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Internet Legal Research for Professor Mika’s Legal Writing Class Mar. 1, 2011
Outline l Internet v. Lexis, Westlaw l Legal Portals and Search Engines l Free Case Law/Primary Sources l Forms l Evaluating Web Sites
Internet v. Lexis/Westlaw l Internet is Free. No charges to clients l Some info exclusive to Internet Municipal Ordinances l Some Court Filings l New case/regulation (within one day) l New topics/issues l
Internet v. Lexis/WL Benefits of Lexis, WL: l Coverage. Internet, Ohio cases back to 1950 l Better Search Mechanisms l Editorial features – headnotes, annotations l Secondary sources – treatises l Aggregate Info l Trustworthiness
What’s on the Free Web l All US Supreme Court Cases l Reported Federal Appellate 1882 -, Fed District 1932 l Some Unreported Fed l State cases: Reported 1950 -, unreported varies -1990 sl Statutes & Regulations- federal and states l LOTS more!
Internet Portals l Library Home Page – Legal Research on the Web l Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII) l Find. Law
Use LEGAL Search Engines • Cornell University Legal Research Engine • Lexis. Web • List of Search Legal Engines
Search Engines Clustering search engines: Yippy, Ask. com l Metasearch engines: Dogpile, Yippy l Internet Wayback Machine l Learn search syntax l
Case law l Google Scholar – state reported 1950 -, fed circuit/ district 1923 l Ohio Supreme Court – Ohio reported & unreported (oldest 1992) l Lexis. One – Last 10 yrs, Lexis searching l Legal Research on the Web - Cases
• Search = “birth certificate” marriage transsexual OR transgender OR “sex change”
• Why don’t we get the Nash case, a 2003 unreported Ohio case?
Limit to Ohio
Google Advanced Operators • AROUND –ex. constitution AROUND(5) "home rule“ • ~ searches for synonyms and related words ex. ~constitutionality - searches for constitutional, unconstitutional, etc. • * placeholder for a word. Ex. sexual * abuse picks up “sexual misconduct abuse”, “sexual child abuse”, etc.
• Demo Ohio Supreme Court case search
Finding Dockets, Pleadings, Motions l LLRX or Resources for Online Court Dockets to find dockets l Some dockets have full text documents ex. Ohio – Montgomery & Summit Counties, federal l PACER – Federal Court dockets l On Westlaw/Lexis – more search capability
Forms l Forms and Practice Materials Resource Guide l Practical students Law Company – free to law
Evaluating Web Sites l Credibility: author; possible bias, accuracy. l Currency / Updating, Coverage l Writing Quality l Ease of use – Design, navigation, searchability, help l Stability
Forms and Sample Contracts l Who publishes the site? A legal publisher? bar association? l Does the site sell forms? l Who wrote the form? l Use with caution, tailor to your facts
The Invisible Web l Search Engines not index entire web l Search engines cannot type or think. l “Invisible Web” includes information stored in databases and password restricted information
Accessing Invisible Web Find databases via directories or search engines (search for a subject term and the word “database”), or ask a librarian. l Bookmark databases you find l See Web Searching guide l
Invisible Web Example l Traffic tickets. Try a search on Google and pipl. com to find traffic tickets for John Ferris of Vandalia, Ohio.
Web Sites to Know l Thomas. gov – Federal Legislative History l Fed’l Govt. – FDSys l E-CFR - most up to date Code of Federal Regulations l A-Z Index of U. S. Government Depts. & Agencies
More Websites to Know l Martindale Hubbell Law Digest l Ohio Supreme Court l Municipal Ordinances
Conclusion l Use Free Web, but be aware limitations in coverage, currency, searching ability, reliability l Go beyond Google: Use free legal databases, legal search engines and portals
e. Handout l https: //www. law. csuohio. edu/lawlibrary/e handout/alternatives 2011