ITT: your best research tip

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trudat15
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ITT: your best research tip

Postby trudat15 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:53 pm

Please. I suck at this.

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Guchster
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Guchster » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:56 pm

trudat15 wrote:Please. I suck at this.


Westlaw. Also, getting librarians to do it for me under the guise of "omg, i'm so confused/bad at this" in a voice as that suggests that I'm so frustrated I might combust--but reality I'm lollzing and playing games on my phone. I'm totally fucked for work this summer. so thank you for this thread.
Last edited by Guchster on Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby ph14 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:56 pm

Guchster wrote:
trudat15 wrote:Please. I suck at this.


Westlaw. Also, getting librarians to do it for me under the guise of "omg, i'm so confused/bad at this" in a voice as that suggests that I'm so frustrated I might combust--but reality I'm lollzing. I'm totally fucked for work this summer. so thank you for this thread.


Westlaw Next.

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Detrox
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Detrox » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:57 pm

Google.

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Guchster
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Guchster » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:01 pm

ph14 wrote:
Guchster wrote:
trudat15 wrote:Please. I suck at this.


Westlaw. Also, getting librarians to do it for me under the guise of "omg, i'm so confused/bad at this" in a voice as that suggests that I'm so frustrated I might combust--but reality I'm lollzing. I'm totally fucked for work this summer. so thank you for this thread.


Westlaw Next.


I only use Westlaw Next when I have to do the research myself. A librarian almost had an aneurysm when I told her I had used it as a starting point. Old people like doing stuff the hard way--that old witch called me and my classmates mindless monkeys for using it, when she called us out in research class for it. But she always finds shit that I miss with her research skills that I do not possess, so maybe if I learn those skills I can be a better Westlaw Next searcher.

OnePostWonder
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby OnePostWonder » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:10 pm

I've heard Next is stupid expensive.

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dood
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby dood » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:42 pm

OnePostWonder wrote:I've heard Next is stupid expensive.


who cares

LawMan20
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby LawMan20 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:45 pm

dood wrote:
OnePostWonder wrote:I've heard Next is stupid expensive.


who cares


We've been advised not to use WestLaw Next because of this. It's so expensive that a lot of firms don't use it. If it's all you know how to use, you might be unlucky and end up at a firm that doesn't have it, which would suck.

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Haymarket
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Haymarket » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:53 pm

Reported to bigelow.

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sundance95
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby sundance95 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:53 pm

dood wrote:
OnePostWonder wrote:I've heard Next is stupid expensive.


who cares

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kalvano
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby kalvano » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:40 am

Google is the correct answer. It searches so many databases, you can often find either the answer or a good starting point.

If that fails, using the "search for a word within so many words of another word" function of Westlaw is really useful.

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:44 am

kalvano wrote:If that fails, using the "search for a word within so many words of another word" function of Westlaw is really useful.

This. If you know how to use terms and connectors well, you can perform really narrow searches and pinpoint what you are looking for.

trudat15
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby trudat15 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:06 am

kalvano wrote:Google is the correct answer. It searches so many databases, you can often find either the answer or a good starting point.

If that fails, using the "search for a word within so many words of another word" function of Westlaw is really useful.


Thanks for the google tip. So awesome.

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Guchster
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Guchster » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:15 am

Judge Philip Banks wrote:
kalvano wrote:If that fails, using the "search for a word within so many words of another word" function of Westlaw is really useful.

This. If you know how to use terms and connectors well, you can perform really narrow searches and pinpoint what you are looking for.


what are your favorite terms & connectors to use, and how do you use them.

I have a fucking list of 'em sitting in my legal research notes, but i don't even know where to starts. maybe if you list the ones you use the most at the beginning of a project, you can help me?

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kalvano
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby kalvano » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:20 am

The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:49 am

kalvano wrote:The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.

Yep. Using /n one is really useful. Also /p or /s which will find words in the same paragraph or sentence, respectively (e.g., "marijuana /p "traffic stop"" will find paragraphs where those two phrases appear together). Also, narrowing down what database you are searching in is a basic thing that can easily be forgotten. This is all stuff for WL classic, and although I am not sure how to do these narrow searches in WLNext, I still prefer WLNext because it has other features that make it easier to use (highlight/note is a big one for me).

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nygrrrl
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby nygrrrl » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:50 am

kalvano wrote:The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.

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Guchster
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Guchster » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:52 am

Judge Philip Banks wrote:
kalvano wrote:The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.

Yep. Using /n one is really useful. Also /p or /s which will find words in the same paragraph or sentence, respectively (e.g., "marijuana /p "traffic stop"" will find paragraphs where those two phrases appear together). Also, narrowing down what database you are searching in is a basic thing that can easily be forgotten. This is all stuff for WL classic, and although I am not sure how to do these narrow searches in WLNext, I still prefer WLNext because it has other features that make it easier to use (highlight/note is a big one for me).


My summer job will require me to use westlaw classic, so I needz to learn how to do this without getting formally reprimanded for bankrupting my firm.

Hmm... this is very helpful. I've dabbled with /p and /s and i like them a lot. It seems I need to up my game with /n.

Now, when you say correct database, what are particular check boxes I should pay attention to.

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Guchster
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Guchster » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:53 am

nygrrrl wrote:
kalvano wrote:The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.


nygrrrl, besides this /n /s /p, what are the first things you do in a basic westlaw classic search?

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nygrrrl
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby nygrrrl » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:03 am

Guchster wrote:
nygrrrl wrote:
kalvano wrote:The connector I use most often is limiting how far away words can be. So if I'm trying to find out if the mere odor of weed is enough to give rise to probable cause for a vehicle search, I'd search for something like "marijuana /20 "traffic stop" ". That way, it will only return results with the phrase "traffic stop" within 20 words of "marijuana". You can add as many numerical limitations as you like. I think I used 5 the other day. It really helps to narrow down your results to useful stuff.


nygrrrl, besides this /n /s /p, what are the first things you do in a basic westlaw classic search?

/n is my favorite. Also, like Kalvano I run a Google search right off the bat. Sounds crazy, but there is a TON of info out there for free that will give you the key words you need (or party names) to start a targeted search.
At the risk of sounding like a heretic, I confess to thinking Lexis is more forgiving when you're starting blind. I feel as if they give you more information for less input, if that makes sense. (That said, I use both of them and am actually trying to audit and advanced Westlaw class this spring b/c it's really important.)

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:03 am

Guchster wrote:My summer job will require me to use westlaw classic, so I needz to learn how to do this without getting formally reprimanded for bankrupting my firm.


Same here (but district court externship) and they apparently don't have WLNext, so I am trying to get more acquainted with classic. (typed as I am using WLNext for memo as we speak :/ )

Guchster wrote:Hmm... this is very helpful. I've dabbled with /p and /s and i like them a lot. It seems I need to up my game with /n.

Now, when you say correct database, what are particular check boxes I should pay attention to.

It seems obvious, and maybe most people remember to do this, but I've seen some people just search in all feds or all states or whatever, instead of choosing a circuit or specific state to narrow results. Or another obvious thing is to try to find the narrowest database in the directory to search within, rather than using the home page search box, or even AmJur or [insert state]Jur. That is, if you have a more specific idea of what you are looking for.

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kalvano
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby kalvano » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:16 am

One of the things I like best about Google is that it searches the federal courts websites, and often times will return an opinion that you can copy the case number from and plug into Westlaw. And a lot of public interst organizations put together a layperson "your rights in XYZ situation" sort of thing, which often enough will cite cases and get you started.

Also, this seems basic, but no one ever told me this: citing references. If an old case has a holding that you like, click on "citing references" and it will take you to a list of all the cases that cite that case. Westlaw is really good about breaking them down. But if you have a 9th Circuit case that has the holding you need, but you'd rather have a 5th Circuit case, check citing references.

But mainly use Google at first. Main reason, other than its really useful? It's also free. If anyone ever mentions anything about it, particularly at a firm, point out that every search on Google that helps you narrow something down is a free search, versus the absurdly expensive searches on Westlaw. Besides, in my experience, attorney's that have been out of school a while will ascribe near-mystical powers to students / recent grads and their research skills. Practicing attorneys can be just awful at research because they deal with the same things a lot. It's actually pretty comical. I showed one what happens when you do a Google search with quote marks around phrases and a good result popped right up, off a legal forum that addressed the issue and gave case cites. I'm pretty sure he thought it was some sort of Devil's hoodoo, but he also thinks I'm a research God now.

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Judge Philip Banks
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Judge Philip Banks » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:23 am

Re: another use for citing references - When I have been working on LRW memos and am not 100% sure what is important about a given case, I look at the citing references to see what other cases say about the case I am looking at. This will tell me what other courts use the case for, and helps me hone in what I should use the case for. It can also show you the good quotes to cite, assuming the other cases use your case for the same issue you are trying to use it for.

LawMan20
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby LawMan20 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:40 am

sundance95 wrote:
dood wrote:
OnePostWonder wrote:I've heard Next is stupid expensive.


who cares


Wow. Did you not see my previous post, dumbass?

Geist13
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Re: ITT: your best research tip

Postby Geist13 » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:03 am

Google all the way. If you're not using west/lexis (c'mon does anyone actually use lexis?) for free at school and a firm or whoever is paying for it, you should always spend a significant amount of time on google to begin. Search general concepts/words, you'll find most of the big cases, from there use those casaes to google more specific words or related concepts etc. You should be able to get a decent amount of your caselaw from google. You'll also have amassed most if not all of the search terms. etc. that you'll need for westlaw in order to run a cheap efficient search. When you get on westlaw just use what you found on google to make very targeted searches (get in and get out).

In addition to just finding the caselaw on google, you'll hit a lot of legit blogs that will have useful commentary and may point you in interesting directions.




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