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LEGAL RESEARCH

TermDefinition
Sources of Law: (federal and state) #1 Constitutions
Sources of Law: (federal and state) #2 Statutes
Sources of Law: (federal and state) #3 Court Opinions (often referred to as cases)
Sources of Law: (federal and state) #4 Administrative rules and regulations
US Constitution #1 Executive Branch- Administrative Regulations
US Constitution #2 Legislative Branch-Statutes
US Constitution #3 Judicial Branch-Court opinions/cases
Court Structure (US) #1 US District Court (LA) * Middle – Baton Rouge * Eastern – New Orleans * Western – Lafayette
Court Structure (US) #2 US Courts of Appeals (LA-5th Circuit) – New Orleans
Court Structure (US) #3 US Supreme Court – Washington, DC
Court Structure (LA) #1 Trial Courts: 49 City Courts
Court Structure (LA) #2 Trial Courts: 3 Parish
Court Structure (LA) #3 Trial Courts: 1 Family
Court Structure (LA) #4 Trial Courts: 4 Juvenile
Court Structure (LA) #5 Trial Courts: 42 District Courts
Court Structure (LA) #6 Trial Courts: 250 Mayor’s Courts
Court Structure (LA) #7 Trial Courts: 382 Justice of Peace Courts
Court Structure (LA) #8 Court of Appeal LA: 1st Circuit – Baton Rouge
Court Structure (LA) #9 Court of Appeal LA: 2nd Circuit – Shreveport
Court Structure (LA) #10 Court of Appeal LA: 3rd Circuit – Lake Charles
Court Structure (LA) #11 Court of Appeal LA: 4th Circuit – New Orleans
Court Structure (LA) #12 Court of Appeal LA: 5th Circuit – Gretna
Court Structure (LA) #13 LA Supreme Court – New Orleans
Type and Weight of Authority Primary vs. Secondary Authority
Type and Weight of Authority Mandatory vs. Persuasive
Primary Authority Primary Authority is the term used to describe rules of law. * Include: constitutional provisions. Statutes, court opinions, and administrative rules
Secondary Authority Secondary Authority refers to commentary on the law or analysis of the law * Include: Articles written about law, law reviews, etc.
Mandatory Mandatory authority refers to authority that the court is obligated to follow. * Contains rules that you must apply to determine the correct answer to the issue you are researching.
Persuasive Persuasive authority refers to authority that the court may follow if it is persuaded to do so, but no required to follow.
Status (Primary vs. Secondary & Mandatory vs. Persuasive) Rules #1 Secondary authority – always persuasive
Status (Primary vs. Secondary & Mandatory vs. Persuasive) Rules #2 Primary authority – sometimes mandatory, sometimes persuasive * Level of the Court * Jurisdiction
Source Driven Research Planning Jurisdiction – Type of Authority – Content
Content Driven Research Planning Specific – Jurisdiction – Type of Authority
Developing a Research Plan #1 Define the scope of your research project and the issue(s) you need to research
Developing a Research Plan #2 Generate a list of search terms specific to your research issue(s)
Developing a Research Plan #3 Plan your research path for each issue
Developing a Research Plan #4 Execute your research plan to search for relevant information
Developing a Research Plan #5 Assess the information you find and update your research to ensure that all the information is current
Developing a Research Plan #6 Revise your search terms and research plan as necessary and repeat the search process to complete your understanding on your research issue.
Citing of Legal Authority #1 The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
Citing of Legal Authority #2 ALWD Citation Manuel: A professional System of Citation
The Bluebook * Bluepages and corresponding Bluepages Tables * Text of the Citation rules in the Rules section of the Bluebook * Tables * Finding tools for locating individual citation rules * Blue Tips and Bluebook updates
The ALWD Manual * Table of Contents and Index * Text of the Citation Rules * Appendices * “Fast Formats” and “Snapshots” * ALWD Manual website
Created by: MEBrock