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Introduction to the Legal Research Process

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Hollee Temple

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of Introduction to the Legal Research Process

that transcends books, the Internet, mobile apps... and "the next best thing"

Introduction to Legal Research
Three Steps for an Effective Research Plan
Step 1: Start Smart
Doesn't matter where you jump in~
Record Results
Research Strategy
Start Smart!
Ask to review written materials
Develop a timeline
Confirm final work product expectations
Identify jurisdictional needs and limits
Ask for specialized resources
What are some good questions to ask your supervisor?
... small
Step 1: Start Smart
"Listen" carefully
Allow time to digest
Frame questions
How do you receive information?
Step 3: Establish a Systematic Process for Recording Results
Keep track of sources consulted
Record key findings from those sources
Bridge from your checklist to create a “working outline”
Step 3: Record Results
(cc) image by rocketboom on Flickr
(cc) image by quoimedia on Flickr
Research Strategy Sub-Steps
Three Steps to Success
Research constraints?
Preferred follow-up?
What haven’t I asked?

C) Secondary Authority

Secondary Sources
Legal Encyclopedias

Legal Periodicals

Persuasive Precedent
Primary Mandatory Authorities


B) Binding Precedent
A) Codified Law
Authority Chart

C) Secondary Authority

Secondary Sources
Legal Encyclopedias
163 ALR Fed. 339
Legal Periodicals
24 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol’y 695

Persuasive Precedent
Primary Mandatory Authorities
29 U.S.C. §794
42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A)
34 CFR § 104
28 CFR § 35.130
B) Binding Precedent
Wong, 410 F.3d 1052
Olmstead, 527 U.S. 581
A) Codified Law
Authority Chart
Outline of Beeson Claim- “Re” Block
To prove disability discrimination under the Acts, Beeson must show:
1) he is disabled;
2) he is otherwise qualified for the doctoral program;
3) he was discriminated against because of his disability; and,
4) the doctoral program receives federal financial aid. 29 U.S.C. § 794; 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A).
However, Beeson will still not prevail if the program can show: 1) fundamental alteration, or 2) undue financial burden. 28 CFR § 35.130(b)(7); Darian, 980 F. Supp. 77, Smith, 1997 WL 800882.
Case turns on whether Beeson’s medical problems constitute a “disability” under the Acts. 34 CFR 104; 28 CFR 35, Wong, 410 F.3d 1052; Olmstead, 527 U.S. 581.
Transfer Results to Working CReAC Outline
Research Strategy
When Should You Conduct
Research on the Internet?

Client’s research budget
Proficiency with Internet research
Superiority of book sources
Ease of reading/printing
Type of research needed (factual versus legal)
Choosing the Best Path
Getting Started with Your
Internet Searching

Learn what sources are freely available
Consider whether fee-based services (Westlaw, Lexis, subscriptions) make sense
Locate “favorite” research websites
Find favorite local websites
Learn to search your favorite sources efficiently
Choosing the Best Path
Findlaw (http://www.findlaw.com)
Best Legal Websites
Legal Information Institute (http://www.law.cornell.edu)
Best Legal Websites
uscourts.gov (http://www.uscourts.gov)
Best Legal Websites
State Courts (http://www.ncsc.org)
-Each state government has a portal that provides access to legal information for that state
Best Legal Websites
Secondary Source Material (http://scholar.google.com)
Provides access to scholarly articles, including law review articles
Best Legal Websites
Step 2:
Research Strategy

Full transcript