Check Out RAVEL Law

Do you like pictures more than words in your legal research?  Generally, I’d say you were out of luck. That is, UNTIL RAVEL LAW (cue large auditorium echoes).

Ravel is a newish, alternative legal research platform with a strong focus on pictures (professionally, we call them info-graphics).  It doesn’t have the same extensive coverage of Westlaw or Lexis, most notably lacking statutes and regulations.   Then again, it allows for free Supreme and Circuit Court case searching, and offers an advanced plan for only $175 a month.  You can also score a free student or educational trial version by contacting them.

Here’s a quick example of exactly how Ravel works.  On the front page, it provides a general search bar.  If I start typing in a case name, it will auto-complete likely responses.  In case you were wondering, Community For Creative Non-Violence v. Reid was the seminal case for our spring research problem, so we can all pretty much recite it by memory.

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Once the case loads, you are provided with a lot of information.  The case is printed down the middle of the page.  On the left Ravel gives you information about the where and how often that part of the case is cited.  The footnotes are provided in the right-hand column instead of the bottom, which is convenient.  Ravel also links to the relevant Wikipedia article.Ravel Case

One of the most interesting things about Ravel is its lore visual searching.  For instance, if I search for “work for hire” AND “copyright,”  we get the below result.  If you hover over the case, it will show you your case and all the other cases citing it in visual format. Focusing in on the case gives even more information.Ravel Graph

Ravel can be a cost effective way for  attorneys to research  cases.  Is it Westlaw or Lexis?  Not really.  But, used effectively, especially in concert with a free state bar subscription for Fastcase (another research platform lots of states–including South Carolina–provide for free with bar membership), Ravel can be a pretty powerful tool for doing case-law research.  Best of all, they offer free trials and free educational access at https://www.ravellaw.com/.

What are 50 State Surveys and How Can They Help You?

Have you ever had a professor to ask you how all fifty states have legislated a particular issue?  Then, 50 State Surveys are the tool for you!  Rather than sifting through fifty state codes trying to find what a state says on a particular issue, see if you can find a 50 State Survey.

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50statesurveysWestlaw has them for both state statutes and state regulations.  Once you identify whether you want statutes or regulations, Westlaw takes you to a topical list.  If you were interested in the marriage age requirements in all 50 states, you would select Family Law, and then find the Marriage Age Requirements

Inside, you will find a report providing the citations for each of the state codes, saving you the time you would send browsing an index or trying to formulate a keyword search for each jurisdiction.  There will usually also be a summary at the top of the page.  In Westlaw, keycite flags are also provided to let you know whether the law has been repealed, recently amended, etc.; make sure you check this before going on to the attached State by State Analysis report (a PDF in the top left corner).  This opens up a handy chart summarizing what each state says on the particular issue.
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Lexis Advance

To find 50 state surveys in Lexis, start typing “50 state surveys” in the red search bar.  LexisNexis 50 State Surveys, Statutes & Regulations will be an option.  Select the Table of Contents.50statesurveyslexisThis brings up a topical list that you can browse through, or search using the Narrow By feature on the left hand side.  If you want to look up Housing Discrimination Law, you would look under Civil Rights Law and then select Protection of Rights > Housing Discrimination.  In Lexis, there will be an overview, followed by a chart describing state treatment of that legal issue.

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Resources You’ll Want to Know: Jurisprudence

jurisprudenceOHCHR Jurisprudence is a new database from the UN Human Rights Office providing access to jurisprudence coming from the United Nations Treaty Bodies that receive and consider complaints from individuals:

  • the Human Rights Committee
  • the Committee Against Torture
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • the Committee on Enforced Disappearances
  • the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and
  • the Committee on the Rights of the Child

The database is “intended to be a single source of the human rights recommendations and findings issued by” the above committee, allowing researchers to search “the vast body of legal interpretation of international human rights law as it has evolved over the past years.”  It could also be a helpful tool for those trying to prepare complaints to be submitted to one of the committees.

Researchers can do a basic keyword search, or can use the advanced search functionality, which provides a series of filters that researchers can use to narrow their results.

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Resources You’ll Want to Know: HeinOnline’s World Treaty Collection

Many law students are at least somewhat familiar with HeinOnline’s resources, particularly journal students who have relied on the awesome PDF images in Hein’s Law Journal Library!

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Well, Hein is constantly adding content to their existing libraries, as well as adding entire new content libraries.  The newest content library purchased by the Coleman Karesh Law Library is the World Treaty LIbrary.  It includes treaties from the United Statutes, United Nations, League of Nations, as well as other treaty indexes and compilations.  Treaty research is incredibly important in the area of international law.

Students can search by keyword, title, parties, sign date, or citation.  For help using the database, come see one of your favorite law librarians!

Great Resources – HeinOnline: U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection

heinonline-logoThis fifty-fifth installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

HeinOnline’s database “U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection” is a resource that contains information, including government documents, Commission reports, hearing transcripts, and other various materials generated by or pertaining to the operation of the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice, as well as other Federal.  There are items from as far back as the 1860’s, including the department’s “Opinion on the Constitutional Power of the Military to Try and Execute Assassins of the President,” from 1865; and “Opinions of the Confederate Attorneys General,” from 1861-1865.  There are a number of items from the 1960’s and 1970’s, and only a few from more recent years.  There are a number of transcripts of confirmation hearings of past attorney general nominees.  The sources are listed in alphabetical order; it would be more logical to arrange them in chronological order.  The volumes can be searched by citation, or by keywords.

To access the Index to U.S. Attorney General & Department of Justice Collection, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online,  Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications, U.S. Statutes at Large, and Foreign Legal Periodicals.

Great Resources: HeinOnline – Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

This fifty-fourth installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

heinonline-logoThe Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP) is a multilingual index to articles and book reviews in over 500 legal journals from around the world.  It is produced by the Berkeley Law Library at the University of California, Berkeley for the American Association of Law Libraries.  The IFLP is an excellent resource for anyone researching public or private international law, comparative or foreign law, or the law of jurisdictions other than the United States, the UK, Canada and Australia.  The IFLP also includes analysis of the contents of about 80 individually published collections of legal essays, Festschriften, Melanges, and congress reports each year.

The IFLP collection dates back to 1985 (with a digitized version of the entire print index dating back to 1960) and includes records covering more than 265,000 articles and over 31,000 book reviews.  It also contains links to the full text of the more than 34,000 articles and book reviews that are available in HeinOnline’s other collections.  The IFLP collection is fully searchable by keyword, title, country of publication, and many other access points.

To access the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online,  Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications, and U.S. Statutes at Large.

Great Resources: HeinOnline – U.S. Statutes at Large

This fifty-third installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

heinonline-logoThe United States Statutes at Large is the official source for laws and resolutions passed by Congress.  Originally published by Little, Brown and Company beginning in 1845, responsibility for publication was transferred to the Government Printing Office in 1874.  HeinOnline now offers access to the entire archive of the United States Statutes at Large, dating back to 1789.   Every law, public and private, ever enacted by Congress is included in the U.S. Statutes at large, including all treaties and international agreements approved by the Senate prior to 1948. Also included is the Declaration of IndependenceArticles of Confederation, the Constitution, amendments to the Constitution, Indian and international treaties, and presidential proclamations.

Researchers can browse by volume, popular name, or public law number, as well as browse within Indian or international treaties.  The collection features a convenient Citation Navigator to help find documents easily.  The collection also includes several helpful compilations, including compilations of early federal codes, as well as titles compiled by subject, to help the researcher find subject-specific documents without having to search the entire collection.

To access U.S. Statutes at Large, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the CourtsHistory of Supreme Court NominationsSession Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical ArchiveU.S. International Trade LibraryChildren’s Law Journal,  Intellectual Property Law Collection,  State Attorney General Reports and OpinionsAmerican Indian Law CollectionWorld Constitutions IllustratedTaxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and IIU.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish ReportsWorld Trials LibraryU.S. Supreme Court LibraryFederal Register LibraryForeign & International Law Resources DatabaseNational Moot Court CompetitionAmerican Law Institute LibraryHistory of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part IIIStatutes of the RealmLegal Classics LibraryHistory of International LawU.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional DocumentsEuropean Centre for Minority IssuesForeign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & AppealsLaw Journal LibrarySelden Society Publications and The History of Early English LawSubject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference ShelfHarvard Journal of Law & TechnologyPhilip C. Jessup LibraryNational Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State LawsHarvard Research in International Law International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the FamilyAssociation of American Law Libraries (AALL)Association of American Law Schools (AALS)United States CodeManual of Patent Examining ProcedureBar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations,United Nations Law CollectionCataloging Online, and Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications.

Google Helps Build and Share World Constitutions

Google has added one more tool to its internet search arsenal: access to world constitutions. Constitute is a part of the Comparative Constitutions Project, a joint effort between University College London, the University of Texas, and the University of Chicago, and powered by Google Ideas. Constitute allows constitution scholars, drafters, or just curious world citizens to explore and compare constitutions from all over the world all for free. Users can view constitutions by country or year, by topic, or run a search for keywords. Constitute makes for a great addition to constitutional research resources.

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Great Resources: HeinOnline – Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications

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This fifty-second installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

While the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications collection may be small compared to other HeinOnline databases, the documents it offers are an extremely valuable resource for one searching for sources of commentary in this field. Slightly larger than 50 items, this collection is made up largely of publications from the 1950s-1970s and focuses largely on US foreign relations with many European nations and especially with the Soviet Union.

Among these are materials on comparing Soviet and Western law as well as commentary and histories of the Soviet legal system. The materials also include interpretations of foreign legal codes as well as selected readings on foreign and comparative law. This collection would definitely be worth a look for anyone interested in, or researching, international law.

To access the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications database in Hein, click here, select HeinOnline under “Legal Search Engines Research,” and select the collection from the list to your left. Happy Researching!

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of these other helpful resources: Congress and the Courts, History of Supreme Court Nominations, Session Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical Archive, U.S. International Trade Library, Children’s Law JournalIntellectual Property Law CollectionState Attorney General Reports and Opinions, American Indian Law Collection, World Constitutions Illustrated, Taxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and II, U.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish Reports, World Trials Library, U.S. Supreme Court Library, Federal Register Library, Foreign & International Law Resources Database, National Moot Court Competition, American Law Institute Library, History of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part III, Statutes of the Realm, Legal Classics Library, History of International Law, U.S. Federal Legislative History Library, Pentagon Papers, Treaties and Agreements Library, Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of Canada, U.S. Congressional Documents, European Centre for Minority Issues, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & Appeals, Law Journal Library, Selden Society Publications and The History of Early English Law, Subject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference Shelf, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Philip C. Jessup Library, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Harvard Research in International Law , International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family, Association of American Law Libraries (AALL), Association of American Law Schools (AALS), United States Code, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, Bar Journals, Code of Federal Regulations, United Nations Law Collection, and Cataloging Online.

Great Resources – HeinOnline: Cataloging Online

heinonline-logoThis fifty-first installment continues our series on HeinOnline’s digital collections.

HeinOnline, available through the Coleman Karesh’s electronic resources, contains a database called “Cataloging Online,” which provides users with access to various catalogues, classification schedules, and reference materials.  Some of the available materials include Catalogue of the Library of the Law School of Harvard University, which is a two-volume set from 1909; Finding the law:  A Workbook on Legal Research for Laypersons; Law Books, Their Purposes and Their Use; Cataloging Rules with Explanations and Illustrations; and Library of Congress Subject Headings manuals.  Users may browse Library of Congress subject headings and also perform searches within them.  This resource includes some obscure materials, and is a useful tool for learning more about legal research.

To access Cataloging Online, click here and select HeinOnline under Legal Search Engines Research.

To read up on other HeinOnline digital collections, see our coverage of the Congress and the Courts collection, the History of Supreme Court Nominations collection, the Session Laws Library/State Statutes: A Historical Archive, the U.S. International Trade Library, the Children’s Law Journal, the Intellectual Property Law Collection, the State Attorney General Reports and Opinions, the American Indian Law Collection, the World Constitutions Illustrated collection, the Taxation and Economic Reform in America, Parts I and II collection, the U.S. Presidential LibraryEnglish Reports, the World Trials Library, the U.S. Supreme Court Library, the Federal Register Library, the Foreign & International Law Resources Database, the National Moot Court Competition collection, the American Law Institute Library, the History of Bankruptcy:  Taxation & Economic Reform in America Part III, the Statutes of the Realm collection, the Legal Classics Library, the History of International Law, the U.S. Federal Legislative History LibraryPentagon PapersTreaties and Agreements Librarythe Canada Supreme Court Reports/Revised Statutes of CanadaU.S. Congressional Documents, the European Centre for Minority Issues, the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS)U.S. Federal Agency Documents, Decisions, & Appeals, the Law Journal Library, the Selden Society Publications and The History of Early English Law, the Subject Compilations of State LawsEarly American Case LawSpinelli’s Law Library Reference Shelf, the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, the Philip C. Jessup Library, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws collection, the Harvard Research in International Law collection, and the International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family collection, the Association of American Law Libraries (AALL), the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), the United States Code, the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, Bar JournalsCode of Federal Regulations, and United Nations Law Collection.