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Law on the Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop April 2004 Laura A. Cadra

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Presentation on theme: "Law on the Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop April 2004 Laura A. Cadra"— Presentation transcript:

1 Law on the Net: A Workshop for Non-Law Librarians An Infopeople Workshop April 2004 Laura A. Cadra

2 Agenda Sources of Law Sources of Law California Law California Law Federal Law Federal Law Finding Attorneys Finding Attorneys Legal Forms Legal Forms Where to Start When You Have No Idea Where to Start Where to Start When You Have No Idea Where to Start

3 What is Law? The entire body of principles, precedents, rules, and procedures intended to assure order and justice in a civilized society. It includes constitutions, legislation, decisions – federal, state, and local, civil and criminal ( Mellinkoffs Dictionary of American Legal Usage ) The entire body of principles, precedents, rules, and procedures intended to assure order and justice in a civilized society. It includes constitutions, legislation, decisions – federal, state, and local, civil and criminal ( Mellinkoffs Dictionary of American Legal Usage ) And dont forget regulations! And dont forget regulations!

4 Reference Inquiries Are you looking for general information about a legal issue? Are you looking for general information about a legal issue? Is your issue federal? State? Local? Is your issue federal? State? Local? Are you looking for a specific piece of law? Are you looking for a specific piece of law? a Vehicle Code section? a Vehicle Code section? a local ordinance? a local ordinance? Are you looking for a form? Are you looking for a form? Are you looking for an attorney? Are you looking for an attorney?

5 Sources of Law Primary Sources Primary Sources Produced by governmental bodies Produced by governmental bodies Binding!! Binding!! Unofficial and official versions Unofficial and official versions Secondary Sources Secondary Sources Information about the law Information about the law Best place to start most legal research Best place to start most legal research

6 Secondary Sources on the Net Nolo Press – Our friends in any format Nolo Press – Our friends in any format Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) Law About Series Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) Law About Series California Courts Self-Help Center California Courts Self-Help Center ¡Se habla español! ¡Se habla español! Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese tambien! Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese tambien!

7 Legal Citation The formalized legal reference to an authority and the place where it can be found (Mellinkoffs Dictionary of American Legal Usage)

8 Citation Formats Cases: Vol. no./Reporter Set/Page no. (date) Cases: Vol. no./Reporter Set/Page no. (date) U.S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971) U.S. ex rel. Mayo v. Satan and his Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971) Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000) Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000) Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 25 Cal.3d 813 (1979) Lugosi v. Universal Pictures, 25 Cal.3d 813 (1979) Statutes/Codes Statutes/Codes 42 U.S.C. § U.S.C. §1942 CA Penal Code §187 CA Penal Code §187

9 Common Case Abbreviations CA Cases CA Cases Cal. (Cal. 2 d, 3 d, 4 th ): California Reports Cal. (Cal. 2 d, 3 d, 4 th ): California Reports Cal. App. (C.A. 2 d, 3 d, 4 th ): California Appellate Reports Cal. App. (C.A. 2 d, 3 d, 4 th ): California Appellate Reports Cal. Rptr. (C.R. 2 d ): California Reporter Cal. Rptr. (C.R. 2 d ): California Reporter Federal Cases Federal Cases U.S.: United States Supreme Court Reports U.S.: United States Supreme Court Reports F. (F.2 d, F.3 d ): Federal Reporter F. (F.2 d, F.3 d ): Federal Reporter F.Supp. (F.Supp.2 d ): Federal Supplement F.Supp. (F.Supp.2 d ): Federal Supplement

10 Primary Sources of Law Constitutions Constitutions Statutes/Codes Statutes/Codes Judicial Opinions (case decisions) Judicial Opinions (case decisions) Regulations & Regulatory Decisions Regulations & Regulatory Decisions Local Ordinances (cities and counties) Local Ordinances (cities and counties) All of these work together to form The Law

11 California Law Constitution Constitution Statutes/Codes Statutes/Codes Pending legislation (bills) Pending legislation (bills) Cases Cases Regulations Regulations

12 California Bills on the Net legislative session to the present legislative session to the present Searchable by bill number, author, or keyword Searchable by bill number, author, or keyword Lots of information about the bills Lots of information about the bills Status and history Status and history Committee analyses Committee analyses Votes Votes Great for students! Great for students!

13 Legislative Process Bills = pending law Statutes = permanent record Codes = current version

14 California Statutes and Codes on the Net Statutes are available from the Legislative session forward Statutes are available from the Legislative session forward Searchable by chapter number or keyword Searchable by chapter number or keyword No indication whether its current No indication whether its current Current California Code only Current California Code only Updated nightly Updated nightly NOT annotated (like Wests and Deerings) NOT annotated (like Wests and Deerings)

15 California Ballot Propositions on the Net Passed propositions are incorporated into the California Codes Passed propositions are incorporated into the California Codes Failed propositions can be difficult to find Failed propositions can be difficult to find California Secretary of State Voter Information has propositions from 1996 to the present California Secretary of State Voter Information has propositions from 1996 to the present Hastings College of the Law has a ballot proposition database from 1911 to the present Hastings College of the Law has a ballot proposition database from 1911 to the present

16 California Cases Published Decisions Published Decisions California Supreme Court cases California Supreme Court cases Most California Courts of Appeal cases Most California Courts of Appeal cases Unpublished Decisions Unpublished Decisions Trial Courts (Superior Court cases) Trial Courts (Superior Court cases)

17 California Cases on the Net California Judicial Council California Judicial Council Opinions from 1850 to Sept. 30, 2003 (searchable) Opinions from 1850 to Sept. 30, 2003 (searchable) Slip opinions – October 1, 2003 to the present (not searchable) Slip opinions – October 1, 2003 to the present (not searchable) Findlaw Findlaw Opinions 1934 to the present Opinions 1934 to the present Must register to view the cases Must register to view the cases CourtTV CourtTV Sensational trial court cases Sensational trial court cases

18 California Agency Materials Licenses Licenses Regulations Regulations Regulatory Decisions Regulatory Decisions

19 California Agencies on the Net California State web page contains a list of agencies California State web page contains a list of agencies Materials available vary by agency Materials available vary by agency Forms Forms License requirements License requirements

20 California Code of Regulations on the Net Includes the regulations of all California agencies Includes the regulations of all California agencies Current version only Current version only Title 24 (California Building Standards Code) is NOT available for free on the Net Title 24 (California Building Standards Code) is NOT available for free on the Net

21 Municipal Law on the Net City and county charters = structure of local governments City and county charters = structure of local governments Municipal and county ordinances = local laws Municipal and county ordinances = local laws Parking regulations Parking regulations Leash laws Leash laws Rent control Rent control

22 Municipal Codes on the Net Check with the city or county web site first Check with the city or county web site first Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies at U.C. Berkeley Seattle Public Library government info for non-California cities and counties Seattle Public Library government info for non-California cities and counties

23 Federal Law on the Net U.S. Constitution U.S. Constitution U.S. Code U.S. Code Pending legislation Pending legislation Cases Cases Regulations Regulations

24 Federal Legislation on the Net Bills – Think Thomas Bills – Think Thomas Full-text available from (101 st Congress forward) Full-text available from (101 st Congress forward) Summaries available from (93 rd Congress forward) Summaries available from (93 rd Congress forward) United States Code United States Code Not current! Beware! Danger! Not current! Beware! Danger!

25 Federal Cases on the Net No comprehensive web site No comprehensive web site U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Supreme Court Official Supreme Court web site: 1990 forward Official Supreme Court web site: 1990 forward Cornells LII: 1990 forward Cornells LII: 1990 forward Courts of Appeals Courts of Appeals 9 th Circuit web site: 1995 forward 9 th Circuit web site: 1995 forward District Courts (trial courts) District Courts (trial courts)

26 Federal Agency Materials Agency web sites Agency web sites Some are filled with good information including forms Some are filled with good information including forms Some are not Some are not Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

27 Finding a Lawyer Directories and Regulation

28 Attorney Information on the Net Find an Attorney by Specialty Find an Attorney by Specialty Martindale Hubbell Law Directory Martindale Hubbell Law Directory California State Bar Certified Specialists California State Bar Certified Specialists Check Out the Credentials of a Lawyer Check Out the Credentials of a Lawyer California State Bar Attorney Search California State Bar Attorney Search

29 Legal Forms Litigation Forms Litigation Forms Business Forms Business Forms

30 Litigation Forms on the Net California Judicial Council California Judicial Council Mandatory forms Mandatory forms Suggested forms Suggested forms Local Courts Local Courts Check the court web site Check the court web site Findlaw Findlaw Links to forms of varying quality Links to forms of varying quality

31 Business Forms on the Net Fedforms.gov Fedforms.gov Primarily fee-based but some are free Primarily fee-based but some are free Legaldocs.com Legaldocs.com Uscourtforms.com Uscourtforms.com Lexisone.com Lexisone.com Lawcommerce.com Lawcommerce.com

32 Where to Start When You Dont Know Where to Start California Courts Self-Help Center California Courts Self-Help Center Lots of information on common legal issues Lots of information on common legal issues Where to go for free and low-cost legal information Where to go for free and low-cost legal information 24/7 Reference includes law librarians 24/7 Reference includes law librarians Your local county law library Your local county law library Locating the Law, 4 th ed. Locating the Law, 4 th ed.

33 Mega-sites Hieros Gamos: If you can only have one Hieros Gamos: If you can only have one Jurist Jurist Internet Legal Resource Guide Internet Legal Resource Guide Catalaw Catalaw Findlaw Findlaw


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