Tag Archives: Lexis

Don’t Forget Secondary Sources

Librarians often tell students to start researching with secondary sources. Secondary sources are a great starting point for researching an unfamiliar area, providing a narrative explanation of complex concepts, giving citations to primary authority, and commentary on cutting edge legal issues. Something we don’t discuss that secondary sources can provide confirmation that there is no clear rule or guidance on an issue or common sense answer. In these instances, secondary sources are not our starting point, but rather our last ditch effort to find something, anything, to confirm that which is suspected as true. Recently a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) book confirmed for a researcher that there is no clear answer to a lien question. The book was found by using our catalog and searching for the larger concepts (association and Florida). Roaming the shelves is another great way to find secondary sources in print. We have a call number list on some of the shelves on the second floor that can help narrow this type of search.

Of course, secondary sources, including many CLEs, are available in Westlaw and Lexis, Hein Online, and sometimes in Google Books. It is important to remember that many secondary source titles are only available through one database. So, Tax Analyst titles are only available on Lexis, whereas WGL titles are only available in Westlaw. So it often a good idea as a student, who has educational access both Westlaw and Lexis, to search both vendors if information is still needed.

Free Software for You – and its Good!

All of us have been inundated with offers of free software we can install on our phones, tablets, and laptops. I’ve gotten a little cynical about it: legal publishers are eager to offer free apps and browser extensions as a way of marketing themselves. Still, some of it is actually pretty useful. Lexis Advance and WestlawNext are available through proprietary apps that work well.

Occasionally, free software can even be great! How would you like the chance to download software that is used daily by virtually all the “AmLaw 100” law firms; software that would cost you approximately $400.00 for a single-user license?

You can. CaseMap is available through LexisNexis, and all students can download it from their LexisNexis homepage. After logging on, go to the “Free Downloads” tab, and then look under “Litigation Tools” for CaseMap. Once you install it, open it, and click on the CaseMap Quick Start Tutorial on the right hand panel to get started. Any questions? Your librarians are here to help.

What do you like about Lexis Advance?

As a Librarian, I try to keep up with new research tools.  It has been hard before to see how cases are treated across jurisdictions, which can often be very helpful if arguing for a change in law.  But not anymore! Lexis Advance has a great feature that lets you see how cases have been treated by other courts across jurisdictions and across years.  Once you log into Lexis Advance (if you are having trouble with that, please contact any of the Librarians) just Shepardize a case.  Go to Citing Decisions and choose Grid.  Especially if you like to visualize what has happened to a case, this is a perfect resource.

Lexis has a great explanation of this feature, and other features of their Shepard’s service, in their information.

Have you read the fine print on your Westlaw contract?

If you haven’t, you are not using the skills you are using in law school to the fullest extent.  Misuse of your Westlaw (or Lexis) account can result in serious consequences.  Can’t read the full article?  If you don’t want to sign up (or if there is a fee for an article) remember that Westlaw and Lexis often have journal articles regarding legal issues.  For this article, log on to Lexis, use “Find a Source,” type in National Law Journal.  Once you choose the National Law Journal from the list of results, copy and paste the title in and you can access the whole article.  You should always check Lexis and Westlaw for journal articles – at least for now, while you have authorized access.

Summer Westlaw/Lexis access – NOT automatic

Students and Alumni do not have continued access to Westlaw/WestlawNext and Lexis.com over the summer without taking affirmative steps to extend access. The criteria for summer access are set forth below categorized by continuing student or graduate.

Continuing Students:
Westlaw
Full access to Westlaw will end on May 31st for the summer.  If you are enrolled and earning class credit this summer, in Law Review, working on Moot Court, or a summer faculty research assistant you can extend your Westlaw password for the summer by logging into Westlaw and click on the banner “Westlaw Password Extension?” Please note that Westlaw is only available to those working for a non-profit organization if you are receiving course credit and are not receiving pay.

Lexis
If you are enrolled and earning class credit this summer, in Law Review, working on Moot Court, earning Pro Bono hours for the Certificate, or a summer faculty research assistant, you can extend your full Lexis.com password for the summer by logging into Lexis and clicking on the “continue summer access” box. If you have not extended your access by May 31st, your access will be “limited.” However, you can still extend your access anytime during the summer and your access will be restored to regular access within a few hours. Your Lexis Advanced access will remain active with no action on your part.

Emails from Westlaw/Lexis
If you don’t want to receive emails from Westlaw and Lexis (and you are), please “Update” your password profile in Westlaw or “Manage your Account” in Lexis.

Alumni (Graduates):
Congratulations to our graduating students. Here is some Alumni and Summer Access Information.

Alumni Coastal Library Access
Alumni have FULL access (except for databases that require personal passwords) to the LTC for two semesters (ex. Summer and Fall semesters) after graduation. At the end of the second semester, we ask you to register as an Alumnus. See the full policy for more information about our continued services to alumni click here.

Lexis
You can extend full access to Lexis.com through the summer by logging into Lexis and clicking on the “continue summer access” box. If you have not extended your access by May 31st, your access will be “limited.” However, you can still extend your access anytime during the summer and your access will be restored to regular access within a few hours. All graduates’ IDs will be deactivated on August 1st. Your last day to earn LexisNexis points is May 31st and you must spend these points by July 31, 2012. Your Lexis Advanced access will remain active through the end of July with no action on your part.

Westlaw
Starting June 1, 2012, Westlaw student passwords are “active” for one year post graduation, but only for “Job-Related” databases. “Job-Related” is essentially the West Legal Directory, AFJ, Profiler-ALL and a handful of other directories. If a graduate tries to access anything else, they will get “not available under your subscription” message.

If you would like to have access to Westlaw to study for the bar in June and July, you must register for a Graduate Password. To request a Graduate Password, click on the ad for “continue summer access box” that displays when you logon at Westlaw. Students who register for a Graduate Password will have 10 hours of Westlaw per month (10 hours in June and 10 hours in July) to help them prepare for the bar.  Westlaw points for May graduates will expire on June 30th.

The Lighter side of Research!

Hope you enjoyed your spring break and are ready to get back into the swing of things!

Still working on your ALWRs, MSJs, or other legal research projects? Next week, we are offering Workshops in low cost legal research because sometimes Westlaw and LexisNexis do not provide all the answers.

Here is a fun look at legal research: Research tips; Why you should take breaks!; Westlaw vs.LexisNexis