Legal Research

  • This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Legal Research.
  • The Legal Research and Writing Outline allows you to search for terms of art that correspond to topics you are studying to find suggestions for related CALI Lessons.
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Forms of Federal Statutory Publication

The four forms of federal statutory publications are slip laws, session laws (or advance session laws), Codes, and Annotated Codes. As a researcher, you will most frequently use an Annotated Code for accessing federal law. It is, however, important to understand each stage of federal legislative publication and the implications for research.

This lesson is designed to give you an introduction to the intricacies of federal statutory publication. You should understand how the different forms are interconnected as well as the differences between them by the completion of this lesson.

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Codification

This lesson will introduce you to how codes are created, how they're organized, how they're published, and what it all means for your legal research.

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Finding Statutes

This lesson is intended to teach you the basic approaches to finding statutes. It is assumed that you are already familiar with the forms of statutory publication when you run this lesson. See the lessons "Introduction to State and Federal Statutes" or "Forms of Federal Statutory Publication" or "Codification" if you need to review these matters first.

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Statutory Interpretation

This lesson introduces the student to the doctrine and processes involved in interpreting state and federal statutes. Statutes are a critical part of every substantive area of the law, so this is important background for every student, legal professional, lawyer and judge.

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Introduction and Sources of Authority for Administrative Law

This exercise begins with some general background questions to help students place administrative agencies within the greater Constitutional scheme. These questions also address the various powers agencies wield, and the ways they are created. Then the exercise examines several print and online directory sources that offer specific details on individual agencies; it goes on to briefly discuss procedural rules, policy statements, and the process of promulgating regulations.

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How to Research Federal Legislative History

Through this introductory lesson, students will learn how federal laws are made and about the federal legislative process. Students will also learn about the various types of documents that are created as a proposed bill works its way through Congress. These documents comprise the legislative history of an enacted law.

Additionally, this lesson teaches students how to research a statute's federal legislative history, including how to use free websites and paid services. The last part of the lesson walks students through two hypotheticals on legislative history.

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