Legal Research Techniques-Robin Schard

Legal Research Techniques

Law 151BS
Spring 2019
Course Web Site:

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

Class Schedule

Jan. 14

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
Introduction to the Class
Law Library
Research Databases
West Academic Study Aids

Abraham Lincoln
January 16, 23

Online Searching Techniques
law Powerpoint: Online Searching

January 28, 30

Evaluating Authority and Information
Evaluating Authority (Listen to recording and complete exercise before class on January 28th) (Bring exercise to class on January 28th)
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 1/28)

CNN Quiz Can you Spot the DeepFake?
Boilerplate: a technological milestone
Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
Manhattan Airport Foundation
All About Explorers
Dog Island

WHOIS Lookup (
Scout Report (

Febrary 4

Basics of Using Bloomberg Law
Powerpoint: Research Guide

February 6, 11, 13

Secondary Sources, Basics
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)
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapters 2 and Sections 3-6, 7-5, and 7-6
Due: Topic Selection for Research Guide (2/6)
Powerpoint: Evaluation of Sources
Subject Guide to Treatises
Hein Online
Making of Modern Law
Index to Legal Periodicals
SSRN (working papers)
Powerpoint: Basic Secondary Sources

February 18, 20

Competitive Intelligence (Business Development/Business Intelligence)
Required Reading: Ann Lee Gibson, How to Create and Use Competitive Intelligence: 45 Tips for Law Firms, Law Practice, Mar. 2008 at 47. (The reading is also available in TWEN, under Additional Reading.)
Due: Overview Section for Research Guide (2/20)

Bloomberg Law- basic company information, litigation analytics, news, SEC filings
Business Insights: Global - 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
OpenSecrets - political donors
Spirit (investor relations)
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

February 25, 27

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 2/27)
Powerpoint: Statutory Research (pdf)
Florida Senate Calendar (2019 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 (GovInfo)
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

March 4, 6

Administrative Law
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 6
Handout: Exercise on Administrative Law
Due: Briefing Book
(3/6 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 (GovInfo, 1996-2018) (comments and dockets)
Hein Online
Federal Administrative Decisions, etc
Florida Adminstrative Code & Weekly

March 11-15 Spring Break

March 18, 20

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

WPA Poster
March 25, 27

Legislative History
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 5
Handout: Exercise on Legislative History
Due: Encyclopedia Section for Research Guide (3/27)
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)

April 1

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

April 3

Practice-Ready Resources

April 8 Verdicts, Settlements, Citators, & Court Rules
Recommended Reading: Nutshell Chapter 7
Recording: Researching Court Rules (13:29)
Due: Legislative History Exercise (4/8)
April 15

Foreign & International Research
Last day for research guide drafts (optional) (4/13)
Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Max Planck Institute)
EISIL (Electronic Information System for International Law)
Oxford Scholarship Online
Oxford Reports on International Law
UN Official Document Service
Treaties in Force
U.S. Department of State (country and treaty reports)
Organization of American States
More International Resources

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

April 17 New Research Tools and Law Office Technology
ABA Legal Technology Resource Center
Legal Tech Audit / Technology Requirement
Ross Intelligence: EVA
Ravel Law (Lexis)
Lex Machina (Lexis)
Confidentiality and Privacy Apps (Law Technology Today)
  Government Documents, and Statistics
Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress biographical information for all members of congress - current and past
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Compilation of Presidential Documents Department of Labor employment statistics
Department of State
Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate information
Fed. Open Data
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation banking information, such as closings
Florida Department of Corrections inmate information
Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics on Florida crimes
Florida Secured Transaction Registry UCC filings
Government Publishing Office (GPO) clearinghouse for all available grants from federal government
Library of Congress
National Institutes of Health
National Freedom of Information Coalition advice on how to file FOIA requests
Public Papers of the President source of Presidential documents (speechs, orders, proclamations, etc), full run of the Public Papers of the President is on Hein
Small Businss Administration
Statistical Abstract of the United States one source for most commonly used statistics
Uniform Crime Reports annually published, includes breakdowns by crime and geographic area
U.S. Census Bureau all types of statistics, not just census information
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Food and Drug Administrationdrug information, including ones withdrawn from use clearinghouse for all federal government information
USAJobs open positions with the federal government
April. 22 No Class
April 23 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: 4/17/2019