What is legal research? In a nutshell, legal research is the process in which you identify the laws that apply to the facts of a case.
Why is legal research so important? Knowing the process of legal research is essential in order to create legal memos, write case briefs, and establish a winning argument.
When getting started with your legal research, have a research plan.
The Purude Global Library has lots of resources to aid you in your legal research. Since the Library subscribes to Westlaw Campus Research, many of the examples in this guide will refer to that specific legal database. Keep in mind that Westlaw is not the only electronic legal database, and law firms may subscribe to others, such as LexixNexis and Bloomberg Law..
Where shoud you begin your legal research? Start with...
Secondary Sources: These include American Law Reports (ALR), legal encyclopedias and dictionaries, law journals, restatements, and treatises They are a great place to start your research because they often cite primary sources of law that you can use.
Primary Sources: These include case law, statutues, and administrative regulations.
Key Numbers & Headnotes (available from Westlaw): The Key Number System is a master classification system of U.S. law. The Key Number system works in conjunction with Headnotes. Each headnote is assigned one or more topics and Key Numbers.This system makes it easier to find other cases addressing the same legal topic.
Citators: Make sure you're using "good law." Citator tools such as Shepard's in Lexis and KeyCite in Westlaw will flag a document and provide an brief explanation about the negative history of the case law.
Fore more in depth information, visit the link below from Westlaw.