Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Research is EASY (once you get the hang of it)

Once upon a time many moons ago my dad, brothers and I went camping.  O.K., we went camping several times but this time stuck in my head.  On the second night, my brothers (I'm the youngest of 7 kids) decided to play a trick on me and we all went on a snipe hunt.  No, a snipe is not that gloomy looking dude in the Harry Potter movies - a snipe is a furry creature so elusive that it has yet to be caught (or photographed.  Heck, bigfoot has been photographed more times than a snipe!).  I must have spent hours looking for that blasted animal.  I never found him but I did push one of my brothers into the lake - which made up for everything.

The reason I bring this up is because I've been thinking about this blog and what it means.  Specifically, what is "research?"  Well, according to the world of Bret (that's me),  research is the process of looking for stuff to help you do stuff (write a paper, conquer the world, that sort of stuff).  "Legal" research is the process of locating legal stuff (cases, codes, regulations, secondary resources), to help you complete legal stuff (write a complaint or motion, draft a client letter, create a contract, organize a business trust - that sort of stuff).

So, say you are, in fact, looking to create a business trust (which has nothing to do with probate).  As it turns out, a business trust is an unincorporated business created to do the something for someone else.  Like, if you had a group of investors who didn't want to get their hands dirty with investing, they'd create a business trust to buy investments for them.  It limits their liability.  So, where are you going to go to find stuff about this stuff?  There are a few places but the resource I found most helpful was Fletcher Cyclopeida of the law of Corporations (West).  Fletcher is divided into two sets.  This resource identifies the theory behind the concepts.  So to learn about business trusts, you'll want to snag volume 16A.  Then to see what forms you'll need to create your business trust, take a look at Fletcher Corporation Forms Annotated (West) and look in volume 6A and you're off and running.

Let's try another one.  Say you've been sexually harassed and/or discriminated at work and then you're terminated (i.e. fired) because they say you're not a team player (believe me, it happens to guys AND gals and it happens more often than it should).  Where are you going to go to find stuff about this stuff?   There are a few places to look but the resources I found helpful were Employment Discrimination Law (BNA), Mental and Emotional Injuries in Employment Litigation (BNA), Workplace Harassment Law (BNA), Termination of Employment (West), and EEOC Compliance Manual (CCH).

So, to recap, the purpose of "research" is to look for stuff to help you do stuff.  Whether you're looking for legal stuff or stuff not legal, the BEST place to look for it is at your local library.