RESEARCH STRATEGYTIPS FOR NOVICE LEGALRESEARCHERSBy Rachel Perry Hanses, JD, MLS.Presentation for USF Zief Law LibraryApril 10, 2012
TOP 5 LEGAL RESEARCHING TIPS Tip 1: Understand the Assignment Tip 2: Use Secondary Sources Tip 3: Learn the Books Tip 4: Use Citators Tip 5: Utilize Your Time in School
LARGE FIRMS EXPECT TO WRITE OFF 50-100% OF A FIRST YEAR ASSOCIATE’S SALARY DUE TO POOR LEGAL RESEARCHING SKILLS.Anne Ellis & Lezlie Bartz, White Paper: Research Skills for Lawyers and Law Students, ThompsonWest, http://west.thomson.com/pdf/librarian/Legal_Research_white_paper.pdf
WHY ARE RESEARCH SKILLS SO IMPORTANT? oAverage first year attorney spends 80% of their time researching. oClients are becoming less willing to pay large researching bills. oLarge firms vs. small practices: Resources vary. oThe more you learn now, the less time you’ll spend researching later.Anne Ellis & Lezlie Bartz, White Paper: Research Skills for Lawyers and Law Students, ThompsonWest, http://west.thomson.com/pdf/librarian/Legal_Research_white_paper.pdf
TIP 1: UNDERSTAND THE ASSIGNMENT Ask Questions! Clarify! Understand the task: What are you expected to do? Determine Jurisdiction: Federal, State, Local? Ask a librarian!
TIP 2: SECONDARY SOURCESDiscussExplainCritiqueAnalyze
SECONDARY SOURCES: LEGALENCYCLOPEDIAS American Jurisprudence (Am Jur 2d): General index; Table of statutes, Rules, and Regulations cited. Legal Forms, Trials, Proof of Facts, etc. California Jurisprudence (Cal Jur 3d): Case Summaries; Table of Cases, Statutes and Parallel References. States exceptions and conflicts. Also gives ALR annotation references.
SECONDARY SOURCES: PRACTICE GUIDESRUTTER/ CALIFORNIA FORMS OF PLEADING ANDPRACTICE California Practice Guides: Huge variety; Forms, Procedure, Topics Identifies cases, statutes and court rules. Gives instructions from start to finish. Includes forms. Includes recommended strategies, etc. CA Forms of Pleading and Practice Forms, checklists, research guides for civil actions and proceedings in California. “Encyclopedic Coverage”
TIP 3: USING THE BOOKS SAVES $$$ Learning how to navigate the books can teach you how to search the electronic version better. Understand the benefits of a broad search. Your learning curve doesn’t cost any money.
TIP 4: USE CITATORSLexisNexis: Shepard’sWestlaw: KeyciteCitators let you know if the case you’re citing is current.If you start with a case, you can expand to see additional citing references!
KEYCITE VS. SHEPARD’SSignals Westlaw: KeyCite LexisNexis: Shepard’sNegative TreatmentQuestionedCautionedPositive TreatmentCase has HistoryCase is Cited, NoanalysisCases is analyzed
TIP 5: MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME IN LAWSCHOOL Get to know the Law Librarians We love to help! Take Advanced Legal Research Classes at USF Advanced Legal Research - 2 Units California Legal Research - 2 Units Directed Research - 1 or 2 Units USF Zief Law Library Research Guides http://legalresearch.usfca.edu/ResearchStrategies Step by step instructions on legal research Learn Westlaw/Lexis while it’s free!
ZIEF LAW LIBRARY Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Contact Research Center Desk: 415-422-6773 Ask a Reference Librarian: http://www.usfca.edu/law/library/ask/ Make an appointment with a Librarian: http://www.usfca.edu/law/library/contact