NUMBER IN PRINT DIGEST • Go to a print digest covering the appropriate jurisdiction and find the volume containing the topic. • The digest paragraphs are arranged in numerical order under the topic. • All headnotes from all cases discussing the point of law assigned to that key number are listed along with citations to the originating cases. 42
  • 43. USING A KNOWN KEY NUMBER IN A WESTLAW SEARCH • If you know the key number before you sign on to Westlaw – chose either a case law or a headnote (digest) database, – enter the key number as your Terms and Connectors query: 95k147(2) – The “k” makes the term unique. You will retrieve only documents containing the key number. – You can require that certain words be in the same paragraph as the key number to customize your search: 95k147(2) /P "FOUR CORNERS" 43
  • 44. TOPIC LIST ON WESTLAW • Click Key Numbers at the top of your Westlaw screen. • Select West Key Number Digest Outline • Scroll down the list of topics until you find one you want to explore. 44
  • 45. USING THE KEY NUMBER DIGEST ON WESTLAW Click the plus (+) symbols to expand the subheadings. Expand subheading folders if necessary. When you find a relevant key number: (1) type it in the text box and click GO or, (2) check the box beside it and click Search selected. 45
  • 46. USING THE TOPIC LIST ON WESTLAW TO PERFORM A KEY NUMBER SEARCH Select Database Add Terms Date • You can run the key number search in the headnote database of your choice. • You can restrict your search by date or add terms for a customized result. 46
  • 47. RETRIEVING MORE CASES USING A KEY NUMBER FROM A CASE • A word search on Westlaw retrieves a relevant case with an on-point headnote. • You can use the key number(s) assigned to this headnote to retrieve other cases discussing the same point of law. • This is the most common way of finding relevant cases using key numbers. 47
  • 48. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW • In case law databases, key numbers and headnotes appear before the text of the case in the order the legal issues are discussed in the case, just as in the print reporters. • In the headnote (digest) databases, the key numbers and headnotes are organized by topic, then by key number, just as in the print digests. 48
  • 49. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW • If you know the appropriate topic number but do not know the key number, try the following search in either a case law or headnote database: TO(95) /P LANGUAGE /P INTENT! • The topic (TO) field is the portion of the digest field that contains the topic numbers and names and key numbers and names. TO 49
  • 50. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW • If you don’t know either the topic or the key number – in a headnote database (NY-HN, ALLCASES-HN), enter a Terms and Connectors query or a digest field search: contract! /p language /p intent! – in a case law database (NY-CS, ALLCASES), restrict your query to the digest field (DI): di(contract! /p language /p intent!) • Start out by keeping all terms in the same paragraph. 50
  • 51. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW: SAMPLE QUERY & THE DIGEST Query: DI(CONTRACT! /P LANGUAGE /P INTENT!) The query yields 349 cases in the IN-CS (Indiana Cases) database. This headnote is assigned to key number 95k147(2). This key number is under the Contracts topic, but the results might also include key numbers under Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy, and other topics. 51
  • 52. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW: SAMPLE QUERY & THE DIGEST Most Cited If the headnote assigned to 95k147(2) is relevant to your issue, you can easily retrieve similar cases, even if they don’t contain the terms in your original search. Select a database. Click Most Cited Cases link to create a Custom Digest. Search Database Click Search. 52
  • 53. SEARCHING ON WESTLAW: SAMPLE QUERY & THE DIGEST Custom Digest • A Custom Digest contains digest paragraphs assigned to that key number from all cases in that jurisdiction. • Each headnote links to its corresponding case. • You have created a Custom Digest of all headnotes assigned to 95k147(2) in the in Minnesota Cases. 53
  • 54. THE WEST TOPIC AND KEY NUMBER SYSTEM • Allows you to quickly find all (including the most current) cases that discuss a legal issue • Allows you to quickly determine the merits of your clients’ cases based on how prior cases dealing with the same issue have been decided • Allows you to move among reporters, digests, the ALR and AmJur publications and statutes using cross-referenced relevant key numbers The Key Number System is the index to American common law issues. 54
  • 55. QUESTION • If you have found a relevant key number, you can retrieve cases that have discussed the same or similar issues by 1. Finding that key number in a digest 2. Searching for the key number in a headnote (digest) database on Westlaw 3. Searching for the key number in a case law database on Westlaw 4. All of the above 55
  • 56. CONTENTS • Introduction to the Doctrine of Precedent • National Reporter System • Headnotes • West’s Key Number Digests • The Topic and Key Number System • Finding and Using Relevant Key Numbers • KeySearch 56
  • 57. KEYSEARCH • is a research tool powered by the respected and dependable West Key Number System • identifies key numbers and terms most relevant to your legal issue • integrates related key numbers from different topics into one search • creates effective queries for you in the appropriate database(s) • uses intuitive language and organization, making it easy to navigate 57
  • 58. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • Start your research in KeySearch when: – you are unfamiliar with an area of the law – you are unfamiliar with the West Key Number System – you need to retrieve unreported cases or secondary-source documents as well as reported cases. 58
  • 59. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM Site Map KeySearch • KeySearch uses the dependable and respected power of the Key Number System and the expertise of West’s attorneyeditors to retrieve relevant documents. • KeySearch can be accessed from anywhere in westlaw.com by clicking the Site Map link on the top of the page. 59
  • 60. AN EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUE Sue had been employed by the Busy Bee Corporation for several years. Busy Bee is a 20-person, family-run business and Sue had always had smooth relationships with family members and good job reviews. Last year, Sue began living with Roger. The Busy Bee owners did not say anything directly to Sue, but she knew her living arrangements upset the very conservative family. Relations with family members soured and soon her job reviews expressed dissatisfaction with her work. Sue was fired for unsatisfactory performance. Can Sue claim discrimination based on her status as an unmarried person? 60
  • 61. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM Employment Law • West attorney-editors have created logical topics and subtopics. • Topics are arranged alphabetically for easy scanning. • links to popular subtopics are listed below each main topic. Let’s choose Employment Law to find an answer to Sue’s legal dilemma. 61
  • 62. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM Discrimination • A folder icon indicates that there are subtopics. • A search icon indicates there are no subtopics. Clicking on a search icon will retrieve the search page. • Discrimination has subtopics. 62
  • 63. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM Path Marital or Familial Status Discrimination • Marital or Familial Status Discrimination is the exact sub topic we’re looking for. We can click the search icon to begin our search. • Notice that the KeySearch path is displayed at the top of the page so it is easy to keep track of how we got to this subtopic.
  • 64. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • KeySearch gives us the option of retrieving reported or unreported cases, encyclopedias, treatises, law reviews and journals, and many other secondary Sources. 64
  • 65. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • We’ll select Cases with West headnotes. • Then we’ll select All State Cases for the database. All State Cases • Open the Query Editor to see the topic and key numbers are applicable to this Employment law issue. Key Numbers Query Editor 65
  • 66. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • We can add search terms to the end of the query to further customize the search. Here we’ve added: /p single unmarried “not married” “living in sin” • The last step is to click Search. Search 66
  • 67. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • That’s it. In just a few clicks we have retrieved 31 onpoint documents in the All State Cases database. • Read the headnote from this case to see the success of our KeySearch. 67
  • 68. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • What if you aren’t sure where to begin looking in the KeySearch hierarchy? • Just type the essential terms in the Scan text box and click GO and a list of the topics and subtopics that contain your terms is displayed. Scan 68
  • 69. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • Here is the list that is displayed when we enter marital familial in the Scan text box. The KeySearch path we chose by pointing and clicking is included in results above. 69
  • 70. KEYSEARCH ON WESTLAW.COM • Efficient – KeySearch creates expert queries for you. There’s no need for you to locate the correct topic and key numbers or determine which terms to include in your query. • Easy to use – The interface is organized, logical and easy to navigate. • Flexible – You can edit KeySearch queries to fit your fact pattern. • Comprehensive – KeySearch includes approximately 10,000 legal issues and retrieves results from reported and unreported cases as well as analytical law. • Reliable – KeySearch is powered by the West Key Number System, so you know your results can be trusted. Queries are created by experts in legal topics and query formulation. 70
  • 71. QUESTION • KeySearch 1. Builds on the Key Number System 2. Adds relevant words so unreported cases and secondary sources can be retrieved 3. Allows you to customize the automatic query 4. All of the above 71
  • 72. CONCLUSION • The National Reporter System, the West editorial enhancements, the West Key Number System, and West Key Number Digests are an integrated research system that guides you to prior cases in any state or federal jurisdiction that discussed similar facts or points of law. • If you have any questions, please contact the West Reference Attorneys, 24/7, at 1-800-850-9378. 72