Guide for Substantial and a Supervised Analytical Writing (SAW) Research
For more information contact Julie Graves Krishnaswami, Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org
This student guide for SAW research shows you how to use library resources, as well as legal databases to perform a number of tasks, including the following:
- where to go for more research help
- selecting a topic
- performing a preemption check
- research management
This guide is written with the assumption that you have a working knowledge of both Westlaw and Lexis. In most databases, you have the option of using either the Terms & Connectors (Boolean) search method or the Natural Language search method. To arrange for individual or group instruction on Westlaw, contact Holly, the West academic account manager at for the Yale Law School, at: email@example.com. For help with LexisNexis, contact the Lexis representative, Meredith, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For a Bloomberg password and help with the Bloomberg database, contact Pamela Haahr at: email@example.com.
For library research, or assistance with legal research in general, you have various options:
- Describe your research topic and we can assign you a personal librarian based on subject specialty from here: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/appointment.
- Visit the reference desk: http://library.law.yale.edu/reference or contact us through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or instant message us from the library’s website: http://library.law.yale.edu/
- Take Advanced Legal Research, an advanced exploration of the specialized methods and sources of legal research in some of the following areas: administrative law; case finding; computer-assisted research; constitutional law and history; court rules and practice materials; foreign and international law; legislative history; and statutory research. Students will use their own research topic to create a pathfinder for this course. Contact Julie Graves Krishnaswami at email@example.com for more information about ALR.
For advice on research management, contact Jason Eiseman at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our research management guide at: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/research-management-and-citation
SELECTING A TOPIC
Other Institutional Repositories in law: http://lsr.nellco.org/
CURRENT OR EMERGING TRENDS IN LAW
Researching current or emerging trends in the law can help you find an issue or important recent decision that could form the basis of a paper
BNA – latest news and analysis in various areas of the law: http://library.law.yale.edu/resource/bna-online
Bloomberg Law’s Homepage - latest news and analysis in various areas of the law:
Lexis Classic: Emerging Issues Analysis
These are premium collections of commentaries written by top practitioners on new legal developments and cases. The commentaries examine a wide range of recent cases, regulations, trends, and developments. These accounts cover national, state and international issues and provide expert insight in important areas and legal developments.
- Click Search tab; Go to Secondary Legal (right side), Emerging Issues Analysis
- Select All Emerging Issues, Combined by Area of Law
- Click the plus signs to open topics or run search through the full text or TOC headings
CLASSIC WESTLAW’S NOTABLE TRIALS: TRANSCRIPTS AND COURT DOCUMENTS DATABASES
Notable Trials Transcripts and Documents: TRIALS-ALL contains official pretrial and trial transcripts and court documents from the individual notable trials databases currently on Westlaw. Highly publicized trials can affect the U.S. justice system far beyond the jurisdictions in which they take place. The conduct and outcome of such trials are often subjects for legal scholarship. Bloomberg Law’s dockets search is also very useful and comprehensive for recent court docket materials.
- Westlaw’s NewsRoom database gives you easy access to nearly 12,000 databases containing newspapers, magazines, journals, newswires, newsletters, and transcripts of television and radio programs. You can use these databases to retrieve the latest business information and news. Examples include newspapers such as the New York Times, magazines such as Business Week, and transcripts from programs such as 60 Minutes.
- Classic Lexis’s News & Business tab has the largest news database available - Over 20,000 sources, including TV & radio news transcripts and blogs.
- Classic Lexis’s Mealey’s Litigation News Publications: the foremost publisher in litigation news and is widely read by trial and appellate litigators for the most cutting edge cases.
- Source: Click Search tab to go back to News & Business tab
- Select All Mealey Publications - Full Text - PLUS Court Documents (left side)
- Bloomberg Law News Tab contains top legal news, foreign news and a rich news archive.
- For more historic or local newspaper coverage, visit the Newspaper Archive database (http://access.newspaperarchive.com/) or Yale University’s News page: (http://sfx.library.yale.edu/sfx_local/azlist/default?lang=eng)
CIRCUIT SPLITS – Remember that it is generally recommended to stay away from “circuit split” articles:
Selecting a Topic Involving an Unresolved Issue or Circuit Split
New legal issues and issues causing a split in opinion among the federal circuit courts provide interesting subject matter for papers:
- BNA United States Law Week for analysis of current and most significant federal and state cases. This and the Supreme Court Weekly discuss unresolved circuit splits. http://news.bna.com/lwln
- Supreme Court Blog: www.scotuswiki.com/
- In Classic Westlaw, Preview of U.S. Supreme Court Cases (SCT-PREVIEW) with the Search: court circuit /s split & da(aft 1/2010); U.S. Courts of Appeals Cases (CTA) with issue question matter /s "first impression" novel & da(aft 3/2010); or National Law Journal (NLJ) with court circuit /s split & da(aft 9/2008)
- In Classic Lexis, a search of federal cases or secondary legal publications of: circuit /s split! or disagree! and date aft april 2010
More Information Available Here: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/preemption-checking
Legal Indexes – from the Library databases page at: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/legal-databases
- Current Index to Legal Periodicals: Weekly editions of the Current Index to Legal Periodicals, which indexes articles from more than 300 legal publications.
- Index to Legal Periodicals: Index of law review articles and book reviews since 1908
- Legal Trac: Covers law review articles and bar journals since the 1980’s
- Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals: Covers journals on foreign and international law
Working Papers and Pending Articles
To determine whether pending not-as-yet-published legal scholarship preempts your work on your note topic, look at SSRN.com, which is reachable from the Law Library's Legal Databases page. From there click onto LSN, the legal scholarship network. The LSN homepage provides a link to a list of law and law-related journals and working papers who provide email abstracts of materials they have accepted for publication but have not yet published.
Law Professor Blogs: http://www.lawprofessorblogs.com/
Law Professor Blogs is a network of web logs ("blogs") designed from the ground-up to assist law professors in their scholarship and teaching. Each site focuses on a particular area of law and combines both (1) regularly-updated permanent resources and links, and (2) daily news and information of interest to law professors.
DEVELOPING YOUR TOPIC
Once you’ve chosen a topic, you can begin the research process. Here are some suggestions for starting points:
AMERICAN LAW REPORTS
American Law Reports (ALR) contains annotations that review and analyze the complete body of state
and federal law. The attorneys who write the annotations search relevant sources, collect and analyze
the law on the issue, and prepare a detailed discussion of the general principles deduced from their
research. Each ALR article is a complete legal memorandum on a particular legal issue. Use the
American Law Reports database (ALR) to gather background information, determine the applicable
primary law, and find leads to other secondary materials such as forms and practice guides.
- Contact: Sarah Ryan, Empirical Research Librarian, email@example.com.
- StatLab Software available for use or download: http://statlab.stat.yale.edu/inventory/software/
- Statistical datasets: http://statlab.stat.yale.edu/data/
SUBJECT COMPILATION OF STATE LAWS
Subject Compilations of State Laws: An Annotated Bibliography, by Cheryl Rae Nyberg, available on HeinOnline: http://heinonline.org/HOL/Index?collection=scsl&set_as_cursor=clear
See also 50 state surveys in Westlaw and LexisNexis, as well as the State-by-State Legislative History Guides from our website: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/guides/state-law-research-guide
SOURCES OF COMPILED LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
- Research Guide: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/legislative-history
- Johnson, Sources of Compiled Legislative Histories on HeinOnline http://heinonline.org/HOL/Index?index=leghis/leghisb&collection=leghis
- CIS Annual Legislative Histories on ProQuest Congressional. Also check Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS), which are also available online at ProQuest Congressional. http://web.lexis-nexis.com/congcomp
- Congressional Quarterly: Legislative news and analysis from Congressional Quarterly, http://library.cqpress.com/
FOREIGN AND INTERNATIONAL LAW:
- International Law in Domestic Courts: http://www.oxfordlawreports.com/. An online case reporting service that brings you the most important public international law issues being decided in domestic courts around the world. The most significant cases are identified and thoroughly analyzed. Full text judgments are included, as are authoritative English translations of key passages. Fully searchable database; browse by country, key word, or topic.
- Yale’s Country-by-Country Grid: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/guides/country-guide
- Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP): http://library.law.yale.edu/research/legal-databases
- EISIL: http://www.eisil.org/ Use this site to easily locate the highest quality primary materials, authoritative web sites and helpful research guides to international law on the Internet.
- Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/legal-databases A pre-eminent and comprehensive work covering the central and essential topics in international law.
- Research Guide: http://www.law.yale.edu/library/historical-american-legal-research.asp
- Poole's Plus provides access to legal periodical indexes from 1786 to 1906. http://poolesplus.odyssi.com/
- Making of Modern Law: http://library.law.yale.edu/research/legal-databases
- Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926
- Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources, 1620-1926
- Making of Modern Law: Trials, 1600 - 1926
- Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978