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Researching Legal Issues

Eng 2070 Spring 2013 Linda Hauck, Librarian
by linda hauck on 18 January 2013

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Transcript of Researching Legal Issues

What to write about Course work done in another setting
Personal interests & passions
Newsworthy legal issues New or novel law
Unique or unusual factual situation
Avoid well worn, settled topics
Must be some law to apply since
legal writing is all about finding
quoting and citing precedent What you can do to work within the constraints Check out models to get a feel for what a good thesis looks like: See Comments & Case Notes in law reviews via HeinOnline & Lexis-Nexis Academic

Search for cases of "first impression" in legal news.

Try browsing these suggested sites:

American Constitution Society ResearchLine http://researchlink.acslaw.org/

Supreme Court Blog for petitions for certiorari
http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/petitions-were-watching/

Legal Newsletters via Lexis-Nexis or HeinOnline for ABA or American Law Institute (ALI-ABA)

Jurist Univ of Pitts free legal news service
http://www.jurist.org/

WSJ Law Blog
http://blogs.wsj.com/law/?mod=smallbusiness

Findlaw Legal Pulse
http://legalnews.findlaw.com/ Your sparkling & incisive law journal article There's a lot more to it then meets the eye Constraints on what you want to write about... Interesting topic Adds to body of knowledge Thoroughly researched written clearly & concisly All applicable statutes, regulations and cases Statutes, cases, regulations Statutes (Legislative branch)
federal, state, municipal (ordinances)
Need to know jurisdiction (legislative body that promulgated)
Cited in cases and secondary legal publications (law reviews, encyclopedias, treatises)
Mentioned in general news but not cited
Citation conventions (Bluebook or ALWD)
Get full text-Lexis-Nexis (subscription), Guide to Law Online (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide.php Cases: Judicial branch Need to know jurisdiction-federal, state
Need to know level- trial (fact and law) appellate (misapplication of law)
Most judicial cases are never reported
Mentioned in news without citation
Cited in secondary sources such as encyclopedias & law reviews
Cited in other primary sources (cases) as precedent
Citation conventions (Bluebook and ALWD)
Get full text Lexis-Nexis, Guide to Law Onlinehttp://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide.php Reading Citations
Legislation: bill-->public law or act-->codification
parts of citation: name of law sometimes popular, volume, compilation or codification, section

Judicial decisions: parties to case, volume of reporter, reporter, page, (jurisdiction and year) or parties to case, year, online service, location (jurisdication and date). Dipping into legal research Waters 1. Search secondary sources for articles related to topic
(must choose the right file in the database)
2. List keywords describing fact situation or legal issue
3. Use database conventions to search (Boolean AND OR, Proximity operators)
4. Use what you find to refine or improve the search
5. Follow citations in articles found to discover additional relevant pieces
See the full transcript