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  • 1. LIBR 430 Week 1
  • 2. Topics to Cover
    • Course Requirements
    • Information Literacy General
    • Information Literacy in Law
    • Overview of American Legal System
    • Jurisdiction
    • Primary v Secondary
    • Legal Citation
  • 3. Information Literacy
    • Determine the extent of information needed
    • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
    • Evaluate information and its sources critically
    • Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base
    • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
    • Understand the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.
  • 4. Legal Information Literacy
    • More than knowing where to look (legal research)
    • Knowing what you are looking at
    • Understanding information’s relevance to a legal issue
    • Determining which kinds of legal information is appropriate
    • Deciding confidently/competently when you have enough
    • Citing ‘legally’ as opposed to ethically
  • 5. Evaluating Legal Information
    • Primary or Secondary
    • Official or unofficial
    • Current
    • Impact of subsequent documents or actions
    • Jurisdictionally applies
    • Synthesize body of information on a legal issue
    • Reconcile inconsistencies
    • Apply facts appropriately
    • Use reasoning tools (hypotheticals, deductions, analogies) to draw conclusions
  • 6. Law in the United States
    • Where does it come from?
    • What forms does it take?
    • Who drafts/crafts/writes it?
    • Special role of the courts
    • Types of law
    • What outcomes does the law create?
  • 7. Sources of the law
    • U.S. common law
      • Stare decisis
      • Precedent
      • US and state
    • Constitution
      • US and state
    • Statutes
      • US and state
    • Administrative Rulings and Regulations
  • 8. What forms does it take?
    • Common law
      • Judicial opinions
      • Cases
    • Constitution
    • Statutes
      • Codes
    • Administrative rulings and regulations
      • Administrative codes, regulations
  • 9. Who creates them?
    • Judges
      • State
      • Federal
    • Legislative bodies
      • State
      • Federal
    • Executives (governor, president)
    • Administrative agencies
  • 10. The Federal Courts
    • Federal courts
    • 94 district courts across the country
      • Federal trial courts
    • Report in to 13 courts of appeals
      • Right to review
      • Hear district court appeals
      • Also hear appeals from administrative judges (bankruptcy, tax, trade, etc.)
    • US Supreme Court
      • No right of review
      • Discretionary (writ of certiorari)
  • 11. State Courts
    • Vary
    • Typically:
      • Trial court
      • Appellate court
      • Supreme court
    • State questions are settled in state courts
    • If there is a federal question and the SCOTUS grants cert. it can be appealed to the US Supreme Court
  • 12. What kinds of outcomes can the law create?
    • Civil liability:
      • Compensatory damages
      • Punitive damages
      • Injunctive relief
      • Specific performance
      • Recission/Reformation
    • Criminal guilt
      • Fines
      • Incarceration
      • Execution
  • 13. Jurisdiction
    • Extremely important when evaluating legal information
    • Applies to virtually all forms of law and legal information including cases, statutes and regulations
    • Jurisdictional issues are mostly associated with courts due to the number of them and the subjects, levels they cover
    • Statutes and regulations are typically geographical or preemptive
  • 14. Jurisdiction (courts)
    • Defined as the power or authority to hear a case
    • Venue: The appropriate location for an action; Often confused with but different from jurisdiction; once jurisdiction is determined venue is the decision regarding where the case will be held; typically a plaintiff choice but part of tactical approach to legal actions
    • Personal jurisdiction (in personam jurisdiction): does the court have power over the parties (residency and/or sufficient contacts)
    • In rem jurisdiction: Events took place or property involved is located within a specific geographic area
  • 15. Types of Law
    • Important when reading cases or statutes
    • Criminal or civil
      • Criminal: Higher burdens of proof, guilt is established
      • Civil: Lower burden of proof, liability is established
      • Different outcomes (jail, execution v money)
      • 6th Amendment guarantees right to jury trial in criminal cases
      • Criminal has a right to an attorney
      • Right to appeal in civil in criminal on defendant can appeal
    • Substantive or procedural
      • Substantive regulates rights and duties
      • Procedural law relates to methods (FRCP, FRAppP, FRCrimP etc.)
  • 16. Precedent and Stare Decisis
    • Stare decisis: Doctrine that binds courts to previous decisions
    • Precedent: The actual decisions of the court
      • Persuasive (a lower court’s precedent)
      • Binding (a higher or appeals court)
    • Courts can distinguish fact as ways of diminishing precedent
    • When does precedent get ‘abandoned?’
      • Legislative action
      • Policy/Politics?
  • 17. Primary v Secondary
    • Primary:
      • The law
      • Cases, statutes, regulations
    • Secondary:
      • About the law
      • Law review articles, restatements, legal encyclopedias, practice guides, treatises, study guides
      • Help lawyers and judges understand the law but cannot be cited as law
  • 18. Citation
    • The Bluebook
    • Governs citation in law but also a style guide
    • Purpose: So those reading law review articles, memos, appellate briefs and judicial opinions can find the law being referenced
    • Not primarily a plagiarism preventive
    • Rule and practice usually merge in subsequent editions
    • Created by students at Harvard, Columbia, Penn and Yale and distributed by HLR