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Legal Research 3rd Edition

William H. Putman, JD, Jennifer R. Albright, JD

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2010, 2006
  • 528 Pages


One of the few texts to focus entirely on legal research, this fully updated edition of Legal Research provides the "how to" information for identifying key facts and issues in a case, conducting statutory and case law research and analysis, briefing cases, researching secondary authority, determining whether or not a case is on point, conducting electronic legal research and counteranalysis, and citing authority. Designed to help students develop an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of legal research, the book guides them through each step in the research process, including how to determine what to research, how to identify key facts and terms, what to look for when researching, what to do with the research once it is found, and how to organize research. Each chapter includes examples of every concept and principle discussed, along with a hypothetical fact situation that applies concepts and principles in a real-world setting. The authors demonstrate how to conduct research efficiently without wasting time or duplicating effort and include extensive coverage of primary and secondary research sources, including Internet and computer research, citation format, and case law analysis.

William H. Putman, JD,

William Putman is a lawyer and former instructor in the programs for Legal Assistant Studies at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque and Paralegal Studies at Santa Fe Community College. A member of the New Mexico Bar since 1975, he received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Jennifer R. Albright, JD, Phoenix College

Jennifer Albright was an instructor and the Director of the Paralegal Studies and Judicial Studies programs at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. She is currently adjunct faculty in Legal Assistant Studies at Phoenix College. Jennifer received her Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law and her LLM from Arizona State University. She a been a member of the New Mexico Bar since 1999.
  • Information on legal citation is now included within substantive chapters rather than as a separate chapter.
  • Research using citators has been removed from the secondary sources chapters and is now presented in a stand-alone chapter discussing both Shepard's and West's KeyCite.
  • Updated and expanded materials on electronic legal research and legal applications have been added.
  • New exercises enhance learning and retention of new material.
  • REVIEW: The Instructor's Manual presents several assignments and exercises in each chapter, which require students to apply the chapter's concepts and principles, along with answers and other resources for instructors.
  • RESEARCH: The book takes a step-by-step approach to researching primary and secondary authority using multiple examples.
  • APPLICATION: A hypothetical factual situation at the beginning of each chapter illustrates how the principles presented apply to real-world situations.
  • EXAMPLES: Examples and sample pages from actual research authorities help students understand key concepts.
  • TECHNOLOGY: An online Student Companion Site provides additional assignments, chapter summaries, and outlines.
  • KEY POINTS: Each chapter has a list of key points that may be used as a quick reference and checklist when applying chapter concepts.
1. Introduction to Legal Principles and Authorities and the Research Process.
2. The Role of Key Terms and Key Facts in Legal Research.
3. Issue Identification--Spotting the Issue.
4. Constitutions, Statutes, Administrative Law, and Court Rules--Research and Analysis.
5. Case Law--Research and Briefing.
6. Case Law Analysis--Is a Case on Point?
7. Secondary Authority and Other Research Sources--Encyclopedias, Treatises, American Law Reports, Digests.
8. Secondary Authority--Periodicals, Restatements, Uniform Laws, Dictionaries, Legislative History, and Other Secondary Authorities.
9. Research with Citators.
10. Electronic Legal Research.
11. Counteranalysis.
12. The Research Process for Effective Legal Research.
APPENDIX A: Legal Research Memorandum.
APPENDIX B: Research Source Chart.
APPENDIX C: Court Opinions Referred to in the Text.

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  • ISBN-10: 1305172779
  • ISBN-13: 9781305172777
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  • ISBN-13: 9781337413879
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  • ISBN-13: 9781285439938
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"The examples give great practical demonstrations of the core legal concepts of legal research."

"The Application section of each chapter is invaluable. After reading the chapter material, students then see how it is applied to a hypothetical case. Legal resources can be fairly dry material. Using a case hypothetical breathes new life into the material and allows students to understand not only the what, but the how of legal research. In a very practical manner, the application sections walk students through the steps necessary to apply the concepts they are learning. Once they've seen how it's done, I feel students have a much easier time making the transition to real-world research problems."

"Extensive use of examples. The text material is usually followed by excellent examples of the concepts just discussed. I urge my students to pay close attention to these examples as they signal to students certain concepts and also familiarize them with legal writing in general. These examples of legal concepts and procedures are clear, and many texts suffer in comparison."