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Sources of American Law: an Introduction to Legal Research

Table of contents
Sources of American Law: an Introduction to Legal Research
3rd Edition
Beau Steenken, Tina M. Brooks
© 2018 CALI eLangdell Press, www.cali.org. Subject to an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA
Table Of Contents
Introduction
Sources of American Law: an Introduction to Legal Research

Beau Steenken  

Instructional Services Librarian

University of Kentucky College of Law

 

Tina M. Brooks

Electronic Services Librarian

University of Kentucky College of Law

 

 

 

CALI eLangdell Press 2017

 

 

Introduction.1. About the Authors

Beau Steenken joined the Law Library Faculty at the University of Kentucky in September 2010. As Instructional Services Librarian, he engaged in a revamp of the Legal Research curriculum as the UK College of Law shifted from an adjunct-model to a full-time faculty model of LRW instruction. He teaches two to four sections of 1L Legal Research a year and also coordinates informal research instruction of various sorts. Before coming to the University of Kentucky, he managed to collect a B.A., a J.D., and an M.S.I.S. from the University of Texas, as well as an M.A. in history from Texas State University and an LL.M. in Public International law from the University of Nottingham, where he also took up archery.

Tina M. Brooks joined the Law Library Faculty at the University of Kentucky in July 2011. As Electronic Services Librarian, she manages the University of Kentucky Law Library’s website and electronic resources and also teaches two sections of the 1L Legal Research course. She received a B.A. in History and Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005, a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2009, and an M.S. in Information Studies from the University of Texas School of Information in 2011.

Introduction.2. About eLangdell Press

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Introduction.3. Notices & Permissions

CALI gratefully acknowledges permission from the following individuals and organizations to reprint materials:

Figure 2.4.1a: The table of contents for Chapter 10 of Title 18 of the United States Code Annotated, © 2015 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 2.4.1b: The table of contents for Title 18 of the United States Code Annotated, © 2015 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 2.4.2: KY. REV. STAT. ANN. § 411.070 (Lexis 2005) Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2016 Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a LexisNexis company. All rights reserved.

Figure 2.4.3.2: Excerpt from the 2016 General Index A-C of West’s United States Code Annotated., © 2016 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 2.4.3.3: The 2014 U.S.C.A. Popular Names Table Entry for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, © 2014 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 2.4.3.4: Sample Pocket-Part Entries from Michie’s Kentucky Revised Statutes. KY. REV. STAT. ANN. § 507.020, § 507.030 (LexisNexis Supp. 2015). Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2016 Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a LexisNexis company. All rights reserved.

Figure 3.3.1: A Map of West’s Regional Reporter System. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 3.3.3: A Case as it Appears in a West Reporter, 293 N.W.2d 317, © 1982 West Publishing Company. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 3.4.2a: Sample Entry from the Federal Practice Digest 5th, 3 F P D 5th 554, © 2013 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 3.4.2b: An Excerpt of West’s Outline of the Law as found in the Federal Practice Digest 5th, 3 F P D 5th 467, © 2013 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 3.4.3: Excerpt from West’s Key Number Translation Table for Constitutional Law, 5 Ky D 2d 168. © 2007 Thomson/West. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.3: Screenshot of searching for “murder” on Westlaw. © 2017 Thomson Reuters.  Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.3.1: Screenshot and screencast of a natural language search on Westlaw. © 2017 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.3.2b: Screenshot and screencast of an advanced search using multiple operators on Westlaw. © 2016 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.3.2c: Screenshot and screencast of an advanced search on Westlaw using a field search. © 2017 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.3.3: Screenshot and screencast of browsing on Lexis Advance. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 5.3.4: Screenshot and screencast of using filters on Bloomberg Law to narrow in on relevant laws. Reproduced with permission from Bloomberg Law. Copyright (2017) by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>

Figure 5.4: Screenshot and screencast of using connectors on Bloomberg Law to narrow in on relevant cases. Reproduced with permission from Bloomberg Law. Copyright (2017) by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

Figure 5.5a: Screenshot and screencast of using tables of contents and indexes on Westlaw. © 2016 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.5b: Screenshot and screencast of using Key Numbers on Westlaw. © 2016 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 5.5c Screenshot of using Topics on Lexis Advance. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2016 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 5.6a: Screenshot and screencast of shepardizing the seminal case Marbury v. Madison on Lexis Advance. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 5.6b: Screenshot and screencast of using an electronic citator (Lexis Advance) as a research tool. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 5.6c: Screenshot and screencast examining subsequent treatment symbols using (Lexis Advance) as a research tool. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 5.6d: Screenshot and screencast of researching a case’s history using Westlaw. © 2015 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 6.3.1.1: Screenshot of Filters for Narrowing Sources in Lexis Advance. Reprinted from LexisNexis with permission. Copyright 2015 LexisNexis. All rights reserved.

Figure 6.3.1.2: Screenshot and screencast of using Worldcat to find a Treatise. © 2015 OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Used with OCLC’s permission. Worldcat is a registered trademark/service mark of OCLC.

Figure 6.3.3: Screenshot of using an electronic index on Westlaw. © 2015 Thomson Reuters. Reprinted with the permission of Thomson Reuters.

Figure 6.3.6: Screenshot and screencast of HeinOnline for journal research. Used with permission of William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

This is the first version of the third edition of this book, updated May 24, 2017. Visit http://elangdell.cali.org for the latest version and for revision history.

This work by Beau Steenken and Tina Brooks is licensed and published by CALI eLangdell Press under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

In brief, the terms of that license are that you may copy, distribute, and display this work, or make derivative works, so long as

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Suggested attribution format for original work:

Beau Steenken & Tina Brooks, Sources of American Law: an Introduction to Legal Research, Third Edition, Published by CALI eLangdell Press. Available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0.

CALI and eLangdell® are trademarks protected by United States federal and common law and  owned by The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. The cover art design is a copyrighted work of CALI.

This material does not contain nor is intended to be legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a licensed attorney in their jurisdiction. The editors have endeavored to provide complete and accurate information in this book. However, CALI does not warrant that the information provided is complete and accurate. CALI disclaims all liability to any person for any loss caused by errors or omissions in this collection of information.

Version 1 Third Edition: Updated July 31, 2017

Introduction.4. Preface

At its most basic definition the practice of law comprises conducting research to find relevant rules of law and then applying those rules to the specific set of circumstances faced by a client. However, in American law, the legal rules to be applied derive from myriad sources, complicating the process and making legal research different from other sorts of research. This text introduces law students to the new kind of research required to study and to practice law. It seeks to demystify the art of legal research by following a “Source and Process” approach. First, the text introduces students to the major sources of American law and describes the forms the various authorities take in print. After establishing this base, the text proceeds to instruct students on the tools they will most likely use in practice, namely electronic research platforms and legal treatises. Finally, the text illustrates how the different pieces come together in the legal research process.

The text is intended to be used for introductory legal research courses for first year law students with little or no experience with legal sources or legal research. It is the authors’ experience that beginning students better understand the role of each source of law in the U.S. system if it is introduced on its own in print form. Students also tend to focus more on efficient processes if the processes are introduced independently of sources of law. The organization of the text, therefore, deliberately introduces sources of law in print before moving on to electronic research techniques, the use of secondary sources, and the research process. The authors follow a similar organization in their own research courses but would like to emphasize that they do so for pedagogical reasons specifically with 1Ls in mind.

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