Presentation on theme: "Presented by: Kelly Browne Assistant Director for Public Services Sacramento County Public Law Library Legal Research on the Internet California Conference."— Presentation transcript:
Presented by: Kelly Browne Assistant Director for Public Services Sacramento County Public Law Library Legal Research on the Internet California Conference on Self-Represented Litigants April 28-30, 2010 San Francisco
California County Law Libraries Open to the Public All California counties have a law library: Business & Professions Code 6300 et seq. Funded by Superior Court civil filing fees To find your local county law library, visit
About the class: Hands on: explanation, demonstration, exercises* ▫ Legal Research Links document Free resources for California primary law and secondary sources Boolean operators and other advanced search techniques * If you need help, raise your hand and Coral Henning, SCPLL Director, will come and help you.
Types of Legal Information Covering Today Primary Sources contain the law Codes, Cases, Regulations,Court Rules Generally available online Secondary Sources explain the law Often the best starting point for research Limited availability online ▫ Forms Most common research question Mandatory and optional templates
Boolean Operators & Warm-Up Exercises
Legal Dictionaries 6 Nolo Press Findlaw
Legal Dictionary Exercise What’s the definition of QUANTUM MERUIT ? Use one of the following: 7
Building a Search Using Terms and Connectors (aka Boolean searching) AND – narrows search OR – broadens search NOT – use to exclude unrelated results (cardinals BUT NOT baseball) Quotations – used to search for a phrase - “breach of warranty” Truncation – to find variations of a word –encroach* will retrieve encroach, encroached, encroaching, encroachment… 8 Many sites use variations on these – check the site’s “Help” or “Search Tips” for specifics
Boolean Searching: Use of AND 9 Using AND narrows a search. Each term will occur in each retrieved document.
Boolean Searching: Use of OR 10 Using OR broadens a search. One or both of the terms will occur in each retrieved document.
Boolean Searching: Use of NOT 11 Using NOT limits a search.
Other search techniques Quotation marks ▫ Putting quotation marks around a group of words will search for those words as an exact phrase Truncation ▫ Using the truncation symbol (often *, but varies by database) will search for alternate endings of words. ▫ Driv* = driver, driving, driven, drivel, etc. 12
Use of parenthesis Parenthesis are used to group words or ideas together. For example, a search for: (canine OR dog) AND bite Is the same as running these two separate searches: canine AND bite dog AND bite 13
Steps in Constructing a Search: ITAC Method (Issue, Terms, Alternatives, Connectors) Select key TERMS from your issue. Using three to five key terms works well for most issues host injury intoxicated guest or host intoxicated guest 14
Steps in Constructing a Search: ITAC Method (Issue, Terms, Alternatives, Connectors) Enter reasonable ALTERNATIVE terms for your key terms. Be creative - terms that may seem to have limited relationships to key terms or that mean the opposite of a key term, may be reasonable alternatives: Party or Corporation may be alternatives for host. Sober may be an alternative for intoxicated. 15
Steps in Constructing a Search: ITAC Method (Issue, Terms, Alternatives, Connectors) Add appropriate CONNECTORS to specify the relationship you want each term and its alternatives to have to the other terms and their alternatives. (Host* OR party) AND (intoxicat* OR drunk OR alcohol) AND guest 16
Exercise What keywords would you try for this scenario? Tom signed a one-year lease to rent an apartment from Laurie. Shortly after moving in, Tom discovered that the apartment was overrun by cockroaches, making living there intolerable. Tom wants to move out, but Laurie is threatening to sue if he breaks the lease. 17
Primary Sources Cases California Codes California Code of Regulations California Court Rules
Where can you find published cases? California Courts – Powered by LexisNexis Provides access to all published California cases from 1850 – current to within 90 days of filing Retrieve by Citation or Search using natural language search or Search by keyword using advanced search
Plug in known cite Advanced Search Natural Language Search Natural Language Search
Cases Official published opinion of the court Only cases of significant legal value are published Have the weight of law because of precedent 24
25 Select search type More Search Terms More Search Terms
Search Connectors 26
27 Segment: part or section of a case opinion.
28 Advanced Searching
Search results 29
30 Search results 30
Case Law EXERCISE!
Find the name of the case at this citation: 149 Cal.App.3d 409 (1983) Use California Courts site: 34
Case Law Exercise #2 How many reported cases can you find where Neoma Kenwood was the attorney of record? 35
Case Law Exercise #3 Find a case in which one of the parties was named Wilson Hint: Search party names using the Name segment. 36 The case we’re interested in deals with a “spite fence.” Focus your search to find this case.
California Codes Online Available online for free. Current code only Not annotated Keyword searchable, but not user-friendly “Table of Contents” view available Helpful if you know a specific code section
California Codes Online Search or Browse fence and neighbor 1.Select the code(s) you want to search--by clicking the check box(es). 2. Type in search terms. 3.Or, click the box, then just hit enter to go directly to the Table of Contents for one Code. 1.Select the code(s) you want to search--by clicking the check box(es). 2. Type in search terms. 3.Or, click the box, then just hit enter to go directly to the Table of Contents for one Code.
Searching the California Codes Supports Boolean Searching – AND, OR, ADJ, NOT (note: MUST be in ALL CAPs) Default (no operators) is a natural language search Truncate with an asterisk - driv* retrieves drive, driver, driving, etc. Use parentheses to group terms – (driv* OR operat*) AND (alcohol* OR drink* OR influence) Remember to use the Help!
Searching the California Codes Sample search! Can my neighbor build a 12-foot high fence next to my property just to annoy me? Sample search! Can my neighbor build a 12-foot high fence next to my property just to annoy me? fence
Search results for “Fence” in All 43 Results don’t always match expectations – we must read several to find the one we want
44 Enter your keyword(s) OR leave it blank Enter your keyword(s) OR leave it blank Specific Codes Choose a code, then… Choose a code, then…
45 Leave it blank and Hit Search Leave it blank and Hit Search Browsing the Table of Contents Choose a code, then… Choose a code, then…
The plain statement of the law 46
48 What crime is described in Penal Code § ?
Locate a code section for a crime involving ducklings 49 Statutes Exercise #2
51 California Code of Regulations Rules created by Administrative Agencies, by authority of the legislature or governor Implemented, enforced or administered by agencies Tend to be more procedural and technical than codes
California Code of Regulations 52 Regulations of all California agencies Only the current edition is available Title 24 (CA Building Standards Code) is NOT available on the Internet * Regulations of all California agencies Only the current edition is available Title 24 (CA Building Standards Code) is NOT available on the Internet *
53 Multiple ways to search
Search for a Specific Regulatory Section 54 Common citation style: 3 CCR § 482 Common citation style: 3 CCR § 482 Title Section
55 Search for Words Search Connectors: and or but not ***Default is OR*** Search Connectors: and or but not ***Default is OR***
56 Search within specific titles The search capabilities are the same as the word search, but your results will be limited to just the specific titles you select.
57 Expand until you can link directly to code. Expand until you can link directly to code. List of CCR Titles = Table of Contents
Agency List for CCR 58 Regulations related to this agency Regulations related to this agency
Regulations Exercise 59 The California Board of Corrections and Rehabilitation has a special diet for inmates with disciplinary problems when they are in isolation. Using SEARCH, find the recipe for: “Disciplinary Isolation Diet” in the California Code of Regulations
Court Rules 60
CA Court Rules - Searchable Online 61 Available in PDF or HTML
How to Search Court Rules Online Click on little binoculars 3.Enter search terms in box 3.Enter search terms in box 1. Load pdf version There is no advanced search. This merely highlights the terms you enter.
California Court Rules Exercise 63 In the California Rules of Court, what rule governs the publication of appellate opinions ? Hint: It is an appellate rule.
Secondary Sources 64
Secondary Sources explain the law Material “about” the law Often the starting point for research Limited availability online 65
Secondary Sources Secondary sources such as: CEB practice guides Rutter Group materials CA Forms of Pleading and Practice …are NOT available for free on the Internet 66 $ $ $
Selecting trustworthy online sources When selecting online sources, consider: The author’s expertise Verifiability of the content The level and depth of the information The currency of the site 67
Secondary Sources on the Internet California Courts: Self-Help Center ▫ OUR FAVORITE BUT NOT GOING TO COVER ▫ LII – Legal Information Institute: Washburn Legal Research on the Web: law reviews – Google Scholar – Law blogs (“blawgs”) – Findlaw Legal Subjects – public.findlaw.compublic.findlaw.com Nolo’s “Nolopedia” – 68
LII- Legal Information Institute 69
FindLaw: “Learn About the Law” 70 Arranged topically or alphabetically
FindLaw: FAQ-style information 71 Often includes advertisements
Nolo: Self Help Publisher 72 Commercial site, but many helpful articles available free
Washburn Legal Research on the Web 73
74 Washburn Legal Research on the Web
Washburn Legal Research on the Web
76 Google Scholar
77 Google Scholar
78 Google Scholar Limit your search by subject area Look for articles by author or in a specific publication To search only Legal journals, put HeinOnline in the Publication field
Legal Opinions and Journals 79 For cases, Judge’s name For articles, author’s name For cases, Judge’s name For articles, author’s name For cases, abbreviation of reporter For articles, the title of the journal or HeinOnline For cases, abbreviation of reporter For articles, the title of the journal or HeinOnline Year the case or article was published
Legal Opinions and Journals 80 Limit to particular courts
81 Google Scholar
82 Google Scholar Results List of articles that have cited this article Articles that Google determines are related Searches the internet for websites related to the topic of this article Purchase a copy of this article from the British Library See all version of this article
83 Google Scholar - Groups
Legal Opinions and Journals 84 Limit your results
Cited By… 85
How Cited 86
Court Opinions 87
88 Google Scholar Google Scholar Exercise #1 Find a law review article about the value of voting rights
89 Google Scholar Exercise #1 Find a law review article about the value of voting rights
90 EXERCISE Find a 2009 Federal case that discusses fraudulent loan modifications
Law Blogs (“Blawgs”) 92 Written by practitioners or scholars Regularly updated news, case reports, and commentary on specialized topics RSS feeds can deliver the news to you Written by practitioners or scholars Regularly updated news, case reports, and commentary on specialized topics RSS feeds can deliver the news to you
Blawg search: topical commentary and links 93
Finding blawgs ABA’s top 100 blawgs: There are also lists of blogs by category from: ABA: Blawg.com: Justia: Law X.0 Taxonomy of Legal Blogs: 03/a_taxonomy_of_l.html 03/a_taxonomy_of_l.html 94
Visit us on the Web! Where you’ll find: Reference via Legal Guides Upcoming classes Legal Links Online Catalog
Judicial Council Forms FREE! Formatted in Adobe Acrobat- PDF Both interactive “fill-in-the-blank” the blank forms and printable List by form name, number or category 97
98 Judicial Council Forms Forms can be listed by name, number or category Pull down menu for Form choices Pull down menu for Form choices
99 Judicial Council Forms Adobe pdf format: Choose fillable or non-fillable
U.S. Court Forms one stop for many types of forms 100 Requires registration Free to view and print forms Searchable Requires registration Free to view and print forms Searchable
U.S. Court Forms 101
102 U.S. Court Forms
Federal Agency Forms 103
104 Government Links CA Agency Information
CA State Agency Directory 105 Link goes to website or other info Envelope links directly to contact info Link goes to website or other info Envelope links directly to contact info
Exercise You have recently purchased an antique boat. California law allows the DMV to provide special plaques which identify qualifying boats as a vessel of historical interest. Find an “Application for Historical Vessel Plaque” form on the DMV’s website. 106