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Research Review. For Grimes Moot Court January 18, 2005 What is legal research?. The search for authority: to predict a likely outcome to advise a client or to advocate for a client. Where to Start. Think Plan Choose.

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Research review

Research Review

For Grimes Moot Court

January 18, 2005

What is legal research
What is legal research?

  • The search for authority:

    • to predict a likely outcome

      • to advise a client

      • or

      • to advocate for a client

Where to start
Where to Start

  • Think

  • Plan

  • Choose

Research to understand the problem
Research to Understand the Problem

  • Understand the facts - read your record.

  • Understand legal terms - legal dictionaries, words and phrases.

  • Understand general legal principles and what general areas of law are involved - general secondary sources.

Researching the problem itself

Types of Authority


(Can be binding)


(Can only be persuasive)







e.g. Law Reviews

Background Materials

e.g., Records and Briefs

Researching the Problem Itself

Citation theory
Citation Theory

  • Why we cite

    • To provide authority for our pronouncements

  • What cites do

    • Identify source of authority

    • Tell where to find source of authority

    • Provide limited information on weight of authority

    • date - jurisdiction - relevant subsequent history

Lawyers often start with secondary sources
Lawyers often start with secondary sources.

  • Easier to read and understand

  • Contains cites to primary materials

  • Leads you to leading cases

  • Well organized

Treatises books
Treatises (Books)

  • Used for:

    • general overview

    • citations to primary sources

    • persuasive authority

Find books in catalogs tips for using quest
Find Books in CatalogsTips for Using QUEST

  • Index browses when you only know the beginning of a title or when you want to browse a list of authors, titles, or a known Library of Congress Subject Heading.

Find books in catalogs tips for using quest1
Find Books in CatalogsTips for Using QUEST

  • Keyword search when you don’t know the exact title, author or subject heading.

Find books in catalogs tips for using quest2
Find Books in CatalogsTips for Using QUEST

  • Choice of databases

    • Law

    • Whole catalog

    • Internet resources only

Find books in catalogs tips for using quest3
Find Books in CatalogsTips for Using QUEST

  • Advanced search for field-restrictors, and more sophisticated searching.

Suggested title constitutional law
Suggested Title: Constitutional Law

  • American Constitutional Law, 3rd ed. Vol. 1, by Laurence H. Tribe. (Foundation Press 2000). Use 2nd ed. for

  • Chapters 9 - 18 (1988). Law Permanent Reserves

  • KF 4550 .T785 2000 & 1988.

Suggested title constitutional law1
Suggested Title: Constitutional Law

  • Constitutional Law, 7th ed. by John E. Nowak and Ronald D. Rotunda (West 2004).

  • Hornbook Series Law Permanent Reserves KF 4550 .N6 2004.

Suggested title constitutional law2
Suggested Title: Constitutional Law

  • Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies, 2nd ed., by Erwin Chemerinsky (Aspen Law & Business 2002).

  • Law Permanent Reserve

  • KF 4549 .C655 2002.

Suggested title constitutional law3
Suggested Title: Constitutional Law

  • Treatise on Constitutional Law: Substance and Procedure, 3rd. ed. by Ronald D. Rotunda & John E. Nowak (West 1999).

  • [5 vol.]

  • Law Permanent Reserves

  • KF 4550 .R63 1999.

Suggested title constitutional law4
Suggested Title: Constitutional Law

  • Understanding Constitutional Law, 2nd ed. by Norman Redlich, John Attanasio, Joel K. Goldstein (Matthew Bender 1999).

  • Law Permanent Reserve 

  • KF 4550 .R43 1999. 

Suggested title civil procedure
Suggested Title: Civil Procedure

  • Federal Practice and Procedure, by Charles Alan Wright. (some volumes with Arthur R. Miller and May Kay Kane) 2d and 3d editions (West 1982- Gradually replacing 2d ed. since 1998).

  • [67 volumes plus index.]

  • Law Permanent Reserve KF 8840 .W68 1982 and

  • Law Permanent Reserve KF 8840 .W68 1998. 

Suggested title civil procedure1
Suggested Title: Civil Procedure

  • Civil Procedure, by Jack H. Friedenthal, Mary Kay Kane, Arthur R. Miller. 2nd ed. St. Paul, Minn.(West 1993). Hornbook series

  • Law Permanent Reserve 

  • KF 8840 .F72 1993.

Suggested title civil procedure2
Suggested Title:Civil Procedure

  • Civil Procedure,  Fleming James, Jr., Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., John Leubsdorf. 4th ed. Boston (Little, Brown 1992).

  • Law Permanent Reserve KF

  • 8840 .J3 1992. 

Suggested title civil procedure3
Suggested Title: Civil Procedure

  • Moore's Manual, Federal Practice and Procedure,  by James Wm. Moore, Allan D. Vestal, and Philip B. Kurland. New York,  (M. Bender,  1962- )

  • [3 volumes].

  • Law Permanent Reserve  KF 8820 .A313M64.

Law reviews
Law Reviews

  • Uses

    • recent developments

    • citations to primary sources

    • persuasive authority

Start with indexes

Indexes lead you to articles about a particular topic.

Full text searching leads you to any use of a term.

Start with Indexes

Law review indexes ilp
Law Review Indexes - ILP

  • Index to Legal Periodicals & Books

  • Available electronically (back to 1980) through

  • The web link from law library electronic resources page (on campus only)

  • Westlaw - ILP

  • Lexis - LAWREV;ILP or Index to Legal Periodicals

Index to legal periodicals and books ilp
Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (ILP)

Broad Legal Subject Headings

Law review indexes cli

Current Law Index

Available electronically through the web link from law library electronic resources page (on campus only)

Westlaw - LRI

Lexis - LAWREV;LGLIND or Legal Resource Index

Law Review Indexes - CLI

Current law index legal resources index lri
Current Law Index/Legal Resources Index (LRI)

Specific general subject headings with subdivisions

Law review indexes cilp
Law Review Indexes - CILP

  • Current Index to Legal Periodicals

  • Available electronically through

  • The web link from NELLCo web page (on campus only)

  • Westlaw - CILP

Law reviews full text



contains: law reviews, texts, American Law Reports (ALR), legal encyclopedias (American Jurisprudence 2d and Corpus Juris Secundum), CLE course materials, bar journals, and legal practice-oriented periodicals.



Legal Publications Group File

contains: law reviews, bar journals, ABA journals, legal newspapers, legal newsletters, specialty legal publications, and CLE materials

Law Reviews - Full Text

Hein online
Hein Online

  • Historical collection of images of legal sources.

  • Large collection of law review pages accompanied by searchable text.

Alr american law reports
ALR (American Law Reports)

  • Case Finding Tool

  • Provides:

  • historical background;

  • citations to primary sources;

  • structure/ organization

Alr american law reports1
ALR (American Law Reports)

  • Check Annotation History Table before reading annotation

  • Indexed by:

  • ALR Index;

  • ALR Quick Index

  • Full text searchable:

  • ALR (Westlaw)

  • ALR;ALR (Lexis)

Statutes and constitutions
Statutes and Constitutions

  • Annotated codes to find interpretive cases.

Cases print sources
Cases - Print Sources

  • Digest Searches

    • Useful for finding cases under legal concepts and principles.

    • Brings together cases with a variety of fact situations.

Cases full text searching

Relevancy Ranking

Search words

Weighted according to algorithms

To find “most” relevant based on ranking criteria

Terms and Connectors

Search words

Combined with Boolean connectors

To find all exact matches

Cases – Full Text Searching

Cases terms and connectors

When you need everything using particular terms

When terms are unique

When you want to include a field search

When you need to know how many cases use these terms


Alternatives “or”


Joining: “and” “&”

Proximity: w/# /#

Ordered Proximity: pre/# +#

Grammatical: /s /p

Exclusions “but not”

Cases – Terms and Connectors

Cases relevancy ranking

When you don’t know much about a subject

When you don’t want just a casual mention

When you are willing to take a close match

When you need an extensive discussion

Westlaw and Lexis

call it --

Natural Language

Cases – Relevancy Ranking

Supreme court rules
Supreme Court Rules

  • Electronically:

  • Supreme Court Rules From the United States Supreme Court. In Adobe PDF Format.


  • Supreme Court Rules 10/95 from Cornell Law School. Hypertext and searchable.


Supreme court rules1
Supreme Court Rules

  • Federal Civil Judicial Procedure and Rules (West annual)

  • Law Permanent Reserve

  • KF 8816 .A193

  • Supreme Court Rules begin on page 575.

Court records briefs and arguments
Court Records –Briefs and Arguments

  • Landmark Briefs and Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • Law General Collection

  • KF 101.8 .K87

Court records records and briefs
Court Records – Records and Briefs

  • Records and Briefs of the United States Supreme Courtin Microfiche since 1971.

  • Westlaw SCT-BRIEF

    • Merits briefs from 1990-91; Amicus briefs from 1995-96.


    • briefs beginning with January 1979.

Court records oral arguments
Court Records – Oral Arguments

  • May It Please the Court: Landmark Cases Argued Before the Supreme Court, Transcripts and Cassettes.

    • Law Permanent Reserve KF 8816 .A193

Court records oral arguments1
Court Records – Oral Arguments

  • The Oyez Project – Audio materials from the United Sates Supreme Court via RealAudio

  • Oral Arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States

  • Westlaw – SCT-ORALARG (1990-91 term to the present)

  • Lexis – GENFED;USTRAN (From October 1979)

Topical services
Topical Services

  • United States Law Week (BNA)

  • (latest two years at Law Permanent Reserves)

  • Also available electronically.


  • Do you have the latest information?

  • Check dates whether print or online.

  • Citator Services – KeyCite and Shepard's

When to stop
When to Stop

  • Don't waste your time

  • Don't stop too soon

Any questions
Any Questions?

  • Reference Librarians are on duty:

  • Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 8:00

  • Friday 9:00 - 5:00

  • Saturday and Sunday 1:00 - 5:00

  • Library LAWLINE virtual reference service

    • M-Th 9:00-7:00, F 9:00-1:00, Sun 1:00-5:00