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Introduction to US Law and Legal Research - Statutes

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dana neacsu

on 18 August 2017

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Transcript of Introduction to US Law and Legal Research - Statutes

Terminology: Statutes (not statues)
Statutes are:
The law;
Official pronouncements of federal and state lawmakers.
Published chronologically (session laws) and topically (codes)

a. Finding Statutes by Citation
1. Decipher the citation: the Bluebook!
2. decide on the legal repository (federal or state statutes; print or digital)
b. Finding statutes by subject matter (topic)
Finding the Statute Does Not Mean You Found the Answer
and it always contains cases, even if there is a statutory provision governing your issue

the good news is that cases applying statutory provisions are easy to locate if you start with annotated statutes!

Researching Staturory Law 101
Fall 2017
Introduction to US Law and Research - Statutes
Dana Neacsu, PhD, Librarian and Lecturer-in-Law
Research TIP:
The codes are easy to research and up-to-date.
Let's take a look at the prelim!
Often all you need to know is that the string of letters and numbers is a "legal citation"!
Then you enter the citation in a database (or a google search) and click!
Research Tip:
State statutory codes have usually hard to decipher citations.
Research Tip:
Use the Bluebook T1!
e.g. Official Code of New Jersey Annotated (Lexis/Nexis) -- cite as N.J. Code Ann. Sect. x-x-x (year)
West's Code of New Jersey Annotated --cite as N.J. Code Ann. Sect x-x-x (West <year>)
Practice Exercise:
A: Choose a code, which is organized by topics (not unlike a pizza with different toppings)
Pre-Answer: Let's plan our research
1. what's the issue? (or the issues)
2. how much do I know about the issue?
3. shall I use some guides - research-aid tools?
Research Tip:
The research plan is as important as the research itself!
When do you know what the answer is?
the answer is always a primary source!
legal research is not really unwrapping packages and the legal answer is not really a kinder egg surprise
Go ahead!
Always make sure that your answer is still good law!
homework assignment: http://perma.cc/ZFK2-DZMR
My landlord comes into my New Jersey apartment when I am at work. I think he is going
through my personal items. He says he is there to do repairs, but I haven’t seen
any improvement to all the problems I have complained about. Can he come into
my apartment anytime he wants to? And what can I do to actually get him to
repair my leaky faucets and broken stove?
Let's do statutory research!
Let's look at the index of New Jersey annotated statutes
Take home: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/legalresearch101/files/2017/08/Statutory-assignment-2.docx
Full transcript