NCompass Live: Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center


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Join Janet Bancroft and Debora Brownyard, from the Nebraska State Court Administrator's Office, as they debut the new Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center and other Web Resources. This "virtual" Self-Help Center has information and links to legal resources to help you represent yourself in Nebraska Courts. Richard Leiter, Director and Professor of Law at UNL’s Schmid Law Library, will join the discussion to provide ‘insider’ tips on legal research for the non law librarian using online resources.
NCompass Live - April 6, 2011

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NCompass Live: Nebraska Online Legal Self-Help Center

  1. 1. Legal Research in Non-Law Libraries <ul><li>Richard Leiter </li></ul><ul><li>Director and Professor of Law </li></ul><ul><li>Schmid Law Library </li></ul><ul><li>University of Nebraska College of Law </li></ul>NCompass Live – April 6, 2011
  2. 2. Unauthorized Practice of Law <ul><li>Libraries should provide research assistance (reference) , not perform research for patrons. Performing research can lead you into murky waters that may have legal consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>Good resource on the distinction between reference assistance and performing research can be found at the American Association of Law Libraries, State, Court and County Law Libraries Special Interest Section (AALL SCCLL-SIS): </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  3. 3. Basic Rules of the Reference Interview <ul><li>We know how to find the law, we don’t interpret or apply it </li></ul><ul><li>We assist people to find the materials they need to research their questions </li></ul>
  4. 4. We Do Not: <ul><li>Do legal research for patrons </li></ul><ul><li>Interpret information </li></ul><ul><li>Read materials over the phone </li></ul><ul><li>Select forms </li></ul><ul><li>Choose language for forms </li></ul><ul><li>Provide assistance in filling out forms </li></ul><ul><li>Provide advice on legal actions </li></ul>
  5. 5. Basic Challenges of Legal Bibliography <ul><li>Is the material “authentic”? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it current? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Basic Research Tips
  7. 7. Case v Case <ul><li>Appellate decisions contains discussions of law </li></ul><ul><li>Trials only decide questions of fact </li></ul>
  8. 8. Appellate Decisions <ul><li>Case reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Digests </li></ul><ul><li>Citators </li></ul>
  9. 9. Trial Court Cases <ul><li>Court records </li></ul><ul><li>News resources </li></ul>
  10. 10. Secondary Materials <ul><li>Secondary Materials Reign Supreme </li></ul><ul><li>Nebraska Practice “Series” </li></ul><ul><li>Nebraska Legal Secretary’s Handbook </li></ul><ul><li>Nolo Press materials </li></ul><ul><li>Encyclopedias, national form books & practice guides </li></ul>
  11. 11. Forms <ul><li>Rarely are forms, actual forms with check boxes and blanks to fill in </li></ul><ul><li>Text documents written with stylistic and legally required elements - used for dictation </li></ul><ul><li>“ Form books” contain suggested formats of documents </li></ul>
  12. 12. Further Information <ul><li>Reference desk at the Schmid Law Library: (402) 472-3548 </li></ul><ul><li>Look for seminars offered by the Schmid Law Librarians, “Legal Research for Non-Law Librarians” </li></ul>