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Online Skills for Lexis & Westlaw Part II. University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library & Associate Professor of Law. During this session you will learn:.

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Online skills for lexis westlaw part ii

Online Skills for Lexis & WestlawPart II

University of Missouri-Kansas City

School of Law

Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS

Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library & Associate Professor of Law

During this session you will learn
During this session you will learn:

  • To deal with getting too many or too few "hits" in your search results by using either (i) segment or field-restricted searching or (ii) natural language.

  • To use Lexis More Like searching and West Key Numbers to find similar cases and other primary and secondary authority after you have found a case, statute, regulation, secondary source on point.

Segment field searching problem 1
Segment/Field Searching - Problem 1

In Westlaw, find the legislative history for the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

Segment field searching problem 2
Segment/Field Searching - Problem 2

Suppose you are doing research on the history of polygamy cases in the U.S. and you decide to start with the Supreme Court. Use Lexis to narrow the results to cases really on the subject, and not cases that just have a passing reference to the topic.

Segment field searching problem 3
Segment/Field Searching - Problem 3

You have heard that Professor Rotunda has written an article on the confirmation process for judges.  See if you can easily locate the article using  field (or segment) searching.  Try the same search again without using fields (or segments).

Natural language problem 1
Natural Language - Problem 1

Using Westlaw, what is the statute of limitation for breach of contract in North Dakota? 

Natural language searching how does it work
Natural Language Searching — How Does it Work?

  • Reorganizes database based on relevancy

  • Best document should be on or near top

  • Based on weighted search terms

  • Generally, the rarer the term in the database as a whole, the more weight (and higher placement) documents with it receive in the results

  • Sometimes additional weight is given terms are near each other or in certain key fields such as title, topic, etc.

  • Repeating a term adds to its weight

  • Natural Language can outperform searching by terms and connector in some circumstances

Natural language problem 2
Natural Language - Problem 2

Using Lexis, can a profit sharing plan serve a dual purpose as a health or accident plan under Internal Revenue Code section 105? Search a case law database.

Natural language problem 3
Natural Language - Problem 3

Use both natural language and terms and connector searching to determine when the "innocent spouse" doctrine applies during tax litigation.  Find a good case law database in Westlaw for your search.

More like this problem 1
More Like This - Problem 1

During last session, you conducted a "terms and connectors" search for a California murder case in which it was found that a "fetus cannot be a human being."  The key case that you found was “In Re Keeler” (2 Cal. 3d 619).  Now your supervising partner wants you to find all of the similar cases including cases in other jurisdictions.  Can you find all of the similar cases? 

More like this problem 2
More Like This - Problem 2

Ed Hood wants to leave $250,000 at his death to care for his dog, Truman, and has asked for your help. You have found an article entitled, Pet Animals:  What Happens When their Humans Die?40 Santa Clara L. Rev. 617 (2000). You want to find similar law review articles.

Can you also find any cases which are similar to the law review articles? 

Key number searching problem 1
Key Number Searching - Problem 1

In Westlaw, search for cases similar to In Re Keeler, 2 Cal. 3d 619. 

Key number searching problem 2
Key Number Searching - Problem 2

Find cases in California pertaining to "profit sharing plans" that are similar to In Re Cheng, 943 F.2d 1114, by using West “Key Number Searching.”