Law on the net a workshop for non law librarians an infopeople workshop
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Law on the ‘Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop. April 2004 Laura A. Cadra cadra@law.ucla.edu. Agenda. Sources of Law California Law Federal Law Finding Attorneys Legal Forms Where to Start When You Have No Idea Where to Start. What is Law ?.

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Law on the ‘Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop

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Law on the ‘Net: A Workshop for Non-Law LibrariansAn Infopeople Workshop

April 2004

Laura A. Cadra

cadra@law.ucla.edu


Agenda

  • Sources of Law

  • California Law

  • Federal Law

  • Finding Attorneys

  • Legal Forms

  • Where to Start When You Have No Idea Where to Start


What is Law?

  • The entire body of principles, precedents, rules, and procedures intended to assure order and justice in a civilized society. It includes constitutions, legislation, decisions – federal, state, and local, civil and criminal (Mellinkoff’s Dictionary of American Legal Usage )

  • And don’t forget regulations!


Reference Inquiries

  • Are you looking for general information about a legal issue?

  • Is your issue federal? State? Local?

  • Are you looking for a specific piece of law?

    • a Vehicle Code section?

    • a local ordinance?

  • Are you looking for a form?

  • Are you looking for an attorney?


Sources of Law

  • Primary Sources

    • Produced by governmental bodies

    • Binding!!

    • Unofficial and official versions

  • Secondary Sources

    • Information about the law

    • Best place to start most legal research


Secondary Sources on the ‘Net

  • Nolo Press – Our friends in any format

  • Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) Law About Series

  • California Courts Self-Help Center

    • ¡Se habla español!

    • Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese tambien!


Legal Citation

The formalized legal reference to an authority and the place where it can be found (Mellinkoff’s Dictionary of American Legal Usage)


Citation Formats

  • Cases: Vol. no./Reporter Set/Page no. (date)

    • U.S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971)

    • Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)

    • Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 25 Cal.3d 813 (1979)

  • Statutes/Codes

    • 42 U.S.C. §1942

    • CA Penal Code §187


Common Case Abbreviations

  • CA Cases

    • Cal. (Cal. 2d , 3d, 4th): California Reports

    • Cal. App. (C.A. 2d, 3d, 4th): California Appellate Reports

    • Cal. Rptr. (C.R. 2d): California Reporter

  • Federal Cases

    • U.S.: United States Supreme Court Reports

    • F. (F.2d, F.3d): Federal Reporter

    • F.Supp. (F.Supp.2d): Federal Supplement


Primary Sources of Law

  • Constitutions

  • Statutes/Codes

  • Judicial Opinions (case decisions)

  • Regulations & Regulatory Decisions

  • Local Ordinances (cities and counties)

    All of these work together to form The Law


California Law

  • Constitution

  • Statutes/Codes

    • Pending legislation (bills)

  • Cases

  • Regulations


California Bills on the ‘Net

  • 1993-94 legislative session to the present

  • Searchable by bill number, author, or keyword

  • Lots of information about the bills

    • Status and history

    • Committee analyses

    • Votes

    • Great for students!


Legislative Process

Bills = pending law

Statutes = permanent record

Codes = current version


California Statutes and Codes on the ‘Net

  • Statutes are available from the 1993-94 Legislative session forward

    • Searchable by chapter number or keyword

    • No indication whether it’s current

  • Current California Code only

    • Updated nightly

    • NOT annotated (like West’s and Deering’s)


California Ballot Propositions on the ‘Net

  • Passed propositions are incorporated into the California Codes

  • Failed propositions can be difficult to find

  • California Secretary of State Voter Information has propositions from 1996 to the present

  • Hastings College of the Law has a ballot proposition database from 1911 to the present


California Cases

  • Published Decisions

    • California Supreme Court cases

    • Most California Courts of Appeal cases

  • Unpublished Decisions

    • Trial Courts (Superior Court cases)


California Cases on the ‘Net

  • California Judicial Council

    • Opinions from 1850 to Sept. 30, 2003 (searchable)

    • Slip opinions – October 1, 2003 to the present (not searchable)

  • Findlaw

    • Opinions 1934 to the present

    • Must register to view the cases

  • CourtTV

    • Sensational trial court cases


California Agency Materials

  • Licenses

  • Regulations

  • Regulatory Decisions


California Agencies on the ‘Net

  • California State web page contains a list of agencies

  • Materials available vary by agency

    • Forms

    • License requirements


California Code of Regulations on the ‘Net

  • Includes the regulations of all California agencies

  • Current version only

  • Title 24 (California Building Standards Code) is NOT available for free on the ‘Net


Municipal Law on the ‘Net

  • City and county charters = structure of local governments

  • Municipal and county ordinances = local laws

    • Parking regulations

    • Leash laws

    • Rent control


Municipal Codes on the ‘Net

  • Check with the city or county web site first

  • Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley

  • Seattle Public Library government info for non-California cities and counties


Federal Law on the ‘Net

  • U.S. Constitution

  • U.S. Code

    • Pending legislation

  • Cases

  • Regulations


Federal Legislation on the ‘Net

  • Bills – Think Thomas

    • Full-text available from 1989-90 (101st Congress forward)

    • Summaries available from 1973-74 (93rd Congress forward)

  • United States Code

    • Not current! Beware! Danger!


Federal Cases on the ‘Net

  • No comprehensive web site

  • U.S. Supreme Court

    • Official Supreme Court web site: 1990 forward

    • Cornell’s LII: 1990 forward

  • Courts of Appeals

    • 9th Circuit web site: 1995 forward

  • District Courts (trial courts)


Federal Agency Materials

  • Agency web sites

    • Some are filled with good information including forms

    • Some are not

  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)


Finding a Lawyer

Directories and Regulation


Attorney Information on the ‘Net

  • Find an Attorney by Specialty

    • Martindale Hubbell Law Directory

    • California State Bar Certified Specialists

  • Check Out the Credentials of a Lawyer

    • California State Bar Attorney Search


Legal Forms

  • Litigation Forms

  • Business Forms


Litigation Forms on the ‘Net

  • California Judicial Council

    • Mandatory forms

    • Suggested forms

  • Local Courts

    • Check the court web site

  • Findlaw

    • Links to forms of varying quality


Business Forms on the ‘Net

  • Fedforms.gov

  • Primarily fee-based but some are free

    • Legaldocs.com

    • Uscourtforms.com

    • Lexisone.com

    • Lawcommerce.com


Where to Start When You Don’t Know Where to Start

  • California Courts Self-Help Center

    • Lots of information on common legal issues

    • Where to go for free and low-cost legal information

  • 24/7 Reference includes law librarians

  • Your local county law library

  • Locating the Law, 4th ed.


Mega-sites

  • Hieros Gamos: If you can only have one

  • Jurist

  • Internet Legal Resource Guide

  • Catalaw

  • Findlaw


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