Belated Monday Practice Tip- Legal Research Tips Part 3

Hi there all, today’s Monday practice tip is sheepishly being brought to you here on Wednesday!  This on the heels of getting a Monday off last week for the Fourth of July!  The truth is I have a good anecdote from last week that would be good for a tip about procrastination but the irony of posting that on my two-day late blog post is too rich for my blood, so we will come back to that tale another time!

Instead, let’s return to our series about research tips.  We have doled out 4 so far.

5) Pray that your firm subscribes to some law review/journal subscriptions on Westlaw and then use them!!  You know those law periodicals that hit your desk every month but you’re too stressed or lazy to crack them open before serving them into the “round file?”  Well, Westlaw reads many of those for you and wouldn’t you know it, they are a treasure trove of useful information!  Most of these publications, like the Florida Bar Journal,  have three to four articles  each month on hot topics.  They may contain good strategy points or a weighty analysis on a legal issue, providing the case law on both sides of the issue.  You will want to double-check the authors’ research, but they provide a great start.  These periodical databases require additional subscription charges, but they are worth it.  If your firm does not subscribe to any, make a point to pitch the idea.  If you get nowhere, then stop tossing these magazines in the bin.  Skim them, tab them, and have your assistant create a binder full of articles organized by topic. 

6) Think outside the box with federal cases.  Thanks to PACER, virtually all federal pleadings from the past five-ten years are available through PACER in pdf form.  When you find a good case on a Motion or Response that you are working on from a federal court, don’t just rely on the case cite, go on the docket and pull the actual motions/responses that occurred in that case!  See what arguments worked!  See what cases those other attorneys found. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Practice Tips for Young Attorneys

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