Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Certification workshop becoming a power user


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Certification workshop becoming a power user

  1. 1. Certification Workshop:Becoming a Power User Mark Popielarski – Spring 2013
  2. 2. IntroductionWhy develop advanced searching skills?Using Lexis and Westlaw effectively – time and costDeveloping research strategiesChoosing appropriate resourcesConstructing effective search queries
  3. 3. Why develop advance searchstrategies?―Google‖ search bars useful, but returns many results—many not relevantDeveloping search strategy, selecting appropriate resource, and using advanced search features saves time and maybe moneyIn Westlaw and Lexis Classic, charges are by search. The larger the database used, the more it costs.
  4. 4. Developing Search StrategiesIdentify the legal issue/issues involved Experience will expedite identification If given, use controlling case, statute, regulation, etc. as a starting point If not, use secondary source to research topic
  5. 5. Developing Search Strategies (cont.) Determine relevant subject(s) and jurisdiction(s)  Subjects  Constitutional Law?  Corporate Law?  Environmental Law?  Remember that legal problem might involve multiple subjects  Jurisdiction  Always start research with controlling law  If in Colorado and it is controlling law, focus on CO  If in 10th Circuit, look at S. Ct. and 10th Circuit cases
  6. 6. Developing Search Strategies (cont.)Research issue(s) by using secondary sourcesGenerate search terms Secondary Sources Legal Thesaurus Relevant cases, statutes, etc.Remember legal research is an iterative process, use new terms to expand upon original search
  7. 7. Secondary Sources What are secondary sources?  Examples: scholarly treatises and law reviews Why are secondary sources useful?  Provides background information and context  Helps identify additional terms to build your search  Locate cases, statutes, etc. supporting a particular legal proposition  Cases already vetted by experts in the field which provides greater certainty of relevance.  Not purely relying on computer algorithm and ability to craft perfect search
  8. 8. Secondary Sources (cont.) While secondary sources online are useful, coverage, cost, and firm culture may require print usage Lexis and Westlaw not comprehensive  Not all treatises, including important treatises, are available on these platforms  Older law review articles not available HeinOnline contains PDFs of most law review articles—need citation
  9. 9. Secondary Sources (cont.) Preeminent Treatises  While numerous treatises exist covering a wide variety of subjects, some are more highly regarded than others  Preeminent treatises are written by highly respected authors and are viewed as the definitive source for their subject area  Examples:  Corbin on Contracts  Collier on Bankruptcy  Federal Practice and Procedure  Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure
  10. 10. Legal Database Searching How to increase likelihood of relevant results? Avoid general searching—narrow search to relevant topic/jurisdiction when possible  i.e. Corporate law applying Delaware state law Natural Language v. Terms & Connectors  Natural language useful as starting place when unsure of search terms  Terms & Connectors allows greater precision—more relevant results
  11. 11. Legal Database Searching (cont.) Use ―AND‖ ―OR‖ judiciously  Minimal logical relationship—with ―AND‖ first term could be on first page and send term on last page ―/p‖ ―/s‖ ―/n‖ helps establish physical and, hopefully, logical relationship between terms Use root expander to include variations ―!‖  ―acqui!‖ will search for acquires, acquired, acquiring, acquisition Quotation marks for phrases although use of ―/n‖ allows for variation  free! /2 speech instead for ―freedom of speech‖ and ―free speech‖
  12. 12. Legal Database Searching (cont.) Try requiring that document contains a minimum number of occurrences for a specific word/phrase—theory is more occurrences increases likelihood of relevance (not too high or too low)  ―atleast‖ in search bar or ―term frequency‖ on advanced search screen  i.e. atleast10(CERCLA) Segment searching—different materials provide different options  Law Review articles offer Title and Author field  If search terms appear in title, more likely relevant  Cases allow for Judge and Attorney searching—very useful when job interviewing Dates—if specific date or date range known, restrict to avoid irrelevant results
  13. 13. TipsExperiment with different legal research tools/strategies while they are still freeResearch is iterative—do not be afraid to try modified/new searchesNeed help? Talk to a law librarian DU law librarians available to help Employer may have law librarians on staff—talk to them and ask questions!