Legal Research Techniques-Robin Schard

Legal Research Techniques

Law 151AS
Spring 2018
Course Web Site:

Robin Schard
Office D-138
Class Schedule         Course Description and Requirements

Class Schedule

Jan. 16

Introduction to Course
Register for TWEN
What Research Skills Do Lawyers Need?
Required Reading: AALL Legal Research Competencies
Please read the excerpt from the article entitled Which Practice-Ready Courses Should You Take? from the Student Lawyer on the TWEN page, Additional Readings section
Powerpoint: Introduction to the Course
Law Library Web Page
Law Library Research Databases

Abraham Lincoln
Jan. 18, 25

Online Searching Techniques
Powerpoint: Efficient Searching

Jan. 23

Basics of Using Bloomberg Law

Jan. 30

Evaluating Authority and Information
Evaluating Authority (Listen to recording and complete exercise before class on January 25th) (Bring exercise to class on Jan. 25th)
Required Reading: From Hate Speech to Fake News (See Editor's Note for caution) and Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Potential for Faking Video
Due: Evaluating Authority (Due in-class on 1/25)
Boilerplate: a technological milestone
Manhattan Airport Foundation
All About Explorers
Dog Island

WHOIS Lookup (
Scout Report (

Feb. 1

Secondary Sources, Basics Part 1
Refresher Recordings:
The Process of Legal Research (06:32)
How and When to Use Print Sources (08:56)
Secondary Sources Part I (15:00)
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapters 2 and Sections 3-6, 7-5, and 7-6
Powerpoint: Research Guide
Subject Guide to Treatises
Hein Online
Making of Modern Law
Index to Legal Periodicals
SSRN (working papers)
Powerpoint: Basic Secondary Sources

Feb. 6, 8

Secondary Sources, Basics Part 2
Refresher Recording:
Secondary Sources Part II (10:47)

Feb. 13, 15

Constitutions and Statutes
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 4
Exercise: Sign-up for statutes research practicum (Sign-up sheet will be available on TWEN after class on 2/15)
Due: Topic Selection for Research Guide (2/8)
Powerpoint: Statutory Research (pdf)
Florida Senate Calendar (Session Dates Description and 2018 dates)
Online Sunshine (FL Statutes, Constitution, Laws)
Florida Statutes (from FL Senate - with bills, etc.)
Florida Statutes (Historical)
American Law Sources Online (for material from other states)
U.S. Code (Fdsys)
U.S. Code (LII)
Hein Online

Powerpoint: Constitutions
Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation (from GPO provides basic description and leading cases for each section)
Founders' Constitution (text plus supporting documents on understanding the history of each clause)
Century of Lawmaking (from the Lib. of Cong. includes Farrand's Records and other original documents)
The Federalist Papers (Avalon Project at Yale)
State Constitutions Project (NBER/Maryland)
Florida Historical Legal Documents

Feb. 20

Competitive Intelligence
Required Reading: Ann Lee Gibson, How to Create and Use Competitive Intelligence: 45 Tips for Law Firms, Law Practice, Mar. 2008 at 47.

Bloomberg Law- basic company information, litigation analytics, news, SEC filings
Business Insights: Essentials - company information, SWOT reports, trade news, rankings
Daily Business Review - legal and business news for South Florida (older articles on Lexis)
Edgar- SEC filings, also on several other databases
Hoover's Company Profiles - company description, history, people, financials
Lexis - cases, news, SEC filings, Corporate Affiliations, SGA Executive Tracker, etc.
Mergent Online - company, financial, stock information, filings, news
Miami Herald - news from Miami-Dade County, 1982-current
Royal Caribbean International, Ltd.
Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage - stock prices, basic company, financial information
Sunbiz - Florida Division of Corporations - annual reports, trademarks, registered agents
Thomson One Banker - interactive stock charts, financials, filings, industry peers
(Non-legal) Research Guides - Other UM databases and sources
Westlaw - cases, news, SEC filings, Directory of Corporate Counsel, etc.
Wall Street Journal - economic and business news
Yahoo Finance stock information and basic company information

Feb. 22, 27

Case Law Research
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 3
Citation of Unpublished Opinions
Refresher Recording: Case Law Research (14:53)
Powerpoint: Cases
State Court Structure (National Center for State Courts)
Google Scholar

Fastcase (also on Hein)
U.S. Courts
State Court Web Sites (National Center for State Courts)
Federal Judicial Center
Robing Room (Comments on judges)
Miami-Dade County Judicial Poll Results
FL Supreme Court Briefs and Opinions

Mar. 1, 6, 8

Administrative Law
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 6
Handout: Exercise on Administrative Law
Due: Briefing Book (3/2 by 11:59pm)
Powerpoint: Federal Administrative Law (pdf)
United States Government Manual
A-Z List of Gov't Departments & Agencies (federal)
Code of Federal Regulations (FDsys) (comments and dockets)
Hein Online
Federal Administrative Decisions, etc
Florida Adminstrative Code & Weekly
Due: Overview Section for Research Guide (3/8)

WPA Poster
Mar. 12-16 Spring Break
Mar. 20, 22

Legislative History
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 5
Handout: Exercise on Legislative History
Due: Encyclopedia Section for Research Guide (3/23)
Powerpoint: Federal Legislative History
Congressional (Proquest)
Hein Online
Legislative Histories of Selected U.S. Laws on the Internet
Florida Legislative History Research Guide
Florida House of Representatives (history and tracking)
Florida Legislative History (FL Senate, 1998-2010)
Selected Florida Staff Analysis (1971-1997) (updated, new link)
Florida, Current Session(s)

Mar. 27

Research Strategy
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 1
Powerpoint: Research Strategy (pdf)
Research Guide: Integrated Research Strategy

Mar. 29

Practice-Ready Resources
Due: Administrative Law Exercise (3/29)

April 3

Verdicts, Settlements, Court Rules & Citators
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 7
Due: Legislative History Exercise (4/3)
Recording: Researching Court Rules (13:29)

April 5

Florida and Other State-Specific Legal Research
Municode (municipal ordinances or codes)
Uniform Law Commission (unannotated)
Hein Online
Florida Law Weekly (description)
The Florida Bar
Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute
Florida Bar - General Practice Solo and Small Firm
Florida Cities by County Listing (Florida Association of Counties)
Miami-Dade Public Library System
11th Judicial Circuit (Clerk of Court)
Florida Professional Liability (Office of Insurance Regulation) (malpractice claims)

April 10, 12

Foreign & International Research
Foreign Law Guide...
vLex Global
Guide to Online: Nations (Law Library of Congress)
World Legal Information Institute
Political Database of the Americas
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals
Constitute Project
More Foreign Law Resources

Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Max Planck Institute)
Oxford Scholarship Online
Oxford Reports on International Law
UN Official Document Service
Treaties in Force
EISIL (Electronic Information System for International Law)
U.S. Department of State (country and treaty reports)
Organization of American States
More International Resources

April 17

New Research Tools and Law Office Technology
Last day for research guide drafts (optional) (4/13)
ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
Legal Tech Audit
Ross Intelligence: EVA
Ravel Law
Lex Machina
Confidentiality and Privacy Apps (Law Technology Today)

April 19 Government Documents, and Statistics
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Compilation of Presidential Documents
Congressional (Proquest)
Department of Labor
Department of State
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Fed. Open Data
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Florida Department of Corrections
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Florida Secured Transaction Registry
Government Publishing Office (GPO)
Library of Congress
National Institutes of Health
National Freedom of Information Coalition
Public Papers of the President
Small Businss Administration
Statistical Abstract of the United States
Uniform Crime Reports
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Apr. 24 No Class
Apr. 25 Final Research Guide due by 11:59pm.
Please put it in the Assignment Drop Box on TWEN, e-mail it to me, or turn it in to me directly.
Last update: 4/19/2018