Legal Research

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1

primary authority

Mandatory legal authority that consists of constitutions, statutes, case law, rules of procedure, rules of evidence, administrative rules, court rules, executive orders

2

secondary authority

Persuasive legal authority that consists of law from other jurisdictions, legal encyclopedias, American Law Reports, restatements of law, dictionaries, treatises and periodicals

3

separation of powers

the three branches of government that make up each legal system- legislative, judicial and executive

4

constitutional law

Legal document that carries the most weight and embodies the government's authority to exist and serves as an outline for the exercise of governmental powers.

5

statutory law

Type of law consisting of legislative enactments called statutes at federal level and ordinances at state levels.

6

common law

case law, or judicial opinion, that articulates common law principles

7

stare decisis

the process used to synthesize legal principles from all prior cases with similar facts and similar issues of law to arrive at a decision in a specific case

8

precedent

a prior case within a particular jurisdiction that has 1. facts and legal issues substantially similar to the facts of the case before the court and 2. it was decided by a majority decision of a higher court of that jurisdiction and 3. the case was reported (published)

9

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

govern the way in which a defendant is charged, tried, and sentenced for a federal crime

10

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

how civil actions are handled, including rules that cover the complaint, summons, answer, discovery process, trial, and post-trial procedures

11

Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure

govern the form and procedure for appeals from the U.S. District Court to the Court of Appeals within the federal system

12

Federal Rules of Evidence

govern the types of evidence that are admissible in criminal and civil trials and, in some situations, the manner in which the evidence can be presented during trial

13

bill

a proposed legislative measure

14

slip law

a bill that has been adopted into a law but has been printed singly rather than as a part of a group of laws

15

session laws

all slip laws enacted during a legislative session that are arranged in chronological order according to date of enactment

16

codified

statutes that are collected into a statutory code that are arranged by topic

17

Statutes at Large (Stat.)

What federal session laws are published in

18

United States Code (U.S.C.)

What federal session laws are codified and published in

19

official publication of law

when an official body authorizes and directs the collection and publication of law

20

unofficial publication of law

a publication of law that is not specifically authorized or sanctioned by an official body but, rather, is compiled by a private publisher i.e. West Publishing Company (West) and Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company (Lawyers Co-op)

21

United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.)

published by West

22

United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.)

published by Lawyers Co-op

23

West Publishing Company (West)

an unofficial publication of law that uses the key number system to aid the researcher

24

key number system

a system where every topic and subtopic is assigned its own key number

25

Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company (Lawyers Co-op)

an unofficial publication of law that is known for its extensive use of annotations

26

Federal Register (Fed. Reg.)

Within the federal system, the chronologically published rules and regulations of administrative agencies

27

Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.)

The publication where rules and regulations of administrative agencies are codified

28

court decision

the court's ruling or disposition of the case (whether affirmed, reversed, remanded, or dismissed)

29

court opinion

the court's explanatory comments, which can included the holding, the rationale for the holding, and dicta

30

majority opinion

opinion issued by the majority of the judges of the appellate court; the holding of this opinion may be cited as precedent if all other criteria are met. There is only one in a case

31

concurring opinion

opinion issued by one or more judges of the appellate court which agrees with the result reached by the majority but disagrees with the reasoning of the majority opinion. There can be more than one.

32

dissenting opinion

opinion issued by one or more judges of the appellate court which disagrees with both the result and the reasoning of the majority opinion. There can be more than one

33

per curiam opinion

opinion of the entire court (all judges who heard the case), as opposed to an opinion written by a specific judge

34

en banc

the entire court participates rather than the permissible quorum. This does not mean that the entire court agrees on the outcome, however.

35

memorandum opinion

a very brief opinion; a cursory opinion; an opinion so abbreviated that it is hardly an opinion at all

36

de novo

anew, from the beginning, the case is tried in the appellate court as if it had not been tried previously, and witness are allowed to testify.

37

de novo on record

anew on the record, the appellate court must base its decision on the record (no new testimony can be received) but may reach an independent factual finding if the facts from the trial court are "clearly erroneous" based on the record as a whole

38

on the record

the appellate court reviews the record for prejudicial legal errors committed in the trial court but gives great deference to the findings of fact; factual findings are generally reversed only when they are "arbitrary or capricious"

39

caption

identifies the court issuing the opinion, the parties, and the docket number assigned to the case

40

date of decision

the date upon which the decision was rendered

41

parallel citation

if the same case is published in another case reporter, the volume and page number of that reporter is shown

42

headnote or syllabus

brief summary of a legal rule discussed in the opinion; headnotes are numbered. key numbers are used in West publications

43

statement of facts

brief summary of facts of case, including its procedural posture

44

opinion

court's explanation; includes the holding, rationale, and dicta

45

holding

rule of law for which the case is cited as precedent; it is the legal effect of the facts of the case

46

rationale

ratio decidendi- court's reasoning or basis for it sholding and decision

47

dicta

obiter dictum- comments of the court about minor issues or concerns other than the specific holding, rationale, and decision. Never cited as precedent

48

decision

result or disposition of the case

49

slip opinion

when a federal case first decides a case. a single opinion of the court issued without headnotes and without indexing.

50

advance sheets

slip opinions collected and published periodically

51

United States Law Week (U.S.L.W)

advance sheet published weekly by the Bureau of National Affairs

52

United States Supreme Court Bulletin

advance sheet published by Commerce Clearing House

53

U.S. Supreme court case reporters

United States Reports (U.S.)
Supreme Court Reporter (S.Ct.)
United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition (L.Ed. or L.Ed.2d)

54

United States Reports

Official case reporter for the U.S. Supreme Court

55

Supreme Court Reporter

unofficial U.S. Supreme Court case reporter published by West

56

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition

unofficial U.S. Supreme Court case reporter published by Lawyers Co-op

57

United States Courts of Appeals case reporters

Federal Reporter, Third Series (F.3d)
Federal Reporter, Second Series (F.2d)
Federal Reporter (F.)
Federal Cases (F. Cas.)
all unofficial and all published by West

58

United States District Courts case reporters

Federal Supplement (F. Supp.)
Federal Reporter, Second Series (F.2d)
Federal Reporter (F.)
Federal Cases (F. Cas.)
all unofficial and all published by West

59

National Reporter System

Case reports, published by West, that divides the United States into seven geographical regions and reports the decisions of the highest appellate court of each state within that region.

60

Atlantic Reporter (A. or A.2d)

Connecticut, Delaware, D.C. (Court of Appeals), Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont

61

North Eastern Reporter (N.E. or N.E.2d)

Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio

62

North Western Reporter (N.W. or N.W.2d)

Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

63

Pacific Reporter (P. or P.2d)

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming

64

South Eastern Reporter (S.E. or S.E.2d)

Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia

65

South Western Reporter (S.W. or S.W.2d)

Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Indian Territories

66

Southern Reporter (So. or So.2d)

Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi

67

legal encyclopedias

encyclopedias that are arranged alphabetically and contain narrative, expository information on a variety of legal topics. published by West and Lawyers Co-op

68

Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.)

legal encyclopedia published by West

69

American Jurisprudence, Second Series (Am. Jur. 2d)

legal encyclopedia published by Lawyers Co-op

70

American Law Reports

secondary authority that is leading annotated law reporter published by Lawyers Co-op. Distinguishing feature not the cases that it reports, but the extensive editorial commentary that follows each reported case

71

restatements of law

Published by the American Law Institute, it collects and distills the primary, general rules in a given legal topic area- what the rules are and sometime what the committee believes they ought to be. It also provides explanations of the rules and gives examples of how they apply, using brief, hypothetical cases.

72

legal dictionaries

often provide case citations upon which a definition is based. A couple of them are Black's Law _____ and Ballantine's Law _____.

73

treatise

a single-volume text written by a legal scholar in a given topic area

74

TARP method

Headnotes in the American Digest System are cataloged in this manner: Thing, Action, Relief, Parties

75

Shepard's Citations

the most comprehensive collection of legal citators.

76

correct citation of a Constitutional article

U.S. Const. art. IV, § 2, cl. 3.

77

correct citation of a Constitutional amendment

U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1.

78

components of United States Code citation

1. number of the Code title
2. abbreviation for the United States Code
3. section symbol, followed by the number of the Code section; and
4. date of the Code volume in which the most recent version of the section can be found

79

correct citation of United States Code

15 U.S.C. § 7 (1988).

80

components of Statutes at Large citation

1. name of the act
2. abbreviation of Public Law and the public law number
3. volume number of the Statutes at Large
4. abbreviation for Statutes at Large
5. page number where the statutes begins; and
6. the year when the statute was passed as law.

81

correct citation of Statutes at Large

Health Care Act, Pub. L. 92-117, 83 Stat. 624 (1987).

82

components of a standard case citation

1. case name
2. case reporter in which the case is published (include volume number, abbreviation of case reporter, and page where case begins);
3. identity of court issuing the opinion
4. year in which the decision was issued; and
5. subsequent history, if any.

83

correct standard case citation

Avery v. Exxon Co., 397 U.S. 812 (1991).

84

components of a Code of Federal Regulations citation

1. the title (chapter) number
2. abbreviation for the Code of Federal Regulation
3. section number symbol and the section number; and
4. year of publication

85

correct Code of Federal Regulations citation

22 C.F.R. § 145.6 (1992)

86

components of a Federal Register citation

1. volume number of Fed. Reg.
2. abbreviation for Federal Register
3. page number where administrative rule begins; and
4. year of publication

87

correct Federal Register citation

48 Fed. Reg. 37,315 (1983).

88

components of law review citation

1. full name of author
2. designation of type of article (required only if written by student);
3. title of article (italicized or underscored)
4. volume number of law review
5. abbreviated name of law review
6. page number where article begins; and
7. year of publication

89

correct law review citation

Virginia Koerselman, Comment, Worker's Compensation, 15 Creighton L. Rev. 415 (1981).

90

components of and A.L.R. citation

1. full name of author;
2. the word "Annotation";
3. title of annotation (underscored or in italics);
4. volume number of A.L.R. series
5. abbreviation for Annotated Law Reports
6. page number where the annotation begins;
7. year of publication

91

correct A.L.R. citation

John Willis, Annotation, Industrial Noise: Promoting an Unsafe Work Enviroment, 76 A.L.R. Fed. 489 (1986).

92

components of a legal encyclopedia citation

1. volume number of encyclopedia
2. abbreviated name of encyclopedia
3. title of article (underscored or in italics)
4. section symbol and section number within the article;
5. specific page within section; and
6. date of publication

93

correct legal encyclopedia citation

88 C.J.S. Trial § 107 (1980).

94

see generally

the cited authority presents helpful background information about the proposition

95

see, e.g.

the cited authority directly supports the proposition; other authorities also could have been cited but were not cited to avoid duplication

96

cf.

the cited authority states a proposition that is different from the proposition stated by the writer, but the proposition stated in the cited authority is sufficiently similar to lend support to the writer's proposition

97

contra

the cited authority contradicts the proposition stated in the memorandum

98

sequence of citations

1. U.S. Constitutional provision and amendments
2. Federal statutes
3. Federal procedural rules
4. Federal cases (U.S., F.3d, the F.Supp.)
5. State cases (official reporter, then regional reporter)
6. Federal administrative rules and regulations
7. Law review articles
8. Annotations
9. Legal encyclopedias
10. Law dictionaries

99

incorrect United States Code citation

Freedom of Information Act, 46 U.S.C. § 89 (1973).

100

star paging

is used in the first 50 volumes of the United States Reports plus all unofficial reporters of Supreme Court decisions

101

annotations

compilations of cases and historical matter dealing with various aspects of a code of statute, which contain short summaries of other cases, both for and against

102

incorrect legal dictionary citation

Ballantine's Law Dictionary 41 (3rd ed. 1969).

103

incorrect citation of a law review article

W. Weitz, Nocturnal Crimes, 20 Brooklyn L. Rev. 180 (1992).

104

incorrect case citation

Ritches Jr. v. Li, 665 F. Supp. 139 (E.D.Pa. 1991).

105

reporter of Supreme Court decisions that contains summaries of the briefs of counsel

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition

106

most correct definition of star paging

signal used to indicate page numbers in another reporter

107

United States Code is

compiled by topic

108

Statutes at Large is

compiled chronologically

109

the reporter in which federal trial court opinions are contained

F.Supp

110

to update the status of a particular case

Shepard's Citations is used

111

to update the status of a particular statute

supplement volumes or pocket part supplements should be used

112

parallel citations generally are not provided for federal cases

but they are required for home state cases when parallel citations exist

113

the signal infra

is used in legal memoranda and briefs to indicate the full citation for the case follows at a later point in the memorandum or brief

114

the principles stated in opinions of judges, to be followed in future cases, are called

precedent

115

a secondary authority which is not the law itself but is, rather, a persuasive presentation by legal scholars of what the law is or what it should be in a particular topic are

restatement (of law)

116

digests typically

summarize judicial opinions

117

indexes typically

summarized statute topics

118

if a researcher knows the date when a federal statute was adopted the

Congressional Record will provide the most direct access to the text of the statute

119

when a case has been affirmed, reversed or modified on appeal

the subsequent history of the cited case must be included in the citation

120

C.J.S uses the West key number system

True

121

A.L.R. is part of West's American Digest System

False

122

Statutes are published as slip laws before they are published as session laws.

True

123

Statutes are published as session laws at the close of each legislative term.

True

124

The Federal Supplement is an official case reporter.

False

125

A researcher should cite the most recent digest where a particular case summary is found.

False

126

The Federal Supplement contains only selected decisions of federal district courts across the country.

True

127

Case law concerning federal rules of procedure is collected in

Federal Rules Decisions

128

An annotation is

an explanatory note

129

A Decennial Digest is part of the..

American Digest System

130

Before 1924, cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court were combined in

Federal Cases

131

The Federal Register is an official publication

True

132

Supreme Court Reporters is an official publication

False

133

The Federal Supplement is an official publication

False

134

United States Reports is an official publication

True

135

The Code of Federal Regulations is an official publication

True

136

The United States Code Service is an official publication

False

137

The Atlantic Reporter, Second Series is an official publication

False

138

The United States Code is an official publication

True

139

The Supreme Court Reporter, Lawyers Edition is an official publication

False

140

The Federal Reporter, Second Series, is an official publication

False

141

The primary finding tool for statutory law, either state or federal, is...

an index

142

If a researcher wants to check the current status of a case, he or she should use...

Shepard's Citators

143

U.S. Reports contains

a syllabus of the court

144

A scope note tells a researcher coverage of a particular...

digest topic

145

A.L.R. is filled with...

extensive selected annotations

146

Executive orders are...

statutory law

147

Federal rules and procedures are...

statutory law

148

An unofficial publication is any publication

(primary law, secondary law, encyclopedia, or other) issued by a private, non-government publisher.

149

restatement of law, encyclopedia, law review article, treatise: all represent...

secondary authority

150

rules of procedure, local court rules, executive orders, administrative regulations: all represent...

primary authority

151

The National Reporter System and the American Digest System are products of West Legal Studies

True

152

The National Reporter System divides the country into seven regions.

True

153

A statutory code is arranged by statute number

False

154

The United States Code contains all federal statutory law enacted by Congress.

False

155

The signal 'supra' is used in legal memoranda and briefs to refer to a case that has been cited in full previously

False

156

The typical case reporter contains either a separate section or a separate volume devoted to a table of cases and a descriptive word index.

True

157

Each state has both an official and an unofficial reporter series for the opinions of its highest state court.

False

158

Parallel citations for an appellate court opinion may include citations to the trial court reporter series where the trial court opinion is published.

False

159

Within the Shepard's Citator volumes, the citations appearing in parenthesis indicate other cases which have overruled the case being researched.

False

160

Federal statutes are arranged topically in the Statutes at Large.

False.

161

The signal 'infra' is used in legal memoranda and briefs to indicate the full citation for the case follows at a later point in the memorandum or brief.

True

162

The signal 'supra' is used in law review articles and other textual material (but not in legal memoranda and not in briefs) to indicate that the full citation for the case was given previously.

True

163

Digests are compilations of case law for a particular reporter or a particular group of reporters.

True

164

The case summaries found in digests may be cited as primary authority.

False

165

The case summaries found in digests may be cited as secondary authority

False

166

Lawyers-Cooperative Publishing Co.

legal publisher noted for its extensive use of annotations.

167

The American Digest System is sometimes called the Decennial Digest and uses the key number system.

True

168

Secondary authorities are those that contain a general commentary on or explanation of the subject.

True

169

Digests summarize judicial decisions, while indexes summarize statute topics

True

170

When researching a particular federal statute, the United States Code is the most useful source because it is an official publication.

False

171

The American Digest System indexes and classifies all case law, both state and federal.

True

172

A memorandum opinion is an opinion of the entire court, rather than the opinion written by a specific judge.

False

173

Cases decided by the U.S. Court of International Trade ( formerly the U.S. Customs Court) are reported selectively in the Federal Supplement.

True

174

Indexing is the accepted process for checking the status of specific cases, while Shepardizing is used for checking the status of statutes.

False

175

In a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, the name of the appellant appears first in the case caption, regardless of how the caption may have been shown in the lower courts.

True

176

elements of a reported case

caption, date of decision, parallel citations, headnote or syllabus, statement of facts, opinion, holding, rationale, dicta, decision

177

United States Reports is cited as

U.S.

178

Supreme Court Reporter is cited as

S.Ct.

179

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition is cited as

L.Ed or L.Ed.2d

180

American Jurisprudence is a...

encyclopedia

181

Statutes at Large is an official publication that includes all laws enacted by Congress.

True

182

Federal session laws may be found in...

Statutes at Large

183

U.S. Law Week

contains recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court

184

The official reporter of the U. S. Supreme Court is...

United States Reports

185

The record of a court case includes

pleadings, transcript of trial testimony, and exhibits

186

When an appellate court reviews a case de novo on record, it...

reviews the record for errors of law and reaches its own factual finding.

187

Until 1932, cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court were combined in...

the Federal Reporter

188

To determine whether a particular statute has been ruled unconstitutional by a court, one may use...

Shepard's Citations, statute edition

189

These represent secondary authority

legal dictionary, treatise, restatement of law, encyclopedia

190

F.R.D. contains...

decisions concerning federal rules of procedure

191

A decision of an administrative agency is classified as...

case law

192

Presidential proclamations are published in the Statutes at Large.

True

193

substantive law

law that establishes and defines the basic rights and duties that govern a society. It consists of constitutions, legislative enactments, common law, and certain executive actions.

194

procedural law

sometimes called adjective law, it prescribes the manner in which substantive laws must be enforced.