Saturday, May 10, 2014

Even a 5th grader can go it!

Smart is as smart does - and you're doing great!I can't count how many times people come into our law library and say, "I don't know how to do legal research!"  The fact is that anyone who has had any schooling experience knows how to do legal research.  Sure you do - but I'm betting you're still an unbeliever...so, let me elucidate.

How many of you went to high school.  Do any book reports?  2-page reports?  How many went on to a community college?  Maybe did a couple 5-page papers?  Anyone go onto a 4-year university?  Did any 10+ page research paper?  Anyone do any graduate work?  Any 50+ page thesis?  The point here is that you know how to research any topic.  

To go one step further, where is the table of contents in a book?  In the front, right?!  And All research is doable - just need to know where to start where is the index in a book?  In the back, right?  That's pretty much all you need to know about legal research: table of contents in the front and index in the back. Why is it, then, that when you put the word "legal" in front of the word "research," everyone freezes up?!  You ALL know know to do legal research and I'll show you.

Say you're looking for information about breach of contract.  First thing you'd do (because you already know how to do research) is to grab the index.  Might I suggest the LARMAC (Lexis) index.  Next, you might want to take a look under...oh, I don't know..."contracts."  Then maybe "breach."  See how easy this is?

Some of the best people I know drive a taxiLet's try another.  Say your looking for information about the duty of a taxi driver owed to a passenger.  This one might be a little advanced but I have confidence that you can come through it with flying colors.  So, because duty is a concept of negligence, you might want to take a look in the index for the California Codes for "negligence."  Then maybe look under "duty" and then maybe for "taxis" (aka: common carriers).  See?  Piece of cake! 

 
Anyway, the point to all of this is that if you can locate an index, you (and you and you and that guy over by the water cooler) can do legal research.  It's just that simple.  Now go forth and amaze your friends with your new legal research prowess!