Pub. Date:
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
Researching the Law: Finding What You Need When You Need It / Edition 2

Researching the Law: Finding What You Need When You Need It / Edition 2

by Amy E. Sloan
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Concise new title by the top author in legal research. Focuses onpre-and post-search analysis for effectively filtering vast amounts
of material. Teaches students how to identify the most pertinent and authoritative information to solve a legal problem.


  • Concise, reasonably priced new title from the top legal research author.
  • Approaches legal research as a filtering process to identify the most pertinent and authoritative information from vast search results.
  • Part I: Explains how to define a research question; pre-filter content before beginning a search; conduct research; and establish post-search criteria for filtering results.
  • Part II: Describes essential features of individual sources of authority and search strategies unique to each source.
  • Part III: Contains research flowcharts to help students plan research strategy for different types of research projects.
  • Contains all information students need to learn fundamental principles of legal research.
  • Can also be used to complement other texts and classroom materials.
  • Not simply a shorter version of Basic Legal Research. Looks at research as a process of filtering the available information, rather than as a process that requires first choosing the right source of authority to solve a legal problem.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781454886495
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
Publication date: 01/28/2017
Series: Aspen Coursebook Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 587,662
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.40(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Part I Research Process 1

Chapter 1 Introduction to Legal Research 3

A Introduction 3

B The research thought process 3

C A process for legal research 7

Chapter 2 The American Legal System 9

A Sources of law 9

B Types and weight of authority 12

1 Types of authority 12

2 Weight of authority 12

a Secondary authority: always nonbinding 13

b Primary authority: sometimes binding, sometimes nonbinding 13

c Summary of weight of authority 17

C How legal information is organized and cited 18

Chapter 3 Defining a Research Question 21

A What question do you need to answer? 21

B What terms are likely to describe what you are looking for? 24

C Search term chart 25

Chapter 4 Pre-Search Filtering 27

A How pre-search filtering affects research 27

B Criteria for pre-search filtering 29

C A process for pre-search filtering 31

Chapter 5 Research Tools and Search Techniques 35

A Selecting a research tool 35

B Common search techniques; citation, word, and subject searching 36

C Effective word searching 38

1 Types of word searches 38

2 Terms and connectors searching 39

a Terms and connectors search logic 40

b Drafting a terms and connectors search 41

Chapter 6 Working with Search Results 43

A Assessing search results 43

1 The organization of the results 43

2 Telling things apart online 44

3 Post-search filtering 46

B Updating research 48

C Refining, repeating, and ending the search 49

1 Is your research complete? 50

2 What if you do not find anything useful? 50

3 What if you find an overwhelming amount of information? 52

Chapter 7 Keeping Track of What You Find 52

Part II Researching Individual Types of Authority 57

Chapter 8 Legal and Non-Legal Secondary Sources 59

A Introduction 59

1 When secondary sources will be most useful 59

2 Limits on the appropriate use of secondary sources 60

B Methods of researching legal secondary sources 61

C Researching commonly used legal secondary sources 62

1 Legal encyclopedias 62

2 Treatises 63

3 Legal periodicals 64

4 American Law Reports 67

5 Restatements 68

6 Uniform laws and model acts 70

D Researching non-legal secondary sources 71

Chapter 9 Cases 73

A Introduction 73

1 The structure of the court system 73

2 Sources of cases 73

3 The anatomy of a published case 76

4 Unpublished, or non-precedential, opinions 77

B Methods of researching cases 78

C Researching cases using a digest 78

1 Online digest research 79

2 Print research with West digests 80

a Locating the correct digest set 80

b Locating topics and key numbers 83

c Reading case summaries 84

d Updating your research 85

D Emerging approaches to case research 85

Chapter 10 Citators and Other Updating Tools 87

A Introduction 87

1 The purpose of a citator 87

2 When to use a citator in case research 88

3 Terms and procedural concepts used in citator research 88

B Using a citator for case research 89

1 Shepard's in Lexis 89

2 KeyCite in Westlaw 92

3 BCite in Bloomberg Law 94

C Choosing among citators 95

D Staying up to date with alert services 96

Chapter 11 Statutes and Court Rules 99

A Introduction 99

1 The publication process for federal statutes 99

2 The organization of statutory codes 101

3 Types and sources of statutory codes 101

B Methods of researching statutes 103

C Using a citator for statutory research 105

D Researching rules of procedure 106

Chapter 12 Federal Legislative History and Administrative Regulations 109

A Federal legislative history 109

1 Introduction 109

2 The process of enacting a federal law 110

3 Types of federal legislative history documents 111

a Bills 112

b Hearings 112

c Floor debates 112

d Committee reports 113

4 Methods of researching federal legislative history documents 113

a Compiled legislative histories in print 114

b Government sources 115

c Commercial services 115

B Federal administrative regulations 116

1 Introduction 116

2 The process of adopting a federal regulation 117

3 Methods of researching federal regulations 118

4 Sources of federal regulations 119

a Government sources 119

b Commercial services 120

5 Using a citator for regulatory research 121

Part III Research Flowcharts 123

A General research flowchart 124

B Nonbinding authority research flowchart 126

C Flowcharts for four common types of research 128

1 State common-law research flowchart 129

2 State statutory research flowchart 130

3 Federal statutory research flowchart 131

4 State and federal procedural research flowchart 132

Appendix: Selected Research Resources 133

Index 139

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