Research Guides @ Westminster Law Library

Students conducting legal research, whether for a class or a work assignment, frequently are asked to research complex problems which may require them to use a new resource or use a known resource in a different way than usual.  While there’s a wealth of information available in print and online (including free resources), if you are not aware of a tool or how to use it to conduct effective research, this can make locating and using the needed information much more challenging.

To help make it easier for students to conduct research, the Westminster Law Library has created research guides on a variety of different subjects.  The library’s research guides easily can be accessed through the links provided on the library homepage or by bookmarking libguides.law.du.edu.

 

Screen shot of Westminster Law Library Main Page highlighting the web links to our research guides page.

 

 

The research guides homepage provides many different ways to search for information related to your specific topic.

 

Screen shot of the research guides homepage highlighting the ability to search guides by subject area.

 

These topic-specific research guides can include links to relevant databases, free sites, and print publications, descriptions of resources, discussions of research strategies, and/or tutorials demonstrating how effectively research using a particular product.

 

Example research guide showing navigation buttons and a sample tutorial.

 

While we try to create research guides relevant to areas of interest to our faculty and students, we may not yet have published one in the particular subject area you need to research.  Since the LibGuides platform is employed by many law schools throughout the country, you can use a search engine to try and locate a guide produced by another institution–just search your topic and “LibGuides.”  Also, if our law library does not have a research guide on the subject and you think it is a topic that is relevant to our law students, please let us know by emailing us at refdesk@law.du.edu.

New Conflict Resolution Research Guide

October is Conflict Resolution Month in Colorado!

Conflict results from differences in interests and behavior and conflict resolution refers to the means by which conflict is ended. In the legal profession, conflicts are most commonly referred to as “disputes” and conflict resolution is often known as “dispute resolution.” There are quite a number of conflict resolution processes including war, voting, and avoidance (withdrawal from relationship). However, legal professionals are mostly concerned with adjudicative dispute resolution processes (i.e., litigation and arbitration), conciliatory dispute resolution processes (i.e., negotiation, mediation, and collaborative law), and dispute prevention.

In Colorado, Conflict Resolution Month is celebrated every October. And this year is the 10th Anniversary! There have been many events held throughout the month in the state and here at the University of Denver. You can read about these events and find many resources on conflict resolution at
http://conflictresolutionmonth.org/ and at
https://www.portfolio.du.edu/conflictresolutionmonth.

In honor of Conflict Resolution Month, the Westminster Law Library has compiled a resource and information guide on Conflict Resolution and the Law. While there are many conflict resolution processes, including war and voting, this resource guide focuses on the various forms of conflict resolution within the legal realm. You can view the guide at http://libguides.law.du.edu/conflictresolution.

Thank you to our Reference Assistant Katharine Hales for creating this research guide and authoring this blog post!

Secondary Sources, Research Guides, and the Georgetown Treatise Finder

As law librarians, we try to emphasis to law students the value of beginning their legal research using Secondary Sources—especially for first year students who lack experience locating and analyzing legal material. When talking to students who have incorporated Secondary Sources into their research strategy, we hear how much easier it made the legal research process and saved them a considerable amount of time and frustration.

Now this article has referenced the term “Secondary Sources” a few times, but exactly what are these resources? These publications provide substantive analysis about a particular area of law or a narrower topic. As an undergraduate or graduate law student, if you were required to complete a research project using topical research books and/or articles, you already possess experience using these types of resources—just outside the legal context.

Secondary Sources serve as a great starting point to learning about an area of law and the legal issues involved—they help students build that necessary conceptual framework needed to analyze Primary Legal Material.  While Primary Law may be another term that is unfamiliar to students, this is simply an umbrella term covering the actual Constitutional, Statutory, Regulatory, and Case Law that students already read, interpret, and apply.  In addition to providing legal analysis, these Secondary Sources contain legal citations to actual Primary Law dealing with that topic/issue.  Secondary Sources really can save students a considerable amount of time when developing an understanding of the law and finding those useful cases.

One particularly useful type of Secondary Source is the Treatise. Treatises are the legal equivalent of the single/multi-volume research publications students probably encountered when conducting undergraduate research. The logical, topical structure of these publications really help students develop a conceptual framework about how different aspects of an area of law fit together while providing students with relevant primary law citations addressing those particular issues. Many Treatises exist covering numerous areas of the law or focusing on more specific topics.  Since there are so many Treatises, how should students go about identifying these publications and where to find them?

Law Librarians across the country produce online research guides designed to help their various stakeholder groups navigate different aspects of the law, identify valuable resources, and explain how to use these publications. The Georgetown Treatise Finder is one such guide. Georgetown Law Librarians have compiled a list of major Treatises which are available in-print and online and organized them into over sixty areas of law. Need to do Constitutional, Water Law, Intellectual Property, or International legal research? The Georgetown Treatise Finder can help students track down a particularly useful Treatise publication and where it can be accessed (most Secondary Sources are exclusive to one online legal research platform).

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Remember that there are many Law Librarians who are creating content and meeting with students to help each one of them become better researchers. If you have questions or need research help, stop by the Reference Desk and speak with one of our friendly, experienced law librarians or email us at refdesk@law.du.edu.