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Tutorials on Legal Research 

Welcome to our web-based tutorials page, which provides links to different legal research teaching aids available on the Internet or in our library. There are many tutorials available, but we have selected the ones that are most relevant to the research needs of our library users.  We have grouped tutorials based on the type of research or resource it explores.  Most are video presentations, although there are some more basic PowerPoint screens which will walk users through checklists for conducting particular types of research, for example, researching legislative history for federal statutes.


Please keep in mind that video and audio files often require high-speed or broadband connections in order to run.  Some presentations require Adobe Flash.  If you use a dial-up connection for your Internet access, some tutorials may not play very well on your computer.


Many larger academic law libraries provide multiple tutorials for using online services for legal research.  There may be some other tutorials at some of these sites besides those to which we have provided links here.  However,  many of these will be specific to the resources of the institution producing them, such as how to use the library catalog, and how to use specific databases that can only be accessed by students and faculty of that institution.


What is included here is general inforamation about conducting legal research, either online or with various printed research tools available in most law libraries.   You might also want to check out the list of research guides on our web site as well, by going back to the Law Library's main web page.


 General Legal Research Tutorials
Caselaw
  • Finding a Case (The Public Library of Law)
    http://bit.ly/9nR1Ll
    This website is sponsored by Fastcase, a commercial vendor of online legal databases.  The PLOL site is free, and provides free access to more recent case opinions and statutes for all 50 states.  **Warning: The forms provided at this site are from a commercial vendor and are NOT free. You should always verify whether a form you find online can be used in Oregon or elsewhere, particularly if it is a court form.  You should also verify that the vendor is a reputable  and secure source before purchasing anything online.
    Finding Forms
    Foreclosure
    Hiring a Lawyer
    Introduction to Law
     State Specific Legal Research Tutorials
    Searching Statutes
    • Searching Statutes (The Public Law Library of Law)
      http://bit.ly/bRkUcq
      This video uses Illinois as an example, but you can also link to the Oregon Revised Statues website from the PLOL site.
      This website is sponsored by Fastcase, a commercial vendor of online legal databases. The PLOL site is free, and provides free access to more recent case opinions and statutes for all 50 states. **Warning: The forms provided at this site are from a commercial vendor and are NOT free. You should always verify whether a form you find online can be used in Oregon or elsewhere, particularly if it is a court form. You should also verify that the vendor is a reputable and secure source before purchasing anything online
    • Statutes (Harvard Law School)
      http://www.law.harvard.edu/media/2004/10/01/lib_statutes.mov
      "The two basic forms of the published statutory law of the United States are session laws and codes. This video examines the relationship between these two forms and demonstrates how to trace changes in a statute's language and how to update a statute to ensure it is still good law. You will also see how annotated codes connect statutes to the judicial opinions and secondary legal sources that discuss and interpret them."
     Using Secondary Sources
    • Using Secondary Sources (Harvard Law School)
      http://www.law.harvard.edu/media/2002/10/01/lib_secondary_sources.mov Secondary sources are those materials that explain, analyze and interpret the law. This video focuses on four major categories of secondary sources: legal encyclopedias, annotation services, legal treatises, and law reviews; and discusses how each best fits into a research strategy.
    Searching US Government Documents and Information
    • Using FDSys (Federal Digital System)
      http://www.gpo.gov/fdsysinfo/tutorials.htm
      GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) is an advanced digital system that will enable GPO to manage Government information from all three branches of the U.S. Government.
    Using Subscription-Based and Free Databases for Research
     Using LexisNexis
    • Shepards (UC Hastings Law Library)
      http://holmes.uchastings.edu/library/student-resources/first-year/shepards/shepards.html
      Shepard’s® Citations Service, the premier citation service, available exclusively from LexisNexis®. Shepard’s helps you easily confirm that your caselaw citations are still good law. Shepard’s can also identify citing cases that discuss specific issues of interest. Shepard’s Alert® can help you monitor your cases and alert you to changes.
     Using Westlaw
     Using HeinOnline
    Using Google Scholar
    • Using LegalTrac and Google Scholar to Find Law Review Articles (Heafey Library, Santa Clara Law) http://bit.ly/c56r0F