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Econ 371: Law & Economics

Getting Started on Legal Research

  1. Start from what you know. Did a news story, video clip or article interest you? What information can you pull from the news source? 
  2. Find and read secondary sources to get a basic grasp of the area of law you are interested in. Look for a review related to your topic, case and specific issues. Look up law reviews in a legal database like NexisUni, HeinOnline or Westlaw. Pay attention for key words or citations you can follow up on. 
  3. Locate your case in a legal database, using either the case name or case citation. Try Google Scholar case law, and then navigate to the library databases.
  4. Find the written decisions of your case. See terminology of decision.
    • The text of a decision usually includes a brief summary of the facts, a discussion of relevant laws, the court’s reasoning and orders. Decision is often used interchangeably with “judgment”, “ruling”, and “order”.  
  5. Try to figure out what the case is about from a legal point of view. What legal issues will you need to research? 
  6. Search through this research guide to help you sort through all the material that is available. 
  7. Find the rules on how to create and understand legal citations. See Bluebook Citation and Indigo Citation