Monthly Archives: May 2014

Federal Legal Research: Spring Intersession: June 2-6


Federal Legal Research

Prof. Marie Templo-Capule

Spring Intersession

June 2-6

Class Description: Legal tools that answer more complex legal research problems, including federal legislative histories, sources of administrative law, specialized subject research. Federal emphasis. Extensive work with online resources. 

 Course Goals: The principal purpose of this course is to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to conduct effective legal research on Federal law. It also has the secondary, but important, goal of expanding on and reinforcing the basic legal research skills that students had earlier gained from Legal Research and Writing. Although the course is only one credit, we believe you will become reasonably knowledgeable about sources of Federal law and skilled in researching various Federal and general legal sources.

                   Class Outline

June 2: Review of authority hierarchy

Case law: from complaint to final decision

  • tracking cases
  • documents available
  • forms (Sources for sample forms)
  • Court Rules – details of case process
  • Review of using digests to locate cases by subject
  • Using online sources to access cases
  • principles of database selection
  • predetermined outline vs. free form
  • issues using predetermined outline
  • issues with free form
  • terms and connectors v. natural language
  • principles for formulating a free form search
  • working with a known authority
  • using cases to locate other relevant cases
  • using citators to locate other relevant cases
  • using citators to determine if a case still represents good law

 June 3: Statutory law: the federal system

  • Bills, public laws, and codes
  • Legal status of public laws and codes
  • Research using codes: print and online (Westlaw, Lexis, web)
  • Predetermined outline
  • Free form searching online
  • Natural language v. terms and connectors
  • State statutory and local ordinance searching
  • Uniform laws

 June 4: Legislative history

  • Legislative process
  • Materials used for statutory research
  • Relative value and use by courts of legislative history materials

 June 5: Administrative law

  • The administrative process – how rules are made
  • Issues surrounding modern administrative law
  • Registers and codes
  • Administrative research:
  • print
  • online – Westlaw, Lexis, web
  • Administrative agency powers
  • decisions
  • enforcement

 June 6: Use of specialized looseleaf sources

  • Print and online
  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Immigration Law






Licensing in the Shadow of Copyright by by Peter DiCola and David Touve

“…The first qualitative and quantitative data about the licensing process for on-demand music streaming services…”


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