Legal Research

  • This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Legal Research.
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Legal Research

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Current Awareness & Alerting Services

Designed to help bridge the gap between law or graduate school and law practice, this tutorial introduces students to commonly-used current awareness tools and alerting services. The lesson covers sources and strategies for finding topical services and newsletters, blogs, email discussion lists, and scholarship repositories in particular legal subjects, as well as using alert services (Lexis/Westlaw/Bloomberg alerts, electronic table of contents notification, and RSS feeds) to keep up with the latest developments in a particular area of law.

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Customary International Law

The definition and location of customary international law is a difficult research task. This lesson begins by defining customary international law and placing customary international law into context through historical examples. Two research strategies for locating custom will be introduced. The first strategy is to locate pre-defined custom using a source that discusses state practice that has risen to the level of custom. The second and more complex strategy involves searching directly for evidence of customary international law.

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Drafting Contracts Using 'Shall', 'May' and 'Must'

A large percentage of litigation arising out of contracts results from poor drafting. In order to eliminate this litigation, it is imperative that students and legal professionals master good drafting skills. One of the most important aspects of drafting a contract is the operative language--language that affects legal relationships. This lesson is designed to introduce law students to operative language commonly used in drafting contracts, in particular, language of obligation (shall), language of authorization (may) and language of condition precedent (must). The lesson begins with a segment explaining each of the three categories of operative language followed by exercises which permit the student to apply his or her understanding of proper usage of that category. The lesson concludes with a segment of general exercises that test whether students have mastered the distinctions among the different categories of operative language.

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Ethical Considerations for Legal Memo Writing

This is one in a series of lessons directed at the ethical and professional considerations associated with the production of particular lawyering documents. This lesson is intended to introduce first year law students to the ethical and professional considerations associated with the preparation of predictive, interoffice memoranda. It is assumed that students are familiar with predictive, interoffice memoranda. No prior instruction in professional responsibility is required.

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Evaluating Web Sites

This lesson will provide the student with the tools to effectively judge the content of web pages. Included in the exercise are four criteria for evaluation: authority, accuracy, comprehensiveness and currency. Each of these concepts is defined through the use of descriptive text followed by screen images of actual law-related web sites to illustrate the concepts.

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