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Basic Legal Research Procedure
Transcript of Basic Legal Research Procedure
Step 1: Determine what you are searching for.
The Reference Interview
What are you looking for?
General information or specifics?
Purpose of the research or source of question?
are they looking for?
Specific or general information?
Background or source for the question
What information do you already know?
Type of Law?
Historical or current information?
Full transcriptions or summaries?
For legal professionals or the layman?
Include background information?
Is there anything else we can help with?
Does this look like what you're looking for?
Step 2: Think of words and phrases applicable to
Summarize research request.
Cornell Law Dictionary
NOLO Online Dictionary
Step 3: Determine if federal, state or local law
Step 4: Decide the type of law (civil, criminal,
Step 5: Find books that provide general
overviews of the topic.
Step 6: Find relevant statutes
Step 7: Find relevant cases
Step 8: Look up cases in reporters
Step 9: Keep track of relevant headnotes
Step 10: Shepardize relevant cases
Black's Law Dictionary
Burton's Legal Thesaurus