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  • 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.

Legal Research

Current Awareness & Alerting Services

Designed to help bridge the gap between law school and law practice, this tutorial introduces law 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 alerts, electronic table of contents notification, and RSS feeds) to keep up with the latest developments in a particular area of law.

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.

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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