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Legal Research Cheat Sheet by

Chapters 1 & 2

Law- The enforc­eable rules that govern individual and group conduct in a society
Legal research-Finding the law that applies to the problem
Legal analysis-Deter­mining how it applies to the problem

Types of law (pg.4-6)
Enacte­d-Body of law adopted by the peopleconsti­tut­ions, statutes, admin/­reg­ula­tions
Common-Law created by the courts in absence of enacted law
Case-B­roader than common. everything + laws created from interp­ret­ation or applic­ation of enacted

Court Systems (pg.7-8)
Over persons by geographic area-P­ersonal jurisd­iction
Over subject matter by types of cases-­Subject matter jurisd­iction
More than one court has authority to deal with the same matter­-Co­ncu­rrent jurisd­iction

Federal Courts (pg.8-9)

Trial court= US District Court
75k+, US Const, Fed laws, treaties, etc.

Court of Appeals= Circuit Courts-13
Only for review, no new trials

The Supreme Court= The last stop
A party who disagrees with a COA ruling must request a petition for a writ of certiorari

Stare decisis- Requires a court to follow a previous decision of that court or a higher court when the decision involves issues and facts similar. (pg.11)

Authority (pg.15)
Types of secondary authority:
Annota­tions-Notes and comments on the law. ALR. Provides a list of cases from other jurisd­ict­ions.
Legal Dictio­naries- Black's Law. Defines legal terms & maybe cite
Law Reviews Published by law school­s|s­pecific topics­|re­fer­ences
Legal Encycl­opedias
Restat­ements of the law

Primary and Secondary as Persuasive (pg. 18)

IRAC Analysis (pg.30)
Issue- Identify the issue(s) raised by the facts
Rule-I­dentify the law the governs the issue
Analys­is/­App­-De­termine how it applies
Conclu­sio­n-S­umm­arize the results

Chapters 3 & 4

Statutory law- Laws passed by Congress or state legis. Local level= Ordina­nces.

Anatomy of a statute (pg.62-63)
Numbers-Different # for every legis authority
Short Title- The name by which it's known. i.e "­Aff­ordable care act"
Purpose Clause- Purpose of the legis body when drafting. Shows intent.
Scope-Some sections define what is and isn't covered by statute
Defini­tions-Helps determine if legis gave specific meaning to terms
Substa­ntive Provisions
Annota­tio­ns/­Ref­erence- History of section, dates of ammend,

USCA (pg. 65)
-200 Volumes + Gen Index
-Gen Index- Softbound set|up­dated annually| Descri­ptive words/­phr­ases, alphab­eti­cally with headings and subhea­dings
-Pocket parts are cumula­tiv­e-V­olume is updated from the date of its public­ation.
-Up to date = "This Volume Contains No Pocket Part"
-Pocket parts published once a year

Cannons of Constr­uction (pg.91)
Rules and guidelines the courts use when interp­reting statutes

Expressio Unius- "The expression on one excludes all others­" exclusion of everything not covered. A dwelli­ng...not a dwelling
Ejusdem Generis- Other things of the same class. Bicycles, tricyc­les...
Pari Materia-Same subj matter. Gender preference

Case Law (pg. 105)

Why analyze court opinions?
-To learn the case law|In­terpret con or stat law| Understand litigation process| To gain insight into legal analys­is|­Develop legal writing skills

Elements of Court Opinions (pg. 106)
Caption- Names of partie|Appellee-winner of the trial court level|Appellant-Loser who filed the appeal
Syllabus- A brief summary of the opinion. Editorial by West.
Headnotes Summaries of the points of law discussed in the case

Court Opinion Research (pg. 113)
Slip Opinions- Published by the court|­Con­curring and dissent| That's it!
Advance Sheets-
Reporter- Only published when there are enough adv sheets to fill a vol
-U.S Reports is the official reporter for SCOTUS. Indexed but no headnotes of key #'s
-Supreme Court Reporter- Unoffi­cial, published by West| Since 1882| Faster| Adv sheets published twice a month

Case Brief (pg. 123)
Citation|Parties|Facts|Prior Procee­dings|Issue|Holding|Reasoning|Dispos­ition|Comments

Chapters 5 & 6

Secondary Authority

Legal Encycl­opedias- No in-depth coverage, very broad
CJS is larger than Am. Jur 2nd. Begin with Gen Index.

Treatises- Use this when you need more than a general summary of the law from a encyc. Valuable in locating cases

American Law Reports (pg.153)
ALR (First Series)- 1919-1948 has 175 Vol
ALR.2d-1948-1965 has 100 Vol
ALR.3d-1965-1969 state cases '65-'80 has 100 vol
ALR.4th State '80-'9­1-100 vol
ALR 5th State '91-Jun 2005- 125 vol
ALR.6th State '05-Pr­esent

Key Number- West (pg. 163)
:-'( :-O

Legal Period­icals (pg. 193)
Law Reviews- Usually include: Articles, notes + comments. recent develo­pem­ents, book reviews

Restat­ements of the law- American Law Institute 1923. Greater recogn­ition than treatises.

Chapter 7

Computers (pg. 229)

Boolean searches- Searches using key words or terms from the issue
Natural language stating the query using plain English

& (and) - All documents with BOTH terms= Lots and lots of docs
space (or) - either term
/s - Both terms within same sentence
/p - Both terms in same paragraph
/n - Where n = the number, terms appear within that many words


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