RLA Program: Online Legal Resources

  • 842 views
Uploaded on

Steven Jablonski, a reference librarian at Skokie Public Library, gave this presentation at an RLA CE program on March 4, 2010. …

Steven Jablonski, a reference librarian at Skokie Public Library, gave this presentation at an RLA CE program on March 4, 2010.

For more information about the RLA CE Committee, please visit http://rlace.info.

More in: Education
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Be the first to comment
    Be the first to like this
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
842
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1

Actions

Shares
Downloads
5
Comments
0
Likes
0

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. Online Legal Sources for the Librarian Steven Jablonski Skokie Public Library
  • 2. Today’s Agenda I
    • Legal Materials
      • Codes, Regulations, and Opinions
      • Court Records
      • Legal Forms
      • Legal Guides
  • 3. Today’s Agenda II
    • Professional Legal Advice
      • Legal Assistance Programs
      • Lawyer Referral Services
      • Lawyer Directories and Ratings
  • 4. Codes, Regulations, & Opinions
    • Codes are the codified arrangements of statutes passed by legislative bodies and signed into law
    • Regulations are rules produced by administrative agencies
    • Opinions are rulings by judges in appellate court cases that lower courts follow
  • 5. Online Codes
    • Federal level: US Code (USC)
      • Cornell Legal Information Institute USC ( www.law.cornell.edu/uscode )
      • Online USCs are NOT up to date
    • State level: Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)
      • Illinois Compiled Statutes ( www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs.asp )
  • 6. Online Regulations
    • Federal level: Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
      • Cornell Legal Institute CFR ( www.law.cornell.edu/cfr )
    • State level: Illinois Administrative Code (Ill. Admin. Code)
      • Illinois Administrative Code ( www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/titles.html )
  • 7. Judicial Opinions
    • Judges interpret statutes and regulations by ruling in court cases
    • Higher court judges publish their rulings as judicial “opinions” or “decisions”
    • These published opinions set precedents (binding or persuasive) for future decisions
    • The area of law made up of these opinions is known as “case law” or “common law”
  • 8. Type of Court
    • Federal and state courts have a three part hierarchical arrangement:
      • Trial Court
      • Intermediate Appellate Court
      • Highest Appellate Court/ Court of Last Resort
    • In addition, there are several special federal courts
  • 9. Federal Courts
    • Trial Court:
      • 94 District Courts
    • Intermediate Appellate Court:
      • 12 Circuit Courts (including District of Columbia Court)
    • Highest Appellate Court/ Court of Last Resort:
      • U.S. Supreme Court
  • 10. Illinois State Courts
    • Trial Court:
      • 22 Circuit Courts
    • Intermediate Appellate Court:
      • 5 Appellate Courts
    • Highest Appellate Court/ Court of Last Resort:
      • Illinois Supreme Court
  • 11. What Opinions Are Published?
    • No state trial court (Illinois Circuit Court) and very few federal trial court (U.S. District Court) opinions are published, either print or online
    • Only state and federal supreme and appellate court opinions are generally published, usually both print and online, but some aren’t published at all
  • 12. Online Federal Opinions
    • Justia has opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court from the 1700s and all federal appellate courts since 1950 ( www.justia.com )
    • Google Scholar has opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court from 1791 and all federal district, appellate, tax, and bankruptcy courts since 1923 ( http:// scholar.google.com )
  • 13. Online State Opinions
    • Google Scholar has opinions from all 50 states’ appellate and supreme courts since 1950 ( http:// scholar.google.com )
    • The State of Illinois has Illinois Appellate and Supreme Court Opinions since 1996 ( www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/default.asp )
  • 14. Librarians & Case Law
    • Librarians DO
      • Search for cases identified by a specific citation (e.g., Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113)
        • See Cornell LII for an online guide to citations ( www.law.cornell.edu /citation )
      • Provide patrons with secondary materials that might identify relevant cases (legal encyclopedias, annotated statutes, etc.)
  • 15. Librarians & Case Law
    • Librarians DON’T
      • Identify cases on a specific topic (except broadly through secondary sources)
      • State whether a particular opinion is still valid or applies to specific jurisdiction
  • 16. Trial Court Records
    • Trial court records are available from the Clerk of the Court for a particular court
    • Clerks of the Court must be contacted directly and will charge a fee
    • Very few court records are available online for free
  • 17. Trial Court Records
    • The Clerk of the Court for the Circuit Court of Cook County provides docket information only on its website ( www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org )
    • Black Book Online is a good source to see what online court records are available for other jurisdictions ( www.blackbookonline.info )
  • 18. Trial Court Records
    • Some commercial websites sell basic court records, e.g. Crime Smasher ( www.crimesmasher.com )
    • CheckIllinois allows free searching for public records including some court records ( http://consumer.public-record.com )
  • 19. Legal Forms
    • Patrons want “fill-in” forms but these may not be available or advisable
    • Some forms are standard (e.g., power of attorney) while others must be customized
    • Some forms are state specific
    • Patrons use forms at own risk
  • 20. Legal Forms
    • Illinois Legal Aid has numerous common forms and letters in its Form Library ( www.illinoislegalaid.org )
    • The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County provides court forms ( www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org )
  • 21. Legal Guides
    • Very brief, practical guides to the most common legal problems and proceedings
    • Written at a basic level for ordinary people
    • Several written specifically for Illinois
    • Some can be printed out or ordered as brochures
  • 22. Legal Guides
    • Illinois Legal Aid is a very good source for guides ( www.illinoislegalaid.org )
    • Illinois Attorney General’s website has many pamphlets and brochures, especially on consumer issues ( www.ag.state.il.us/consumers/index.html )
  • 23. Legal Guides
    • Chicago Bar Association has a few “must have” guides ( www.chicagobar.org )
    • Lawyers contribute guides to Avvo ( www.avvo.com/legal-guides )
    • Avvo also allows users to post questions to lawyers. These posts can then be searched. ( www.avvo.com /free-legal-advice )
  • 24. Legal Assistance Programs
    • Numerous organizations provide legal assistance for people with low incomes or special circumstances
    • Illinois Legal Aid directs people to appropriate legal aid offices ( www.illinoislegalaid.org )
  • 25. Legal Assistance Programs
    • Valuable pamphlet Where To Go for Legal Assistance in or Around Chicago is available from the Chicago Bar Association ( www.chicagobar.org )
  • 26. Lawyer Referral Services
    • Referral services put people in contact with lawyers for low-fee initial consultations
    • The Chicago Bar Association screens lawyers for experience but most do not ( www.chicagobar.org )
    • Other bar associations have their own referral services
    • Illinois Legal Aid directs people to appropriate lawyer referral services ( www.illinoislegalaid.org )
  • 27. Lawyer Directories
    • LexisNexis ( www.lawyers.com ) and Westlaw ( http:// lawyers.findlaw.com ) have directories where you can look up basic information on lawyers
    • The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission lists all licensed lawyers in Illinois and indicates if they’ve been disciplined ( www.iardc.org/lawyersearch.asp )
  • 28. Lawyer Ratings
    • Martindale.com provides peer and client review ratings for top lawyers ( www.martindale.com )
    • Avvo provides ratings for lawyers and allows clients to comment on them ( www.avvo.com )
  • 29. Any Questions?