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Cost-Effective Legal Research

Cost-Effective Legal Research

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Cost-Effective Legal Research

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  1. Cost-Effective Legal Research Kate Kosturski LIS 620 Advanced Reference Nancy Friedland April 30, 2009

  2. The Problem • Attorneys do not often practice the most cost-effective research techniques in legal database research! • Aimless browsing • Using wrong billing plan • Remaining logged in for hours at a time • These practices can result in almost 25% (or even higher) monthly nonbillable charges!

  3. The Solution • Cost Effective Legal Research! • Workshop Designed for Saiber LLC • Mid-size (55) attorney firm in Newark, NJ with offices in New York City, Atlantic City and Point Pleasant Beach • Can also be used in any size firm, in-house counsel, non-profit legal aid society, judiciary system.

  4. Seminar Basics • Classroom is conference room(s) with laptops with Internet access • Attendees must have credentials for Lexis and Westlaw, along with basic Internet skills • Opportunities for Continuing Legal Education Credits (CLE) will be available • Lunch will be served. (Important!)

  5. Review of Lexis and Westlaw Research Tips Web Resources Legal Aggregators (ex. Findlaw, Jurista) Federal Resources (, THOMAS) State Resources (NJ and NY) Educational (Law School) Resources Public Library Legal Research Newark (NJ) Public Library New York Public Library Print Resources and ILL Podcasting Course Outline

  6. Lexis & Westlaw Research Tips • Lexis and Westlaw Cost-Effective Research Handouts • Choose Correct Options for Searching/Printing • Proper type of search language • Smallest database for your needs • Hands on demonstration of how these tips work with a participant

  7. Free Online Resources • Legal Aggregators • FindLaw (FindLaw for Legal Professionals) • “Research the Law” • Thomson Legal Record (for attorney referrals) • Jurista • Court Docket Searches (vast!) • Federal Resources • (gov’t document repository) • THOMAS – website for LC and text of bills • Use of synonyms and related terms, Boolean searching, knowing the search language (ex. Components of a CFR citation)

  8. Free Online Resources • State Resources – NJ • NJ Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) for free through Lexis • State of NJ Website – NJ Statutes and NJ Constitution • Rutgers – Camden Law Library State Court Database • State Resources - NY • Unofficial NY Code, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) online through Westlaw • Consolidated Laws of the State of New York online via FindLaw and New York State website • State of New York Court Reporting Bureau • New York State Unified Court System • Use of browsing to find information, Boolean searching, citation building, related terms, wildcards, phrase searching

  9. Educational Resources • Rutgers – Camden Law Library Website • Model Jury Charges • OAL (Office of Administrative Law Decisions) • Sentencing Guidelines • Local Rules • And more! • Thomas Mann’s concept of “talking to people” – going beyond the traditional available legal research.

  10. Public Library Resources • Newark (NJ) Public Library • CD-Rom collections • Charles F. Cummings NJ Information Center • Patent and Trademark Depository Library • Gov’t Document Depository • New York Public Library • Law and Government Databases • Subject Databases Specific to Practice Areas • LRS-NY State Legislative Retrieval System • Thomas Mann – “talking to people” (thinking outside the box!)

  11. Print Resources and ILL • Use WorldCat ( to find books in other libraries! • Review of ILL relationships and nearby law schools • Encouragement of exploration of lending privileges with professionals’ own law schools.

  12. Podcasts • Podcast recording of the seminar for attorneys who cannot attend • Podcast would be downloadable locally (intranet/wiki/webpage) • Available through iTunesU • Legal Research Podcasts • Berring’s Legal Research Podcast • Justice Talking/Justice Learning • King County (WA) Law Library Sidebar Podcast

  13. Marketing the Seminar • Can use a corporate intranet or wiki (Use what fits your needs! • • The intranet or wiki would contain… • Upcoming seminar info • Links for transcripts and podcasts • Links and tips of all websites and resources covered • Printable subject guides and handouts

  14. Glimpse Into the Future • Program offered twice annually • May/June for summer associates • September/October for fall associate class • Can be offered at any time, and as part of library orientation or a standalone program • Increased demand can be accommodated across different classrooms/offices with Skype, Microsoft NetMeeting, etc. • Possible separate programs for partners to address their unique generational learning needs (Gayle-Lynn Nelson) • Blackberry/iPhone/Smartphone applications and training

  15. Glimpse Into the Future: The Research Rejuvenator • Modeled on Perkins Coie’s “Research Refresher” • Spin-offs of concepts covered in larger workshop, or material that could be covered in the workshop • 15 – 30 minutes in length • Samples: • “15 Websites on Intellectual Property in 15 Minutes” • “Finding Government Documents on”

  16. Conclusions • Cost-Effective Legal Research broadens the legal professional’s knowledge base: • What is out there beyond the Lexis/Westlaw universe • Where to find the resources • How to use the resources • Finding the balance between quality legal service and lower costs.