Learning Legal Research: A How-to Manual with Practice / Edition 1

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Overview

The best method for grasping legal research and legal analysis is to "just do it." Learning Legal Research gives students everything they need to analyze and research situations at any point during the legislative process.

The book includes the cases—a feature that is critical for students lacking immediate access to law libraries. It can either stand alone or be used in conjunction with a Legal Research and Writing textbook.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

" . . . very engaging and encouraging for students who will he novices in the field of legal research . . . the first part of the text that covers definitions of lacy, introduction to research, citation methods and analysis is very good ... the sheer volume of assignments is wonderful." — Sait Reese Tarhan, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

" . . . very good examples . . ." — William Covington, Edmunds Community College

"This text does cover all the topics that are normally covered in a legal research and writing course at the undergraduate level." — Adam Epstein, Central Michigan University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130450340
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 9/30/2004
  • Series: Pearson Prentice Hall Legal Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 8.03 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles P. Nemeth JD., Ph.D., LL.M., is the Director of Graduate Criminal Justice/Legal Studies, Director of the Institute of Law and Public Policy, and Director of Program Development at RET at the California University of Pennsylvania. Hope I. Haywood, MBA, is also at the Institute of Law and Public Policy.

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Read an Excerpt

Learning Legal Research is a textbook for those in need of a journey into the world of legal research. It is a journey that will be new for some, and a refresher for others. At its heart, the text introduces the reader to the fundamentals of legal research; exposes the reader to the primary and secondary materials and affords a convenient way of entrance and excursion through the halls of a law library without ever setting foot in the building. Of course, students are free to roam the environs of any law library, but in the absence of that forum, this textbook brings the law library to the reader. When done, the skill level of the reader will be sufficient to tackle any significant task of legal research. Hence, this journey opens doors to not only a refined and esoteric skill, but a world of concepts and subject matter that complicates life and befuddles the average person. When done, the confidence to conduct research in a legal setting will be internally obvious, and a new world of opportunity will emerge for those who become captivated by the subject matter.

Chapter 1 lays out the elementary concepts that define our legal system by examining the structure and forms of law in the American experience, from statutory to common law designations. Additionally, the chapter surveys the structural makeup of judicial process and legal advocacy by scrutinizing the makeup of court systems, reviewing the diverse powers in a democracy, and providing a general context for conducting legal research.

Chapter 2 poses the methodology of legal research and analysis and delivers specific examples of how legal research is conducted. A systematic approach to legal research is essential to success and the methods assessed, namely, TAPP, the West Key System, the Cartwheel tactic are analyzed in depth. More specifically, the chapter lays out special techniques and strategies for conducting legal research including topical and key word approaches, the role and value of precedential authority, jurisdictional differences, and the principles of legal authority and other tactics.

Chapter 3 delivers an overview of the Citation Method, unique to legal research. Citation, whether in text or brief, scholarly material or legal memoranda, is the preferential system for all legal research. Citation formats for cases, statutory, legislative, administrative, and journals and other scholarly materials are fully provided.

Chapter 4 covers the role and use of an index and indices in legal research. For most researchers, the use of an index can only be described as indispensable. Types and format of indices will also be covered and includes subject matter, words and phrases, descriptive, plaintiff/defendant and other means to finds legal authority.

Chapter 5 portrays the critical role that digests play in the legal research process. Digests are fundamentally a shortcut to case law. How digest systems operate, what types of digests exist and are utilized, and how to update and cross-check digest results are included in the chapter.

Chapter 6 introduces the diverse and eclectic skills associated with Computer-Assisted Legal Research (CALR). The influence of technology has seriously and most productively impacted the many processes of legal research. It is now common place for computer-assisted research to take a front position in the conduct of legal research. Trips to law libraries have been replaced by the access and ease of CALR. The chapter thoroughly reviews search engines, specific legal databases, Lexis/Nexis and the Westlaw systems, as well as the most common search engines on the Web.

Chapter 7 commences the examination of secondary legal source materials with a review of law books, texts, services and periodicals. Special emphasis is given to periodical literature since its content often serves as the backbone for legal appeals. Law reviews and other peer assessed materials receive significant scrutiny. How to utilize the various indices associated with scholarly materials will be examined.

Chapter 8 evaluates other sources of secondary legal authority—legal encyclopedias and dictionaries. Both sources are commonly employed by researchers, often as a starting point in the assessment of a legal question. The two primary encyclopedic systems, namely Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence anchor the content of the chapter.

Chapter 9 delivers an overview of the ALR Series—The American Law Reports. ALR reports are a unique style of legal analysis with a topical starting point that many lawyers find useful and very common. ALRs examine typical legal problems in question form and then deliver a learned and highly authoritative examination of the problem posed. ALRs are excellent issue framers and afford numerous citations for the advanced researcher.

Chapter 10 zeroes in on material that the entire legal system comes to depend upon in the assessment and analyses of cases—CASE Law. Starting with a look at how cases are published, in the Reporter system, the chapter then treats case law jurisdictionally and geographically, from state to federal, from subject matter to appeals, from special courts to those of general jurisdiction. Analyzing cases, finding suitable and contrary precedent, and becoming adept at updating case law and history are offered up to the reader.

Chapter 11 reviews the nature and essence of Statutes and Legislative Resources. The chapter hones in on the many techniques for reviewing and updating statutory authority, addresses the diverse types of statutory materials and gives helpful suggestions on how to find, evaluate, and verify the current dependability of statute and other codification. The chapter provides further suggestions on how to scrutinize legislative histories and to assess the political steps from bill to enactment.

Chapter 12 scans the diverse approaches to researching administrative law. Commencing with an overview of the administrative process, the chapter evaluates the usual means to conduct administrative research including a close look at the Code of Federal Regulations, the nature of notice and rulemaking and the challenge to the legitimacy of administrative rule and regulation.

Chapter 13 reviews the unique and unquestionably effective means of update—the Shepard's System. Steps and strategies to Shepardizing and keen suggestions on how to update specialized legal materials are all provided. A bevy of exercises assures competency in this critical step in the legal research process.

Chapter 14 covers the extraordinary nature of government materials, publications, and compilations. Legal research has become increasingly dependent on the use of government source materials from many quarters including the Department of Justice and its branches of operations. The role and use of Government Printing Offices and Government Libraries and Depositories, THOMAS, and the crucial mission of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service that compiles and readily makes available justice materials to the professional community is equally important. The skills and attributes of the solid legal researcher soon come to depend on these useful materials.

Chapter 15 delivers insight on writing and legal method. Legal research often culminates in the authorship and the draft of a legal document. The more common version of legal writings will include investigative formats, reports, legal memoranda, evidentiary writings, motions, pleadings and complaints, legal briefs and appellate documentation. The chapter will also review scholarly materials that are crucial to the production of scholarly works such as book reviews, essays, term papers, and periodical literature.

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Table of Contents

I. LEGAL RESEARCH-PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS.

1. Introduction to Legal Research.

2. Analysis and Research Methods: The Most Important Tasks.

3. Citation Method.

II. FINDING TOOLS.

4. The Index: Legal Research's Most Powerful Tool.

5. Digests—A Remarkable Finding Tool.

6. Computer Assisted Legal Research CALR.

III. SECONDARY RESOURCES.

7. Law Books, Texts, Services and Periodical.

8. Legal Encyclopedias and Dictionaries.

9. ALR Series: The American Law Reports.

IV. PRIMARY RESOURCES.

10. Case Law Analysis.

11. Statutes and Legislative Resources.

12. Government Regulations/Administrative Law.

V. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS.

13. Updating the Law.

14. Government Materials, Publications, and Compilations.

15. Writing Applications in the Law and Justice Field.

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Preface

Learning Legal Research is a textbook for those in need of a journey into the world of legal research. It is a journey that will be new for some, and a refresher for others. At its heart, the text introduces the reader to the fundamentals of legal research; exposes the reader to the primary and secondary materials and affords a convenient way of entrance and excursion through the halls of a law library without ever setting foot in the building. Of course, students are free to roam the environs of any law library, but in the absence of that forum, this textbook brings the law library to the reader. When done, the skill level of the reader will be sufficient to tackle any significant task of legal research. Hence, this journey opens doors to not only a refined and esoteric skill, but a world of concepts and subject matter that complicates life and befuddles the average person. When done, the confidence to conduct research in a legal setting will be internally obvious, and a new world of opportunity will emerge for those who become captivated by the subject matter.

Chapter 1 lays out the elementary concepts that define our legal system by examining the structure and forms of law in the American experience, from statutory to common law designations. Additionally, the chapter surveys the structural makeup of judicial process and legal advocacy by scrutinizing the makeup of court systems, reviewing the diverse powers in a democracy, and providing a general context for conducting legal research.

Chapter 2 poses the methodology of legal research and analysis and delivers specific examples of how legal research is conducted. A systematic approach to legal research is essential to success and the methods assessed, namely, TAPP, the West Key System, the Cartwheel tactic are analyzed in depth. More specifically, the chapter lays out special techniques and strategies for conducting legal research including topical and key word approaches, the role and value of precedential authority, jurisdictional differences, and the principles of legal authority and other tactics.

Chapter 3 delivers an overview of the Citation Method, unique to legal research. Citation, whether in text or brief, scholarly material or legal memoranda, is the preferential system for all legal research. Citation formats for cases, statutory, legislative, administrative, and journals and other scholarly materials are fully provided.

Chapter 4 covers the role and use of an index and indices in legal research. For most researchers, the use of an index can only be described as indispensable. Types and format of indices will also be covered and includes subject matter, words and phrases, descriptive, plaintiff/defendant and other means to finds legal authority.

Chapter 5 portrays the critical role that digests play in the legal research process. Digests are fundamentally a shortcut to case law. How digest systems operate, what types of digests exist and are utilized, and how to update and cross-check digest results are included in the chapter.

Chapter 6 introduces the diverse and eclectic skills associated with Computer-Assisted Legal Research (CALR). The influence of technology has seriously and most productively impacted the many processes of legal research. It is now common place for computer-assisted research to take a front position in the conduct of legal research. Trips to law libraries have been replaced by the access and ease of CALR. The chapter thoroughly reviews search engines, specific legal databases, Lexis/Nexis and the Westlaw systems, as well as the most common search engines on the Web.

Chapter 7 commences the examination of secondary legal source materials with a review of law books, texts, services and periodicals. Special emphasis is given to periodical literature since its content often serves as the backbone for legal appeals. Law reviews and other peer assessed materials receive significant scrutiny. How to utilize the various indices associated with scholarly materials will be examined.

Chapter 8 evaluates other sources of secondary legal authority—legal encyclopedias and dictionaries. Both sources are commonly employed by researchers, often as a starting point in the assessment of a legal question. The two primary encyclopedic systems, namely Corpus Juris Secundum and American Jurisprudence anchor the content of the chapter.

Chapter 9 delivers an overview of the ALR Series—The American Law Reports. ALR reports are a unique style of legal analysis with a topical starting point that many lawyers find useful and very common. ALRs examine typical legal problems in question form and then deliver a learned and highly authoritative examination of the problem posed. ALRs are excellent issue framers and afford numerous citations for the advanced researcher.

Chapter 10 zeroes in on material that the entire legal system comes to depend upon in the assessment and analyses of cases—CASE Law. Starting with a look at how cases are published, in the Reporter system, the chapter then treats case law jurisdictionally and geographically, from state to federal, from subject matter to appeals, from special courts to those of general jurisdiction. Analyzing cases, finding suitable and contrary precedent, and becoming adept at updating case law and history are offered up to the reader.

Chapter 11 reviews the nature and essence of Statutes and Legislative Resources. The chapter hones in on the many techniques for reviewing and updating statutory authority, addresses the diverse types of statutory materials and gives helpful suggestions on how to find, evaluate, and verify the current dependability of statute and other codification. The chapter provides further suggestions on how to scrutinize legislative histories and to assess the political steps from bill to enactment.

Chapter 12 scans the diverse approaches to researching administrative law. Commencing with an overview of the administrative process, the chapter evaluates the usual means to conduct administrative research including a close look at the Code of Federal Regulations, the nature of notice and rulemaking and the challenge to the legitimacy of administrative rule and regulation.

Chapter 13 reviews the unique and unquestionably effective means of update—the Shepard's System. Steps and strategies to Shepardizing and keen suggestions on how to update specialized legal materials are all provided. A bevy of exercises assures competency in this critical step in the legal research process.

Chapter 14 covers the extraordinary nature of government materials, publications, and compilations. Legal research has become increasingly dependent on the use of government source materials from many quarters including the Department of Justice and its branches of operations. The role and use of Government Printing Offices and Government Libraries and Depositories, THOMAS, and the crucial mission of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service that compiles and readily makes available justice materials to the professional community is equally important. The skills and attributes of the solid legal researcher soon come to depend on these useful materials.

Chapter 15 delivers insight on writing and legal method. Legal research often culminates in the authorship and the draft of a legal document. The more common version of legal writings will include investigative formats, reports, legal memoranda, evidentiary writings, motions, pleadings and complaints, legal briefs and appellate documentation. The chapter will also review scholarly materials that are crucial to the production of scholarly works such as book reviews, essays, term papers, and periodical literature.

Read More Show Less

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