Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 10: Legal Research and Writing

Westlaw? LexisNexis? Casemaker? Fast Case? Private subscription? Public library? Annie and Ben talk about the programs and companies they use to do the legal research that supports their sparkling, incisive legal scholarship. What to know before you spend thousands of dollars on a multi-year contract with one of the jackals of the legal research world.

Also, how legal writing is basically childbirth.

Show Note for Episode 10: Legal Research and Writing

There are at least two places in Louisville to do free or inexpensive legal research: the Jefferson County Public Law Library and the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

We talked about Westlaw and Lexis. We suggested exploring FastCase and Casemaker as alternatives to the two big ones. 

 Bluebook and Chicago Manuel of Style.

Wow. I had no idea how nerdy Boolean is. 

Ben is not happy with Westlaw

We talked a little bit about hegemony

One great way to do legal research is to have someone else do it for you already. Kentucky Justice Association's listserv is so good for this. 

Ben wonders whether or not Davidson's Honor Code has somehow made him a less effective lawyer. 

Annie uses the heck out of Criminal Law of Kentucky ("the Green Book"). (As this book costs $188 on Amazon, it's worth noting that we get a small kickback from Amazon when you buy something from it through a link from this site. So, go crazy! While you're at it, get yourself a $415 scanner! Treat yo'self!) Annie also uses the Kentucky Evidence Manual, but there's not a good link for that. 

If you're going to go with Westlaw, consider also getting (electronically) the Kentucky Practice Series. Good for a quick education on a potential case and very useful forms. 

Annie points out that Kentucky's top-notch Department of Public Advocacy has a bunch of free materials available to practitioners on their site. 

Here are some more books to help with your writing: Typography for Lawyers, Point Made, Elements of Style, Elements of Legal Style, On Writing Well

Annie recommends The Elements of Style Illustrated.


Here's how Evernote might be useful for cataloging your legal research for long-term kickassery. And, when you're ready to take it to the next level, here's Katie Floyd's Hazel to Evernote workflow (and don't miss her update to that post for even more granular functionality).

Annie has a new website! http://www.oconnelllawky.com/

Here are some things that might be useful for project management: Wunderlist, Asana, Editorially. Also, Flow

Show credits

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Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.


Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

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