* You are viewing the archive for the ‘Legal Research & Writing’ Category

Free Access to Historical Federal Legal Resources

The Library of Congress and HeinOnline recently announced a unique partnership that makes historical U.S. legal materials now available on the Library of Congress’ web portal, the Guide to Law Online.  While federal materials dating back to the mid-1990s have long been available for free through FDsys, the release of these materials by HeinOnline fills the access gap to the historical documents; generally, the content for each publication extends from its first print edition to the year when free access on FDsys begins.

The newly available content includes:

United States Code (1925-1988)
United … Continue Reading

A New Tool for Online Legal Research – Ravel Law

Ravel Law is a new and innovative (as well as free) online legal search, analytics, and visualization platform that provides access to U.S. Supreme Court and federal Circuit Court case law.  What makes ravel so original is that it displays case search results in both list format (like WestlawNext, LexisAdvance, and Bloomberg Law) as well as in visual graphic format.  The visual display of search results has two elements: (1) a timeline of search results that shows which years had the most cases that fall under a search, and (2) a timeline that represents cases using circles of various sizes … Continue Reading

The Case for Losing the Laptop

It is standard practice in law school to take notes in class on your laptop, but new research indicates that taking notes by hand can help you learn better and retain more information. Psychologists Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California-Los Angeles conducted the study behind this research and found that students who used laptops in class, even as intended and not for buying things on Amazon, performed worse academically than students who took notes by hand.  Mueller and Oppenheimer hypothesize that the reason for … Continue Reading

Free Digital Copies of the Federal Rules

Thanks to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction’s eLangdell Press, you can download the current versions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for free.  The books are available in .epub format, which is compatible with most e-readers including iPads, Nooks, and Android devices.

Here are direct links to each book:

2015 Federal Rules of Evidence
2015 Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
2015 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Supreme Court Decisions Are Not as Final as You Think

A new study from Harvard Law professor Richard J. Lazarus has revealed that the Supreme Court Justices routinely make changes to Court opinions that extend beyond fixing typographical errors and spelling mistakes.  In fact, Lazarus asserts that the Justices “correct mistakes in majority and separate opinions relating to the arguments of the parties, record below, historical facts, relevant statutes and regulations, opinions of their colleagues, and Court precedent.  The Justices also, even more significantly, sometimes change their initial reasoning in support of their legal conclusions.”  This is major news, because while every Supreme … Continue Reading

Summer Use of Westlaw, LexisNexis, and Bloomberg Law

Westlaw
Your Westlaw password will remain active over the summer for a limited number of research hours.  Westlaw does allow full summer access for the following permissible uses:

Law school class
Law Review or Journal work
Moot Court work
Project for a Professor
Unpaid, nonprofit public-interest internship/externship pro bono work required for graduation

To extend your Westlaw access
Eligible students will need to register for a password extension and must agree to only use their password for permissible purposes.  To register for a password Summer Extension visit    http://lawschool.westlaw.com/registration/summerextension.asp.

Access to Westlaw for graduates
Graduating students can register for the Westlaw Grad Elite Extension … Continue Reading

Alumni Legal Research Panel – TOMORROW at 12:15pm

Please join us tomorrow for a lunchtime alumni panel featuring Kaitlyn Redfield Ortiz (’12) and Masha Shmukler (’11) to learn how your legal research skills can help you in your upcoming summer or post-graduation legal position

Thursday, April 10th

Room 105 at 12:15pm

**Cookies and Starbucks coffee provided **

Kaitlyn Redfield Ortiz will discuss her research experiences as a Judicial Clerk (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit) and as a current Associate at Lubin & Enoch

Masha Shmukler will discuss her research experiences as an Associate at Greenberg Traurig LLP (corporate and securities law)

– Ask questions and get answers about “real world” legal research

– … Continue Reading

Alumni Legal Research Panel: What to Know Before you Go

Please join us for a lunchtime panel on legal research in the “real world”

Thursday, April 10th

Room 105 at 12:15pm

**Cookies and Starbucks coffee provided **

Kaitlyn Redfield Ortiz ‘12, will discuss her research experiences as a Judicial Clerk (U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit) and as a current Associate at Lubin & Enoch

Masha Shmukler ‘11, will discuss her research experiences as an Associate at Greenberg Traurig LLP (corporate and securities law)

– Ask questions and get answers about “real world” legal research – prepare for your upcoming externship, summer … Continue Reading

Research tip #5: Know when to stop

 

At some point in any research project you will need to stop researching and get to work synthesizing all of the information you have found.  Knowing when to stop can be difficult, however, and many researchers worry that by concluding their searching they may miss some key article or case.  Here are some tips for knowing when to stop:

 

You are seeing the same search results over and over – you have searched multiple resources and used a variety of search terms, but you are repeatedly seeing the same … Continue Reading

Research tip #4: Capitalize on the knowledge of experts

Starting your research with secondary sources will save you a lot of time – instead of you spending hours first searching for the cases, statutes, and regulations relevant to your topic, and then toiling to decipher overarching legal principles from those laws, by cracking open a relevant secondary source you will often find citations to the core primary sources for your topic as well as clear explanations and expert analysis of the issue(s).  Which secondary source you choose will depend on your research needs.  To quickly learn about an unfamiliar area of law and … Continue Reading