Legal Research Techniques-Robin Schard

Legal Research Techniques

Law 151AS
Spring 2017
Course Web Site:

Robin Schard
Office D-138
Class Schedule     Course Description and Requirements     Sample Research Journal Entry

Class Schedule

Jan. 17

Introduction to Course
Register for TWEN
What Research Skills Should Law Students Develop?
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 (pdf)
Library Web Page
Library Catalog
Subscription Databases

Abraham Lincoln
Jan. 19

Class Canceled
Evaluating Authority (Listen to recording and complete exercise before class on Jan. 24th) (Bring exercise to class on Jan. 24)

Jan. 24

Evaluating Information
Refresher: Evaluating Web Sites (10:17)
Due: Evaluating Authority (Due in-class on 1/24)
Boilerplate: a technological milestone
Dehydrated Water
Manhattan Airport Foundation
All About Explorers
Dog Island
World Trade Organization (

WHOIS Lookup (
Scout Report (
Urban Legends & Folklore or
Places to complain about fraud:
     Internet Fraud Complaint Center (FBI & National White Collar Crime Center)
     National Fraud Information Center
     SEC Complaint Center (corporate, consumer or mail fraud)
     FTC Consumer Complaint Form (trade, retail, consumer fraud)
     Florida Division of Consumer Services
Read for 1/26: From Hate Speech to Fake News (See Editor's Note for caution)

Jan. 26 General Online Searching Techniques
Powerpoint: Searching (pdf)
Jan. 31 Basics of Using Bloomberg Law

Feb. 9,14, 16, 21

Secondary Sources: The Basic and the Practical
Refresher Recordings:
The Process of Legal Research (06:32)
How and When to Use Print Sources (08:56)
Secondary Sources Part I (15:00)
Secondary Sources Part II (10:47)
Reading: Nutshell Chapters 2 and Sections 3-6, 7-5, and 7-6
Handout: Exercise on Secondary Sources
Due: Topic Selection for Pathfinder (2/9)
Subject Guide to Treatises
Hein Online
Making of Modern Law
Index to Legal Periodicals
SSRN (working papers)

Feb. 28, Mar. 2

Constitutions and Statutes
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 4
Exercise: Sign-up for statutes research practicum (Sign-up sheet will be available on TWEN after class on 2/23)
Powerpoint: Statutory Research (pdf)
Due: Secondary Sources Exercise (3/2)
Florida Senate Calendar (Session Dates Description and 2017 dates)
Online Sunshine (FL Statutes, Constitution, Laws)
Florida Statutes (from FL Senate - with bills, etc.)
Sunshine Statutes
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 (from Constitution Society)
Florida Historical Legal Documents

Mar. 7

Case Law Research
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 3
Citation of Unpublished Opinions
Refresher Recording: Case Law Research (14:53)
Due: Encyclopedia Section for your Pathfinder (required) (3/10)
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. 9

Class canceled

Mar. 13-17

Spring Break

Mar. 21, 23

Administrative Law
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 6
Handout: Exercise on Administrative Law
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

WPA Poster
Mar. 28, 30

Legislative History
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 5
Handout: Exercise on Legislative History
Due: Overview to your Pathfinder (required) (3/30)
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)

Apr. 4

Research Strategy
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 1
Due: Administrative Law Exercise (4/4)
Powerpoint: Research Strategy (pdf)
Research Guide: Integrated Research Strategy

Apr. 6

Verdicts, Settlements, Court Rules & Citators
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 7
Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure
FL Rules of Court Procedure

Apr. 11

Florida and State-Specific Legal Research
Due: Legislative History Exercise (4/11)
Uniform Law Commission (unannotated)
Hein Online
Florida Law Weekly (description)
The Florida Bar
     Florida City-County-Circuit Listing
Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute
Florida Bar - General Practice Solo and Small Firm
Municode (municipal ordinances or codes)
Miami-Dade Public Library System
11th Judicial Circuit (Clerk of Court)
Florida Professional Liability (Office of Insurance Regulation) (malpractice claims)

Apr. 13

Looseleafs and other Topical Sources
Reading: Nutshell Chapter 8
Powerpoint: Looseleaf Sources (pdf)
Last day for pathfinder drafts (optional) (4/14)
Powerpoint: Looseleaf Sources (pdf)
Bloomberg BNA Subscriptions
Tax Resources

Apr. 18

Government Documents and Agency Materials
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)
Congressional Research Service Reports
Department of Labor
Department of State
Federal Bureau of Prisons
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
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. 20

Search Engines and Legal Tech Audit
Ravel Law
Confidentiality and Privacy Apps (Law Technology Today)
Howjsay pronunciation dictionary
Daily Business Review (legal newspaper for South Florida)
Public Records Online (search property records)
Sunbiz (Florida Division of Corporations)
Tasa Group
Expert Pages (self-identified experts)

Apr. 25 No Class
Final Pathfinder 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: 4/20/2017