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  1. 1. Law on the ‘Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop April 2004 Laura A. Cadra [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Sources of Law </li></ul><ul><li>California Law </li></ul><ul><li>Federal Law </li></ul><ul><li>Finding Attorneys </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Where to Start When You Have No Idea Where to Start </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Law ? <ul><li>The entire body of principles, precedents, rules, and procedures intended to assure order and justice in a civilized society. It includes constitutions, legislation, decisions – federal, state, and local, civil and criminal ( Mellinkoff’s Dictionary of American Legal Usage ) </li></ul><ul><li>And don’t forget regulations! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Reference Inquiries <ul><li>Are you looking for general information about a legal issue? </li></ul><ul><li>Is your issue federal? State? Local? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you looking for a specific piece of law? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a Vehicle Code section? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a local ordinance? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are you looking for a form? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you looking for an attorney? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Sources of Law <ul><li>Primary Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Produced by governmental bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Binding!! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unofficial and official versions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information about the law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best place to start most legal research </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Secondary Sources on the ‘Net <ul><li>Nolo Press – Our friends in any format </li></ul><ul><li>Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) Law About Series </li></ul><ul><li>California Courts Self-Help Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>¡Se habla español! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese tambien! </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Legal Citation <ul><li>The formalized legal reference to an authority and the place where it can be found (Mellinkoff’s Dictionary of American Legal Usage) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Citation Formats <ul><li>Cases: Vol. no./Reporter Set/Page no. (date) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 25 Cal.3d 813 (1979) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statutes/Codes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>42 U.S.C. §1942 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CA Penal Code §187 </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Common Case Abbreviations <ul><li>CA Cases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cal. (Cal. 2 d , 3 d, 4 th ): California Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cal. App. (C.A. 2 d , 3 d , 4 th ): California Appellate Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cal. Rptr. (C.R. 2 d ): California Reporter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Cases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S.: United States Supreme Court Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F. (F.2 d , F.3 d ): Federal Reporter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>F.Supp. (F.Supp.2 d ): Federal Supplement </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Primary Sources of Law <ul><li>Constitutions </li></ul><ul><li>Statutes/Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Judicial Opinions (case decisions) </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations & Regulatory Decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Local Ordinances (cities and counties) </li></ul><ul><li>All of these work together to form The Law </li></ul>
  11. 11. California Law <ul><li>Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>Statutes/Codes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pending legislation (bills) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cases </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations </li></ul>
  12. 12. California Bills on the ‘Net <ul><li>1993-94 legislative session to the present </li></ul><ul><li>Searchable by bill number, author, or keyword </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of information about the bills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Status and history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Committee analyses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Votes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great for students! </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Legislative Process <ul><li>Bills = pending law </li></ul><ul><li>Statutes = permanent record </li></ul><ul><li>Codes = current version </li></ul>
  14. 14. California Statutes and Codes on the ‘Net <ul><li>Statutes are available from the 1993-94 Legislative session forward </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Searchable by chapter number or keyword </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No indication whether it’s current </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current California Code only </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Updated nightly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NOT annotated (like West’s and Deering’s) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. California Ballot Propositions on the ‘Net <ul><li>Passed propositions are incorporated into the California Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Failed propositions can be difficult to find </li></ul><ul><li>California Secretary of State Voter Information has propositions from 1996 to the present </li></ul><ul><li>Hastings College of the Law has a ballot proposition database from 1911 to the present </li></ul>
  16. 16. California Cases <ul><li>Published Decisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>California Supreme Court cases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most California Courts of Appeal cases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unpublished Decisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trial Courts (Superior Court cases) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. California Cases on the ‘Net <ul><li>California Judicial Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions from 1850 to Sept. 30, 2003 (searchable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slip opinions – October 1, 2003 to the present (not searchable) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Findlaw </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions 1934 to the present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must register to view the cases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CourtTV </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensational trial court cases </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. California Agency Materials <ul><li>Licenses </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations </li></ul><ul><li>Regulatory Decisions </li></ul>
  19. 19. California Agencies on the ‘Net <ul><li>California State web page contains a list of agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Materials available vary by agency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>License requirements </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. California Code of Regulations on the ‘Net <ul><li>Includes the regulations of all California agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Current version only </li></ul><ul><li>Title 24 (California Building Standards Code) is NOT available for free on the ‘Net </li></ul>
  21. 21. Municipal Law on the ‘Net <ul><li>City and county charters = structure of local governments </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal and county ordinances = local laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parking regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leash laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rent control </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Municipal Codes on the ‘Net <ul><li>Check with the city or county web site first </li></ul><ul><li>Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley </li></ul><ul><li>Seattle Public Library government info for non-California cities and counties </li></ul>
  23. 23. Federal Law on the ‘Net <ul><li>U.S. Constitution </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pending legislation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cases </li></ul><ul><li>Regulations </li></ul>
  24. 24. Federal Legislation on the ‘Net <ul><li>Bills – Think Thomas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Full-text available from 1989-90 (101 st Congress forward) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summaries available from 1973-74 (93 rd Congress forward) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>United States Code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not current! Beware! Danger! </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Federal Cases on the ‘Net <ul><li>No comprehensive web site </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. Supreme Court </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Official Supreme Court web site: 1990 forward </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornell’s LII: 1990 forward </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Courts of Appeals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>9 th Circuit web site: 1995 forward </li></ul></ul><ul><li>District Courts (trial courts) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Federal Agency Materials <ul><li>Agency web sites </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some are filled with good information including forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some are not </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Finding a Lawyer <ul><li>Directories and Regulation </li></ul>
  28. 28. Attorney Information on the ‘Net <ul><li>Find an Attorney by Specialty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Martindale Hubbell Law Directory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>California State Bar Certified Specialists </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check Out the Credentials of a Lawyer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>California State Bar Attorney Search </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Legal Forms <ul><li>Litigation Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Business Forms </li></ul>
  30. 30. Litigation Forms on the ‘Net <ul><li>California Judicial Council </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mandatory forms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suggested forms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local Courts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check the court web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Findlaw </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to forms of varying quality </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. Business Forms on the ‘Net <ul><li>Fedforms.gov </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily fee-based but some are free </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legaldocs.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uscourtforms.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lexisone.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawcommerce.com </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Where to Start When You Don’t Know Where to Start <ul><li>California Courts Self-Help Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of information on common legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where to go for free and low-cost legal information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>24/7 Reference includes law librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Your local county law library </li></ul><ul><li>Locating the Law, 4 th ed . </li></ul>
  33. 33. Mega-sites <ul><li>Hieros Gamos: If you can only have one </li></ul><ul><li>Jurist </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Legal Resource Guide </li></ul><ul><li>Catalaw </li></ul><ul><li>Findlaw </li></ul>
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