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Posts Tagged ‘foreign legal research’

Everybody Researches….But Not Everybody Researches Well

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

It may only be March, but summer jobs are just around the corner.  Are you ready?  While you may have the job, the three new suits and your smart phone at hand, that is not all you need.  How confident are you about your legal research skills?

In a white paper titled “Research Skills for Lawyers and Law Students”  Thomson-West (now Thomson-Reuters, “parents” of Westlaw) shared the results of numerous roundtables with law firm and academic librarians, and the resulting forum in response to the conclusions regarding legal research and writing.  In response to the question “What are the most important research tasks (online or in print that entry level attorneys must know?” the overwhelming top response was “cost effective research.”   When asked “[w]hat research tasks should usually be conducted in books vs. online?” “secondary source research” was the clear first recommendation.

In addition to the research skills that you will need to know, there are electronic resources other than Westlaw and Lexis that many law offices are using.  Some offices subscribe to Loislaw while others, particularly small firms, may rely extensively on services provided by state bars such as Casemaker or Fastcase.  If all this seems a bit overwhelming, you might want to hone your research abilities by attending “Boot Camp for Your Legal Research Skills.”  This program, offered March 29, from 4:00 -7:00 p.m.,  is intended to make you a lean, mean, researching machine.  It covers how to start your research project, tips for keeping billable hours, how to research cost effectively, and will provide you with a chance to hear from and question two students who have been employed in various jobs requiring legal research.  The program will conclude with the opportunity to visit a number of different “stations” where you will be able to view practice materials, databases, and apps that can help you conquer the most rebellious research assignment.  To keep your strength up, food and drink will be served.

Least you think that we are trying to blackmail you into attending our program (alas, I was outvoted), there are ways that you can firm-up flabby research skills even if you cannot attend the “boot camp for your brain.”  First, take advantage of the “prepare to practice” type classes offered by database vendors.  Their classes will focus heavily on practice materials, and on how to do cost effective research.  You should aim at taking these classes soon, before exams absorb your mind and the reps go back to headquarters for the summer.   Second, even after exam you can take a little time to familiarize yourself with the research materials in the areas of law that your firm focuses upon.  Even if it is too late to take a class in corporations, it is not to late to skim the Nutshell.  Also, make an appointment with one of our librarians.  Whether you are seeking to learn more about a topic area, or about the resources in a particular state, we will be able to help you filter the vast quantity of materials out there and select the best.  And third,  do not forget that the best research can be rendered ineffective by poor writing.  Make sure that you always keep the words “clear and concise” in mind when submitting your research results.  Good luck and good research.

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New Database! Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

The PCL now has access electronically to the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, accessible from the library’s home page or our online services page (in the left column).

The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals  provides access to legal literature worldwide, covering all forms of foreign (non-Anglo-American) law.  This includes comparative law and legal systems, such as Islamic law; socialist law; public and private international law; and transnational commercial law.

The data is not limited by country of publication, but rather type of publication.  Thus, while publications concerning British and American law are not included, British and American publications concerning foreign law are included.
The types of documents covered include journal articles, congress reports, essay collections, yearbooks, and book reviews.  The database encompasses all languages.  Materials in Greek, Cyrillic, and East Asian vernacular are Romanized according to Library of Congress standards.  Arabic and Hebrew titles are translated into English or French.

Coverage begins with 1985.

The search results will link you to a copy of the article if it is available from WFU libraries.  Otherwise, take note of the citation information and submit an interlibrary loan request and we’ll do our best to get you a copy of the article.  If you have any questions about the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, please see a reference librarian.

New from Hein Online – World Constitutions Illustrated

April 19, 2010 Comments off

The initial release of this new library to Hein Online includes the current constitution for every country (193 countries) and substantial constitutional histories for the United Kingdom, France, Brazil and Colombia. 

Every country includes:

  • The current constitution in its original language format, accompanied by at least one English translation
  • Links to commentaries and other relevant sources such as the World Fact Book, Annual Human Rights Reports Submitted to Congress by the U.S. Department of State, Country Studies
  • Direct links to specific chapters within the 800 classic constitutional books that discuss the country
  • Links to scholarly articles that discuss the constitutional and political development of the country
  • A bibliography of other select constitutional books about the constitutional development or the history of the government
  • Links to online sources such as the Portals of the World and the official government website for the country

The initial release of this library is only the framework for this project.  Hein Online will be continually adding constitutional documents, books, periodicals, articles, and links to expand the constitutional timeline for every country.

This is a tremendous resource for those engaging in foreign and comparative legal research!

You can access Hein Online from the PCL’s Online Services Page.