Cornell-Curated Collection of Legal Research/Writing Guides

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If you are looking for some writings on legal research and writing, hit the jump to the Cornell Law Library’s list of legal research and writing guides (link here). The categories break down as follows:

  1. GENERAL WORKS ON LEGAL WRITING AND LEGAL STYLE
  2. GENERAL STYLE MANUALS
  3. CITATION GUIDES
  4. WORKS ON BRIEF WRITING AND ORAL ADVOCACY
  5. WORKS ON INSTRUMENT DRAFTING
  6. WORKS ON LEGAL RESEARCH

The categories above are links to the actual sections. While it is a “selected” and not a “comprehensive” list, there is more than enough to fill your office bookshelf!

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Global Legal Information Network

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Taken from the Library of Congress site:

The Global Legal Information Network is a database of the official texts of laws and other complementary legal materials from a growing number of jurisdictions throughout the world. From their offices at The Law Library of Congress, GLIN Director Janice Hyde and Comparative Law Specialist Hanibal Goitom explain the principals and practices of this network that shares its laws in order to promote global legal understanding.

You can access the approximately 8 minute webcast on this resource here.

Hat Tip to ResourceShelf

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Corporate Legal All In One Virtual Filing Cabinet

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Here is another winner from Robert Ambrogi, reported at his LawSites blog: myCorporateResource.com. The site collects the client alerts created by law firms for their corporate clients on various corporate law-related issue. Taken from the site:

myCorporateResource.com is designed to empower corporate professionals with the latest in legal and commercial information from the world’s top law firms and industry insiders. Every year the top 100 American law firms produce more than 10,000 Client Alerts addressing the key commercial and legal issues faced by their clients. We aggregate, review, sort and summarize this content –for free– to give you a really useful corporate resource.

Releases and alerts are broken down by interested member of the corporate team (board, c-suite, legal team, finance team, co-sec team, accounting team, HR team, compliance team) by industry, corporate role, geography, area of law, hot topics, recent releases, matters of particular interest to colleagues, and SEC materials. The site also highlights particularly well-written material and “Memos of the Week” for each of the corporate team portal links and one for the entire site. The site provides more than 70 RSS feeds, also broken down by industry, geography, area of law and professional role. I just subscribed to the Insurance / Reinsurance feed and immediately received a wealth of insurance-related memos prepared by counsel across the country. And, of course, there is a site search box.

This type of aggregation is what knowledge management should be all about! Thanks for the tip Bob, and I hope Studio readers find this site as useful as I do.

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You Want Dockets? I Got Yer Dockets Right Here

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Thanks entirely to Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites, a perpetual wealth of legal information of the free and on-line variety, I learned today of a new site called FreeCourtDockets. This site offers federal civil, criminal and bankruptcy court dockets, and material from the Supreme Court, Court of Claims and Court of International Trade.

Remembering fondly, here, those frantic calls to Iowa looking for a court docket on a dusty old case, then writing a check, then sending the check, and then patiently waiting for the pound of paper to return via U.S. Postal Service. Ain’t technology grand?

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Can Legal Information Be Semanticized?

You may have noticed that it has been unusually quite in the Studio over the past week. Extreme travel and excessive work have taken their toll on my blogging output. However, it is time, once again, to buckle down and plumb the depths of law, technology and cutting-edge research and writing tools.

Absence apparently makes the heart grow fonder, as my reader greeted me with an interesting article over at Law.com by Dr. Adam Zachary Wyner on legal ontologies and how they may “spin a semantic web”.  I have heard it said before that legal information is too broad and deep and resistant to organization to be put under the semantic knife, or more aptly “blanket.”  I was heartened to see that Dr. Wyner disagreed (sort of) with this position.

First, I commend Dr. Wyner on providing an excellent explanation of what ontologies, knowledge management and taxonomies are and how they interrelate. I learned a few new concepts reading through his summary.

Next, the problem for those of us anxiously awaiting semantic treatment for case and statutory law is indeed that there is little consistency in how these materials are presented, the wide variety of search need to be satisfied and the sheer volume of material produced on a yearly basis. Dr. Wyner sees this conundrum as well. Coupled with the fact that most text marking, the process by which information is overlaid so that a computer can “read” and calcaulate an answer to a semantic search, would have to be performed by humans in the legal arena, it appears that the desired result may be somewhat of an impossible dream.

However, Dr. Wyner correctly points out that there are some categories of information that are clearly defined across cases and statutes that could certainly be marked for organization. For example, in the case law context, case headings, party information, result, even statements of issues can be tagged, organized and converted to computer-readable form. Dr. Wyner even suggests means for treating the information: through Semantic MediaWikis, as a learning tool for researchers and law students, and through treatment by large scale publishers and government agencies and courts prior to publication. Dr. Wyner sounds as enthusiastic as I feel about the possibilities of incorporating this layer of information and what such treatment could bring to the legal researcher’s table.

I am relunctant to get too excited about the Big Two jumping onto the semantic bandwagon and spearheading the effort to “semanticize” the vast amounts of legal information in their stables. After all, where is their incentive? Nonetheless, I can’t help but smile a bit at Dr. Wyner’s excited undertone and the thought that bringing cases and statutes into the 21st century may not be as impossible a dream as Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

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More Legal Goodness from JD Supra – Law Centers

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Not content to merely offer a repository of free on-line legal documents benefiting both legal practitioners offering quality content and searchers seeking that content, JD Supra has just announced its new Law Centers. Law Centers are pages on the JD Supra site that organize and aggregate the uploaded documents by subject matter: business law; personal law; government law; and, law practice. Within these broad categories are narrower topics such as real estate and construction, immigration, bankruptcy and many other common legal subjects. The Centers will feature top news, recent articles and top contributors to the particular subject area. Searchers will find both the relevant documents and articles and blurbs highlighting the practitioners offering the documents and articles. Coming soon, you will be able to subscribe to a Law Center feed by RSS to keep track of what practitioners in a particular subject are are contributing.

Once again, JD Supra gives up the goods to lawyers and Web-izens interested in all things legal!

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More Free Legal Resources

This time, the “free and available” is brought to you by the Warren E. Burger Library at the William Mitchell College of Law. The site offers a tabbed window with primary legal materials by jurisdiction, topical materials, materials targeted to students, faculty and administrators, attorneys and non-lawyers, general information and research materials and secondary legal research resources such as blogs, citation and research guides, forms, journals and law reviews and portals and even a little international schwag.

There is a lot of good material to pour through. Consider adding it to your bookmarks, tagged “free”, “legal”, “resources”, and “research.”

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There’s A New Blawg in Town … From The Wild West

West has announced a new legal blog, Legal Currents, promising material on legal- and technology-related topics from around the globe. The subject matter will include technology, innovation, content and trends shaping the legal industry worldwide, with authors from inside and outside West. The site contains CLE videos and podcasts, West’s famous “Headnote of the Day” and other bits and pieces. Congrats West on your new blawg branding!

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There's A New Blawg in Town … From The Wild West

West has announced a new legal blog, Legal Currents, promising material on legal- and technology-related topics from around the globe. The subject matter will include technology, innovation, content and trends shaping the legal industry worldwide, with authors from inside and outside West. The site contains CLE videos and podcasts, West’s famous “Headnote of the Day” and other bits and pieces. Congrats West on your new blawg branding!

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