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Researching the Law: Finding What You Need When You Need It, Fourth Edition

  • Amy E. Sloan
Series / Aspen Coursebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Researching the Law: Finding What You Need When You Need It, Fourth Edition guides students through a decidedly contemporary approach to legal research. Widely respected author Amy E. Sloan presents legal research as a process of efficiently filtering a vast quantity of available information. Simply put, students learn how to locate and identify the most pertinent and authoritative information available with the greatest possible expedience. Sloan's clear, concise explanations of essential research sources are presented in a context that speaks to the way lawyers do research today, with a flexible approach that works in a rapidly changing research environment. Part I explains how to define a research question; pre-filter content before beginning a search; conduct research using a variety of search techniques and establish post-search criteria for filtering results. Part II describes essential features of individual sources of authority and search strategies unique to each source. Part III contains research flowcharts to help students plan research strategies for different types of research projects.

New to the 4th Edition:

  • Coverage of the latest functionality of Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law
  • Targeted research examples to illustrate common search techniques
  • Thorough explanation of techniques for drafting effective word searches

Benefits for instructors and students:

  • Complete coverage of fundamental principles
  • Teaches students how to:
    • Define a research question
    • Pre-filter content before beginning a search
    • Search for information using a variety of techniques
    • Create and use post-search filtering criteria to target the most relevant information
    • Learn the essential features of important legal authorities, as well as the research strategies unique to each one
    • Use flowcharts to plan a research strategy
  • Concise and practical, to appeal to today’s students
  • Approaches legal research as a filtering process to identify the most pertinent and authoritative information from vast search results
  • Can also be used to complement other texts and classroom materials
  • Diverse coverage of online sources, not solely emphasizing Lexis and Westlaw
  • Not simply a shorter version of Basic Legal Research; looks at research as a process of filtering the available information, rather than as a process that requires first choosing the right source of authority to solve a legal problem
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About the authors
Amy E. Sloan
University of Baltimore School of Law

Sloan joined the University of Baltimore School of Law faculty as professor of law in 2001. From 2001 until 2010, she led the Legal Skills Program jointly with Eric B. Easton. Prior to joining the faculty, she taught at The George Washington University Law School, where she directed the Legal Research and Writing Program, and at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law. She served as an associate of the George Washington Law Review and as a law clerk to the Hon. William M. Nickerson and the Hon. Edward S. Northrop at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Sloan manages academic matters within the school, including scheduling courses, advising students, working with adjunct faculty, and advising the dean and the faculty on curricular matters. Sloan's scholarly interests include legal research and writing, classical and contemporary rhetoric, and appellate practice. She is active in the Association of Legal Writing Directors and is a member of the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia bars.

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Fourth Edition
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Legal Writing
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