Web Resources for Legal Research
Legal Research Methodology
- Cornell University's Basics of Legal Research - This is a great link that explains, in a step-by-step process, the steps a legal researcher must take.
- Andrew Zimmerman's Legal Research Guide - Not as "step-by-step" as Cornell's guide but still potentially useful. The good news is that this website provides a tremendous wealth of potentially valuable information. Unfortunately though, some of these links have links to other resources that are not available to IUP students. At the same time however, Zimmerman's guide provides a good explanation of many legal terms and concepts.
- How to read a legal opinion Courtesy Orin S. Kerr (license) - I wish I had this resource when I was in paralegal school!
- findlaw.com - Findlaw is an adequate resource for learning, in a general sense, about legal issues. It provides good background information to the legal researcher but would never be considered adequately authoratative for legal professionals engaged in the day-to-day practice of law. The following links provide a generic understanding of the court system.
- The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania - Explains the court structure of Pennsylvania.
- Structure of the Federal Court System - Explains the federal court system.
Databases Available to IUP Students and Faculty
Two databases of particular interest for legal researchers are LexisNexis and Legal Collection. (To gain access from home, use your 16 digit I-card number.)
- Lexis-Nexis / Academic Universe -- Provides access to a wide range of news, business, legal, and reference information allowing retrieval of documents that meet your specific research needs. When performing case law legal research, click on the "Legal" tab at the top of the page. And if possible, always make sure you Shepardize any cases you may think maybe of interest in order to insure the decision handed down is still good law. Interface: LEXIS/NEXIS. Quick Guide to Finding Legal Cases.
- Ebscohost Legal Collection -- Centered on the discipline of law and legal topics, this is a collection of respected, scholarly peer-reviewed publications including law journals, documents, and case studies. This database is an authoritative source for information on current issues, studies, thoughts and trends of the legal world. Legal Collection offers full text for more than 260 of the world's best law journals. It is a subset of Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier and Communication and Mass Media Complete.
Legal Research Manual: a game plan for legal research and analysis - KF240 .W7 1988 - Probably the best book in the IUP collection for legal research beginners.
Handbook for Research in Media Law - KF241.C65 L66 2005 - By its title you'd think this book was useful only for media law, but it's not. This book provides good explanations of laws, statutes, regulations and the differences that exist between them and case law. In addition, it gives a good explanation of how to use LexisNexis legal research and case validation features.
Practical Legal Research: skills & strategies for the legal assistant - KF240 .W32 1995 - Whether or not you intend to become a paralegal, this is a good resource.
Reference Works - Cannot be removed from the library
Legal Research In a Nutshell - [REF] KF240 .C54 1971 - While this is a good resource, don't let the title fool you. Legal research, when done correctly, is exhaustive.
How to Find the Law - [REF] KF240 .C538 1983
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court - [REF] KF8742 .W567 1990
Black's Law Dictionary - [REF] KF156.B53 2004
Corpus Juris Secundum: a complete restatement of the entire American law as developed by all reported cases - [REF] KF154.C56
Federal Supplement - [REF] KF120 .F42
Federal Reporter - [REF] KF 105 .F432
Search for Books and/or Request Inter-Library Loans
- The Libraries' book collection includes works that offer comprehensive treatments of historical topics. Use PILOT, our online catalog to find books in our collection as well as links to the full-text of electronic reserve items and other valuable information on the Internet.
- To search the catalogs of other Pennsylvania libraries, and to borrow from them directly, search PALCI (log in using your 16-digit I-card number).
Citing What You Find
A guide to Basic Legal Citation courtesy of Peter Martin, Cornell University.
The authoratative source for citing legal cases, statutes, laws etc, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation KF245 .B58 and [REF] KF245.B58 is available at the Stapleton Library.
The following links are provided courtesy of Purdue University.
A guide to the Chicago/Turabian style of citation.
A guide to the APA style of citation.
A guide to the MLA style of citation.
A guide to citing electronic sources.