At its most basic definition the practice of law comprises conducting research to find relevant rules of law and then applying those rules to the specific set of circumstances faced by a client. However, in American law, the legal rules to be applied derive from myriad sources, complicating the process and making legal research different from other sorts of research. This text introduces first-year law students to the new kind of research required to study and to practice law. It seeks to demystify the art of legal research by following a “Source and Process” approach. First, the text introduces students to the major sources of American law and describes the forms the various authorities traditionally took in print. After establishing this base, the text proceeds to instruct students on the methods they will most likely use in practice, namely electronic research techniques and the consultation of secondary sources. Sources of Law incorporates screencasts currently hosted on YouTube that actively demonstrate the processes described in the static text. Finally, the text illustrates how the different pieces come together in the legal research process. Sources of Law focuses on realistic goals for 1Ls to learn in a relatively small amount of instruction time, and so focuses mainly on the basics. It does introduce some advanced material so that 1Ls can recognize pieces of information they may encounter in research, but it does not fully cover researching materials outside the scope of the traditional 1L course. As such, it is best-suited for introductory legal research courses for 1Ls.
You have learned that it is necessary to evaluate legal information. And you have also learned some evaluation criteria. In this exercise, learners are required to match the legal information together.
In this video, a year 3 LLB student who is preparing a term paper with a substantial research component regularly consults his supervisor. In a recent meeting, the supervisor queries why two pieces of information were cited in his draft.
One piece of information is from a local real estate agent’s website summarizing the legal provision for the Hong Kong deed of mutual covenant agreements. Another piece of information is a court case covered in a Hong Kong land law blog.
Besides case law, legislation is also important for Jacob's legal research! The law librarian suggests he refreshes his understanding about what legislation is, and how to develop skills in researching legislation.This video will help you develop your skills in researching legislation.