Imran's personal blog

October 18, 2012

Imran’s guide to legal research

Filed under: Uncategorized — ipeerbhai @ 11:51 pm

Hi All,

This is what I’ve discovered, so far, in how to do legal research.

  1. Start with secondary sources
    1. American Jurisprudence for general US stuff.  This is available from WestLawNext.  I don’t know the equal in Lexis Nexis Advance, but iI think it’s “American Law Review”
    2. Washington Practice for WA specific stuff.  I don’t know the Lexis one — I’m guessing, “Washington Law Review”.( Our school uses both, but our 1L courses use WestLaw.  I hear from practicing attorneys that both are about the same, and Lexis a little cheaper )
      1. In West’s system, XXX Practice seems to be the name system for other states — so Minnesota Practice for Mn, Kentucky Practice for Ky, etc…
  2. Create a “need to know” map, jump to the physical books.
    1. The web searches tell what books to look in.  The books are organized in ways that quickly tell what else to consider that can’t be found from Web sources.
  3. Figure out a primary sources map.
    1. Local reporters work best here — Primary sources.  Wn App 2d or pacific reporter for Wa.  The various practice series will give you what you need, since they’ll have cases in them and the citations.
    2. Look for the key ideas from secondary reading, and what the Terms of Art mean according to Statutes/cases.
  4. Prep Review map
    1. Basic ideas
    2. Statutes/restatements
    3. Cases
    4. Look for reversed cases — these tell where a risk area is.
  5. Prep draft brief

This seems to be the basic Idea of how to do research for any type of case.  You need to know what the statute says, ( Or if no statute, what the courts have adopted instead as quasi-statutes.  e.g. Restatement of Torts. ), what the terms of art in the Statute are ( words that don’t mean what we think they mean.  e.g. Inducement, reasonable ), how those terms of art have been interpreted, and how cases using legal reasoning similar to the brief faired.  From there, can build a logical framework ( a map of how to present a brief ), and then figure out how to parallel reason the logical map via cases/authority to what research topic is…

Good luck!

Imran

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