Paralegal Research and Writing

  1. No.1 Reason to do legal research "the right way"(according to bob berring)
  2. 3 Basic Prinsiples (according to bob berring)
    • 1. Understand Information
    • 2. Understand Research System
    • 3. Use Context -its crucial, waht are the subjects, buzzwords?
  3. What are the different forms of Judcial Reports? (according to bob berring)
  4. When looking at Cases/Decisions, what must you take into consideration?
    • 1.Opinions
    • 2.Holding v. Dicta
    • 3. See Opinions as "universe of information"
    • 4. Reading must be done carefully.
  5. What are OPINIONS?
    They are advocacy documents (a judge's opinion); are rethorical devices.
  6. Judicial Opinions Deal with why type of Issues?
    Issues of Law
  7. Three Part Court System
    • 1. trial court (Federal level: District Court)
    • 2. Appellate Court
    • 3. Court of last resort (usually supreme court)
  8. Trial Court
    • Trial Court (state level)
    • District Court (federal level)
    • -resolve issues of Fact as well as Issues of Law
  9. Appellate Court
    • Only Issues of Law
    • 3 judges make decision.
    • There are 13 Federal Appellate Courts (U.S. Courts of Appeals) broken down into CIRCUITS (1-11 AND Federal circuit and District of Columbia Circuit)
  10. Court of Last Resort (Supreme Court)
    • Usually discritionary Jurisdiction.
    • Nine Justices (appointed by president & confirmed by U.S Senate)
  11. Discritionary Jurisdiction
    • Discretion to consider many issues. AKA Certiorari.
    • may hear disputes between two states.
  12. What will you see in a Opinion?
    • Tags
    • Links
    • Citators
    • the MEAT of the case
  13. Tags
    • ways to identify opinions
    • -Parties
    • -Pocket #
    • -Citation
    • -Spoilers
  14. Pocket #
    #internal #used by courts to keep files organized
  15. Citation
    To serve as reference to locate orginal document cited
  16. Spoilers
    • -Syllabus/summary (any part of a opinion that can quckly help you understand the case)
    • -Headnotes (abstract of every legal issue in a case; cannot cite them)
    • -Editorial Headnotes ( research systems, topic and key numbers system)
    • -Lexis System ( core words)
  17. Citators
    • -Keysite(direct history of case;find out who has been discussed/quoted; every decision where your case has been noted)
    • -Shepards (direct history divided between "Distinguished, followed)
  18. Links
    "The cycle of a case" graphic representation of the history of a case
  19. The MEAT
    opinion (concurring or dissenting, per curiam (no specific judge writes;all write) or denial to hear)
  20. Modern Research Systems
    • -Westlaw
    • -Lexis
    • -Volunteers
    • --find law
    • --legal information institute
  21. ways to find cases
    • -Use Research Systems (have context; useful tools such as topic and key # system)
    • -Boolean Searching (not good, no context)
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Paralegal Research and Writing