Vatterott OKC Paralegal Studies

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Archive for the tag “LexisNexis”

CALR: LexisNexis Overview

Another paid legal research database…and to the newcomer (and sometimes those using it for a while) it can be a little intimidating.  Lexis tried to make it simple, but now it’s so simple that it’s hard…too many buttons to push!  🙂

Again – you need a research plan.  Lexis is not cheap.

The tabs:

  • MyLexis
  • Search
  • Get a Document
  • Shepard’s
  • More

The MyLexis and Search tabs are customizable.

On the Search tab you can add or edit sub-tabs.

  • All
  • Legal
  • News & Business
  • Public Records
  • Find a Source

The Get a Document tab lets users retrieve individual documents quickly by citation, party name, or docket number.

You can set up a tab for Alerts.  That will let you save and run automatic searches.  The results can be emailed to you or stored online.

The actual database can be used in a number of different ways.

I really like the KWIC feature when pulling a retrieved case  It shows about 25 words of text around the search terms.  It makes it easy to see if the case is relevant to what I need.

Lexis has Case Summaries.  The summary includes procedural history, overview, disposition, and core terms.

Headnotes summarizes each major issue.

Ever heard the term Shepardizing a case?  Like KeyCite for Westlaw, it enables you to determine if the case or law you retrieved is still good.  It’s actually called Shepard’s Citation.  It uses colored shapes instead of flags.  It also links to others cases.

Yes, you can run quite a few public records searches in Lexis.

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WestLaw Instructions

WestLaw Instructions

I am so excited for my two senior students!  Since we rarely remember to ask what research provider an office uses…and you both have LexisNexis training, I present this link for your use.

Evaluating Legal Resources – Questions

When you are evaluating legal resources, think about the purpose of the resource.

  • Is it just general information such as FindLaw?  Don’t misinterpret what I am telling you.  FindLaw is a great place to start for general information…and it’s free.
  • Is it a legal research program designed for professional use such as LexisNexis?  You can also find decent resources that are more geared toward public use or that can be used by either a professional or a member of the public such as Google Scholar.  Granted, the issue with that is making sure your case is on point.
  • What is the credibility of the publisher?  Make sure you know how to evaluate a source.  There are ways to look at a web page and determine if it is reliable.  If you need assistance, let me know.  I can walk you through it or even create a set of instructions to post here for you.
  • Is it meant to be used with additional resources?  Think about it.  Do you remember a time, even as a child doing a school project, that you started with an encyclopedia, but had to find other books that delved in to the subject?  Sometimes sources are like that.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the resource?  Every resource has strengths and weaknesses…even the paid ones.  Not everyone is good (right away) with boolean logic for searches.  That can cost you (and your firm) if you’re using a paid resource.  You can practice this skill using Google or Google Scholar.  There are also web sites available that help you learn boolean logic.
  • Would a traditional, paper resource be better for your search?  Remember, Vatterott College has a wonderful law library.  To gain access, you can see Stan in the LRC, Ms. Maggie (Director of Education), or Chris Piatt (Campus Director) if it is locked.

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