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Intro to U.S. Legal Research Dana Neacsu. What Are Primary Sources? The law: official pronouncements of lawmakers Statutes But also Rules and regulations,

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Presentation on theme: "Intro to U.S. Legal Research Dana Neacsu. What Are Primary Sources? The law: official pronouncements of lawmakers Statutes But also Rules and regulations,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intro to U.S. Legal Research Dana Neacsu

2 What Are Primary Sources? The law: official pronouncements of lawmakers Statutes But also Rules and regulations, and Court decisions (Common Law System) Sources which may be binding authority Repositories of law (its tangible aspect)

3 Federal Repositories of Statutory Law Statutes Statutory law -- Session laws (chronological compilations) Codes (subject matter compilations) Federal Statutory Law: United States Statutes at Large (Stat.) P.Law Congress – Sequential Identifier United States Code (code) U.S.C. U.S.C.A. (West) U.S.C.S. USC:

4 The Bluebook: Citing Statutes Federal statutes should be cited to the current official code (the United States Code, which is abbreviated as U.S.C.) Rule 12: a codified statutory citation contains four basic elements: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2000). Rule 12: a citation to the official compilation of federal session laws (Statutes at Large, abbr: Stat) contains six basic elements: An Act to Permit Civil Suits under Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes (42 USC 1983)…, Pub. L. No , § 1, 93 Stat (1979) (amending, An Act to Enforce the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S., c. 22, 17 Stat. 13 (1871))

5 Lets Look at a Federal Statute! 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2000) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Ch. 22, 17 Stat. 13 (1871) amended by17 Stat. 13 Pub. L. No , 93 Stat (1979)93 Stat. 1284

6 Federal Repositories of Case Law Cases Decisional law Reports Jurisdictional compilations of cases (federal, state, etc). Federal Reports: United States Supreme Court Reports (3) U.S. S.Ct. L.Ed Federal Reporter (West): F, F2d, F3d Federal Supplement (West): F.Supp, F.Supp.2d

7 The Bluebook: Citing Cases Rule 10: a full case citation includes four elements The name of the case; The abbreviation of the published source where it can be found (reporter); A parenthetical that indicates the court and jurisdiction; and The date or year of the decision.

8 Lets Look at a Case! Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1 Cranch)(1803): Reporters Print Digital Free-of-charge repositories (Oyez; Curiae- Yale; lexisOne; Findlaw; Google Scholar)OyezlexisOneFindlawGoogle Scholar Fee-based repositories (Westlaw Lexis & Bloomberg)

9 NY State Law (research w Westlaw/Lexis/ Bloomberg) NY State Statutes McKinneys NY State Statutes WS WS NY Case Law (reporters) NY Case Law Official (New York Reports: 3) Commercial (New York: 1)

10 Repositories of Administrative Law Rules and Regulations Administrative law Administrative Register (chronological compilations) Codes (subject matter compilations) Federal Administrative Law: Federal Register (chronological compilation) Code of Federal Regulations (code)

11 The Bluebook: Citing Rules Federal administrative rules should be cited to the current official code (the Code of Federal Regulations, which is abbreviated as C.F.R.) Rule 14: a codified citation contains four basic elements: 7 C.F.R. § (2007). Rule 14: a citation to the official chronological compilation of federal rules (Federal Register, abbr: Fed.Reg.) contains five basic elements: R egulated Articles, 71 Fed.Reg. 40,878 (July 19, 2006)

12 Overview Primary Sources Statutory & Administrative Law Research Codes, Session Laws, etc. Legislative History tools and techniques Rules and Regulations Case Law Research Full-text searching Other approaches

13 Helping a Patron Do Legal Research -- Framing a legal inquiry What information do you know? What information do you need to know? Case law or statutory law? Are you ready to start researching cases/statutes, or do you need to learn more about the topic first?

14 Using Secondary Sources – Legal Scholarship - Treatises A client has negotiated a million-dollar deal to purchase a piece or real property commonly known as The Brooklyn Bridge, with an option to purchase the Lincoln Tunnel for a fixed price of $1 million paid in six installments. The agreement is completely oral. She has already sent a check with the first installment.. What is the legal issue? How can one search it?

15 Framing your Inquiry Issue Statute of Frauds (oral K) Mistake/error as to the object of the K (rescission)

16 Where should your patron start? Secondary Source Finding Aids library catalogs index to legal periodicals Legal Scholarship treatises law review articles

17 Using Electronic Sources for Finding a Treatise on Westlaw & Lexis Lexis publications are on Lexis Corbin on Contracts Nimmer on Copyright West publications are on Westlaw Wright & Millers Federal Practice and Procedure Williston on Contracts

18 What primary sources should be used? NY Case Law Update results Good luck with your exam!


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