Quick and Dirty Westlaw For Legal Research for Paralegals - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Quick and Dirty Westlaw For Legal Research for Paralegals

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  1. Quick and Dirty Westlaw For Legal Research for Paralegals

  2. Introduction • LEXIS and WESTLAW: • computer-assisted legal research (CALR) systems. • Online access • full texts legal materials, • current newspapers and periodicals, • law-related textbooks and journals, and • other materials.

  3. SIGN ON NOW

  4. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW • Go to “Add a Tab”

  5. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW • Go to TABS • CLICK on “Add Westlaw Tabs”

  6. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW Scroll down

  7. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW • Go to TABS • CLICK on “Add Westlaw Tabs” • Add New York Tab

  8. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW

  9. CUSTOMIZING WESTLAW

  10. DOING RESEARCH ON WESTLAW

  11. QUICKIES FIND BY CITATION KEYCITE THIS CITATION

  12. QUICKIE 1 • FIND BY CITATION • Gets a document (case, statute, secondary source) • TYPE: 367 US 643

  13. RESULT

  14. QUICKIE 2 • KEYCITE BY CITATION • Is a case or statute good law? • Retrieve more recent cases • TYPE: 367 US 643

  15. RESULT

  16. TWO THINGS Procedural History of the case (default) Cases that cite this case

  17. YOUR TURN • FIND: “384 US 436” • WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE CASE? • FIND: “34 AD3d 1249” • WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE CASE?

  18. FIND STATUTES • FIND STATUTES: Penal Law § 120.00 • In the “Find by Citation” box, type the statute citation • FORMULA: <state abbreviation> <statute title> <section number> • “ny penal law 120.00"

  19. FIND STATUTES

  20. FIND STATUTES

  21. YOUR TURN • FIND: New York’s Domestic Relations Law § 170 • FIND: New York’s CPLR 3211

  22. Domestic Relations Law § 170 • FIND: New York’s Domestic Relations Law § 170 • TYPE: NY Domestic Relations 170

  23. RESULT

  24. YOUR TURN • FIND: New York’s CPLR 3211

  25. IS THIS CASE GOOD LAW? • KeyCite: People v Belton, 68 AD2d 198 • In the “KeyCite this Citation” box, type the cite • 68AD2d198

  26. This is your case

  27. IS A RED FLAG EVER GOOD?

  28. KeyCite Status Flags RED FLAG • the case is no longer good law for at least one of the points of law it contains. YELLOW FLAG • the case has some negative history but has not been reversed or overruled. BLUE H • indicates that the case has some history. GREEN C • case has citing references but no direct history or negative citing references.

  29. THE STAR TREATMENT: Depth of Treatment Stars EXAMINED • The citing document contains an extended discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually more than a printed page of text. DISCUSSED • The citing document contains a substantial discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually more than a paragraph but less than a printed page.

  30. CITED • The citing document contains some discussion of the cited case or administrative decision, usually less than a paragraph. MENTIONED • The citing document contains a brief reference to the cited case or administrative decision, usually in a string citation.

  31. YOUR TURN • People v Payton, 55 AD2d 859 • People v Martinez, 80 NY2d 444

  32. RESEARCH!

  33. OUR EXAMPLE • ISSUE: May a prayer or benediction be given at a school graduation?

  34. Creating a Terms and Connectors Search • Terms and Connectors searching is the most powerful and precise way to search Westlaw. • Using these techniques allows you to take full control of the powerful search engines built in to these systems. • The Westlaw Search Form takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a search on Westlaw.

  35. STEP-BY STEP • Define your issue carefully. • State it precisely in one sentence. • Avoid being narrower or broader than is necessary. • EXAMPLE: you are seeking cases on prayer at public school graduations • TOO BROAD: “when is religion permitted in public schools” • TOO NARROW: “may a student say the Lord’s Prayer at a public school graduation”

  36. STEP-BY STEP • Circle the key terms in your issue statement. • Key terms are words most closely related to your issue. • Exclude words so common that they are likely to turn up in many documents unrelated to your issue. • ISSUE: May a prayer or benediction be given at a school graduation?

  37. FIND TERMS: May a prayer or benediction be given at a school graduation? • ELIMINATE COMMON: May a prayer or benediction be given at aschool graduation? • WHAT YOU ARE LEFT WITH: prayer or benediction,school, graduation

  38. STEP-BY STEP • Write these key terms in the Terms boxes at the top of the Westlaw Search Form. • If two or more key terms both relate to only one aspect of issue, list them vertically, as alternatives. • EXAMPLE TERMS: • prayer or benediction • school • graduation

  39. STEP-BY STEP • Consider whether alternative terms might appear in a relevant document. • For example, if your issue involves an attorney, likely alternatives would be lawyer or counsel • Consider synonyms (car/automobile) and antonyms (admissible/inadmissible). • Consider also broader or narrower or related terms (car/vehicle/truck/motorcycle...).

  40. STEP-BY STEP • List the alternatives to your key terms in the columns below each key term. • OUR EXAMPLE: • prayer or benediction or invocation • school • Graduation orcommencement

  41. STEP-BY STEP • Use truncation (!) or the universal character (*) to account for variations of key terms. • EXAMPLES: • discrim! retrieves discriminate, discriminating, discriminated.... • kn*wretrieves know or knew. • test*** retrieves test, tested, testing, testify... but not testimony or testamentary

  42. STEP-BY STEP • Use truncation (!) or the universal character (*) to account for variations of key terms. • OUR EXAMPLE: • prayer (or pray or praying) or benedictionor invocation • school • Graduation (or graduating or graduate) orcommencement

  43. STEP-BY STEP • Use truncation (!) or the universal character (*) to account for variations of key terms. • OUR EXAMPLE: • Pray! or benediction or invocation • school • Graduat! orcommencement

  44. STEP-BY STEP • Use connectors to specify the relationship between key terms.

  45. PRIMER ON CONNECTORS

  46. AND “AND” • USE: & • EXAMPLE: narcotic & warrant

  47. OR “OR” • USE: A space • EXAMPLE: car automobile vehicle

  48. MORE “AND” CONNECTORS TERMS IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH • USE: /p • EXAMPLE: hearsay /p utterance