A Moot Court Handbook
Edited By Paul I. Weizer
Chapter Two: Understanding Legal Research
Understanding Legal Research
At first, the legal research can be overwhelming, but keep in mind that lawyers have devised common systems and structures to help find materials quickly and easily so they can bill their clients for hours of research! Once you begin to see the pattern in which legal materials are accessed, finding the law becomes almost routine. Learning the different sources available and how to use each one most effectively is the most difficult part. After that, it is a process of going on treasure hunts to find the clues you need to solve your own particular legal puzzle.
This chapter helps you conduct legal research for your moot court argument, and it contains two components to help you hone your research skills. The first section presents an introduction to law and the structure of the legal process. It includes the principal sources of law widely used by those in the legal profession, as well as information about how sources of law relate to the legal process. The second section introduces you to finding and searching legal sources and also provides you with information to access both text-based and electronic materials. Here we include suggestions about how to conduct research through online data bases that require paid subscriptions such as LexisNexis Academic Universe and Westlaw (these may be free through your library). We also provide information on free websites such as http://www.findlaw.com, the...
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